Pacem In Terris 163-165: An Immense Task

Peace on Earth: the harvest is plenty, but the laborers are few. We are approaching the end of this encyclical letter. We have a long way to go …

163. Hence among the very serious obligations incumbent upon (people) of high principles, We must include the task of establishing new relationships in human society, under the mastery and guidance of truth, justice, charity and freedom—relations between individual citizens, between citizens and their respective States, between States, and finally between individuals, families, intermediate associations and States on the one hand, and the world community on the other. There is surely no one who will not consider this a most exalted task, for it is one which is able to bring about true peace in accordance with divinely established order.

164. Considering the need, (those) who are shouldering this responsibility are far too few in number, yet they are deserving of the highest recognition from society, and We rightfully honor them with Our public praise. We call upon them to persevere in their ideals, which are of such tremendous benefit to (humankind). At the same time We are encouraged to hope that many more (people), Christians especially, will join their cause, spurred on by love and the realization of their duty. Everyone who has joined the ranks of Christ must be a glowing point of light in the world, a nucleus of love, a leaven of the whole mass. (They) will be so in proportion to (their) degree of spiritual union with God.

165. The world will never be the dwelling place of peace, till peace has found a home in the heart of each and every (person), till every (person) preserves in (the) self the order ordained by God to be preserved. That is why St. Augustine asks the question: “Does your mind desire the strength to gain the mastery over your passions? Let it submit to a greater power, and it will conquer all beneath it. And peace will be in you—true, sure, most ordered peace. What is that order? God as ruler of the mind; the mind as ruler of the body. Nothing could be more orderly.” (Miscellanea Augustiniana . . . St. Augustine, Sermones post Maurinos reperti, Rome, 1930, p. 633)

Peacemakers are to be highly regarded, and yet we have too few, and too few especially from the ranks of Christians. The more attentive we are to our “spiritual union with God,” the more we may yet accomplish. Submission to God, to set aside our own desires and aims, and to merge our passions into the good order of God.

This certainly is in keeping with what I have heard from many radical peacemakers–that we need to live lives of peace ourselves, from the inside out.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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