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What Does it Mean to Be a Peacemaker?

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What does it mean to be a peacemaker? Does this idea pertain only to the idea of war, or does it have implications for our own, personal daily lives as well? What is the peace that Jesus is talking about here?

In order to be a peacemaker, one must be at peace in one’s own heart. One must be free of unrighteous angers, or any desire for vengeance. These things are in opposition to any idea of charity, certainly of the kind of charity that Jesus is calling us to participate in in this world. One can not say that they love God, and at the same time, hate one’s neighbor, or even one’s enemy. There is no possibility for either true peace, or true justice when these things are present in one’s heart.

One must have an abiding love for all human life at every stage. This kind of love comes from a deep faith in God, who is love. One’s love cannot be limited by the blindness of hatred, or prejudice of any kind. We all belong to God, no matter where we are born, or in what conditions we are born. Peace is not simply the absence of war. It does not depend on a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace is the product of a well developed and habitual desire to safeguard the goods of all persons, and an honest, humble and willing communication between people. It is an unconditional respect for the God-given, eternal dignity of the other, no matter their race, color, creed, or nationality. It is the product of an attitude of brotherhood. It is the creation of an environment of order and tranquility. It is the end product of real justice rooted in real charity. It is obvious that none of this is easy, and that we cannot do this without faith in Jesus, the Prince of Peace. It is in faith alone that we can learn to live this way. And it is in our faith in Jesus that we receive the necessary graces we need to be able to even begin to live this way.

The peace that we are made for, and that we seek, is modeled to us in the life and death of Jesus. By his willing sacrifice on behalf of all of humanity on the cross, he conquered the worldly reasons for hostility. He reconciled all of humanity. It is up to us who believe this to become peacemakers in imitation of Jesus. He is the source of the peace we desire to practice. It is the working of the Holy Spirit in our open and willing hearts that make it possible for us to be peacemakers in the sense of this Beatitude. It is in this attitude of peace that we will truly be known as “children of God.”

Lord, the world needs peacemakers more than ever today. Help us to understand the real meaning of peace in our own hearts. Help us to live this peace toward ourselves, in our homes and everywhere else. Where there is anger, or hatred in us, wash us clean of it, so that we may become known as your children in all that we say and do. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.