Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit-Second Hymn of Virtue: Peace

Photo: R. Massaro (c)2017SpiritSinging St. Rita Church Solon, Ohio

On the evening of that first day of the week, even though the disciples had locked the doors of the place where they were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood before them. "Peace be with you," he said. When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. At the sight of the Lord the disciples rejoiced. "Peace be with you," he said again.
John 20:19-21

St. John goes on to say that Jesus imparted the Holy Spirit to the disciples and gave them the power to forgive sins. They were given the gift of the Holy Spirit to impart forgiveness, mercy, and peace to the soul in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

We could say that true peace of soul is the capstone of the spiritual life. It is only found at the summit of Mt. Carmel after much labor and co-operation on our part with the Holy Spirit. It is the true gift of peace that the world cannot give, and no man can take from us. It is the crowning virtue of the spiritual marriage.

In this state there are no more ecstasies or raptures, or at least very few; these have now disappeared almost completely in order to make room for such peace and quiet rest as are enjoyed by married persons who are sure of each other's love.
Fr. Tanquerey, The Spiritual Life #1470

In this high state of mystical contemplation in which the soul is completely at peace with the beloved-this state that is possessed by the blessed and the saints, inspire us to reach the heights of prayer, too. Listen to how Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. the noted mystical theologian explains this fruit of peace:

A contemplative soul not only possesses peace;it can communicate it to others. A contemplative soul does not allow itself to be troubled in its higher part by painful, unexpected events; it receives all from the hand of God...Wisdom bestows a radiant peace, leading us to love our enemies.

This certainly brings to mind St. John of the Cross who saw the hand of God in his brother Carmelites who were persecuting him during the reform. He described the persecution as coming from God, "who ordains all."

We can ask ourselves to what degree do we possess this treasured gift of peace? Is my peace disturbed at any mere annoyance or trial? Do world events and every day problems try to steal my peace of soul? Or, does nothing disturb my interior peace and communion with the Lord?

When the raging winds and the storms of our life do their best to frighten us and deter us from our path of total trust in God-we only need to turn to Jesus, who, with one word, can rebuke the anxiety in our minds and calm the troubled waters of our soul.

Peace is the fruit of authentic contemplative prayer. Let's keep in mind that any virtuous act is a fruit of the Spirit. If our acts are pure they will produce good fruit in which we find spiritual sweetness. This sweetness is the consolation of the Holy Spirit from whom these fruits emanate. St. John of the Cross explains the effects of true acts of virtue:

Any act of virtue produces and fosters in the soul mildness, peace, comfort, light, purity, and strength, just as an inordinate appetite brings about torment, fatigue, weariness, blindness, and weakness. Through the practice of one virtue all the virtues grow, and similarly, through an increase of one vice, all the vices and their effects grow.
St. John of the Cross, Ascent of Mt. Carmel, Chap. 12, #5.

The Fruits of the Spirit blossom forth from the branches of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Peace is the glorious fruit displayed on the sturdy branch of Wisdom.

Blest too are the peacemakers; they shall be called sons of God.

Matthew 5:9.

The Beatitudes are the perfection of the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit. These blessed and delectable Fruits of the Spirit are of such lofty sweetness and purity that they give us a foretaste of heaven.

As Carmelites, we promise to live according to the Beatitudes. When we love and show mercy as Christ does, the Holy Spirit invites us to partake of this delectable fruit that is enjoyed by the Communion of Saints.

Come to the Feast!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie,  OCDS

No comments: