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A humble French priest is teaching me to find peace and growth in suffering

It was through several instances of spiritual struggle and discernment, sometimes in confession, that I heard mentioned again and again the name of a French priest and his very popular books on peace.

Fr. Jacques Philippe, a member of The Community of the Beatitudes since 1985, has dedicated his priesthood to spiritual direction, community formation, and preaching retreats.

And yet, Fr. Jacques’ consolidated treatises of these retreats are published in such small slim books, they hardly let on to the monumental lessons contained within.

It wasn’t until a priest actually put a copy of Searching for and Maintaining Peace into my hands that I began to understand just why the humble author’s words are touching so many lives. The manuscript of a mere 86 pages took me ages to complete, as the richness of each section was so intense, I often had to close the book for the night and digest the small portion I had just absorbed.

I dog-eared many pages as a thought or enlightenment resonated so deeply within me that I knew I had to revisit it. The message was simple: I want and need peace, but peace can only be found in its fullness in Jesus Christ.

“As long as a person who must jump with a parachute does not jump into the void, he cannot feel that the cords of the parachute will support him, because the parachute has not yet had the chance to open. One must first jump and it is only later that one feels carried. And so it is in spiritual life.” – Searching for and Maintaining Peace, pg. 28

Providentially, this simple priest with his divine lessons came from France to speak at our parish just as I was finishing the book! His words came to life as he laid out the means to growing through trials and suffering. I found myself in a side pew writing feverishly and hoping I could absorb his wise words in person as well as I had in print.

Read more at Aleteia. 

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