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The gift of peace
In I818, composer, organist Franz Xaver Gruber and lyricist, Joseph Mohr, together produced what is probably one of the world’s most beloved Christmas carols. Part of the beautiful refrain we know as Silent Night goes like this, “Holy infant so tender and mild; Sleep in heavenly peace.”
Preparing for Christmas Eve Midnight Mass, Gruber and Fr. Mohr collaborated to bring to the congregation a new song, accompanied by a guitar rather than the organ (which, according to some accounts, was not working because its innards had been eaten by rats). Whatever the cause, the men pooled their giftings and gave their congregation and the world this beautiful melodic version of the Christmas story.
The thought of peace, let alone heavenly peace, has captured my heart and mind over the past year. Given the atrocities of war, the scourge of drug overdose deaths, the explosion of road-rage and gun-related killings and even the trials of every day living, my heart cries for peace.
The Old Testament book of Proverbs has a lot to say about virtues that exemplify a peace-filled life and over the next weeks I want to explore some of them; for this week however, my prayer is that each of us demonstrates harmony even when we don’t always agree with each other.
Jesus exhorted his followers: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
I’ve modified this piece, first written for last New Year’s Eve, because the message is even more pertinent today than it was back then. Will you join me in praying this prayer for 2018: “God, may your peace be so deeply instilled and openly demonstrated in my heart and actions that I will be an agent of gentleness and reconciliation.”
Jan. 1, 2018