‘How happy are you?’
The Beatitudes were the focus for National Youth Sunday 2014 celebrated by the Catholic Church in England and Wales on the Feast of Christ the King, Sunday 23 November 2014. Below is a reflection by Matt, our education officer, reflecting on one of the beatitudes, be peaceful…
Be peaceful – everybody is a child of God
At first glance this seems a simple enough. An encouragement to look after your spiritual and emotional wellbeing, to live kindly, to avoid doing harm to those we share our lives with, and to keep space for God.
But it is in the second part of this deceptively simple statement where the real challenge lies. For as we remember that we are all are children of God we are also reminded that peace is relational. We are pressed to ask ourselves, how does my peace affect others? And reflecting on this question will surely stir us to action.
If international security depends on dominating other nations, the murderous threat of nuclear weapons, or the bombing of enemies; what kind of peace is this?
If national security means closing the door to the stranger, suspicion of neighbour, or the compromising of basic human rights; what kind of peace is this?
If economic security means cheap food, clothes, and technology because our brothers and sisters work in terrible conditions for little money; if it means affluent nations growing ever richer off the back of the arms trade, or the poor relying on food parcels and charity; what kind of peace is this?
And if personal peace means closing our hearts to those who live day-to-day with violence and the fear of violence what kind of peace is this?
Jesus not only tells us to be peaceful but he also shows us how. By turning the other cheek, by loving our neighbour and our enemies, by forgiving one another, and by putting down our swords we have a blueprint for the life of the Christian peacemaker. A life that challenges injustice whilst also rejecting violence, a life that stands up for the poor and the oppressed, a life committed to creative and nonviolent resolution to conflict, and a life that recognises ever human person as a precious child of God.
Be peaceful – everybody is a child of God.