“Men speak much of light, but often they prefer the deceptive tranquility of the dark. We talk a lot about peace, but often resort to war or choose complicit silence, or do nothing to build peace”, said Pope Francis upon appearing at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square on the first Sunday of the year. “The heart of man can refuse light and prefer the shadows, because the light lays bare his wicked works. He who does evil hates the light; he who does evil, hates peace”. Photo: Reuters
“A few days ago we began the new year in the name of the Mother of God, celebrating World Day of Peace with the theme: “No longer slaves, but brothers and sisters”. My hope is that the exploitation of man by man may be overcome. This exploitation is a social evil that extinguishes social relationships and impedes a life of communion characterized by respect, justice and charity. Each person and every people hungers and thirsts for peace; therefore it is necessary and urgent to build peace”.
Francis continued, “Peace is not just the absence of war, but a general condition in which the human person is in harmony with himself, with nature and with others. … Nevertheless, silencing arms and stopping outbreaks of war remain the unavoidable conditions for embarking on a journey towards the attainment of peace in its different forms. I think of the conflicts that still cause bloodshed in too many regions of the planet, of tensions in families and communities – in how many families, communities, and even parish communities, there is war! – as well as the sharp divisions in our cities and towns between groups of different cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds. We must convince ourselves that, despite all appearances to the contrary, harmony is always possible, at every level and in every situation. There is no future without proposals and projects for peace! There is no future without peace!”
The Pope commented that peace is proclaimed as a special gift from God, in the birth of the Redeemer: “Peace on earth to those on whom His favor rests”. He added, “This gift must be incessantly sought in prayer and nurtured each day with commitment, in the situations in which we find ourselves. At the dawn of this new year, we are all called to rekindle in our hearts an impulse of hope, that should result in concrete works of peace … at home, in your community, at work … works of peace, reconciliation and fraternity. Each one of us must carry out these acts of fraternity towards others, especially those who are suffering as a result of family tensions or disputes of various kinds. These small gestures have great value: they can be the seeds that give rise to hope, that can open up roads to and the prospect of peace”.
He concluded by encouraging those present to invoke Mary, Queen of Peace, “who, during her earthly life, encountered no lack of difficulties in the daily burdens of existence. But she never lost her peace of heart, the fruit of her trusting abandonment to God’s mercy. We ask that Mary, our tender Mother, show the entire world the sure path of love and peace”.