Today’s Gospel is not, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” (John 14:27). It is, however, the words from Jesus that pop into my head as I read, “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end” (Luke 21:9). For years, I lived in an almost constant state of terrified; allowing the cares and worries of this world to overcome me. I longed for a life completely devoid of any troubles, challenges, or threats of utter destruction.

I know that’s too much to ask; that’s not how this fallen world works, but if I’m being honest, that freedom from all things catastrophic is precisely what I want and partially the reason I returned to the Catholic faith over twenty years ago. When I first returned to Mass and practiced my faith, I must admit I mistakenly concluded that if I followed all of God’s Commandments and the teachings of Jesus as best I could, it would open some special privilege of a perfect life. In a way, it is an ideal life, just not as this world defines it. 

Surrendering my life to Christ has afforded me a peace, as Jesus points out in John 14, that this world does not and cannot give. As I continued to study, pray, contemplate, and partake in the Catholic Liturgies, as well as the traditions and devotions of the Church, I truly experienced that promised peace. The waves came, and the winds blew, but my heart has remained untroubled, trusting and relying on the love of God to carry me through every storm. Although I persevere, faithful and hopeful, truth be told, I would still like to avoid “Nation [rising] against Nation, and kingdom against kingdom. [And] powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place” (Luke 21:11).

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