Pope: amid today’s fires of war, we know that true peace is that of the Lord
The "peace amongst the nations" or in a country "is sown in the heart". For the pontiff, “if we do not have peace in the heart, how can we imagine peace in the world?” Yet “normally” we don't think about it. “Usually our way of doing things in the family, in the neighbourhood, at work is a way of making war", it “is the devil’s temptation to make war.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – In a world caught in the fires of war, true peace belongs to the Lord, to the heart and can be recognised in small things, from which world peace begins, said Pope Francis in his homily during the Mass he celebrated this morning at Casa Santa Marta, inspired by the first reading of Saint John the Apostle.
“When we speak of peace, we immediately think of wars, that there be no wars, that there be secure peace,” said the pontiff. “This is the image that comes to mind, peace not wars, but elsewhere, in that country, in that situation . . .
“Even now, with so many fires of war burning, the mind immediately goes there when we talk about peace, [when we pray] the Lord to give us peace. This is fine. We must pray for world peace; we must always hold before us that gift from God that is peace and ask for it for everyone.”
However, Francis said that people should ask themselves whether they have peace “at home”, if their hearts are “at peace” or “anxious”, always “at war, tense to have something more, to dominate, to make itself heard.”
For him, “peace amongst the nations” or in a country “is sown in the heart”. Indeed, “if we do not have peace in the heart, how can we imagine peace in the world?” Yet, we don’t “normally” thing about it. Today's First Reading, from Saint John the Apostle, “shows us the way,” pointing to the path to reach “peace within” and “remain in the Lord”.
“Wherever the Lord is there is peace. It is he who makes peace. It is the Holy Spirit that he sends that makes peace in us. If we remain in the Lord, our heart will be at peace. And if we normally remain in the Lord when we slip on a sin or a flaw, it will be the Spirit that will make us aware of this error, this flaw. [We must] Remain in the Lord. And how do we remain in the Lord? The Apostle says: 'If we love one another'. This is the question; this is the secret of peace.”
The emphasis, Francis noted, is on “true" love, not the kind seen in “soap operas”, for “show”, but the one that makes people talk well about others; otherwise, "if I cannot talk well [about others], I ought to shut my mouth”, not bad-mouth others and say “bad things”, for “bad-mouthing and flaying others” is “war”.
Love "shows up in small things” because "if there is war in my heart, there will be war in my family, there will be war in my neighbourhood and there will be war at work”. Jealousy, pettiness, gossip lead us to make war on one another; they "destroy" and are “foul”.
Once more, the Pope wants us to reflect on how many times we speak with a “spirit of peace" or “a spirit of war", how many times are we able to say: "everyone has his or her sins. I look at mine and others have theirs” so that I can shut their mouth.
“Usually our way of doing things in the family, in the neighbourhood, at work is a way of making war” and involves “destroying and sullying others”. This is not love, nor achieving the secure peace that we ask for in prayer. When we do this there is no Holy Spirit. And this happens to each and all of us. The immediate reaction is to condemn others, be they a lay person, a priest, a religious, a bishop, a pope, everyone and all. This is the devil’s temptation to make war.”
When the devil manages to make us make war and starts fires, “he is happy and no longer has to work,” said Francis. “We are the ones who work at destroying one another", carrying “out war, destruction,” wrecking ourselves first, “because we remove love,” then others.
"This habit of sullying others" is a "seed the devil has put inside us”. The final prayer is for a secure peace, one that is a "gift from the Holy Spirit", trying to remain in the Lord.