In Your Identity Is Your Peace
The Community of the Beatitudes is an Ecclesial Family of Consecrated life founded in France in 1973. The Community of the Beatitudes gathers faithful from all states of life (married or unmarried lay people, seminarians, priests, permanent deacons, men and women consecrated in celibacy) who wish to conform as closely as possible to the model of the early Christian community through the common life, the sharing of goods, voluntary poverty and an intense sacramental and liturgical life. The members of the Community (which has a contemplative vocation based on Carmelite spirituality), are actively engaged in the service of the poor and the proclamation of the Gospel.
In 1976, Jacques Philippe met the Community of the Beatitudes. He joined them and later spent several years in Nazareth and Jerusalem immersing himself in the studying Hebrew and the Jewish roots of Christianity. In 1981 traveled to Rome to study theology and canon law and was ordained in 1985. He subsequently returned to the community and began work as a spiritual director, formation of priests and seminarians of the Community. Father Philippe preaches retreats regularly in France and abroad. He has consolidated his principal retreat themes, and has collected his experiences of providing spiritual guidance to the community into several books on spirituality.
One such book is Searching For – And Maintaining Peace written by Father Jacques Philippe in 2002. What he writes about can be related to today’s First Reading from Isaiah: You shall be called by a new name pronounced by the mouth of the LORD.
- God’s revelation and
- God’s sustenance
However, we’re not talking general terms here. It isn’t about God broadcasting to a vast, faceless, anonymous crowd. It’s a revelation TO YOU! It’s a revelation ABOUT YOU! It’s about sustenance specifically FOR YOU!
Leif Hetland currently serves as president and founder of Global Mission Awareness. Leif travels around the world imparting his Life Messages and expanding the Kingdom of God. Seeing Through Heaven’s Eyes, The Baptism of Love, and Healing the Orphan Spirit are a few of his best selling books. Leif and his wife, Jennifer, live in Peachtree City, GA with their family. In his book, Called to Reign: Living and Loving from a Place of Rest, Leif expounds on this idea of God’s revelation to you. He writes that, “The kingdom is a family business. It is made up of Papa God, Jesus the Son, the Holy Spirit – and you as a fourth member of the family. Your identity was already formed in the mind of the Father years ago.
Leif’s particular insight is moving from “being” to “doing.” Leif writes that too many Christians get this wrong because they get the “identity thing” wrong. Their understanding about their own identity is wrong because their understanding about God’s identity is wrong. Your identity is about Be – Have – Do:
- Be – God says, “This is who you really are.”
- Have – God says, “This is all that I have already provided for you. You already have it.”
- Do – God says, “This is what you are called to do with who you are and what has been already been given to you.”
Leif writes, “That revelation of the Father reveals that you are not only “a” chosen one. You are “the” chosen one. You have been specifically selected, formed with a specific identity, given specific gifts for a specifically selected task. This truth can fill your spirit, your heart, and your mind. Once you know your identity, you can rest there.”
PEACE is sign that you’re getting it right.
If you don’t have the right sense of identity, in keeping with the Father’s perception of you, everything else in your life will be skewed. We don’t live “Be – Have – Do.” Instead we live Do – Have – Be. Your life then becomes an endless series of activities. You try to get something or be something you aren’t. Or you try to achieve something that has nothing to do with your identity. You will never find rest in this way. Leif writes, “Most of the world believes they have to do something in order to have something so they can be something. That is not how we we’re designed. In God’s design, we are something, so we have everything, and then can do anything.”
Satan knows this and Satan will will use this against you. Pulling you away from peace is his first form of attack. He will fill you mind with thoughts about people around you, tasks to be completed, situations you’re facing, worries about your future, comparisons that you make to others.. This is a “worldview.” It is a worldview war about God’s identity and your identity. In this war, the hard work is about entering into rest. This place of rest is where everything starts and peace resides.
In this place the the words “pronounced by the mouth of God, calling you by a new name” are: “I know I am a beloved son. I know I am a beloved daughter. My Papa loves me, adores me, delights in me. Knowing this enables me to experience the presence of the Father in His home and live in a place of peace—shalom.”
Audio version of the homily is here: