Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

I know a priest who was visiting an old friend.  This friend happened to live in the same area as a pastor who had just been named bishop of this first priest’s diocese.  So, the priest told the bishop-elect a few things about the diocese.  But, after only sharing a few things, he finished with the phrase, “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.”

Why is it that Jesus would have to say that to them at that moment?  Why might he have to say that to us now?

In the midst of what might seem an existential crisis, it can be difficult for us to hear of anything else.  When the Messiah was being taken from them to his death, was anyone remembering the details of the Sermon on the Mount?  Might have been helpful if they could, but the waves of emotion associated with the immediate situation likely swamped them.  All that they could think about was what was right in front of them.  The same is likely true for us many times. 

I recall the story of a spiritual director.  His directee was alarmed at the seemingly increased evil in the world.  The spiritual director pause, smiled, and said, “Yes, evil is increasing.  But so is good.  Both sides are building toward the final battle.  And we know who wins in the end.”

It can seem impossible to have such peace amid chaos, or even evil.  Somehow, the holiest people seem to be able to do that.  Saint John Vianney was tormented many nights by the Evil One.  Then, he realized that such torments always preceded a day when a great sinner would ask for forgiveness.  He came to look forward to these torments because he knew what would follow.  Jesus himself slept in the boat as it was taking on water during a storm.  We all likely know of holy ones who, in times of great need, would simply smile and say, “God will provide.”

Can we too grow in such faith and love for God that we can find such peace during trials?  Yes.  It likely will take time and perseverance in prayer.  Pope Saint John Paul II confronted the evil of Communism, but he did so as a man of tremendous prayer.  So too for us, this peace that we seek is necessarily grounded in a great, great love of God and very deep prayer.  We abandon ourselves to the will of God.  And we can find peace in doing so.