When reading and listening to the liturgy this week, the second reading, 2 Phil 4:6-9, really stood out to me. After contemplating it and praying about it, I felt that God was calling me to peace in two main ways.
The first part of the reading brought a message that many of us (myself included) could always hear again – “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” I don’t tend to handle stress very well, and even though I do my best to pray and hand over my worries to God, I usually end up anxious over everything anyways. But reading this passage, I felt as if God was speaking those words to me, telling me directly to put aside my worries and just trust in Him. The passage ends with, “Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Normally, I let stress be on the forefront of my mind, and I would not describe myself as a peaceful person. But sitting there, reading this passage a few times, I felt God’s presence and His call to peace. It was like He was saying, “See? When you talk to me and give me all of your worries, I take them away and give you my peace.” His peace is there for all of us; we just need to open up and trust in Him, and in return He will bring us peace.
The second part of the reading talks about all of the good things that exist in the world, and there was a phrase that struck me – “Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me.” I struggle a lot with figuring out my purpose, and whether or not I’m doing enough for the world, which I often times feel like I’m not. I get frustrated by being bogged down with homework and not having a lot of time to volunteer, or by working to help others but feeling like my accomplishments are only a very tiny drop in the bucket. I look at people in the world who are doing such great things and impacting so many people – Pope Francis, Dr. Paul Farmer, Santa Ono – and I feel so small and insignificant in comparison. But this line in the Gospel struck me, and it reminded me of a quote by one of my role models:
“There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the sake of the work. This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in – that we do it to God, to Christ, and that’s why we try to do it as beautifully as possible.” –Mother Teresa
Whenever I feel unaccomplished or like my work doesn’t matter, this quote helps me think otherwise. Mother Teresa’s words have a way of reminding me that it doesn’t matter how much I accomplish; it just matters that I keep Christ in my work and try to do it as beautifully as possible for Him. If I do everything with the aim of bringing a little more of Christ’s light into the world, then that is “enough.” Acts don’t need to be big to make a difference; all of the little pieces of beauty can add up to make a beautiful big picture. That line from the reading today spoke to me just like Mother Teresa’s words, telling me that as long as I keep Christ at the forefront of all of my work, that is all He asks. It also reminded me that everyone brings Christ to the world in their own unique way. Maybe you’re super friendly, so you spread Christ’s love by talking and encouraging everyone around you. Or maybe you’re a smart scientist, and you share Christ’s desire to respect all life by researching disease treatment improvements. We all have different talents and gifts, but we all share the same purpose of spreading Christ’s light and love throughout the world. I encourage you to take some time and think about your gifts and how you do and can use them to bring Christ’s love to others. You all have something great to offer the world! This section also ends with a call to peace – “Then the God of peace will be with you.”
Again, God is reminding us that we can’t stress about the work we are doing; as long as we follow His example and spread His love, we are making a difference and should be at peace with ourselves.
I hope that the second reading today was able to bring you some peace. God always wants to bring us peace; we need only trust in Him and open our hearts to Him.