We just have to look around to see that some trouble and disturbance are erupting in many parts of the world, and even in our own country, our own province, town or city, and even in our places of work and in our homes.
Of course, we know that even in our own selves, we cannot have peace. We can also see tension and conflicts among the different parts and aspects of own selves—the mind warring against the heart, reason against feelings, etc.
This is unavoidable, and therefore, understandable, given the delicate status of our human condition, assailed as it is by human frailty, mistakes and failures, if not sin and malice pursued with hellish intentions. Yes, we can go to that extreme too.
We need to understand what true peace is, because there are now many ideas, definitions and descriptions being attached to it, and frankly, they sound more nice than true, more feel-good and subjective than objective, more false and illusory than real.
There is peace offered by drugs, or by some escape mechanisms like sex, exercise and body cult, and other forms of panacea and psychological conditioning. These are Faustian bargains that sooner or later will just fall through.
Peace in society or in the political and ideological fronts is often an artificial, plastic product of all kinds of consensus and deterrents to war that are at best shaky and volatile. It’s a peace built on sand, not on solid rock.
True peace can only come from God. “Peace is my farewell to you, my peace is my gift to you,” Christ says. “I do not give it to you as the world gives peace.” (Jn 14,27) We have to understand these words well, accepting them first of all by faith, and then analyzing them with all the resources of our God-given human powers.
We should never depart from this peace of Christ. All our efforts to come up with an estimation of peace for our personal health or for social, economic or political well-being, should always be inspired by this peace Christ gives us. It cannot be any other way.
Christ is the prince of peace. He knows how to tackle any and all sources and causes of trouble, conflict and war. He meets them head-on, not escaping from them, and in fact converts these causes of evil and war into paths to goodness and human redemption.
He goes straight to the very core of evil, the malice that can spring in the hearts of men, the primal source of all our troubles, conflicts and wars. And he does the ultimate to annul the effects of evil, by assuming them himself, killing them with his own death, and conquering them with his own resurrection. He always has the last word.
While in pursuing and trying to gain peace we may have to do some practical and temporary things, we should never forget that the ultimate source of peace is Christ himself who is God who became man for our sake. We should always go to him, praying and asking for his help. We should never set him aside.
Following him will indeed involve effort and sacrifice, but we have to look at the bigger picture, the long-range vision. We will be asked to deny ourselves and to carry the cross, we will be asked to undertake a continuing ascetical struggle, but all these come with the territory.
The peace Christ gives us is the peace he himself won for us on the cross. It is a peace that comes with some war—against our weaknesses, our temptations, and sins in all their forms and variety.
We should be wary when we are presented with an easy program of life that can give us instant advantages but will certainly lead us nowhere but disaster. This is the kind of peace the world gives us, as our Lord hinted. Its perks and advantages are actually only ephemeral, short-lived and shallow.
We have to strengthen our faith in Christ and hope in the promises he made for us. We can use these words contained in the prayers of the Mass: “Father, make our faith strong and our hope sure. May we never doubt that you will fulfill the promises you have made. Amen!”