Today’s ✠Challoner Meditation: April 22nd On the peace of a Christian

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

EASTER FRIDAY

ON THE PEACE OF A CHRISTIAN

Consider first, that as our Saviour, the night before his passion, bequeathed his peace to his disciples, saying, John xiv. 27, ‘Peace I leave you, my peace I give to you’ so also after his resurrection he three times wished them his peace, saying, ‘peace be to you,’ John xx. But what kind of peace is this that he so much inculcates, and so earnestly desires to impart to us? Not the peace which the world pretends to give, which is false and deceitful like itself – they say ‘peace, peace, and there is no peace,’ Ezek. xiii. 10. to – but ‘the peace of God which surpasseth all understanding,’ Philip. iv. 7. A threefold peace; viz., a peace of the soul with God, a peace with every neighbour, and a peace with herself. It is both the duty and happiness of a Christian to maintain this triple peace. And first, whosoever desires any degree of happiness, either here or hereafter, must take care to keep an inviolable peace with God, by ever flying wilful sin, which is at enmity with God. For how can there be any good for them that are at war with God? ‘Who hath ever resisted him, and hath had peace?’ Job ix. 4. ‘The wicked are like the raging sea, which cannot rest, and the waves thereof cast up dirt and mire: there is no peace to the wicked, saith the Lord God,’ Isaias lvii. 20,21.

Consider 2ndly, that the Christian cannot maintain his peace with God if he does not also ‘follow peace with all men,’ Heb. xii. 14; ‘and as much as lies in him, keep peace with all men,’ Rom. xii. 18. ‘For as no man can love God, that does not love his neighbour,’ 1 John iv., so no man can be at peace with God that breaks peace with his neighbour. ‘Tis then another branch both of the duty and of the happiness of a Christian to be at peace with every man, at least as far as lies in his power and in the unfeigned disposition of his soul; to renounce all animosity and rancour, all discord and contention, all malice and envy, and whatsoever else is opposite to fraternal charity, and to learn to bear, and to forbear, which are the two great means of keeping peace with our neighbours: when on our parts we forbear giving them any offence or provocation, either by word or deed, and at the same time bear with Christian meekness and charity all the offences or provocations we receive at their hands, and strive to overcome them by rendering good for evil. O how amiable is this character of the peaceable Christian! O how much happier is such a soul than one that is always at war with one neighbour or another, and always in a storm at home in his own interior!

Consider 3rdly, that another necessary branch of the Christian’s peace is, to be at peace within himself, by striving to banish from his own interior whatsoever may disturb the tranquillity of his soul. This inward peace, when it is perfect, is a certain foretaste of heaven; it is a kind of heaven upon earth. In such souls God is pleased to dwell, of whom the royal prophet sings, Ps. lxxv. 3, that ‘His place is in peace, and his abode in Sion.’ To come at this happy peace (besides taking care to keep peace with God, by a clean conscience, and with every neighbour, by concord and charity), we must have our passions mortified, our affections well ordered and regulated, and our desires restrained; we must banish all hurry and over eagerness; all sadness and melancholy; all scrupulous fears, anxious cares, and uneasiness about the things of this world; and, above all things, and in all things, we must conform ourselves to the holy will of God. Practise these lessons, my soul, and thou wilt be at peace, at least as far as the condition of thy mortal pilgrimage will allow of.

Conclude ever to aim at this threefold peace, with thy God, with thy neighbour, and with thyself; pray daily for it; and whatsoever fear, affection, or desire, or any other thing whatsoever offers to disturb thy heart, shut the door against it as an enemy, as a messenger of Satan, who comes to rob thee of thy treasure, the peace of thy soul.

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