Posted by Ronan Scully in Features.

I pray daily that we may all live in peace together. We have seen what peace can do for people in Northern Ireland and in South Africa. Unfortunately, you only have to watch the news or read the papers to find conflict and suffering in every corner of the world. I would like to dedicate this thought for the week to the 148 people, nearly all them students, who died so needlessly in Kenya last week. As the saying goes, “All it takes for evil to thrive or exist is for good people to remain quiet or do nothing at all to prevent it or stop it.”

The causes of unrest may seem complex, but I believe the root of much of it is one group trying to impose its will on another. The motives may be political, religious or racial arrogance, but it amounts to the same thing. One group sees itself as right and others as wrong. Religion and politics are often used to justify such claims.

Put differences aside

It seems to me that the only way we will ever achieve a peaceful world is if we resist the urge to impose our beliefs on someone who does not want to share them. We must accept everyone’s right to follow their own path.

Accept that there will always be those who hold different beliefs and follow different paths. Learn to respect people ‘as they are’ and put differences aside.

This does not mean we cannot state our views. But it does mean I will not impose anything on anyone who is not interested and it means that I can accept, respect and share this world with those who hold different beliefs from me. A story might help explain.

The Real Meaning of Peace

There once was a King who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace.

When the entries were in, the King looked at all the pictures. There were only two he really liked. One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror, with four peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.

The other picture had mountains too, but these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell and lightening played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. It did not look peaceful at all.

However, when the King looked, he saw a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock behind the waterfall. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest, perfectly at peace.

The King, chose the second picture, because, he said ‘Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of al those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.”

As Eleanor Roosevelt said, ‘It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.’

Thought for the Week

As your thought for the week, look at ways you can bring real, lasting and genuine peace into your life, into the lives of those around you, into your country and into our world.