The year is closing and it is time to glance back at everything that happened during 2015. We can say that we are in the midst of generalised chaos that has grown a lot during this time not just in our country but also throughout the whole world.
In this moment, seemingly so void of peace, we should remember the angelic canticle which, through the designs of Providence, was heard by the shepherds on that first rustic and poetic Christmas night, when the angels sang: “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth, peace to men of good will.”
The angels came to bring peace and tranquility. However, it was not just any peace and tranquility. Saint Thomas of Aquinas teaches that, “Peace is the tranquility of order.” Where there is order, there is true peace. Where there is simply a lack of commotion, there is not peace, but merely hidden disorder, a simulated order, but not true peace.
For example, peace does not exist in cemeteries. In cemeteries, there is death, dissolving cadavers, and the transformation of men from what they were in life to dust and ashes. In cemeteries, there is immobility, sadness and silence, but it would be a stretch to say that there is peace.
Where, then, do we find peace on earth? We find it in very few places if we are able to find it at all. However, there is one place we will still find it. Peace exists in the churches where Catholic doctrine is still taught in its integrity, where the sacred rites are still performed in entire harmony with Catholic worship and doctrine; where people love and understand each other and feel the same way because they are all imbued with the Holy Ghost, Who is eminently the Spirit of Peace.
This peace which Our Lord Jesus Christ wanted to bring to Earth, He expressed in the following magnificent words: “Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you” (St. John 14:27). In other words, He gives His peace to men, the tranquility of His order. He left this gift for men in the world when He left the world and ascended into Heaven.
Now, let us return to the manger where we should consider Jesus Christ as the king of peace. We should remember that He is the descendant of the most kingly and excellent dynasty on earth. Other descendants of this dynasty are also gathered around the Infant Jesus under the humble form of a carpenter, his wife and their newborn Child.
Before the Magi Kings arrive, bringing their precious gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, God willed that the humble creatures would enter and be received with love. Not only the shepherds, but even the animals, for example the ox was invited to warm the newborn Child Jesus with their breath, as He warmed with His Love the group of shepherds who paid Him the first acts of adoration.
All this is peace; all this is order. We should be soldiers of peace and soldiers of order, those who fight for order — those who are truly the soldiers of Christ in the Reign of Christ.
There seems to be a contradiction in these affirmations: how can one be a soldier of peace when by definition, peace means an absence of fighting? How can one be a soldier of order if war, at first glance, seems like an immense disorder?
Peace exists when men are in order. It is the Peace of Christ in the Reign of Christ. But this peace does not only exist where there is no fight. There is also peace when one fights for order and against disorder.
Even in Heaven, there was a great fight between Saint Michael and the faithful angels on one side and Satan and the unfaithful angels on the other. This fight was so intense that the Scriptures tell us: “And there was a great battle in Heaven.” At the very moment this battle was taking place, peace did not cease to reign in Heaven because the good angels were on God’s side and they fought for God to expel the unworthy demons from Heaven.
This was a fight of health against sickness, life against revolted death, good against rebellious evil. This fight did not disturb order, because it was a fight of that which should exist, against that which should not exist. Thus, at the very moment of the fight, there was order.
In the contemporary world we can be likewise be factors of peace to the degree that we peacefully and legally fight against the bad angels and those factors of disorder that afflict our society. In this fight, there is peace because it is a fight of the agents of peace against the agents of war and of the agents of good against the agents of evil. This is true peace. This is the kind of peace that we wish you for our readers in 2016.