It appears that contentment is a rare commodity in today’s world. For so many, including myself for the majority of my life, we assume that contentment will be found outside and beyond ourselves. This untruth is reinforced through the many external symbols projected through myriad media outlets that suggest contentment is a purchasable commodity.
My own experience is that such appetites once satisfied, whilst enjoying a measure of immediate contentment, are in fact merely assuaged for a brief moment. Hunger pangs soon return and the search is on for the next contentment therapy moment.
I have chased such moments throughout my life and have at last landed where I think I know I might have paused some years back, only I lacked both the courage and self assuredness to do so. It is no fresh revelation. Rather the word of the ancients handed down by generations of pilgrims who have ventured this way before each of us. I am somewhat ashamed of my own rather immature, and at times pompous, approach to our rich Christian past. This has robbed me of finding the contentment I longed for earlier. Yet now, unlike Bono and U2, I have indeed found what I am looking for.
In case that in turn sounds both pompous and somewhat patronising, whilst I have found a rich contentment that has settled the inner turmoil of soul and mind that has throughout my life assaulted me and too often dictated my mood and behaviours, I have made a fresh discovery. Contentment is both a place of rest and a continuing journey. As such it repeatedly stimulate the appetite, yet an appetite that is directed in one direction; that is to pursue the presence of God with greater passion than last year, last week, indeed even yesterday!
For me crossing that final threshold and becoming a confirmed Catholic, together with the thrill of receiving the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ for the first time, settled something in my heart – I had indeed arrived home. My road might have been circuitous, yet finally I was at rest with myself. I stood with those disciples following Christ’s resurrection and was welcomed with His precious greeting, ‘Peace be with you’. I received that peace with deep gladness and joy. I rest in that peace still, full of contentment.
The peace of all peace be mine this night,
The peace of all peace be yours this night
I am content to rise up in your peace
I am content to recline in your peace
It is the peace of God beyond all understanding
and will keep our hearts continually at rest with the Divine.