Advent 2011: Live Anew

Written by Br. Gabriel Torretta, OP

When we pray for peace at mass, the most graphic images that come to mind are usually the wars in the Middle East, unrest in Egypt, or the like. But the chaos of war and social turmoil is not the only offense against peace. For most of us, the peace we need most desperately is far closer to home: peace with my family, peace with myself, peace with God.

We often don’t notice when peace has left; after some time we may simply wake up, aware that something is wrong but unable to explain when or how or why it started. When peace is gone, confusion reigns. We might feel estranged from a wife or husband, or perhaps just unsettled in ourselves, or uncomfortable at the thought of prayer to God, even if we can’t put our finger on why. Nothing works anymore, and nothing makes it better.

Christ came into the world to heal this disquietude, the unsettled ennui and emptiness that strike when we least expect them. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be the Prince of Peace because he would restore the harmony between God and man. Sin—sometimes our own sin, sometimes others’, sometimes the wounds of original sin—has set us on edge against God and our fellow men; Christ, who restores all things, forgives us, bringing us his peace.

The seventh beatitude promises something surprising: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Jesus does not promise the peacemakers peace in any worldly sense. Being a peacemaker does not primarily mean being someone who arbitrates international disputes or conducts conflict resolution, and the peace that results from the Christian peacemaker will not put an end to war, violence, and killing throughout the earth.

Rather, the peacemaker—the one through whom others see the Prince of Peace—is promised an eternal gift, the gift for which we have been preparing through the course of Advent: being a son of God through unity with Jesus Christ. And this is the only true peace.

Today’s meditation: Reflect on the sign of peace at mass. Ask God to heal the wounds of sin in your life and in those whom you love.