Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By F. K. Bartels

1/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

All the desires of the mysterious and thirsty human heart, which include lasting interior peace and perfect happiness, are attained in the possession of God, whose unsurpassable and indescribable gifts are freely given to those who love him.

Pope Benedict XVI notes that God has always been, and ever will be, completely on your side. The Father created you to receive the peace that is God's gift; this peace is true, authentic, fulfilling and everlasting, since its origin is God himself. It is not merely a natural peace, but a supernatural peace that is enjoyed in sharing in God's own divine life.

World Day of Peace

World Day of Peace

Highlights

By F. K. Bartels

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: world day of peace, pope Benedict's message of peace, interior peace, God's gift of peace, World Day of Peace, F. K. Bartels


GLADE PARK, CO (Catholic Online) -- On the first day of January, the Catholic Church marks the World Day of Peace. Pope Benedict's message for 2013, entitled "Blessed are the Peacemakers," notes that peace is not merely a utopian fantasy, but remains a possibility in today's world provided everyone works together as a family in order to achieve it. The Holy Father's message of deep insight into man's "vocation to peace" can be read in its entirety here.

Drawing his inspiration from the words of Jesus Christ, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God" (Mt 5:9), the Pope shared many aspects of the crucial mission and efforts of peacemaking in the world today, which is a truly human enterprise corresponding to man's irrepressible desire for peace, ranging from those problematic elements in society and the world that threaten peace and the well-being of the human community, to the primary means of attaining true and lasting peace: an authentic, self-giving relationship with the Person of Jesus Christ, who is himself the "Prince of Peace" (Is 9:6), and the light of humanity (cf. Jn 1:4).

Pope Benedict observed that man's unceasing desire for peace corresponds to his longing for happiness, something originating in the need for the Creator and merciful Father, who is the source of life and all good things for which man hopes. Man is called to peace, in fact, created for it.

"All the same, the many different efforts at peacemaking which abound in our world testify to mankind's innate vocation to peace," said Pope Benedict. "In every person the desire for peace is an essential aspiration which coincides in a certain way with the desire for a full, happy and successful human life. In other words, the desire for peace corresponds to a fundamental moral principle, namely, the duty and right to an integral social and communitarian development, which is part of God's plan for mankind. Man is made for the peace which is God's gift" (1 ß 5).

That one short sentence bears repeating: "Man is made for the peace which is God's gift." I would like to reflect a moment on the truth claim that peace is a gift from God. While Pope Benedict speaks in his message of both interior and exterior peace, permit me to here focus on interior peace. What is this peace and what does it mean for us? How do we access/receive this gift?

Let's begin with the quest for peace, which is a universally human enterprise since all men desire peace and the happiness it brings. There are many today who misunderstand what interior peace really is and where to find it, thus they look for it in the wrong ways and in the wrong places.

Many often believe interior peace is achieved through situating themselves within particular and attractive life circumstances. That is, if they can have the right career, attain a level of financial security, live in a pleasant part of the world, remove stressors from their life, and so forth, they will then know and enjoy peace. It is the quest to find and possess authentic and lasting interior peace through created objects, which is a futile endeavor. It is a most unproductive human labor. Although people often seek peace through such means, they one day realize their efforts are much like trying to touch a mirage in the desert: the faster one walks toward it, the more rapidly it recedes. Even though the heights of worldly success should be acquired, peace remains elusive.

Others believe true and lasting interior peace is something attained through a type of mental focus. The notion is, it can be accessed through the powers of human nature if one will but learn the proper techniques. Breathing exercises, clearing the mind, regular physical exertion, and mental exercises such as training the mind to think primarily in positive ways, are some of the techniques people use in an attempt to gain access to interior peace. While it is true that these methods have their value, they are incapable of producing within us the spiritual peace each and every one of us craves in the depths of our hearts. Regardless of the techniques used and the frequency with which they are practiced, we one day realize with stark clarity that, perhaps even with more than just a tinge of sadness, they remain insufficient.

Clearly, true and authentic and lasting interior peace is something that is given to us; we cannot, hard as we might try, forcibly take it for ourselves. It is not, then, something we can attain solely with the powers of our human nature. Although it is possible to be naturally happy for a time and therefore enjoy a certain level of peace, the moment some stressor rears its head, anxiety sets in, and the effort to reacquire peace must begin all over again. The point is, peace is a gift; and, in order for any gift to be received, it must first be given. Further, in order to fully acquire and enjoy any gift, deriving the most possible benefit from it, we must be open to receiving it. The thing we need to get into our heads, is that God is the giver of peace. We must purposefully and with sincerity go to God in prayer and live our life in right relationship to him in order to fully receive his wondrous gifts, which include peace. God is the origin and source of all good gifts. If we want peace, our focus and energy and desires must be ordered toward the love of God for his sake. It is in turning to God, completely and wholly, that the doorway to true, authentic and indescribable peace is unlatched.

