Jan. 3, 2014: Three simple steps to a new beginning for peace in 2014, by Sister Jeanette Wasinger

January 3, 2014 by

web-010314-JeanetteWasinger-YOPI have always anticipated New Year’s Day and made resolutions to bring about changes in my life.

But it did not take long for the calendar to progress and I found myself back in the same groove. I was quickly disappointed with myself. What I did not realize was how I deprived myself of significant changes that could bring deeper peace and enriched relationships because my resolutions were focused on myself.

So this year I’m trying something different: My “2014 New Beginning” is a three-point plan focused on right relationships as a pathway to peace.

My desire for personal peace includes a desire for peace for all people I encounter. It also includes people around the world with whom I am ONE. I feel enthusiastic about this plan because it includes practices that will change me and others. As I deepen inner peace, I can contribute to a more loving world.

Experiencing personal peace is a priceless gift. Extending peace to others transforms our own community, as we’ve seen through the Concordia Year of Peace — now beginning its fifth year — and the world community.

Here are three simple steps that I hope to practice faithfully:

In December, the Salina Journal carried an article on the front page with this headline, “In God we trust, maybe, but not in each other.”

The writer said that “many people believe the world is a good place and it’s going to get better. You can help make it better by trusting other people. If you believe the world is dark and driven by outside forces you can’t control, you will be a mis-truster!”

So I will practice trust by letting other people live their lives and be responsible without projecting my own “good advice.” When asked, I will be honest in giving my opinion on situations. And, I hope not to be critical of the choices made in good faith by others. When in doubt of the “good faith” of others, I will check it out by a conversation, a letter or perhaps I will just be silent and presume their good will.

When I was a very young sister, 12 of us were fortunate to have a wise director who noticed that we were competitive and perhaps even a bit jealous of the successes of one another. Sister Evangelista gave us a beautiful conference on “Praise and Affirmation,” and how it can benefit each of us personally.

Here it is in one short sentence, “Rejoice in the good done by others and make the good your own!”

This practice has taken root in me after many years. I focus on the good done by others and easily affirm what I see and know. I have found myself changed with deeper peace and joy by remembering this short phrase.

Making an effort to be present to people, to listen well, and not to let myself be distracted by other things when visiting with a person, is a practice that will free me to be at peace. It is a way I can honor someone I care about. It is interesting now many people are settling for relationships with technology — computers, TV, phones, Facebook, Twitter — and not the realm of a real person with a beating heart.

Although I use and appreciate technology, personal presence is a first priority. Nonviolent communication follows. Careful and kind personal communication is a form of peacemaking.
There’s a lovely song, “My Heart is Moved” by Carolyn McDade, that captures this simple approach to peace:

“Peace is the wholeness created by right relationship with oneself, with others, with Earth and the larger Whole. To seek a new beginning requires a change of mind and heart. We must deepen. We have much to learn.”

Perhaps with this three-step plan, we can achieve surprises, changes and even miracles.


— Sister Jeanette Wasinger lives at the Nazareth Motherhouse.


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