Dona Nobis Pacem, Grant Us Peace
The Peace of Christ
“Peace I grant you, my peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you.” John 14:27
Peace is a most desirable gift. Jesus offers us the gift of peace. Our common world understanding of peace is an absence of disturbance or strife and a feeling of comfortableness accompanied by favorable circumstances. The peace that Jesus grants is not limited to good situations or even feelings of calmness. Jesus bestows peace that is God’s abundant action in our lives. Awareness of God’s presence even in the midst of conflict, discord and inner turmoil secures us with a blessed assurance that God is with us yesterday, today and forever. God’s peace supports us by changing the way that we see and experience ourselves, others and our world. God’s peace is the Spirit that moves us to wholeness, heals us for right relationships and renews us to be instruments of peace for one another. God’s power at work in our lives is our peace.
Paths to Peace- Pacem
Our Lenten prayer Dona Nobis Pacem, Grant Us Peace awakens us to God’s peaceful presence dwelling deep within us. We pray Grant Us Peace and not Grant me Peace because our prayer, like the symbolic gestures in the sign of the cross, always reaches both to God and toward our brothers and sisters. Peace is experienced in relationships that reach out and are other directed.
Prayer awakens us to God’s abundance and action in our lives. God is an ever-present and eternal source of what is needed for healing and peace.
God’s abundance helps us to discover areas in our lives where we are lacking, sinful or broken. Contrition is the honest acknowledgment of our need for change. Contrition is the first step in the process of receiving God’s help, forgiveness and the grace of complete, life- giving reconciliation.
Encountering God with a contrite heart lifts us into God’s encouraging embrace, granting us the fortitude to live loving lives of service.
Our mission is to promote the flourishing of all peoples through spirituality, service and social ministry. God’s peace gives us the courage to stand for truth, walk toward beauty and work for goodness in word and deed. We become not only peace-lovers but peace- makers of Christ’s peace on earth.
The Gospel of John 20 recounts the appearances of Jesus after the Resurrection. Jesus first appears to Mary of Magdala. Mary is entrusted with the mission to be the first witness to the experience of the Risen Christ alive! Peter and John run to the tomb and come to believe. Soon after, Jesus appears to the disciples in the upper room. Jesus speaks the words, “Peace be with you.” Peace is the first gift that the Risen Christ offers to his followers. Peace is the essential and eternal gift that Christ offers to us.
Once upon a time, the wind and the sun were talking. The wind, as usual, was being a blowhard. The wind blustered, “I am the most powerful force surely greater than you. Let’s have a contest!” The sun listened patiently. Puffing up the wind huffed, “See those people below, the ones walking with cloaks? I can blow those cloaks right off their backs.”
So, the wind blew and blew and blew mightily. But the people only clutched their cloaks more tightly to themselves. Soon the wind blew out. Busy catching his breath the wind died down and was at last still.
The sun, smiling and of good cheer, silently rose. Looking with kindness at the people the sun smiled, displaying a welcoming light. Opening wide in a tender embrace, the sun peacefully warmed the folks gently as in a caress. Embraced by warmth and light, the people unwrapped themselves peacefully from their cloaks. Turning their faces in gratitude to the sun they gave thanks to God for the lovely day. The wind was blown away. The sun just beamed.
In the time of Jesus the powers of government and the religious leaders blustered like the wind to control people and situations for their own purposes. They were opposed to the life of Christ that demonstrated the Mission of God for justice, peace, freedom and flourishing for all. Through condemning and killing Christ they tried mightily to blow away Christ’s message. Yet, through the glory of the Resurrection Christ rose and with the light and warmth of God to set God’s people free in this life and with the promise an eternal life of peace.
The Risen Christ lives and is beside us now offering peace. The warmth and light of Christ continues to embrace us. The Peace of Christ speaks in our hearts
setting us free through: the gentleness and healing effect of prayer, awareness of God’s abundance in everything as a gift, examination of our hearts to ensure right living, experience of God’s encouragement in Scripture and Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and the strengthening of the Holy Spirit to live God’s mission of charity and love and service.
- The risen Christ offers peace to you. In what part of your life are you most in need of Christ’s peace?
- Tell God in prayer about these areas of unrest where the wind seems to blow uncomfortably in your life. Who is in need of your prayer?
- How is God abundantly present to you even in the areas of conflict? What gifts is God blessing you with now? How are you being called to share those gifts with others?
- In all honesty what do you need to change in order to experience the full measure of Christ’s peace or to be an instrument of peace for others in your life? In your thinking, attitude, or behavior?
- Who are the people that God uses to encourage you? Who is God inviting you to encourage? What action can you take to live with courage?
- The risen Christ is beside you. Take a moment in stillness and feel all warmth and light of Christ that surrounds you. How is God inviting you to fulfill your daily part in God’s mission spiritually, through service, and in social activity?
Bookmark Prayer Activity for Easter and Beyond
You are invited to use your Dona Nobis Pacem, Grant Us Peace bookmark as your Grace at your Easter Table.
GRACE: After making the Sign of the Cross say,
May the Risen Christ present among us (All together now)
Dona Nobis Pacem, Grant Us Peace. AMEN.
After Easter place your bookmark where it can be easily seen as a reminder of the Risen Christ’s presence and of our need for prayer. Pray the prayer. Remember that being an instrument of Christ’s peace for others is often the path to peace for ourselves. Our prayer asks us to pray for others who may be in need of God’s peace. Offer the gift of peace as a peacemaker or a peace prayer so that others may experience the light and warmth of Christ’s peace and give God thanks.
Dona Nobis Pacem is the Latin translation of our English words Grant Us Peace. Peace is used in the New Testament eighty-five times. Peace is one of the last words that Jesus speaks to his disciples before his crucifixion and among his first words after the Resurrection. Dona Nobis Pacem, Grant Us Peace, is taken from the last portion of the “Agnus Dei” of the Ordinary of the Mass. The musical setting of that text is an example of a round or canon. The musical setting of that text is an example of a round or canon. Dona Nobis Pacem is being sung at every celebration through Easter.