The Messengers of Peace set an example by dedicating their lives to praying for peace, striving to live as models of peace and helping people who are in poverty.
The religious community in Colombia co-founded by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson isn’t alone in this mission. We all are called to embrace those ideals: The world needs them. Our families need them. We need them.
Our faith demands that we communicate Christ’s peace to others. After all, the first words Christ spoke to His apostles after He rose from the dead were “Peace be with you” (John 20:19).
Pope emeritus Benedict XVI stated that peace is both a gift and task. Archbishop Carlson expands on that, noting that the gift and task involve building a culture of peace. The archbishop has a vision and goal — to help the world come to peace through the power of prayer.
“I believe that the only way we are going to get peace is if we turn to Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, and ask Him for it. That is why, along with Father (now Msgr.) Luis Mesa, I founded the Messengers of Peace” dedicated to praying for peace and working to serve the poor, Archbishop Carlson wrote in his “Before the Cross” column in 2012.
Peace doesn’t just happen, however. Archbishop Carlson adds that if we desire peace we must be willing to work for it. And if we are willing to work for peace, we must be willing, first and foremost, to pray for peace.
In the unrest that followed a not-guilty verdict in the trial of a former St. Louis police officer in 2017, Archbishop Carlson said that “if we want peace and justice, we must come together as a community through prayer, mutual understanding and forgiveness. While acknowledging the hurt and anger, we must not fuel the fires of hatred and division. … We must work together for a better, stronger, safer community, one founded upon respect for each other, and one in which we see our neighbor as another self.”
It’s not just peace on a grand scale that we must desire, but also peace in the many small and mostly unnoticed acts that make up the fabric of daily living.
In receiving the Nobel Prize in 1964, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated that the richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. “We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers,” Dr. King said.
The Gospel of Matthew shows us the way: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”