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The Gift of Peace

In this beautiful and challenging reflection, Ruth Burrows contemplates the gift of divine peace in the light of the Resurrection – particularly the risen Jesus’ encounter with Mary Magdalene. 

Jesus and Mary Magdalene

Jesus and Mary Magdalene

“Peace is my parting gift to you, my own peace, such as the world cannot give.”

We live in a world, as Jesus did, where nothing is reliable or stable; where nothing satisfies for long; where human beings are largely helpless and seemingly without meaning – spending a few years on this planet then disappearing for good, vanishing like the flower of the field. It is a world where terrible things can happen.

Someone is speaking to us from within this very world, One who knows the world by sheer experience, who is part of the world and who Himself is about to undergo the worst it can inflict.

Yes, I am going to the Father – supreme joyful news. Dry your tears forever Mary, I go to the Father who is infinitely great, who receives my trembling finitude into His everlasting embrace. I am telling you now so that when so awful a thing happens you may know its meaning and find peace – my own peace, my own joy. I leave you a peace so different from the make-believe peace the world gives.

My peace is based on absolute Reality that is total, accepting Love. You must be with me where I am, in the Father, in His beautiful, ineffable world. This is where you belong now; having got there myself I come to take you with me. My going is my coming – my Resurrection. I am here with you to the end of time. You can choose to live in a world where the prince of darkness rules, or live in the world of my Father. Choose to live in the Father’s world with me or live in the world which knows Him not.

Mostly we prevaricate. In some ways, at some times, we are living in the Father’s world, the world of the Risen Jesus; at other times we live in the world of non-faith. We do not really believe that Jesus is risen. We give intellectual and verbal consent to the fact, but we do not live every moment of our lives in accordance with that truth. We judge things from a merely human standpoint, as they strike the senses and our human estimation. We fail to hold everything against the bright backdrop of faith. Instead we allow our emotions to dictate to us what is real and what is not. Far too easily we give way to our moods, our fears, our uneasy feelings.

Set your troubled hearts at rest, banish your fears. Do you love me? Then what do your ups and downs matter? I am risen and with my Father. All is unutterably well, and well forever. Dry your tears forever Mary. Choose. Live with me in the sunshine world of my Father or opt to live in your own subjective estimation of reality.

Let us not be mistaken. We are not talking about a state of emotional tranquility which nothing can disturb. We are not speaking of emotion but of faith. We must act out our faith at every moment.

Notice how often Jesus tells us that love consists in: it consists in doing what He has commanded, doing always what pleases the Father. Note, always, not just now and then when we feel alright. There must be no identifying love of God with intense feelings of love, with sublime intellectual insight. Hence there must be no anxiety, no discouragement when spiritually we feel dull and drab.

To say Jesus is risen is to say He has come back to us. This is our joy, our certainty, the security in which we live out our days.

He is with us, not in limitation but with the whole weight of His Father behind Him. He comes in the Father, with the Father. He brings the Father to us as He promised: “We shall come to them and make our abode in them.” So up, let us go forward to do the will of that same Father.

Ruth Burrows, Through Him, With Him, In Him, 99-101.