Back in December, I made an important appointment. I felt like I was teetering along a fine line of hold-it-all-together and my-head-may-spin-off-its-axis. Can anyone relate? Hello? Bueller?
At any rate, the appointment I made was with an old friend. Back when we were young and rambunctious college Freshman, we met and became buddies at Franciscan University. Now he is known in many parts as the Skating Friar (skating as in skateboarding, and yes, Friars sometimes do other things that people do then just pray 24/7). Our appointment was for what we practicing Catholics like to refer to as Spiritual Direction – basically, I like to think of it as some therapy and direction for the soul.
You can see, it took at least 3 tries to get a decent photo out of us LOL
So, during our time of Spiritual Direction and Reconciliation, the topic of interior peace surfaced. Fr. Pio recommended a small book for me to read, and gave me a copy. Do yourself a favor – get this book. It’s well worth the $7.95 for this little gem, “Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart” by Father Jacques Philippe. It’s a small booklet too, so not hard to get through.
I wish I had heard of this Fr. Jacques Philippe before. He is profound, yet simple and straightforward — definitely not hard to grasp. He maintains a great balance between the flesh and the spirit, psyche and spirituality.
I’ve not read the whole book, as I am letting his words marinate slowly, and taking it a couple pages at a time through some prayer-times. Great Lenten reading, or anytime reading, really.
An important concept on peace, one that I had never really put together like he does so clearly, has become my recent revelation. Often embroiled in the struggles of life and the vices to overcome, the battle can easily be waged in the wrong direction – focusing on the wrong thing altogether. Check this out:
“The believer, throughout the entire battle, whatever the degree of violence, will strive to maintain peace of heart in order to allow the God of Armies to fight for him. Additionally, he must realize that this interior peace is not only a condition for spiritual combat, but is quite often the goal itself. Very frequently, spiritual combat consists precisely in this: defending one’s peace of heart against the enemy who attempts to steal it from us.”
How silly it seems now after reading that, that I have too often focused on trying to fix whatever situation or thoughts/emotions that are disturbing the peace, rather than just focusing on maintaining interior peace.
And let’s be clear about peace here. This is not to be confused with “Kumbaya” hold hands and smile feel good stuff. Father is clear to distinguish that this is not about what the world defines peace as: “Because everything is going well, because we aren’t experiencing any annoyances and our desires are completely satisfied, etc.”
Isn’t it so easy to get caught up in that mentality – that all has to going in our favor for us to be at peace. It’s like we doggedly chase after this illusive but deeply desired state of being, barely finding a moment of peace, because we are seeking peace the world cannot give, and trying to find it in all the wrong ways.
What is peace? Read and ponder in your hearts Romans 11:29 and John 16:33. Then leave me some comments when your done.
And get this book. I recommended it to a friend of mine, who wrote this to me the other day,
I have been experiencing a peace in my life like never before. I am trying to put myself into a “place of peace” and let the Lord do the rest of the work
May you experience a deep and abiding place of peace, peace of heart.