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  • Elpidio Pezzella

May it Finally be a Peaceful Year

Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, Like a weaned child with his mother; Like a weaned child is my soul within me.

(Psalms 131:2 NKJV)

This devotional concludes the sixth year of this initiative which encourages personal meditation and daily Bible reading. I hope you found it uplifting and stimulating, like so many who have appreciated and been able to encourage in secret. Each weekly sharing allows me to have a moment of reflection to then bring to your attention, giving me the grace to meet you, albeit at a distance. I therefore hope to continue to include you among the users. We are about to leave another complicated year behind us. Life continues, the path is still to be accomplished. Do not stop! And if you had, in the new year you start again with greater vigor. My prayer for the New Year is that your soul will find serenity in the arms of the Lord, just like a confident baby in the arms of the mother after a feed. And that's why I chose verse 2 of Psalm 131.


The Psalms are the oldest book of prayers within our reach, within which we can see different forms of prayer: the lament or cry for help, and thanksgiving or praise. If we pay attention, however, we can dig a more reserved one, without spoken words: it is the silent prayer, made up of the tranquility and trust that leak out from the Psalm that I have chosen. A peaceful communion with God can also be achieved without the use of words and the psalmist represents it with a scene that is dear and familiar to all: a baby in the arms of his mother, surely resting on her breast. This is a condition that we should all have known about. Like a satisfied child who has stopped crying and lets himself go into his mother's arms, so can "my soul stay" in the presence of God. Precisely in that embrace you realize that you do not need words, and perhaps not even thoughts.


In some circumstances, we deliberately make a silent scene, because we don't feel like talking to anyone or because we lack the right words, but we are not in the least calm and peaceful. For two years now we have lost our serenity: we have great discussions within us, and we are enveloped by thunderous struggles around us. We feel like those disciples who are desirous of stillness, but who unexpectedly have to deal with the tumultuous pressure of their thoughts when the storm suddenly hits their boat on the Sea of Galilee. The Gospels narrate that while they fidget, Jesus sleeps (Matthew 8:24). In these moments we feel alone, helpless, anxious and unable to remain calm. But Christ is in the boat with us, ready to come to our aid. In fact, the moment he is awakened, He rebukes the wind and the sea and “there was a great calm”. In the same way he can also give rest to our hearts agitated by a thousand fears and so many worries.


To calm our souls, we need to go back to being like that child on the mother's breast, to her simple and infinitely sweet gesture. Our silence means having recognized that all our worries can do nothing to change the state of affairs. Choosing silence also means leaving in God's arms what is beyond our strength and capacity. Here then is that seeking and/or having a moment of silence, even a very short one, is like raising a trusting prayer. It becomes a precious stop, almost a sabbatical rest, through which we trust and hope in God. Even Elijah let himself be taken by fears and fled to the Horeb, but everything that was thunderous, noisy and impetuous enveloped the mountain did not speak of God. When it was all over, he heard “a delicate whispering voice” and God spoke to him (1 Kings 19:12-13). Through “a delicate whispering voice” the word of God becomes more effective in changing our hearts. The storm shattered the rocks, but God's subdued words pierced the heart of the disconsolate prophet, for whom the sudden silence was probably more frightening than the storm and thunder.


Dear friend, in these hours that a year is going to decline, while the noises are rising, we seek listening in silence. Let us also project forward with new ideas and renewed expectations, but it will be appropriate to stop for a moment to remain silent, waiting for God. “As my prayer became more and more profound and interior, I had less and less to say. In the end I was completely silent” (S. Kierkegaard). I make mine and with my heart I invite you: "Hope in the Lord, from this time forth and forever" (Psalms 131:3). Happy New Year in the Lord.



 

Weekly Bible Reading

Plan # 53 December 27, Zechariah 1-4; Revelation 18 December 28, Zechariah 5-8; Revelation 19 December 29, Zechariah 9-12; Revelation 20 December 30, Zechariah 13-14; Revelation 21

December 31, Malachi; Revelation 22 2022

LET'S START ONCE AGAIN From here begins the weekly plan for the new year, so that those who want can repeat the experience and others join the crew by now. Weekly Bible Reading

Plan # 1 January 01, Genesis 1-3; Matthew 1 January 02, Genesis 4-6; Matthew 2


 

Foto di johnnyberg, www.freeimages.com

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