I believe peace to be a truly valuable gift and yet it slips too easily in the mundane moments of life. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (“love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control,” Galatians 5:22-23) they all go together for a life well-lived. However, how often is our focus on the gift of peace?
When Jesus said these words in the Gospel of John, He was sharing that He would soon be returning to His Father, but His own unshakeable peace would be theirs. The Spirit, the unbreakable link of our living relationship with the Lord, teaches us all we need to be able to respond daily and we are given an inner peace that is independent of our circumstances. Don’t we know as caretakers that ‘something’ is always going on, but the key is, with God’s help, we can stay in peace despite difficulties.
I am encouraged by the words of Richard Rohr (A Spring Within Us, page 132) “Seek joy in God and peace within yourself; seek to rest in the good and the true and the beautiful. It will be the only resting place that will also allow you to hear and bear the darkness.”
It seems impossible to have peace without patience. It is also hard to be at peace with others, unless I am at peace with myself. This sounds easy and yet we know it isn’t. We can’t give away, what we do not have. It begins with liking oneself, not taking an inventory of what is wrong with me. We can face our faults and not have to focus on them; we can stop comparing ourselves to others and let go of the past, pressing on toward the future.
As trials bring out endurance and patience, we put on love, as our goal is to remain peaceful. The more we love God, the more we control ourselves. Being led by the Spirit to get strife out of our life, particularly with those we care for, can mean not judging; keeping our opinions to ourselves; allowing God to heal our excessive pride and probably the hardest - saying ‘less.’
Without a doubt, we are called to be instruments of peace and that includes accepting things as they are and if necessary acting calmly to improve them. Colossians 3:15, “And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.”
The last sentence in this verse (was earlier John 14:1) “Do not let your heart be troubled, the word ‘or afraid’ is added. Surely God knows we are troubled and afraid and strengthens our trust, keeping us connected and able to stay rooted and grounded in love. The body is not the only measure of healing, peace is. Can you share your experience of the gift of peace?