Mindfulness, Peace

Go, live and serve in the peace of Christ

d8435-go2bin2bpeaceLike a mother bird gently or not so gently pushes her baby out of the nest to fly into the great big world out there, we are summoned out of the  cocoon of God’s embrace during Mass into the world.  But I am not ready! I forgot to pay closer attention to the homily while my child was squirming in the pew. Wait a minute! I must of blanked out there for a moment, thinking about my week ahead?  We are done?  I am not sure I am ready to head back out again.

Or…finally!  Mass is over–time to go back to the real world and my own life again. I can’t wait to get out of here…hopefully these are not our feelings too often…

In any case we are directed to go in peace. We are called by God to live differently outside the walls of the church.  Live transformed, thus transforming the world around you. That transformation is different for each of us, but we are transformed when we are in God’s presence and feasting at the table and listening at the feet of Jesus. It may be dramatic or very subtle, but transforming just the same.  We go in peace, transformed, equipped to transform the world around us.

How do we go out in peace–one step at a time, one conversation at a time, one relationship at a time, one moment at a time.  We are not called to solve all the world’s problems–to the world’s Savior. That’s already been done. But we can be the person who is there for that troubled teen, struggling family, dying mother, or angered, demoralized person who sees no hope or future.  We go in peace even when no one is around to see us.

We live in peace. We are peace. Allow the peace of God’s love infiltrate every fiber of your being. When we are at peace, we can be peace for others. What a blessed experience to share the peace of Christ we know and experience in each moment, with someone else who is in need of peace in their lives–through that smile, touch, acknowledgement or word of love.

We all know turmoil to some degree. We see it all around us. But, let us go out and help this world (the person next to you, or the person around the world) go in peace, no longer afraid or hopeless, but filled with the certainty of love, of a brighter tomorrow because peace is our now–not in some far off time or place.  It is ours now. Peace is ours, thus we go in peace to serve the Lord and one another.

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Go In Peace

“GO IN THE PEACE OF CHRIST…
However we came
however confused or discouraged
or afraid or alone
we may have been
before this Eucharist
we are told to leave in peace.
Presumably something has happened here:
We have found direction and courage
dispelled fear
been in communion,
thereby discovering the peace of Christ.
‘Thanks be to God.’

THE MASS IS ENDED: GO IN PEACE

However tenuously,
however unconsciously,
however fleetingly,
we have been changed
in the actions of this Eucharist,
in coming together,
submitting to God’s Word
and sharing his table,
therein learning the peace of Christ,
‘Thanks be to God.’

GO IN PEACE TO LOVE AND SERVE THE LORD…

However complicated
however full of suffering
however plain and ordinary
our everyday lives
we are told now to return there
knowing what the Lord has done for us
and what he commissions us to do:
‘The dawn from on high
has broken upon us
and has set our feet
in the path of peace.’
‘Thanks be to God.'”*

Reprinted from Liturgical Gestures, Words, Objects, Barbara Schmich in Eleanor Bernstein, CSJ, ed. © 1995 Notre Dame Center for Pastoral Liturgy.  Used with permission.

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Mindfulness, Peace

In Search of…peace

CDeEGqU“Grant us peace.”  We make this bold request every time at Mass. Give us peace in our homes, in our streets, in our hearts and in our minds. Give us peace in our relationships and in our break ups. Give us peace in our shattered dreams and fragmented lives. Give us peace in our joys and successes. Give us peace when dreams are fulfilled and life is at its best and its worst.

Peace seems so illusive these days in many respects. We have become more aware of the violence that invades our daily experience. We have become aware of the discord and brokenness in our political systems.  Violence and death are ever present. Disrespect for the human person and for differing opinions and beliefs  seems to be the norm. Where is peace?

Each of us has our own personal experience of discord and turbulence that pushes peace, inner peace, away.  We may face opposition at work, rocky relationships with our spouse, siblings, parents, next door neighbors.  Hard feelings and mistrust; lack of respect and love.  Where is peace, God?

