REFLECTION FOR TODAY
May 4, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Jesus said to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” Jn. 14:27
One of the greatest longing for the human person today is peace. The desire for interior peace is written upon our very nature. And though many people make choices that lead to interior disorder and even chaos, those choices are often made from a confused sense of what provides fulfillment.
For instance, those who choose to feed an addiction to drugs or alcohol often began that addiction out of a misguided desire for happiness. The temporary fix experienced gives the temporary sense of well-being. But it is very clear that the temporary “peace” one receives from these actions leads ultimately to a loss of the very thing they desire. And when these choices become addictions, the person often finds themself trapped in a downward spiral
Jesus speaks of peace in our gospel reference today. He clarifies what this peace is not: “not as the world gives do I give it to you.” The peace that the world seeks is fleeting and based on compromise. The peace of Jesus, on the contrary, does not need to engage in compromise because it consists in what is truly best for each and all. As such, it is abiding, as we are called to abide in Christ, and as He wishes to abide within each of us.
Do we believe that this sort of peace is truly possible in this world? Through the power of the Holy Spirit, it is possible to fix our lives on this gift, and to abide in it throughout our lives. However, to do so takes a lot of cultivation of our souls through works of sacrifice and the virtues. The goal of all this is formation in the natural and supernatural virtues, that within each of us, God’s grace can take root and flower abundantly.
So, when it comes to true happiness in life, the gift of true interior peace is one of the clearest signs that we are on the right track and are making the right decisions. When we choose the will of God every day, those choices may be difficult and require much initial sacrifice. Love can be hard.
Faithfulness to the moral law of God can be challenging. And refusing to sin is difficult. But choosing the will of God throughout our day, every day, will begin to produce within us the consoling and sustaining gift of the peace of Christ.
True peace produces strength. It leads to interior integrity and wholeness. It produces clarity of thought and certitude in convictions. God’s peace leads to more peace. It leads to choices based on well-thought-out actions of love. Peace leads us to the will of God, and the will of God leads to peace. The cyclical effect is exponential and is one of the clearest guides to happiness in life.
Reflect, today, upon whether you truly have peace in your heart. Do you recognize the still, strong and sustaining presence of God within your soul? Do your daily choices produce greater integrity of heart and clarity of mind? Do you find that you have joy and calm, even amid life’s greatest challenges? Seek out this peace, for if you do, you will be seeking out the good God Who produces this glorious gift within your heart.
My Lord of true peace, You and Your holy will are the only path to the deepest fulfillment of all my desires in life. When I make poor choices that lead to disorder and confusion, help me to turn to You with all my heart. Please unmask any deception I struggle with and give me the strength I need to seek You and Your peace alone. Jesus, I trust in You.