On January 1, 2004, in connection with the World Day of Peace, Pope St. John Paul II published An Ever Timely Commitment: Teaching Peace.
More than a dozen years later, it’s a message that resonates still today.
Perhaps, even more so.
It’s an appeal that would have us all come, finally, to deeply know these three things:
That peace is possible.
That peace requires forgiveness.
That peace is our first, our last, and our absolute duty.
The Church . . . has always taught and continues today to teach a very simple axiom: peace is possible.
Indeed, the Church does not tire of repeating that peace is a duty.
It must be built on the four pillars indicated by Blessed John XXIII in his Encyclical Pacem in Terris:
Truth, justice, love, and freedom.
A duty is thus imposed upon all those who love peace: that of teaching these ideals to new generations, in order to prepare a better future for all mankind . . .
For the establishment of true peace in the world, justice must find its fulfilment in charity.
Certainly law is the first road leading to peace, and people need to be taught to respect that law. Yet one does not arrive at the end of this road unless justice is complemented by love.
Justice and love sometimes appear to be opposing forces. In fact they are but two faces of a single reality, two dimensions of human life needing to be mutually integrated.
Historical experience shows this to be true. It shows how justice is frequently unable to free itself from rancour, hatred and even cruelty.
By itself, justice is not enough.
Indeed, it can even betray itself, unless it is open to that deeper power which is love.
For this reason I have often reminded Christians and all persons of good will that forgiveness is needed for solving the problems of individuals and peoples.
There is no peace without forgiveness!
You can read St. John Paul’s entire New Year’s message here.
As we now enter the start of yet another new year, perhaps we can let St. John Paul’s plea finally begin to take deep hold of our lives.
It looks as if the survival our world just might depend upon it.
And Happy New Year.
Image Credit: Pixabay
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