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The Lord’s Peace – A Reflection

April 19, 2020
Chapel at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia

Five years ago we made a pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Holy Spirit, a monastery in Conyers, Georgia where our friend Carl McColman is an oblate. This monastery was established by Trappist Monks from Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky where Thomas Merton lived and worked. We spent some time just absorbing the peace of this place of worship. Yes, you could feel the peace of Christ in this sacred space.

Peace is an elusive thing to find these days. As I watch hatred, all of the different kinds of -isms and -phobias take over social media my heart hurts. I can only imagine how the One who created the heavens and the earth feels. How does our Creator feel as those who are made in the Creator’s own image (Imago Dei) tear each other apart and spew such hatred towards others. In the spewing of that hatred the hatred splatters back on the one hurling abuse. No one is immune from this, most certainly not this Padre!

I believe that we are called by God through the Psalmist to do the following: Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:14)

Thomas Merton wrote the following in his book New Seeds of Contemplation: When I pray for peace, I pray not only that the enemies of my own country may cease to want war, but above all that my country will cease to do the things that make war inevitable. (p. 121)

Seek peace… pursue peace… turn from evil… turn from hatred… turn from greed… turn from war… turn towards peace. Merton also wrote the following in Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander: Peace is something you have or do not have. If you are yourself at peace, then there is at least some peace in the world.

I believe that this is the sort of peace which Jesus was offering the disciples in John 20:19-31. It is also the peace which is offered by Jesus in John 14:27–Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.

This is the sort of peace we need to cultivate within ourselves and our relationships. By doing so, we can and we will make a difference in this world. My prayer is that these pockets of peace will grow and overcome the fear and hatred which COVID-19 has unleashed.

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