Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By F. K. Bartels

1/5/2013 (2 years 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 (2 years 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 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2015
General Intention:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Missionary Intention: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Living Faith

What Does the Lord Jesus Mean When He Calls us to Be Perfect? Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The character of Jesus Christ is being formed in each one of us as we say yes - and choose to cooperate with the Lord who is making us new, every day.  Perhaps our problem is rooted in understanding - and responding - to this call to be perfect. Perhaps it is ... continue reading


Making a Lenten Retreat with Pope Francis: Learning from Elijah Watch

Image of There is a mystery here, deep and profound, yet as simple as the broom tree encounter of our teacher Elijah. God is searching for men and women who will surrender their lives in love to Him in this hour. Often, it takes the depletion of all of our own efforts and resources before we are willing to give up - and give in - to Him. When we do, the life of true faith begins. It is there we learn to hear the God of surrendered love in the whisper of the wind. It is there that we learn the Faith of Elijah, under the broom tree.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In many respects, our life on this earth is a classroom of love and a continual invitation to holiness. As we age, we are given the opportunities we need to receive the graces we need to empty ourselves of all that clutters up our life - so that we can be free to ... continue reading


ISIS is not the first to persecute Christians, a look at the Roman persecutions of the early Church (PART ONE) Watch

Image of St. James the Greater, one of the first Christian martyrs.

By Robert Mullen (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is a sad and disheartening fact that many Christians suffer from constant-and often brutal-persecution today, most visibly in places like the Middle East where the Islamic State rules, or in Asian nations like India or China where Christianity is a ... continue reading


Vatican deeply apologizes for Pope Francis' Argentina 'Mexicanization' comment Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis did not mean any offense - but in a private email about his native land Argentina's drug trafficking issues, the pope expressed concern over Argentina's "Mexicanization." The Vatican is now trying to clarify and apologize to any parties that may ... continue reading


UPDATE: Two years after resignation Pope Emeritus Benedict said to be doing well Watch

Image of Pope Emeritus Benedict is said to be in better health since his resignation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With Pope Francis in the spotlight, many wonder what is happening with Pope Emeritus Benedict, who is keeping true to his pledge to remain out of the public eye. For the curious, we have good news, Pope Emeritus Benedict is doing well, if not even better than before. ... continue reading


Beating swords into plowshares

Image of

By Tony Magliano

"In the days to come, the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills," writes the prophet Isaiah. "Many peoples shall come and say: Come, let us go up to the Lord's mountain . that he may instruct us in his ... continue reading


Andrew M. Greenwell: St. Bonaventure on Counsel Watch

Image of

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

In Bonaventure's analysis of this gift of counsel, there are three steps to sound counsel, which we may also call distinctions.  Counsel relates to whether something is permitted, and, if permitted, whether it is appropriate, and, if permitted and ... continue reading


Pope Francis wants you to pray to end Christian persecution. But will Catholics answer him?

Image of Christians face more than the Islamic State. Destitute, they lack sanitation, privacy, food and water, and their spiritual end educational needs aren't being met. A tremendous effort will be needed to restore these people. Let us pray.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With the mass kidnapping of over 100 Christians in Syria, it has become painfully clear that the Islamic State thinks nothing of targeting innocent civilians and children, threatening, enslaving and murdering anyone whose faith is different. We need now, more than ... continue reading


Saint Gregory of Narek to become 36 Doctor of the Church Watch

Image of An image of Saint Gregory of Narek on an illuminated manuscript.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An Armenian monk and poet from the 10th-century has been named a Doctor of the Universal Church by Pope Francis, an announcement which may be timed coming so close before the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, in which over a million Armenians were ... continue reading


Join Pope Francis and Christians around the world in a Global Day of Prayer to STOP the violent persecution of Christians at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists

Image of The world is asked to join in prayer to end the grave dangers Christians face around the globe.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

We have come to a time of great trial and tribulation in the Church. Christians around the world face more persecution today than they did in ancient Rome. On a daily basis, Christians are being martyred only because they refuse to renounce their faith. It is time for ... 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, Deuteronomy 26:16-19
16 'Yahweh your God commands you today to observe ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8
1 How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 5:43-48
43 'You have heard how it was said, You will love ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 28th, 2015 Image

St. Hilary, Pope
February 28: Pope from 461-468 and guardian of Church unity. He was born in ... 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