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Posts Tagged ‘Peace’

“Blessed are the peacemakers…”

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2016/08/19 at 12:00 AM

True peace means being concerned about others, being interested in their plans and projects, their joys and sorrows.  God wants us Christians to bring peace and joy with us wherever we go.  Then, we can say as St. Paul ends his first letter to the Corinthians: “My love be with you in Christ Jesus.”

Peace is a clear sign of God’s nearness and closeness to us. St. Paul consistently exhorted the first Christians to live in peace, saying that the God of love and peace would be with them. True peace results from holiness. St. Augustine also describes true peace as the tranquility of order.

A peacemaker easily abandons her own agenda in order to do what God places in front of her, and she does that without complaining.  Without  making excuses or apologies, she takes on unpleasant tasks.  Share the woes of others by trying to ease their distress, reaching out to them in kindness and compassion, in attitude, words and deeds.

What does it mean to be a Christian?  A Christian views the world as Christ did and reacts to circumstances following the example of Christ’s reaction in similar situations.  He encountered every single problem we will encounter in our lives.  The appearances might be different, but the essence of the concern is the same. We should open our hearts to others and transmit to others the joy that comes from following Christ.  If others are slow to respond, we must treat them with patience, respecting each person’s circumstances. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and do not impute intentions, but rather seek by kindness to bring about reconciliation more for the other’s sake than for yours.  Never let yourself grow cold, distant or sour towards anyone, and above all, never humiliate anyone with a disdainful attitude. Avoid sharp or sarcastic comments or replies, and be patient with the irksome and cantankarous.

The peacemaker meets all angry outburst with gentleness, kindness and humility, never with harshness or vengefulness.  Her forgiveness is readily given; it is quick, sincere, and lasting.  Offenses once forgiven will not be felt and will be easy to forget.  Never, ever, harbor resentment against another because to do so is a form of spiritual suicide by the cancer of bitterness which brings death to the soul. Keep your heart clear of any trace of hostility, anger or bitterness.  Disarm insults or hostility with kindness and a positive attitude.  Clear your your mind of strife and offenses as if they had never occurred.

Be precise in your speech, even in small matters.  Do not hesitate in correcting errors you make, exaggerations or careless language.  Beware of hypocrisy and half truths, avoiding deceitful behavior at all cost.  Speak the truth prudently and without apology but with firmness born of faith. Jesus was a total revolutionary. He turned the  world upside down. His values reverse the usually accepted human values in every age.  We must follow His example and when we hear or see anything that reverses proper human values, we too must become revolutionaries, correcting the situation.

Meditate carefully on the life of Our Lord; He is your perfect model and guide.  We have been rescued because God is compassionate towards us.  Should we not extend that same compassion to those who aggravate us, dislike  us or needle us?  Instead, with sympathy and kindness, help the floundering; you will find that you gain more than you give. Turn to Our Lord and His Blessed Mother for solace and encourage others to do so.

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Benedict XVI: The Same Security That a Child Feels in the Arms of a Loving and All Powerful God

In 07 Observations on 2013/02/28 at 11:11 AM

Following are extracts:

“Although the world is sadly marked by ‘hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism,’ as well as by various forms of terrorism and crime, I am convinced that ‘the many different efforts at peacemaking which abound in our world testify to mankind’s innate vocation to peace. In every person the desire for peace is an essential aspiration which coincides in a certain way with the desire for a full, happy and successful human life. … Man is made for the peace which is God’s gift. All of this led me to draw inspiration for this Message from the words of Jesus Christ: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God’. This beatitude ‘tells us that peace is both a messianic gift and the fruit of human effort … It is peace with God through a life lived according to His will. It is interior peace with oneself, and exterior peace with our neighbours and all creation’. Indeed, peace is the supreme good to ask as a gift from God and, at the same time, that which is to be built with our every effort.

We may ask ourselves: what is the basis, the origin, the root of peace? How can we experience that peace within ourselves, in spite of problems, darkness and anxieties? The reply is given to us by the readings of today’s liturgy. The biblical texts, especially the one just read from the Gospel of Luke, ask us to contemplate the interior peace of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. During the days in which ‘she gave birth to her first-born son’, many unexpected things occurred: not only the birth of the Son but, even before, the tiring journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, not finding room at the inn, the search for a chance place to stay for the night; then the song of the angels and the unexpected visit of the shepherds. In all this, however, Mary remains even tempered, she does not get agitated, she is not overcome by events greater than herself; in silence she considers what happens, keeping it in her mind and heart, and pondering it calmly and serenely. This is the interior peace which we ought to have amid the sometimes tumultuous and confusing events of history, events whose meaning we often do not grasp and which disconcert us.

