Below is the blog for episode TOS001 Truth of the Spirit podcast “Finding Peace When Time Causes Chaos”, #1 of the 3-part series “Working Through The World’s Chaos to Find Supernatural Peace”
NOTE: Listen to this podcast on your favorite podcast network or on YouTube: TOS001 Finding Peace When Time Causes Chaos
What’s in your heart? Supernatural peace? Or chaos? We seem to be living in a fairly chaotic time, don’t we! This is nothing new. As we read through the bible we can find several times that the people of God lived in chaos. We can pull some great advice from the bible’s inspired writers. Paul wrote to the Philippians during a time of turmoil in the early Church, a time of persecution and during the chaos of change and growth. His advice in Philippians Chapter 4:4-9 is: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!” NAB
“Rejoice always”–what can bring us joy always? There are lots of things that bring us a moment of joy, but Paul tells us to rejoice always! We can rejoice in the good news of truth; we can rejoice that the happiness of eternal life can be now for us. Now and always! Paul continues in his letter to the Philippians: “6 Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. 7 Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” NAB
The peace that surpasses all understanding—that part sounds wonderful. Peace will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus! But, how do we have no anxiety at all? Come on, Paul; tell us how to do that! We know that anxiety is bad for us. Anxiety causes chaos. Anxiety and stress can make you physically sick. Jesus tells us it can affect our spiritual well-being too. Jesus spoke about the effect of anxiety when He explained the parable about the sower and the seed in the Gospel of Mark 4:14-19. Jesus explains that the seed is the Word of God. Seed scattered on hard ground, on hardened hearts, is scooped up by Satan. When Seed—the Word of God- is sown on rocky ground it is heard and received at once with joy. But rocky ground has no depth; the people have no root; they last only for a time. Jesus explains that the Word of God, the seed, sown among thorns are another sort. They are the people who hear the word of God, but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit. Anxiety is one of the thorns, the chaos that chokes the Word of God from bearing fruit in our lives.
Paul offers help to overcome anxiety as he continues his letter to the Philippians with the wisdom of God, to concentrate on the good in our lives. He writes: “ 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” NAB
Paul knows we can get our mind off our worries by counting and speaking our blessings and joys. Too often we can get caught up in a negative attitude and complaining. We want others to know about the half empty glass and accuse others of being the culprits of emptying it.
Instead of complaining, try to say something positive about the situation, some blessing that might come forth.
I recently saw a cartoon about a scoutmaster returning from taking 50 rambunctious scouts on a long, rough, rainy hike. He praised the hike by saying, “And we got all the way back with at least 47 of them! Now that’s putting a positive spin on things!
The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes Paul’s scripture and calls us to live a life of virtue. Paragraph 1803 repeats Philippians 4 verse 8 “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” The Catechism then teaches us about virtue: A virtue is a habit to do good. “A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.” Paul continues to instruct us in verse 9: “Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.” NAB
What had the Philippians learned by listening to Paul? The Good News of Jesus Christ! What had they seen in Paul? Paul, who worked two jobs of evangelist and tentmaker, who carried scars from being beaten and shipwrecked–what did they see in Paul that they wanted?
Paul who was in and out of prison, whose traveling companions abandoned him, who had no home to stay in but relied on the kindness of strangers for food and lodging–what did they see in Paul that they wanted? The peace! The peace that surpassed all understanding!
“9 Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me.”
… [Listen to the podcast of “Finding Peace when Time Causes Chaos” for more…]