Peace Comes Dropping Slow

Yesterday was the ninth anniversary of our community’s foundation and I had intended one of those joyful little posts in which one enumerates the many blessings the community has received over the years, not least the fact that David is still around when many a monastic Goliath has bitten the dust. Then I read of the closure of St Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai. The monks are still there, as they have been since Justinian’s time, but they have closed their doors to visitors because of the dangerous situation in that part of Egypt and now the livelihood of the town that has grown up around them and the 400 workers they themselves employ has been put at risk. It suddenly seemed heartless to proclaim the mirabilia Dei we have experienced when others are suffering.

That, of course, is a perennial problem. Today, as we pray and fast for peace in Syria and the Middle East, we in the West are very conscious of how privileged we are to enjoy the blessings of peace and stability. There are even signs that the economy may be improving (though I have some doubts about how equally that will be experienced). In short, we pray from a position of plenty for those in a position of want and that is troubling, for it feels top-down, not quite in keeping with the solidarity we think we should feel. The important thing to remember, as always, is that we pray as we can, from where we are, which is not necessarily where we would like to be.

There is a wide divergence of opinion about Western military intervention in Syria, but there can be no disagreement about the desirability of peace. How we attain it, I do not know; but I sense that for peace to be achieved internationally, there must first be peace in our own hearts. So, if today we want to pray for peace in Syria, we must first cleanse our own hearts of every un-peace. We must apologize for the wrongs we have done others and do our best to put right every act of violence or aggression of which we have been guilty. The unkind word, the stony face, the clenched fist, they are all destroyers, no less than bombs or bullets.

‘Peace comes dropping slow,’ wrote Yeats. We need the drip-drip of peace to wear away everything that puts up barriers between human beings. Ultimately, if we do not pursue peace, we shall be destroyed, too.

 

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10 thoughts on “Peace Comes Dropping Slow”

  1. Thank you for putting things into perspective. The whole area of the Middle East is in need of our prayers. Come Prince of Peace, come Lord Jesus…

  2. I am moved by your thought and sentiment expressed here today. As I prayed in St Mary’s Church before the Blessed Sacrament this morning, for peace, for Syrians – the children most especially, and all people and Peoples, I felt the peace and beauty, the safety, of that holy place, and presence, and registered that note of discomfort you speak about. As I can, from where I am, I join the Church in her prayer today. May I be/become the peace the world so needs.

  3. I feel we do need to celebrate good things, in order to balance the bad, but understand your concern that celebration could seem heartless. However, I have often found that news of good things can raise one’s spirits in a dark time and act as a reminder that life can be good and times can change. Giving thanks for the good things of life can be a path that helps us find peace in ourselves. Your thoughts on the route to peace are so very important. Many thanks to you for sharing them. At some more suitable point, do let us know of the blessings you have experienced in the foundation of your new monastery. In that way we can share in your happiness as well.

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