On New Year’s Day, Fr. Tom Orians, SA, traveled to the Great Buddha Hall of the Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, NY to participate in an Interfaith World of Prayer for Peace sponsored by the Buddhist Association of the United States. His remarks below reflect the charism of unity that is so central to the ministry of the Friars:

As we gather today, I bring you the greeting of hope, peace, and joy from my brothers and sisters from what is often called the holy mountain – Graymoor. It too is much like this special monastery. As friars and sisters, we’re deeply committed to seeking peace and forgiveness at all levels of life. We do so because we walk in the footsteps of a 13th-century simple man by the name of Francis of Assisi.

We gather today in a unified quest for peace in a world which is divided so that all people may truly experience that freedom that peace brings. At the beginning of the New Year, we seek prosperity, peace and the fulfillment of the hopes of every man and every woman, every family, people and nation throughout the world. We are all firmly and confidently engaged, on different levels, in the pursuit of justice and peace. Peace is both God’s gift and a human achievement. As a gift peace is entrusted to all us, men and women, young and old and we are called to attain it.

There are many good reasons to believe in our capacity to act together in solidarity this day and every day. This attitude of mutual responsibility is rooted in our fundamental vocation to a life in common. Personal dignity and interpersonal relationships are what constitutes us as human beings whom God willed to create in his own image and likeness. As creatures endowed with inalienable dignity, we are related to all our brothers and sisters, for whom we are responsible and with whom we act in solidarity. Lacking this relationship, we would be less human.

Mercy and Peace are the heart of God. It must also be the heart of every member of the one great family: a heart which beats all the more strongly wherever peace prevails.

All of us are called to realize how indifference can manifest itself in our lives and to work concretely to improve the world around us, beginning with our families, neighbors, and places of employment to bring about peace in our world today. WE need also to look beyond our own borders, to seek peaceful relationships with other peoples. With this in mind, being the Franciscan I am, I would like to conclude with a brief prayer for peace better known as St Francis peace prayer.

Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy

O divine master grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled as to console
to be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to eternal life

Thank you and May God Bless you one and all.