Catherine Doherty dedicated her life to the gospel without compromise. In one of her books, Grace in Every Season, she wrote these very wise words:
“One of the basic fruits of the Christian life should be peace—a deep inner peace in each one of us.
What is there to be unpeaceful about? Difficulties will abound. Trials will dwell with us constantly. Little pressures and big pressures will encompass us with their eternal demands. Temptations will besiege us from within. Loneliness will knock at the door of our hearts. Satan will roar all around us, not only like a lion but like underground thunder. Mental, physical, and spiritual weariness will chant their endless lullaby. The flesh will seek escape into sleep.
These things will happen, but if our soul remains in its “cell of peace”, dwelling at the feet of the Prince of Peace, all this will be as if it were not, for peace is the fruit of charity, and nothing can penetrate that cell unless we let it.
What Catherine Doherty describes for us I think many can relate to, especially over this past year. So, how do we remain focused on Christ (dwelling at the feet of the Prince of Peace)? It seems that there is a stronger force pulling us into the storm and filling us with fear. How do we prevent that from happening? I think one of the ways that we do this is by learning to look at our present circumstances differently. God isn’t asking us to change these circumstances but rather, asking us to look at ourselves.
It is not the exterior circumstances that must change; it is above all your hearts that must change. They must be purified of their withdrawal into themselves, of their own sadness, of their lack of hope.
What does St. Peter say to those who crucified Jesus? “The author of life you put to death…now I know that you acted out of ignorance…but God has brought to fulfill what he announced beforehand through the mouth of the prophets…
And this fulfillment that God has brought about is this: the battle is already won! Death has been destroyed! This is the Easter message. So, why are you fearful and in dread of the future? We have to remind ourselves of this truth—this teaching of our faith. This is how we stay calm at the feet of the Prince of Peace and not be blown around in the swirl of the storm. The trials and the pressures and the temptations will always be with us, but Christ has already won and so we can’t let the evil around us get our attention where the presence of Christ begins to fade from our sight. So, let us try then “to dwell at the feet of the Prince of Peace. Let us work in the noonday darkness, in the many dark nights of the spiritual life, holding high the torch of peace. If we do this our faith will become strong, the vision of our priorities will be clear…”
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Keeping our peace with Christ is a daily calling of self denial. When I feel disrespected and get angry over it, I know that I need to go to be with Our Lord, Jesus. Prayer is my greatest protection from being tempted to conform to the way that the world wants me to deal with situations. Thanks be to God, through my Catholic faith, I have learned to understand and cherish the way of Our Lord, Jesus. He showed us by his example of self denial while in the desert for 40 days, which we are called to do during the season of Lent. Jesus also showed us his way of silence and love while being tortured and persecuted by his fellow Jews and Romans.
It is in the quiet silence of pray and contemplation with Jesus that I can always return to, and be reminded of His Love and Divine Truth that my life is not about me being respected or happy, but living as the Lord calls me to be. It is through his Grace, love and mercy that never fails me. No greater gift is there in life, than in my Lord Jesus Christ!