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Thursday, fifth week of Lent

"I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you." 2 Corinthians 7:16

"Gilles", 1721, Jean-Antoine Watteau

Gilles is a man discomforted: he stands exposed, tense and unhappy. Yet we could not call him a man who is not at peace. Something has happened (Watteau does not spell it out) that has removed him from his fellow actors and left him painfully alone. Gilles is ill at ease, but he has no option: what is happening must be lived through, and he sets himself to do it. This courage - this acceptance of powerlessness and decision to await consequences from which we cannot escape - this is an element of the confidence that springs from peace. Gilles is at peace because he does not rage against the inevitable. The wisdom is in knowing what is inevitable and what, with courage and intelligence, can be changed. Fundamentally, though, nothing matters except to be true to what we know is right.


God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

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