Now I know and firmly believe that life is not all doom and gloom. We have so much, more than we can every imagine, to be thankful for and to live for and love. But still where is peace even in the goodness we have around us?

What kind of peace are we looking for? Is it fleeting, superficial peace–that is with us for a moment and whisked away unexpectedly? Is it a peace we look for outside of ourselves? Do we look for a peace that will withstand any and all storms and troubles and opposition? Do we find it within ourselves when we have the strength enough to calm our minds and breathe and be still and know God is present?

Finding peace is a challenge. It’s a challenge because often times it hides in the chaos we call daily living. Peace isn’t always some peaceful walk along the beach or hike through the woods, or a quiet moment on the front porch watching the sun rise or set.  Those are peaceful times for sure–but not always where we find the peace God gives us.

Where do we find peace? How do we make sure others find peace and that this world, our world, becomes a place of peace? We find it in the stillness. In being still and listening for God’s voice, becoming aware of God’s presence working in us and through us. Even in the midst of turmoil, quiet your mind, open yourself to God’s presence and know peace is yours right now, in this place, in this moment.  Know that peace is already yours. It not something to strive for.  It is yours now. It is here for the world now–if only people would let go of all their ego tells them is right and just and theirs for the taking no matter what. Stop “Edging God Out” and receive that peace which surpasses all understanding and prejudice and violent rage and discrimination and hateful speech. Live in God’s loving presence, no matter what or who you call God and live in the peace God offers us every moment of every day.

Grant us peace–it a bold request we make at Mass.  But in faith we know it is ours. We deserve peace because we are loved and cherished by God.  Peace resides in our lives because it was ours all along. It is right there waiting for us to see it, feel it, experience it and then give it away to others so they too can realize peace has always been theirs as well.

May we all experience God’s peace today, in this very moment and everyday. Peace be yours.

“Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances. ” Mahatma Gandhi

“Dear God, Please send to me the spirit of Your peace. Then send, dear Lord, the spirit of peace from me to all the world. Amen.”  Marianne Williamson

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27

“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.” St. Francis of Assisi

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Mindfulness and Mercy

Have Mercy On Us

good-samaritan-clipart-5Mercy–it’s all about mercy. Love–it’s all about love.  Oh the great love God has shown us through Jesus Christ–the extravagant love God has abundantly poured over us through God’s son, Jesus.

Sacrifice–it’s all about sacrifice. We give up our ego, our hatred, our prejudice, our bigotry, our separateness, our anxieties, our petty struggles and open ourselves to God’s mercy.

Lamb of God, have mercy on this hurting and suffering world. Have mercy on us when we struggle to make sense of the tragedy around us. Have mercy on us so that we may see ever clearer the gifts of life that manifest themselves all around us.  Have mercy on us so that we may appreciate and give thanks for the one life you have given all of us. We all–every person in the world (those like us and those not like us; those we love and those we find difficult to love)–are one. You live in each of us. You are always present even in the darkest night and darkest sorrow–you are there, Lamb of God.

Lamb of God–infuse our very being with your extravagant love so that all hatred and darkness are no more and only love, only goodness and light, are present in our every action and in our interaction with the world.

Have mercy on us–so we may show mercy always.

Lamb of God

“O Lamb:
Paschal perfect,
once unblemished, untainted, unspotted,
have mercy on us.

O Lamb:
silent before the shearers,
with no word of protest,
but mute pleas for us sinners,
have mercy on us.

O Lamb,
Splendor of the Father’s glory,
now shorn,
now drenched in the blood of life
mingled with life’s waters,
have mercy on us.

O mystic bath:
making sinners pure,
O cleansing flood
drowning death itself,
O saving tide,
gifting with abundant life!

Sinners,
now washed in the blood of the lamb,
untainted, unspotted:
Sing his praise!
Have mercy on us.

Christians,
salvation is received,
grace is bestowed,
to this Lamb of God give glory!
Have mercy on us.

With shouts of victory
in the tents of the justified,
with hymns of thanks
and songs of praise we protest.

