Saturday, December 20, 2008

On Peace

Perhaps the busyness of my readers' own schedules in this time of year has somewhat diminished how much you've noticed my own lack of recent blog posts.

But I do have something that's been on my heart to share for a few weeks. This is a meditation which the Lord guided me through while in his presence in the Holy Cross chapel during my time of adoration.

He asked me to meditate on the prophesied title of Jesus as "the Prince of Peace." Specifically, he asked me why he is not the King of Peace instead.

It occurred to me that the responsibilities of a prince in a kingdom are the important ones, which are not urgent enough to need the attention of the King. The prince is also the heir to the throne, and what he does as prince should be forming him to be a wise and kind King. Peace thus considered has a temporary and transitory nature, yet remains absolutely necessary.

Looking into Scripture, I also discerned that peace is described or discussed in the following contexts:
  • To provide us with a chance to continue worshipping God in this life
  • As a reward for holiness
  • A gift given to those who rejoice, trust God, and pray
  • Received along with forgiveness and salvation
  • Comes without cost; nothing else is conditional on it - but it is conditional on many things, not the least of which is faith
  • If you focus on your body in this world, you are focused on dying. But if you focus on the things of the spirit, you are focusing on life and peace
  • As a fruit of the Holy Spirit
I have thus learned that peace is given to us, whether it be the mere absence of geopolitical conflict, or as the fruit of a life centered on internal holiness, and it intended to give us an opportunity to advance the Gospel. It is a means, not an end.

Peace is pregnant with purpose, and those of us who have it and squander it are fools and will be judged harshly. And if we squander it, we will also lose it, for it is the fruit of holy living, which directs us to evangelize and thus sustains itself.

Think about this whenever your priest says, "The peace of the Lord be with you all." Think about this when you hear of the angels singing to the shepherds, "Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth!" Think about this when you hear the words of Jesus, "Peace I leave you, my peace I give you." When you read St. Paul's greetings to the faithful in the various churches in his epistles (found in chapter 1, verses 2-4 of almost every one of his letters), wishing them grace and peace in the Lord Jesus, ask yourself - why do Christ and his Church urge peace upon us so frequently and consistently?

Peace as we know it on earth does not exist in heaven. Peace is the God-given ability to interrupt the stress of mortal living to accomplish something. It is a blank canvas, and God expects a painting from us. In heaven there will be no need for peace, in the same way that we won't need gold - they are both elemental components of heaven. But both can be used on earth to further the Kingdom of God - and both can be squandered on earth.

So I ask you the same question the Lord asked me: What are you going to do with your peace this Christmas? Obtaining peace is the beginning of your journey with him. To what next step is he calling you?
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1 comment:

  1. Peace be with you James, and with your family both in you and through you to others.

    Art | Faith | Souls

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