Saturday, December 27, 2003

Book log: Making Christ's Peace a Part of Your Life by Dietrich von Hildebrand

This has been the first of Dietrich Von Hildebrand's books that I have been able to complete. (Probably this is because it is actually an excerpt from his book Transformation in Christ.) It is an extremely challenging work analyzing the peace that comes from Jesus. Von Hildebrand discusses what it is (and is not), how we can get it and how we can lose it. He also spends considerable time discussing why it is important and the consequences both of finding and losing it.

Short Review: Read it. Very, very good.

Some insights:

  • Distinguishing between true peace and simple absence of conflict:
    The absence of all inward unrest is by no means invariably a good. It is a good on the condition only that it comes from a harmony with objective good and expresses a response to Truth. Sated contentment or a peace of mind due to thoughtlessness or illusion, is not a good but an evil - no matter how pleasant it may subjectively feel. [pg. 35]

  • Evaluating our emotional reactions to things that happen to us:

    First of all, the attitude must match the goodness or badness of the thing to which it is reacting. If we are sad at a friend's good fortune, or take joy at someone else's pain, then our attitudes are wrong.

    Secondly, the intensity of the attitude must match the objective importance of things to which it is reacting. Do we get more excited about a football game than someone coming to know the Lord?

  • Most importantly: True peace can come only to those who surrender to God:
    The nagging unrest of him who doubts and of him who writhes in the fetters of sin, the most deeply painful experience of unrest will dissolve as soon as he achieves an unequivocal surrender to God: peace will come to man when he lets himself fall into the arms of God... [pg. 43]

There is much more that I'd like to write, but I must be off. May the peace of Christ be with you.

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