Living Peace: A Spirituality of Contemplation and Action

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9780385498272: Living Peace: A Spirituality of Contemplation and Action

"To take care of each other should be our primary concern in this 21st century and Father Dear is steady on this course."
--Thich Nhat Hanh

For John Dear, a Jesuit priest and respected leader of the ecumenical peace movement, the spiritual life is a combination of contemplation and action, of maintaining inner peace and projecting that peace into the greater world. It is the spirituality exemplified by the lives of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, and others throughout history who remained true to the highest ideals while addressing the most difficult problems and conflicts of the real world.

As a tireless advocate for social justice and human rights, Dear has followed that path in his own life, and in Living Peace he describes his journey. Breaking down the life of peace into three parts an inner journey, a public journey, and the journey of all humanity he shares the spiritual practices that have sustained him and teaches readers how to integrate these practices into their own lives.

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Review:

John Dear, a Jesuit priest, directs the Fellowship of Reconciliation, "the largest, oldest interfaith peace organization in the United States." Since 1915, the organization has advocated nonviolence as the only sure path to peace; its members have included Martin Luther King Jr., Thomas Merton, and Helen Prejean. Living Peace: A Spirituality of Contemplation and Action is a spiritual handbook for readers who seek to make peace in their lives and in the world. The journey to peace, as Dear describes it, is composed of an Inner Journey (involving solitude, silence, prayer, and mindfulness), and a Public Journey (involving direct political action), which, undertaken together, make possible reconciliation and transformation on a global level. "If we try, and keep trying, and stay faithful to the journey unto our last breath, we will find great joy and a peace not of this world, knowing that we serve not only the human family but the God of peace." Dear's book includes historical anecdotes and concise descriptions of particular challenges facing American readers today ("If we want to live in peace, we must learn to love the people of Iraq."), but his descriptions of spiritual exercises, particularly his own morning devotions, may be the most compelling parts of Living Peace. --Michael Joseph Gross

About the Author:

John Dear is a Jesuit priest and is Executive Director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. He has worked with the homeless in Washington, D.C., New York City, Richmond, Virginia, and El Salvador, and at a human rights center in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He taught theology at Fordham University and has edited books by or about Henri Nouwen, Daniel Berrigan, and Nobel Laureate Mairead Corrigan . He lives in New York City.

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John Dear
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