Dark death is trampled,
yielding to life itself.

Have mercy on us.”*

*Reprinted from John Allyn Melloh, SM, in Liturgical Gestures, Words, Objects, Eleanor Bernstein, CSJ, ed. © 1995 Notre Dame Center for Pastoral Liturgy.  Used with permission.

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Mindfulness

Extravagant Peace

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Peace be with you. Really? Peace? Is that all you have to offer? Where is there peace in this world we live in?  Does this peace we share with one another at Mass make any kind of difference after we leave the four walls of the church? This world we live in needs something to bring it from the brink of collapse because of all the violence, hatred, racism, bigotry and terrorism. What help can this peace we share offer the world?

Sounds like a pretty hopeless reality–what difference will this simple act of sharing Christ’s peace make in this world we live in?  I have felt that over the last few days after hearing about the shootings and violence and hatred running rampant in this country. Can true peace be achieved here–anywhere?  Will love win out?

The peace we share with one another at church can make a difference, but we need to take it further than just giving a hug or handshake to those we know and mumble a quick “peace be with you.”  Like the “Amen” we say after each prayer. That “peace be with you” offers a lot of power–power for good in each others’ lives and in the life of the world.

To make a difference, we need to take it out to the world.  We need to offer this peace to so many more people than just the ones we know. Jesus offered this peace to a group of people scared out of their wits, worried they would be rounded up and killed all because they followed Jesus.  Jesus offered a peace full of promise–I love that description.  No matter the situation, or the person, or the time, Christ’s peace is present and active and powerful. When the storms of life attempt to drown us in sorrow and who knows what else, Christ’s peace is there to calm us and give us a sure hope that God is with us, guiding us, strengthening us for whatever challenge is coming at us.

This peace is extravagant and risky and even scary–but we can’t keep it to ourselves; it is meant to be shared with those who are very different from ourselves. It needs to be shared–in the most difficult times in our lives and in the most challenging situations. God’s peace belongs to all of us of every skin color and ethnicity, belief system, orientation, age or social and economic status. There are no qualifications for this peace–it is for everyone and resides within everyone. It is ours now and always. It’s not without cost–it costs us by putting our ego to death, letting go of judgment and us v. them. It does come with a cost. But! It never runs out–we can keep sharing this peace with every person in the world and we are still full of G0d’s peace. How extravagant and wonderful is that?

Peace is always relevant, always present, always needed and always ours. Sit with that for awhile. Peace is mine. I am at peace. I live in peace and I live at peace with everyone in the world–even those we are told to hate and despise. Peace belongs to everyone. This day and everyday, peace be with you.

Peace Be With You

THE PEACE OF THE LORD BE ALWAYS WITH YOU.

“Peace, salaam, shalom alaikum!
Ancient greeting heavy with future promise
a word worn with the interchange of centuries
of meeting and parting and passing on the road,
stranger to stranger, friend to friend.
A word transmuted in the crucible of Golgotha:
‘Peace’ — uttered from beyond the grave,
from the other side of suffering,
from the one who has traveled the road
we too must travel, from a place
we too must visit.

‘Peace is my gift to you,
my own peace I give to you,
not as the world gives
is my gift of peace to you.’

May we meet again in this place, you and I;
may we make it through safely, you and I;
for we meet on the road to Jerusalem,
city of death, city of peace.”*

*Reprinted from Mark Searle in Liturgical Gestures, Words, Objects, Eleanor Bernstein, CSJ, ed. © 1995 Notre Dame Center for Pastoral Liturgy.  Used with permission.

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Mindfulness

Teach us to pray for each other again

prayinghandsI, for one, am sick and tired of all the divisiveness that seems to infect the entire world these days…from gun control, to immigration issues, treatment of the LGBTQ community or the Muslim community.  The divisiveness and disparity in our world today takes an emotional toll on a person–much less a physical toll and more. OK–my rant is done.

