Sunday, April 10, 2011

Peace be with you

Life is filled with so much noise.

Noise, noise, noise, noise, noise. Think about all the noise your life is filled with: from the moment you rise to the moment you lay your head down again at the close of day. It's quite overwhelming when you truly consider it.

I have found in particular that my life this year has been filled with more noise than the average person's... mostly because I deal with screaming, squealing children all day. And no, I don't teach kindergarten, I have the middle schoolers. Things can get so crazy with them sometimes that I find myself simply wanting to say to them, "Peace be with you." I even find myself raising my hands up to try to calm them as I imagine Christ calmed the raging sea. He was much more effective than I. But it truly has become my prayer for them that their lives (and our classroom) will become more peaceful.

Ever notice how much of your life is filled with noise? Ironically, oftentimes we even surround ourselves with more noise to try to find some peace. How often do you turn on the TV or flip open the computer or turn on the ipod whenever you have a moment of silence?

Sometimes it takes being immersed in silence to really understand the extent to which our lives are besieged by noise. For example, on Friday evening after Mass and Stations of the Cross I got home and was simply waiting for a friend to arrive so we could go hang out. Both of my roommates happened to be out at the time, and as I made a quick dinner and was waiting for my friend, I almost turned on the TV, but I realized that there was such a perfect silence in my house that I didn't wish to ruin it. It really was beautiful! It was so arresting and dramatic a change that my friend even commented on the peacefulness when she arrived.

I definitely need more silence in my life. I've noticed this for some time now, and really began to actualize it on Friday, when I finally made the conscious decision to turn off my radio on the way to work. I also want to get away for the Triduum and immerse myself in silence for a few days. Right now the plan is to take off work on Holy Thursday so I can spend some time in silence and prayer to prepare for Easter. Hopefully that will all work out! Say some prayers for me that it does!

My friend Brittni told me today about a book which I look forward to reading by Franciscan priest Richard Rohr entitled Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer. What was most striking from our conversation was the idea that people who have a better self-awareness are more peaceable people. Looking at the lives of the saints, we can see that they had a deep knowledge of themselves and that above all, their self-knowledge was and is founded in the humility and wonder of knowing who they are in Christ. I believe this is the source of true and lasting peace and joy, and it is something we must all be mindful of every day. We must let the peace of Christ reign in our hearts.

When Christ greeted His disciples after the Resurrection, He said to them:
"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)
I pray that on this Sunday you'll be able to find some time to devote to making place for silence in your life, so that the peace of Christ may find its way into your heart to dwell.

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