"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
THE PEACE OF CHRIST is given by Christ from his heart; in fact, from the depths of his peaceful nature. Christ gracefully gives life, which is the essence of peace that is beyond mental comprehension. Peace is the nature of Christ, from which springs peace and upon which the world continues. From the depths of his being, from the pulse of his life, Christ draws his peace. So peace is his nature; it is not introduced from outside him. The peace in heaven is from the overflow of his nature, and this is why when Christ was born the hosts of heaven cried out that peace had come to earth.1 The earth was cursed because of Adam’s sin and his departure from the presence of God, and peace disappeared from the earth and all creation. Animals began to struggle and groan under the weight of sin which afflicted them, and from nature itself peace disappeared and the elements began to clamor. The rule of peace created it, but because 2 John 14:18.
3 Matt 28:20.
4 See 1 Pet 5:8.
5 1 Pet 3:14.
of Adam this peace abandoned it, so Adam became exposed to the beasts and the cacophony of nature. The earth began to see waves of volcanoes and earthquakes, and even the heavens lost their balance between hot and cold, harming man in their violent changes. So man began to hide in caves and crevices, as if nature was baring its teeth to the lord of creation to which it was subject. Man was freed to live in exile on the earth, chased by the beasts of the wilderness and the parched creation, silent and unaware of the calamities from which he escapes; all the calamities follow him, he being unaware they are because of him.
Finally, God had compassion on his creation and sent his only Son to firmly establish the peace of God on earth, to return to Adam his respectability and authority over creation, to rebuke the winds and violent storms that began again to show themselves as man was drowning in his sins. Christ demonstrates a fundamental difference between his peace and the peace which the world stingily gives with its right hand to take again with its left. The world returned to the sovereignty of Satan leading to the rule of sin. Here Christ is issuing an alert that his peace which he gives and leaves with his beloved is unlike the peace of the world, which is called peace but in fact is spears pointed at sinful man, who is unaware of their source. The world may appear at peace but its real self is a terrifying and murderous void that besieges man wherever he goes. One of the most beautiful descriptions of Christ’s peace is that it is a gift given to his beloved. He gives it to them as an inheritance that is pleasing to God and a startling commemoration of his love and intimacy which he left to the world as the greatest heavenly inheritance and a living and life-giving reminder of his presence which never fails on behalf of his beloved: “I will not leave you as orphans”2 and “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”3 This is the peace which he never ceases to give his intimate friends and chosen ones.
The peace of Christ removes trouble and anxiety from hearts, for it is the cure of divine love which heals and dresses the wounds of man. He strengthens his heart in the face of the storms of the world and the schemes of the enemy which he stirs up in hearts to shake the world and fill it with trouble in order to take possession of the fearful and trembling. Satan provokes the strongest enemy against him, fear of things not there, terror by which he hunts the hearts of his captives in the world of darkness, in which he reigns, roaming in search of a man to swallow with his terrifying, yet baseless, schemes.4 The terrors of the enemy are all illusions with no connection to the nature of man: “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”5
May the peace of Christ fill the hearts of his children.
July 27, 2005
1 See Luke 2:14.
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