Et in terra pax

According to St Luke, on the morning of Christ’s birth angels sang of  a new “peace on earth to men” who were of (in Latin) bonae voluntatis. Whereas in the previous English translation of the Mass this was understood as peace to men who were God’s “people on Earth”, the newer edition assures us that it is instead to “people of good will”, a seeming distinction. Is it peace for people who God favours or, rather, for anyone who is quite nice anyway?

In other places in the Scriptures, the newborn Christ is the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah) and is also, in fact, himself simply “our peace” without any further qualification (Ephesians). This must be part of the reason why, although Jews and Muslims greet each other with a “peace be with you”, we Christians may greet each other with “the Lord be with you”, as He is simply “our peace’.

Elsewhere again Our Lord says to us, “peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you”, but “not as the world gives, do I give unto you” (John). But then in Matthew, Our Lord says, “do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword”.

Well, that seems quite clear: there’s no peace on earth coming if He can help it. Which is all rather confusing.

I do not know whether you also have been rather confused about this whole peace thing, especially when we see that it never seems to remain all that peaceful for very long. It’s all looking rather icky at the moment, actually. I have also wondered whether the peace Christ gives is meant as peace between nations and we should all become nuns-on-a-bus? Or is it a kind of personal peace one may gain from hearing the Gospel? Well, we all want “inner peace”, don’t we?

Pope John XXIII issued an Encyclical letter, PACEM IN TERRIS, on Maundy Thursday, 1963. Perhaps he can give us a clue on what is meant? Maybe it’s a bit of both? Or are the two “peaces” deeply connected, as I really suspect they are?

Let us, then, pray with all fervour for this peace which our divine Redeemer came to bring us. May He banish from the souls of men whatever might endanger peace. May He transform all men into witnesses of truth, justice and brotherly love. May He illumine with His light the minds of rulers, so that, besides caring for the proper material welfare of their peoples, they may also guarantee them the fairest gift of peace.

Finally, may Christ inflame the desires of all men to break through the barriers which divide them, to strengthen the bonds of mutual love, to learn to understand one another, and to pardon those who have done them wrong. Through His power and inspiration may all peoples welcome each other to their hearts as brothers, and may the peace they long for ever flower and ever reign among them.

For those of us following the calendar of Paul VI and living where Epiphany is not a public holiday, Christmas appears to be ending tomorrow (and, for those following the calendar of John XXIII, on the next day, Monday, when it will be Epiphany).

Since this peace is so intimately associated with the feast of Christmas and its angels, it is good to ponder again on this gift today and pray a moment for the graces needed to significantly contribute to it in the year ahead or, at least, not hinder it.

Just as Christmas is departing and the crib and tree are going back in their boxes, Maestro Monsignor Marco Frisina again provides us with a prayer, about peace on earth. While it is not the greatest music in the world (some may think of it as Sacred Muzak), it would move most souls probably (and it’s the prayer that counts, mainly, anyway). Hope you are not afraid of great heights.

Mons. Frisina’s many works are often well received among our Italian brothers and sisters. He composes for a lot of things in Italy, even for television productions and film, both for RAI and also the Italian Catholic mass media. This song was composed for a TV programme on the life of Blessed Pope John, I believe.

 

Pacem in terris  

Pace, sublime dono del Signore,
carezza dello Spirito.
Vieni sul mondo a consolare ogni uomo,
a risanare ogni cuore ferito dal peccato.
Pacem, pacem, dona nobis pacem in terris.

Peace, sublime gift of the Lord,
caress of the Spirit.
Come upon the world to console every man,
to heal every heart wounded by sin.
Peace, peace, give us peace on earth.

A blessed Epiphany (Three Kings Day), either on the 5th or 6th!

Your comment on why Our Lord is the Prince of Peace (or just “Our Peace”) would be valued.

About GC

Poor sinner.
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30 Responses to Et in terra pax

  1. Toadspitttle says:

    “Let us, then, pray with all fervour for this peace which our divine Redeemer came to bring us. May He banish from the souls of men whatever might endanger peace.”

