Working for Peace
For the peace of Jerusalem pray: "May those who love you prosper!” (Psalm 122:6)
City of peace
One hears often that the name Jerusalem translated means “City of peace.” In fact the word for peace, “shalom” and “salem” seems to resonate in the name of the holy city. However, even if the translation is not completely correct, it expresses a profound longing of visitors to Jerusalem of all ages and religions: “And now our feet are standing within your gates, Jerusalem” (Psalm 122,2). Yet the actual experience and concrete history of this city contradict this enthusiasm and longing in the extreme.
Our monastery lies within walking distance of the holy places of the three Abrahamic religions: the Church of the Holy Sepulcher with the empty grave of Christ, the Western (wailing) Wall of the Jews, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Day after day pilgrims and worshippers stream to these shrines. Day after day the same shrines threaten to become the bone of contention among the pious and awaken emotions to a high degree. Blood has been repeatedly shed on their account. “For family and friends I say, 'May peace be yours'” (Psalm 122:8).
A millenial history
Even if Dormition, with its history of a little over a hundred years, is still young in comparison with the history of the city of Jerusalem of at least three thousand years, nevertheless it has already experienced many conflicts and wars. It is like the case of a small girl, who has seen the horrors of war, yet as a mature woman senses that her children should grow up differently, who has made up her mind to do what is possible so that it does not come to that again: “For the peace of Jerusalem pray: "May those who love you prosper!” (Psalm 122:6)
In our Benedictine tradition, peace has a particularly high value. That is true for us even more so in this land, for our life, our prayer and work, on Mount Zion and in Tabgha. - “For the peace of Jerusalem pray” (Psalm 122:6)