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Wednesday, third week of Lent

"The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus" - Philippians 4:7

"Interior", 1908, Vilhelm Hammershoi

An acceptance of the vulnerability on which peace is based, and the weighing of significance in the light of eternity, can seem to some an abdication from life's everyday realities. Hammershoi's woman sits in an enclosed space, head bent. She could be thought to be imprisoned by her context and weakly complicit with her lack of liberty. Yet the artist shows us door upon door, with a luminous window beyond. Light plays over the woman's form from behind as well as from ahead. If she chooses, she has only to stand erect and move down the waiting corridor. If she stays motionless (reading? sewing?), that is her choice. Peace is never imposed; it cannot be. It is a deliberate choice, an ordering of priorities in a moral context. We look at the options and evaluate them.

"Establish yourself in God

and then you will be helpful to others."

- Seraphim of Sarov

"Acquire a peaceful spirit,

and thousands around you will be saved."

- Seraphim of Sarov


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console,

to be understood as to understand,

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


-Prayer of Saint Francis

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