In his January 1 message on World Day of Peace Pope Benedict notes that “Jesus’ beatitude tells us that peace is both a messianic gift and the fruit of human effort.” He reminds us that each year brings the expectation of a better world and that “Peace is not a dream or something utopian; it is possible.”
We must pray for peace, but as the Holy Father suggests, it is not enough to simply pray. The Beatitude tells us that peacemaking is a human effort. It is a positive endeavor that requires commitment, perseverance and an awareness of the forces that foment the evils that frustrate the desire for peace in every person.
In his message, the Pope names those forces when he writes: “It is alarming to see hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism. In addition to the varied forms of terrorism and international crime, peace is also endangered by those forms of fundamentalism and fanaticism which distort the true nature of religion, which is called to foster fellowship and reconciliation among people.”
Who are the peacemakers? In his message? Pope Benedict describes the peacemaker as the one who seeks the good of the other, who loves, defends and promotes life in its fullness, adding that, “in every person the desire for peace is an essential aspiration which coincides in a certain way with the desire for a full, happy and successful human life.”
We must create a culture of peace to live with good will rather than mere tolerance, as the Holy Father says, “it is a peace with God through a life lived according to His will. It is interior peace with oneself and exterior peace with our neighbors and all creation.”
I join Pope Benedict in asking God, the Father of humanity, to grant us concord and peace, so that the aspirations of all for a happy and prosperous life may be achieved.
I pray that you and your loved ones will have a blessed New Year.
This post is also available in/Esta entrada también está disponible en: Spanish