A promise of inner peace

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St. Veronica Church in Chantilly was filled Jan. 5 with people eager to hear international author and lecturer Father Jacques Philippe speak on achieving and maintaining inner peace.

Father Philippe was born in 1947 in Lorraine, France. In 1976, after years of teaching and research, he entered the Community of the Beatitudes and traveled around the world studying theology and Hebrew. He has conducted retreats internationally and has written five books on themes such as peace, fulfillment, prayer, freedom and the writings of St. Therese of Lisieux.

At St. Veronica, Father Philippe spoke in French translated into English by Community of Beatitudes Sister Magdalit Boldul.

To set the mood, Father Philippe led the audience in singing the hymn "Come, Holy Spirit."

He said that even in these complicated times serenity is possible.

"This peace I am talking about only Christ can give," he said.

Father Philippe quoted Scripture as evidence of Christ's promise of peace through Him.

"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" (Jn 14:27).

Peace is a promise given by Jesus, said Father Philippe, and he evidenced that promise again with Scripture, quoting St. Paul in Philippians Chapter 4: "Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Peace and serenity, said Father Philippe, is not found in physical comfort. He said while traveling on an airplane he read a magazine article on finding inner peace at a health spa.

"It was a price of $15,000 for peace and serenity," he said.

Real peace can be achieved only through deep spiritual means, he said.

Inner peace is important because when your heart is at peace, the more good you can do. He compared a serene heart to a calm lake on a clear day. The water reflects the sun. But if the lake water is agitated the sun's reflection is distorted.

"If a heart is troubled or worried," he said, "God cannot use it in the same way. Don't be troubled. Trust in God."

When our hearts are in turmoil we view a reality that is not true. When we are at peace, we make good life decisions.

Father Philippe said there are five ways to achieve inner peace: faith, prayer, the sacraments, Mass and Scripture.

At the conclusion of his talk, he asked everyone to place a hand on the shoulder of the person next to them. He asked the Holy Spirit to come into the hearts of those in the church and give peace.

The evening ended as it began with the singing of "Come, Holy Spirit."

Fred Richards, a parishioner of St. Timothy Church in Chantilly, said the presentation was excellent.

"He gives you a formula for peace," he said.

Father Philippe also spoke locally at St. John the Beloved Church in McLean and Holy Trinity Church in Gainesville.

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© Arlington Catholic Herald 2014