As our world continues to struggle with war and injustices, our Saviour’s Easter words, “Peace be with you” are a message for us each day. The peace that Christ offers us is more than the false security our world tries to convince us is peace. Francis of Assisi desired the peace of the Risen Christ and tried to embody it in his living. In his struggles and trials, he trusted that God was present. In this encounter of peace, he was able to become an instrument of peace. In his surrendering to God, he met peace and was able to let go of the false expectations. In continually surrendering, he found peace in his heart to live within a community of brothers, in creation, and in the world. In my journey, I also discover that in surrendering I come to know peace so that I can share peace with others. I cannot be an instrument of peace if I do not spend time in prayer and work at what needs healing in my life.
An anonymous writer from Perugia quoted St. Francis of Assisi as saying, “As you announce peace with your mouth, make sure that you have greater peace in your hearts… let everyone be drawn to peace and kindness through your peace and gentleness… this is our vocation: to heal wounds, to bind what is broken, to bring home those who are lost” (AP 38).
This is the work of peace, healing, and prayer in the ministry I serve at Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre near Cochrane, Alberta. It is in this ministry that I serve with humility being present to the broken, while meeting Christ in those who attend a retreat. This becomes an encounter of the peace Jesus offered in his Easter greeting.
For nearly 73 years the Franciscan Friars have offered a place of peace, healing, and prayer at “The Mount”. Some come who are recovering from addictions. Others come for a weekend or evening retreat and others make a private retreat. Some people walk the grounds, or others come to gaze at the mountains. They all come seeking peace. It is not the signs greeting you with “Shalom” and “Peace to Everyone” that demands this to happen. It is a disposition of the heart that lets peace transform the present moment and the moments yet to come. This is the invitation to announce peace which is carried in the heart with the radicalness of kindness, gentleness, and prayer in our daily living.
Each of us can be a conveyer of peace because Christ through his cross and resurrection offers us true peace. Easter reminds us that no matter the crisis or hurts we face, no matter the chaos of the world, no matter the pain that is inflicted in our life, the peace of Christ is always our source for being instruments of peace. Let us walk these Easter days with gentleness and kindness being vessels of healing, prayer, and peace.