by Father Lasance, Peace, Not as the World Gives
PEACE, THE GIFT OF THE INFANT JESUS
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will. This was the song of the angels in the Holy Night.
Peace, the gift which the divine Child brought with Him from above, will not be bestowed on those individuals who are endowed with a good understanding or a good memory; it will not be granted to those who excel in bodily strength, who are remarkable for their personal beauty or for their noble birth; it will be given solely and exclusively to the men of good will, no matter if all else be lacking to them—intellectual superiority; distinguished beauty, a splendid physique, high position.
And who is the man of good will? He who desires and asks and strives after nothing else but solely and wholly what God wills.
Solomon, having prayed for wisdom, received every other good thing along with it; and we too, if, like good Christians, we leave ourselves in our heavenly Father’s hands and have no other wish but to please Him, shall most certainly have many temporal blessings poured out upon us.
God will never send us a life wholly free from suffering, for that is not the way to heaven; but He will give us peace, that peace which surpasseth all understanding, leading through storm and sunshine to eternal joy. “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth do I give unto you” (John xiv. 27).
HEART OF JESUS, OUR PEACE AND RECONCILIATION
The peace of our soul depends on the proper observance of four sets of relations—i.e., with God, by love and conformity to His divine will, with men, by justice and charity; with ourselves, by the due subordination of the body to the soul, of the inferior appetites to reason; with inferior creatures, by making them subservient to our last end. The better we observe these four relations, the greater our peace of soul.
In heaven alone shall we enjoy this peace in its perfection. On earth, even its imperfect possession is an unspeakable blessing, the nearest approach to true happiness.
Again and again Christ wished it to His disciples: “Pax vobis” (Peace be to you) was His frequent form of address. “Peace I leave you, My peace I give unto you. . . . Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid.” (John xiv. 27.)
“Learn of Me .. . and you will find rest to your souls.” (Matt. xi. 29.)
The Church in its Liturgy prays again and again for peace. “May the peace of the Lord be always with you.”
Now, the Sacred Heart is called “our peace and reconciliation” in the same sense as, in another invocation, it is called “our life and resurrection”—viz., the Sacred Heart is the cause of our peace and reconciliation.
“He is our peace,” says St. Paul (Eph. ii. 14) “. . . that He might reconcile” us to God. This peacemaking influence of the Savior we attribute to His Sacred Heart.
Our “peace and reconciliation” are the direct result of the shedding of the precious blood, which has its source and well-spring in the Sacred Heart; moreover, the work of pacification and reconciliation is peculiarly the outcome of the love, and therefore of the Heart, of the Redeemer.
The one, great, everlasting longing of the Sacred Heart is our “reconciliation” with His Father and our final admission to the ever-lasting bliss of heaven. For this He lived on earth, for this He died, for this He dwells throughout the ages in the tabernacle.
Peace, says St. Augustine, is serenity of mind, tranquility of soul, simplicity of heart, the bond of charity.
SERENITY OF MIND
Our mind is like the sky, that may be either resplendent with sunshine or darkened with clouds. The clouds are gloomy thoughts, rash judgments, suspicions, uncharitable feelings—all, in short, that destroys interior peace.
TRANQUILITY OF SOUL
Our tranquility is disturbed by thoughts about the past—its faults, failures, and mishaps; the present—its troubles and sorrows; the future—its possibilities and apprehensions. The remedy for all this is confidence in God, conformity to His holy will, abandonment to the guidance and protection of Providence.
SIMPLICITY OF HEART
This may be defined as an active spirit of faith, which makes us simple, sincere, and straightforward in our relations with God and with our neighbor.
THE BOND OF CHARITY
To have peace of heart there must be charity in thought—avoiding envy, suspicion, jealousy, and all that embitters the mind; in word—avoiding calumny, detraction, unkindness of speech: in action—by being kindly and thoughtful in act toward others. even generous and self-sacrificing at times, and free from selfishness.
All these things we shall find in Him who was “meek and humble”; who came to give `peace on earth to men of good will”; and who so often invoked the sweet blessing of peace on His disciples of old.
PRAYER FOR PEACE
Give peace, 0 Lord, in our days; for there is none other that fighteth for us, but only Thou, our God.
Let there be peace in Thy strength, 0 Lord.
And plenty in Thy strong places.
Let us pray…
0 God, from Whom proceed all holy desires, all right counsels and just works; grant unto us Thy servants that peace which the world cannot give, that our hearts may be devoted to Thy service and that, being delivered from the fear of our enemies, we may pass our time in peace under Thy protection. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. Indulgence: 100 days, every time.—Pius IX. May 18, 1848.
(My note: I say the above prayer each evening.)
PRAYER FOR FIDELITY AND CONFORMITY TO THE DIVINE WILL
O Lord almighty, Who permittest evil to draw good therefrom, hear our humble prayers, and grant that we remain faithful to Thee unto death. Grant us also, through the intercession of most holy Mary, the strength ever to conform ourselves to Thy most holy will. Indulgence: 100 days, once a day.—Pius IX. June 15. 1862; Leo XIII, July 19, 1879.
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