World Day of Peace

January 1 is designated at the World Day of Peace. It is a feast day of the Roman Catholic Church and was established in 1967 by Pope Paul IV. Generally, the pope uses it to give a message about social issues of the day. In years past, some of the messages have been entitled, “Fighting Poverty to Build Peace,” “To Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation,” “Non-violence, a Style of Politics for Peace,” and the 2018 message, “Migrants and Refugees, Men and Women in Search of Peace.”

Although specifically a Catholic holy day, the first day of the year is an appropriate one to think about peace. Our world can be a very troubled place, and to set aside at least one day to think about peace is a good thing.

If this seems like a hopeless thing, r a dream, there are ways to start small to promote peace. Here are a few ideas.

  1. Work on your own inner peace. Peace starts within. Become aware of your mood, and direct it towards peacefulness. Meditate, or stop to breathe deeply or focus your thoughts.
  2. Look for ways to spread kindness to friends, family, coworkers, or even strangers. Pay attention to what would be helpful to those closest to you.
  3. Try to balance work and life. Don’t spend so much time making money that you forget to live.
  4. Watch out for prejudice. We all have them, but the more we can eliminate prejudice and see people as simply people, the more we will treat folks as human beings.
  5. Choose your attitude. We may have no control over circumstances, but we do over how we react to them. If we react with calmness, it will add to the peace in the area.

May today and all of this year bring you peace.

Quotes about peace

The arms race can kill, though the weapons themselves may never be used … by their cost alone, armaments kill the poor by causing them to starve.–Vatican statement to the U.N., 1976

The basis of world peace is the teaching which runs through almost all the great religions of the world. “Love they neighbor as thyself.”–Eleanor Roosevelt

Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts.–Martin Luther King, Jr.

The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.–David Friedman

Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.–Mahatma Gandhi

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children… This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.–Dwight David Eisenhower

Five enemies of peace inhabit with us–avarice, ambition, envy, anger, and pride; if these were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace.–Petrarch

I would like to see every single soldier on every single side, just take off your helmet, unbuckle you kit, lay down your rifle, and set down at the side of some shady lane, and say, nope, I ain’t a gonna kill nobody. Plenty of rich folks wants to fight. Give them the guns.–Woody Guthrie

If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.–Thich Nhat Hanh

There is no way to peace, peace is the way.–A. J. Muste

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Nobel Peace Prize

At this time of year, the Nobel prizes are announced. One of the most interesting, and the most controversial, is the Peace Prize. It has been awarded mostly annually to those who have “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”

What makes this interesting to me is that the Norwegian inventor, Alfred Nobel developed dynamite, and owned an arms factory. Granted, the original purpose of dynamite was to produce a safer explosive for industrial use but to have someone who manufactured arms create a peace prize is odd, to say the least. Many believe it was his friendship with the prominent Austrian pacifist Bertha von Suttner inspired him to establish the prize for peace, but no one knows for sure.

As a Quaker, I am proud that the American Friends Service Committee received the award for their work in rebuilding Europe after World War II. Other well deserved winners have been those like the Red Cross, Amnesty International, Nelson Mandela Jimmy Carter, Malala Yousafzai, and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, who received the award in 2017.

However, the Peace Prize has also been controversial, both for the people who have received it, and those who have not. For instance, Gandhi never received the prize, though Martin Luther King Jr. did, as one who followed his ways. Many feel Eleanor Roosevelt should have received the prize, but she did not.

Some who seem odd choices to me are Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Kissinger, and Mikhail Gorbachev. It has not been disclosed how the committee decides on who gets the prize.

Controversial or not, it is good to celebrate peace. May we always work towards that in our world.

Quotes by Nobel and others about peace

My dynamite will sooner lead to peace than a thousand world conventions. As soon as men will find that in one instant, whole armies can be utterly destroyed, they surely will abide by golden peace.–Alfred Nobel

I intend to leave after my death a large fund for the promotion of the peace idea, but I am skeptical as to its results.–Alfred Nobel

Good wishes alone will not ensure peace.–Alfred Nobel

For my part, I wish all guns with their belongings and everything could be sent to hell, which is the proper place for their exhibition and use.–Alfred Nobel

The arms race can kill, though the weapons themselves may never be used…by their cost alone, armaments kill the poor by causing them to starve.–Vatican statement to the U.N., 1976

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children… This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.–Dwight David Eisenhower

For it isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.–Eleanor Roosevelt

If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.–Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind… War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.–John F. Kennedy

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