Daily Reflection – 5/9/2023
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe. I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”( John 14:27-31)
Can you imagine how the apostles felt when Jesus talked to them about leaving them?
Anxiety, fear, disappointment, trepidation? All of these and more. Their Master, their Lord was leaving them. It was beyond their comprehension or at least beyond what they wanted to believe. Knowing this, Jesus tries to assuage their emotions. He tells them of His gift of peace.
At that moment, it’s highly possible that they did not understand because they needed to learn about this peace, and they needed to adjust their lives to accommodate it. And so do we.
What kind of peace does he offer? The peace of Christ is more than the absence of trouble. It includes everything which makes for our highest good.
The world’s approach to peace is avoidance of trouble and a refusal to face unpleasant things. Jesus offers the peace which conquers our fears and anxieties. Nothing can take us from the peace and joy of Jesus Christ. No sorrow or grief, no danger, no suffering can make it less.
Is the peace of Christ real? Ask the hundreds of thousands who have embraced it, some embraced the death of martyrs and were filled with it. Others used it as an inner inspiration that motivated their lives to not only follow His way but to bring His way to others. The fact is that they all had to learn it.
So, what is this learning? Augustine of Hippo has a beautiful description of peace. He wrote that the first is “serenity of the mind,” that is, allowing Jesus to take control of our thoughts, our fears and our worries. The second is “simplicity of the heart” that is, being contented with what we have and what we have received as gifts from God, and finally, the third is “tranquility of the soul” that is, being fully reconciled with God and others.
Serenity of the mind, simplicity of the heart and tranquility of the soul. If that sounds as if it is life-long learning, for some it is. For others, it is an easy process. But it is a process.
Peace resides in the hearts of those who are not disturbed by any conflict outside. Peace is not just the result of precarious balance but also it is the outcome of justice. And the most important element of justice is to give God what is due to Him, that is, there can be no true peace unless we are reconciled with our Creator. People who pray for peace are not automatically peaceful people, but they are those who reconcile with God and with one another.
It begins with giving ourselves over to God. Allowing him to be our Master. It moves us to recognize that our heart is at its most joyful when it is filled with the simple joys of life – a warm breeze, the kiss of a child, the embrace from a loved one, the eyes of love from someone close to us. It includes, by definition, asking Him for forgiveness and forgiving those who have caused us harm.
How can we attain the peace which the Lord Jesus offers his followers? Through the gift and work of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, the Lord Jesus shows us how to yield our passions of anger, fear, and pride to him so we can receive his gift of peace. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness and strengthens us with his gifts and supernatural virtues which enable us to live as wise and holy disciples of Christ.
Is that real? Yes. In ministry, I have often sat with those that are passing over. In every case, I saw and felt their peace in these last moments. They remembered those parts of life that brought them smiles, they understood that the portal which they were entering gave no credence to things of this world and they glimpsed that His love meant His forgiveness and that necessitated their forgiveness.
THAT is His peace.
Pray God that we grasp that in this moment.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, may your peace be always with me. May no circumstance, trouble, or vexation rob me of the peace which passes all understanding. You, alone, O Lord, are my Peace. May I always reside in that peace by believing your word and by doing your will.”
Jesus is the way. When we focus on Him, He draws us to Himself. He draws us away from the distractions, away from the noise. The One who loved us to death, now loves us to life. He loves us so much that He draws us to His Life if only we let Him into our lives.