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February 1981

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall he called sons of God (Mt. 5:9)

Do you know who are the peacemakers that Jesus is talking about? They aren't those whom we call peaceful people, who love the quiet life, who don't get into disputes and who naturally seem in favour of conciliation, while often they really have the hidden desire not to be disturbed, not to be upset.

Nor are peacemakers those good people who place their trust in God and don't react when they are provoked or offended.

Peacemakers are those who love peace so much that they are prepared to intervene in order to obtain peace for those who are in conflict.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall he called sons of God.

The one who possesses peace in himself is able to bear peace. We must be peace-bearers first of all in our own behaviour living each moment in accordance with God and his will.

Peacemakers work hard to create links, to establish relationships between people, resolving tensions, relieving the state of cold war which exists in so many situations, in the family, at work, in school, in sport, between nations and so on.

For example, in your own home you may be aware that your father does not talk to your uncle because there was once a quarrel; you know that your grandmother isn't speaking to the lady next door because she's always noisy; you may hear about rivalry at work from your friends. You may yourself be quarrelling with your school friends, and be involved in conflicts with your own age group; even though you enjoy the same sports, your relationship is not always perfect. You may have that strong urge to be the first, to beat the other, and not only because you want to do well.

If you live in a community you must have noticed how many disagreements, important and unimportant, arise and develop. Television, newspapers, the radio tell you daily that the world is like an immense hospital and the nations are like chronically ill patients who have extreme need of peacemakers to heal what are often over-stretched and impossible relationships which threaten war when there isn't one already taking place.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall he called sons of God.

Peace is characteristic of typically Christian relationships which the believer tries to instil among the people with whom he lives or whom he meets occasionally. They are relationships of sincere love without falsehood or trickery, without any kind of implicit violence, rivalry, competition or selfishness.

Working to establish relationships of this kind in the world is a revolutionary activity. The relationships that normally exist in society are of a completely different kind, and unfortunately they often remain unchanged.

Jesus knew that life in society was like this, and for this reason asked his disciples always to take the first step without waiting for the initiative or the response to come from the other person, without demanding any return: "I say to you, love your enemies.... If you give a greeting to your brothers, what are you doing that is so extraordinary?"

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.

Jesus came to bring peace. All his messages and actions are directed to this end. This new relationship established among people often unmasks false social relationships and reveals the hidden violence between people.

Man isn't pleased that this truth is exposed and there's the risk in extreme cases that he'll respond with hatred and violence against the person who dares to disturb the structures and way of life which already exist.

Jesus, the peace-bearer, was killed by man's violence.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall he called sons of God.

"… they shall be called sons of God." Receiving a name means becoming what the name expresses. Paul called God "the God of peace", and greeting Christians said to them: "the God of peace be with you all." The peacemakers show how they are related to God, they act as sons of God, they witness to God, who, as the Second Vatican Council says, has built a harmony into human society which has peace as its fruit.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.

So how are you to live this word? Above all by spreading love everywhere in the world. It's symptomatic that the Nobel peace prize was given in the year 1979 to an exceptional woman who has done nothing but love throughout her life: Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Then you will be able to get involved, prudently, when peace is threatened. Often it's enough to listen lovingly, right to the very end, to the parties in dispute, and let the peaceful solution be discovered.

To defuse tensions that can arise between people, humour is not to be despised. A rabbinical text states: "The future kingdom belongs to those who joke freely because they are peacemakers among men who, quarrel."

Also you will not give yourself any peace until broken relationships –often broken over a trifle- have been rebuilt.

Maybe you'll be a peacemaker by initiating within some group or association to which you belong, particular initiatives directed at developing a greater awareness of the need for peace.

Also you can support, as far as you are able, the work of the great and sincere peacemakers such as Pope John Paul II, and those who work for peace in your own country and in other parts of the world.

The important thing is that you don't stand still, watching the few days that you have left pass by without achieving something for your neighbours, without suitably preparing for the life that is awaiting you.

Chiara Lubich

 

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