Jesus tells his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” The peace that Jesus gives is far different than the kind that comes from the absence of war, conflict, or affliction. The peace that God offers is found alongside suffering and hardship, not necessarily in their absence. St. Teresa of Avila offers us a bit of wisdom regarding peace: “May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”
In order for us to experience the divine peace that Jesus offers, we have to allow God’s presence to settle into our bones! It is only when this happens that we can be truly taught by the Holy Spirit to discern the true path to peace and find ourselves with untroubled hearts. The world and our lives are so unpredictable and changeable. If we look for a source of lasting and real peace only there, our search will never be satisfied. Something will always unsettle and disturb us. The Jewish disciples could really relate to what Jesus was saying about peace (shalom). They already knew that it was more a matter of achieving wholeness and wellbeing than anything else.
Wholeness and wellbeing are precisely what is uncovered when we begin to really see and know the height, depth, and breadth of God’s presence and promise. The elegance of God’s Divine life flows through our blood and the marrow in our bones. It is that close and deep. As we breathe in and exhale God’s life, peace becomes what we know within and what is exhaled out. This remains in the midst of intense conflict, persecution, suffering, rejection, and even death.
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