peace - Related Content

Discerning, igniting a revolution of peace

Thursday, October 5th 2017 12:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 

The first thing I do each morning is check the news app on my phone. Before my feet even touch the floor I become conscious of the violence that has occurred while I slept — horror has erupted in our neighborhoods, wars continue to rage throughout many nations. I say yet another impassioned prayer for peace as I get up to begin my day.  

Yesterday, I rose with the anticipation of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Francis, known to many as a peacekeeper and the patron saint of animals, woke to his own journey of life almost 800 years ago that was not filled with roses and rainbows. He lived in the middle of warring papal and city states where the feudal system was breaking down. Chaos ruled and many found themselves destitute, starving, and unprotected from the violence around them. I imagine that if there had been 24-hour world news coverage or instant, streaming internet video in his time, his world would in many ways mirror our own.   

St-Francis-statue

But Francis did not stand idle, watch the problems from a distance or hide from the world around him. God called him to go right into the heart of the system that was crumbling, urged him to move quickly to action. The invitation to “rebuild my church” was not some trite, easy task. It was an epic journey that would take Francis the course of his lifetime to navigate. For good or ill, he learned from success and I imagine much more from his failures. Perhaps in his early days, when he physically rebuilt churches stone by stone (as that is how he first interpreted God’s invitation), his isolation from social pressures and experience of quiet moments allowed him to discern how to be all of who he was before God. Eventually, as the story goes, Francis discovered that he needed to help people around him and started with the group he perhaps feared; the lepers.

Sister Eileen McKenzie reads a reflection of St. Francis by Brother Ruffino during an FSPA Transitus celebration in Mary of the Angels Chapel: "I remember how knowing Jesus and following in the footprints of Jesus was the one passion of his life."

Francis is a model and a light for our world today. He reminds us to reach out to help everyone in need, even those who make us feel uneasy, who we don’t understand and who we’ve previously chosen to ignore. He challenges us not to wait around hoping someone else will respond to the chaos around us. Light is even more contagious than darkness. What else could explain the thousands of silly, tug-at-your-heart animal videos on social media that so many of us tune out the troubled world to see? We are all looking for laughter and joy.

What would happen if, around the globe, we woke up to news stories filled with such love and happiness? A world in which individuals cultivate peace and positivity rather than fostering greed, hate and possessiveness?

Perhaps we could all begin our own revolution of peace.

Our collective wakeup call is here. How is your discernment beckoning you to be a light in our world today? How will you ignite a revolution of peace and joy in your corner of the world?

Where will your journey take you?

*Do you know someone experiencing discernment of religious life? We invite you to share this link, www.fspa.org/showmeasign, and join the conversation. 

Bridges of peace built with prayer

Thursday, September 1st 2016 1:00 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 

gap-in-bridge

Image courtesy of freeimages.com

Diversity is one of the greatest gifts we have been given on Earth, but also one of the most challenging. In the beauty of distinction it is often perplexing when we feel misunderstood by another. From the deepest conversations to the everyday moments, relating to one another is where we spend the majority of our life energy.

Reflect for a moment on your morning routine. In configuration there were a series of steps taken to accomplish each task at hand and, over time, your own version of automatic pilot emerged. When living with others, our routines and world views are often questioned and some of the behavior buried in unconscious thought is brought once again to consciousness.

Life in community is a treasury full of relationships. As humans we are naturally drawn to some people. Personalities, viewpoints and generational differences are but a few of the ways in which we are stretched to broaden perspectives and our rough edges are leveled over time. As respect for the other grows so does the ability to let small things go and, when necessary, seek forgiveness when disagreement turns into an argument.  

One path to spanning our differences is committing to a life of prayer. Wrapped in the Divine embrace of prayer, we discover ways to build bridges to common ground that see us through the times of trial. I have witnessed individuals at odds with one another continue to pray together and push through their own feelings to see the situation from the other side.

It is not easy to be open to God and surrender to a time of bridge construction. Bridge building is not an instant process: foundations need to be laid brick-by-brick, and surfaces must be leveled before the decking is ready to span two sides. Sometimes a bridge between two people cannot be constructed. Insight gained through prayer will help one know if it’s time for laying the foundations for a future bridge. Prayer grants vision beyond one’s perception and offers a glimpse of the bigger realities of life.

In your discernment, are you finding any gaps that may need bridging?

Are there different viewpoints you’ve resisted because the leap is too large? No bridge yet exists?

How are you called to be a bridge builder in your life?

Happy 4th of July

Tuesday, July 4th 2017 10:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

Sister Marian's Six Word Story

Tuesday, December 13th 2016 10:00 am
Sister Marian Massman, FSPA


heart-strings-gentle-nudge-deep-peace-marian-massman

 

What's your six word discernment story?

Honoring lives lost, praying for world peace

Thursday, May 25th 2017 4:25 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

Celebrating peace, harmony, history and freedom

Thursday, July 4th 2019 7:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 

Happy 4th of July!

dark-two-hands-sparklers

Image courtesy Pixabay

As we celebrate the history of our country with parades and fireworks today, let us pray for peace in our world and harmony in our hearts. May we also give thanks for the blessing of freedom.

Are you discerning religious life? Walking with someone who is? We invite you to share this link, www.fspa.org/showmeasign, and join the conversation.

Honoring legacy, service

Monday, May 25th 2020 9:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 

Care for our common good never forgotten

flag-cemetery

Photo by Daniel Foster on Unsplash

Let us take a moment of silence today to pray for peace in our world and to remember the brave military women and men who selflessly lost their lives in service to our country. May their legacy of care for the common good of all not be forgotten.

Are you discerning religious life? Walking with someone who is? We invite you to share this link, fspa.org/showemeasign, and join the conversation.

Celebrating freedom ... from a distance

Saturday, July 4th 2020 10:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 

Happy 4th of July!

woman-outside-red-dress-hat-american-flag

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay 

Today, may we reach out to one another in peace and unity that spans beyond physical distance and continue to pray for the safety and health of all during this time of global crisis.

Are you discerning religious life? Walking with someone who is? We invite you to share this link, fspa.org/showmeasign, and join the conversation.

 

Peace in the midst of unrest

Thursday, July 21st 2016 12:10 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 


Jesus-boat-sea-storm

Photo courtesy of Lisa DeLay

Through the screens of our televisions and computers and smart phones we are facing increasing violence around the world. Full of humanity, pain and sorrow for the hurting world, each interview we watch is more than a story. It’s heart wrenching to witness the tears of my brothers and sisters. How do we hold on to hope for peace in a time overflowing with so much unrest?

My heart circles around Scripture—Luke 8:22-25. It reminds me how fear can overturn with a blinding force. In a boat on a lake in a squall Jesus’ disciples panic, let fear steer them to see only the storm. Discerning a certainty of drowning, they choose to react rather than respond.   

Jesus calms the storm: goes to the root of the experience; probes the hearts of his disciples to gain insight; asks open-ended questions and pauses for reflection; invites dialog to stimulate discernment of the source of turbulence. He calls for them to develop skills to deal with stressful experiences and strong emotions in a new way.

Jesus is a model for us: observing and pondering the environment before taking deliberate action. He demonstrates that complex situations call for a commitment to examine beyond the surface. We have the ability to learn from difficult experiences when our faith asks us to look again.

In discernment of religious life, in times of conflict and unease like facing reactions from family and friends, it’s instinctive to seek shelter, to immediately get away from the storm. But taking time to entertain curiosity—to examine your heart even if it feels immersed in a squall—can bring about the respectful response to the call you are sensing.

How do you respond to the storms in your discernment?

What questions is Jesus asking you in the midst of unrest in your life?


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