Belonging to Love: Contemplative Prayer for Peace

A guest blog post by Sister Larraine Lauter, an Ursuline Sister of Louisville, Ky.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”
Jesus, Matthew 5:9

Saint Augustine said, “If you want to make peace, begin by putting peace inside yourself. Then you will be able to be a peacemaker”.

I’ve been intrigued by this image of Angela Merici for many years, but just recently with a friend’s help was able to identify the artist: Auguste Moede Jansen. I could say so much about this masterful portrait, but what I most want to bring attention to is the peace in Angela’s eyes, indeed in her entire face.

For that reason, I chose this portrait to aid us in our meditation.

Angela teaches us how to be peacefully present to the world: immersed in the presence of God, present to the Presence, for the sake of the world.

Our times are fraught, as were Angela’s, with what we might simply call “anti-peace” – all the energies that mitigate against peace, on every level of our lives: personal, social, political, global.

Sitting in the peace of our silent prayer, we may become aware of the cries of pain and anti-peace that echo from every corner of the world, both near and far.

We long to live at peace, not only for our own selves but for the sake of a suffering world. We want our prayer for peace to actually bring about peace… in a sense, for our prayer to be the first step of action for peace. And this may begin to happen when we, faithful to silent prayer, find that it opens within us a ground for compassion, patience, self-control.

Then, throughout our day, perhaps we notice something in our own interactions, even when seemingly insignificant, and particularly in response to friction or conflict. We may notice that we are able, through Grace, to contribute to the energy of peace rather than the energy of anti-peace.

Perhaps our responses ripple out from us to the next person, who unconsciously or consciously repeats them in their own interactions…and so there is an energetic flow of peace. And perhaps our small, hidden movements help to lift a wave of peace that flows far beyond us into the situations for which we pray: the terrible energies that poise humans for war, hatred, and destruction.

Through her examples of peace-making, through her teachings in favor of peace among the sisters and others, through peace of conscience, and through her radiant and joyful peace, Angel is truly a messenger of peace. In our times of dissensions, wars, and rivalry, she invites us to be as she was, real witnesses to the peace which Christ alone can give. As Saint Augustine said, “If you want to make peace, begin by putting peace inside yourself. Then you will be able to be a peacemaker”. We know that any lasting action in favor of peace is based on inner strength which the Savior alone can bestow, He who has vanquished the world. If His peace dwells within us, it will irradiate from one person to another and make us real messengers of peace.
Sister Marie Seynaeve, Ursuline of the Roman Union

[This quote comes from the end of Sister Marie’s very worthwhile reflection which can be found at this link: . Sister Marie has much more to share on Angela’s peacemaking presence, both in her times and as she continues to inspire her Ursuline family.] 

Sister Larraine, left, with our own Sister Norma Raupple.

Sister Larraine is the founder and Executive Director of 
“Water With Blessings,” a nonprofit that brings clean water to God’s thirsty children.

Sister Larraine is also the leader of the  planning committee for the Virtual North American Ursuline Convocation in September 2022.