from Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart
Relative to the question of abandonment, it is useful to make an observation.
In order that abandonment might be authentic and engender peace, it must be total. We must put everything, without exception, into the hands of God, not seeking any longer to manage or “to save” ourselves by our own means: not in the material domain, nor the emotional, nor the spiritual.
We cannot divide human existence into various sectors: certain sectors where it would be legitimate to surrender ourselves to God with confidence and others where, on the contrary, we feel we must manage exclusively on our own.
And one thing we know well: all reality that we have not surrendered to God, that we choose to manage by ourselves without giving carte blanche to God, will continue to make us more or less uneasy.
The measure of our interior peace will be that of our abandonment, consequently of our detachment.
Abandonment inevitably requires an element of renunciation and it is this that is most difficult for us. We have a natural tendency to cling to a whole host of things: material goods, affections, desires, projects, etc. and it costs us terribly to let go of our grip, because we have the impression that we will lose ourselves in the process, that we will die.
But that is why we must believe with all our hearts the words of Jesus, that law of “who loses gains,” which is so explicit in the Gospel: whoever would save his life will lose it, while whoever loses his life for My sake will find it (Matthew 16:25).
He who accepts this death of detachment, of renunciation, finds the true life. The one who clings to something, who wishes to protect some domain in his life in order to manage it at his convenience without radically abandoning it into the hands of God, is making a very bad mistake: he devotes himself to unnecessary preoccupations and exposes himself to the gnawing sense of loss.
By contrast, he who accepts to put everything into the hands of God, to allow Him to give and take according to His good pleasure, this individual finds an inexpressible peace and interior freedom.
“Ah, if one only knew what one gains in renouncing all things!”, St. Therese of the Child Jesus tells us.
This is the way to happiness, because if we leave God free to act in His way, He is infinitely more capable of rendering us happy than we ourselves are, because He knows us and loves us more than we can ever know or love ourselves.
St. John of the Cross expresses the same truth in other terms: “All things were given to me from the moment when I no longer sought them.”
If we detach ourselves from everything and put them into the hands of God, God will turn them to us a hundredfold, from this day forward (1 Maccabees 10:30).
You may also like this Beautiful Quote from Padre Pio or this article from the wonderful book Achieving Peace of Heart called Think of Others, Keep Busy.
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Other readers may find other ways more effective, but the offertory part of the Latin Mass has been the most effective place in which I abandon areas in which I have slipped or fallen. Offering God my sloth, my pride, spiritual dryness… whatever I find myself currently struggling with, I offer it to him and ask him to take such sacrifices and replace my broken heart with his sacred one.
Give him the good and he multiplies it, give him the bad and he replaces it and gives you peace.
Or at least, that is what I’ve found in my own journey.
Thanks so much for this inspiring comment, Chad.