The Good News

Welcome to The Good News Blogspot! The Good News is real and alive in my own life. Jesus has fulfilled in my life His promise of fuller and more abundant life (John 15), a quality of life I could not have created for myself. I invite you to share experiences with me so we can all grow into the life He offers us all.

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Catholic by call, Jesuit by nature, a preacher/spiritual conversation partner by choice. Learning about getting older, learning to live in the present moment, one day at a time. Learning to let go and laugh.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Amish Show Us the Way

“But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives, and that he will at last stand upon the earth…” Job 19:21ff

“On entering any house, first say,‘Peace to this house.’ If there is a peaceable man there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will come back to you.” Luke 10:1ff

On a bright sunny afternoon we stopped our car – a Jesuit friend and I - at the edge of an ample field where a dozen Amish men and boys were cutting the glowing hay. As we stood there watching them work under the broad blue sky, we were filled with a sense of peace. This peace wasn’t the relaxed aftermath of a good meal nor the laziness of a day off. It was a deep assurance of a fundamental goodness resident in that place. The Amish hay cutters were peaceable men (and boys), and in this Pennsylvania Dutch farm country their peace came to rest on us.

We have all seen this peace on display recently as the Amish reacted to an anguished and desperate non-Amish man’s attack on their community. A New York Times reporter wrote that “Throughout this ordeal, the Amish,…have been the object of fascination not just because of their old-fashioned dress…, but because of their stoicism, faith and capacity for forgiveness.” The reporter quotes a non-Amish neighbor and friend: “Any outsider would have said, ‘What’s wrong with these calm people?’ I mean, we were crying, we were praying, but we weren’t hysterical.” (The New York Times, Thursday, October 5, 2006)

“Hysteria” is the natural reaction of those who have no interior life to counter or cushion a tragedy. Hysteria is a clanging of a rock thrown harshly into an empty garbage can. The Amish reaction, the reaction of faith to tragedy, is the same rock falling on a bed of pine needles. The falling rock creates damage, hurt and disruption. But the pine needles remain part of a rich, fertile soil that continues to give life.

Faith is God’s gift to us, and as we grow in faith, we grow in interior peace. Faith after all is the belief, the conviction that God’s power is greater than the power of sin and death. As we grow in faith, we learn to live more confidently in the assurance - based on experience - that this divine power will envelop the difficult and challenging events of our lives. These events may retain their hurtfulness, but God’s peace counterbalances and cushions the pain. We come to feel comforted in our grief.

“Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life, Lord Jesus, come in glory!” we Catholics say at Mass when the priest asks us to “proclaim the mystery of our faith.” In His Passion, Death and Resurrection Jesus of Nazareth in partnership with the Father broke the power of sin and death to hurt us ultimately. He is the Vindicator who will stand upon the earth and give us mercy and peace.

Texts taken from Thursday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday, October 5, 2006


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