Saturday 20th April 2024

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Blessed Are The Peacemakers

June 2, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments


In last week’s consideration of the sixth Beatitude: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8), we saw that “the organ for seeing God is the heart” (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth [vol. 1], p. 92).
The heart — which is representative of the whole man in biblical language — is the very center of the human person’s affective, moral, and spiritual life. Purity in heart, which indicates that one is unsullied by any trace of self-interest or ulterior motive, is the precondition for the vision of God.
In other words, “the heart — the wholeness of man — must be pure, interiorly open and free, in order for man to be able to see God” (ibid., p. 93). To be truly pure in heart, a man must have left behind all attachment to creatures.
A person who is pure in heart, like St. Paul, is able to declare: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).
Assisted by the supernatural gift of understanding, a person in this stage of the spiritual life has formed his intellect and will to act in total obedience to the demands of God, especially in three areas: charity, chastity, and love of truth (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 2518).
The living out of this Beatitude, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, signals one’s entry into the contemplative life. “The reward given to the pure in heart,” affirms Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, “is a clear faith in the divine mysteries of life, and the promise of the vision of God in the life to come” (The Question and Answer Catechism, n. 867).
The seventh Beatitude: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:8), akin to the Beatitude of the pure in heart, is also associated by the Angelic Doctor with the contemplative life (cf. Summa Theologiae [STh] I-II, Q. 69, art. 3).
As expressed by Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP, a soul that has advanced to this point in the spiritual life not only possesses peace, but is able to communicate it to others.
“A contemplative soul does not allow itself to be troubled in its higher part by painful, unexpected events; it receives all from the hand of God as a means or an occasion of approaching closer to Him” (Christian Perfection and Contemplation, p. 334).
He possesses an abiding interior peace that enables him to love his enemies; moreover, it is a radiating peace which leads others to do likewise.
Fr. Hardon maintains that it is abundantly clear in Sacred Scripture that the seventh Beatitude “applies not merely to peaceful people, or even to the peaceable, but to those who actively promote peace, who are, quite literally peacemakers” (Basic Catholic Catechism Course [BCCC], p. 107).
To better understand precisely what this entails, it will be useful to examine the word peace as used in the context of this Beatitude in St. Matthew’s Gospel.
The Greek word for “peace” is eirene (a state of well-being or concord). The Hebrew translation is shalom; in biblical use it most often refers to a state of wellbeing, tranquility, prosperity, and security.
In volume 1 of his commentary on The Gospel of St. Matthew (GSM), William Barclay maintains that in Hebrew the word peace “is never only a negative state. . . . In the Bible peace means not only freedom from all trouble; it means the enjoyment of all good” (p. 108).
St. Augustine’s classical definition of peace is that it is “the tranquility of order” (City of God, book XIX, chapter 13). On this basis, Fr. Hardon defines it as “the quiet or serenity that follows when there is order. Things are in order when they are used according to the purpose intended by God and when the proper means are used to attain a given end” (BCCC, p. 107).
It is important to distinguish between two kinds of interior peace: peace of mind and peace of heart. “Peace of mind,” explains Fr. Hardon, “is the result of knowing the truth. When the mind, which is fashioned for knowing the truth, is used according to the purpose intended by God, it is at peace” (BCCC, p. 108).
But to know the truth (to the extent possible in this life) is not enough. Our actions must also be ordered properly. In other words, having informed our intellects with the truth, our wills must freely choose to act in conformity to that truth. Peace of heart, then, “is the effect of using our free wills to conform our own will to the will of God” (ibid.).
Because God has created us with a free will, it follows from Fr. Hardon’s definition that “the degree of interior peace we experience depends upon the degree to which we choose that which is in conformity to His will” (BCCC, p. 108).
But as we know all too well, the peace Jesus promises comes at a price — nowhere did He say we will not encounter conflict. He was clear in establishing that the peace He offers is not a worldly peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27).
Elsewhere, He says: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Matt. 10:34-35).
In our politically correct, “tolerant” society, those who seek the interior peace of heart that only Christ can give will, by that very fact, be ridiculed and despised by the world.
“The poor in spirit,” says Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, “will be hated by those who pursue self-interest; the meek will be opposed by the self-assertive; those who hunger and thirst after justice will be scorned by the indifferent; the merciful will be ridiculed by the unforgiving. . . . The world, whose false peace is based on self-love, will make war against those whose peace is based on conscience” (The Cross and the Beatitudes, pp. 76-77).
Another form of false peace that the seventh Beatitude demands must be guarded against is “the passive acceptance of things because we are afraid of the trouble of doing anything about them” (GSM, p. 109).
In other words, we must not “look the other way” if unjust or immoral behaviors exist in our families, workplace, neighborhoods, and elsewhere in order to avoid conflict.
“The peace which the Bible calls blessed does not come from the evasion of issues; it comes from facing them, dealing with them, and conquering them” (ibid.) in a charitable manner — even if it means that we will be ostracized or persecuted.
At the same time, “it is necessary to distinguish between error, which always merits repudiation,” state the Vatican II fathers, “and the person in error, who never loses the dignity of being a person even when he is flawed by false or inadequate religious notions” (Gaudium et Spes [GS], n. 28 § 2).
“Peace is not merely the absence of war,” teaches the Catechism, “and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace cannot be attained on earth without safeguarding the goods of persons, free communication among men, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity. Peace is the work of justice and the effect of charity (Isaiah 32:17; cf. GS, n. 78 §§ 1-2)” (CCC, n. 2304).
Fr. Hardon further states that “peacemakers are those persons who love peace and labor to establish peace all around them. They try to heal discord between people and especially seek to reconcile sinners who are estranged from God. Peacemakers strive to promote peace in and amongst others. They assist others in ordering their minds to truth and their wills to God’s will, so they can be peaceable people. Peacemakers are apostles of peace” (BCCC, p. 108).
The gift of the Holy Spirit that is connected with the seventh Beatitude is wisdom. “Wisdom coincides with the peacemakers,” proclaims St. Augustine, “for with peacemakers all things are in proper order, and no passion is in rebellion against reason, but everything is in submission to man’s spirit because that spirit is obedient to God” (Commentary on the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount 1.4.11).
As expressed by the Angelic Doctor, “It belongs to charity to be at peace, but it belongs to wisdom to make peace by setting things in order” (STh II-II, Q. 45, art. 6, ad 1).

