Throughout the Gospel accounts, we find Jesus greeting people by saying; “Peace be with you.” He says in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give it to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
How does a person begin to obtain this peace Jesus offers and hold on to it. Well, grace must enter the person’s soul. “In Sacred Scripture the term “soul” often refers to human life or the entire human person. But “soul” also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him, that by which he is most especially in God’s image: “soul” signifies the spiritual principle in man (CCC #363). The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God – it is not “produced” by the parents – and also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection (CCC #366).”
So, how does a person’s soul react when it begins to encounter the grace of God living inside? What happens to the soul? Well, first, our soul feels like its in a crisis. We start to realize that we are helpless on our own, but that God alone can supply what we lack. Then there is a tug-of-war between the soul on the one end of the rope, and God on the other end.
Next, God will not leave us alone. He keeps after us. The struggles we have with our sinful habits and the things of this world, is seen as God and actual grace working on our soul. The voice of God makes our soul search further and seek to be saved.
Then, our soul admits to our sinful ways, and we quit trying to cover it up or make excuses. We then seek to turn away from sin. The soul then turns to the Savior Jesus Christ, in the hope of being acceptable. Our moral crisis starts to end when Christ confronts the soul, not as law, but as mercy. Our soul then accepts the invitation that Jesus gives in Matthew, chapter 11, when he says; “Come to me, all you that labor, and are burdened, and I will refresh you.”
Once the soul has turned to God, in Christ Jesus, then the struggle to give up worldly habits seems to be easier because we start to fill ourselves up with that which is of God. The soul doesn’t merely give up sin, but it surrenders itself to the divine love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Where as before conversion, a person knows about Jesus; after conversion, a person knows Jesus. And knows him in a personalized way. The convert then loses all doubt, and his faith becomes unshakable. After conversion, the soul becomes filled with peace.
Jesus calls everyone to conversion. “In the Church’s preaching this call is addressed first to those who do not yet know Christ and his Gospel. Also, Baptism is the principal place for the first and fundamental conversion. It is by faith in the Gospel and by Baptism that one renounces evil and gains salvation, that is, the forgiveness of all sins and the gift of new life. Christ’s call to conversion continues to resound in the lives of Christians. This second conversion is an uninterrupted task for the whole Church who, “clasping sinners to her bosom, [is] at once holy and always in need of purification, [and] follows constantly the path of penance and renewal.” This endeavor of conversion is not just a human work. It is the movement of a “contrite heart,” drawn and moved by grace to respond to the merciful love of God who loved us first (CCC #1427, 1428).”
The Venerable Arch Bishop Fulton Sheen once wrote about a soul at peace; “A peaceful soul does not seek to live morally, but to live for God. Morality becomes the by-product of our union with God.”
So, what about our own soul? How far have we come in our own conversion process? Do we truly know Jesus, or do we only know about him? How much of our Lord lives in us, and we in him? When we have the peace Jesus offers us, we will quit trying to find happiness and security in this world. Once that has happened, then we will truly achieve a peace of mind and heart which the world cannot give us. Until next time, God bless.