    No good, though – is it? People have been fervently praying for thousands of years for peace. Might as well be whistling Dixie.
    This year will be no different – business as usual – except almost certainly worse. More killings in the name of God by religion-crazed lunatics. We can bet on that.
    GC is right, I think, to say, “It’s all looking rather icky at the moment, actually.” Understating the case a trifle, some might think.

    Can it be God doesn’t want us to be peaceful – (not in His plan?) or does He simply not care one way or the other?
    It’s a puzzler, all right. Mysterious ways.
    However the unwarranted, and apparently indefatigable, optimism of believers is perennially touching. And it does no harm. As far as we know.

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  2. GC says:

    Ephesians 6:12, Toad.

    Toad, if you’re not due as one of the Three Kings arriving in Moratinos today, have you ever read “Pacem in Terris”? There you go. It’s not that long. You’ll love it.

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  3. kathleen says:

    Strangely (and perhaps unfortunately) peace has come to symbolise simply the opposite of conflict or war. It is so very much more than that.
    After His Glorious Resurrection, in each of His appearances to His disciples, Our Lord repeated the words: “Peace be with you”. He had accomplished the work of our Redemption, and now it was up to us to follow Him.

    True peace in the heart brings an invincible joy and serenity. Yes, even amidst the harshest of sufferings, it cannot be conquered. It is a peace that can only come from something far above and beyond our human nature. It can only come from the Lord.

    For true God-given peace within us overcomes all sorrow and regrets, all bitterness and hate, all fear and anxiety. It is knowing that God is loving and watching over us, come what may.

    Peace is trusting in Our Saviour Jesus Christ.

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  4. Toadspitttle says:

    “Moreover, (2a) God created man “in His own image and likeness,”
    (3) endowed him with intelligence and freedom, and made him lord of creation. “

    (2a) True enough. Nobody who has ever seen, or heard, Rush Limbaugh, Tony Blair or Dick Cheney or ‘Dave’ Cameron – let alone got near enough to touch or smell them – could fail to entertain the smallest doubt that we are all created in God’s own image and likeness.

    (3) See 2a. The knowledge that these three intelligent and free ‘human beings’, not utterly unlike the seven or so billion humbler mortals such as ourselves – are “Lords of Creation,” fair makes the old ticker give a tiny, but perceptible frisson of pride, don’t it?
    Yer. Not half.

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  5. This is beautiful… here is an ‘fun’ Sunshine award for you: http://mrsmeadowsweet.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/sunshine/ Happy New Year!

    Like

  6. GC says:

    mrsmeadowsweet, we are not worthy, which we have on the strongest authority. But many thanks and it would seem fitting that one of our holy founders and foundresses (Brother Burrito, kathleen, Gertrude, The Common Raven, teresa, mmvc, Frere Rabit and some others) accept the baton, carry out the procedures and pass it on.

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  7. GC says:

    In the euphoria, I forgot to wish you the happiest for AD 2014.

    To anticipate Toad, may I ask you whether your name is possibly Abkhazian and South Ossetian?

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  8. GC says:

    kathleen, you are such a good soul that you always take the trouble to respond, as I’ve said often before. So thank you again!

    You say strangely (and perhaps unfortunately) peace has come to symbolise simply the opposite of conflict or war. It is so very much more than that.

    Yes, the “peace” of the Scriptures does not mean only the (temporary) absence of war. If it does, we’ve been getting it wrong for 2000 years, which seems most unlikely. No doubt too that Jews and Muslims also intend more than that when they wish peace upon one another. Did you know that when we enter a Muslim village here to visit someone, we first stand outside their house and call out “peace be with you”. We do not knock on the door, but wait for their response, “and with you peace”, and then the door is opened.

