Monday, November 29, 2010

BL. BERNARD FRANCIS DE HOYOS

On April 18 of this year Pope Benedict beatified this young Jesuit priest who has been called “the first apostle of the Sacred Heart in Spain.” May he join us now as we offer ourselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and pray for the Holy Father’s intentions. Our reflection is from a letter that Bl. Bernard wrote to a fellow Jesuit about inner peace.

Try to have, my beloved brother, a divine and heavenly peace in your heart. I do not speak of peace with others, called by another name, charity; for that I repeat the words of the Apostle to the Thessalonians: “Now concerning love of the brothers, you do not need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another” (1 Th 4:9). I speak of peace within one's own heart, which often is the greater struggle for us, arousing in the soul a thousand disturbances, anguishes, and disquiet with which the demon succeeds in his aim of thwarting us in the way of perfection. The distinguishing characteristic of the friends of God consists in this interior peace, which Christ so often recommended to his disciples, repeating: “Peace be with you” (Lk 10:5; 24:36) for he is called "Prince of Peace" (Is. 9:6). Disturbance, on the contrary, is characteristic of reprobates: “There is no peace for the wicked” (Is 48:22). Jesus cannot abide where there is no peace. The soul is a mirror; it is a crystal-clear stream which reflects all the beauties placed before it; in which the image of our God is reflected: into the same image we are being transformed (2 Cor. 3:18), so long as the waters of this stream are not disturbed or agitated, so long as the clarity of this mirror is not dimmed or obscured.

But if from the depths of this stream emerge the debris of passions, the muck of imperfections; if this mirror is exposed to the dust (which happens more often) the imperceptible cloud of fog dims it, suddenly the beauties it reflects distance themselves. This is precisely what happens to the heart. Suddenly the heart loses peace and like the stream grown turbid, or the mirror darkened, the soul does not receive, but rather repels the rays of the sun that before allowed it to identity itself with this same stream, with the mirror. O beloved brother of mine! Strive to have this peace which is happiness on earth. Happy is the one of whom it can be said: “His place of rest is in peace” (Ps. 75:3).

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