“Pax multam diligentibus legem tuam..”(Psalm 119:165)♰
♰ The godly have peace, for, even surrounded by adversity, they are confident of God’s loving care and his promise that they will not stumble (see Proverbs 4:12; 1 John 2:10). Great peace and well-being (Cf. Psalm 37:11; Isaiah 26:3, 12; 32:17; 54:13; 57:19).
What is meant by the law and the Holy Spirit mentioned here? It’s nothing more than the voice of the Holy Spirit itself within us. If we maintain our heart in a calm and collected manner, we will be able to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit which speaks with our consciousness and as we all know, it can prevent us from making choices that we ought not to make, whilst guiding and invites us to make others.
We are able to resist this inner voice; We can also follow it when we want to, or we can resist it whilst we bemoan the voice internally. In the first case, when we disobey the law. In the second, when we only accept and follow half of what that inner voice is telling us, but what is obvious to us all is that we do not like being told what to do, because at times it guides us to do the opposite to what we want to do.
Love the law! It is our becoming accustomed to following the voice of the Holy Spirit so faithfully within us that we become joyful to do so. Learning to love and trust the dove of the Holy Spirit whom speaks to us serenely and lovingly within our heart, that we begin to unquestionably follow the law with love.
“Abundant peace have they whom love your law!” Why “abundant?” Firstly, to mark how inexhaustible the spiritual wealth it brings can be and how very profound it is, sometimes overwhelmingly so.
As soon as a soul, through a generous effort of love and a faithful conformity to grace, a soul that is resolute and never refuse anything to God, as soon as whatever He asks for is given to Him, in time and throughout all of eternity, from that moment onwards, God will pour an ineffable peace into you which completely fills you and which will animate a deep contempt for all the things that are worldly and non-spiritual within you. It gives us a genuine experience of God.
The inner peace you will possess, is the effect of the presence of God within your heart, and as long as this peace is preserved, it will also keep you in the presence of God.
This peace is our consolation, our strength, our counsel; It is the source of our spiritual advancement. The more intimate it becomes, unshakable, inaccessible to all that can disturb it, the more we will grow in perfection; So that the height of this peace and the height of perfection, are exactly the same thing. Therefore, the secret is, for us to maintain and increase that inner [and outward] peace, in the midst of all of the trials of the inner life. Let’s listen to the advice of a learned spiritual director on this subject! Whom gives us the six rules that will allow us to retain this peace:
«Enjoy peace as well as health, without paying attention»
If you constantly go to feel for your own pulse in order to check that you are not ill, it wouldn’t take very long for you to actually start becoming ill. Likewise, you would run the risk of losing your peace of mind if you spent most of your time wondering whether you are healthy or not!
Peace can often be confused with the feeling of peace, believing we no longer have peace because we no longer feel it. This is, I can assure you, utterly incorrect. In the beginnings, peace is accompanied by a delicious feeling because it is something new; but with time and practice, this feeling diminishes. Moreover, some of you may feel it more, whilst some of you will feel it less. Well! the absence of this feeling does not prevent you from having peace. On the contrary, it is then that it becomes solid and perfect.
This is how a sick person, when he recovers, feels his strength and health returning to him, but he feels nothing when he is fully recovered. So we should not regret this feeling of peace any more than we would regret the pleasant emotions of convalescence when we are well.
“Abundant” (in Latin abundāns) can also be taken in the sense of the word “multiple.” God grants us grace and it makes us feel happy. One day, this feeling of happiness disappears. But then, if we remain faithful to Him, we find at the bottom of our heart another happiness, this is a far deeper and purer peace.
When God allows us to suffer, it is always to ensure that we seize that deeper joy within that deeper part of our hearts. In this sense, the peace of the faithful soul is multiplied because, under this initial peace, there is another far more concrete and vigorous form of peace which is concealed beneath it, another deeper and purer peace, which is reserved for us for those hours when we face our trials and which are more painful that usual.
«Undertake all of your actions with simplicity, without over-thinking them, either whilst making them or after they have been completed»
Anxious questioning is contrary to our peace. As long as our moral sense has no reason to reproach any of our actions, there is no need to question yourself; Just remember to always remain attentive to that voice when it speaks to you and of course act upon what it tells you. But when the voice is silent, why keep asking yourself: “Was I righteous or sinful? Do I do right or wrong? Were my intentions good or bad?” Asking only makes the peace dissipate.
