Thoughts from March 13, 2021: It was a sunny and breezy Saturday morning. In a rush I got ready and ran out the door to make it in time for Mass. I was running late (as usual) because I had to wear a skirt and do my hair. I usually don't for Saturday daily Mass, however, today is a special day because today is the anniversary of my baptism. 24 years of being a part of the family of God... the most important day of my existence that will be celebrated for all of eternity (Thanks Mom & Dad!)
For the duration of Mass, I stood at the back of the Church. I was too excited to sit. I found myself totally enveloped and enchanted by the love of God. How could I not be swaying and whirling about? I was so grateful to be a part of God's own family, the Church, I couldn't sit still.
Mass went by way too quick but was wonderful as always. I gathered my stuff to leave when all of the sudden a high school aged girl came up to me. She stopped and starred for a while. I could tell she was nervous. I smiled at her (I wasn't wearing a mask, ops!) and waited for her to speak.
"Hi... um... I just wanted to say that you umm.... I don't know.... you look like..." She stammered and paused for a moment. Taking a breath so as to take in some bravery, she stood up straighter, recovered her composure, and began speaking in a more confident voice.
"I just wanted to say that you look like peace." Before I could really respond, she scurried away so as to catch up with her family, who had already left the sanctuary.
I put my stuff down and kneeled... now I was the shakey one!
You look like peace.
Like most women, I think I've spent the majority of my life yearning to hear words affirming my beauty and competence. In the course of my life, I've received many affirmations regarding my appearance, performance, work ethic, etc. As I type this all out, I can't remember specifics of these affirmations and I'm suddenly aware of how little stock they hold in my heart.
Yet the words of this young girl pierce me deeply and fill me with a gratitude I don't have words for.
When I think about the word peace, I think of what the word means in its deepest form: Shalom, which means restored relationship.
The first words that Christ speaks to His disciples after the Resurrection were that of peace.
Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you."
These were not merely words to bring calm to a group of men, who were fearful upon encountering someone who had just resurrected from the dead. These words were meant to convey a deep reality about the identity and mission of Jesus, as well as Jesus' desire for His disciples in the moments, days, and weeks to come as they continued His ministry on earth. In the words of St. Catherine of Siena, Christ is the "mystical bridge" sent to earth by the Father to stand in the gap, created by sin, separating God and man. Christ was crucified and resurrected so as to restore the relationship between the Father and His beloved Children.
Before today, I have never received this affirmation of peace. What I realize as I ponder this moment, is that I'd much rather be known for peace rather than appearance or performance. For so long I have strived and grasped to be regarded as beautiful, talented, accomplished, etc. Yet in this moment, as I dwell in this precious place of blessing, I am aware that I would much rather be told that I "look like peace" instead of "you look pretty."
I wish I had more profound things to say than this... maybe later I will. For now, on this day in which I celebrate my baptism, I have a profound desire to walk more deeply in my identity as God's child. I long and thirst to do just as Jesus did -- to live my entire life and to derive my entire worth from the wellspring of the Father's heart. Walking in perfect communion with the Father as His daughter, I deeply desire to mirror Jesus' sonship so as to restore lost souls back to loving relationship with the Father. I want all people to encounter the person Jesus Christ and to walk hand in hand with Him into the loving embrace of their Good Father.