to achieving inner peace
21 , 2002
Reverend José H. Gomez
Auxiliary Bishop of Denver
In the First Book of
Kings, the prophet Elijah is told, "Go outside and stand on the mountain
before the Lord; the Lord will be passing by." This Scripture reminds
us that God is passing by.
God seeks us with
a fatherly and merciful glance. Before the creation of the world, he chose
us to be saints without blemish in his sight.
The prophet Elijah
searches for God in a strong wind, in the earthquake and in the fire, and
does not find him. It was in a gentle whispering that he found the Lord.
It is in the quiet stillness that we find God in our lives.
We live in a noisy
world. We've been raised in a culture that not only avoids silence, but
also is terrified by it. Mother Teresa described silence and its relationship
to God by saying, "God is the friend of silence ... we need silence
to be able to touch souls." This includes our souls.
Having silent time
is essential to achieving inner peace. I urge you to make time for silence
in your life. Silence is one of the ways to experience the presence and
closeness of God. This is how we come to know God, rather than just knowing
God is in the center
of our soul. He is with each one of us. We are never alone.
Along these lines,
I can't help but think of the disciples caught in the storm. They were paralyzed
by their fears. They saw Jesus walking across the water and thought he was
Sometimes we feel
like we are in the middle of a storm. Our personal weaknesses, lack of world
peace, fear in our country, even our everyday activity can make life seem
like an unending storm.
The stormy sea provides
a setting in which Jesus not only shows his power over the forces of nature,
but tests the faith of Peter and teaches the apostles the degree of faith
necessary to weather the storms that are part of Christian life.
St. Peter was fine
as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. But when he looked away, he began
to sink. Even when faith is weak in difficult times, the hand of Christ
is there to catch us: "(Peter) cried out, 'Lord, save me!' Immediately
Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter, and said to him. 'O you of
little faith, why did you doubt?'" (Matt 14:30-31). Like Peter, when
we, too, start to feel as if we are sinking we should cry out, "Lord,
save me!" He will hear us. He will not let us sink: "Take courage,
it is I; do not be afraid" (Matt 14:27).
The past few weeks
have been extraordinary for the Church on the American continent because
of the presence of the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, in Canada, Guatemala
and Mexico. I had the great blessing of accompanying the Holy Father to
Canada and Mexico. It was an invigorating time of renewed faith for millions
We were inspired by
Pope John Paul II's example of service to God and to God's people. The Holy
Father is physically weak. He can hardly walk, yet he gives himself with
great generosity. His presence gives witness to hope and love of God.
Among the many moments
of grace I experienced these past weeks was watching Pope John Paul II pray
at the end of Juan Diego's canonization Mass. The Holy Father knelt before
the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and spent time in silence, praying. It
was an emotional moment for everyone and, once again, a teaching moment:
Silence that facilitates prayer an intimate conversation with God,
in this case, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe.
Another special moment
of Pope John Paul II's trip to Mexico occurred when the Holy Father reminded
people of a blessing parents in earlier times gave to their children. They
used to say, "May God make you like Juan Diego." The blessing
both asked God's protection for the child and challenged the child to follow
the example of a saint.
May God, through the
intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, bless all of us and help us to
renew our desire to practice our faith and to strive for sanctity in our
daily life. May God turn each one of us into a saint!