“Peace is flowing like a river, flowing out of you and me, flowing out into the desert setting all the captives free!” Words adapted from the song by Rev. Carey Landry.
Where is peace to be found and how may we identify peace in a manner that will relate to all peoples. A policeman is shot by an individual that refuses to accept normal procedures of upholding the law. His family must bury his remains days after. A community riots over something they think is legitimate and the entire town is anything but peaceful. A family encounters marital difficulties and all the members are feeling the strife. A foreign government begins the takeover of another nation and world powers are in a position of trying diplomatic means to avert attack. This list could go on indefinitely.
How many examples do we need to portray what encompasses each one of us, be it individual, family, community, or country in the realms of violence and continued aggression that confront many of us without the answer to subdue the ultimate recourse of sadness and depressing feelings.
Just what did Jesus mean when in the upper room, following His Resurrection, when He said to His disciples; “Peace be with you” and he breathed on them saying; “receive the Holy Spirit”. Theologically we can see this as receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit; CCC 746. Therefore, His Peace is part and parcel of sending forth the Holy Spirit into the midst of the Apostles and ultimately into our hearts. This peace is not just a word but an actual exercise in the presence of God’s Holy Spirit with and through His manifold gifts we can share in this peace which we may not fully comprehend. But, it is a peace we should want to have and share.
This does not answer the age-old question of why peace seems to elude us and the deep need each of has to find this elusive entity that supposedly will heal all of our hurting experiences. Even for those that adhere to faith in Christ and perhaps teach these sound principles are left as well in a limbo type of dilemma as how to reach those that can’t grapple with the intensity of their individual problems and want to escape the darkness that they must face constantly from their demons of depressing events.
What type of peace are we looking for in a world that appears to present us with many unanswered questions and at times nowhere to find solutions? Sometimes the essence of finding peace can only come through a type of healing, spiritual and mental, which is not always easy. If it is spiritual then a person involved in that type of ministry should be sought. But, if it is mental then someone involved with psychoanalysis needs to be found.
Peace is something to be procured at any price but can’t be bought, bargained for, or taken from another person. It can only be found within one’s soul and mind, and once found should be retained with care and confidence. In my own life, there have been many times where un-peaceful occurrences have presented themselves, but through grace I have been able to circumvent these. My life for the most part is a peaceful existence and I can only attribute that to the Holy Spirit in my life and the elimination of stress which can be counter-productive to daily living. Of course I have retired but even when I was working I attempted to rid the attractions of things that could interfere with many of self-destruction ideologies and habits. Admitting to God I am a weak man only strengthened my need for God and trust totally in Him. Jesus said; “fear is useless what is needed is trust. And my Grace is sufficient for you.”
There are some people I am familiar with where a type of peace they need is just not apparent. I realize the pain and lack of understanding God’s presence is still blocked by the demons of emptiness in their lives without seeking His comfort and gentle touch to allow their souls to be filled with the refreshment that can only come from God’s Holy Spirit. This is a sure manner in which the Breath of Jesus on the Apostles became real and will become apparent in the lives of those who seek a lasting peace, even if they do not understand what real peace will mean in their topsy-turvy world.
My answer to the ultimate question of finding peace, among all of life’s many obstacles, is not one of just pray and all will be fine. It becomes an exercise in faith which can be nurtured through the Grace of Almighty God. Grace, as I have written about extensively, isn’t pixie dust or some magic entity floating around to find a soul to land on, but it is a very powerful and very real gift that God gives freely and can be identified when so many good things can unexpectedly appear in our individual lives. I see this happening daily to different people and recognize God’s Holy Spirit at work with people who are receptive to the presence of God in their life. God’s love, mercy, and Grace are freely given. It only takes a yes to His proving that He wants to share His Life and Love with us. See Powell’s “The Mystery of the Church.”