Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
May 21, 2019
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Today, in Mercy, our Gospel offers us a profound message: what does it mean to live in the peace of God?
So many things, from the monumental to the trivial, can make us unpeaceful. If we made a list, we might tire before we completed it! This lack of peace takes many forms in us – worry, anxiety, second guessing, distraction, self-doubt and myriad other forms of inner fragmentation.
For some of us, gaining inner peace is more difficult than for others. So much depends on the trust we have felt in our lives. For those who have felt betrayed by family, friends, or God, the journey to a peaceful heart can be a tortuous one.
But Jesus says we can do it because he showed us how.
Don’t you think he might have been confused and bewildered at times by what the Father was asking of him? Don’t you think he was disillusioned at times by the wavering faith of his disciples? Don’t you think he was frightened by the kind of death he faced?
So just how did Jesus grow to such a fullness of peace that he was able to bequeath it to us as our inheritance?
Not as the world gives peace do I give it to you.
The world gives peace by removing or dominating challenges. God gives peace by accompanying us through challenges.
Jesus came to the point, in his very human life, where he chose not to let his heart be troubled because he had found this accompaniment.
The willingness of Jesus to live, suffer, and die according to the Father’s Will gives us the pattern on which to build our peace.
Throughout the ages, many saints have found and lived this peace according to their own call from God. One of the many who inspire me is Julian of Norwich. Julian was an English anchorite of the Middle Ages. She wrote the earliest surviving book in the English language to be written by a woman, Revelations of Divine Love.
Julian was worried about the presence of sin in the world. It seems she wondered, like many of us might, why God didn’t just fix that!
“In my folly, before this time I often wondered why, by the great foreseeing wisdom of God, the onset of sin was not prevented: for then, I thought, all should have been well. This impulse [of thought] was much to be avoided, but nevertheless I mourned and sorrowed because of it, without reason and discretion.
But Jesus, who in this vision informed me of all that is needed by me, answered with these words and said: ‘It was necessary that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’
These words were said most tenderly, showing no manner of blame to me nor to any who shall be saved.”
This also is a lovely quote from Julian to pray with:
“From the time these things were first revealed I had often wanted to know what was our Lord’s meaning. It was more than fifteen years after that I was answered in my spirit’s understanding. ‘You would know our Lord’s meaning in this thing? Know it well. Love was his meaning. Who showed it to you? Love. What did he show you? Love. Why did he show it? For love. Hold on to this and you will know and understand love more and more. But you will not know or learn anything else — ever.”
Music: Meg Barnhouse’s modern interpretation of Julian’s writing, which Meg has obviously studied.