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Archive for the ‘peace’ Category

The virtue of meekness which Jesus so strongly recommends brings many blessings. “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the land”(Mt 5:5) The meek soul is a gentle soul that does not easily get upset. These souls are calm, generous, patient, kind and self-possessed. Meekness is able to deflect and destroy the angry outbursts of another and therefore ‘inherit the land”. Humility and patience also accompany this virtue. Like all virtues, this gentleness needs to be practiced until it has been acquired as a sustained habit. A soul can be having a peaceful day until some trial, injury or contradiction comes along. Then peace disappears. This disposition needs to be more than just exterior; it should be interior as well. A meek soul has control over impulses and interior feelings like resentment, indignation and anger. When habitual, meekness is accompanied by a great peace. And who wouldn’t want to inherit peace in their land? Our Lord Jesus is the perfect example of meekness. In examining his life as recorded in the scriptures, many passages can be found exemplifying his gentle character. The way he treated others, especially his enemies and those who opposed him, his forgiving those who injured him and even his entry into Jerusalem on a donkey all bear witness to his gentleness. By his meekness he conquered the world. This is power.

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Rosemarie of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, OCDS over at Spirit Singing has a wonderful post about false peace and the importance of self-knowledge that St. Teresa of Jesus so often emphasizes. Check out what she wrote here.

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Following Christmas the Church celebrates three other important people and events closely related to the Incarnation and Redemption: December 26th – the Feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr; December 27th – St. John, the beloved disciple; and December 28th – the infants of Bethlehem, the Holy Innocents. St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross writes in The Mystery of Christmas that these all have a place around the Child in the manger:

st. stephen

One the day after Christmas the Church removes her white garments and clothes herself in the colour of blood, and on the fourth day in the violet of mourning: Stephen, the first marytr, the first to follow his Lord to death, and the infants of Bethlehem and Judea who were brutally slaughtered by crude henchmen, all have a place around the Child in the manger. What is the meaning of this message? Where now are the jubilant sounds of the heavenly choir? Where the peaceful bliss of Holy Night? Where the peace on earth? Peace to those of good will; but not all are of good will. Therefore, the Son of the Eternal Father must leave the splendour of heaven because the mystery of evil has wrapped the earth in dark night.

Darkness covered the earth and he came as light to illumine the darkness, but the darkness did not comprehend him. To those who received him, he brought light and peace; peace with the Father in heaven, peace with everyone who like them are children of light and children of a heavenly Father, a deep interior peace of the heart; but no peace with the children of darkness. To them the Prince of Peace brings no peace but the sword. He remains for them a stumbling block of scandal against which they charge and are smashed. That is the one hard and serious fact which we may not allow to be obscured by the visible attraction of the Child in the manger. The mystery of the Incarnation and the mystery of evil belong together. The dark night of sin stands in stark and sinister contrast with the Light which came down from heaven. The Child in the manger extends its little hands and its smile seems to be saying what would come forth later from the lips of a man: ‘Come to me all you who are weary and heavy burdened’; and the poor shepherds out on the hills of Bethlehem, who heard the good news of the angel, follow his call and make their way with the simple answer, ‘Let us go to Bethlehem’. Also from the kings from the orient lands, who followed the wondrous star with like simplicity, there dropped from the infant hands the dew of grace and ‘they rejoiced with great joy’. These hands give and request at the same time: you wise men, lay down your wisdom and become like children; you kings, give up your crowns and your treasures and bow down meekly before the King of kings; do not hesitate to take up the burdens, sorrows and weariness which his service demands.You children, you cannot yet give of your own free will, of you these little hands will request your gentle life before it has even begun; it can serve no better purpose than sacrifice in praise of the Lord.

baby jesus

‘Follow me’ say the little hands, words which later will come from the lips of the Man. Thus they spoke to the disciple whom the Lord loved and who is now also a part of the group at the manger. St. John, the young man with the pure, youthful heart followed without asking, ‘where to? why?’ He left his father’s boat and went with the Lord along all his ways, even to Golgotha. ‘Follow me’ – young Stephen understood this also. He followed the Lord in the struggle against the powers of darkness, the blindness of obstinate unbelief; he bore witness to him with his word and his blood; he followed him in his Spirit, the Spirit of love, which resists sin but loves the sinner, and even in death intercedes with God on behalf of the murderer. These are the figures of light that kneel around the manger: the gentle, innocent children, the faithful shepherds, the humble kings, Stephen, the enthusiastic youth and beloved apostle, John – all of them follow the call of the Lord.

