Go in peace...

An Essay By Aisling // 6/1/2006

Ok, I’m scrambling to get something together before these last few precious days of May slip past us. And I’m only just getting this up now! Life has been crazy here for the past few weeks. First Communions. The end of school. Confirmations. Formals. House-cleaning. Guests. Stray kittens. Retreats. Movie-making. Yeah, you name it, we’ve done it. So . . . I’ve taken a bit of a writing absence while I’ve been busy living. Which is a good thing anyway. We can all afford to live a little. It’s the best thing for writing, actually. In case y’all didn’t know. (By the way, I never say y’all in real life. I mean . . . when I’m talking. Sometimes I wonder if this right here isn’t as real as it gets . . .) Anyway, here goes.

Go in peace . . .
. . . to love and serve the Lord.*

Peace. And yet there is nothing passive in either love or service. In these brief words of parting there pulses an ocean of life—meaning, challenge, inspiration, richness, tradition.

Go… Take leave. Our celebration is over. And ending. A parting. A consummation.
In peace . . . Take with you a surety. A consolation. A hope. In faith. With endurance. In all things. Forever. No matter what.
To love . . . To reach out. To be compassionate. To understand. To honor. To hold dear. To live for.
And serve . . . Give, and not count the cost. Run, and not grow weary. Take up our cross and follow. Be last and least and lowliest. And work, because you have been given much.
The Lord . . . Our God. Creator. Redeemer. Servant. Eucharistic Majesty. Stronghold. Hero. Master. Friend forever.

We go in peace. We go to love. We got to serve. It doesn’t end with peace. Peace spills over into love, and love spills over into service. We have peace so that we can love . . . We can look someone in the face, and know we have next to nothing in common, and know they think next to nothing of us . . . and love them. We can pick up an exasperating toddler, and know all the patience-trying things he’s done all day long, and know that tomorrow probably won’t be any different . . . and we can love him. We can stand in front of our mom, and listen to her complain about our behavior, and reiterate how she’s disappointed in us, and clarify what our responsibilities are . . . and we can love her.
And still, it doesn’t end there. Out of this love we put a double effort into obedience, we enter into tomorrow with a fresh store of patience, we shake our enemies’ hand and breathe an extra prayer before bed for a blessing to hit them over the head.

Day by day, year by year, we go on. We walk. We run. We trip. We fall. We get up. We spin. We dance. We jump. We skip. We march. Sometimes we crawl. We live. We love. We serve. We fall short of the glory. We wander. Sometimes we deny. But the call remains. To love. To serve. To go in peace.
Day by day, year by year, we go on. We go on in peace. To love and serve the Lord . . . Thanks be to God.

* “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord,” are the concluding words of the priest at mass, to which the people respond, “Thanks be to God!”

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