Meditation: Do you know the peace which surpasses all understanding ( Philippians 4:7 ) ? In his farewell discourse Jesus grants peace as his gift to his disciples. What kind of peace does he offer? The peace of Christ is more than the absence of trouble. It includes everything which makes for our highest good. The world's approach to peace is avoidance of trouble and a refusal to face unpleasant things. Jesus offers the peace which conquers our fears and anxieties. Nothing can take us from the peace and joy of Jesus Christ. No sorrow or grief, no danger, no suffering can make it less.
The true nature of peace
How can we attain the peace which the Lord Jesus offers his followers? Through the gift and work of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, the Lord Jesus shows us how to yield our passions of anger, fear, and pride to him so we can receive his gift of peace. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness and strengthens us with his gifts and supernatural virtues which enable us to live as wise and holy disciples of Christ.
Caesarius of Arles (470-542 AD), an early church bishop in Gaul who was noted for his godly wisdom and preaching of Scripture, linked peace with the character of Christ and the Christlike virtues which help us to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. Caesarius describes some of the key character traits (virtues) which form us into true people of peace: "Peace, indeed, is serenity of mind, tranquility of soul, simplicity of heart, the bond of love, the fellowship of charity. It removes hatred, settles wars, restrains wrath, tramples on pride, loves the humble, pacifies the discordant and makes enemies agree. For it is pleasing to everyone. It does not seek what belongs to another or consider anything as its own. It teaches people to love because it does not know how to get angry, or to extol itself or become inflated with pride. It is meek and humble to everyone, possessing rest and tranquility within itself. When the peace of Christ is exercised by a Christian, it is brought to perfection by Christ. If anyone loves it, he will be an heir of God, while anyone who despises it rebels against Christ.
"When our Lord Jesus Christ was returning to the Father, he left his peace to his followers as their inherited good, teaching them and saying, 'My peace I give to you, my peace I leave with you.' Anyone who has received this peace should keep it, and one who has destroyed it should look for it, while anyone who has lost it should seek it. For if anyone is not found with it, he will be disinherited by the Father and deprived of his inheritance." ( Sermon 174.1 )
Destiny with the Father
Jesus speaks to his disciples about his destination - and their destiny as well. He tells them in plain words that he must return to his Father in heaven (John 14:28). If his disciples truly love him for who he is - the only begotten Son of the Father, then they will rejoice that Jesus will ascend to the throne of God and be reunited with his Father in heaven.
Jesus also speaks of his struggle - his passion, suffering and death which he undertook on the cross to redeem us from slavery to sin and death. Jesus called Satan the "ruler of this world" (John 14:30) who seeks to rob people of peace and friendship with God. Jesus defeated the evil one through his death and resurrection and won pardon and peace for all who believe in him.The victory of the cross brought glory to Jesus and to the Father and it is our way to glory with the Father in heaven as well. In the Cross of Christ we find true peace and reconciliation with God our Father. Do you live in the peace of Jesus Christ?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may your peace be always with me. May no troubling thought, trial or affliction rob me of the peace which passes all understanding. You, alone, O Lord, are my Peace. May I always reside in that peace by believing in your word and by doing your will.
This reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager, whose website is located at: http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/