Our Lady of America, Please Intercede for Us and Give Peace to Us!: Monday, July 4, 2016 (The Holy Year of Mercy")

J.M.J. Our 240th birthday as a country demands thanks to God through our beautiful Patroness. Despite our nation's shortcomings, may we be filled with love for all and zeal to make things right in the sight of the Almighty.

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From the Argus Leader, May 21, 2016

Along with tips about cooking, exercise and weight loss, advice concerning how to obtain “inner peace” is one of the most searched for items on the Internet. The desire for tranquility of mind is on the minds of many.

And given our restless age, that is understandable. Many pine for quieter, happier days due to the intense and increasing rancor and chaos around us.

There is a host of ideas about how to achieve inner peace. The recommendations given by a Franciscan three hundred years ago strike me as wise and still relevant.

1. To be attached only to God. Status and wealth may be beneficial in some cases, but to be overly concerned about them is to invite inner havoc. The soul’s primary need is communication with its Creator. We need to view objects and persons in reference to God and His will if peace is to reign within our hearts.

2. To surrender to Divine Providence. Sanctity and inner peace are attained only when God’s will holds sway. The Lord knows best. Humbly accepting His will is vastly different from reluctantly putting up with it. When we yield to the divine plan, we demonstrate a belief that God will sustain us—come what may.

3. To accept suffering and hardship. Human nature tends to resist difficulties. Yet, inner peace entails coming to grips with the inevitable obstacles that confront all of us. Spiritual growth—and inner peace—hail from and lead to an admirable, necessary composure of soul.

4. To undertake that which our situation in life demands. Often we take upon ourselves too many or too few activities at once. “The more, the better” does not necessarily apply in the realm of good works. Prudence dictates what we can accomplish. Inner turmoil may spring from a plethora or a dearth of enterprises, even when they are morally good. Prayer and counsel will determine what we should undertake and what we should forgo.

Charity covers a multitude of sins, and gratitude opens us to a fresh outlook on what God is doing for us, despite our problems. Thankful hearts resonate with the Virgin Mary’s declaration: “The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name.”

Inner peace derives from conformity to the Father’s will and gratitude for it. Only then may we experience, as Jesus said, the peace which the world cannot give.

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