With all that’s going on in our world, one of the most significant prayers at Mass for me is found in that little prayer after the Our Father. “Deliver us, O Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day.” I always pause after those words, and I can sense how quickly the folks at Mass make that prayer their own too. It certainly does tie in with what Jesus says in the Gospel about the peace be gives to us.
It certainly isn’t the world’s peace for sure. If you listen to our Presidential candidates, for example, peace will come only when we slam this land’s gates of welcome to all foreigners, or to Muslims, or to any seeking asylum. The world teaches that the way to peace is through military strength and land grabs, through retaliation and sanctions. Well, we’ve seen how well that works. Can you even remember the last time there was no war going on in the world, or when coalitions weren’t fighting other coalitions?
If we look at the big picture, we’ll become cynical and disillusioned and wonder where is God in all of this? Where is the peace that Jesus promised to give? I deeply believe we won’t see it in the big picture. Instead, if you and I look at the little vignettes that mark our daily life, we can see how the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit are working with us. A welcome word, a hug, a look, the smile of a child, a volunteer pushing a wheel chair-bound person, letting someone into a line of traffic, not littering, holding the door for another, picking up stuff for your neighbor while you’re at the storeand on and on it goes.
When a person comes to me and asks for some guidelines in starting to pray, I will most always suggest that he or she start out with developing an attitude of gratitude. I suggest that in the course of a day they look for three specific things. First, the good that you do for another through thought, word and action. Second, the good that is done to you through thought, word and action. Third, the good that you witness one person doing for another. Then always say a very simple prayer of thanks. This is what I mean by looking at the vignettes that mark your daywhen you see them then you see how Jesus is still active in our world, and how the Holy Spirit is slowly building the New Jerusalem.
So in the spirit of #1 above, be God’s smile for someone today!