I’m a pretty positive person. Some might say almost to the point of being annoying. Can’t help it. I really DO see the bright side in situations and people. I see challenges as blessings and opportunities to learn. I wake up happy and optimistic about the day ahead.
Even for people like me, this year has been rough. We haven’t been able to go to school or work, see our friends, eat, play, worship, shop, give birth, or even die and be buried as normal. There’s fear over health and money. The news is heavy. Our world feels heavy. We are tired, sad, confused, and frustrated.
As I walked through my neighborhood a few nights ago, a neighbor was at her mailbox glancing at the things she’d received. I smiled and asked, “Anything good?” “It’s going straight in the garbage,” she said. “It’s all political. I can’t take it anymore.”
We need peace. We crave peace. But, how do we find peace in times of trouble?
That question makes me think of a Gallup Poll study I read years ago. It analyzed how people find peace. The survey asked people to rank nine different statements, and the one that received the highest number of “strongly agree” responses? “My faith gives me inner peace.”
This study said, “This indicates that most Americans expect something of intrinsic value from their faith. They want their faith to have a steadying effect upon their lives, providing inner assurance in the midst of life’s challenges.”
As Catholics, we know that true, lasting, inner peace comes from a loving relationship with Jesus, rooted in trust. To feel God’s gift of peace, we cannot allow situations in our lives to strip us of our connection with Christ.
In his pastoral letter of March 20, 2020, “The Other Side of Corona,” Bishop David Zubik said, “As we become aware of what is missing in our spiritual life—whether that is the Mass or the peace that should come through a relationship with Jesus—the Holy Spirit is nudging us, is speaking to our hearts with an invitation to become closer friends with Jesus, to draw on His love and share it with others.”
So then, in our important pursuit of peace, how can we find ways to become closer friends with Jesus so that we may share His love with others?
A frequent part of my prayers includes asking for help to fully trust in God for all things, so that I may move through my day with the calm confidence that His love provides. That gift of peace is what allows us to show up ready to support others, even in the most difficult times. Through those acts of service, we feel His presence, and a peace that fills our hearts and minds.
We know that the Bible teaches us to live in peace with everyone through showing kindness, compassion, gentleness, and respect. Have you ever taken a few minutes at night to analyze your day through that lens? It’s pretty enlightening. How many times did you show kindness to someone? Compassion? Gentleness? Respect? Don’t beat yourself up if your numbers are low. Be grateful for the awareness and think about how you can do better.
As we remain distanced from each other in a physical sense, His love can keep us connected in a deep way, if we commit to work on softening our hearts, letting Him in, and becoming a disciple. “Peace I leave with you, my own peace I give you; a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Let not your hearts be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27).
God always provides. He promises to hear our prayers. I pray for your health, happiness, and peace.