“Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth!” We sing this text in the Gloria each week just as the angels did on the night of our Savior’s birth. I recently asked the children of the Cathedral Choir Academy for their thoughts on peace. The most insightful answer came from one of our youngest singers who explained, “Peace begins in our hearts.” Another chorister recalled our Lord’s first encounter with his apostles after His resurrection. “Peace be with you,” Jesus said — just as the presider at every Mass similarly addresses the congregation.
We all know people who exude a peaceful nature. What we often overlook is the fact that true peace doesn’t mean the absence of conflict or suffering. In fact, it is our Lord’s peace that allows us to navigate the most challenging times in our lives.
Pope Francis explains, true peace does not “dance amid difficulties” like the “peace of the rich man who ignores Lazarus. True peace grows out of the tension between two contrary elements; the acceptance of a present in which we recognize our weakness and sin” while simultaneously “passing beyond the present as if we were already freed from the burden of sin.”
Perhaps we should all ponder our Lord’s message to the apostles before ascending to the Father. “Peace I leave you, my peace I give you,” he said. “Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27
It is God’s peace we seek. True peace is His gift to us, and it begins in our own hearts. May the peace of our Lord be with you always!
Cathedral Choir Academy of Detroit