An Excerpt from Living Peace: A Spirituality of Contemplation and Action by John Dear

In his moving salute to peacemaking, John Dear writes about the inner work involved in it.

"Our work for peace cannot bear fruit if it is rooted in violence.

" 'One of the reasons why so many people have developed strong reservations about the peace movement is precisely that they do not see the peace they seek in the peacemakers themselves,' the spiritual writer Henri Nouwen once observed. 'Often what they see are fearful and angry people trying to convince others of the urgency of their protest. The tragedy is that peacemakers often reveal more of the demons they are fighting than of the peace they want to bring about.'

"The roots of war, violence, injustice, and the threat of global annihilation lie within each one of us. Unless we recognize our complicity in global violence, we can never accept God's gift of peace. If, however, we recognize, acknowledge, and confess the violence within us, we allow God to begin the process of our disarmament, first in our own war-torn hearts, and then in the world itself.

"As we pursue this inner journey and disarm our hearts, heal our internal divisions, seek inner reconciliation, and make peace with the God within, we can speak about disarmament, reconciliation, and peace with greater authenticity and integrity. Like Dom Helder Camara, Mahatma Gandhi, St. Francis, and Mother Teresa, we begin to embody our message."