Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Peace I Give To You

A Reminder. I've been adding new books to the LTS bookstore. Even though this is an store, I use it because it's an easy way to keep a list of books available to you. Don't forget to browse every once in a while and suggest titles to add. The link is on the left.

Every Advent, I choose a book with which to spend the weeks, reading and reflecting. For the past two years, I've read Sister Wendy's "Book of Meditations" with support from the Bible and an Advent pamphlet I picked up at church. One of Sister Wendy's topics is peace. I'd like to share some meditations on peace for the next few posts, some from Sister Wendy, but many from sermons, readings, the Bible and my thoughts.

Peace has always been a little tricky for me. Especially knowing that inner contentment and serenity that will not be shaken by external events. For I am an outer-directed person. Much of my motivation, sense of self, and view of life comes from outside of me. As opposed to those who are inner-directed. Inner-directed people don't reply on the opinions of others as much, can motivate themselves from a strong internal center and live more self-contained. I struggle to cultivate the inner-directed part of me so that I'll be more balanced. So my study of peace has been valuable in building my inner Self.

We know what external peace looks like: no war; a treaty in place; public security and order; freedom from quarrels; harmonious relations. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians talks about external peace between the Gentiles and Jews "...for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father." Ephesians 2:18

Internal peace is more difficult to grasp. Take a look at the following descriptions. Which helps you recognize peace?

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. John 14: 27

Inner peace comes not from an unstressed life, but from insight into those stresses as a source of motivation, and as valuable signals of our internal state and of how significant the stresses are (a reality check).

Peace comes not from human goals, but from a sense of meaning in life, a sense of purpose. A determination or desire to share with others and to know that no one can take that desire away.

Peace is the skill to look around obstacles, plan for possibilities, ponder alternatives, then submit to what is possible or what is inevitable. Wisdom brings peace because wisdom is the ability to recognize what can be changed and what is inevitable, what must be faced, what must be endured.

Peace, then, is the courage to accept the powerlessness, to decide to wait for consequences that we can not influence, cannot escape. In peace, we do what we morally can. Peace does not rage at the inevitable, but settles into the outcomes.

Peace is a warm commitment to become a whole person. It means to sacrifice neat and tidy goals of any fantasy person we may be carrying within. Peace allows us to dive into life bolstered by a moral context.

Peace is a humble desire to do good which is impervious to events. From this grounding, we can take risks in the world for the Greater Good.

Inner Peace comes from Jesus. Insight. A Sense of Meaning and Purpose. Wisdom.

Inner Peace is a heart untroubled. Acceptance of true powerlessness. Commitment to wholeness. A desire to do good.

Ponder these things a while, my friends, and we'll continue on Friday.

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