St. Martin de Porres, OP: Readings
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
SS. Domenico e Sisto, Roma
Peace is boring. Deadly dull. Where's that sense of moving forward? Getting places? Accomplishing goals? Peace is all about sitting still. Being calm. Silence and solitude. You can get moldy sitting still. You can also get run over by those moving and shaking around you. Besides, peacefulness is really just mental laziness, right? Being at peace just means choosing not to deal with reality; refusing to see things as they are. Who can be at peace living in this world of economic collapse, political upheaval, spiritual desolation? Peace is a luxury for those who can afford a retreat house on the mountaintop. Down here in the valley with the real people in the real world, we have real problems that humming sweet tunes about peace ain't gonna solve! So take your peace out back under the tree and tell it to the nuts and the squirrels! The rest of us have work to do— we have new fields, a new wives, new oxen, and, sorry, but you are just going to have to excuse us. We can't make the feast. We're busy. But you guys have a great time, OK?
Were those who excused themselves from the feast lying about their duties? Why would they lie to get out of attending a feast? Could it be that even a short time at rest, or even a tiny little moment of peace is too much for the frantic soul, the soul in perpetual panic over Things To Do? They made their choice. New land, new wife, new oxen. . .all come first. They all come before the Banquet of the Lord. Peace will come later. Peace is the product of hard work. Much turmoil. Peace is what gets settled after the fight. And all of that may be true...about this world's peace. This world's peace seems to be nothing more than the absence of violence. Some find their peace in dialogue. Diplomacy and negotiation. Concessions and treaties. These folks tend not to make it to the feast because they have new wives, new lands, new oxen. However, all those called to the feast later on—the lame, the blind, the unclean, the homeless—none of these guests have much to worry with other than what they do not have. When they make it to the table as invited guests, they might pray, “O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor are my eyes haughty; I do not busy myself with great things, nor with things too sublime for me.”
We must find our peace, and our place at the table, doing the little things of the Lord: holding on to what it is good; loving one another; staying fervent in faith; rejoicing in hope; enduring affliction; preserving in prayer—doing all those little things that not only bring us the peace of the Lord but also stand as witnesses against the truly soul-killing frenzies of being busybusybusy, too busy to accept an invitation to join the Lord at his table for the feast of Heaven. It's true: later always comes; but where will you be and who will you be when Later finds you. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Then, you can announce at the feasting table, “I have found my peace in you, O Lord!”