    In all this I don’t think they mean we should not attack them on their doorstep or even join the nuns-on-a-bus. They must mean something like what you said: For true God-given peace within us overcomes all sorrow and regrets, all bitterness and hate, all fear and anxiety. It is knowing that God is loving and watching over us, come what may. It also implies good health and spiritual serenity (particularly if one is in poor health), I believe.

    But still the angels declared “peace on earth” on the birth of Jesus, not just “peace upon you” or me. As Pope John meant also, obviously. Thus it must be right. This can’t be just a “personal” peace. I think St Francis would agree too.

    Here endeth the rant.

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  9. GC says:

    Toad, I see you got as far as 3..

    6, and 7. are nice, and somewhat prescient as regards your list of villains:

    6. But the mischief is often caused by erroneous opinions. Many people think that the laws which govern man’s relations with the State are the same as those which regulate the blind, elemental forces of the universe. But it is not so; the laws which govern men are quite different. The Father of the universe has inscribed them in man’s nature, and that is where we must look for them; there and nowhere else.

    7. These laws clearly indicate how a man must behave toward his fellows in society, and how the mutual relationships between the members of a State and its officials are to be conducted. They show too what principles must govern the relations between States; and finally, what should be the relations between individuals or States on the one hand, and the world-wide community of nations on the other. Men’s common interests make it imperative that at long last a world-wide community of nations be established.

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  10. Toadspitttle says:

    “Yes, the “peace” of the Scriptures does not mean only the (temporary) absence of war. If it does, we’ve been getting it wrong for 2000 years, which seems most unlikely.”

    As always, I’m reluctant to disagree with you, GC – but it seems highly likely to me that, “…getting it wrong for 2000 years,” is exactly what we have been doing. (Make that 7000 or so years, to cheer up Roger.)
    Plainly demonstrable by history. But there we are.
    However, the weasel word – the get-out-of jail-free card above – is, of course,‘only.’ To be sure.

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  11. Toadspitttle says:

    “…the laws which govern men are quite different. The Father of the universe has inscribed them in man’s nature…”
    Perhaps The Father of the Universe inscribed the laws in some men who are illiterate?
    Or maybe in some area where they could not be easily read?
    That would explain things.

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  12. GC says:

    Toad 20.03 As always, I’m reluctant to disagree with you, GC – but it seems highly likely to me that, “…getting it wrong for 2000 years,” is exactly what we have been doing. (Make that 7000 or so years, to cheer up Roger.)

    Which means that Toad will now tell us how “to get it right”, and without one single angelic announcement, but just with one single unannounced Toad.

    Potentially impressive. Just watch now.

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  13. Toadspitttle says:

    You demonstrate flattering, although unwarranted, faith in Toad, GC – but how can even he tell us how to put the last 2000 (or 7000, odd) years’ lunacy ‘right’?
    It’s too late.

    I suppose God could, if He wanted.

    Like

  14. kathleen says:

    GC @ 18:31

    More delightful tit-bits of information from you here!
    Do your Muslim neighbours in Malaysia say those words of peace equally to their co-religious as to Christians? I hear that debate over the use of the name ‘Allah’ for God – used by Muslims and Christians alike – is still going on in the Golden Chersonnese! Has it made a difference to the peaceful existence you say you have always enjoyed there?
    (Sorry: I’m like a child asking constant questions in this way! 😉 )

    And I agree with your comment on the meaning of ‘true peace’. For those who do their best to follow Christ, and who trust firmly in His Love, no one and nothing can disturb that profound inner peace the Lord bestows on them.

    P.S. Psst! We’re trying to contact you ‘behind the scenes’! Please look in your spam folder for our e-mails.

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  15. Toadspitttle says:

    “Peace is trusting in Our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

    …Kathleen tells us…That seems to strongly suggest that GC’s Muslim neighbours aren’t going to get any. (Let’s hope they don’t turn shirty.)
    No more, by that token, are Hindus, Jews, Mormons and assorted unbelievers.
    Calvinists, Lutherans, Baptists and Anglicans might, but then again they might not.

