“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.” (1 John 4:18)

An email from my brother
is a mundane reminder
of a meeting
with a bullet point agenda,
such as might be sent by any teacher,
colleague, corporate executive,
but for the closing line:

“Peace and Love”

where another might sign off “sincerely,”
or “yours,”
or “cheers,”
or “thanks!”

None of these.

But only love, and peace.

And as I read these words
and as I read them again
my heart leaps and I
laugh
read them aloud
have to sit down because
what a wonder!
contained in these words
behind and between them
lives everything worth saying at all.

Peace: we go together as pilgrims
on the camino to the altar
to receive the one body
and the one blood,

and we share a hug in the pews
in that heavenkissed moment
after the Paternoster
just before the Agnus Dei.

Love: we kneel together as brothers
in an unused classroom at 9pm
in a little sea of candlelight and guitar chords
before the image of the cross

and whisper “come, Holy Spirit”—
lay hands on our brothers’ shoulders‚
hear him lay down his deepest struggles,
let God speak through our lips.

Peace: a holy hour
spent in perfect silence
side by side before the One
who made us both.

Love: an hour spent
speaking frankly to God
side by side with your sister
who feels so far from him.

What better way to end
an email
or a conversation
or any old thing
than a reminder
and an exhortation
and a prayer
and a promise

to lay down our lives for each other
(for there is no greater love than this—)
to have no fear
(for perfect love casts it out—)
to think of whatever is true and pure and pleasing
(for then the God of peace will be with us always—)
to feed his sheep
(for he knows how much we love).

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