In Search of Peace

4 Feb

 

005

 All-powerful and ever-loving God, direct your love that is within us, that our efforts in the name of your Son may bring mankind to unity and peace.[i]

I cringed when I read these lines in the breviary during Morning Prayer. Perhaps you are not plagued, as I am, with a tendency to fly off the handle when I feel threatened. For example, I feel both dread and fear when I see national “leaders” vying for supremacy, and fostering angst, insecurity and division. I am now old, but I fear for our family—children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  

This fear is unreasonable in the light of faith.

When the light begins to shine on the man who sat in darkness and the shadow of death, in the darkness of evil and the shadow of sin, he is shocked, he calls himself to account, repents of his misdeeds in shame, and says: The Lord is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear? … Even though the dark shadows of evil suggestions crowd about, the Lord is my light.[ii]

If I am afraid and filled with anger and fear, how can I foster peace and unity?

How I wish I had the courage and faith of those who can see “this mess” and still remain totally at peace.

Maybe, instead of wishing, I need to pray more. But I do pray. Why this restlessness within me—a restlessness that is part zeal for the mission of Christ, part impatience and a feeling of helplessness?

Yes, zeal. For the Gospel of the Lord and the entire history of salvation excite me in the depths of my soul.

And yes, I feel impatience, because the needs of the Church and society in general are so urgent. And in spite of the urgency, so many people seem to be oblivious of their ability to change things with God’s guidance and help.

And I often feel helpless because of the enormity of the challenge and my sense of finiteness and weakness as I face the challenge before us.

And here we go!

Is it not pride that fuels my impatience and feelings of helplessness?

Is my impatience not rooted in a sense that it’s up to me to be the knight on the white charger going into battle to save the day? And does this pride suffocate the truth that each and every one of us is graced by God as we suffer together the pressures of each day?

And do I have a pure zeal for the Gospel? Am I truly motivated by a pure desire for the conversion of the world to God, or is it in part the personal satisfaction I experience when others recognize me—or when I praise myself?

Maybe, just maybe, I am crossing the threshold of peace.

[i] Liturgy of the Hours Book III, from prayer on pg. 131, Catholic Book Publishers, New York, 1976.

[ii]Ibid, pg. 128,  John the Serene, Bishop

 

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