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2020-2021: Making Peace

The 2020-2021 Franciscan value is “Making Peace,” and there is a very intentional focus on this value in University communications and events. Members of the Stritch family will share reflections on the value throughout the academic year. 

Interim President Dr. Dan Scholz

August 2020 "Making Peace" Reflection from Stritch Interim President Dr. Dan Scholz

When we look to the three great Western religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, each of their sacred writings have a specific meaning and application of the term “peace.”

In the Jewish Torah, ancient Israelites used the Hebrew term shalom for peace or harmony. The Israelite prophets used the term Shalom to mean more of a universal flourishing and wholeness. For the prophetic imagination, shalom referred to ways things ought to be, the way God intended.

To quote the prophet Isaiah:
 “Nations shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. House of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!”

In the New Testament, the earliest Christians used the Greek term eirêne for peace and depending on the context could mean personal serenity or tranquility, or it could mean a right relationship between you and God and Christ or you and others. The resurrected Christ repeatedly greeted his frightened disciples with the words, “eirene soi” (“peace be with you”) likely offering them “peace of mind.” Saint Paul often wrote of “joy and peace” (charis kai eirene) in his letters. He most often meant the “joy and peace” that is born of reconciliation either with God or each other.

In the Quran, Islam uses the Arabic term salaam for peace. In Islam, Peace (As-Salaam) is one of the names of God himself. For Muslims, individual personal “peace” is attained by submitting one’s will to the Will of Allah. And the ideal society, according to the Quran, is “the house of peace” because peace opens doors to all kinds of opportunities which are present in any given situation.

To quote the Prophet Muhammad:
“Forgive him who wrongs you; join him who cuts you off; do good to him who does evil to you, and speak the truth.”

Three important lessons taught here about “peace” from Judaism, Christianity and Islam:

  1. Peace is what God desires for the world and all the nations.
  2. Peace is what is born out of reconciliation with God and with each other.
  3. Peace opens the door to boundless opportunities.