Chris Burkette, a young person who is currently on our Step into the Gap Programme, reflects on the personal and public fruits of peace. Step into the Gap, CAFOD’s gap year programme, is an opportunity to volunteer in the UK, gain experience, develop leadership skills and visit an international CAFOD partner.
With widespread talk in the world today of war and conflict it can feel that World leaders hold ‘Peace’ furthest from their thoughts, but as Christians we too must instigate ‘Peace’ not just in public but everyday with each other.
CAFOD base their work within a mission of Peace to lend a helping hand to our worldly neighbours through working very closely with their partners abroad. These partners act as Disciples of Christ, preaching hope and love to all.
CAFOD holds strong values aimed to maintain Peace, for instance through Compassion and Hope. Altogether there is a combination of 7 Values: Compassion, Solidarity, Hope, Partnership, Dignity, Justice and Stewardship.
I believe that Peace is an important part of having faith. It is something I have struggled with for some time in my own Faith journey. The struggle being the issue of finding that deep inner Peace within being myself and so being able to generate a radiant Peace to all others. I used to think that inner ‘Peace’ was having everything in my personal life sorted but I have recently come to realise that it is quite the opposite. We must first be able to love ourselves as the unique creations we are from God before appreciating those around us.
We learn from Jesus that all of the Commandments simply hinge upon love firstly of God then of love of neighbour. I believe a fruit of this love is Peace which we can build within us over time. Along with this fruit, the Holy Spirit gives us the Gift of Joy to accompany love!
On my placement within Brentwood I am so often awe-stricken from the encounters I experience with Young people; so many of which carry out acts of Kindness, often simple acts even as opening a door or listening to others around them. In these times I feel the need to help, encourage and nurture other people’s Faith along with my own. I am only able to do so by God working through these people on retreat. It’s at these times I feel my faith strengthened.
I’d end on the note that not only the Church needs Peace but also young people altogether, who need models of inspiration to demonstrate acts of Peace to one another. Now St John Paul ll refers to the young people of today as the Hope of the Church tomorrow – “In you young people there is hope, for you belong to the future, as the future belongs to you”. These words fill me with both a sense of Joy but feeling of responsibility for my future and the future of others I encounter.