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  16. GC says:

    Normally the Arabic greeting, as-salamu ‘alaikum (peace be upon you), would only be used among Muslims here, kathleen. But I quite often receive this greeting myself. There’s a man and his wife, for instance, who sell the local breakfast favourite, not far from my work, who say it to me every time I visit their stall.

    I feel Toad is getting confused as usual .The “salam” that a Muslim might wish on another is not the kind of “peace” which means you are reassuring somebody that you probably won’t be sending a scud missile through their window today. It doesn’t really mean “no war today by agreement”, as Toad seems to think.

    The word means “peace” in the sense of safeness, wholeness, happiness, blessedness. In fact, Brunei, a Malay sultanate near us here, is officially called Brunei Darussalam , meaning it is Brunei the Home of Salam (peace). What they mean is that they would be delighted if their (small, wealthy) nation could become a place of all the material security, health and justice that flows from God if he is revered and obeyed. It does not mean “place of no war for the foreseeable future”, as Toad would prefer it did.

    Christ’s peace must be something like this and even more interesting.

    “The peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”,
    NOT
    “the peace of God will keep your limbs attached to your torso”, although it probably would.
    ___________________

    Thanks, kathleen, I’ve discovered the email now.

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  17. GC says:

    Yes, kathleen,( @18:31), the quarrel about what Christians are allowed to call God is on again.

    I don’t think it affects greatly the relationships among the ordinary people here, kathleen. It hasn’t changed one thing in the relationships I have with friends and colleagues.

    Catholics are a fairly cool-headed lot generally anyway, aren’t they, even over here.

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  18. Toadspitttle says:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/01/pope-francis-cry-for-peace-vatican

    We all agree with him, naturally.
    Odd though, that Francis seems to suggest, or at least imply – that violence and mass murder are recent developments.
    I’d suggest they go back to Cain and Abel.
    And nothing significantly changed with the arrival of Christ.
    Maybe even got worse.
    …All depends what we mean by ‘peace,’ of course.

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  19. GC says:

    Dear Toad, the Pope’s whole address for World peace day is here.

    Again, not too long at all.

    Has the Pope been stealing mine and Kathleen’s ideas? He even refers to your Mr Cain and your Mr Abel too:

    As in:

    10. Fraternity needs to be discovered, loved, experienced, proclaimed and witnessed to. But only love, bestowed as a gift from God, enables us to accept and fully experience fraternity.

    The necessary realism proper to politics and economy cannot be reduced to mere technical know-how bereft of ideals and unconcerned with the transcendent dimension of man. When this openness to God is lacking, every human activity is impoverished and persons are reduced to objects that can be exploited. Only when politics and the economy are open to moving within the wide space ensured by the One who loves each man and each woman, will they achieve an ordering based on a genuine spirit of fraternal charity and become effective instruments of integral human development and peace..

    I’m sure I said something like that.

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  20. GC says:

    kathleen @18:31, January 5.

    kathleen, you may be interested to read this, which is the latest on the “Allah” issue.

    http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/police-question-herald-editor-under-sedition-act

    Fr Lawrence Andrew SJ, the editor of the Herald (the newspaper of our Archdiocese) is being investigated under the Sedition Act.

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  21. kathleen says:

    Thank you GC; I’ll read it now.

    Re your reply to Toad on his Guardian link – did you notice the “holier than thou” tone of the Guardian reporter? He reports on all those sins those naughty Catholics commit, and that brave Pope Francis now wants to clear up…. (hence, seeming to infer that no other Pope did anything about checking “sins at home” before!!)
    Motes and beams in eyes come to mind too.

    And talking about “et in terra pax”, here’s a quote from Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta:

    I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is ‘Abortion’, because it is a war against the child… A direct killing of the innocent child, ‘Murder’ by the mother herself… And if we can accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?…”

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  22. Toadspitttle says:

    “…did you notice the “holier than thou” tone of the Guardian reporter? “

    ..Well, not really.
    But since you drew attention to it, Kathleen – I looked again – and still can’t see it.

