Tranquility of order

Published May 22, 2022, 12:05 AM

by Fr. Rolando V. De La Rosa, OP


Fr. Rolando V. dela Rosa, O.P.

One of the most beautiful movies I have seen is about a group of British senior citizens who decided to travel to the city of Jaipur, India and stay in a hotel that was advertised as “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”

But when they got there, they were greatly disappointed. The building was dilapidated. Few of the facilities were working. There was often no water in the faucet and no air conditioning system. Flies and mosquitoes were everywhere, and the food was stomach-wrenching. One of them described the place as “an assault on the senses.”

Unable to bear their situation any longer, they furiously complained to the owner that there was nothing right about the hotel. The owner calmly replied: “My father told me that everything will be all right in the end. So, if everything is not all right, it is not yet the end.”

In our gospel reading today, the disciples of Jesus were similarly situated to the British pensioners in Marigold Hotel. Upon hearing that Jesus was going away, the disciples were overwhelmed with grief, uncertainty, and fear. They feared the prospect of being persecuted or even killed. They feared the imminent collapse of their hopes and dreams. Perhaps their greatest fear was to lose the status they earned while they were with Jesus. Without Him, they would certainly revert to their former standing in society: anonymous, insignificant, and ignored. But Jesus told them: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27).

The opposite of peace is not war, but fear. Fear causes anxiety, which creates a lot of mental, physical, and spiritual disorders in our life. St. Augustine’s definition of peace reassures us, who are always afraid. He wrote: “Peace is the tranquility of order.”

Fear causes disorder in our life because it distorts our focus. When we are afraid, we conjure up dreadful things that might happen. The first step to overcoming fear is to put our life in order, arrange our priorities, and devote our time and effort to what is most important and valuable. We put order in our life by trying to see things with the right perspective, concentrating on what we can do realistically in the present without overthinking the outcome. In a way, Jesus’s words echoed the words of the owner of Marigold Hotel: “Everything will be all right in the end, so if everything is not all right, it is not yet the end.”

When I was a boy, my father built a restaurant on the first floor of our two-story house. He placed this sign in front of the cashier: “Do your best and God will do the rest.” But after a few months, due to a nationwide economic downturn, many clients who patronized our restaurant started eating on credit. In those times when credit cards were but a figment of the imagination, it was difficult to run after debtors. My father was on the verge of bankruptcy and even thought it was the end of his restaurant business.

But after much thinking, he came up with a solution. He removed the sign. He thought there was no need to remind the cashier to do his best. The ones who needed a reminder were the non-paying debtors. My father made a huge signage and placed it in the most prominent place in the restaurant. It went: “In God we trust. All the rest pay in cash.” My father’s restaurant flourished, and he was at peace.