Reading the newspapers during my morning breakfast often sets my soul on edge. Lately in the news we have been bombarded with accounts of battles fought in Mindanao, uprisings in the Middle East, and rebellious mobs surfacing in New York and London. What is this world coming to? Why are so many people in so many countries disenchanted?
What we need is to create as many “Peace Spaces” as we possibly can.
Last October 20 I attended the launching of the Philippine’s first “Peace Space” at the Pius XII Catholic Center, Manila, during the celebration of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting’s 20th year of service to the country. The celebration was very simple, meaningful and inspiring. Ambassador Henrietta T. De Villa, National PPCRV Chairperson, welcomed everyone after the entrance of colors and different banners of the various diocesan PPCRV groups with a synopsis of what PPCRV had accomplished over the past 20 years. After the mass, the new interactive website of PPCRV was launched; check it out at www.ppcrv.org.
The Holy Mass was concelebrated by six bishops and priests with the main celebrant and homilist none other than His Eminence Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales. He reflected on the EDSA revolutions, the transformative changes that have happened since that time, and the challenges facing us today. He believes that the main challenge of today is “thinking Peace, desiring Peace, breathing Peace, and becoming Peace ourselves.”
After the mass we all gathered outside the Sta. Maria Goretti Parish Church at the Pius Center for the unveiling and blessing of the Peace Space Marker. Together we read the Peace Space Prayer and released blue and white balloons that filled the sky with their message of Peace. Again, we were asked to remember to pray the Peace Space Prayer daily and were encouraged to create a Peace Space in our homes, our offices, our neighborhoods and public places to remind everyone of our Christian responsibility to promote peace, to be peace.
What is a Peace Space? It is simply an area dedicated to PEACE. Maybe it is a corner in your home with a framed copy of the Peace Space Prayer, a candle, and a small vase of flowers. Or, perhaps it is a small space in your backyard or near your front gate with the words “Peace Space” carved on a stone marker. It might be a framed poster on the office bulletin board proclaiming “Think Peace, Desire Peace, Breathe Peace, and Become Peace” and the words of the Peace Space Prayer. It should not be elaborate or cluttered with many icons or religious items; rather, it should simply be a place where one can pause, quiet oneself apart from the day’s activities, recite the Peace Space Prayer, and reflect on how he/she can think Peace, desire Peace, breathe Peace and become Peace. A moment in time that transforms!
The prayer itself only takes a few moments. But when prayed from the heart and with the heart, it is a prayer that can reverberate not only in one’s soul, but throughout the world. My days are more peace filled now that I begin my day, and many times end my day, with this prayer. Pray it now with me.
LORD JESUS CHRIST, you said to your apostles:
“I leave you peace, my peace I give to you”.
Look not on our sins, but on our faith in you.
Look kindly on the leaders of our government
And of the Church, and those whose decisions affect our lives.
May they forge Peace.
Keep close to your heart our youth and the poor.
May they feel Peace.
Remove from our heart and mind
All anger, resentment and bitterness.
May these be buried in your love.
Help us all to think Peace, desire Peace,
Breathe Peace and become Peace ourselves.
With Mary our Mother,
Grant us the peace and unity of your Kingdom
Where you live with the Father and the Holy Spirit.