Pope Benedict points out that God is always on the side of peace because his only Son, Jesus Christ who is the perfect revelation of the Father's love, spoke in the beatitudes of a blessedness that "consists in the fulfillment of a promise made to all those who allow themselves to be guided by the requirements of truth, justice and love," which are all prerequisites for peace. This promise is, ultimately, the promise of sharing in the supernatural life of God, a state of blessedness in which the hope that burns in the depths of our hearts is attained. Such a life is the life of peace. It begins in embracing Jesus Christ and in following him; it builds toward its fulfillment as we make the story of Christ's life our own story; and attains its fullest dimension as the elect pass through the veil of death into everlasting life and heavenly glory, forever possessing God in the Beatific Vision.

In abandoning ourselves in trust to the love of God, in nourishing and living out a sincere longing for truth, justice and love, the words of Jesus in the beatitudes become a reality for us: we discover that we "are children of God," stated Pope Benedict. In that moment, God's sons and daughters understand "that God has always been, and ever will be, completely on their side."

In that luminous and regenerative understanding, peace suddenly blooms within us as something that transcends the visible world, something permanent, sure and certain; something that cannot be taken away from us as long as we ourselves do not forfeit it through a willful turning away from God. That God is completely on our side renders all that troubles us harmless. If God is truly with us, as he is, on our side, what do we really have to fear? Like an everlasting flower, forever giving off the scent of divine sweetness, the peace granted by God will never wilt nor fade away, for it originates in the eternal Other who is its Well-Spring. The peace God gives is a supernaturally infused peace, which is infinitely greater than natural peace. As adopted children of the Father, peace becomes, then, an inseparable part of our human life rooted within us interiorly, since the Spirit who is Peace and Love is sent to dwell in us as within a temple (cf. 1 Cor 3:16), and lovingly gifts us with his own indescribable peace.

In giving ourselves over completely, unreservedly and unconditionally to Christ -- which includes loving God for his sake above all else, our neighbor as another self, and living the moral life of love in the womb of the Church in free obedience to the truth and in fidelity to divine law -- the desire for interior peace is actualized through the gift of the Spirit whose peace and love takes possession of us as his own, and fosters within us a new way of living and a new way of understanding what life is. It is as if our eyes are opened and we become fully awake and alert to the reality of God's plan of loving goodness. In that moment, a new and never-before-imagined clarity is experienced. Interior peace becomes real, certain, tangible.

The wondrous and most cherished gift of the Spirit heals, elevates and perfects us, bestowing on us the ability to live and act in ways proper to God alone. The Spirit becomes our strength, allowing us to courageously face what would otherwise be terrifying difficulties and obstacles in life. To say that the Spirit re-creates and makes us new is not merely pious talk; it is a reality for which we are all destined, provided we give ourselves in totality to God. God is truly the giver of unsurpassable gifts!

This road to God and his indescribable gift of interior peace is the journey of the spiritual life toward perfection. It is often a rather long, tortuous and difficult road, as the cross of Jesus Christ reveals. Many lose patience and give up when spiritual gifts and the perceptible, sweet consolation of God is not immediately forthcoming, preferring to enjoy the quickly and easily accessed yet fleeting and unsatisfying pleasures of the world. It is important to understand that God wants our commitment, our total love, which involves a profound interior conversion on our part. We must die to self. Progress is made by those who, praying unceasingly, humbly rely completely on Christ and refuse to give in to worldly errors. Their success is assured because God is on their side. Their hope in the promises of Christ will be realized, for the Son of God shed his blood and died in order to make them a reality.

None of this is meant in any way to imply that it is unimportant to work to obtain peace in the world. Nor is it meant to suggest we will not suffer, or that life will not bring with it its share of difficulties. But it is to say that, since we can accomplish nothing apart from Christ, it is our Savior who is the key to everlasting peace and perfect happiness and finding satisfaction in the possession of all the good things for which the mysterious human heart forever longs. As St. Teresa of Avila, the Doctor of Prayer, pointed out, Christ does not give himself completely to us until we give ourselves completely to him. It is in the possession of God that we enjoy real and lasting interior peace. It is in the possession of God that we derive the strength and wisdom to work positive change in the world in order to foster the peace for which humankind thirsts. It is through the gift of the indwelling Spirit that we are enabled to heal, elevate and perfect human culture and society, making it more the city of God than the city of man.

God is on your side! You were made to receive God's gifts of peace, happiness and love, and thereby transform the world by what you receive.

