Emmitsburg Council of Churches

Inner Peace: God's Gift to a Stressful World

Father John J. Lombardi

Notes from a retreat at Mary's Mountain

What is Meditation and how can it help us be more peaceful?

In order to be more peaceful we need the gift and discipline of Meditation

Three "T's" of meditation=-Think Then Thank. I first use my head and then my heart to pray and internalize a sacred mystery of the Faith, and Jesus Himself-the Prince of Peace.

Five words of meditation: Think about, Love Him: Within=a focusing process (thinking), developed by concentration of our minds/intellects, and thru deepening love, thru forming sentiments, heart-felt attachments to the Lord of Peace. Internalizing of Divine realties-not breadth (volume) but rather depth (deepening love, internalization and amalgamation) is more important. I must gain focus and peace thru a daily practice of stillness and silence in my world.

There are two kinds of meditation: active-"on the road,"-in daily activities, being mindful; and passive-- being still, silent. Take ten minutes a day and then build up to more time, and keep this Holy habit.

Process of meditation=ABC's of Union with God

A=ask for God's Grace and Life; abandon/leave behind stress and worry and ALL else.

B=bypass any obstacles; inner enemy, guard of ego, false self, sensuality-remove the "stone from the Resurrection tomb" so you can proceed more deeply into the Divine Trinity.

C=Communion=Consummate your union with God=realization that God lives within you when you are in the state of Grace. You receive Sanctifying Grace each time you worthily receive Our Lord in the Eucharist. We must leave behind all obstacles, and cleave to Him and His grace.

Make these five-word meditations:

I can be at peace/I take steps for peace/I am in His peace. I can be at peace=believe. I take steps for peace=make and practice concrete actions for peace-like breathing, thinking rightly, sitting still, etc. I am in His peace=realizing Him-the Prince of Peace-within me now.

A meditation-visualization--The Transfiguration: go up the mountain with the Lord Jesus---leave behind any worries and possessions and people and go up the Mountain (within) and cleave to the Lord's Love. There, encounter the Lord; experience the Divine light which Peter, James and John saw, and then say/think/feel: His Divinity irradiating/spirating within your body and soul. Think of this" irradiation" as like a wood stove heating equally the whole house of your body and soul; a light turned on in a dark room enlightening all within your soul; like the sound of music wafting thru all parts of your body and soul. We must practice this internalization of the Divine Irradiation daily!

Spiritual Disciplines and the Sacraments bring us peace: 1-the sacraments conform us to Christ and His life; 2-we need the inner disposition whereby we are receptive to His graces, a willingness and desire to receive; 3-we need to embrace and extend graces. We must say "Yes" to these graces-receive the effect of the sacraments and give it to others.

Healing service/sacraments: in the Eucharist and Sacrament of Anointing and healing services, we should empty ourselves of anxiety and "clots" and fill up with Divine Light, to have Him go, flow and show thru our bodies and souls. We may do this by "active imagination" (meditation, as noted above) and practice this in our daily lives.

Spiritual reading-reading the Bible and other good writings: "The Spiritual Life" (Tanquerrey); "Introduction to the Devout Life" (Francis deSales); "Abandonment to Divine Providence" (DeCaussaude); "The Practice of the Presence of God" (Br Lawrence). St Francis deSales said: The same God Who has taken care of you in the past and Who cares for you now is the same Gracious God Who will be there tomorrow before you arrive! Regular spiritual reading is like a good, holy diet that fills you with "divine food" and nourishes you within.

Silence-meditation-we need to practice this discipline daily to still the body, mind and soul.

Service: finding Jesus in "His disguises" --esp in the poor, sick and dying. When we "go out of ourselves" to others we dis-entangle our selfish selves and troubles and "find God in all things"

(St Ignatius) and in others who often heal us by not only helping us, but by their "revelations" of love.

Saints-reading about them can help us in our own personal vocations and inspire us in heroic virtue.

Aspirations: short prayers to God to center you. Nothing lacking/ nothing distracting/ all things divinely interacting. This means: nothing lacking=I don't need anything else right now in this present moment-the grass is not always "greener" on the other side! God is here. Nothing distracting=I am not preoccupied with inner chatter and "to-do" lists. All things divinely interacting=His Divine Providence is providing for me and if I abandon to It, I am at peace!

Conclusions-going forth

Extending peace to others: EVERYONE is looking for peace, tranquility. While it, peace, IS within us, we Catholics need to bring peace to the world, too. So: Let peace begin with me!-and give it to others.

Apostle comes from apostoli = to be sent forth. We are not called to keep peace to ourselves but to extend it to those around us-to our family, friends and the poor, sick and dying.

How can I carry forth this retreat, the spiritual disciplines of Peace into my daily world? By embracing daily and extending Holy habits carried forth from here. It is one thing to learn about peace on a retreat and another to master the lessons and practice it daily in our lives.

How will you practice the disciplines/thoughts you have learned on this retreat?

How will you re-learn ABCDE's of Peace-Awareness of God; Befriending others thru good, healthy friendships; Choices for peace-actually deciding to become peaceful; Disciplines for peace-actual, concrete practices of peacefulness; Extending peace to others.

Always remember, esp in the Mass, Christ's Gift to us: "Peace be with you"! (Jn 20:26).

Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi