“…behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. …Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you.” Luke 10: 1-9
I spent a good portion of this week troubled - mostly because David Daleidon, the man who uncovered Planned Parenthood’s heinous scandal of selling fetal body parts, had just been indicted, whereas Planned Parenthood in Texas got off scott-free. What kind of world are we living in - where the perpetrators of a crime get off and continue what they are doing, and the person who exposes the crimes gets indicted? It’s crazy. It’s mixed up. It’s unsettling.
It seems to me that evil gets to triumph while good languishes and rots in prisons of one sort or another. It seems as if everything is stacked against the good, and that there’s no way good can ever get out from under evil, or at least get out of the way. It seems like no matter how many good things happen in our personal lives, or in the world at large, that evil is still lurking around the corner, just waiting to spoil things. And this upsets me, and it wreaks havoc on my own peace of soul.
In Luke 10 Jesus is sending others out before him, to prepare the way for him in the surrounding towns and villages. He fully realizes what he’s doing – sending these little lambs out into the midst of ravenous wolves – but he does so anyways. And what does he instruct them to do?
Carry nothing, be at peace and share your peace with other ‘sons of peace’.
Peace isn’t something to be disregarded or overlooked, you know. It’s that mysterious something that every human person consistently craves and searches for, from the beginning of their lives to the bitter end. Peace – that deep down, soul peace - can only come from the Lord.
Let me repeat that.
That deep down, soul peace we all intensely desire can only come from God.
The peace that surpasses all understanding can only come from doing the Lord’s Will, from being in right relationship with Him and with those around us, and from living within the moral and natural laws set out for us. Those who have lived outside of God’s laws know the turmoil that doing so brings.
My husband left the Lord for several years when he went to college. He spent those years acquiring what he thought he wanted, but was mostly consumed by guilt, shame, depression, disquiet and restlessness. The world would say that the guilt likely came from his Catholic upbringing, but this was not the case. He didn’t feel guilt or shame because some nuns or priests taught him to do so; he felt it because there was something (or someone) more profoundly present in his heart, causing conscience-pangs when he did something wrong. Call it the natural law or the Lord, either way this presence is in each of us to some degree. Yes, those pangs can be ignored, but for my husband, it took quite a bit of energy to do so – and caused a whole lot of angst for him in the meantime. When he finally made his way back ‘home to Rome’ – went to confession and came back into communion with God - he was so tired from all the discord he’d been living with for years, that he slept for several days.
And he’s never looked back. Often he will tell me about how he felt during those times, and how that life of sin wasn’t worth the peace he had to sacrifice for it…the peace of Christ that he now knows intimately, day in and day out.
And the same goes for the people we see committing or abetting all manner of evil in today’s world. Abby Johnson, the clinic director who left Planned Parenthood to become an outspoken advocate for the unborn knew that disquiet as well, as on her website she relates the growing unrest and confusion she felt (despite her attempts at justification) just before she left her job. These men and women who don’t bat an eye when they see those baby parts in petri dishes are living in turmoil – they are deeply disturbed by what they are witnessing - but must rationalize, justify and excuse themselves for what they are seeing (or doing). But in doing so though they are robbing themselves of peace – of hope and light and harmony within themselves – and this, my friends, should inspire our pity and prayers to God for them. People like Cecile Richards (CEO of Planned Parenthood) are to be pitied, not hated as the enemy, and kept in prayer, because misdirected as they are, they are still human beings loved by God, despite the blood they have on their hands. As long as they are alive, they can change and be won over to the heart of God – and finally know the peaceful rest he gives us, instead of the tumultuous chaos the world, flesh and the devil gives us.
We may forget it, but just as those disciples of Our Lord shared their peace with others, we can – and should - do the same, even with people we don’t know. While we can’t force anyone to take what we offer, we can at least aim to be exemplary models of life in Christ, and through the Lord’s peace, we can attract and invite others to know and love him – or pray for them to receive it - so that they too can live in harmony within themselves. Because nothing in this world compares to living in the peace of Christ.