-----

F. K. Bartels is a Catholic writer who knows the Catholic Church transmits the fullness of truth and offers the fullest means of salvation; therefore his Catholic Faith is one of the greatest gifts a man could ever receive. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit him also at joyintruth.com

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Living Faith

Two bishops dine and dialogue with peace activists

Image of War doesn't decide who is right, just who is left.

By Tony Magliano

During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops fall assembly in Baltimore, two bishops decided to forego the military chaplains dinner sponsored by the U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains Office, and attended instead a simple supper and discussion on peacemaking. On the evening of ... continue reading


'God always forgives, but the earth does not,' Pope warns Watch

Image of The Pope urged the world's leaders to rein in their greed and help the hungry.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A doomsday scenario in which Mother Nature would exact her revenge is possible, even likely, Pope Francis warns. The pontiff was speaking out against the exploitation of natural resources for profit. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pope urged the world's ... continue reading


Pope Francis' special message: Why Poverty? 'And while we speak of new rights, the hungry remain, at the street corner, We ask for dignity, not for charity.'

Image of When we give our loaves and fishes to Christ, there is no end to the Good that can come from it.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has asked the world to do more to help those who suffer from hunger and malnutrition. Despite gains made in infrastructure and outpourings of food, too many people with plenty have done too little to help. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - With ... continue reading


How do you raise a good, upstanding child? With daily prayers, weekly church attendance and the knowledge of God Watch

Image of Billy Graham, now 96, has reached out to millions with his joyous words of the truth of God and Jesus Christ.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Reverend Billy Graham, the world famous television evangelist and founder and chairman of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, has said that the reason the world seems to be in such dire straits is that children are not being raised right. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Learning Lessons for Life from Zaccheus and that Sycamore Tree Watch

Image of Zaccheus climbed that tree in order to see the Lord, not to be seen by Jesus. He did not care what the crowd thought of a grown man climbing a tree! He went after the encounter with Jesus Christ with a childlike simplicity and a reckless abandon. Do we?

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Sycamore tree created a clear line of vision for Zaccheus. It helped him to rise above the crowd and see the Lord clearly. It placed him in the right position for the invitation that would follow. Jesus told him to come down for he was coming to his house! ... continue reading


Jesus Weeps and Calls us to Recognize His Visitation Watch

Image of The Cross, an instrument of torture, will become the sign of peace, for those who find their refuge under its shadow and embrace the One who stretches out His arms to embrace the whole world. There Jesus will deal definitively with the great enemy of peace, the sin which impedes it in each of our lives. With tenderness He looks out from the Mount of Olives and sees the Holy City of Jerusalem. How he loves that City. Then, Jesus weeps. He knows the City will soon be overtaken and destroyed by the armies of Titus. He weeps the tears of Love and cries compassion from His Sacred Heart

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Jesus shows His disciples - and He shows us us, because we are His disciples in this hour - the pattern of living in a continual communion with the Father. He invites them - and He invites us - into this very communion of love which He has with the Father, in the ... continue reading


Children deserve both father and mother, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of Children have the right to be raised by a mother and a father, Pope Francis said, emphasizing that

By CNA/EWTN News

Children have the right to be raised by a mother and a father, Pope Francis said, emphasizing that "the family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation." Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The Pope made these remarks on Nov. 17 at ... continue reading


Here are 10 Very Interesting Facts About the Catholic Church You Probably Didn't Know! Watch

Image of Pope Francis commands the world's smallest professional army.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

How much do you know about the Catholic Church? Here are 10 fun facts you might not know. See how many you know and post your result in the comments! 1.    Vatican City has the highest crime rate in the world! With a population around 500 people and a ... continue reading


Study: Latin Americans abandoning Catholic Church for evangelical, Protestant churches Watch

Image of Protestants now make up 19 percent of the Latin American population, while another eight percent now profess no religious affiliation, a figure reaching 37 percent in Uruguay.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Catholic Church is losing members in Latin America at an increasing rate. According to the Pew research Center, many Latin Americans are leaving the church for Pentecostal, Protestant churches. There is even a growing number of Latin Americans who now ... continue reading


Living Faith: Learning How to See from a Blind Man Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The people to whom we are introduced in the Gospel accounts have been selected from among many others who encountered Jesus - for a real purpose. They can put us in touch with the Lord, with ourselves, and with the meaning of our own lives.Through prayerful ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 10:8-11
8 Then I heard the voice I had heard from heaven ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131
14 In the way of your instructions lies my joy, a joy ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 19:45-48
45 Then he went into the Temple and began driving out ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 21st, 2014 Image

St. Gelasius
November 21: St. Gelasius I, Pope (Feast day - November 21) Gelasius was born ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter