Let There Be Peace on Earth

I had dinner Thursday night in Bethlehem across the street from that awful wall dividing Bethlehem and Jerusalem, so direly reminiscent of Germany’s past. So Gregory of Nyssa’s medidation in the Magnificat for the first of March took on some added significance.

“Recognizing Christ as ‘peace,’ we shall exhibit the true title of Christian in ourselves through the peace in our life,” the Father of the Church explains.

He goes on:

For the One “has slain enmity,” as the apostle says. Let us not, therefore, bring it to life in ourselves, but rather show through our life that it is dead. Let us not raise up against ourselves through anger and backbiting what has been rightly deadened for our salvation by God. This would destroy our soul and bring about an evil resurrection of what is rightly dead. But, if we have Christ, who is peace, let us also deaden hatred in ourselves in order to achieve in our life what we believe is in him. For that One “has broken down the intervening wall of the enclosure,” and, out of the two elements in himself, has created “one new man,” and made peace. Therefore, let us also reconcile, not only those fighting against us on the outside, but also the elements at variance within us, in order that no longer may the “flesh lust against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh.” Subjecting the spirit of the flesh to divine law, let us live peacefully, having been dissolved into the new and peaceful man and having become one from two. For the definition of peace is the harmony of dissonant parts. Once the civil war in our nature is expelled, then, we also, being at peace within ourselves, become peace, and reveal our having taken on the name of Christ as true and authentic.

Lent seems just about the time to get such a peace initiative rolling.

By the way, have I mentioned what a treasure Magnificat is?

 


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