St. John

In contrast to them, there is the night of incomprehensible callousness and blindness: the scribes who have information as to the time and place where the Saviour of the world was to be born, but who say nothing about ‘Let us go to Bethlehem!’ and King Herod who wants to kill the Lord of life. In the presence of the Child in the manger, the spirits line up to take sides. He is the King of kings and Lord of life and death. He utters his ‘follow me’ and whoever is not for him is against him. He also speaks for us and invites us to choose between light and darkness.

(Taken from The Mystery of Christmas, the title of a lecture given by Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross on January 13, 1931 in Ludwigshafen)

Innocents4_1

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I live without living in myself,

and in such a way I hope,

I die because I do not die.

Since I die of love,

Living apart from love,

I live now in the Lord,

Who has desired me for Himself.

He inscribed on my heart

When I gave it to Him:

I die because I do not die.

Within this divine prison,

Of love in which I live,

My God my captive is.

My heart is free

To behold my prisoner-God,

Passion welling in my heart,

I die because I do not die.

Ah, how weary this life!

These exiles so hard!

This jail and these shackles

By which the soul is fettered!

Longing only to go forth

Brings such terrible sorrow,

I die because I do not die.

Ah, how bitter a life

When the Lord is not enjoyed!

While love is sweet,

Long awaiting is not.

O God, take away this burden

Heavier than steel,

I die because I do not die.

Only with that surety

I will die do I live,

Because in dying

My hope in living is assured.

Death, bringing life,

Do not tarry; I await you,

I die because I do not die.

See how love is strong.

Life, do not trouble me.

See how all that remains

Is in losing you to gain.

Come now, sweet death,

Come, dying, swiftly.

I die because I do not die.

That life from above,

That is true life,

Until this life dies,

Life is not enjoyed.

Death, be not aloof;

In dying first, may life be,

I die because I do not die.

Life, what can I give

To my God living in me,

If not to lose you,

thus to merit Him?

In dying I want to reach

Him alone whom I seek:

I die because I do not die.

Poetry of St. Teresa of Jesus “Aspirations toward Eternal Life” trans. by Adrian J. Cooney, OCD (ICS Publications The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Volume 3)

 

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Mary-and-Baby-Jesus

Truly I have set my soul
in silence and peace.
As a child has rest in its mother’s arms,
even so is my soul. (Psalm 131)

 

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In order to bring peace to others we need to be first grounded in it our own hearts. Peace comes from order, from a well-ordered life, one lived where everything is directed toward God. When all disorder is removed from the heart and all our desires, thoughts, words and deeds are fully ordered toward God following His commands, doing His will, then we possess peace and radiate peace to others.

Once we posses this peace, continue to take care to remain in this peace, and spread peace to those around us – we can be called a peacemaker.

Nothing disturbs a peacemaker because a peacemaker knows that all things are permitted by God and work out for our good.

To cultivate peace and become a peacemaker we need to persevere in prayer, that intimate dialogue with God, and surrender completely with trust to His Holy will.

The fruit of this relationship with God is a calm interior peace, seeing God in all things, even hardships and suffering without being disturbed or upset, and with the ability to see God in all. Another fruit of this peace is seen in relationship with others. All are seen as children of God, all are loved and the peaceful soul wishes good to all and wants to live in peace with them.

“Our God is the God of peace; therefore, it is perfectly right that the peaceful man, he who possess and diffuses peace, should feel in a very special way that he is God’s child. If men generally do not feel themselves to be children of God, it is because they are so little disposed to peace, so ready for disputes, quarrels and war. They talk about peace but do not make peace, for they do not accept the guidance of the Spirit of Wisdom. In their ignorance they prefer to be guided by themselves, and as a result they are dominated by pride, self-interest, and cupidity; they live in disorder and they sow disorder around them.

The more our soul becomes firmly established in peace, and the more we become messengers of peace, to that degree will the Holy Spirit infuse into us this delightful sense of our divine sonship and this will become for us a source of immense happiness, a true prelude to eternal beatitude.” (Divine Intimacy, #314, Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD)

 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt 5:9)

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Pope Francis has asked for prayers for peace. In an appeal that can be found here, the Pope  has made an appeal for peace in light of the many conflicts present in the world today. He is asking for the whole Church to keep vigil September 7th with fasting and prayers for peace in our world, especially in Syria and the Middle East. He is asking all of us to participate in any way we can. I am going to pray and fast this day and hopefully will join with others in my local community to gather and pray in one of the churches.

prayer vigil

“Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace!” said the Pope.

“All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace,” he charged.

This appeal is to take place on the vigil of the Birth of Mary.Noting Mary’s universal motherly concern, Pope Francis said, “Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children!”

Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

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