By Mary Lou Rosien
Peace.... What a word! It conjures up in my mind images of beautiful beaches, soft surf sounds and cool, calming breezes. In fact, I feel so desperate for a little peace, that my sister and I have planned a girls’ night away just to get a little of it.
I have seven children, my sister has five, and we can’t remember the last time we had an uninterrupted conversation. We decided to take action and make a little peace and a little time for ourselves for the first time in our adult lives. I am anticipating it with incredible excitement!
Okay, what does that have to do with teaching Catechism? Everything. Peace is, at its essence, the absence of sin. It is a grace-filled spirit, calm and content in the love of the Lord. This is why we pray, “Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, Grant us peace.” What is needed to achieve that peace?
Take the time. Reflecting upon our lives, our patterns of sin (I know I have them) and the periods when we do feel grace helps us to take inventory. We can do this as adults, but we can teach our students to do this too. Spend a few moments in class to recall a time when a negative choice was made. Write these down or draw pictures. Next, remember a positive or grace-filled moment and write that down too. What made these moments different? How were they handled? Becoming aware of the good and bad moments in our lives can help us to examine why we behave the way we do and can even help us understand what makes us happy.
I sometimes work with adults who are unhappy in their lives. I help them reflect on what makes them feel truly peaceful and happy. Many times, I find that they just got stuck doing something over and over again in a way that is ineffective for them. The first step to changing this is awareness.
Talk to the Lord. My sister and I are looking forward to talking. It helps us reconnect. When we do this with the Lord, we call it prayer. Setting aside some time to just talk to the Lord can change us in ways we didn’t think possible.
Listen to Him. The other side of good communication is listening. Some of my readers may have heard this story before, but it is worth repeating. When my daughter, Darya, was little, I used to tell her to talk to Jesus after receiving Communion. One day she uttered a quick prayer and sat down. I said, “Darya, get back on your knees, maybe God isn’t done talking to you.” She immediately obeyed and then jumped back into her seat. “Did you listen?” I asked. “Yep,” She replied, “He told me I was done now.”
I think at times I am like my daughter, in too much of a hurry to listen. Yet, if I only talked to my sister and didn’t listen to her, well, we wouldn’t have much of a relationship. Prayer is a two-way street. We talk, He listens. He talks and we listen.
Enjoy the beautiful moments of spring. Breathe deeply, listen carefully and feel God’s peace. Blessings.
Mary Lou Rosien seeks peace in her home in North Chili, NY. She is the author of Managing Stress with the Help of Your Catholic Faith. (OSV Publishing) Write to her at email@example.com.
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