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Two Types of Spiritual Peace

"In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer," proclaimed Albert Camus. His insight, within the language of contemplative Christianity, might look like this: in the midst of conflict and suffering, I remained rooted in a deeper and higher source of love, joy, and peace, even a peace that passes all understanding." What might Paul have meant by that phrase: that such a peace defies logic? Seems absurd by the standards of worldly practicality and expedience? It's a peace that doesn't seem to make sense, but nevertheless it is there, offering hope and guidance even in the most horrific of circumstances.

Niebuhr's prayer reminds us that serenity, while essential to the spiritual life, is really only about a third of what we are called to do and to be. Our serenity must be leavened with courage (to fight for what is right) and wisdom (to help us pick our battles with discernment and care). The peace of God does not remove us from conflict and courage, discernment and wisdom. Paradoxically, the more Godly the peace may be, the more it immerses us right in the midst of conflict and suffering. For that's the best place to be if we want to share that peace with others.

8/6/2012 4:00:00 AM