Friday, June 15, 2018

The Peace of God

In his Confessions Augustine describes movingly how God had made him whole after many years of brokenness. 'I find no safe place for myself save in you in whom all my scattered pieces are gathered together,' he writes.
The journey to wholeness, he says, started when he withdrew to the quiet place of sweet solitude within his own heart. There he invited God to speak to him, 'Whisper words of truth in my heart,' he pleaded, 'for you alone speak truth... I shall not turn aside until you gather all that I am into that holy place of peace, rescuing me from the world where I am broken and deformed and giving me new form and new strength.'
Augustine describes that holy place of peace in his commentary on John's Gospel. It is 'that innermost shrine of your deepest self,' he tells us, 'that place of sweet solitude, where there is no weariness, where no bitter thoughts enter, where there is no lurking temptation or heavy sorrow...'
So Augustine bids us: 'Surrender to him now all your futile searching. What is withered in you will flower again. your sickness will be healed. What is faded will be fresh again, and what is warped made whole and strong and sound. And all that is weak in you will not drag you to the grace. But your wholeness will remain with you before God, who remains strong and abides forever.'
Benignus O'Rourke, Finding Your Hidden Treasure: The Way of Silent Prayer
The way of the Jesus Prayer is a way of immense simplicity, a way into silence almost more complete than any other. There are words, yes, but saying the Jesus Prayer, there is nothing we need to do at all; no need to dig for concealed shadow material, no need to prepare the healing of memories. All that is in Jesus' hands. All that is what is meant by mercy. We simply repeat the words of the Prayer, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner in the silence of our own hearts; the words tending always to stillness, to wholeness of mind and spirit, to the peace of God, beyond our understanding...

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