By: Sister Mary Louise, O.C.D.

It happens to all of us, Carmelites included. The day’s schedule looms larger and longer than a twenty-four hour period can hold, frustrations and failures from yesterday weigh heavy on us, and on the horizon, tomorrow seems to be promising much of the same. Worry, discouragement, guilt, and fear pound on the door of our hearts, demanding entry. At this point it seems no castle under siege has faced a more formidable enemy.

I have been at this critical point many times. Words from Mother Luisita have served as a clarion call and rallied my inner strength. “Louisa” means “strong in battle” and if you are at all familiar with the religious persecution that formed the backdrop of Mother Luisita’s life, I think you will agree that she lived up to her name. What would be her advice to us when it appears our defenses are about to be breached?

“Peace of soul is our life; without it we cannot say we are truly living.” These words from Mother Luisita tell us that regardless of the pressures on us, we must guard our peace of soul at all costs. We can let go of so many other things and still remain victorious if we do not allow the enemy to steal our peace. If we fail in guarding the tranquility of our hearts, all is lost. No project, no event, no mistake, no conflict is worth sacrificing our peace of soul.

Why is this? It has to do with what peace of soul is and where it comes from. Inner peace is the exquisite flower that blossoms forth from living our identity as beloved sons and daughters of God. In a sense, when we surrender our peace of soul at the onslaught of anxiety, fear, or any enemy, we are exchanging our birthright to the Kingdom of God for a passing trifle.

But if we persevere, if we imitate Mother Luisita and remain strong in battle, guarding the peace in the keep of the castle of our souls, we not only survive, we thrive! So hold tight to your peace of soul. As you do, you will come to realize something else Mother Luisita said. “For greater things you were born!”