It seems that we see a rise of separatism throughout the world–you and me; Republican vs. Democrat; gay vs. straight; UK vs. EU and so on.  Where is our global solidarity, our global vision. It’s everyone and every country for itself these days. Where will all this take us, where will all the uncertainty and angst take us? It takes us back to “Our Father.”

Look at the Lord’s Prayer which we pray every Sunday.  It’s not “My Father” or “give ME my daily bread.”  This simple prayer reminds us all that we are in this together. Jesus does not want us to pray by and for ourselves alone.  We are in this together. We (everyone in the world, every last person) are one!  We pray for each other, for our Muslim neighbor; our gay or lesbian co-worker; for terrorists and terror stricken alike. We even pray for our Republican or Democrat candidates.

Jesus teaches us unity in all things with this prayer. If God loves us all unconditionally, should we not also love and pray for all people unconditionally. I firmly believe that God does more than teach us to pray with “Our Father.”  God teaches us to act in peace and love for the other–regardless, no exception, not matter how difficult it may seem to be to act and pray with love and peace and unity.

When you look at the world and all its inhabitants, all of nature too, with the idea of oneness, of unity, of connectedness–divisions begin to dissipate, hatred begins to turn to love. If I am one with the person living in Iraq or China, if I am connected to the homeless person under the bridge and I am supposed to love myself as God loves me, then I ought to love that other person just as much. If we held to that philosophy, that belief all the time–where would our world be today?

Our God is a teacher of peace and master of unity indeed. May we take to heart the lessons God teaches us and live out every lesson with love.

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Our Father

“‘The Teacher of Peace and Master of Unity
did not want us to pray by and for ourselves alone.
We do not say
‘My Father, who are in heaven’
nor
‘give me this day my daily bread.’
Our prayer is common and public prayer.
It is not for an individual we pray
but for the whole people
for we are all one people
in a single body.

The God of Peace and Master of Concord
who has taught us unity
desires that each should pray for all
just as he carried the weight of us all
in his own person.”*

*Reprinted from Liturgical Gestures, Words, Objects, Cyprian, DE DOMINICA ORATIONE, 8, in Eleanor Bernstein, CSJ, ed. © 1995 Notre Dame Center for Pastoral Liturgy.  Used with permission.

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Mindfulness

Be careful when you Say “Amen”

tumblr_static_sg_blog_banner_amenI am reminded of the song “Children Will Listen” from the musical “Into the Woods.”
Careful the things you say
Children will listen
Careful the things you do
Children will see and learn
Children may not obey, but children will listen
Children will look to you for which way to turn

Read more: Into The Woods – Children Will Listen Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Every parent will attest to the fact that children do listen to what we say and repeat what we say at the most inopportune times.

So too at Mass; I believe the same thing applies to “Amen.” Be careful when you say Amen. Essentially “Amen” means–Yes, I agree. I agree wholeheartedly.  Yes, I believe what you just preached and prayed about, Father. Yes, I believe what I am receiving within the bread and the wine.  Yes, I believe that “I am called” to follow Christ with my whole self–heart, mind, soul and body.  WOW!  We are agreeing to a lot, aren’t we?

Do we always really mean it?  Now, I am not trying to put a guilt trip on anyone. But do we take the time to understand what “Amen” means to us personally at the end of prayer at Mass, or when we receive Jesus’ Body and Blood?  Amen takes a commitment, a commitment I don’t believe we are always strong enough to keep.  But no worries–we are not alone when we say “Amen.” Who gives us the strength and resolve to stand up for what and who we believe in? Who has raised us to new life and new strength and resolve to be committed to living a life of love, witness, peace, acceptance, kindness and gratitude?

