Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Fr. Jacques Philippe

May the peace of Christ reign in your hearts – Colossians 3:15

The fundamental problems of our spiritual life:

  • How can I permit the grace of God to freely operate in my life?
  • And how can I communicate this peace to others, if I myself do not have it?

 

Part One: Interior Peace, The Road to Saintliness

  • Peace  –  is the simplicity of spirit, the serenity of conscience, the tranquility of the soul and bond of love. Peace is order, it is the harmony in each one of us, it is a continual joy that is born in witnessing a clear conscience, it is the holy joy of a heart wherein God reigns. Peace is the way to perfection, or, even better, in peace dwells perfection.
  • Without Me, you can do nothing –   It is essential to realize that all the good that we can do comes from God and from Him alone: Apart from Me, you can do nothing, Jesus said (John 15:5).
  • Interior peace and apostolic fruitfulness – The peace of which we speak is that of the Gospels – it is a necessary corollary of love, of a true sensitivity to the sufferings of others and of an authentic compassion. The more our soul is peaceful and tranquil, the more God is reflected in it, the more His image expresses itself in us, the more His grace acts through us.
  • Peace and spiritual combat – The Christian life must be viewed as combat, a war without mercy. A scene of constant and sometimes painful battle, which will not end until death – a struggle against evil, temptation and the sin that is in him. But, this struggle is by no means hopeless – rather, it is the combat of one who struggles with the absolute certitude that the victory is already won, because the Lord is resurrected.
  • Peace is often at stake in the struggle –  We must strive to maintain peace of heart in order to allow the God of Armies to fight for us. Interior peace is not only a condition for spiritual combat, but is quite often the goal itself. Spiritual combat is the defending of one’s peace of heart against the enemy who attempts to steal it from us. “The devil does his utmost to banish peace from one’s heart, because he knows that God abides in peace and it is in peace that He accomplishes great things.” – St Francis de Sales
  • The reason why we lose our peace are always bad reasons –  this conviction is most certainly not founded on human considerations. It can only be a certitude of faith, founded on the Word of God. It does not reside in the reasoning on the world, as Jesus clearly told us: Peace I leave with you, My own peace I give to you; a peace the world cannot give, this is My gift to you. Let not your hearts be troubled… (Jn 14:27)

 

Part Two: How to react to that which causes us to lose peace

  • The trouble of life and the fear of being without –  Our great drama is this: Man does not have confidence in God. We hesitate to give our lives entirely to God because we do not have confidence that God is capable of making us completely happy. And we seek to assure our own happiness by ourselves and we makes ourselves sad and unhappy in the process.
  • Our difficulty in believing in Providence –  We cannot experience this support from God unless we leave Him the necessary space in which He can express Himself.  “The measure of Divine Providence acting on us is the degree of confidence that we have in it.” – St. Francis de Sales.  Saints relied fully on Providence. And God performed miracles for them.
  • The fear of suffering –  “God does not permit unnecessary suffering” – St. Therese of Lisieux.  We must have the confidence of a child in God, in His Love and in His Wisdom.
  • To grow in confidence: A child’s prayer –  If God is for us, what evil could possibly harm us? One can never insist enough on the necessity of quiet, meditative prayer – the real source of interior peace. The heart does not awaken to confidence until it awakes in love. Make the daily holy hour.
  • One abandons oneself completely or not at all –  The measure of our interior peace will be that of our abandonment, consequently of our detachment.  Anything that we choose to manage by ourselves will continue to make us more or less uneasy.  Whoever would save his life will lose it, while whoever loses his life for My sake will find it (Mt 16:25).

 

 

 

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