1+1+1+1=4000, but only when dealing with God. There is a secret recipe found in the Bible that, if followed exactly, results in abundant and perfect peace. The sum is much greater than the individual parts. But make no mistake--it is not a one and done deal. This is something that you must bake every single day, as peace is in such high demand there are many who will want a piece of yours.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7
The Recipe for Peace:
Take two parts REJOICING-- yes that is a double mouthful of rejoicing. And please take note--it is the ENDLESS SUPPLY variety-- no matter the circumstances, so make sure you ALWAYS have that on hand. Perhaps it might be a good idea to start training yourself to say, ”Yipee!” or “Halleluja!” instead of something else when things turn sour just to make sure the rejoicing never runs short.
Mix in one huge helping of KINDNESS, enough for all! Again note-- the recipe does not say to serve only to those who are kind to you. No, we need enough for all--even those who may be the cause of our lack of peace. Kindness is in such short supply, pray for a large increase in the world wide production of kindness. It costs nothing and sweetens everything.
Leaving out ALL ANXIETY! This is difficult as it takes skill and practice and a keen eye to spot the tiny little pests. But learning to sift out the anxiety from our recipe for peace is of utmost importance as anxiety can ruin everything! Shifting the focus from the problem to the answer is the key, but we can’t do it on our own. We need the great ANXIETY EXTRACTOR: Jesus Christ Himself! And thankfully we just read,”The Lord is near!” Why? To extract the anxiety of course! He is the ANSWER, so we need Him very near indeed!
And finally, scoop in a never ending supply of the triple-acting, creme-de la creme of PRAYER, PETITION and THANKSGIVING. Without these, your recipe will go flat in no time.
Prayer- a conversation with God, a glance at Him, a smile, a continual walking hand in hand with the One we love. This is free and comes as part of the package of being His children.
Petition- a request for what we need and even sometimes, for what we want. But we leave the final answers up to Him, as He knows best and will add just the right balance of life’s ingredients as to not spoil the final product.
Thanksgiving- a continual appreciation for all He is and all we have. Taking things for granted is a sure way to harden the crust and toughen up the center. A lack of thankfulness is hard for others to swallow and leaves a really bad taste in one’s mouth. So be thankful for all you have, it makes even the toughest times so much more palatable.
So there you have it! The perfect recipe for peace.
And here are a few real-life tips for keeping your peace pie fresh:
-Pray every morning before you start your day and offer it all to God.
-Go to daily Mass and take in Jesus, physically!
-Go to confession and get rid of what causes anxiety, guilt and fears--things that only weigh you down. You will receive forgiveness, grace, peace and love from God the Father in the confessional.
-Pray the Rosary as individuals and as a family. It unites us like no other. The Blessed Mother loves our families and blesses our time together with her.
-Read great books! Don’t trash up your life with pulp. Read something that will change life for the better! We only have so much time. Use it to build yourself up, not to tear yourself down.
-If you are dealing with a difficulty or loss, grieve it, but remember to praise and thank God that He is in control and then surrender to Him. He can be trusted and will restore our peace.
We were never meant to go through this life hungry for God all alone. We can handle everything, if we remember this: THE LORD IS NEAR! So stir together the key ingredients of Rejoicing, Kindness, No Anxiety and Prayer, Petition and Thanksgiving, for this is the stuff peace is made from.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27
I need Peace! I need You! I ask that you would give me a real desire to want to meet with You daily as that is the key ingredient in searching for and maintaining peace. I pray that You will change my heart and my schedule, enlighten my mind and soul to Who You are so that I long to be with You and please you by walking out Your ways. Lord, I am an anxious person! I need You to show me all that is not of You so that I can turn from that and focus only on You, the source of all peace. Jesus, I trust and choose You, for without You, there is no peace.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
A special thanks to Fr. John Paul Duran and Maribeth and Denis Harper for their inspiration from the Soul Food Series in writing this blog.