Sunday, May 13, 2007

Five Minutes Peace

When my kids were small, they had a book called Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy. Poor Mrs. Large asks her kids for 5 minutes peace after breakfast. She heads for the bath, visions of bubbles dancing in her head. Any mother knows what comes next: the kids, of course. In the end, the kids end up in the tub and Mrs. Large gets her peace - all 3 minutes and 45 seconds of it back in the kitchen. "Five minutes peace" is now the code in our house for "Mom needs privacy, please don't...(fill in the blank: stand outside the bathroom door and converse, ask me to sign your math test while I'm up to my elbows in cat litter, you get the idea!)"

Don Riley, OSA, currently the provincial of the Augustinian province of St. Thomas of Villanova gave a wonderful homily for Mother's Day, which drew on the Gospel for the day (John 14:23-29) where Christ promises to leave peace as his gift to the world. He stopped preaching 5 minutes sooner than usual, then suggested we give the mothers in the assembly "Five Minutes Peace", a gift he thought they rarely enjoyed. He asked the lector to time it, and we sat down - in peace. My first thought was that kids would get restless, adults would whisper, little ones would cry - what is he thinking? But it worked. Not only did silence take hold, but peace did as well. It was a risk, but one worth taking. I wonder how often we fail to take a risk for peace, since it seems that whatever we might try would be so little in the face of so much conflict and could not possibly have an effect should it succeed?

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