First of all, thank you for the beautiful and very useful website, especially the section of the questions of the faithful with your answers that I often go through in times of darkness in search of light. I have relatives in Salsomaggiore and I have often come to the Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary in Fontanellato, perhaps we also met.
I come to the question: in the Gospel of John, if I am not mistaken, in the verse 14:27 Jesus says: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you”. In what sense does Jesus give us his peace?
And what is the peace that the world gives?
Thank you. Sincerely,
Answer of the priest
1. Peace, says Saint Augustine, “is the tranquillity of order” (De Civitate Dei, 19,13).
And since there is a threefold order in man (with oneself, with God and with one’s neighbor), it can be said that there are three forms of peace: interior peace, peace with God, and peace relative to one’s neighbor.
2. The Lord’s disciples enjoy this peace both in the present and in the future life.
Here on earth, however, they have it partially because they cannot have it without some disturbance. And this as much towards oneself as towards God and neighbor.
In the future life, however, they will enjoy it perfectly because they will reign without having enemies.
3. Well, the Lord promises peace both for present and future life.
He promises peace in the present life because together with the superabundance of grace he gives us the possibility of overcoming the enemy and loving one another.
4. Saint Thomas says that guarding peace “is a kind of covenant established by Christ which we should keep: «A covenant of peace was established with him» (Sir 45:24)” (Commentary on the Gospel of John, 14, 27).
5. He promises peace for the future life because he will make it flow like a river, as Isaiah prophesied: “For thus says the Lord: «Lo, I will spread prosperity over her like a river»” (Is 66:12).
6. And here are the contents of the peace that the Lord communicates.
According to the Jerusalem Bible, wishing for peace means wishing three goods. In fact, “Peace, the customary Jewish greeting and farewell, means soundness of body but came to be used of the perfect happiness and the deliverance which the Messiah would bring. All this Jesus gives” (cf. note to Jn 14:27).
7. In the next sentence, Jesus specifies that his peace is not like that of the world.
World’s peace is ordered to the undisturbed and peaceful enjoyment of temporal goods.
And sometimes this peace is almost an encouragement to sin because “even though they live in a great war of ignorance, they call such evils peace” (Wis 14:22).
Furthermore, when the world gives peace, it gives it to enjoy external goods without conflict.
Christ, on the other hand, gives peace for the achievement of eternal goods.
8. Also, the peace of the world is very often deceptive and false as the Psalm says: “(The wicked) speak peace to their neighbors though evil is in their hearts” (Ps 28:3).
While the peace of Christ is true and not fictitious.
9. Finally, the peace of the world is not perfectly true because “No peace for the wicked! says my God” (Is 57:21).
While the peace of Christ gives inner and outer serenity as the Psalmist says “Lovers of your law have much peace” (Ps 119:165).
This is why Jesus says: “Not as the world gives do I give it to you”.
Wishing you always to have the peace of Christ in your heart, I assure you of my prayers and I bless you.
p.s.: I do not belong to the Convent of Fontanellato, nor do I exercise the ministry in that beautiful Dominican sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary. So certainly… at least for now… we haven’t met!
Translated by Chiara P.