By Julia Amting
“Never be in a hurry: do everything quitetly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”
These are some wonderful words from my confirmation saint, St. Francis de Sales. As I read more about this saint, and delve into his writings, I find that a common theme that he emphasizes is inner peace, and its utmost importance.
In a Rush
We clearly live in a very restless world, so many things asking for our attention all at once. We have this desire to always “be on top of it”, to know where things are, and what exactly we’re doing and where exactly we’re going. Not in just the mundane struggles and to-do lists that seem to be perpetually present, but also in difficult and uncertain situations, where we never know what could happen. We are in such a hurry to figure all this out. In a hurry to get a certain place, emotionally or physically or spiritually. In a hurry for a period of uncertainty to be over, in a hurry to get somewhere or be with certain people. As a result, our minds and hearts scatter everywhere, and we become incapable of focusing on anything amidst the stress, sadness, or confusion. Somewhat of a control freak myself, I feel this way all the time.
I feel like many of us are continually trying to better ourselves, to grow closer to the Lord and be more successful people. A very decent and commendable goal. But we are in a hurry to do this as well. We are in a hurry to get somewhere spiritually. We can do all we can, but we have to realize that it is the Lord who gives us the graces to be more spiritually wholesome people, it doesn’t come from ourselves. He has a timing for everything that is beyond our control. We must persevere in prayer, and depend on Him, because (I know this sounds cheesy) He is the answer.
Through St. Francis, the Lord is telling us to slow down our restless hearts and minds and find true rest in Him, even if the situations around us are chaotic or uncertain. To remain centered, and have something unshakeable within us that is God Himself. He desires us to become closer to him, so he can be the eye of our storm, the calm in the center of a crazy life.
This reminds me of the story of Christ walking on the water, that I coincidentally heard today. The waves and the wind were tossing the boat carrying the disciples, including Peter. But Christ was walking on the waves. He was peaceful and strong amidst the waves, not blown and sinking and tossed about like any other human being would be. That is the God that we want to have in our hearts and in our lives.
We need to remember to keep ourselves centered and unshaken, to take a deep breath and a leap of faith in the midst of physical or emotional chaos. We need to walk out onto the water with Christ and not fear the height of the waves, for Christ is steadfast.
I find that, as I relax and stop being in such a hurry for absolutely everything, I get to enjoy the sacrament of the present moment. To more rationally make decisions and accomplish tasks more effectively, because our hearts are centered and at rest. Fill your heart with the Lord, and He will fill you with true rest.
“For I will build a wall of fire around her,” declares the Lord, “and I will be the glory in her midst.
This verse is speaks about the city of Jerusalem in the times of restoration from Babylonian captivity. Jerusalem is a metaphor for us in this verse. For although our lives are filled with chaos and struggle at times, He truly is our firm center, the glory in our midst.