Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Peace Be With You

There is a certain kind of irony to life in that just as the Church is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the papal encyclical "Pacem in Terris", the world should be subjected to the saber-rattling of North Korea. Pope John XXIII shared a vision that "projected a world where peace would be achieved by governments dedicated to the fulfillment of human rights." Kim Jong Un is teaching lessons "about the value of having a nuclear weapon or two." So which of these two men is the crazy one?

I say we are the crazy ones. We chase a peace that will never come, while dismissing one easily within our grasp. Peace is not some utopian way of life that we can talk or kill our way into. It is a state of being that comes from placing absolute trust in Love, and that manifests itself most purely in the love of our enemies.

"Our brother calls us to love, love God, love your neighbor, love. How hard is that? What are you afraid of? If he was willing to die to love you, what’s your excuse for not loving those you fail to understand, those you despise, those you hate?"

Yes, we must fight injustice. Yes, we must reject violence. But simply because that is what love demands, not because doing so will bring about some magic land of peace and justice. Love calls us to tilt at windmills, and to do so joyfully.

"It is time for us to embrace our family, even though we will fail, and probably fail miserably. This is another paradox of our Creator. We can never truly be one family in this life and yet they compel us to try, they demand that we make the attempt."

And therein lies the key to peace: we are family. It is a truth more profound than any encyclical and more powerful than any atomic bomb. A truth we proclaim with a Kiss, and not a kiss that says, "I will tolerate you," but a kiss that says, "You are my brother, my sister, and I love you." A truth that reveals that the Kingdom we crave has been right in front of us all along, if only we would trust in it.

"So much of life is a paradox, but it is there that we find God the most. It is there, in the confusion and that mess that we must dwell. It is there that we experience true beauty, true joy. It is there that we can see something wonderful, something that sends a chill down our spine, and puts a smile on our face and a laugh in our heart, where we know with certainty who and what we are and why we are here in this time and place. It is in that moment that we are at peace."

Peace is not a grand dream, but a simple love. Peace be with you.