For they shall be called sons of God.
By Mother M. Angelica
We must make peace, which is indicative of effort on our part. Peace is not the end result of everything in perfect order, with nothing to disturb us. If we are to make peace, it means that peace ordinarily is not our portion.
Peace is like anything else we make. We have an idea, a plan, material, and effort, and with this combination we succeed in making anything from a cake to an office building.
Because each person has a different temperament, with its inherent virtues and faults, each one of us must make peace in a different way. But no matter what that temperament may be, it is certain that all of us must keep our Memory and Imagination under control.
People lose peace over past sins, offenses, failures, and unfulfilled dreams. Fear of the future also causes a loss of peace, fear of illness, age, financial loss, and beauty.
It is so easy to see how important Hope is in our lives. God has given this uplifting virtue to us to calm our fears, to put a reason behind every unexplainable tragedy, to give us joy, to put Him above everything, and to realize we are merely pilgrims traveling Home, and these unpleasant occurrences in life are only part of the journey.
When we put our heart and soul into things, we live in a perpetual fear of losing them, and we experience a kind of vacuum at the very thought of being stripped of them. And yet, this very stripping is part of the growing process of Hope in our hearts. We are being shown, in a very graphic way, that everything in this world is passing,—so many reminders that thus passes the glory of this world.
When we permit our Imagination to rebel and our Memory to bring back past glory, our souls are in constant turmoil-torn by what we want to be and what we are.
We must make peace between these truths—what we were, what we wanted to be, and what we are. Once Hope succeeds in doing this, we have peace. Hope puts all our desires in God who is everlasting and does not change. It makes us face reality with joy. It sees everything in the light of Eternity. Past sins are used to maintain humility, not despair. Past glory is used to maintain confidence, not pride. Past failures are used as guideposts of our abilities, not as stepping stones to discouragement.
Hope has the ability to use everything—good, bad, and indifferent—as opportunities for greater holiness. It is ever vibrant and ingenious in keeping our poor souls above ourselves and raising us to a higher level.
Yes, we make peace in our own lives, and in the lives of others, by ever seeking to bring good out of evil, doing all in our power to raise—our neighbor above those things that hamper his peace, having courage to change the things that can be changed, while having hope that others will change the things we cannot change.
Hope does not pretend that a particular situation is not serious, neither is it flippant or flighty, refusing to face reality. Hope rouses our Memory and Imagination to complete reality—seeing both visible and invisible causes and remedies.
Without Hope, we see only one side of a situation—the miserable side; but with Hope we see also the good side. We see reasons, solutions,—and we possess more and more assurance that God will make all things well.
St. Paul lost his peace one day, and every bit of Hope he ever had seemed to be gone. Everything was pressing in upon him and the future suddenly looked hopeless. He called this darkness of soul, "an angel of Satan" (2 Cor. 12:7).
The man who had spoken so eloquently on fighting the good fight, being zealous for God's honor and glory, loving enemies no matter what they did, and rejoicing to be found worthy to suffer something for the Kingdom,—yes, this man became so depressed that he could not practice what he preached.
He had always been strong; he could always see the solution to other people's problems; he could see God's hand in their persecutions; and he could see clearly how God brought good out of evil; but this day, he saw nothing but darkness, and the strong Paul became very weak.
It was something he had not experienced before, and three times He asked God to deliver him from this feeling of failure and depression.
The answer he received was not the one he expected. His Memory and Imagination had successfully brought back all the sufferings of the past and had projected worse things in the future. There was only one solution to such a problem, and that was—deliverance. The suffering and persecution must stop, or he could go no further.
And then Jesus answered his prayer and said to him, "My grace is enough for you: my power is at its best in weakness." Now, Paul had a whole new concept of holiness. It was not becoming strong in himself, but in using God's grace in weakness that would make him holy.
No matter what his Memory and Imagination told him, no matter how dark the future, no matter how weak he was, he would be strong through God's grace and not through his own herculean strength.
In fact, his very weakness was the foundation upon which God would accomplish greater things. It was through God's strength that Paul would continue to work, despite the insults, hardships, persecutions, agonies, and his own weakness. (2 Cor. 12:10)
He would use these heretofore hindrances as objects of Hope. He would boast that he suffered and was weak so that God's Power in him would be glorified.
But what was this power that would help him overcome discouragement, sadness, and depression?
What kind of power was more manifest in the midst of misery than in happiness?
What kind of power would calm his Memory and Imagination and enable him to rise above to peace and serenity?
What kind of paradox was this—power dependent upon weakness, and weakness bearing the fruit of power?
To our human way of reasoning, all the hardships Paul was experiencing were anything but graces. He could see no good in his miseries.
His Memory and Imagination rebelled against a constant diet of frustration, even though Hope kept him from despair.
The Lord was teaching His Apostle in gradual stages. Paul's zeal had caused him to persecute the Christians, and that same zeal pushed him forward to overcome every force once he was converted. His whole attitude towards life situations, good and bad, had to change. Faith demanded that he begin to think like Jesus, and to see everything in the light of Faith: he must live on a Faith level.
His convictions were strong, and he went out to make converts with the same zeal with which he had persecuted them. His emotions were on a high level as he spoke to anyone who would listen, yet there was something Paul still had to learn, and that was—to live by Faith.
The man of emotions had to see God and God's people in a different way. He was to learn how to use his emotions to express his feelings, but not to live in them—he was to live in Jesus—in Faith—in his Understanding. And this way of living was best reached by weakness.
We will look at this new way of living and thinking, and see how we can be like Jesus.