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Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Second Reading

Apparently, today's Second Reading was for me. Thanks, St. Paul.
(I bolded the text particularly striking for me)

"Brothers and sisters:
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me.
Then the God of peace will be with you."

Philipians 4:6-9

I've been thinking a lot lately about how to logistically live in peace, when surrounded by junk. And St. Paul says something really obvious, but really profound for me, "... whatever is lovely... worthy of praise, think about these things." I'm so bad at focusing on the problems. Poor Jude, he knows. And since I can't count on my circumstances to ever get better - no one can - I must, by the grace of God, recognize the lovely, those worthy of praise, and I must make conscious efforts to do this daily.

This reminds me of a passage from one of my favorite texts written by Thomas Kempis, The Imitation of Christ:
"Do no think, therefore, that you have found true peace when you feel no grief, or that all is well with you when you have no adversary, or that all is perfect when everything happens as you desire, or even that you are great in God's sight or especially loved by Him because you have great fervor in devotion and great sweetness in contemplation. A true lover of virtue is not known by these things, and the true perfection of man does not stand in them."

True peace is independent of all of this. Good times or bad, peace remains. And a virtuous life, fruitful and honorable, is the road to that peace. I can't remember if it's in The Imitation of Christ or Introduction to the Devout Life, but one of the authors reflects on the importance of this inner altar or tabernacle that holds the presence of Christ within so guarded and protected that it is unaffected by outside conditions. Even favorable conditions mean nothing because the presence of Christ within is unchanging, it is Truth.

I must come back to that practice, kneeling before Christ, present in the living tabernacle of my heart, and resting in His peace, whether it's raining or shining outside.

(And it's also probably a good idea to keep running and eating better... must keep that living tabernacle pumping...)


Lisa said...

Have you read Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Fr Jacques Phillippe? Great read.

Veronica said...

You weren't the only one that passage gave a swift kick in the butt to.

I need to get back on the running wagon and eating better wagon. I definitely know I feel better when I do, and I know I am in a better physical and mental state, and if those two things are cared for, I generally do better spiritually because it's less to distract me. (I tend to worry a lot, but when I run, I can focus and clear away the clutter in my mind).

Not only that, (at at the risk of sounding vain, but hopefully not) I've wondered why more priests don't bring up gluttony very often, if at all. I mean, if we Catholics believe that EVERY person is in the image of Christ and that our lives our sacred, our bodies are temples, shouldn't we be treating them as such in every manner? Not only in modesty, but what we put in them and how we keep them in shape?

Moreover, I really like what you said about peace. I think I've known this in a very convoluted way for a while now, but you actually articulated what I've been feeling (if that makes any sense to you).

Anyway, sorry for the book. LOL. I always write a lot, which is why I usually just lurk. :)