Life can be a hurtful thing. The small and large things of simply living can sink us and beat us, like an enemy attacking a holy city. Work, kids, exams, traffic. A boss that doesn’t lead, a teacher who doesn’t like students, friends who aren’t friends. A priest as merciful as your average warlord. Betrayal. Divorce. Depression. Cancer that sweeps in out of nowhere and takes down a young and vital mother.

What makes for peace in a hurt life? One huge step is simply acknowledging what in life we can’t control, and dealing head on with the things we can.

The hard things will always come, but the soul doesn’t need to be rent and conquered by them, not one stone left upon another. Filling ourselves with the spirit of Christ keeps us from being an empty field for the enemy to enter. Filling the soul with God  helps us  to let go or to confront, whichever is needed. Filling the soul with God is the only way to real peace. The only way.

—Joe Hoover, S.J. is a Jesuit brother writing and acting in New York. He serves as poetry editor of America magazine and also works at St. Ignatius Grammar School.