Volume IV - Spirituality

The Beatitudes

Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

Christ, the “prince of peace,” (Isaiah 9:6) gives the peace of God to those who believe in Him.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. (John 14:27) I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. (John 16:33)

This is the peace which Saint Paul lists as one of the “fruits of the Holy Spirit” (Galatians 5:22); the “peace of God which passes all understanding.”(Philippians 4:7) It is peace understood as “the liberation from passions, which cannot be attained without the action of the Holy Spirit.” (Saint Mark the Ascetic, 4th c., Two Centuries on Spiritual Law) The peacemakers are those who have the peace of God in themselves and spread this peace to those around them. This peace, first of all, is the freedom from all anxiety and fear. It is the peace of those who are not anxious about their lives, about what they shall eat and drink, about what they shall wear. (Cf. Matthew 6:25-33) It is the peace with which men’s hearts are not troubled nor afraid of anything. (Cf. John 14:27) It is the peace which exists in men even in the most terrible of human situations, in suffering and in death. It is the peace which is in the one who can say:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword? As it is written, “For Thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” (Psalm 44:22)

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)

The inner peace of God is not the absence of external conflict. The peacemakers of God are not those who are freed from terrific struggles in life, or those who can cause the absence and disappearance of strife among men. Christ Himself did not do this. On the contrary, the Prince of Peace Himself, the Lord who gives strength and peace to His people (Psalm 29:11), has claimed that He Himself will be the cause of much conflict among men.

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; and a man’s foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it; and he who loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:34-39; Luke 12:49-53)

The blessed peacemaker is the one who bears witness to Christ and takes up his cross and loses his life for the Lord without fear or anxiety. He is the one who enters every human conflict until the end of time, fortified by the peace of God. He is the one who does not deny the Lord or compromise His truth by the exercise of violence, but bears witness by his own peace in the midst of conflict, the peace which is “not as the world gives.” (John 14:27) Thus, the peacemaker does not provoke others to irritation or violence, except by the truth and love of his life, and leaves all vengeance to the Lord. He is the one who follows Jesus in overcoming evil only by good.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourself, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:18, Deuteronomy 32:35) No, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.” (Proverbs 25:21- 22) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:18-21)

In making peace, the peacemaker himself is a son of God like the Lord Jesus Himself, who paradoxically and inevitably is the cause of much scandal and strife. (Cf. Luke 2:34-35, 7:23, 21:18)