Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27)
If the family is the fundamental cell of the Catholic Faith and where we learn about what it means to be Catholic, peace within our home needs to be a priority. God gave us His only son, the Prince of Peace to teach us the ways of peace. August is the perfect time to launch this goal, especially as many of us are heading back to school and work. Despite the back-to-school rush and preparation, consider seeking out new graces and strategies for family unity. Raising seven children has made me appreciate God’s graces which provide strength and perspective on this priority. No matter what the ages of your children are, consider making peace in the home a priority.
1. Peace Is A Gift. “Peace be with you,” says the priest during Holy Mass, to which we all respond, “and with your spirit.” These words expressed in the Mass are a great formula for implementing peace in the home. Do you strive to keep peace in the house? Do you see that God’s peace is a gift given to us and our job is to extend that peace to others?
Each time we go to Mass we are not only agents of peace, but we are called to “express to each other their ecclesial communion and mutual charity before communicating in the [Blessed] Sacrament.” (GIRM 82).
This time of true expression and community is one that families can use to recognize that our peace comes from the Lord, and all hurts and strife need to be forgiven. It is essential to seek out not only new graces through prayer and receiving communion but to express our desire for peace with those around us starting with the very people in your pew!
“Peace with God is God’s gift to us. God alone can place us in right relationship with him. This teaching is clear in both the Old and the New Testaments. God initiated the covenant with man, restored it when we fell and fulfilled it in Jesus Christ.” –Msgr. Stuart Swetland
Recently, I have recognized that one of my shortcomings is a tendency to disrupt the peace in our home when I am feeling overwhelmed. For example, I have interrupted a pleasant afternoon by barking my requests at the children for help around the house instead of expressing them in a way that is kind and inspiring so that they might actually want to help. This is true with all our relationships. Our tone, attitude, and perspective impacts the family unit and can leave a lasting feeling or impression. Remember, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). We are called to bring the gift of peace to others.
After traveling over 1500 miles in the car on two separate occasions for vacations with my family this summer, I was reminded of the importance of keeping this peace in the family, especially while in the car. There is nothing like a car packed to the gills and a slew of kids buckled in back as an opportunity to work on family unity. When we are more aware of our temperament, moods, and attitudes, and focus on our response to others, we can be better instruments of this peace and serve as a proper role model to our children. Do you smile on a regular basis when you speak? How does your family do with basic manners like saying please and thank you?
2. Enthronement of Sacred Heart of Jesus. “I will give peace in their families. I will console them in all their troubles. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life.” These are the first three promises to those who dedicate their life to honoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus; these promises were proclaimed from Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque around 1673. Just think of these promises; it is well worth reflecting on what life would be like if you could be strengthened in your family life, consoled in your troubles and given new graces for your state in life! Jesus even told St. Margaret Mary that if families enthroned Him as King of their house and home, He would bless them!
The Enthronement is a beautiful Christian ceremony where Jesus is invited into the home and given authority over the household. Consider allowing your home to be a “Little Bethany” for the Lord who can enter our homes as King, Brother, and Friend. Life changes when we welcome Christ into our home. Check out Enthronements.com to learn more!
The Enthronement to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is about purifying the home so that Christ can reign. The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an act of reparation to make up for all those who “dethroned” Jesus in our secular world.
“Peace to this house.” (Luke 10:5)
3. Peace and Forgiveness: Choose to be a Peacemaker. Peace comes through forgiveness. When we forgive we are freed up to love.
“May the Peace of God that surpasses all understanding reign in our hearts and our minds” (cf. Phil. 4:7).
When we take time out to listen and seek out others’ forgiveness for our trespasses, we can be instruments of peace. Recently, my husband and I celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary, and as we were preparing for this day, we took some time out to seek out pardon and forgiveness for the hurts that took place over the years. Even little offenses can build up over time and cause us heartache and pain. At that moment, we both forgave each other and felt so much better!
When you take time out to ask the Lord to strengthen us so we can forgive others and yourself and seek the gift of forgiveness from others; change can happen! As Catholics, we are so blessed to be able to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and experience forgiveness from God and graces to grow in holiness!
4. Pray The Peace Prayer. Turn to St. Francis for guidance and intercession. Peace is not given to us by the world but rather is a gift from God. Perhaps there is no better a Saint to provide us with a heavenly example than St. Francis of Assisi. Many believe the life of St. Francis inspired this prayer, but the actual author is unknown. Learn to love others with Christ’s peace you will experience a new joy that cannot be squashed by this world.
5. Blessed Mother; Our Lady Queen of Peace. Turn to the Blessed Mother for new graces of peace. One of Our Lady’s titles is Queen of Peace. She is offering us not only a holy example of living out the will of God but interceding on our behalves for new graces to help our families. No matter what we are struggling with, our Lady is there to offer us new graces to help strengthen us on our journey.
I have found that peace flows from praying the daily Rosary. There are special promises associated with praying this powerful prayer. I can attest to these graces being poured out in my relatives’ lives for generations.
“Those who shall recite my Rosary devoutly, meditating on its mysteries, shall not be overwhelmed by misfortune. The sinner shall be converted; the just shall grow in grace and become worthy of eternal life.- (One of the 15 Promies From the Blessed Virgin)
No matter what is overwhelming you or taking away your inner peace, God’s graces are being offered to you! Our Lady is offering us graces to grow in the spiritual life and be worthy of eternal life. It begins with a yes, and setting aside some time to pray! August is a wonderful time to seek out new graces.
The Gospels are full of stories of Christ offering his peace to others. We know that St. Paul teaches that God’s peace surpasses “all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). With that in mind, it is clear that life will continue to have its challenges, but it is how we deal with the problems we face is what matters most!
Copyright 2018 Emily Jaminet