Peace be with you

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Jn 14:27


-by Br Nicholas Hartman, OP

““Peace be with you.” Jesus had undergone his Passion. He had overthrown and cast out “the ruler of this world” (Jn 12:31). He had risen from the dead. He assured victory to his disciples even though their struggles had not ended. They still needed to preach the Gospel. Persecutions would follow and martyrdom, all, save one, the Beloved, who would be exiled to Patmos. They would soon deal with controversies among themselves. Nevertheless, the real contest was over; victory was assured by Christ. “Peace be with you.”

Peace is an effect of charity. Through charity we love God above all things and our neighbors as ourselves. Charity quiets conflicting desires by directing all our desires to God, and God satisfies this desire completely in the beatific vision that the saints in heaven enjoy. Furthermore, through charity “we love our neighbors as ourselves, from which a man desires to fulfill his neighbor’s will as if it were his own” (ST II-II.29.3). Charity produces peace. Perfect charity produces perfect peace.

Christ is the source of this peace. Our love for God is founded upon the love Christ showed us: “We love because He first loved us” (1 Jn 4:19). Christ showed us this love on the cross, by laying down His life. Christ thereby triumphed over our old enemy, assuring us ultimate victory and final peace. When Jesus appeared to His disciples, He manifested His triumph over death: “Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I, Myself. Touch Me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have” (Lk 24:39).

Assured of victory—of final peace—we now enjoy an imperfect peace in ourselves and in the Church. For now, we live amid trials, but Christ has secured victory. “Being saturated and satiated with emotion,” we can sleep “the sleep of the saved.” Christ is risen! He appears to us now: in living, in suffering, in dying. In the midst of it all, He shows Himself to us. He shows us the tokens of His ultimate victory. He points to His supreme act of love for us. “Peace be with you.””

Love & His Peace,
Matthew

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