Peace is the Tranquility of Order – set charity in order within me

Posted on December 29, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

For some few days now, the phrase “the tranquility of order” has been lingering in my thoughts.
Augustine: City of God, Books XIX-XX
In the final four books of Augustine’s City of God against the Pagans, discussion turns to the ends of the Heavenly and earthly cities. Augustine has by now thoroughly examined the origins, natures, membership, and histories of the two cities; in Book XIX he investigates Final Good and Evil and how the cities work toward them, and in Book XX he uses scriptural exegesis to describe the Last Day, when all will come before the judgment seat of God. This discussion of the ends of human society includes many of the issues which fascinate our modern society, and which we still debate in the political and religious fields today.
Book XIX opens with a discussion of the definition of Final (or Supreme) Good and Evil and of the various sects of philosophy which arise from differing ideas about the location of the Final Good and Evil. Augustine relies on Varro’s De philosophia for this discussion, explaining how this philosopher divides philosophy up into 288 possible sects based on a series of differentiations related to Supreme Good and Evil. Having acknowledged so many sects, however, Varro goes on to eliminate most of these differentiations, finally arriving at three major sects of philosophy, only one of which can be true. These three sects maintain “either that the primary objects of nature are to be sought for the sake of virtue; that virtue is to be sought for their sake; or that both virtue and the primary objects of nature are to be sought for their own sake” (CD XIX.2, p. 915-6). Which is true depends on what is considered the Supreme Good. Varro chooses the third sect of philosophy, because he believes that the Supreme Good is the good of the whole man, that is, the good of both body and soul. The primary objects ought to be sought for the sake of bodily good, therefore, and virtue ought to be sought as “the most excellent of all the goods of the soul” (XIX.3, p. 916). Augustine finds fault with Varro’s choice only in that, like all pagan philosophers, he seeks the Supreme Good in the earthly life, which can never be truly happy. The Supreme Good according to the City of God is eternal life, a blessedness which we cannot yet see and so must seek by believing.
After an extended analysis of why the earthly life cannot be considered truly happy, Augustine explains that the goal toward which both the earthly and Heavenly cities strive is peace. Indeed, both cities consider it to be their Final Good (for eternal peace is the same thing as eternal life), but while the earthly city strives for earthly peace using earthly means, the Heavenly City strives for the peace of a properly-ordered (pre-fall) creation. Augustine explains that “the peace of all things lies in the tranquility of order; and order is the disposition of equal and unequal things in such a way as to give to each its proper place” (XIX.13, p. 938).
The Peace of ChristBy Father Paul A. Duffner, O.P.
Usually one is quick to notice on entering a Catholic church where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved – a sense of peace and tranquility, a quiet oasis apart from the noise and distractions of the outside world. Even non-Catholics have noticed this at times without knowing the reason why. One experiences the fulfillment of the promise of our divine Savior in the tabernacle: “Come to me all you who labor and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you” (Mt. 11:28).
Yet, the peace and tranquility which He promises, and which we momentarily experience is the calm after the storm, a peace that was won through war. It is a peace that was won through the bloodshed and suffering, the scourging and crowning, the humiliation and rejection, the three hours agony of Christ’s passion and death. In all this the Prince of Peace conquered the Evil One who is the arch-enemy of peace, the ultimate source of all disobedience and rebellion, of all envy and hatred, of all injustice and violence, in a word of all obstacles to peace; and at present he seems to have won many to his cause.
The very material elements of the Eucharist are a reminder that this peace was won through trial and suffering. The grape had to be crushed to release the juice from which the wine is made; and the grain of wheat had to die in order to increase and multiply. And those grains in turn had to be crushed and ground fine in order to produce the flour from which the bread is made. “Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it produces much fruit” (Jn. 12:24). How beautiful a symbol of the peace that Christ brings. How wonderful a reminder of the price of peace, that is, the cost of receiving those divine helps that bring peace. How salutary a reflection for those who are yearning for peace. It is easy to forget the suffering and sacrifice of which the Blessed Sacrament is a memorial, and which are the price of the peace which Christ came to bring to the world.

When our first parents came into this world they enjoyed perfect harmony and tranquility within their whole being. Their lower nature (the appetites and passions of the body) were perfectly subject to their higher nature (intellect and will) so that there was no interior conflict between the dictates of reason and the appetites and passions of the body; and their higher nature in turn was subject to God. That order of the subjection of the lower being to the higher was established by God as an indispensable condition for peace. That was the order St. Augustine referred to when he defined peace as “the tranquility of order.” Insofar as that order is maintained, man will experience peace within himself, within the family, within the nation. And insofar as that order is lacking within the individual, or family, or nation – true peace will be wanting.
This post is where I will place the items I find that seem to pertain to this theme.Will update as required.

Ave Maria!

The Peace of ChristBy Father Paul A. Duffner, O.P.
The Rosary Light & Life – Vol 53, No 2, March-April 2000

Transcript of Talk on St. Therese of Lisieux
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Summa Theologica > Second Part of the Second Part > Question 29
Article 1. Whether peace is the same as concord?
Objection 1. It would seem that peace is the same as concord. For Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xix, 13): “Peace among men is well ordered concord.” Now we are speaking here of no other peace than that of men. Therefore peace is the same as concord.
Objection 2. Further, concord is union of wills. Now the nature of peace consists in such like union, for Dionysius says (Div. Nom. xi) that peace unites all, and makes them of one mind. Therefore peace is the same as concord.
Objection 3. Further, things whose opposites are identical are themselves identical. Now the one same thing is opposed to concord and peace, viz. dissension; hence it is written (1 Corinthians 16:33): “God is not the God of dissension but of peace.” Therefore peace is the same as concord.
On the contrary, There can be concord in evil between wicked men. But “there is no peace to the wicked” (Isaiah 48:22). Therefore peace is not the same as concord.
I answer that, Peace includes concord and adds something thereto. Hence wherever peace is, there is concord, but there is not peace, wherever there is concord, if we give peace its proper meaning.
For concord, properly speaking, is between one man and another, in so far as the wills of various hearts agree together in consenting to the same thing. Now the heart of one man may happen to tend to diverse things, and this in two ways. First, in respect of the diverse appetitive powers: thus the sensitive appetite tends sometimes to that which is opposed to the rational appetite, according to Galatians 5:17: “The flesh lusteth against the spirit.” Secondly, in so far as one and the same appetitive power tends to diverse objects of appetite, which it cannot obtain all at the same time: so that there must needs be a clashing of the movements of the appetite. Now the union of such movements is essential to peace, because man’s heart is not at peace, so long as he has not what he wants, or if, having what he wants, there still remains something for him to want, and which he cannot have at the same time. On the other hand this union is not essential to concord: wherefore concord denotes union of appetites among various persons, while peace denotes, in addition to this union, the union of the appetites even in one man.
Reply to Objection 1. Augustine is speaking there of that peace which is between one man and another, and he says that this peace is concord, not indeed any kind of concord, but that which is well ordered, through one man agreeing with another in respect of something befitting to both of them . For if one man concord with another, not of his own accord, but through being forced, as it were, by the fear of some evil that besets him, such concord is not really peace, because the order of each concordant is not observed, but is disturbed by some fear-inspiring cause. For this reason he premises that “peace is tranquillity of order,” which tranquillity consists in all the appetitive movements in one man being set at rest together.
Reply to Objection 2. If one man consent to the same thing together with another man, his consent is nevertheless not perfectly united to himself, unless at the same time all his appetitive movements be in agreement.
Reply to Objection 3. A twofold dissension is opposed to peace, namely dissension between a man and himself, and dissension between one man and another. The latter alone is opposed to concord.


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