Ave Maria Meditations
The peace our Lord came to bring was dependent entirely upon an interior state of soul, and was wholly independent of external circumstances. These might be favorable or not, but they could not enter into the sanctuary of the soul, its inmost and deepest shrine, where the armed man, secure, kept his court in peace.
The peace of the world meant that I had all that I desired, the peace of Christ that I desired no more than all I had. The peace of the world was largely in its cause negative; it implied the absence, the careful removal, of every form of trouble, evil, distress; it was a peace through circumstance.
But the peace of Christ depended wholly, under the grace of God, on the attitude of the soul. It was built upon a firm determination of the will never to be troubled or dismayed. It was compatible with every form of suffering, with every privation, with failure in every line of life; it was compatible even with discontent – nay, it really necessitated discontent.
The Pharisee is self-satisfied, but the Publican is never content as he realizes the great gulf fixed between what he is and what he should be; he is always leaving the things that are behind, and spurring himself onwards to the things that are more excellent.
All the saints, all who love justice and hate iniquity, must be forever discontented, must see a great number of things ill-done by themselves and others, and must be longing to restore all things in Christ. By prayer, example, encouragement, denunciation, we have all labored to bring in the reign of justice, yet are conscious of how much still remains to be done. Yet despite this chronic state of discontent, the heart should be at peace.
+Fr. Bede Jarrett O.P.