Daily Reflection
October 25th, 2002
 Kathy Kanavy
Institute for Priestly Formation
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
Ephesians 4:1-6
Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Luke 12:54-59

“I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit
through the bond of peace;”   (Ephesians 4:1-4)

Paul’s words are stirring!  Who does not long for our days to be filled with gentleness and peace, love and unity?  Is this just something we can pray for or look forward to in heaven?  In its fullness, sure.  But Jesus has also told us that the Kingdom is here in your midst.  So if it is here, how do we live in this reality more fully?

St. Ignatius Loyola, in his “Guidelines for the Discernment of Spirits” shows the way.  He articulates what the saints and the fathers have handed down in faith.  He urges us to listen deeply to the Spirit indwelling in our hearts and to follow that which is in harmony with that Spirit.  The Holy Spirit will always draw us into deeper humility, gentleness, patience, and love—even if it is difficult. 

Recall a recent moment when you struggled to have patience and to really love someone close to you.  What were you thinking and feeling in the moment of impatience?  Was there a fear in your own heart?  Perhaps it was a fear that the person was going to hurt himself, or a fear of losing the person, or a fear of being hurt yourself.  What did you do?

Jesus invites us to let Him be with us right in these moments.  Those moments of helplessness, of fear, or of hurt are precisely the place where He wants to console us, to assure us and to let His love flow through us to the one we love.  In the impatience, He asks us to rely on Him—not on ourselves.

This situation and countless others like it, illuminate a basic truth: that God is always eager to console us, to give us His peace, His gentleness, His love, His hope, His encouragement—even, and especially, in places of struggle and pain.  Often when we struggle to love, we fear that God is not with us and we have to do it alone.  This felt aloneness is the most devastating pain.  However, if we invite Him into the pain, His presence and His love offers us a deep peace.   From this truth, humility, peace, gentleness, love and unity flow.  His message is to abide here.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will refresh you….
For my yoke is easy and my burden light.”  (Matthew 11:28, 30)

He is eager to give us His peace.  Let us let Him lead us to the gentleness and peace we so desire. 

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