true self-love is not selfishness, egotism, or narcissism, but
wholeness, even holiness."
Living Peace, Part 3
Even though Mitch espoused justice and nonviolence eloquently on
behalf of the most disenfranchised people in the nation, he could not
maintain that same spirit of nonviolence toward himself, and the
violence inside him literally destroyed him. His death challenged many
of us who knew him to reexamine our own commitments and the violence
within us, and to cultivate peace within, even as we continue to work
actively for peace and justice.
"Love your neighbors as you love yourselves," Jesus tells
us. As we love and accept ourselves, we will find strength to love
others, and to love God, who loved us first. As we make peace with
ourselves, we can learn to make peace with others. Such true self-love
is not selfishness, egotism, or narcissism, but wholeness, even
holiness. First, we humbly accept our brokenness, our weakness, our
limitations, our frailty and vulnerability, and our dependence on God.
We accept our failures and forgive ourselves for our mistakes. Then, we
accept the living God who dwells within us, and allow God's peace to
make her home within us. Making peace with ourselves is like building an
inner house of peace and welcoming the God of peace to dwell there
"While you are proclaiming peace with your lips," St.
Francis of Assisi advised, "be careful to have it even more fully
in your heart." St. Francis put down his sword, took up the life of
peace, found his heart disarmed, and started serving the poor.
Everywhere he went, he proclaimed the good news of peace and people
would flock to hear him, just to be in his presence, because he radiated
back to the John Dear index