“…Peace I leave you, my peace I give you…” is a part of the communion rite invoked at every Mass. How do we receive these words? Our first reading today from Paul to Timothy helps us enter more deeply into our Mass during this time of peace. The peace that our Lord wishes to share with us is more than a general happiness or fleeting euphoria, but a lasting contentment. We are content because it is our Lord who is the active agent securing our peace.
This divine peace pursues us throughout the day, and Paul exhorts us to be content in this awareness. It is God who pursues us so that we might rest in this peace. When we pursue, we are often sidetracked by the material world. When we pursue, we lack the discipline to turn off our televisions and phones or disengage from our social media appetites. We may be foolish in our pursuits, but God is not.
Francis Thompson, the English poet and author of “The Hound of Heaven,” brilliantly describes the tenacity with which our God pursues us as we choose all manner of distraction and escape:
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, …
Are you content with God’s pursuit of you? The next time you attend Mass, use the sign of peace as a moment to surrender to your pursuer and rejoice in the love that sought us first.
—Richard Schuckman, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago