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THE QUARRELSOME AND THE PEACEFUL

The quarrelsome can never be one heart and one mind with their neighbor. Peace is a fruit of the Spirit. He who quarrels is carnal, "Follow peace. . .and  holiness; without which no man shall see God."

But peace must go hand in hand with concord, i.e. the ability to live with others peacefully. Discord, the absence of concord, makes our sacrifice of good works distasteful to God ". . .go first and be reconciled to thy brother." Discord allows no good work; the discord must first be extinguished. 

Even the birds and the beasts flock together. If irrational creatures have concord, how much more so should rational creatures be? Irrational creatures, however, live more in concord than rational creatures in this regard.

However, we must not be attached to the temporary peace; this will prevent us from desiring the eternal peace still to be given. The present peace must be loved but not attached to. If this peace is loved immoderately, one's soul shall be caught in sin.

The love for human peace usually prevents one from reproving the evil conduct of others. Silence is conniving with their perversities and this is to sever the bond of peace with God. To attain eternal peace, we must sometimes risk losing temporary peace.

Human, transitory peace is the footprint of eternal peace. It is foolish to love footprints. David has no concord with the wicked, "I hated them with a perfect hatred." This is to love them but hate what they do; to reprove the conduct of the wicked but to be profitable to them.

It is sinful to maintain peace with the wicked. Prophets aroused the enmity of the wicked in behalf of the Lord. Thus, the Levites and Phinees appeased the wrath of God by slaying the enemies of God.

"Do you think that I came to send peace upon earth? I came not to send peace, but the sword." He who is at peace with the wicked is in bonds with sin. Josaphat was rebuked for his friendship with the evil King Achab. He who helps the ungodly is joined in friendship with them that hateth the Lord, and, therefore, deserve the wrath of the Lord. He who is in friendship with the wicked is already out of harmony with God.

The peaceful man must not fear to disturb the temporal peace in order to reprove. But the love that motivates the reproof must be preserved. Be peaceful, but reprove. If they insult you, remain peaceful but do not cease reproving nor cease loving them.

Paul states, "If it be possible. . .have peace with all men." If it be possible. . .for, if you reprove all evil, it is impossible to have peace with all men. But if temporal peace is disturbed in the hearts of evil men, it must be kept inviolable in your own heart. Peace must exist between two persons; but if it is expelled in the other who is reproved, let it be maintained in the one reproving.

Paul summarized this, saying: Break outward peace with the wicked but guard your interior peace so that the discord may amend the wicked. But let your peace remain even if your reproof is rejected.

St. Gregory the Great: Pastoral Care, Chapter 22, Part III

 

 


 

(12-19-02)

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