Even outside the confines of Mass, we want to be careful when we say “Amen”–maybe even more so.  It’s easy to say “Amen” in church–everyone else is, but in the supermarket, at work, talking to the neighbor next door, on Facebook, in our political convictions? May God always give us the wisdom to know when to say “Amen” and when not to say “Amen.” In those times when we don’t say “Amen” with the crowd, when we step out and stand up for what we believe to be true, honest and loving, God is always present giving us the strength and conviction we need to follow through with action to our “Amen.”  Careful what you say and do…Children will listen…  May God’s peace and love be with you always in your every “Amen.”

~~~

Amen

“Be careful of simple words said often.

‘Amen’ makes demands
like an unrelenting schoolmaster:
fierce attention to all that is said;
no apathy, no preoccupation, no prejudice permitted.
‘Amen:’  We are present.  We are open.
We hearken.  We understand.
Here we are; we are listening to your word.

‘Amen’ makes demands
like a signature on a dotted line:
sober bond to all that goes before;
no hesitation, no half-heartedness, no mental
reservation allowed.

‘Amen:’ We support.  We approve.
We are of one mind.  We promise.
May this come to pass.  So be it.

Be careful when you say ‘Amen.'”*

*Reprinted from Liturgical Gestures, Words, Objects, Barbara Schmich in Eleanor Bernstein, CSJ, ed. © 1995 Notre Dame Center for Pastoral Liturgy.  Used with permission.

 

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Mindfulness

Living and Dying in the Mystery

Mystery-of-Faith-no-sub“It’s a mystery…” God moves in mysterious ways…” I just love a good mystery…”  What is it about mystery that intrigues us?  It is the unknown? It is the adventure of experiencing something new and foreign to our everyday experience? Is it an escape from the doldrums of daily living?  For myself, I enjoy the suspense of a good mystery, figuring out along the way who done it, or being surprised at the twists and turns before the mystery is unveiled.

Mystery in life and death, though, is quite different.  I believe we all have the tendency to not like too much mystery in our lives.  We like things to be laid out plainly in our lives, so we know generally what to expect.  Maybe not everyone is like that, but I believe there is a natural tendency in all of us to want to know what is coming up ahead of us.  Maybe it’s a control thing, or a survival thing.

To live in mystery means giving up control. It means living in faith that God, the universe, higher power (whatever you may call that power or energy greater than yourself) always has your best interest at heart. To live in mystery means to be vulnerable and open, mindful and aware of all that is around you and accept its movement through your life. Now that can be scary!

What about living in the paschal mystery?  Is that scary? Is it difficult to give over our ego and let God dwell in our hearts and minds and trust that God has our best interest at heart and has only good for us? What about that unexpected death, or illness, or family conflict that only seems to get worse, the challenge of raising a family, or growing older, or being alone? Where is the good in those things?

Living in the “mystery” of God’s love, I believe, means living with the paradox of what we see in the outward, physical world, and what we believe to be the true reality that we live in God’s peace and love 24/7. Because of God’s love which was demonstrated in a very visceral way through Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection, which is manifested every time we approach the altar to receive the body and blood of Christ, we live in the knowledge that throughout all the mysteries of life and death, God dwells in us and through us. We have Christ’s indwelling spirit living in us and through us every day and giving us power and confidence and peace to live through every mystery that we meet along life’s journey.

Let us live and love in the constantly unfolding mystery of God’s ever- present love.  Don’t you love a great mystery like that?

Let Us Proclaim the Mystery of Faith

“There is but one mystery,
miraculous paschal mystery,
contained in a simple shell of words:
Christ has died
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again!

A mystery can bear cracking
and still be wholly new.
Why, then, this dying and rising?
Dying, he destroyed our death,
rising, he restored our life;
by his cross and resurrection
he has set us free;
he is the savior of the world.
Here is the pro nobis
at the center of the mystery:
our life, our freedom, our salvation,
through a way we could never
have found
still less chosen ourselves.

The one mystery is born anew
in each eucharist:
Whenever we eat this bread
and drink this cup
we proclaim the Lord’s death
in our hearts and in our bones
until he comes in life-giving glory
now and forever.”*

*Reprinted from Liturgical Gestures, Words, Objects, Barbara Schmich in Eleanor Bernstein, CSJ, ed. © 1995 Notre Dame Center for Pastoral Liturgy.  Used with permission.

 

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