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  A Christian Faith Magazine May 2004, Volume 9, Issue 10  
On What Does Peace Depend?
Fr. Paul N. Check
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May I make three practical suggestions to further "tranquility of order" in your heart and in your home? First, say daily the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, the one that begins, "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace." This beautiful prayer can help ease anxiety, dissipate anger, and foster charity like few others. Second, get a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no Catholic home should be without one, frequently consulted) and then read the hundred pages or so devoted to the Ten Commandments. I believe that you will discover in these essential Church teachings a glimpse of the divine wisdom and the divine order from which they came, And finally, go to Confession. Nothing restores peace to the soul like the words, " I absolve you from your sins in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Please do not cheat yourself out of the grace that Our Lord hung on the Cross to give you.

Christ on the Cross

A final word. It may seem a little inopportune that a recent Gospel presents an apparently agitated and even violent Christ at a time when we need the consolation and encouragement of the Prince of Peace. But the Jesus who forcefully ejects the moneychangers from the temple is the same Jesus who says, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. . . for I am gentle and lowly of heart."(Mt. 11 :28, 29) In both cases, zeal for His Father's house consumes Him.

And zeal for souls, also. The righteous indignation Our Lord displays in the Gospel has everything to do with our initial question, "On what does peace depend?" The answer, as we have considered it thus far, includes tranquility of order, human nature, the Commandments, and the grace of the Sacraments. But there is one other necessary element, and Jesus displays righteous indignation in the temple because He does not find it among those present. Instead, He finds obstinacy and complacency, which pose the greatest danger to salvation. As St. John records, Jesus was well aware of the disposition of the moneychangers, even as He did not need anyone to give Him testimony about human nature. So what is the final element on which peace depends, the element Our Lord was searching for in the temple and is searching for in you and me? I think it comes down to just three words: conversion of heart. Conversion of heart, unlike anything else, will open you and me to the peace that the world cannot give or take.

A Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

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 pardoning that we are pardoned.
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

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