Inner peace depends on you
By Father John Catoir, JCD
People have asked me: how do you prepare your soul to receive inner peace? It’s a good question because inner peace is a gift from God, and you need to know how to accept it, and make it your own.
A few obvious things might prevent you from gaining inner peace, and they must be eliminated. Drug and alcohol abuse will cause needless cravings that disturb your peace. Anger and vindictiveness will stir your passions, and create needless anxiety. Work on forgiveness.
But, if you really want to go into training, and are willing to overcome these obstacles, I have just what you need. It’s a special prayer that will reap a harvest of blessings in your life.
The type of prayer I’m referring to is not based on your emotions; no need to beg or force feelings of any kind. True prayer is in the will. The will says yes or no. Cardinal Mercier, a 19th century prelate from Belgium, wrote this prayer, which captures the idea that true prayer is in the will to give yourself to God.
“Holy Spirit, Soul of My Soul, I adore you. Guide me, strengthen me, and console me. Tell me what to do. Give me your orders. I promise to submit to whatever you desire of me, and accept everything you allow to happen to me. Let me only know your will.”
Once you get into the habit of saying this prayer on a regular basis, your life will take on a new level of enthusiasm. Peace will come to you. Peace is the gateway of joy, and spiritual Joy is the infallible sign of the Holy Spirit.
I grant you, this prayer is a bit risky. What if God asked you to do something you don’t want to do, or something beyond your strength? Wouldn’t that make you more anxious than ever. Yes, it might, but here’s the rub. If you trust God, there’s no need to doubt His love. He will always do right by you.
Remember, God designed you for a purpose. He knows what your heart wants and needs. He would never ask you to go against your conscience. Besides, He will supply all the strength you need for any challenge that life may present.
How do I know this? Because I’ve lived it for decades. If the truth be known, I didn’t want to be a priest at first. I stubbornly resisted my vocation for years, but the secret desire for it was there all the time. I was just afraid. I’m so glad I took the risk.
Men and women from all walks of life have gone through this same type of struggle, and felt God’s strength guiding them through the storms of life. They turned their lives over to God, and never looked back.
Once you attain a prayerful state of peace, your life will take on a meaning that this world cannot give. Wouldn’t you like to speak and act spontaneously, and not from fear? Wouldn’t you like to enjoy the feeling that your soul is in harmony with God’s will?
Say this prayer, and no matter what your vocation is, you’ll be on your way to true holiness.
Father John Catoir is a retired priest of the Diocese of Paterson.