“…our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” – The Confessions, St. Augustine
Is your heart restless? I know mine is. What in my life causes my heart to be restless? Fear, anxiety, doubt, lack of charity – all of these and many more attitudes can cause our hearts’ to be restless. So what is it that causes a heart to be at peace? There it is, peace. A restful heart must be at peace. Peace is the opposite of turmoil. With peace, one has friendship, love, reconciliation, truce and unity. I like the sound of that!
Let me deviate from this question briefly and pose a different question: How does someone with a restful heart act? Best place to start looking is at the saints. But I have a hard time connecting with the life of someone whom I have never met. Reading about someone else’s extraordinary life can, at times, feel distant or removed- maybe even fairytale-ish? So let’s instead imagine someone who we know or have met. Some of you reading this may have had the chance to meet a current or past pope- good starting point! However, if you have not, no worries! Think of someone you know or have met who exudes a heart full of peace…
Are these people who have restful hearts’ courageous? Possibly. Humble? Probably. Have they seen the deepest depths of despair and darkness? Most definitely. One cannot know true peace of heart without having an intimate knowledge of both the immense joys and immense sorrows found in this world. These people experience it in themselves and in those around them. You can almost always see it in their eyes, and most definitely in the way they treat others. Yet, they have not over-indulged in the joys nor despaired in the sorrows that they have found- they maintain a virtuous balance. There is something about how they live their lives that makes them someone you want to become- and not because of who they are or what they do, but because of the interior peace that they have for their own. I don’t know about you, but I want that peace too!
Recall the words I used to describe peace: friendship, love, reconciliation, truce, unity. All of these are present within the sacraments. Reconciliation in the sacrament of penance. Unity in the Most Holy Eucharist. Love and friendship in the sacrament of matrimony. And many more! I know that if I am to pursue a life of peace with a restful heart, it must be centered on the sacraments. The next step, then, is to spend time in adoration. The most peaceful place you can find yourself is in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Once you’ve done these things, the last step is to bring that peace with you wherever you go or with whatever you do. The important lesson to keep in mind is to not run away from pain and sorrow nor anything pleasing, especially during this Lenten season. Remember, interior peace requires a knowledge of both the pleasing and the pain-filled. A restful heart is the prize for the one who has seen both sides of the coin but chooses to pick it up anyways. Once found, there is no one who can take that peace away from you…
Photo taken from http://manupministries.net/conferencesretreats/climbing-mountain