What is peace? If you have never once sat down and tried to put a definition to it, try right now, then continue reading after you are finished.
(This is when the Jeopardy music is supposed to start playing…)
Before we take a deeper look at what this term "peace" is, I want to first determine what peace is not. How many times do we get swept up in the day-dream of "peace?" Things are hectic in our lives, times are difficult, and we simply put our hands on our chins and dream of what life would be like if "we were only at peace." And we think of the ocean, the trees moving ever so calmly in the breeze…we think of life without any problems or difficulties…lots of money…going through life with a smile... Am I right? I mean, you’re not alone here. Most of us have dreamt of one of these things at least once in our lives, and it normally follows a phrase of, "life would be so much easier with _______."
The same type of thinking may hold true for those who desire to follow Christ. Maybe you are one who is working in the Church right now. Maybe you are one who is spending time, daily, with our Lord in prayer, begging for that unfailing peace. Maybe your goal in life is to become a saint (which should be all of our goals) and you are finding yourself still searching for that peace. How many times I remember asking the Lord in prayer for that peace that he promises in the scriptures, only to find that life seems more hectic than before!
Peace in the life of a Christian can so often times be equated to some of those same feelings or thoughts above. We may think "if I only trusted in God more, life would be so much easier," or, "if I only prayed more than I would find that feeling of peace…" Not necessarily. Yes, our God is asking each of us to dive deeper into an intimate relationship with Him, however, when we seek that life, it would be foolish to think that we will all of a sudden feel some sort of constant comfort within our lives. Yes, our God is calling each of us to live a life in His unfailing love, a life where we are His true living saints. However, that is not going to make everything run smooth. Whic saint can you name that defined peace in these terms?
The saints simply followed the Lord’s will. Mother Teresa found her peace in knowing that she was fulfilling what God was asking her to do. She did not find her peace in great feelings of comfort. She found that peace in difficulty, kissing the wounds of those around her. Pope John Paul II did not find that peace in some constant feeling of love with our Lord. He found that peace knowing that he was loving the Lord through the never-ending work that needed to be done.
Peace to a saint is conviction. It is being confident that we are following God’s will for us in our lives. And in following Gods will for us, we work diligently for His will to be fulfilled within us. That is the true peace that we were created for. Not some feeling that we mistakenly think is going to last forever.
Today, as our Lord is calling us to be His saints, let us be open to the true peace that our God desires to give us, the peace that can only be found in following Him, "toiling without seeking for rest, and laboring never to ask for a reward."
Jon Leonetti is a Catholic radio host and speaker, providing keynote presentations and parish missions in churches, schools and conferences across the country. You can find more information on Jon at his website: www.jdleonetti.com