Divine Sonship

The reward promised to those who live out the seventh Beatitude is that they shall be called “sons of God” (Matt. 5:45). “The gift of divine sonship is both a present possession of believers (cf. Romans 8:14-16; 1 John 3:1) and a future hope linked with the resurrection of the body (cf. Romans 8:23) and the glory of eternal life (cf. Rev. 21:7)” (cf. CCC, n. 2305; Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, p. 15).
In the words of Fr. Hardon, “The rewards promised to peacemakers are the grace now of being especially loved by God as His dearest children and the attainment of heavenly glory in eternity” (BCCC, p. 108).
The peace of heart of the seventh Beatitude is precisely what St. Augustine was referring to when he so movingly proclaimed: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you” (Confessions, book 1, chapter 1).

+ + +

(Don Fier serves on the board of directors for The Catholic Servant, a Minneapolis-based monthly publication. He and his wife are the parents of seven children. Fier is a 2009 graduate of Ave Maria University’s Institute for Pastoral Theology. He is a Consecrated Marian Catechist.)

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Vatican and USCCB leave transgender policy texts unpublished

While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1


Today . . .

Kamala Harris Heads to Arizona to Promote Abortions Up to Birth

Kamala Harris is visiting Arizona today to showcase the Biden-Harris Administration’s radical support of unlimited abortion. “Kamala Harris has become the abortion czar of the Biden Administration,” said Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee. “Instead of joining with the pro-life movement to build programs and safety nets to help promote real solutions for women and their preborn children, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have engaged in fearmongering and propaganda,” Tobias continue

May Everyone Have a Blessed and Joyful Easter

Is Easter being replaced with the ‘Transgender Day of Visibility’?

Two observances — Easter and the recently contrived “International Transgender Day of Visibility” — fall on Sunday, March 31 this year, causing some to wonder “Is Easter being replaced with the ‘Transgender Day of Visibility?’” It’s a valid question. For more than a few, it certainly will. Others might dismiss this as nothing more than a coincidence. That would be a mistake. On the last day of this month, we will witness a clash of religions as…Continue Reading

Abortion Advocates No Longer Consider It “A Necessary Evil,” They Celebrate Killing Babies

Last week, Kamala Harris became the first vice president in U.S. history to make a public visit to an abortion clinic. Though the Democratic party’s support for abortion is nothing new, Harris’ Planned Parenthood appearance does illustrate how that support has become a flagrant celebration of abortion as a public and personal good, essential to both “freedom” and to “healthcare.” At the appearance, Harris proclaimed,  It is only right and fair that people have access…Continue Reading

