Parish Lenten Retreat – Week V
Dona Nobis Pacem, Grant Us Peace
Throughout the season of Lent and culminating in our Easter celebration we are experiencing a Parish Retreat titled, Dona Nobis Pacem, Grant Us Peace. The Retreat is being presented through weekend homilies, bulletin and web-site reflections and workshop opportunities (music and to date content can be uploaded at stphilip.org).
The Peace of Christ
“Peace I grant you, my peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you.” John 14:27
Peace is a most desirable gift. Jesus offers us the gift of peace. Our common world understanding of peace is an absence of disturbance or strife and a feeling of comfortableness accompanied by favorable circumstances. The peace that Jesus grants is not limited to good situations or even feelings of calmness. Jesus bestows peace that is God’s abundant action in our lives. Awareness of God’s presence even in the midst of conflict, discord and inner turmoil secures us with a blessed assurance that God is with us yesterday, today and forever. God’s peace supports us by changing the way that we see and experience ourselves, others and our world. God’s peace is the Spirit that moves us to wholeness, heals us for right relationships and renews us to be instruments of peace for one another. God’s power at work in our lives is our peace.
Paths to Peace- Pacem
Our Lenten prayer Dona Nobis Pacem, Grant Us Peace awakens us to God’s peaceful presence dwelling deep within us. We pray Grant Us Peace and not Grant me Peace because our prayer, like the symbolic gestures in the sign of the cross, always reaches both to God and toward our brothers and sisters. Peace is experienced in relationships that reach out and are other directed.
Prayer awakens us to God’s abundance and action in our lives. God is an ever-present and eternal source of what is needed for healing and peace.
God’s abundance helps us to discover areas in our lives where we are lacking, sinful or broken. Contrition is the honest acknowledgment of our need for change. Contrition is the first step in the process of receiving God’s help, forgiveness and the grace of complete, life-giving reconciliation.
Encountering God with a contrite heart lifts us into God’s encouraging embrace, granting us the fortitude to live loving lives of service.
Our mission is to promote the flourishing of all peoples through spirituality, service and social ministry. God’s peace gives us the courage to stand for truth, walk toward beauty and work for goodness in word and deed. We become not
only peace-lovers but peace-makers of Christ’s peace on earth.
- God speaks through the prophet Ezekiel promising new life through the gift of the spirit.
- St. Paul encourages the Romans, reminding them that God’s Spirit is dwelling in them offering new life.
- Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Through prayer, Jesus demonstrates God’s gift of abundant life. One day, Lazarus will die again. In the meantime, Lazarus is given the gift of a new life in order to complete the mission for which he was created.
Reflection on Mission
Until he wrote the book and lyrics for Oklahoma, Oscar Hammerstein was not given much credit as a musical collaborator. The lyricist took this with good humor and in 1943, the year of his greatest success; he took an ad out in the annual issue of Variety. These ads were usually thinly veiled messages of self-congratulations. However, Hammerstein instead took this opportunity to remind his colleagues of his notorious flops. He listed his no hit wonders alphabetically ending with the celebrated line, “I’ve done it before – I can do it again!”
On the other hand, Hammerstein’s wife Dorothy was much more sensitive to criticism of her husband. Once when she heard someone refer to Old Man River as music composer Jerome Kearns’ song, she retorted, “Oscar Hammerstein wrote Old Man River, Jerome Kern only wrote the notes, Tata Dum Dum, Tata Dum Dum!!”
Oscar understood that the use of his gifts and abilities was his responsibility, not the outcome of his work. He was able to keep a sense of proportion and humor because as long as he was giving his best he could be at peace. Dorothy missed the bigger picture which is the sharing of gifts. She was more concerned with who was given credit rather than the beauty that was created. By comparing who is doing this or that she was not at peace.
Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus needed to continue his life work and mission. The gift of life would certainly have propelled Lazarus to live with a renewed zeal and a focused purpose for Christ. Each day we are given a new life in the spirit in order to work for Christ and live out our mission. Our challenge is not to worry about the outcome of our efforts or about who is given credit. God gives us the gift of the spirit so that with courage we can share the abundance of God’s gifts and talents through our words and deeds in the living of our mission. Our peace is in living our mission with a focus only on our best work, leaving all other concerns up to God.
Our mission is powerfully illustrated in the lyrics of the following song. Prayerfully and carefully read this hymn. What and who do these lines bring to mind? How will the ideas, hopes and prayer found in this song change your behavior toward God, self or others this week? Make a plan
based on this hymn and ask for God’s grace to fulfill your mission.
The Servant Song
Will you let me be your servant,
Let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let you be my servant, too.
We are pilgrims on a journey,
We are trav’lers on the road;
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.
I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the nighttime of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
Speak the peace you long to hear.
I will weep when you are weeping;
When you laugh I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
‘Til we’ve seen this journey through.
When we sing to God in heaven
We shall find such harmony,
Born of all we’ve known together
Of Christ’s love and agony.
Dona Nobis Pacem is the Latin translation of our English words Grant Us Peace. Peace is used in the New Testament eighty-five times. Peace is one of the last words that Jesus speaks to his disciples before his crucifixion and among his first words after the Resurrection. Dona Nobis Pacem, Grant Us Peace, is taken from the last portion of the “Agnus Dei” of the Ordinary of the Mass. The musical setting of that text is an example of a round or canon. The musical setting of that text is an example of a round or canon. Dona Nobis Pacem is being sung as our recessional hymn each week.
Season of Lent Opportunities
- Lenten Holy Hour – Tuesday, April 8
9:45 – 10:45 AM & 7:00 – 8:00 PM in Church.
- Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered every Saturday from 11 AM to 12 Noon and Monday from 7 to 8:30 PM in Church on April 7.
- Stations of the Cross on Friday evening at 7:00 PM on April 11: Processional Stations
LENTEN BIBLE STUDY
The Bible Study group meets each Monday during Lent at 9:45 AM in the Molloy Center for its continuing discussion on the Word of God and prayer for the following Sunday’s readings. All are welcome!