His Peace

I can’t remember the last time I watched a television newscast. I rarely play the radio in my car in favor of praying the rosary on my way to work and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy on my way home. I seem to get enough of what is happening in the world by surfing the internet on a couple of local media outlets, where I pick up the news of the day. I find that too much media makes me anxious, bitter and cynical.

In these days of uncertainty in our world, many of us are searching for peace. I notice it at work, where people seem anxious about deadlines, projects and promotions. I see it on the roadways; people speed ahead to get one car length ahead of the crowd, then get angry when they can’t move ahead faster. The news of the day comes to us through every electronic gadget we own. Sometimes I long for peace…

This weekend’s reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians offers us the gift of God’s peace and a sure way to find it:

“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

I must admit, this is a favorite scripture passage of mine. I have spent a lot of time meditating on the peace that St. Paul talks about in this passage. He reminds us that we must make our request known to God and underscores the importance of doing this with thanks. The peace that St. Paul speaks of in this letter is exactly what God wants for us. Worry, fear and anxiety are not of God. When we find ourselves overly preoccupied with worry over a future event, it is time for us to get down on our knees and pray to the Lord for the peace that only comes from God.

After giving us the means to find God’s peace, St. Paul describes it as surpassing all understanding. When we find this peace, it will guard our hearts and minds, thus allowing us to live in this peace, despite all that is going on around us. This peace is a gift from God. He wants each of us to find it and carry it in our hearts.

I have a dear Catholic friend who has struggled with various illnesses, the death of a spouse and 2 children and numerous other difficulties. I am always amazed at how she seems to walk through very difficult circumstances, with a calm assurance of God’s presence in the midst of it. She told me that she is very fond of our Blessed Mother and regularly asks Mother Mary to intercede for her. She prays the rosary several times a day and meditates on the mysteries. She told me that the rosary is her favorite prayer. She said, “I feel so much peace when I am walking with Mother Mary through the joys and sorrows, as she did with Jesus.”

Peace. It is difficult to describe, yet when we find it, we recognize it immediately. I recall a situation in my own life, just a few months ago, where I was worried and anxious about some medical tests. I was under the watch of a wonderful doctor, who was looking for a cause for my blood clots. In his quest, he harvested 18 tubes of blood from me! I was immediately anxious, as we discussed frankly all of the possible, but rather unlikely, causes for the clots. I remember going online to view my test results. The results appeared in my chart, over the course of several days. As I clicked on each test, I attempted to interpret the results and found myself worrying about some of them. All at once, it was as if I heard the voice of God telling me to stop! I logged off the site, placed my trust in God and soon found out that every test was returned with a normal result.

God is in control; we are not. If you and I can accept this obvious truth, we can breathe a sigh of relief and know that the world is not in our hands, but in His. If we choose, we can live this life in peace, knowing that we can bring everything confidently to our loving God, who never fails us and always walks with us, even through the tough stuff! May God’s perfect peace surround and enfold you.

In Jesus, who is our peace,

Deacon Tim

 

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