macarthur_prayerWhy is it that some people get impatient and fly off the handle over the smallest inconveniences while others face horrendous obstacles with great calm?  Is peace a predisposition of the personality or is it something more?

Yes, some are born naturally calmer than others. Yet, among adults who grapple with the both the big and small crosses in life, there are some who take a peaceful approach and others who perpetually fly off the handle.

There are noticeable differences in how people approach life and what they bring to it. Here are some of the things that I see distinguishes people who draw peace calm from their faith.

  1. They live a sacramental life, attending Mass frequently, regular confession and adoration.
  2. A commitment to prayer no matter how busy they are.  They practice vocal prayer but then go a step beyond to cultivate a relationship with God through mental prayer and meditation.
  3. They engage in regular spiritual reading. This is not primarily an intellectual exercise but one where the content and the approach turn the heart and mind to God.
  4. Giving is done frequently and easily. People of peace are giving people, finding time to share time, talent, and treasures with others.
  5. Materialism does not control them. These are the people who can walk away from a house fire or tornado and say, “They are just things.”
  6. They have a spiritual director.  They understand that they need outside perspective and guidance to help them achieve all of the previously listed spiritual disciplines.

These are the attributes the saints possessed; not always perfectly, but it was their path and goal. For them, spiritual direction played an important role to keep their focus on God and not to let the world rob them of peace.

The journey to sainthood begins with taking steps to a deeper spiritual life. Do the next thing, such as going to adoration, more Scripture reading, finding a spiritual director, or receiving the sacraments more often.  It’s not a matter of adding everything all at once, but rather committing to do more.

To find more about spiritual direction, I recommend, Navigation the Interior Life, Spiritual and the Journey to God by Dan Burke. It is a powerful guide to understanding spiritual direction.

All the trappings of our culture are very powerful lures that ultimately rob us of our peace. Filling up with the things of God, pushes out those other things that leech away our the peace that Christ gave to us.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid,” (John 14:27).

Copyright 2013 Patti Maguire Armstrong