The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

13 September 2011

Quiet and tranquil

First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers,
petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone,
for kings and for all in authority,
that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life
in all devotion and dignity. 
This is good and pleasing to God our saviour,
who wills everyone to be saved
and to come to knowledge of the truth.
1 Tim 2: 1-8

That we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity.  St. Paul probably wasn’t thinking ahead to his  21st Century readers when he put pen to paper in this letter to Timothy, but these words ring out clear and true to this particular modern girl.

We’ve all heard the litany of the ills of our time, and probably each have a version of our own we can riff on with the smallest provocation.  Your litany would likely include some of these themes: stress, over-commitment, broken families, Godlessness, hopelessness, degraded culture, lowered standards, the noise, the expectations, the evening news.... Doesn’t it make you want to cry uncle?

It is no mistake that St. Paul links quiet and tranquility to devotion and dignity: the first two qualities are necessary for the latter to flourish.  Being prayerful, recollected people is difficult if we do not provide the conditions. St. Paul acknowledges this fact by directing us to supplicate, to pray, and petition that we be able to lead such lives no matter our role.

Perhaps because I am one of those people who frequently recites the litany of the ills of our time and prays for a radical change in how we live, I understand the last verse to mean what we read before is a requirement for this bit: to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth, we must lead a quiet and tranquil life in devotion and dignity. There is no other way. Paul is practically admonishing us to slow down, to chill out, to focus on First Things, and in doing so we will please God.

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