Wisconsin Supreme Court says Catholic charity group cannot claim religious tax exemption

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that a major Catholic charity group’s activities were not “primarily” religious under state law, stripping the group of a key tax break and ordering it to pay into the state unemployment system. Catholic Charities Bureau (CCB) last year argued that the state had improperly removed its designation as a religious organization.  The charity filed a lawsuit after the state said it did not qualify to be considered as an organization…Continue Reading

The King of Kings

Cindy Paslawski We are at the end of the Church year. We began with Advent a year ago, commemorating the time awaiting the coming of the Christ and we are ending these weeks later with a vision of the future, a vision of Christ the King of the Universe on His throne before us all.…Continue Reading

7,000 Pro-Lifers March In London

By STEVEN ERTELT LONDON (LifeNews) — Over the weekend, some seven thousand pro-life people in the UK participated in the March for Life in London to protest abortion.They marched to Parliament Square on Saturday, September 2 under the banner of “Freedom to Live” and had to deal with a handful of radical abortion activists.During the…Continue Reading

An Appeal For Prayer For The Armenian People

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke on August 29, 2023, issued this prayer for the Armenian people, noting their unceasing love for Christ, even in the face of persecution.) + + On the Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, having a few days ago celebrated the…Continue Reading

Robert Hickson, Founding Member Of Christendom College, Dies At 80

By MAIKE HICKSON FRONT ROYAL, Va. (LifeSiteNews) — Robert David Hickson, Jr., of Front Royal, Va., died at his home on September 2, 2023, at 21:29 p.m. after several months of suffering and after having received the Last Rites of the Catholic Church. He was surrounded by friends and family.Robert is survived by me —…Continue Reading

The Real Hero Of “Sound of Freedom”… Says The Film Has Strengthened The Fight Against Child Trafficking

By ANA PAULA MORALES (CNA) —Tim Ballard, a former U.S. Homeland Security agent who risked his life to fight child trafficking, discussed the impact of the movie Sound of Freedom, which is based on his work, in an August 29 interview with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. “I’ve spent more than 20 years helping…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: This lesson on medical-moral issues is taken from the book Catholicism & Ethics. Please feel free to use the series for high schoolers or adults. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column as well. The email and postal addresses are given at the end of this column. Special Course On Catholicism And Ethics (Pages 53-59)…Continue Reading

Color Politics An Impediment To Faith

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The USCCB is rightly concerned about racism, as they should be about any sin. In the 2018 statement Open Wide Our Hearts, they affirm the dignity of every human person: “But racism still profoundly affects our culture, and it has no place in the Christian heart. This evil causes great harm to its victims, and…Continue Reading

Trademarks Of The True Messiah

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this essay on September 2, and it is reprinted here with permission.) + + In Sunday’s Gospel the Lord firmly sets before us the need for the cross, not as an end in itself, but as the way to glory. Let’s consider the Gospel in three stages.First: The Pattern That…Continue Reading

A Beacon Of Light… The Holy Cross And Jesus’ Unconditional Love

By FR. RICHARD D. BRETON Each year on September 14 the Church celebrates the Feast Day of the Exultation of the Holy Cross. The Feast Day of the Triumph of the Holy Cross commemorates the day St. Helen found the True Cross. It is fitting then, that today we should focus on the final moments of Jesus’ life on the…Continue Reading

Our Ways Must Become More Like God’s Ways

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Fifth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 55:6-9Phil. 1:20c-24, 27aMatt. 20:1-16a In the first reading today, God tells us through the Prophet Isaiah that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. This should not come as a surprise to anyone, especially when we look at what the Lord…Continue Reading

The Devil And The Democrats

By FR. DENIS WILDE, OSA States such as Minnesota, California, Maryland, and others, in all cases with Democrat-controlled legislatures, are on a fast track to not only allow unborn babies to be murdered on demand as a woman’s “constitutional right” but also to allow infanticide.Our nation has gotten so used to the moral evil of killing in the womb that…Continue Reading

Crushed But Unbroken . . . The Martyrdom Of St. Margaret Clitherow

By RAY CAVANAUGH The late-1500s were a tough time for Catholics in England, where the Reformation was in full gear. A 1581 law prohibited Catholic religious ceremonies. And a 1584 Act of Parliament mandated that all Catholic priests leave the country or else face execution. Some chose to remain, however, so they could continue serving the faithful.Also taking huge risks…Continue Reading