Is your heart restless? Do you struggle with prayers not being answered? Are you worried about what is happening in the world? Do you need more peace in your life? If you are interested in finding peace in your soul and relieving the anxiety you feel in your heart, I highly recommend Father Jacques Philippe's book, Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart.
In the short book, Father Philippe sets out to teach the reader how to maintain a peace of heart that allows a soul to discover God's will in all things and remain faithful in the midst of any trial. He describes the task of his book by using an analogy:
"Consider the surface of a lake, above which the sun is shining. If the surface of the lake is peaceful and tranquil, the sun will be reflected in this lake; and the more peaceful the lake, the more perfectly will it be reflected. If, on the contrary, the surface of the lake is agitated, undulating, then the image of the sun can not be reflected in it...The more our soul is peaceful and tranquil, the more God is reflected in it, the more His image expresses itself in us, the more His grace acts through us."
Father Philippe explains that "God is a God of peace. He does not speak and does not operate except in peace, not in trouble and agitation...Often, we cause ourselves to become agitated and disturbed by trying to resolve everything by ourselves, when it would be more efficacious to remain peacefully before the gaze of God and to allow Him to act and work in us."
The beauty of the book is that Father Philippe gives concrete and practical advice that can help any soul, regardless what stage of the journey they are on.
Father Philippe urges the Christian soul to develop a habit of meditative prayer, one that focuses on gazing at Jesus in simplicity and humility, stirring within a love of God. He writes, "The heart does not awaken to confidence until it awakens to love; we need to feel the gentleness and the tenderness of the Heart of Jesus. This cannot be obtained except by the habit of meditative prayer, by this tender repose in God which is contemplative."
It is certainly difficult to maintain peace when the world is experiencing such turmoil and the future is unknown. This is why Father Philippe's book is a welcome reprieve, showing the pathway to a peace of soul that trusts in the providence and mercy of God.
As we approach Advent and consider ways to deepen our prayer life, I highly recommend picking up Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart. It is a short book that can be read in small doses each day and can truly help a soul that is struggling to find peace, especially if that soul is undergoing a trial or discerning a major decision.
Our God is a God of peace. Let us not forget that and abandon ourselves to him, trusting that he is in charge and can always bring about a greater good out of any evil.