Peacemakers for our wounded humanity

Apr 1, 2024
St Teresa of Avila statue detail, Monstserrat, Catalonia, Spain

Has there ever been a more important time for peacemaking with a universal consciousness?

In Interior Castle St. Teresa of Avila writes from her prayers about the different ways the divine speaks to us.

She differentiates three ways:

Firstly, those times when the divine is perceived through our senses – what we might
see and hear.

Secondly, times of perception through our imagination .

Thirdly, times without sound which are perceived in the depths of our soul. What St. John of the Cross described as ‘the silent music of God’.

St. Teresa was well aware of our capacity for egocentric self-delusion from her own journey towards spiritual clarity. There is a story of how she came to dismiss a vision she received of the Risen Jesus as inauthentic. Why? Because, in this vision the Risen One had no wounds.

St. Teresa says we will know when an experience is of divine origin because of such authenticity and the sense of authority this holds; the tranquility we feel when these moments are recollected and the fact that they do not vanish from the memory.

A reason these moments stay with us can be because this divine experience comes unexpectedly. It may be something we never thought could or would happen.

St. Teresa’s advice resonates with the experience of those first disciples who were surprised by Jesus’ resurrection.

Anticipating his death and resurrection, he may have said many times, “truly, truly I say to you”, but this was barely comprehended.

Afterwards, while the disciples were talking about the first reports of resurrection, Jesus came and stood amongst them, peacefully.

He gave them a comprehensive assurance.

In Luke 24.36-43, we read of the peace Jesus gave as he invited them to look at the wounds in his hands and feet. Then adding, “touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have”. Probably too because Jesus was hungry from those prior days, he asked, “Have you anything here to eat?” We read how Jesus ate what he was given, in their presence. The wounded one had risen from the dead.

Recalling these scriptural accounts of Jesus’ resurrection, it’s not hard to see why the story spread.

But what of us today, when faith is challenged by so much suffering and sadness; so much noise and confusion?
Here are three brief reflections:

Reflection 1

Behind the headlines, there is a contest between various forms of tribalism and a more universal way of being.

Tribalisms of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ give identity but also lead to much suffering and sadness. They make it difficult to dialogue and thus end today’s terrible conflicts or to sustain the cooperation needed to prevent catastrophic climate change.

On Friday 22 March we held another of our ‘Meditation and Peacebuilding’ gatherings. These are times when silence and shared spiritual practice nurture an awareness of a universal consciousness. Such times amplify the folly of much that goes on in the gift of life on this beautiful planet. We all just want our loved ones to be safe and happy. That we are here at all is so amazing! There is no sense in making it traumatic for each other. We can heal the wounds of each other!

Reflection 2

A second reflection comes from the T-shirt of a First Nation Christian friend. There is an empty cross, symbol of resurrection, with the profile of a face.

The caption: “It’s a relationship, not a religion!”

Like all good one-liners, it doesn’t need much unpacking. Yes, of course Christianity is a religion. But it is more essentially a relationship.

Reflection 3

A third reflection is where St. Teresa’s advice is so helpful.

Divine consolation and guidance does and will come.

As for those first disciples, like Mary Magdalene in the Easter garden [John 20.1-18], this may be vivid and it may be tinged with mystery.

Image: Supplied

Whichever way this comes, as in Fra Angelico’s painting above, the peace given is light-filled; delightful and enlightening.

It is “the peace of God which passes all understanding”

[Philippians 4.7]

In the peace of God, we are thus invited to be better peacemakers for our wounded humanity.

Has there ever been a more important time for peacemaking with a universal consciousness?

The need for it transcends all the apparent obligations of any tribalism and is clear in the face of any child who is not safe.

Easter is an opportunity to remember what really matters and renew our hope as we sing in many languages: ‘Love lives again that with the dead has been …when our hearts are grieving or in pain, then your touch can call us back to life again…’

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