Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Seek peace, and follow after it

I've been thinking about last Saturday's Mass readings for the past few days. From St. Paul to the Thessalonians:

"....we urge you, brothers and sisters, to progress even more, and to aspire to live a tranquil life, to mind your own affairs,and to work with you own hands, as we instructed you."

I am attracted to these words because they are so straightforward. 

First, we need to live a tranquil life. The way I read this is not to dive into activism and belong to a lot of "groups" that take you away from home and make you FEEL "like you are doing something". The habits of a good life really are learned in a tranquil environment. I watched how my mom cooked, did laundry, showed me how to put my babies on a feeding schedule, made our home full of peace by little things - beautiful tables at Easter and Christmas, little shrines to Our Lady and Jesus around the house - nothing elaborate. But they fill my memory. My Dad, who was a very busy M.D. always tried very hard to say a family rosary every night. He didn't always manage to do this perfectly but he always strove to make it a habit. And I tried to go and do likewise in my own home because I knew it was of Christ. We learn peace by watching and dwelling in peace. Tranquil people and environments are so highly attractive - like a magnet. I think that is what St. Paul is saying. And this tranquility isn't some esoteric "floatiness", for lack of a better expression. Peace is hard won. Peace in a home takes effort, both physical and emotional. It takes perseverance and guts and acquired practical skills to make home a priority in this world of ours. But You can radiate Christ's life without saying a word. And you can pass tranquility and "the work of your own hands" down to your children. Activism? I don't think it really accomplishes anything except yelling and squabbles. But the habits of prayer, making a peaceful environment for your children to live in - that's where habits are formed and love for the beautiful is learned. We won't always succeed perfectly. It is the striving that matters.
And, in the end, I would rather be near a contented mom putting dinner together than be at a rally. I really think kids learn more about Christ by watching her. This is how I read St. Paul today.


  1. Indeed, children learn what they see so much more than what they are told. It's always a choice to try to stay on the calm side of life, although sometimes, it's quite difficult. But, the Bible is always the best place for advice :)

  2. Thank you for this very inspiring post! I had to read again the verses in my (new journalling) Bible... and I noticed the translations are slightly different and I like yours more. :)
    I think I can say I wish nothing as much as to live a tranquil life, to mind my own affairs. You are right in saying that peace in a home takes lots of effort, indeed it does, especially when around the home there's very little tranquillity. It is the striving that matters. Prayer may not change the world but it changes us. :)