«Never allow yourself to be troubled or upset by shadowy fears»
All thoughts, all fears that are vague, common, or that are without a fixed and determined form, do not emanate from God nor from consciousness, but emanate from our own imagination or from the “slanderer and destroyer”himself, whom we all know as the devil.
For example, the scruples of certain souls who always and repeatedly fear going to confession, they fear not having said everything that they should have, or explain poorly and obfuscate, and similar things, or those who are afraid of not fulfilling the necessary conditions to receive Holy Communion. All these vague fears tire and torment the soul needlessly and therefore cannot be attributed to God. When God reproaches the soul, it is always based on something understandable, He is always precise, determined and earnest, without confusion. Therefore, we have to regard our vague fears with contempt and courageously turn a deaf ear to them.
«Troubles and turmoil, never originate from God»
God never disturbs a soul who sincerely wants to come to Him. He warns, He may even retake it by force, but He never does it through confusion or distress. He sees the souls faults, sees its repentance, He repairs it, and He does all of this peacefully. If a soul is troubled, that trouble always comes from itself or is demonic in origin, and the soul must first of all be allowed to calm down.
«When you get the impression that you have lost that peace»
When we are in a state of bitterness, or we are sad, melancholy (to be down in the dumps), in a word, when we cannot explain ourselves, doing absolutely nothing to change anything in our ordinary behaviour, as long as we remain in this painful state.”
Holy Communion, prayer, must be attended to exactly as it would usually. In addition, we should not make any firm commitments nor accept any proposals whilst we are in this state. Then peace will undoubtedly return and the devil will have achieved absolutely nothing nor would he have claimed anything from you.
We are made for others, not for ourselves. It is easier to know the face of another, than it is to know our own face, just as it is easier to see clearly into another persons soul than into ours. That’s why one’s spiritual director will always have more wisdom in judging our case, than we would ourselves.
Confidence in your superiors and your director, the desire to give yourself and confide with good and open heart, that’s what assures us peace, a peace in the embrace of our Lord. Peace therefore, is maintained through our unwavering obedience of listening to God, of listening to our spiritual director, and not listening to your vanity or to your imagination.
- …«(אי: למו מכשול) non est ipsis offendiculum — there is no obstacle (stumbling-block) for them»… (Psalm 119:165)
The second part of the verse of Holy Scripture means “there are no obstacles for those who keep their hearts in abandonment.” There is always disquiet where there is sin. That sense of perfect peace and of rest belongs to them that maintain love and keep God’s Law unwaveringly. Nothing would offend you; rather, you will not encounter any stumbling-blocks. Nothing would cause you to stumble, much less cause you to fall away from God’s grace.
The apparent obstacles, that jagged pebble that we step on with our bare feet, simply becomes a step that we have been invited to surmount; every time something stops us dead in our tracks, becomes yet another opportunity for us to draw closer to God. Remember that the only difference between a stumbling-block and a stepping-stone is the manner in which you use them
This is especially true when these obstacles are the result of other people. Within a religious community, there are always confreres or superiors who irritate us or who hurt our feelings. Don’t allow yourself to be troubled or discourage by the manifestation of these obstacles. Instead, see them as an opportunity to exercise patience, meekness, and kindness, for which you will receive the reward of more peace. Have we perhaps not already won a hundredfold?
We will also have to remain patient with ourselves. This is extremely important, it may be the most important thing in your inner life.
Never allow yourself to lose any peace for the faults you may fall into. Humble yourself once, repair the harm you have done if that is at all possible, and then, think no more about it.
Being troubled, on the pretext that we are still the same, that we have not correct our mistakes, or that we haven’t made any progress whatsoever, is still self-love, its narcissistic, vainglory and must be avoided at all costs.
In a word, real humility, abandonment, love and peace, are things that are one and the same, and therefore are impossible to separate.
It is my most ardent wish and prayer that you may all be endowed with love and a deeper inner peace forever within the heart of our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen.