Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. – St. Francis de Sales
These words can be found at the end of today’s readings in the missilette after the Gospel of the feeding of the multitudes on the mountain. The apostles had worried that there was no way to feed all of those who had gathered to hear their Teacher. Jesus had answered them calmly: Make the people sit down. I am sure the disciples must have been frustrated. How on earth would a dozen or so men make 5000 people sit down on the side of the mountain? There were no megaphones or giant screens to direct people. However Jesus must have instilled some inner peace in them though, as he took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who are seated. He did the same with the fish, resulting in feeding everyone to their hearts’ content.
Afterwards Jesus tells his disciples to gather up the leftovers so that nothing may be lost. When they get done, there was enough to fill 12 baskets full. The crowds had gone from nothing to abundance. This is what Jesus is capable of doing for us. He takes our world and turns it upside down. He does so quietly and with a calm spirit.
As I listened to these words of the Gospel in Spanish, I read them to myself in English at the pilgrims’ mass in Santiago de Compostela. Something about the phrase so that nothing may be lost struck a chord within me. Jesus is concerned about not losing one crumb from his table. If we were to realize this on a practical level, we would never have to be in a hurry, even if our whole world seemed upset. We could do everything quietly with a calm spirit and not lose our inner peace for anything whatsoever.
For the second evening in a row at the end of mass, I was able to watch as the Botafumeiro was raised and swung high above the congregation, sending incense wafting throughout the cathedral as the smoke blessed those who had gathered. I have had friends come on pilgrimage and not witness this event which is quite the ceremony as the large silver thurible is hoisted by six men and flung across the sanctuary before it is raised even higher and reaches a speed of almost 70 km, I believe. This evening I watched it fly through the cathedral and was amazed. All the prayers that have been offered and all those that remained in the hearts of the people were now rising up to the heavens in this smoke.
In so many ways, my world, and the worlds of those who love me, have been upset in these past 16 months. I am truly hoping that at the end of this pilgrimage that in my heart there will be an inner peace that is capable of sustaining me (us) beyond humanly possible for all that shall come to be in my remaining months. I do believe that Jesus does not want to lose a single crumb from the table. He is the One who provides out of nothing an abundance that is simply unbelievable.
What makes you lose your inner peace?
Out of nothing, what abundance has Christ shown you?
Blessed are you, Creator, God of the Universe, who brings out of nothing, abundance. Slow me down. Help me to keep my inner peace even when it seems my entire world is upside down. Grant me abiding trust in you. Amen.