Monica Portogallo, who has always wanted to be a peacemaker, contemplates what true peace is.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)
I studied this passage recently with my parish Bible study, and it got me thinking about being a peacemaker and what true peace really is.
As long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a peacemaker. At age 13, I chose Elizabeth as my confirmation name after St. Elizabeth of Portugal, because she was known as “The Peacemaker.” That was who I wanted to be in the world.
Somewhere along the way, though, it seems much of the world and I have forgotten what true peace is. Peace is not simply a ceasefire. Peace is not “going along to get along.” Peace is not the absence of conflict. We can’t pretend problems don’t exist and call that peace. Real peace cannot come through threats and violence.
Rather than making a feeble attempt to describe what true peace is in my own words, allow me to share some words from the saints and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) on peace and what it really is.
Opting for peace does not mean a passive acquiescence to evil or compromise of principle. It demands an active struggle against hatred, oppression, and disunity, but not by using methods of violence. Building peace requires creative and courageous action. (St. John Paul II)
By humility a man finds grace before God and peace with men. (Blessed Giles of Assisi)
If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies. (St. Teresa of Calcutta)
Respect for and development of human life require peace. Peace is not merely the absence of war, and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace cannot be attained on earth without safeguarding the goods of persons, free communication among men, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity. Peace is "the tranquillity of order." Peace is the work of justice and the effect of charity. (CCC 2304)
Peace is the work of justice indirectly, insofar as justice removes the obstacles to peace; but it is the work of charity (love) directly, since charity, according to its very notion, causes peace. (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart? (St. Gerard Majella)
Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy. (Diary of St Faustina, Divine Mercy in my Soul)
As we contemplate the words of the saints, let us become peacemakers not by running from conflict, but by humbly seeking God and His mercy, and acting with justice and charity toward everyone we meet.
Copyright 2020 Monica Portogallo
Image: Pixabay (2016)
About the Author
Monica Portogallo is a wife, mother, and registered dietitian nutritionist who does her best not to miss the lessons God sends to her through the joys and struggles of daily life. She lives in California.