A song and sentiment that may spring spontaneously from our heart to our lips in times of conflict begins with the line, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” Most of us probably think that line refers to our role in resolving conflict with another person or persons. But there is a deeper, even more basic truth: We need to reconcile conflicting, partial truths within our very selves. An either-or mentality may help us feel more secure and eliminate uncomfortable feelings of self-doubt. But this attitude denies the nuances and paradoxes of real life. For example, the Gospel story of Martha and Mary is often used to present the contemplative life as ideal, and the active life as inferior. But news commentator and Emmy Award winner Anthony Van Jones has wisely said: “It’s in that convergence of spiritual people becoming active, and active people becoming spiritual, that the hope of humanity now rests.” Peace and reconciliation have to begin within each of us.
By Delores Dufner, OSB