Pray for Peace – Peace is the Tranquility of Order
Cover of City of God
“While many ordinary people, celebrities and world leaders
know of Christ, they do not know Christ. If they
really knew Christ, they would devote their lives
to imitating Christ by obeying His
commandments, bearing their crosses
and spreading the word about
Him and His peace, which the world cannot give.
If they really knew Christ, Hallowed be Thy Name…
Thy will be done would be more meaningful for them.”
Knights of Malta – Chancellor’s Update July 2003
UPDATED from post 28 December 2009
with details posted here rather than linked.
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.
read the rest:immaculatae.blogspot.com/2008/12/peace-is-tranquility-of-order.html
Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem
Knights of Malta July 2003
Why is it that the mention of war causes horror to some people? Why does it generate
demonstrations in public places, at national capitols and monuments, or at the United Nations?
Why are such demonstrations usually accompanied by extensive media coverage? Discussions
follow on whether or not military action is just or unjust and if war solves anything. Yet, at any
given time, especially in this and in the past century, there are warring factions at work in
various places around the globe. Somehow, these warlike actions do not even generate a
whimper in society.
We witnessed such activity prior to and during the recent military activity in Iraq. Yet,
barely two months later pygmies in Africa requested that the United Nations look into acts of
cannibalism against their people. During an ongoing four-year civil war in the Congo two rival
groups have been collecting and using the flesh and organs of pygmies as trophies in their war.
Why doesn’t this war generate demonstrations and press activity? Isn’t a pygmy worth more
than an oil field?
What is going on? What is war, anyway? War has been described as a contest between
states or nations, usually with force or arms. As we look back through history we note that the
state descended from the nation, the nation was a collection of tribes, the tribes a collection of
clans and the clan a collection of families. The family, of course, is a collection of brothers and
sisters. When was the first war fought? Early in mankind’s history, after the fall of Adam, the
first war was fought between the brothers, Cain and Abel. Later wars between clans, tribes,
nations and states were caused by one or more of the seven capital sins: pride, covetousness,
lust, anger, gluttony, envy and sloth.
How do wars cease? Wars can end by annihilation of the enemy, subjugation of the
enemy, negotiation, ceasing of hostilities or a return to peace. Neither annihilation nor
subjugation is a preferred option for Christians. Negotiation or ceasing of hostilities would be
better, provided that the underlying causes do not remain to rear their heads at some future time.
True peace then is the best option.
Peace is the Tranquility of Order.
Consequently, we should focus our attention on the situation of a society prior to the
perceived need for war or on the situation after a war when things return to normal. St. Thomas
defines peace as the tranquility of order. Assuming that groups interact, what is the tranquility of
The Christian author C. S. Lewis described this when he wrote about a fleet of ships in an
essay entitled “The Three Parts of Morality”. “The voyage will be a success only, in the first
place, if the ships don’t collide and get in one another’s way; and secondly, if each ship is
seaworthy and has her engines in good order…. If the ships keep on having collisions they won’t
remain seaworthy very long. On the other hand, if their steering gears are out of order they
won’t be able to avoid collisions…. However well the fleet sailed, its voyage would be a failure
if it were (intended) to reach New York and actually arrived at Calcutta.”
Similar thoughts were expressed by some of the Church Fathers. St. Jerome described
blessed peacemakers as those “who first make peace within their own heart, and then between
their dissident brethren. For what does it profit you to make peace between others, while vice is
at war within your own heart?” Likewise, St. Augustine says, “They are peacemakers within
themselves, who bringing order to all the impulses of their own spirit, and subjecting them to
reason, and having entirely subdued their carnal desires, become a kingdom of God, in which all
things are so ordered that that which is chief and supreme in man, rules the other resisting parts
which we have in common with the beasts. And so that this which is supreme in man, namely,
mind and reason, is subject to what is yet higher, which is Truth itself, the Son of God.” St. John
Chrysostom urges Christians to go further, to not only “bring enemies together in peace,
but…also, forgetful of injuries, love peace.”
For over one thousand years many wars were fought between nations and states, which
were Christian nations. The leaders of these nations believed that the role of Christian rulers was
to provide a situation in which their citizens and inhabitants could have the necessities of this life
and have the means to save their immortal souls. Thus, the three objectives described by C. S.
Lewis, goal, no collisions and souls in order, would have been possible after the conclusion of
the war. If one party were Christian and the other not, peace was still possible because the
influence of Christianity could have increased in the non-Christian country or a solution based on the natural law could have been negotiated.
THE TRUE PEACE OF CHRIST
Alas, since the times are becoming more pagan, decent and reasonable solutions to
disputes are becoming more elusive. Where are the Christian nations and the Christian rulers?
Even the new European Union is promoting a constitution with no mention of God.
To quote Saint Augustine again, “This which is supreme in man, namely, mind and
reason, is subject to what is yet higher, which is Truth itself, the Son of God.” While many
ordinary people, celebrities and world leaders know of Christ, they do not know Christ. If they
really knew Christ, they would devote their lives to imitating Christ by obeying His
commandments, bearing their crosses and spreading the word about Him and His peace, which
the world cannot give. If they really knew Christ, Hallowed be Thy Name…Thy will be done
would be more meaningful for them.
Saint Peter, our first Pope, urged his fellow Christians onward, when he wrote, He who
would love life, and see good days,…let him seek after peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the
Lord are upon the just, and his ears unto their prayers (1 Peter, 3 10-12).
image of the Dove taken from BloggingLOURDES 23Mar2009