Part 5 is from section one of Searching for and Maintaining Peace, by Fr. Jacques Philippe.
In part five, “The Reasons Why We Lose Our Peace are Always Bad Reasons,” Fr. Philippe reminds me that the peace of Christ and the peace offered by the world are different things altogether. Specifically, he writes that even when things are going well for us in life, or our days go by smoothly, these are not automatic indicators of the peace of Christ in our hearts. My hunch is that this is because the world offers a kind of peace that doesn’t involve the cross, whereas Christ’s peace necessarily involves the cross because it is victory over the cross that produces the peace we understand to be His.
Fr. Philippe suggests that the peace of Christ is found by the man who has many an arrow in his quiver (13). These “arrows” are the “solid convictions, based on faith, that nourish one’s intelligence and fortify one’s heart in times of trial” (13). These convictions are the consolations of Christ. Thus, “if we seek peace as the world gives it [as opposed to Christ’s], if we expect peace in accordance with the reasoning of the world…then it is certain we will never know peace” (14). Instead, we must be firmly convicted of Christ’s Truth, and believe Him when he promises His Peace to us.
And here is where I praise God for His great mercy and love. Glory be to Him, the Almighty!
You see, in the midst of my most intense grief, my heart felt so abandoned by the Lord, but intellectually, I knew He would not leave me. I still struggle with this paradox, and sometimes, the conflict between my head and my heart is irreconcilable for a time. But it is for this paradox that I find myself thankful today. I am thankful for it because it is so painful that it forces my heart to struggle until it comes into unity with my mind.
The Lord has not, will not, never did abandon me. All while I struggled with this conflict, He remained faithful, and He brought me His peace of conviction. Every time my heart doubts His Love for me, my mind reprimands my heart, reminding me that what it feels is not True. The Lord granted that my mind should always remind my heart that what I have always known about God’s love and mercy is the Truth. And so, verily, God’s peace comes through the Cross in these moments of struggle.
Lord, your ways are profound; thank you for allowing me this insight, that which further convicts me of the Truth of your Word. Thank you for inspiring my heart to love you, even in struggle. Thank you for the firm foundation I have in this faith, a foundation which grounds me, even in the most severe moments of doubt. Thank you for your consolation.
Lord, I accept all things, good or bad, bitter or sweet, joys or sorrows; and for all these things I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.