    So perhaps you, or anyone else on here with an axe to grind, might point out the relevant ‘holier than the Catholics’ paragraph, or phrase, or whatever – from what seems to me a straightforward, unexceptional bit of reporting?

    But, then again, some Guardian reporters may well actually be holier than some of us.
    Holier than Toad, for starters.
    Not hard.

    Excellent stuff from brave ‘Red Francis,’ I agree, GC.
    A bit ‘socialist’ for some tastes, possibly – but nothing that would not bring an approving cheer from anybody on CP&S, to be sure.

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  23. Brother Burrito says:

    I notice that Toad poorly tolerates any criticism of his alma mater, the media.

    This is very loyal of him, and I can imagine him saying “Don’t shoot the messenger”.

    However, if the messenger is lying to me, I have this very strong desire to “kneecap” him, in the hope he will become a truth-sayer.

    Help me to fight this temptation please Toad.

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  24. Toadspitttle says:

    I think the tiny – but significant – word here above, Burron – is “If.”
    Do you think the messenger was lying in this case? Distorting the facts, maybe? Biased?
    How? Where? In what sense?

    Kathleen merely accused him of being hypocritical – “…holier than thou.” And she has not yet explained how.
    She will do so, of course – as, doubtless, will you.

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  25. kathleen says:

    Toad,
    I really didn’t want to give this Guardian reporter so much limelight.

    His many references to the ways “humble” Pope Francis is doing things – his choice of name, where he has chosen to reside, etc. – are a clear slap in the face to his two great predecessors.

    Third paragraph from the end quoting all those things “naughty” Catholics get up to, gives the impression that they are unique to Catholicism.

    Totally biased reporting. With your knowledge and experience in the media, you should be able to see this.

    Like

  26. Toadspitttle says:

    This is getting even more ludicrous than usual.
    Where in the Guardian article is the world humble, which you, also put in quotes, Kathleen even used?

    The article is no more than a string of indisputable facts, as anyone with a pair of eye and half a brain can see. Francis does things differently to his two predecessors. We all know that.

    The unspoken, and eternal, whine here on CP&S, is anger that any branch of the media should ever have the temerity to ever write anything about the Catholic Church that presents it as anything except totally perfect in every imaginable aspect.

    Which it ain’t.

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  27. kathleen says:

    That’s not true Toad… and you know it.
    Catholics everywhere, and here on CP&S too, are perfectly capable of talking about our failings and sins. And we do so – all the time – in the hope of tackling and purifying them. We are only too well aware of what flawed and limited creatures we all are.
    Besides, if that were not so, there’s no way I would have posted that article about the Catholic Jesuit priest condoning abortion, for example.
    There are other religions where your accusations of seeing themselves as perfect would be more appropriate.

    (I put the two words “humble” and “naughty” in inverted commas in my previous comment, because I saw these two things as inferred, not actually quoted.)

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  28. Roger says:

    Peace on Earth! Yes and fulfilled then and with Us today!
    What is this Earth that is talked about in Scripture? The planet? I think Not.
    The name Adam means red (Earth). That Earth rebelled Them comes another Incorrupt Earth the Immaculate and from Our Lady a New Earth Our Lord.
    The Eucharist is True God and True Man. This is the new Earth that is given to Man to replace the Original Sin (earth) of adam.
    A New Heaven and A New Earth!
    The Eucharist is visible tangible Peace On Earth! The Prince Of Peace.
    Time to look with spiritual eyes those of the Soul.

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  29. GC says:

    Yet, Roger, James 2:14-19

    What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

    But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

    Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.(God’s Satan, as Robert would say?)

    Which is to say that the peace of God must be shown in our daily lives, not only sought in our spiritual exercises. Even to the extent that those with the necessary gifts must work also for peace and justice among nations. As Pope John recognised when he called Christ the “author of peace”.

    Not that peace and justice become something like “idols”, as I think they have for many among our priests and religious, the so-called and self-styled “progressives”.

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