I’ve often heard and read that peace and joy should be the natural atmosphere of each Christian’s heart…
That the peace of Christ is a “rich peace, full of sweetness and mildness”, and that it is indestructible (quoting from the late Archbishop of Mexico Luis Martinez’s book “When God is silent”).
Although I have, at certain times been able to experience this peace, it has never been my constant companion. I don’t know if it has to do with my background, but I deeply desire to manifest this peace in every aspect of my life, so that I can better bring Christ’s love to others.
I’ve had counseling from various “experts”, but due to various factors (my country’s situation, the way my mind works, my former religion, what I feel called to do in life in the context of certain patriotic ideals etc.) the advice I got either didn’t work for me, or was very misguided.
I’ve been a Catholic for four years now, and I’m always enchanted by the beauty of Catholicism…
However, I didn’t grow up around religious/pious people and it’s more difficult to “learn” trust and surrender later in life… (I grew up in a certain “Christian” denomination that regularly employed spiritually abusive methods, e.g. quoting Scriptures to threaten and intimidate others)
For example, to surrender to God’s love… that’s difficult when the name of God was often used to threaten/manipulate/intimidate people.
To pray to the saints–it’s so beautiful and comforting, but my previous denomination was fiercely anti-Catholic and so the basic foundation of trust/relationship to these saints is just not very strong (not strong enough to withstand the storms of life?)
Trust was also severely lacking in our home in general (lots of familial conflicts, lots of internal conflicts in my country at that time, civil wars, riots etc.)
So it’s difficult for me to “imitate” the trust that seems to come naturally to so many Catholics, the trust/surrender that leads to true peace.
P.S. I’ve been to a “secular” counselor, who admitted to me that he wanted to have faith but couldn’t. His advice: “You seem to be on the right track. Continue being a good Catholic…”
But how? I often feel that I’m not “made of the right Catholic stuff”. I have really holy priest/friends and confessors–Dominicans and Opus Dei mostly, and their trust and surrender to the Lord and the Blessed Virgin is just amazing… I really want to have that… but the natural “wariness” is always there, blocking the path to true surrender. I think it’s “natural” for people raised in my circumstances to learn to have this “wariness” very, very early in life, in very early childhood. I never developed that “trust” to my parents, teachers or Sunday school teachers (due to the atmosphere at that time)
So to re-learn this basic “trust” to God and various holy beings later in life, which I never had to begin with, is very difficult. And I think that without this trust/surrender there can be no Christian peace.
Please pray for me my friends; if it’s not too much to ask, please remember me in your daily prayers and rosaries…
My baptism name is Maria, my confirmation name is Therese (after St Therese of Lisieux).