Peace is the result of our reconciliation
with God, unless we repent of our sins, life will always be a continuous despair or a
state of false hope. The peace of this world is based on economic security, defense
capabilities of a country and political stability, however that has nothing to do with the
peace of God.
Peace of God starts with peace of conscience, it is a result of having confessed one's sins and having been absolved by a priest. It is the peace of knowing that we are ready to face the judgment of God, if we had to die now.
Peace can only come when all fear of judgment is taken away by finding God in our lives, this of course demands that we live by his commandments and renounce all sin. This truly calls us to live in fear of God, which is also a statement of the Bible which is misinterpreted many times. To fear God is to love him and need him so much that we are afraid to offend him and maybe lose him. If we are not afraid of God we will sin without fear, therefore it is healthy to have fear of his judgement and thus avoid sin, but it is even better if we respect God so much that we would be afraid to lose him with our offenses.
Love is the answer to our need of God, when we love we allow God who is love to flow through our lives, reach out and touch others.
If we find love, we find God
Love is patient - Am I patient or my impatience drives away the Presence of God?
Love is kind - Do I make others comfortable with my kindness? Do they find God in my friendship and kindness?
Love is not envious - Am I envious of any one? Am I unhappiness because of the happiness of others?
Love is not boastful - do I behave like that? Is my pride the cause of not finding God?
Love is not arrogant - God dislikes arrogance because he is meek and humble of heart. Do I behave contrary to humility?
Love is not rude, It does not insist on its own way - Do I see myself doing all the opposite sometimes? No wonder I can not find God.
Love is not irritable or resentful - Do I become angry easily, do I allow resentments in my heart? If I do, God can not live in my heart.
Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth, It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. If I can find anything contrary to love in my heart, I can see why it is so difficult to find him, but in his goodness God is patient with me until I understand the truth, this is why I must pray for humility and wisdom to understand God who is love.
Joy is the perfection of the love of God in our hearts. Our peace indicates the presence of God in our lives, hope keeps us growing in the faith and motivates us to perseverance, love is the constant fire of charity burning within that manifests God's presence to the world through our behavior, it is the love that we receive from God which becomes fruitful and multiply its blessing upon our brothers and sisters through our good actions. Joy is the end result, it is a prelude of the eternal joy promised for eternal life.
Joy is the rewarding state given to those who obey the commandments and live in the Presence of God. It is not only put aside for the saints but for anyone who is willing to do God's will.
Joy is found in suffering when it is offered to God, joy is found in misfortune when it is accepted as coming from the hands of God, joy is found not only in moments of happiness but in every situation where we can see God present.
Joy is found in the knowledge of Jesus Christ who is the cause of our Joy, the savior who has forgiven our sins and is preparing a place for our souls in Heaven.
We have received the Holy Spirit in our baptism, who fills us with Peace, Love and Joy, his presence and his gifts are felt in our lives when we humble ourselves and come before Him with a repentant heart. We need to open our hearts to the influence of the Holy Spirit, for this we must renounce ourselves, accept the cross and follow Jesus joyfully every day or our lives.
1 Corinthians 3:16 Do
you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?
But if anyone violates this temple God will destroy him, because the temple of God is holy.
God created man in his own image, he made him out of dust of the ground and he breathed his spirit in him. So we are made in the image of God and even though we are nothing but the dust of the earth, the spirit of God gives us life and sustains us, and through the death of Christ gives us eternal life. Having that knowledge, we should worship God who is so close to us, who is actually within us giving us life. In other words, deep within us there is an altar of the Presence of God. That very intimate part of our beings is holy because it is the breath of God, his own spirit that is holy and deserves our respect. However we are so indifferent to God's presence that we commit sin before his very eyes, we put God to the test, we violate his temple and we offend him gravely.
The kingdom of Heaven is within you.
If God is within us, we don't have to go very far, we can actually find him within. The question is that we need to get inside that secret place within us in order to be with God,
Exodus 3:5 Remove the sandals off your feet because you are
standing on holy ground .
If we are to find God within us, we must approach his presence with utter humility. Just as when we enter a temple made by human hands with respect, we must have even greater respect when we pray and enter into the temple of our being, because God is truly there to listen to us and to talk to us.
First of all we must open the door with
the virtue of humility, we then must enter with sorrow for our sins because the altar is
the place of immolation where Christ has offers his precious blood for our salvation. In
this holy temple we must come very silently and kneel with the knees of our souls before
God who is found in the silence of our hearts.
God is pleased to reflected in our souls, therefore we must keep our hearts pure, shining like a spotless mirror, since impurity will tarnish the qualities that attract Him.
Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God!. A very solemn disposition to be in the presence of God is required to able to perceive Him and to know Him. To be still means to leave everything behind, to come to God with praise and thanksgiving, not so much to ask him favors but to give him worship, and to surrender our lives to him.
Our souls must as still as a peaceful lake where there is no wind, the surface must become a perfect mirror that will attract God to see himself reflected there. This is why he is asking us to be still, to let go, to let all our worries behind, to come humbly before him in adoration. If we are worried, if we are full of petitions, if we come to talk and not to listen, we present him a stormy lake which will not attract the peace of the Holy Spirit.
To be still calls for us to pray with
humility to enjoy the silence of our hearts where God means everything, where the creature
becomes nothing and God is truly number one. We can imagine God as Living Water, we need
him so much that we have to become like sponges fully saturated with Him.
1 Kings 19:11-13
11 The word of God said to Elijah, "Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake
12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.
The experience of the great prophet is the key to learning that God does not speak with a strong voice but with a loving whisper, he is not found in noisy or purely human activities, he is worthy of being found in the temple of recollection, meditation and silence of our hearts.
Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance. (NRSV)
The best way to measure how the Kingdom of Heaven is within us is by observing the fruits that we are producing. They must be humility, purity, faith, hope, love, charity, obedience, detachment, patience, interior silence, prudence, prayer and perseverance.
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