“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.” … [My dark side says,] I am no good… I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”

― Henri J.M. Nouwen




Our glance at one another can be more tender, sensitive, and caring. “We kind to one another, for we are all fighting a great battle”; most say this comes from Plato, but I’m not so sure, but nonetheless, it is true. Also, peacemaking should never be separated from doing justice. They go hand in hand.


A new dear friend sent me some wonderful writings from Mary Evelyn Jegen. I wanted to share these and some other thoughts on peacemaking. I know, not the most sexy or buzz-worthy topics eh? Maybe not, but it is most worthy of our mindfulness.


To be attentive to a suffering person is quite different than attention to a merry child. A benevolent glance toward a suffering person is an act of compassion. It is compassion that acts as a bridge from attentiveness to action, an action that can be healing and liberating.


Caring is essential to peacemaking. Peace is the goal of the universal longing for order in relationships, with the earth itself, with others, with God. To care is to be in peace while one is peacemaking. Pablo Casals once wrote: “I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance.”


The gospel accounts show us Jesus looking with keen attention. This appears to have been his habitual way of seeing. How else to account for his easy and spontaneous use of imagery to carry home a point! Jesus didn’t go through life with his eyes closed, uninterested in the homey events of daily experience. He saw each face. Think of the encounter with the rich young man. Mark says, “Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him.” – Mary Evelyn Jegen, SND


We would do well by leading each day with kindness, peacemaking, and treating others as we would hope to be treated. It’s interesting how far we can move from so much compassionate instruction that is included in Scripture, and yet we wonder why we can’t love well while we damage relationships, especially with those closest to us.


Slowing our pace may just give us the breath to speak or act as peacemakers, rather than a “get out of my way, I’m more important than you”, which is really what is happening. There is much learning and alignment that will come as we center ourselves in moments of contemplation – we see and FEEL the world differently.


Grace and Peace be with you.





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