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The Happy Priest on How to Find Inner Peace
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CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - Life is filled with many difficulties and challenges that cause us to worry. When we worry, we torment ourselves with disturbing thoughts.
According to the National Institutes of Health, one in three adults has occasional insomnia, and one in ten adults has chronic sleeplessness. Experts are concerned about the ever increasing consumption of sleeping pills by many Americans.
The remedy for worry is for all of us to trust in God.
In the silence of our hearts, filled with faith, we experience the presence of God. We contemplate him in the beauty of the sunrise, the power of the wind, the majesty of the ocean, the voice of the Scriptures, the presence of the Eucharist and each encounter with our neighbor.
Saint Augustine once said that God is closer to us than we are to ourselves.
We experience God through our life of prayer. Prayer is a continual being in love because God is real. God is personal. No matter what might be going on in our lives, we must always pray and pray daily. Prayer is the air that we breathe.
One of the greatest challenges that we encounter is our inability to be with God through prayer. We can be caught up in the distractions of daily life that prevent us from really encountering God.
Our busy lives require refreshing times of prayer throughout the day.
A serious life of prayer is very important for the times in which we live. The traditional structures of support that have made our lives comfortable and easy in the past are longer present. It is becoming increasingly difficult to live a Christian life in our present day culture.
It seems that God is moving us away from clinging to things, people and institutions. He is calling us to detachment, to the desert, to the journey into the night of naked faith. He is calling us to cling to him and only him. This journey is difficult, frightening at times and even risky. But, those who embark upon the journey will be transformed into living witnesses of the God of love.
However, without a serious spiritual life, anxiety and fear will overwhelm us. If we are a people who live truly spiritual lives, we will be filled with peace and joy no matter what may be going on around us. And this is so, because we will always be able to trust God.
Saint Teresa of Avila, the famous Spanish mystic, once wrote: "Let nothing trouble you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes. God never changes. Patience obtains all. Whoever has God, wants for nothing. God alone is enough."
Saint Teresa provides us profound words of wisdom for our present times. The staggering number of prescription drugs available for the many forms of uneasiness and tension illustrates that many of our contemporaries suffer deep inner turmoil.
It is true that we are experiencing profound challenges: wars, continual threats of terrorism, problems within our Catholic Church, the rapidly accelerating unraveling of moral decency in our society, an uncertain economy, concerns about where our country is headed, and the terrible wounds caused by the dismantling of family life.
Nevertheless, challenges such as these should remind us that we must always trust in God who is always with us.
Our lack of dependence upon God is rooted in a lack of trust. Trust is rooted in faith which is a gift. If your faith is weak, ask God to give you more faith.
Over and over again, I have been urging all of you to incorporate into your lives four practices that are so basic for anyone who wants to be a serious disciple: contemplative prayer, daily Mass or a prolonged visit before the Blessed Sacrament, daily Rosary and the frequent use of the Sacrament of Confession.
These four things will allow you to trust God and they will provide you with the interior peace that everyone seeks.
We all need moments of solitude. Spending a quiet time before the Eucharist, reading the Scriptures during a peaceful moment at home, taking tranquil walks through the woods or along the beach all are necessary for our soul. In order to be with God, we must develop the ability to be alone with ourselves.
Retreating, for a short period of time or a longer period of time from the noise of our daily activities is healthy for our spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health.
Contemplative prayer is a gift from the Holy Spirit. This is the prayer of being with God. It is the prayer of being in love. Words, concepts and images disappear. All that is left is silence; nothing.
Saint Augustine once wrote, "Indeed, Lord, to your eyes, the abyss of human consciousness is naked" (Confessions, 10.2.2).
There may be all sorts of upheaval around us, but by being detached, but not aloof from the things of this world, we remain with and in the Lord. It is with him that we will have inner peace. "God alone is enough."
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Father James Farfaglia, is a contributing writer for Catholic Online and author of Get Serious! - A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics. You can visit him on the web at www.fatherjames.org.
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