Peace I leave you, my peace I give you – Margaret-Mary Flynn

As Autumn approaches, we welcome the coolness of mornings, and softer light of evenings. It is a time of shifting perspectives, as our Lenten journey continues towards Easter. We pray for transformed hearts, ‘to give and not to count the cost.’ In this edition, Michael McGirr shares the beauty and terror of Caravaggio’s art as we walk with Jesus from Palm Sunday to Calvary, the stark sorrow of the Tomb, and the astonishing glory of his risen life.

Like the disciples, we begin afresh, our eyes on him, starting a new year in faith. Our theme echoes his words to the apostles as he sends them on their mission to take the Good News to all the world. ‘Peace I leave you, my peace I give you.’ Despite their misgivings, the Master knows that their task will never be beyond them – the victory is already won.

Our contributors reflect on the mysterious nature of the peace of Christ as we experience it in our lives. Peace as forgiveness of others, and the relinquishment of hatred; peace with our own shame, accepting forgiveness; peace in acceptance of our human suffering, and the sorrow of death.

We consider the terrible scars war and violence inflict – pitiful, pointless waste – and also welcome the golden thread of hope in the witness of God-inspired lives.

We acknowledge that life itself consists of paradox, a tension of opposites. There is peace to be made between the ‘now’ and the ‘not yet’.

And we celebrate the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis I, Man of Peace, taking heart from his words, ‘The root of peace is the capacity to listen.’

May the peace of Christ rest upon you always.

COVER NOTES

In this image of Mary Magdalen’s meeting with the Risen Lord, we are struck by the freshness of the flower-filled garden and gestures of the two figures. Jesus’ hand gesture is gentle, his body already half- turned to go. Over his shoulder rests a garden hoe, as he sets out to make the whole of creation afresh. Mary’s gaze is both adoring and affectionate. She is rising from her knees, for she too has a mission to fulfil.

Suffering, death and grief have happened, but the painting is full of hope and joy. The light-filled garden contrasting with the dark empty tomb is an image inviting us to turn away from sadness and loss to light and life.

Noli Me Tangere, Fra Angelico (1387–1455).

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