“Love, Joy and Peace” is not just a greeting on a Christmas card, but it is certainly the deepest desire of the human heart. The first condition in order to receive these is an openness to God, for He is the spring of peace, joy, and love. To be open means to accept His love, to allow His love to flow into your heart. To let His love grow.
Love (What kind of love is His Love?)
Love is the greatest thing there is. “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8). Love is God’s essence. The crucifixion was God’s greatest act of love and the ultimate example of the kind of giving love we are talking about.
There are many misconceptions of this word love in our modern society. We are talking about a “love” called (Greek root: agape) or charity, the kind of love Christ taught and showed.
Agape or charity is not just simply handouts to beggars. It’s not sexual love or a feeling of affection, or a vague love-in-general. Agape should not be confused it with a feeling. Real love comes from the center of the soul, your Spiritual Heart. Agape’s object is always the individual, and not some abstraction thing called humanity. For example, Jesus did not command us to love humanity but to love our real neighbors. His loving eyes saw YOU from the Cross, not humanity. It is not just kindness. Kindness is the desire to relieve another’s suffering. Love is the willing of another’s good. A father can spank his child out of love. And God is a father. When you give yourself away through this love (agape or charity) you will mysteriously find your “true self” in God’s love
1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast,[a] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love (The absence of His Love)
However if I do not love I lose my temper, I do not have time for things and things make me tired and angry. We tend to think the issue is the other person or situation, but if we see it correctly, it is an absence of love. It then becomes easy to see the key to the solution. That key is love. To love means to be an open heart for the individual. Love is to have a loving concern for the well being of the other person.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
The way to joy is sanctity, loving God with your whole heart and your neighbor as yourself. No one who ever said to God, “Thy will be done” and meant it with his heart, ever failed to find joy—not just in heaven, or even down the road in the future in this world, but at that very moment. In the very act of self-surrender to God there is joy. (Remember this is His Love)
Peace in your heart begins with Trust in God. Peace with God is God’s gift to us through the Holy Spirit. God alone can place us in right relationship with him. God gives his peace as a gift to those who entrust themselves to him. As Jesus told his disciples: “Peace I leave with you, my own peace I give you; a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Let not your hearts be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27).
Don’t: worry: Since peace is God’s gift we ought not to let anything disturb it. As St. Paul wrote: “If God is for us, who can be against us? … Who could ever separate us from the love of Christ?” (Rom. 8:31, 35). However, most Christians know how easy it is to lose one’s sense of peace. The troubles of life and the fear of being without: How often this can disturb our peace! But, we must remember God’s Providence. God always provides! “Stop worrying over questions like ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ The unbelievers are always running after these things. Your heavenly Father knows all that you need. Seek first his kingship over you, his way of holiness, and all these things will be given you besides” (Matt. 6:31-33).
Confidence and trust are the tools that maintain our peace with God. Thus our prayer should be: May the Peace of God that surpasses all understanding reign in our hearts and in our minds (cf. Phil. 4:7).
True Love, Joy and Peace
Fr. Slavko Barbaric, In the School of Love: available through the Medjugorje Information Center