… Here, dear brothers and sisters, is the foundation of our peace: the certainty of contemplating in Jesus Christ the splendour of the face of God the Father, of being sons and daughters in the Son, and thus of having, on life’s journey, the same security that a child feels in the arms of a loving and all-powerful Father. The splendour of the face of God, shining upon us and granting us peace, is the manifestation of his fatherhood: the Lord turns his face to us, he reveals himself as our Father and grants us peace. Here is the principle of that profound peace – ‘peace with God’ – which is firmly linked to faith and grace, as Saint Paul tells the Christians of Rome. Nothing can take this peace from believers, not even the difficulties and sufferings of life. Indeed, sufferings, trials and darkness do not undermine but build up our hope, a hope which does not deceive because ‘God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us’.

May the Virgin Mary, whom today we venerate with the title of Mother of God, help us to contemplate the face of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. May she sustain us and accompany us in this New Year: and may she obtain for us and for the whole world the gift of peace. Amen!”

VIS 130102

“He calls each and every one to holiness”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/08/01 at 9:11 AM
Prayer is not the prerogative of monks; it is a Christian undertaking of men and women of the world who know themselves to be children of God. (Furrow, 451)

We are deeply moved, and our hearts profoundly shaken, when we listen attentively to that cry of St Paul: ‘This is God’s will for you, your sanctification’ [1]. Today, once again, I set myself this goal and I also remind you and all mankind: this is God’s Will for us, that we be saints.

In order to bring peace, genuine peace, to souls; in order to transform the earth and to seek God Our Lord in the world and through the things of the world, personal sanctity is indispensable. In my conversations with people from so many countries and from all kinds of social backgrounds, I am often asked: ‘What do you say to us married folk? To those of us who work on the land? To widows? To young people?’

I reply systematically that I have only ‘one stewing pot’. I usually go on to point out that Our Lord Jesus Christ preached the good news to all, without distinction. One stewing pot and only one kind of food: ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work’ [2]. He calls each and every one to holiness; he asks each and every one to love him: young and old, single and married, healthy and sick, learned and unlearned, no matter where they work, or where they are. There is only one way to become more familiar with God, to increase our trust in him. We must come to know him through prayer; we must speak to him and show him, through a heart to heart conversation, that we love him.

‘Call upon me and I shall hear you.’ The way to call upon him is to talk to him, turn to him. Hence we have to put into practice the Apostle’s exhortation: sine intermissione orate; pray always, no matter what happens. ‘Not only with your heart, but with all your heart.’ (Friends of God, 294-295)

[1] 1 Thess 4:3
[2] John 4:34

“The peace of Christ in the kingdom of Christ’”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2011/11/24 at 9:11 AM
“The peace of Christ in the kingdom of Christ’”

Force yourself, if necessary, always to forgive those who offend you, from the very first moment. For the greatest injury or offence that you can suffer from them is as nothing compared with what God has pardoned you. (The Way, 452)

A clear mark of the man of God, of the woman of God, is the peace in their souls: they have peace and they give peace to the people they have dealings with. (The Forge, 649)

Get used to replying to those poor “haters”, when they pelt you with stones, by pelting them with Hail Marys. (The Forge, 650)

Holy Mary is the Queen of peace, and thus the Church invokes her. So when your soul or your family are troubled, or things go wrong at work, in society or between nations, cry out to her without ceasing. Call to her by this title: Queen of peace, pray for us.” Have you at least tried it when you have lost your calm? You will be surprised at its immediate effect.  (Furrow, 874)

An Essential Virtue: Fortitude

In 07 Observations on 2011/08/04 at 10:11 PM

 FORTITUDE

Fortitude guides us to do what is right despite any difficulty. A Christian can expect to encounter difficult situations and hostility from the enemies of God. The Cross is never far from those who follow Jesus Christ.  There are martyrs in every age.

God is aware of our limitations when He gives us a task or permits something to happen to us.  He stands by us when people try to confuse us by efforts to undermine our faith, when our Christian values are ridiculed or when we’re pressured to conform. Fortitude helps us to forgive those who have offended us, to be patient with those who irritate us or are disagreeable and to return good for evil.

It is only with God’s help that our soul endures trials and is purified by them, making us more humble.  From all these negative experiences, we gain a capacity for understanding others, praying for them and treating them like Jesus Himself would treat them.   It is our duty to proclaim the Truth of Christ without fear and to help others resist all opposition.  This duty we can carry out by our faithfulness, prayers, example, words and cheerfulness.

