Saturday, November 19, 2011

Do we really know what makes for peace?

Our Lord wept over Jerusalem and said, "If only you knew what makes for peace" (Lk 19:42). And now we do know (those of us who are Christian in more than name). Only a life lived in conformity with the mind of Christ as shown to us by His Catholic Church can bring true peace. By contrast, "Pride inflates man; envy consumes him; avarice makes him restless; anger rekindles his passions; gluttony makes him ill; comfort destroys him; lies imprison him; murder defiles him...the very pleasures of sin become the instruments of punishment in the hands of God." (Pope Innocent III, On the Misery of the Human Condition).

It is our duty as Catholics to remind others of these truths and to expose those who are promoting sin or error. But often we will find ourselves being criticized (even by other Catholics, whose commitment toward Catholic teaching is, at best, questionable) for doing so. This should never deter us. When such people accuse us of "negativity," [or even as "threatening peace and order"], we should recall the words of Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand: "..the rejection of evil and of sin is a response which is purely positive and morally called for, and it possesses a high moral value. One cannot truly love God, without hating the devil. One cannot really love the truth, without hating error. One cannot find the truth and grasp it clearly as such, without seeing through errors. Knowledge of truth is inseparably linked with knowledge of error, with the unmasking of error.* All talk about the superiority of 'yes' over 'no,' about the 'negativity' of rejecting that which should be rejected, is so much idle chatter." (The Cult of the 'Positive').

Indeed, as John Cardinal Newman said in his Grammar of Assent, "I would maintain that fear of error is simply necessary to the genuine love of truth." In his Introduction to the Devout Life, that precious and popular work, St. Francis de Sales, a Doctor of the Church, says that, "If the declared enemies of God and of the Church ought to be blamed and censured with all possible vigor, charity obliges us to cry wolf when the wolf slips into the midst of the flock and in every way and place we may meet him."

Pope John XXIII said essentially the same thing: "...as long as we are journeying in exile over this earth, our peace and happiness will be imperfect. For such peace is not completely untroubled and serene; it is active, not calm and motionless. In short, this is a peace that is ever at war. It wars with every sort of error, including that which falsely wears the face of truth; it struggles against the enticements of vice, against those enemies of the soul, of whatever description, who can weaken, blemish, or destroy our innocence or Catholic faith." (Ad Petri Cathedram No. 93).

Pope Paul VI, in his Apostolic Exhortation Recurrens Mensis October (The recurrence of the month of October), 1969, said that, "Undoubtedly, peace is the concern of men and a good common to all.  As such, it must be the constant care of everyone...Despite much good will, there are many interests in opposition; much selfishness is shown; many antagonisms increase; many rivalries conflict with one another.  Who does not see, then, the unflagging action demanded from each and all in order that love may triumph over discord and that peace may be restored to the city of men?"

There is no peace without God.  And no peace without prayer.  Which is why there is no peace among men.  Most men do not pray - even many of those who give lip service to prayer.  Pope Paul VI continues, "..peace is also the concern of God.  He has placed in our hearts the ardent desire for peace.  He urges us to work toward it, each doing his share, and for that purpose He sustains our feeble energies and our vacillating wills.  He alone can give us a peaceful soul, and confirm in depth and solidity our efforts for peace.  Prayer, by which we ask for the gift of peace, is therefore an irreplaceable contribution to the establishment of peace.  It is through Christ, in whom all grace is given us, that we dispose ourselves to welcome the gift of peace.  And in that undertaking, how can we do otherwise than to depend lovingly upon the incomparable intercession of Mary, His Mother, of whom the Gospel tells us that she 'found favor with God'?"

Our Lady is Mother of the Prince of Peace.  And the Prince of Peace has assured us that we can do nothing without Him.  Do we believe this?  If so, we will dispose ourselves to welcome the gift of peace by devoting ourselves to prayer - especially the Holy Rosary.

A call to false irenicism is not the answer.  Sticking our heads in the sand of denial and pretending "all is well" is not the answer.  Selfishness and self-will, obstacles to authentic peace, are overcome only through constant prayer.  As Pope Benedict XVI explained back in 2009: "Conflict and lack of reconciliation in the world stem from the fact that we are locked into our own interests and opinions, into our own little private world. Selfishness, both individual and collective, makes us prisoners of our interests and our desires that stand against the truth and separate us from one another. Awake, the Gospel tells us. Step outside, so as to enter the great communal truth, the communion of the one God. To awake, then, means to develop a receptivity for God: for the silent promptings with which he chooses to guide us; for the many indications of his presence..." (Christmas homily 2009).




1 comment:

LUZ DE MARIA PARA AS NAÇÕES said...

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