Eparchy of Saskatoon Family and Life Office Bulletin:
December 2019 / January 2020
St. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, 79
PEACE: “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” “Amen” “In peace let us pray to the Lord” “Lord have mercy”. Sound familiar? It is the way every Divine Liturgy begins. And, if our Liturgy is something that we live every day, not just attend on Sundays or Holidays, then it is also the starting point for living the Christian life. But, what is this ‘blessed kingdom” and how do we gain this elusive ‘peace’? After, hearing all this about “peace on earth” at Christmas and as we prepare ourselves for the New Year, some of us are wondering how we gain peace in our hearts, minds and families let alone peace in the whole world.
- We ask for peace at the Divine Liturgy over a dozen times—we begin with asking for peace as we pray and also ask to depart with peace. Finding peace is important as anxiety and worry can overcome our lives, especially with all the busyness of family life today.
- We begin by acknowledging God, and directing our minds to His power and overwhelming love for us. He is in charge of every situation in our lives that makes us anxious. He cannot give us the blessings of peace when we choose to hold on to our anxiety. Change can occur if we direct our will to acknowledging Him as King of our minds and hearts. When we do this, blessings will flow, as His Kingdom is where all blessings come from. We ask in the “Our Father” that His Kingdom “come”. He is asking us to let “His will be done” in our lives. How do we do this? Philippians 4:6-7 says: Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (RSVCE)
- A wise priest once told me that we cannot receive God’s blessings when our hands are clenched tightly around our worries and even our cherished desires, we must open them and let go—giving them to God in prayer.
- Cultivating an attitude of gratitude and praise is hard work. I have tried and failed many times over! However, I know that when I can praise and thank God for all things, I do experience peace that is super-natural, beyond my understanding. The Divine Liturgy says that to attain “the mercy of peace” we must exercise the “sacrifice of praise”. This is a discipline and a sacrifice to thank God in every circumstance, especially when we are not feeling it. If we are honest with ourselves we often do not even feel like coming to church each week let alone work on thanking God when we are facing challenges. An important thing to remember is that as we do this we will grow in faith. As we “lift up our hearts” and “commend our whole life” to God He will bless us with peace. Weekly Divine Liturgy is a great place to start—New Year’s Resolution anyone?