Have you been keeping up with the headlines about Pope Francis? Even if you haven’t gone any further than the headline, you would notice a theme. A theme in the name of peace.
The proof: The pope recently issued a “peace plea” to all of the Holy See embassies. The pope publicly prays for peace during his usual Sunday audiences in St. Peter’s Square. He’s even gone as far as making personal phone calls to the leaders of certain countries to ask them to work for peace.
Headlines that don’t specifically speak of his plea for peace instead highlight his lament for the situations where there hasn’t been peace. His sorrow and aguish is palpable when he bemoans the loss of innocent life in the Malaysian plane crash and attitudes (like racism) that bring about division.
It’s clear that part of the pope’s mission here on earth is peace. And, “pope frankly,” that should be part of our mission, too.
Then comes the natural follow-up question: what does it look like for simple people like you and me to promote peace? Because, quite honestly, we can’t be making personal phone calls to national leaders or preaching about peace to billions of people.
Well, Pope Frank helps us out here. He encourages us to “put ourselves at each other’s service…without jealousy, without taking sides.” In other words, he encourages us to put ourselves at each other’s service in the name of peace.
This means, concretely, that we need to promote peace in our homes, in the workplace, in our communities. It means looking past our differences with people and serving them with love anyway. It means forgetting about the hurt and pain a friend or co-worker might have caused you and serving them anyway.
In today’s society we tend to want to hold on to grudges and anger. We have an “I know I’m right and I wish they could see that” mentality that is utterly fruitless. If we constantly harbor hurt feelings and division, not only will we fail in bringing about peace, but we won’t make much progress in learning how to love purely and truly.
It’s far too easy to hear about the pope promoting peace and brush it off as something that is meant for those with power and influence. That’s just a cop-out. Pope Francis—and you and I—know that if we are supposed to work for peace on this earth, it has to start in our very own homes. In our very own hearts.
Nagel is the executive assistant to the bishop at the Diocese of Bismarck. Her column on the words and actions of Pope Francis appears bi-monthly in the DCA.
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