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A joyous 2012 to you! I hope your new year is off to a good start, with warm remembrances from 2011 and a positive outlook for this new year. I don’t make resolutions, but prefer to set goals. The difference? Resolution seems the weak counterpart to goal... resolution implies ‘I’ll do my best’, while a goal sets the standard and provides a path to tread. At least, that’s how I see it.
One of my goals for 2012 is to protect peace. I’m speaking of inner peace, that blissful state free of misleading emotions that allows for clear thinking and decision making. That inner place that is filled with God’s sustaining grace and enables the soft, still voice of God to speak and be heard. Too often I have believed this peace to be born of circumstance or environment, but it is a blessing from God and one that should be sought (Psalm 34:14) and protected. As the Lord gave to Moses, (Number 6:22-26) this priestly blessing is one of my favorite verses from Holy Scripture:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
The following prayer made me think of something Fr. Stephen said during his homily on Sunday. Something I want to remember throughout the year: 'that person that most despises you, or you him, is not your enemy. He is a victim of your enemy, a casualty of your enemy.'
A Prayer for Peace
We thank Thee, Master and Lover of mankind, King of the ages and giver of all good things, for destroying the dividing wall of enmity and granting peace to those who seek thy mercy. We appeal to Thee to awaken the longing for a peaceful life in all those who are filled with hatred for their neighbors, thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war. Grant peace to thy servants. Implant in them the fear of Thee and confirm in them love one for another. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement. For Thou art our peace and to Thee we ascribe glory: to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
- from the Orthodox Book of Needs, St. Tikhon’s Seminary, Pennsylvania, USA