Thursday, March 5, 2009
George Bernanos' book The Diary of a Country Priest describes a situation where the main character, a self-effacing but unappreciated priest, helps a woman in her dying hours to surrender to God's mercy. Reflecting later on the event, the priest says: " 'Be at peace', I told her. And she knelt to receive this peace. May she keep it forever. It will be I that gave it to her. Oh, miracle, thus to be able to give what we ourselves do not possess, sweet miracle of our empty hands."
Peace is always God's gift. Peace is healing when God's grace is applied to our wounds. Isn't it ironic, humbling, that we who are so often not at peace ourselves are invited to be instruments of God's peace, to pursue peace?
The word shalom = peace is so rich in meaning that it defies a one-word definition. In its Hebrew root it's associated with finishing, completing, perfection: a condition where nothing is lacking. Biblically, it can be summarized as being the condition where a person is at one with oneself, with God, and with others.