Dear Friends, Peace be with you!
As we start a new year, I send blessings of peace to you on your journey of discipleship to the nonviolent Jesus. I hope that more and more of us can wake up, try to disarm, become nonviolent, fulfill our peacemaking vocations and consciously follow the nonviolent Jesus for the rest of our lives.
Recently, I’ve been writing a series of prayers. I don’t know what will ever come from themâ€”they’re like a sigh that I lift up to heaven. As we start a new year, I offer three of them for your own prayer and pilgrimage. May the God of peace bless you, Fr. John
Thank you so much for loving me and every human being, for creating us and this beautiful world to live in peace with you. You are perfect love, unconditional love, universal love, compassionate love. You are perfect peace, unconditional peace, universal peace, compassionate peace. You are perfect nonviolence, unconditional nonviolence, universal nonviolence, compassionate nonviolence. You are so loving, so peaceful, so nonviolent, that you give us the freedom to choose violence, to reject you and one another, to hurt ourselves and the whole world. You try through your spirit of nonviolent love to help us, disarm us, heal us, and lead us again down your path of eternal peace.
I am amazed at your unconditional, nonviolent, universal love. In this love, you hold me and every human being with infinite kindness and gentleness, and long to welcome me to your home to dwell in your peace forever.
For such love, such gentleness, such steadfast nonviolence, I adore you and praise you and bless you. I worship you now and forever as the one true God, the God of peace and universal love, the God of universal nonviolence who will win out, disarm us all, and lead us all one day to your home of eternal peace. Thank you, God, now and always. Amen.
Save me from the hard emotionsâ€”hatred, anger, and resentment. Teach me to let go of these hard feelings, not to get stuck in them and to live instead in the wisdom of your love, compassion and nonviolence.
When someone hurts me, help me not to give in to hatred. Help me to recognize the deep wounds, shame and humiliation that lie below their surface, that I might discover your compassion for them, that I might forgive them for hurting me, and drop any feelings of hatred.
Hatred is like poison; it only leads to death. Teach me over time to feel compassion for everyone, even those who have hurt me over the course of my life. Remind me to bring them to you in prayer, to discover your compassion for them and me, to forgive them as a daily practice so that I might not get caught in the rut of hatred but might dwell in the new life of your love. This way, you not only heal me, you heal the other.
Don’t let me give in to anger either. Anger is just the sign that I’ve been deeply hurt, and it can lead to retaliation, violence or worse. Jesus taught us not to get angry, but to show love, forgiveness and compassion. He did not get angry as he was betrayed, denied, abandoned and killed. He responded nonviolently with forgiveness and compassion. He showed no anger or desire for revenge in his resurrection appearances. Instead he radiated only peace.
Help me to let go of my anger, to look deeply within at the roots of my anger, to allow you to heal my wounds that I may spend my life not in anger but in compassion, not in hatred but in love, not in war but in peace.
Dear God, dig deep inside me and root out all my resentments. Heal me of those deep wounds that stretch back to my youth, that have become entrenched in me like barnacles that need to be scraped away. Help me to forgive everyone who ever hurt me, that resentment becomes a thing of the past, that love, compassion and peace become the path of my future. Amen.
You are our compassionate father, our loving mother, our guiding spirit, and yet you have created us in such diversity. Help us to welcome that diversity, to celebrate human variety, and to honor everyone in their lovely difference, for if we love everyone as they are in all their beauty, we catch a glimpse of you in all your beauty.
The various races of humanity are so beautiful, God of peace. Thank you for making us black, brown, red, yellow and white. Help us to renounce prejudice and abolish racism that we might see everyone as our beloved sister and brother. Give the human family a new grace-the grace of recognizing the stupidity and ignorance of racism, the wisdom to uphold every human being, and the insight to see your beauty in one another, especially those who are different from us.
You created us as men and women, and give us the gift of gender and sexuality. Please help men to renounce and abolish sexism once and for always, that men might treat women as equals everywhere around the world from now on, that women might claim their dignity, that men might become more nonviolent and humble and women might be more empowered. Give the human family a new grace—the grace of living equality between the genders, in every corner of the planet, so that men and women might live around the world as nonviolent brothers and sisters, your beloved children, as you intended us to live.
In our diversity, help us to accept everyoneâ€”all those of different religions, all those of different sexual orientations, all those of different nations, all those of different ages. Give the human family a new grace-the grace of honoring every human being as they are, that everyone might claim their dignity as your beloved son and daughter, that we might welcome your nonviolent reign of peace. Amen.