Three things I have learnt since discovering the beautiful writings of Father Jacques Philippe’s “Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart”.

1. We mustn’t be surprised when we fall and make mistakes.
We often feel at most peace and in control when everything runs smoothly, we successfully stick to our designated prayer schedule, and we avoid falling into sin. However, the moment we make a mistake we become upset and agitated. Oftentimes, this sadness and disappointment we feel after falling into temptation is not due to a realisation that we have offended God, but rather, because our pride has been pierced. The “perfect” image we have created of ourselves has been tainted and we cannot bear the fact that we are not as good as we think we are. This loss of peace in moments of weakness exemplifies a false humility. True humility is being able to see yourself for what you truly are – a fallen creature who cannot do any good without the help of God’s grace. If we seek to maintain our peace during moments of weakness, we ought to practice this sincere humility, to “no longer make a drama of [our] poverty” but to “accept it joyously” because we “put [our] hope, not in [ourselves], but in God”. Furthermore, Fr Jacques goes on to say that “we will be saints the day when our inabilities and our nothingness will no longer be for us a subject of sadness and anxiety, but a subject of peace and joy”.

2. God can only work when there is peace in one’s heart.
In order to fulfil God’s will, we must be able to hear and respond to His voice. This capacity to hear God’s voice can only be achieved when our hearts are tranquil and calm. However, the devil is constantly at work to prevent us from pursuing God’s will and he does this by giving us reasons why we should not trust in God, reasons which are based on lies and deceit. In these moments of difficulty, we must turn towards our gaze upwards to the Heavenly Father, recognising that He is “infinitely more capable of rendering us happy than we ourselves are, because He knows us and loves us more than we can ever know or love ourselves”. Reminding ourselves of this beautiful reality, is fundamental towards maintaining peace in our hearts and thus, be able to discern God’s will for our lives.

3. When faced with incertitude, do not panic! Instead, we must abandon ourselves into the loving hands of God.
There are many cases where God allows us to face incertitude. In this moment of uncertainty and ambiguity, we can feel overwhelmed and anxious, ultimately losing our inner peace. In such cases, we ought to abandon ourselves even more! God favours souls who, even in the face of incertitude, choose a particular path, but do so with profound peace because they trust that God will guide their decision and bring forth fruit. What matters most is that our intentions are to please God and are not self-seeking. “Whatever I do, it will be good, if I have the intention to do good. That which we consider good, God accepts and considers as good. Don’t be chagrined if, after a certain time, you see that these things are not good. God looks at the intention with which we begin and He grants the reward according to this intention” (Divine Mercy in my Soul: The Diary of the Servant of God, St Faustina). Therefore, good will is sufficient to be able to maintain one’s peace.

Pax hominibus bonae voluntatis – Peace on earth to men of goodwill!

Reviewed by Faith Andres – Veritatis Publishing

Leave a Reply