Quenching Our Thirst for Peace
A ton of turmoil abounds around the globe. From navigating the uncharted waters of the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19, to the economic and social hardships the threat of the virus has wrought, to the numerous other challenges people face, many find it difficult, if not impossible, to attain even a semblance of peace.
Now perhaps more than ever, we desire a simple formula—a perfect recipe to feel inner peace. The task seems insurmountable, but spiritual powerhouses like Dorothy Day, and Sts. Thomas Aquinas, Teresa of Calcutta, and Alphonsus Liguori all believed, seemingly simplistically, that peace is found in love. Loving service to God and others leads to peace.
Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead to bring us peace and affirmed this reality during his first encounter with the disciples following his resurrection (John 20: 19–23).
Often in today’s society, we tend to appropriate what turns out to be a misrepresentation of peace through success, wealth, and material acquisitions. Such pursuits may lead to a sense of affirmation and pleasure, but the feeling is diminutive and fleeting.
However, if we first seek God’s will and devote our time and attention to prayer and acts of kindness, our thirst for inner peace will be quenched. The first naturally begets the latter. “Peace is the work of justice indirectly, in so far as justice removes the obstacles to peace; but it is the work of charity (love) directly, since charity, according to its very notion, causes peace” (St. Thomas Aquinas).
In mid-March, as COVID-19 spread and entire countries fell under quarantine, efforts to build a sense of community in the face of social distancing ramped up. People sang from their balconies and filled the desolate streets of Italy with song. Teachers forced to stay home due to statewide mandates of school closures came together to prepare meals for families in need. Corporations stepped up to offer free internet service to families with school-age children to ensure virtual lesson plans were a success.
These exemplify selfless acts through which we can catch a glimpse of a silver lining during a tragic time in history. Perhaps they’re also a step in the right direction to attain the peace we so desperately pursue.