“Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me. Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be. With God as our Father, brothers all are we. Let me walk with my brother in perfect harmony…”
There are tons of songs out there reminding us to share God’s peace with our brothers and sisters, but “Let There Be Peace” is a popular song that comes to my mind in the wake of the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Coincidentally or providentially, this song “hit the charts” in 1955, the same year that Rosa Parks took a stand and refused to give up her seat on a bus. Parks defiant action became the “spark that got the fire going” in the 50s for the Civil Rights Movement, which produced great leaders like Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., leaders who were willing to not only “talk the talk but walk the walk” in order to promote “liberty and justice for all.”
Although protests like the ones we saw in Charlottesville and around the nation during the last couple of weeks can give us the impression that the “fire” of Mother Parks has been extinguished and the “dream” of Dr. King has gone unfulfilled, we have to be reminded all is not lost. There is still hope we can turn our swords into plowshares and we can live together in peace, if and only if, each and every one of is willing to recognize this peace has to begin with me, not my neighbor nor my enemy, but with me.
In his book “Peace of Soul,” Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, “Unless souls are saved, nothing is saved; there can be no world peace unless there is soul peace. World wars are only projections of the conflicts waged inside the souls of modern men, for nothing happens in the external world that has not first happened within a soul. The modern soul which cannot live with itself cannot live with its fellow men. A man who is not at peace with himself will not be at peace with his brother. World wars are nothing but macrocosmic signs of the psychic wars waging inside microcosmic muddled souls. If there had not already been battles in millions of hearts, there would be none on the battlefields.”
Sheen’s statement definitely gives credence to the song, “Let there be peace, and let it begin with me.”
Believe it or not, each of us has the potential to either create a ripple effect of love or of hate, a ripple effect of good or of evil, a ripple effect of light or of darkness, or a ripple effect of peace or of war. We have the potential to cause a chain reaction for good or ill, and it all depends on the one we pay homage or show allegiance to: the Light of the World or the prince of darkness.
There is a battle going on in the world right now between the races, but if the truth be known, it’s not about flesh and blood, or the color of one’s skin. It’s about demonic forces in the world that are looking for any and every opportunity to “tie the tails of two cats together.”
In his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul states, “For our struggle is not with the flesh and blood, but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor God (Ephesians 6:12).”
To establish peace and order in the world, we definitely need to denounce the KKK and all forms of racism, but I firmly believe even before we do that, we need to renounce Satan, the prince of darkness and profess our faith in God, the Light of the World. We can choose to parade through the streets with polo-shirts, while carrying tiki torches like the frat boys in Charlottesville who wanted their voices to be heard, or we can put on the full armor of God, while carrying His light and message into the world, the message He proclaimed to His disciples in that Upper Room: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid (John 14:27).”
Yes, peace can begin with you and me, but we will not be able to spread that peace unless we can, first of all, call and rely on that Prince of Peace. Our God is the giver of this peace, and as the recipients of His peace, we must run with the same gusto and enthusiasm that Heather Heyer had as she stood in that crowd in Charlottesville to protest hatred and racism right before she was killed by James Alex Fields who drove his car into the crowd.
Reporters say that “Heather and her friends were holding hands and walking together on the day she was killed.” You and I know that Heather was watching out for traffic; it’s just too bad that “traffic” wasn’t watching out for Heather.
“Let peace begin with me. Let this be the moment now. With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow!”
Rev. Vialpando is the priest at St. Marguerite Catholic Church in Tooele.