THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
4 June 2017
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Jesus promises peace to the Apostles and to us. It is His peace that He gives. It is not the peace of the world. Worldly peace and prosperity are His, but are not the peace that we seek and pray for. There is no doubt that an absence of war, material prosperity, as well as other worldly benefits are good; and these are gifts from God. These worldly goods are blessings, but there is a much greater good that we are to seek. One that Jesus wishes to give to us.
The world and the devils, will make use of material peace and prosperity taking the credit for these things, as if they came from them. In this they are liars and thieves. They will refrain from physical wars, but they cannot let up in the spiritual battles for souls. The devils and their agents actually use a material "peace" in this world as a weapon in the fight for the destruction of souls. Material peace and prosperity becomes their tool in temptations. We easily confuse worldly or material peace for true peace of the soul just as we frequently confuse the passing pleasures of this life with true and eternal happiness. When everything in the material world appears to be well, we are tempted to forget God … we forget our souls and seek only after greater material wealth, pleasure, and prosperity.
It seems strange and illogical that this gift of God which should inspire us to greater love of Him often tempts us to forget Him. This physical proof of His love in these material gifts should move our hearts to love Him all the more, yet the opposite tends to happen. It is for this reason that God often sends us crosses and hardships in this life. These material or physical burdens are gifts from God to draw us back to Him. They are reminders that material blessings come from Him, and that we must pray to Him for them, and show our gratitude for them. The physical sufferings of this life are also gifts from God to remind us that this world is not our end. All these things are temporary and are passing away. There is something greater, something eternal that does not change, that awaits us after this life.
The peace that Jesus gives us is a peace of soul that is not troubled by temporal physical conflicts or turmoil. In the face of war, hatred, persecution and even death; we are to be filled with peace and remain tranquil. The disturbances of this world may affect our bodies, but they should not penetrate to the depths of our souls.
Sadly, many souls in this world have become so shallow and materialistic, that every ill wind that blows in this world shakes and trembles them to the bottom of their souls. They have nothing stable or solid to rely on or fall back upon. Many fall into depression and despair as they witness the turmoil in the world today. Many more, are even more shallow and self-centered that they fall into despair at the slightest personal inconvenience or hardship that faces them. They are so delicate that they cannot bear the slightest reproof, much less an insult or injustice committed against themselves. Such souls as these, seek for material peace but seldom find it or experience it, because God is trying to teach them to look for happiness in Him rather than in the world.
True peace of soul is a great gift from God, but it requires cooperation and effort on our part as well. Faith and trust in God are essential, so that the passing turmoils in this life, cannot disturb us. We must with Job, in the Old Testament, say: "The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord." In all humility, we must acknowledge that we are not deserving of good things, but only deserve the punishment of suffering because of our sins. Then, we are able to accept these temporary crosses for the love of God, and in this spirit, we remain calm and at peace. In conformity to the Will of God, we are at peace saying: "Not my will, but Thine be done."
The lack of peace in this world is a great evil, but the loss of peace of soul is a much greater evil. There is no need for this loss of peace of soul, because Jesus gives it freely to us, if we will accept it and cooperate with Him. To obtain this peace that He gives, we must believe and be baptized; we must confess our sins and cleanse our souls of the sins and obstacles to His peace when we have sinned. To maintain and sustain this peace we must have the life of Christ within us. We must receive Him frequently in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. "Unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man … you shall not have live in you." If we do not have His life in us, we cannot have His peace in us.
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