This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God. The previous posts are below and in the archives to the right. This is the 25th step:
(25) Not to make a false peace.
This may catch us by surprise. We might reason, wouldn’t some semblance of peace be better than war. But, again if we think about the ramifications of someone who we think is at peace with us but really isn’t, we can see how damaging this “show” of peace can be in the long run.
St. Benedict isn’t saying that we shouldn’t be at peace with everyone, he is telling us not to make a “false” peace with anyone.
We are to be honest, as the previous counsel has instructed us. We are to make peace with our brother or sister that is genuine this step counsels us.
But what if we find ourselves incapable of being at peace with someone?
We must bring our warring heart to God.
People, from a distance, often are amazed at how certain groups of the same people can foster hatred toward one another over so many years. Sometimes it is religious belief (in the case of most religions, it is against the very belief that they fight over) that keeps people enemies. Military might is often used, sometimes by a third party to keep the peace. But as history proves time and again such peace is no peace at all. Soon the parties are warring with one another again often with a conflict that has inflamed while it was dormant.
If we hold peace with each other as a goal, then we must use every means to achieve that goal. Most of the time peace is achieved by simply acknowledging the others right to exist with dignity and to acknowledge their right to believe differently. What this requires for both parties to reach this goal mutually, is for both of their egos to die.
For the follower of Christ this is not an option.
“Love your enemies.” “If they press you to go one mile, go two.” “If they strike you on one cheek, offer the other.” “Forgive seventy times seven.”
Amazing how anyone who follows Christ could ever set out to make anything other than true peace.
Our Lord’s parting words to His disciples was, “My peace I give you, not as the world gives do I give.” He was probably referring to the fact that at the time (and even today in Israel) that people didn’t say “Goodbye” but rather they said “Peace.” The Romans said Pax Vobiscum, the Israelites said Shalom.
But did they mean it? It was a convention and very well often was said with no conviction.
Our Lord’s peace is not a convention, it is true. We should follow His example and make true peace with all we encounter.