Sept. 25, 2009: What is the meaning of Peace? by Sister Carolyn Teter

Peace is more than the absence of war. Peace is a set of values, attitudes and behaviors: It means respect for others regardless of race, gender, age, nationality, class, sexuality, appearance, political or religious belief, physical or mental ability. This respect requires a great empathy for others– a willingness to understand their views from their standpoint.

Peace will ask of us:
• to believe that positive changes can be made by individuals and groups of people,
• to appreciate and respect diversity,
• to commit to non-violence, equity and social justice,
• to be concerned for the environment, and
• to commit to the equality of all people.

A culture of violence is all too evident in our society. Look at the hate-filled films and cartoons, talk shows that spew out hate for anyone or anything that suits the host of the show, fighting in sports and school yards, aggressive driving, racism, physical abuse in the home, indifference and selfishness. These are just some of the evidences of violence in our culture.

Building a culture of peace will entail developing on a daily basis the values, attitudes and behavior that are in keeping with respect, tolerance, equality, sharing and generosity.

— Sister Carolyn Teter has been a Sister of St. Joseph of Concordia for 55 years. She is on the staff at Manna House of Prayer and is involved in offering workshops and spiritual direction. She is a member of the Concordia Year of Peace Committee.

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