Philippians 4:1, 4:4-9
Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and my crown of glory, stand firm in the power of the Lord.
Rejoice in the nearness of the Lord at all times! And I say it again: Rejoice!
Let a gentle kindliness be evident toward all human beings you encounter. The Lord is near! Let not worry have power over you; let your concerns in all things be known to God by sending your supplication and prayer upward in thankful thoughts. And the peace of God, which transcends anything that the intellect can grasp, will keep your hearts and thoughts safe in the Being of Christ….
And lastly dear brothers I say to you:
all that is true,
all that is worthy of reverence,
all that is good and holy,
all that is lovely to look at and beautiful to hear,
all that has virtue and deserves praise:
let these be the content of your conversations and thoughts. All that you have had handed on to you, what you have heard from me and seen in me—put all this into practice; then the God of Peace will be with you!
December 3, 2016
Philippians 4:1, 4:4-9
Most of us have had the experience: whenever we pay particular attention to a theme or quality or thing, we begin to see it everywhere. Our heightened attention allows it to reveal itself in multiple ways and in unexpected places.
In this reading, Paul urges us to focus our attention on what is true, on what is beautiful, on what is good. We are to think about them, converse on them. We can focus our attention on truth in science, both natural and spiritual. We can find beauty in art and in nature. We can generate goodness in religious practice, in compassion, and through our own conscience. Immersion in truth, beauty and goodness will nourish and strengthen our souls.
By focusing our attention on truth, on beauty and goodness, we weave a mantle of protection around our souls. Worry is transformed into prayer steeped in gratitude. Peace descends as we realize that no matter what happens, we are safe in the Being of Christ. For He is Truth itself, beauty itself, goodness itself.
In the words of Hafiz:
This is the time
For you to compute the impossibility
That there is anything
Now is the season to know
That everything you do
*"Now is the Time" in The Gift - versions of Hafiz, by Daniel Ladinsky