The Interfaith Peace Project continues its ongoing observance of the International Day of Peace, September 21, by sending out a reflection on the twenty-first of every month. We invite you share in this effort by sending any articles or information that you would like to share to:
THE CENTERED HEART Continuing to Observe The International Day of Peace by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
In difficult and uncertain times, we can lose heart, become fearful, and feel overwhelmed. Unfortunately, our culture does not sustain these kinds of feelings well. We deny, run away, sedate, or ignore the causes producing these feelings and heartaches. There is, after all, only so much a person can take. Just about everywhere we look in today’s World, we are overcome with a sense of concern, if not alarm.
Perhaps the most important thing we can do in such situations is to be inspired by the heroic people who always rise up with great courage in times of trouble. They testify to the nobility of the human spirit, inviting us to make the World bigger than that which breaks our hearts.
Several Faith Traditions teach us to “hold the center” as we cope with the trials and tribulations of life. These Traditions invite us to center in our hearts. This is not a means of escape from the perplexing issues of life but an invitation to be a source of peace and understanding. Several factors come to mind as we consider what it means to “hold the center.”
First, we must strive to think before we speak. Active and compassionate listening to another person can sensitize us to be open to the viewpoint and experience of another. We might even identify with many elements they share.
Second, our ability to commiserate with another person respects the humanity of others. We realize a person is not what they think but who they are.
Third, we seek to respond in humane, compassionate, and calm ways. We do not deny our feelings or emotions but seek to express them in ways that inspire rather than inflame.
Fourth, when outraged by any issues, we seek to know as much as possible so we might respond appropriately and courageously. Not all of us have the same abilities and strengths. We remember we are not alone in tackling the issues of the day. We seek out supportive and understanding friends and companions to cope with the day’s problems.
Finally, we remember behind every issue, there are actual human persons. Therefore, we must humanize every situation. We would do well to practice a spirituality of humanizing every person we encounter. We must confront problems, not demean people.
The centered heart is born of courage.
Blessings to you, Holy Community, for your courage of heart. Gratitude to you for recognizing the human dignity of others, even those who upset and disturb you.
As things begin to return to a new normal, we at The Interfaith Peace Project are here for you in any way that you need us. The Antioch Center is now open to fully vaccinated people on Wednesdays, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. We are vigilant and will adjust to any and all recommendations from the state and county. We will continue our work through Zoom as we add in person programs. If you would like to schedule an in person or Zoom program or would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call. You may call or email Tom at: