How to Cultivate Peace in Your Heart, a Catholic Perspective
Three Steps on How to Cultivate Peace in Your Heart
Learning to cultivate peace in your heart can take time, practice, and patience!
Does inner peace sometimes seem elusive, or maybe like something you will finally be able to try to accomplish when your kids are grown and out on their own? You do not need to wait. You can work to have peace in your heart where you are in your life right now.
Learning how to cultivate peace in your heart can take time, practice, and prayer. As you change and grow during your lifetime, learning how to have peace in your heart may mean different things at different times in your life. Don’t give up! Be patient with yourself and keep trying. God will help you.
What is the definition of “cultivate peace”?
To cultivate is to take care of, to nurture something as it grows.
What is peace? Jesus tells us peace is His gift to us.
In John 14: 27 Jesus tells His disciples: “‘Peace’ is my farewell to you, my peace is my gift to you; I do not give it to you as the world gives peace. Do not be distressed or fearful.” He says this right after He tells them that He will be sending “the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit” to them to instruct them. Right after Jesus tells them about His gift of peace, He tells them that He is going to the Father in Heaven.
Jesus tells us His peace is a gift. He tells us not to be “distressed or fearful.” He is giving them His peace and the Holy Spirit to be with them since He will be leaving them.
The world’s peace offers comfort in material things. The peace of Jesus gives us the hope of being with Him in Heaven. It gives us the assurance that He is preparing a place for us with His Father. His peace is knowing He will return. Jesus goes on to tell the disciples about how He is the vine and we are the branches. We can have His peace when we are attached to Him and draw nourishment from Him.
Cultivating peace in your heart means to grow in love for God and in faith, to trust Him and His word. To help you do this, you can participate in the sacraments and the life of the Church so you may be nourished as you grow each day into the person God has created you to be.
How do we create peace?
Peace is a gift from God. We cannot create it, but we can ask God to help us to have it in our hearts. Jesus offers us peace as His gift to us. We can ask Him to help us to accept it and to develop it more in our lives. He did not give us this as a gift so we could put it on a shelf somewhere and forget about it! Jesus’ gifts are to be used to enrich our lives and draw us closer to Him.
How can you cultivate inner peace in your heart?
Our lives are not static; they are not the same every single day, year after year. Throughout our lives we change and grow as we learn more, as events happen in our lives that can help shape us, and as we have different experiences. We may feel great inner peace during some periods in our lives and not in others. That is okay. Learning how to cultivate peace in your heart can take time, practice, and prayer.
Cultivating inner peace can take time.
Jesus gives us the gift of peace. It is up to us to accept it and ask Him to help us to understand it and bring this gift into our hearts. This can take time and effort to do.
As we mature and grow in life, we can develop a deeper understanding of God and His love for us. Growing takes time! A seed planted one day does not become a big mustard tree the next day. We can nurture God’s gift of peace so that it grows bigger and deeper in our hearts.
We can give ourselves time and be patient with ourselves as we grow in knowledge and understanding of God. Learning and understanding more about our faith through participating in the sacraments (especially receiving Holy Communion at Mass and going to Confession), studying our faith, and prayer will help us to accept and hold on to the gift of His peace, as we will grow to understand it better.
Cultivating inner peace can take practice.
Some days God’s peace within us will be an anchor to hold onto when things are rough around us. Other times in our lives, we may wonder where it is and be desperate for it.
Remember when Peter asked Jesus to command him to walk to Jesus on the stormy sea? When Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he was able to walk on the water towards Him. When Peter started looking at the strong wind, he became fearful and he began to sink. In a panic, he called out to Jesus to save him. “Jesus at one stretched out His hand and caught him. “How little faith you have!” he exclaimed. “‘Why did you falter?”” (Matthew 14:31.)
When Peter took his eyes off of Jesus he lost his peace and confidence. Jesus was still there, but Peter was no longer looking at Him; he was looking instead at the wind of the storm. It is a lesson for us to keep our eyes on Jesus, for this is when we will be able to have His peace as an anchor in our lives.
Keep working each day to hold on to God’s peace within you. If you are focusing on stresses, frustrations, or negativity, you are not focusing on God’s peace or His presence in your life. Focus on God, especially in the midst of a storm.
Cultivating inner peace can take prayer.
Prayer is communication with God. It consists of us speaking with God and listening as God speaks to us. Just as Peter asked Jesus to command him to walk to Jesus, we can ask Jesus to help us to draw closer to Him. We can ask Him to help us to understand and appreciate the peace He gives us as a gift. We can ask Him to help us to grow and nurture that peace so it is a strong anchor in our lives, connecting us to God in love.
Remember these three ways on how to find inner peace with yourself
Give yourself time, patience, and prayer as you cultivate the gift of God's peace in your heart. Remember, as seed does not grow into a might mustard tree overnight. It takes time and nurturing.
More resources related to how to cultivate peace in your heart
Prayer of St. Francis-often called a peace prayer