One Means of Preserving Peace Is Receiving All Things As Coming From God
In e-mail the other day was this: "One great means of preserving a constant peace and tranquility of heart is to receive all things as coming from the hands of God, whatever they may be, and in whatever way they may come." It was attributed to St. Dorotheus.
And it does bring peace. Too often, when things go wrong, we spend all sorts of time incriminating others or ourselves, looking for the evil that spurred a negative event.
Instead, we should receive trials as Jesus did. He never lost His peace when things went "wrong."
It's important to be aware of evil. Don't get us wrong. In fact, one of the great deficiencies in the modern Church is just that: an all but complete dismissal of the devil at a time when he is especially active, and when in many ways we need to circle the wagons. We know from the very ministry of Jesus that evil spirits can cause all sorts of physical, spiritual, and mental sufferings. Scripture tells us that we wrestle in this life not just with flesh, but at a level that is transcendental.
Maladies of all kinds can be caused by the evil one.
And it's important to examine ourselves. Frequently, things do go wrong because of our own shortcomings.
But often evil becomes too much of our focus when what we need to do is recognize those things that go "wrong" as the trials of life.
God sends or allows many "tests" for our own development. When you think back, illnesses, accidents, or other misfortunes leveled the playing fields, didn't they? You learned from them, if you were paying attention. Matters clarified. You saw what was really important. You had time to evaluate the course of your life at a deeper level during times of sickness.
Or maybe you just needed to rest. We're in such a go-go society that the flu or a cold, because they force us to rest, can be blessings!
The Lord "tests" us to develop our humility, our patience, and especially our love. Sometimes, He allows "bad" things to keep us humble, just as He let Paul suffer a "thorn" in his side (2 Corinthians 12:7).
Life is a test full of thorns and trials and once we realize that, we transcend it. We rise above the annoyance, and even the pain. And when that occurs, we find peace.
That peace should come in realizing that no matter what you do, your life on earth will never be perfect, because the world itself is a fallen place. The more we struggle to have things go in a way that we think is "perfect," the more stress we bring. While we're to do our best, and exercise diligence in everything we do, we're not to expect perfection on earth. That's for Heaven, and we only frustrate ourselves and create anxiety when we try to make earth a paradise. Perfection is for those who enjoy anxiety!
Instead we are to go through life with joy even when we're "tried" and to invoke Christ in every circumstance. That means, as He told us, that there will be the daily Cross. And the thorns. Look at the thorns He wore! And look at how they were followed by resurrection.
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