Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

Peace calls for daily commitment

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True peace is not a balance of opposing forces, and it is not ‘a lovely façade’ simply covering conflicts and divisions. Rather, peace calls for daily commitment --t's homemade -- starting from God's gift, from the grace which he has given us in Jesus Christ.---Pope Francis

During the season of Advent the term “Peace on Earth” comes to mind. The coming of the Savior of the world in a humble and vulnerable state; in poverty, one of the lowest on the social ladder, for they were from Nazareth a town that was of no account and held in contempt by many.

Being in such a vulnerable state Jesus was powerless without his parents like all children are. Herod wanted him dead after the Wise Men told him of the “Star” that they followed to Israel. Herod was not a man of peace but a man filled with anxiety and uncertainty over the power that he enjoyed. He lived in luxury with the trappings of a peaceful life, yet his heart was filled with desires that kept him ill at ease with himself and his life. He clung to what is beyond his control, the desire to stop time, movement and in the end his own loss of everything in death.

Each of us is called to ‘choose’ life. Many fear the choice for they believe that they are called to give up everything that gives their life meaning. Yet they are called to let go of that which keeps the heart from becoming loving and compassionate. If Herod was a loving and compassionate man how differently things would have turned out. The suffering and death that could have been avoided if only he was rooted in what really mattered.

It is easy to ‘cling’ to the ‘unclingable’. There is little we can cling to or perhaps nothing really. Grace allows the life of Christ Jesus to grow in our hearts to bring us to the knowledge of God’s love and the fulfillment of what the heart truly seeks. Power, wealth, beauty and even our health will pass. No matter what we do in the end we have to let go of everything in faith, or it will be taken from us by force; by the simple fact of time and aging and death. So in Advent we are called upon to seek true peace, to ponder it and to open up our hearts to the ‘Prince of Peace’ who only wishes to bring us a fuller, deeper existence and eternal life.

Br. Mark Dohle, OCSO
Holy Spirit Monastery

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