Peace. Oh, how we ache for it. Didn’t we all ache for Boston, and all our friends who live there, last month? And didn’t we feel so proud to watch that city show us how it’s done, in unity amid the dazzling diversity of that great city, as they pulled together and saved hundreds of lives? We are all Bostonians today, if we can stand in their light and share a portion of their spirit.
It’s not just today’s world that is held hostage by terrorists. It helps to know that the Roman occupation of Jerusalem during Jesus’ lifetime made life very unsafe for Jews and soldiers alike. It was, don’t forget, the Jewish zealots (terrorists) who managed to kill, guerrilla-style, enough soldiers that they brought down the whole wrath of the Roman Empire upon Jerusalem in 70 A.D. That’s how the Pax Romana really worked. Visit Jerusalem and marvel at the huge stones of the destroyed Temple, still sitting where they fell nearly two thousand years ago.
And yet, here is Jesus. Comforting his friends on the night before he dies, he says “My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” Oh, how we ache for the peace that Christ gives, the peace that “passeth understanding”. This is the peace that Jesus somehow dwells in, even as he walks out to Gethsemane. That’s the only peace that has the power to change us.
Do you need true, gut-deep peace about something in your life? Ask the Spirit for her indwelling. Remember how the resurrected Christ, on the day of his ascension, instructed his disciples to stay in Jerusalem and pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit (Lk. 24:49)? That was the original novena. I invite all of us, the thousands of people who read this column today, to join together beginning this Friday and pray together, each in our own ways, through the nine days– novena— before Pentecost (May 19th) for that peace. This year I started sending out a note to the three or four people for whom I am especially praying during this worldwide novena. It will be wonderful to hear from you, wonderful readers, in the months to come, about how your particular intentions bore fruit. There is power in any nine days, at any time of year, when people of good will pray together for peace . Let’s see what God will do in helping us receive a deep peace as we redouble our efforts for making peace in the world.
If you need some inspiration, here are some Catholic novena sites, but of course people from all backgrounds join together in their own ways to pray for peace during the nine days. www.praymorenovenas.com/novena-to-the-holy–spirit/ http://catholicism.about.com/od/prayers/p/Novena_HG.htm
Come, Holy Spirit, come!
for Mary and Jim, and Wendy and Riley and Nick, and all whose lives were touched by the events in Boston.
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).