Peace is much more than ‘inner tranquility,’ says Pope Francis

Peace is much more than ‘inner tranquility,’ says Pope Francis

Pope Francis gives his general audience address in the apostolic palace April 15, 2020. VATICAN MEDIA

By Catholic News Agency

April 15, 2020

VATICAN— Peace is often misunderstood today as a subjective psychological idea, Pope Francis said Wednesday, stressing that true peace is found in Christ’s sacrificial love.

“Those who have learned and exercise the art of peace are called children of God, they know that there is no reconciliation without the gift of one’s own life, and that peace must always be sought,” Pope Francis said April 15.

The pope said that there is a widespread sense today that “peace” means “a sort of inner tranquility,” but this idea is deficient and can hinder personal growth.

“This is a modern, psychological and more subjective idea. Peace is commonly thought to be quiet, harmony, internal balance. This … meaning is incomplete and cannot be absolutized, because restlessness can be an important moment of growth in life,” he explained.

“Many times it is the Lord himself who sows uneasiness in us to go to meet him, to find him,” he said.

“It can happen that inner tranquility corresponds to a domesticated conscience and not to a true spiritual redemption,” he warned.

Speaking via livestream due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis quoted Christ’s words in the Gospel of John: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.”

“Many times the Lord must be a ‘sign of contradiction’, shaking our false certainties, to bring us to salvation,” Francis said.

“And at that moment there seems to be no peace, but it is the Lord who puts us on this path to reach the peace that He himself will give us,” he added.

Jesus is the prince of peace, who fulfilled the Hebrew concept of shalom by reconciling all things and making “peace with the blood of his cross,” the pope said.

Pope Francis explained that the biblical notion of shalom means “abundance, prosperity, well-being.”

“When in Hebrew we wish shalom, we wish for a beautiful, full, prosperous life, but also according to truth and justice, which will be fulfilled in the Messiah, prince of peace,” he said.

He said that peace is not “the fruit of one’s own abilities,” but a “manifestation of the grace received from Christ.”

Pope Francis’ meditation on peace was a part of an ongoing weekly catechesis on the Beatitudes.

This week, the pope focused on the seventh Beatitude given by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in chapter five of the Gospel of Matthew: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

The pope said that this beatitude, the seventh one, is the most active.

“Love by its nature is creative — love is always creative — and seeks reconciliation at any cost,” he said.

In his message to Polish pilgrims, the pope noted that next weekend is Divine Mercy Sunday, and quoted St. Faustina’s diary: “Humanity will not find peace until it turns to the source of my mercy.”

“True shalom and true inner balance flow from the peace of Christ, which comes from his Cross and generates a new humanity, embodied in an infinite host of inventive and creative saints, who have always devised new ways to love,” the pope said.

“The saints build peace. This life as children of God, who because of the blood of Christ seek and find their brothers, is true happiness. Blessed are those who go this way,” Pope Francis said.