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Peace the World Cannot Give

At the end of His earthly life, Jesus repeated one theme over and over, above all others: that of peace.

“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me … Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid … In Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 14:1,27; 16:33)

These are words I’ve been meditating upon quite a bit lately. Peace has been something that has eluded me; peace, safety, and inner nourishment are things I’ve needed during my times of chaos and unrest. I’ve sought peace and stability in this world, only to find more chaos. I’ve struggled for safety, only to become more dysregulated.

The peace the world cannot give, the peace of Christ, is the only true peace. This is something He promises us; this He gave to us. Yet how can we access such deep peace in a world of immense disarray? All too often I’ve blocked the movements of the Spirit, halting His peace before it could even reach me. This wasn’t something I’ve done on purpose; quite the opposite, in fact. I’ve longed for peace—true inner rest, authentic connection with the Divine Source of Love. I don’t want to block this, yet I inadvertently have. “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Rom. 7:15). Why is that?

Because of fear, and inner disruption. I’ve had a need to feel safe, which creates a need to control. In order to allow Christ’s peace to enter into the core of my true self, I know I have to ask for that grace, yet it’s not as simple as a mere intention directed toward God. I have to ask, but I also have to open my heart to His answer for me, at each given moment of my life. My heart has been broken, completely shattered and destroyed by another. I used to feel despair at my brokenness, wilted by loss of self, yet now I realize this inner “destruction” isn’t such a bad thing after all. When a caterpillar undergoes its transformation into a glorious butterfly, its previous self must be completely annihilated. Amazingly, the caterpillar has to actually digest itself, which causes enzymes to be released in order to dissolve all of its tissues. Despite this inner annihilation, certain cells remain that enable the caterpillar to reform itself into something even more amazing and beautiful than before.

The process takes struggle, and release, and surrender to the ways of nature—in other words, to the ways of our Eternal Creator. Yet in the end, it’s always worth it. The glorious resurrection of the caterpillar into butterfly is an amazing way to look at our own healing journeys. At least this is what I’ve discovered. The process from being crumbled to dust by another, and rebuilt by my Divine Physician, has been a glorious struggle that I wouldn’t trade for anything. The journey has allowed me to take my shattered heart and offer it to Christ, through the pierced wound in His side. My heart to His. He can put my heart together again like a piece of kintsugi pottery, securing the pieces with His Precious Blood. He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds (Ps. 147:3). Our Lord, our Divine Physician and Bridegroom, has sealed the pieces of my heart back into their proper places, sealed them and cemented them together with His gloriously Precious Blood. It’s at this point that I begin to run—toward Him, toward wholeness, toward my Imago Dei—my true Self, made in His very image and likeness (Gen. 1:26-27).

“Draw me in Your footsteps, let us run!” (Song of Songs 1:3)

This is the place where I can feel His peace surround me, where I can be open enough to allow His Divine Mercy to pervade my entire being and take over my soul. Through Him, with Him, and in Him: I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13).

Copyright 2023 – Jenny duBay

As a domestic abuser survivor, advocate, and author, Jenny duBay knows what a huge impact intimate partner violence (IPV) has on an individual. She founded Create Soul Space to help cultivate awareness of domestic violence within a Catholic setting. Jenny is associated with Catholics for Family Peace and works with various organizations within the Catholic Church to spiritually support victims and survivors of domestic violence. Author of the Create Soul Space and Prodigal Parishioner blogs, Jenny also writes for Missio Dei along with various other Catholic publications. Her book, Don't Plant Your Seeds Among Thorns: A Catholic Guide to Recognizing and Healing from Domestic Abuse, is available on Amazon and through her website at https://www.createsoulspace.net.

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