Give Peace a Chance

It was really hard to find good descriptions for the 12 Fruits of the Holy Spirit.  I was really struggling to put together a working definition for Christian peace.  Most dictionary definitions just describe peace as a cessation from war or strife.  The word peace conjures up images of peace signs, peace fingers, bed-ins, and pot-smoking hippies.

But this just didn’t seem like the right connotation of peace in a daily Christian context.  I mean I could certainly use that definition of peace to try to forestall sibling bickering (and hitting and hair-pulling).  The idea of “turning the other cheek” also fits into that as well.  The Sign of Peace at Mass is meant to reconcile us with others, especially those whom we have been at war with in some form, before we receive the Eucharist.

I couldn’t help thinking, though, about how this idea of peace seems to be almost at odds with the virtue and gift of Christian fortitude, that inspires us to stand up for what is right in the sight of God.  Fortitude calls us to go to war with sin and the proclivities of the dominant culture.  With the current political climate, Catholics have seemed to need fortitude more than peace.

I still felt like there was something missing in the definition of peace as the antonym of war.  What is the point of peace as people like John Lennon meant it?  Yes, war can have devastating consequences for all people involved; there can be so many innocent victims.  And it is very hard to support a war that one feels has no positive purpose and only offers destruction.  But the whole beauty queen, utopian vision for World Peace discounts the possibility that there are ever just reasons for a war.  Why should we all just get along?

Then I went to Holy Hour and Eucharistic Adoration for the first time in months.  And I felt the peace of Christ just wash over me.  I started to feel the full context of what peace really is.  I sat there with the Lord and I felt a certain calm that I have not experienced in ages.  All of the disappointment, stress, anxiety, and discontent that I had been feeling for so long just seemed to dissipate into the quiet.

That’s when I was led by the Lord to this definition of peace to share with my children:

Peace is the calmness that results from our trust in God’s love even in the face of disappointment, hostility, and unfortunate circumstance.  It brings restfulness and contentment instead of anxiety and anger.  Through peace we can discern the right course of action for dealing with a problem.

During Holy Hour we say the following prayer:  “May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death.”

When most people long for a “peaceful death” they imagine a non-violent death where they just pass in their sleep.  But for a Christian, a “peaceful death” should be any manner of passing, secure in the knowledge of God’s love for us.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Catholic Faith, Religion, Virtues/Gifts/Fruits

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