“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” –John 14:27
When we see the initials R.I.P. associated with someone’s name after death, it means Rest in Peace. My guess is, we use the acronym R.I.P. or say the words Rest in Peace more often then we talk about living in peace. Peace is one of those things we all long for and hope for in our own lives, in our families, our communities, the church and the world. Yet, the word ‘peace’ means many different things to different people.
We often think of peace as the absence of war or violence, or when we are living in unity and harmony with those around us. But peace is also a feeling we have when we feel safe, loved, cared for, forgiven, and perhaps in alignment with what we feel we are called to do or be in life.
Mother Teresa, who spent most of her life living and in service with the poor in Calcutta, India, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and was recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church in 2016. After her death in 1997 at the age of 87, much was written about Mother Teresa from her journals and conversations with spiritual guides. It is documented that she suffered from long periods of spiritual drought, when she felt distanced from God and abandoned by God.
Yet, even in her spiritual barrenness, she continued to reach out, serve others and live in faithfulness and peace. Mother Teresa is known to have said, “The fruit of silence is prayer; the fruit of prayer is faith; the fruit of faith is love; the fruit of love is service; the fruit of service is peace.”
In this week and this continued Easter season, may we find moments to settle ourselves in the peace Christ offers us and find ways for living in peace.