We can gain Christ's peace by realizing that his love for us supplies us with motivation to give up desires for anything else.

When Jesus appeared to the disciples on Easter evening he said, “Peace be with you.”

So, just what is peace? One simple answer is that it is being free from every form of frustration. That is the way the Buddhists see it. Our great Catholic mystic St. John of the Cross, saw it the same way. Both said that the frustrations that deprive us of peace come from thwarted desires. So, both said that if we can rid ourselves of all desires, we will be at peace.

Still there was a major difference between them. The Buddhists and the Catholic saints had very different ways of motivating themselves to give up troublesome desiring.

When I was teaching Church History to eighth graders I made up a play for them to act out, showing the different ways by which the first Buddhist and St. Teresa of Avilla were able to stop desiring. 

The first Buddhist was an Indian prince who lived six hundred years before Christ. His name was Siddartha Guatamo, and he spent his whole life searching for peace, which he called “Enlightenment.” Siddartha became so saintly that he had many followers, but still he had no peace of mind.

One day, exasperated by his failure to find enlightenment, he squatted beneath a fig tree. He said,  “Though skin and bones dry up, I will sit here until I achieve enlightenment or die." So, he sat there for days, turning blue; then he remembered the saying of a saint he met in the high mountains. The saint had said that only God was real, the rest of us are just illusions. Accepting the old saint’s view, Siddartha  told himself, “Since I am just an illusion, it is silly for an illusion like me to want anything.” With that, he stopped all desiring, and immediately he felt enlightened, and he stood up.

In my little eighth grade play I had one of the onlookers ask St. Teresa of Avilla if she had found peace by accepting the notion that she was just an illusion. She said, “No.”With her it was quite the opposite.

The Lord had told her that she was so precious to him that he loved her dearly. Teresa, much more than satisfied with the love God gave her, went on to give up wanting everything else. With that the enlightenment of complete peace flooded her soul.

In the play I had St. Teresa sing a song to the tune of the hymn “Nearer My God to Thee.” In her version of it she sang:

   The nearer I come to Thee, my dearest Lord;
   The nearer I come to Thee, the more I am myself.
   No mere illusion, I: Thy loving daughter, dear.
   The nearer I come to Thee, the more I am myself.

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