Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Pope Francis explains "Those who have learned the art of peace and exercise it are called children of God..." at Audience - Full Text-Video


POPE FRANCIS at General Audience

Library of the Apostolic Palace
Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Catechesis on the Beatitudes: 8. "Blessed are the peacemakers, because they will be called children of God" (Mt 5,9)

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today's catechesis is dedicated to the seventh beatitude, that of the "peacemakers", who are proclaimed children of God. I am glad that it happens immediately after Easter, because the peace of Christ is the fruit of his death and resurrection, as we have heard in the Reading of Saint Paul. To understand this bliss one must explain the meaning of the word "peace", which can be misunderstood or sometimes trivialized.

We must orient ourselves between two ideas of peace: the first is the biblical one, where the beautiful word shalòm appears, which expresses abundance, prosperity, well-being. When in Hebrew one wishes shalòm, one wishes for a beautiful, full, prosperous life, but also according to truth and justice, which will be fulfilled in the Messiah, prince of peace (cf. Is 9,6; Mic 5,4-5).

Then there is the other sense, more widespread, whereby the word "peace" is understood as a sort of inner tranquility: I am calm, I am at peace. This is a modern, psychological and more subjective idea. Peace is commonly thought to be quiet, harmony, internal balance. This meaning of the word "peace" is incomplete and cannot be absolutized, because restlessness in life can be an important moment of growth. Many times it is the Lord himself who sows uneasiness in us to go to meet him, to find him. In this sense it is an important moment of growth; while it may happen that inner tranquility corresponds to a domesticated conscience and not to a true spiritual redemption. Many times the Lord must be a "sign of contradiction" (cf. Lk 2: 34-35), shaking our false certainties, to bring us to salvation. And at that moment it seems to have no peace, but it is the Lord who puts us on this path to reach the peace that He himself will give us.

At this point we must remember that the Lord understands his peace as different from the human one, that of the world, when he says: «I leave you peace, I give you my peace. Not as the world gives it, I give it to you "(Jn 14:27). That of Jesus is another peace, different from the worldly one.

Let us ask ourselves: how does the world give peace? If we think about war conflicts, wars normally end in two ways: either with the defeat of one of the two parties, or with peace treaties. We can only hope and pray that this second way may always be taken; however, we must consider that history is an infinite series of peace treaties denied by successive wars, or by the metamorphosis of those same wars in other ways or in other places. Even in our time, a war "in pieces" is fought on multiple scenarios and in different ways. [1] We must at least suspect that in the context of a globalization made up above all of economic or financial interests, the "peace" of some corresponds to the "war" of others. And this is not the peace of Christ!

Instead, how does the Lord Jesus "give" his peace? We have heard St. Paul say that the peace of Christ is "to make two, one" (cf. Eph 2:14), to cancel enmity and reconcile. And the way to accomplish this work of peace is his body. Indeed, he reconciles all things and makes peace with the blood of his cross, as the Apostle himself says elsewhere (cf. Col 1:20).

And here I wonder, we can all ask ourselves: who, then, are the "peacemakers"? The seventh beatitude is the most active, explicitly operative; the verbal expression is analogous to that used in the first verse of the Bible for creation and indicates initiative and industriousness. Love by its nature is creative - love is always creative - and seeks reconciliation at any cost. Those who have learned the art of peace and exercise it are called children of God, they know that there is no reconciliation without the gift of one's life, and that peace must always be sought. Always and anyway: don't forget this! It should be looked for like this. This is not an autonomous work that is the fruit of one's own abilities, it is a manifestation of the grace received from Christ, who is our peace, who made us children of God.

True shalòm and true inner balance flow from the peace of Christ, which comes from his Cross and generates a new humanity, embodied in an infinite host of saints, saints, inventive, creative, who have devised ever new ways to love. The Saints, the Saints who build peace. This life as children of God, who seek and find their brothers for the blood of Christ, is true happiness. Blessed are those who go this way.

And again happy Easter to all, in the peace of Christ!

[1] Cf. Homily in the Military Shrine of Redipuglia, 13 September 2014; Homily in Sarajevo, 6 June 2015; Speech to the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, February 21
Full Text + Image Source: Vatican.va Unofficial Translation - 

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