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November 30, 2021

Once again, we have begun the wonderful Advent season, when we are preparing for the birth of our Lord. To help transition out of my Thanksgiving turkey coma, I started to listen to some Christmas music. One of my favorite songs for the season is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Bing Crosby. As I listened to the lyrics, I could not help but ponder the meaning of and need for peace.

The short song by Bing Crosby reads like this:

I heard the bells on Christmas day

Their old familiar carols play

And wide and sweet, the words repeat

Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought as now this day had come

The belfries of all Christendom

Had rung so long, the unbroken song

Of peace on Earth, good will to men

And in despair I bowed my head

“There is no peace on earth,” I said

For hate is strong and mocks the song

Of peace on Earth, good will to men

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep

God is not dead nor doth He sleep

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail

With peace on Earth, good will to men

It is easy to feel the despair that Crosby felt as he bowed his head and thought of the hate in the world that mocks the Lord’s song. It is difficult at times to think as St. Augustine does when he says that peace is “the tranquility of order.” How many times have we seen hatred, injury, and despair in this world and in our daily lives that stirs uncertainty that there is peace anywhere on this earth? I personally can think of many instances in my life, and in the past year, where I have doubted the peace and good will of men. However, in these times, and in this moment, I am reminded by the Church that “peace is the work of justice and the effect of charity” (CCC 2304).

In order for something to be considered a “work,” someone, must act. In this season of Advent, as we ready ourselves to celebrate the birth of our Lord, let us be the ones who work to bring peace into the world. St. Francis of Assisi prayed it best when he prayed, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.”



Ruah Woods Press