We need to implore God to transform our souls, to transform our attitude as to what happiness and misfortune really are.  Pope John Paul II said that the persecutions for the faith endured in our time are often like those of the early church: that they merely assume different types of discrimination against believers and the Church community.  Today, unbeknownst to many, there are hundreds of thousands of witnesses to the Faith.  While unknown or perhaps forgotten by others, God knows them as they daily undergo diverse privations in diverse regions of the globe.

God ask of everyone a heroic steadfastness in proclaiming the Truth through our lives and words . . . even in environments which may be difficult and hostile to the teachings of Christ. He asks us to live fully the Christian virtues in the middle of the world in whatever circumstances life has placed us . . . to sanctify ourselves through living fidelity in the duties and circumstance of each day.  God wants us to bear difficulties peacefully and firmly place our trust in Him.

The virtue of fortitude is a daily Christian need in our times and world.  God’s aid is essential.  In simple terms, the virtue of fortitude is manifested by doing good faithfully despite all obstacles and resisting evils in such a way as not to become despondent.  We must overcome our moods, not complaining uselessly, but persevering in our duties and being cheerful when we are tired.  Simply, we must face the unpleasant or painful, accept those things that go against our plans and be vigilant not to invent problems or give too much importance to the everyday challenges that do arise.

It is the virtue of fortitude that enables us to be patient when unpleasant things happen or when we receive bad news.  It gives us peace in difficulties, helps us accept reality without complaining and invites us to accept difficulties in union with the Crucified.  It takes fortitude to accept disappointment, misfortune and even disaster with the steadfast love of God.

From Christ and seeing him clearly that gives us fortitude.  We must look upon his face, engage Him habitually in prayer and in the sacraments, so we can truly live the Christian life of loving, imitating and serving Him.  Christ walked where we walk, understands our humanity and holds out a nail-scarred Hand to encourage and supports us.

While the early Christians rejected customs and behaviors that were incompatible with the Faith they had received, they never felt out of place in the society to which they belonged.  It should be the same with us today.  We must accept the world where God has placed us and live in a way that people see the greatness and the wonder of following Jesus. In spite of all our defects we are God’s instruments, His hands, His voice to those we live and work amongst.  A Portuguese proverb speaks poignantly of this truth:  “ God writes straight with crooked lines.”

It is not, and never has been, an easy task to follow Christ.  Imitating Christ is serious work.  We need to be strong in order to persevere.  We need fortitude to be faithful in all things and not to stray.  The imitation of Christ is serious business.  As you meditate on the Gospel daily, Jesus passes by, stops and visits with us like He did with the disciples on the way to Emmaus.  Let us listen to Him, see Him and invite him to stay with us.

A Timely Message That We Need to Hear Again and Again.

In 07 Observations on 2011/06/16 at 12:33 AM

Peace is not merely the absence of war; nor can it be reduced solely to the maintenance of a balance of power between enemies; nor is it brought about by dictatorship. Instead, it is rightly and appropriately called an enterprise of justice. Peace results from that order structured into human society by its divine Founder, and actualized by men as they thirst after ever greater justice. The common good of humanity finds its ultimate meaning in the eternal law. But since the concrete demands of this common good are constantly changing as time goes on, peace is never attained once and for all, but must be built up ceaselessly. Moreover, since the human will is unsteady and wounded by sin, the achievement of peace requires a constant mastering of passions and the vigilance of lawful authority.

But this is not enough. This peace on earth cannot be obtained unless personal well-being is safeguarded and men freely and trustingly share with one another the riches of their inner spirits and their talents. A firm determination to respect other men and peoples and their dignity, as well as the studied practice of brotherhood are absolutely necessary for the establishment of peace.

Hence peace is likewise the fruit of love, which goes beyond what justice can provide.

That earthly peace which arises from love of neighbor symbolizes and results from the peace of Christ which radiates from God the Father. For by the cross the incarnate Son, the prince of peace reconciled all men with God. By thus restoring all men to the unity of one people and one body, He slew hatred in His own flesh; and, after being lifted on high by His resurrection, He poured forth the spirit of love into the hearts of men.

For this reason, all Christians are urgently summoned to do in love what the truth requires, and to join with all true peacemakers in pleading for peace and bringing it about.

Motivated by this same spirit, we cannot fail to praise those who renounce the use of violence in the vindication of their rights and who resort to methods of defense which are otherwise available to weaker parties too, provided this can be done without injury to the rights and duties of others or of the community itself.

Insofar as men are sinful, the threat of war hangs over them, and hang over them it will until the return of Christ. But insofar as men vanquish sin by a union of love, they will vanquish violence as well and make these words come true: “They shall turn their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into sickles. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4).

Gaudium et Spes, Chapter V on the Fostering of peace and the promotion of a community of nations.

http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_cons_19651207_gaudium-et-spes_en.html