Joy And Peace Through God Alone

Compiled from works of the greatest saints and theologians of the Church, The Soul Sanctified is a treasury of saintly counsel and fruitful meditations, covering topics such as detachment from earthly things, sins of habit, the Four Last Things, abandonment to the Divine Will, mortification, cultivating virtue, prayer, and consolation in the spiritual life. The following excerpt consoles the reader with meditation on the true joy and peace that is found in God alone.

True Joy

“Enter thou into the joy of the Lord.” (Matt. 25:21). When the soul enters the kingdom of the blessed and the barrier which hinders her sight is taken away, she will see openly and without a veil the infinite beauty of her God, and this will be the joy of the blessed. Every object which she will then see in God Himself will overwhelm her with delight: she will see the rectitude of His judgments, the harmony of His regulations for every soul, all ordained to His divine glory and her own good.

She will perceive in respect to herself the boundless love which God has entertained towards her in becoming man and sacrificing His life upon the Cross through love of her. She will perceive all the graces and favors shown to her, which until then had been hidden. She will see all the mercies He has bestowed on her, in waiting for her and pardoning her ingratitude. She will see the many calls and lights and aids which have been granted to her in abundance. She will see that these tribulations, these infirmities, these losses of property or of kindred, which she counted punishments, were not really punishments, but living arrangements of God for drawing her to the perfect love of Him. 

In a word, al these things will make her know the infinite goodness of her God and the boundless love which He deserves, for which reason, so soon as she shall have reached Heaven, she will have no other desire but to behold Him in His blessedness and content. And at the same time, comprehending that the happiness of God is supreme, infinite, and eternal, she will experience a joy which is only not infinite because a creature is not capable of anything that is infinite. She will enjoy, nevertheless, a pleasure which is extreme and full, which fills her with delight and with that kind of delight which belongs to God Himself. And thus will be fulfilled in her the words, “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

The blessed are not so much blessed through the delight which they experience in themselves as in the joy with which God rejoices, for the blessed love God so infinitely more than themselves that the blessedness of God delights them infinitely more than their own blessedness, through the love which they bear to Him, which love makes them forget themselves and find all their delight in pleasing their Beloved.

And this is that holy and loving inebriation which causes the blessed to lose the memory of themselves, to give themselves wholly to praise and to love the Dear Object of all their love, which is God. “They shall be inebriated with the plenty of Thy house.” (Ps. 25:9). Happy from their first entrance into Heaven, they continue, as it were, lost and, so to say, swallowed up in love in that boundless ocean of the goodness of God.

Wherefore, every blessed soul will lose all her own desires and will have no other desire but to love God and to be loved by Him, and knowing that she is sure of ever loving Him and of being ever loved by Him, this very thing will be her blessedness, which will fill her with joy and will make her throughout eternity so satisfied with delight that she will desire nothing more. 

In a word, it will be the paradise of the blessed to rejoice in the joy of God. And thus, he who in this life rejoices in the blessedness which God enjoys, and will enjoy through eternity, can say that even in this life, he enters into the joy of God and begins to enjoy paradise.

True Peace

He that seeks peace in creatures will never find it, because no creatures are fitted for giving satisfaction to the heart. God has created man for Himself, who is the Infinite Good; wherefore, God alone can content him. Hence it comes that many persons, though loaded with riches, honors, and earthly pleasures, are never satisfied; they are ever seeking for more honors, more possessions, more amusements. And however many they obtain, they are always restless and never enjoy a day of true peace. “Delight in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thy heart.” (Ps. 36:4). When any person delights only in God and seeks nothing but God, God Himself will take care to satisfy all the desires of his heart, and then he will attain the happy state of those souls who desire nothing but to please God.

Senseless are they who say, “Happy is he who can employ himself as he likes, who can command others, who can take what pleasures he pleases.” It is madness; he alone is happy who loves God, who says that God alone is sufficient for him. Experience shows clearly that multitudes of persons who are called fortunate by men of the world, because they are raised up to the possession of great riches and great dignities, live a miserable life and never find rest.

“The peace of God surpasseth all understanding.” (Philip. 4:17). Oh, how the peace which the Lord gives to those who love Him exceeds all the delights which the world can give! “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is sweet.” (Ps. 33:9). O men of the world, why will ye despise the life of the Saints without having ever known it? Try it, leave your worldly vanities, give yourselves to God, and you shall see how well He knows how to comfort you, more than all the greatness and delights of this world.

It is true that even the just suffer great troubles in this life, but they, resigning themselves to the will of God, never lose their peace. The lovers of the world seem now at times joyful, now at times sad, but in truth, they are ever restless and in a state of storms. On the other hand, the lovers of God are superior to all adversity and to the changes of this world, and therefore they live in uniform tranquility. See how the celebrated Cardinal Petrucci describes a soul that is wholly given to God: “It beholds all creatures around change into a thousand various forms, while within, the depths of its heart, ever united to God, continue without change.”

But he who would live ever united with God and would enjoy a continual peace must drive from his heart everything which is not God and separate himself from all the snares which draw him to the world.

Happy are they for whom God alone is sufficient! O Lord, give me grace, that I may seek nothing but Thee and ask for nothing but to love Thee.

This article is taken from a chapter in The Soul Sanctified by TAN Books Editors which is available from TAN Books



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