Thursday, December 9th
Now concerning love of the brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do love all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, beloved, to do so more and more, to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we directed you, so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and be dependent on no one. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 (NRSV)
Those who desire life
and desire to see good days,
let them keep their tongues from evil
and their lips from speaking deceit;
let them turn away from evil and do good;
let them seek peace and pursue it.
~ 1 Peter 3:10-11 (NRSV)
Keep your attention focused entirely on what is truly your own concern and be clear that what belongs to others is their business and none of yours. ~ Epictetus
One of the first things to learn if you want to be a contemplative is to mind your own business. Nothing is more suspicious in a man who seems holy, than an impatient desire to reform other men. ~ Thomas Merton
Our Advent focus today is to “keep our nose where it belongs.” Let’s pray for discernment; for the Spirit to turn our noses and focus toward those issues or troubles that need our attention, and to turn our noses and focus away from those that do not. We already have guidance for this discernment, don’t we? We are called to turn to others with caring, compassion, and kindness; we are called to focus on helping those in need, working for peace and justice, and serving one another in humility and love. We are not called to focus on others with judgment, criticism, or condemnation; we are called to focus on healing those who are ill or hurt; comforting those who are sad; and companioning those who are rejected.
1 Peter 3:11 serves as a general guide for us. Today, let’s be mindful to let our noses and focus turn away from evil and do good… as we seek peace and pursue it. May our peacefulness increase as we pause to consider whether our words and actions will be regarded as involvement or intrusion; as we prayerfully decide when to intervene or to ignore; as we learn to recognize what would help and what would hinder. May we turn to every opportunity for good, and turn away from every possibility for harm.
Turn. Where is God calling you to turn? Where is God asking you to turn away?
Prayer: God my Guide, lead me always down the path toward peace. Keep turning my focus to your presence and to the good I can and should do – the direction that brings about greater peace. Turn me away from any acts that will bring about harm, any acts that may bring about my good while diminishing the good of another, any acts that do not please you. Today, keep me ever mindful of where I am putting my nose and my attention, that I may serve as an example of your peace. Amen.