“If we all did only that — not slander others — peace would advance,” said Pope Francis during the Mass he celebrated this December 4, 2018, in the chapel of Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican.
In his homily, reported by “Vatican News,” the Holy Father reflected on the First Reading (Isaiah 11:1-10), who talks about the reign of the “Prince of Peace.” “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.”
The Season of Advent, he explained, is “a time to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Prince of Peace. It’s a time to be pacified”: first of all, to be at peace with ourselves, to pacify our soul.” “If we are often not at peace,” but “in anxiety,” ”in anguish, without hope. . . ” And the Pontiff asked: “how is your soul today? Is it in peace?”
Then, to be “architects of peace,” it’s necessary to “pacify oneself.” “There is so much sadness in families, so many quarrels, so many small wars, so much disunion sometimes” or “walls that separate.”
In fine, it’s necessary to pacify the world where “there are more wars than peace . . . there are so many wars, <there is> so much disunion, so much hatred, so much abuse. There is no peace.” “What do I do to aid peace in the world?” “But the word is too far, Father.” ”But what do I do to aid peace in my neighborhood, in my school, in my place of work? Do you always find an excuse to begin to war, to hate, to bad-mouth others? It’s to make war! Am I gentle? Do I seek to make bridges? I don’t condemn?”
Pope Francis addressed to all this appeal for pacification, including children. “What do you do at school? When you have a schoolmate that you don’t like, who is a bit vicious or weak, do you harass him or make peace <with him>?. Do you try to make peace? Do you forgive everything?”
“To make peace is somewhat to imitate God when He willed to make peace with us and forgave us; when He sent His Son to make peace, to be the Prince of Peace,” he continued.
The Pontiff also answered some objections. “Someone might say: ‘But, Father, I haven’t studied how to make peace, I’m not a cultured person, I don’t know how to do it, I’m young.’ Jesus gives us, in the Gospel, the attitude to have: ‘Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, I proclaim your praise: what you have hidden from the wise and the learned, You have revealed to little ones.’ You haven’t studied, you’re not wise . . . Make yourself little, make yourself humble, make yourself a servant of others. Make yourself little and the Lord will give you the capacity to understand how to make peace and the strength to do it.”
“And every time we see that there is a possibility of a small war, at home, in one’s heart or at school or work, it’s necessary to stop and make peace,” concluded the Holy Father. Never, never wound another — never; . . . don’t bad-mouth others, don’t fire the first cannon shot. If we all did only that — not slander others — peace would advance. May the Lord prepare our heart for the Birth of the Prince of Peace . . . let us do everything, let us do our part to pacify: to pacify our heart, our soul, to pacify our family, our school, our neighborhood, our place of work. <Let us be> men and women of peace,” he pleaded.
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester