By Father Joseph Breighner
In response to terrorist attacks, the completion of the season of Advent and the journey into the church Christmas season, and as we begin a New Year with new resolutions, I would like to share seven prayers that came to me from the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, via Mission Helper of the Sacred Heart Sister Danielle Murphy, titled “Let Peace Fill My Heart.”
The farewell gift of Jesus to us was peace: “Peace I give to you, peace I leave with you.” Could we resolve that each day by saying one of the following prayers for peace? Wouldn’t that be a wonderful New Year’s resolution? What difference might this make in our lives? What a difference this might make in our world?
One of the most touching moments of Pope Francis’ recent visit to the U.S. was when members of different faith traditions all prayed together. These prayers come from those various traditions. Pray them all, or what you want. Let’s respond to terror not from a position of fear, but from love and peace. Ultimately only love is real, because love is God.
Lead me from death to life, from falsehood to truth.
Lead me from despair to hope, from fear to trust.
Lead me from hate to love, from war to peace.
Let peace fill my heart, my world, my universe.
– Universal Peace Prayer
Keep us, O God, from all pettiness.
Let us be large in thought, in word, and in deed.
Let us be done with fault-finding and leave off all self-seeking.
May we put away all pretense and meet each other without self-pity and without prejudice.
Grant that we may realize that it is the little things of life that create difference, that in the big things of life we are as one.
And, O God, let us not forget to be kind.
– Mary Stewart
I am peace
surrounded by Peace, secure in Peace.
Peace protects me.
Peace supports me.
Peace is in me.
Peace is mine.
All is well.
Peace to all beings.
Peace among all beings.
Peace from all beings.
I am steeped in peace.
Absorbed in peace.
In the streets, at our work, having peaceful thoughts, peaceful words, peaceful acts.
– A Buddhist Meditation
The world before me is restored in beauty.
The world behind me is restored in beauty.
The world below me is restored in beauty.
All things around me are restored in beauty.
It is all finished in beauty!
– Native American Prayer
Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing frighten you.
All things are fleeting.
God alone is changeless.
Patience attains the good.
One who has God lacks nothing.
God alone fills all our needs.
– St. Teresa of Avila
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
– St. Francis of Assisi
If anyone speaks ill of you, praise them only.
If anyone injures you, serve them nicely.
If anyone persecutes you, serve them in all possible ways.
You will attain immense strength.
You will control anger and pride.
You will enjoy peace, poise and serenity.
You will become divine.
– Swami Sivananda
This last reflection reminds me of the words of Jesus: “Love those who hate you; bless those who persecute you; then you will be considered children of the most high God who lets his rain fall on the good and the bad alike.” True peace comes ultimately from looking at the world through the eyes of God.
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