what about peace on earth? How will there be peace if we dont work
to make it happen?
hats a reasonable question,
given that each time you go to Sunday Mass (outside
of Lent and Advent) the Gloria is sung,
and you hear the words, Glory to God in the highest and peace to people of good
will. This opening line of the Gloria comes from
Luke 2:14, translated in the New American Bible as Glory to God in
the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests. But take a look
at the Latin text of the Gloria: Glória in excélsis Deo
et in terra pax homínibus bonæ voluntátis. Literally
translated, this says, Glory to God in the highest and, on earth, peace
to men of good will.
Men of Good
Many listeners today have a problem
with hearing men of good will. And thats why the official
English version sanitizes the text to make it palatable to the
general public. But the truth is, political
correctness and theological correctness are
mutually exclusive; you cant serve two masters. Moreover, if the general
public learned some Latin there wouldnt be a problem.
The Latin word homines
is a generic term referring to both men and women, in contrast to the Latin
word, vir, for a mana male hominus, so to speakand
the word, femina, for a woman. So when English translates
homines as men it means both males and females. Notice also
that the Latin text of the Gloria never refers at all to people
(which, in Latin, has it own word, populus). Therefore, the proper
translation of the Latin text “homínibus bonć voluntátis” is “men of good will,”
not “people of good will,” and for good reason.
In English, men refers to the
entire human race, whereas people refers to members of a natural group
having in common traditional, cultural, or historical ties.
What are men of good will? Well,
the only good will is Gods will, so men of good will are
those persons, both male and female, of the entire human race, who do
Gods will, keeping His commandments in reverent
obedience and living in
body and soul. They aren’t just the people of a
select natural group but rather they anyone of the entire human race who pray
to the Father, Thy will be doneand really mean it
in their hearts, rather than just say the words along with all the other
But notice that we are all men
of free will, also. This means that
to do Gods will is to, well, to will it. And that is the core of the
problem with peace on earth.
Willing to do
The text in terra pax
homínibus bonæ voluntátis is telling us that peace
is given only to those individuals of good will; that is, those who will
to do Gods will. Peace isnt something that God can just hand us on
a silver platter. After all, if God made us do something against our will it
wouldnt be a genuine act of love.
spiritual, or socialreally depends on freely willing to do Gods
We cannot have peace by trying
to build it as an end in itself.
We cannot have peace by disturbing
the peace with protests.
We cannot have peace by trying
to follow a conscience uninformed by the
Magisterium of the Church.
We shall have peace only through
obedience to God by using our free will to
empty ourselves of all that is not Gods
Even the Holy
Spirit cannot make us do Gods will. We have to respond to divine
grace by willing to do Gods will. Then the Holy Spirit can give
us the courage, the strength, and the guidance to do Gods
But as long as there are parts of you
angry atGod, then you will be unable to recognize
the guidance of the Holy Spirit even as it is being offered.
So, if you want to work for peace,
then first of all work on seeking peace in your own heart through true
nakedness of spirit and
spiritual purgation. Thenhaving set aside
your TVs, video games, mobile devices, social media, sporting events,
magazines, newspapers, beer, cigarettes, nail polish, and shoppingwork
on praying constantly with your every breath that men of self-will will
repent their sins and be converted to the true
Ironically, the very fact that
so many people look for easierand contradictoryways
to make peace through human effort
is the reason there isnt peace in the world in the first
Remember, Christ warned us plainly
that He did not come to establish peace on the earth. Mark His words well.
Christ came to establish division (cf. Luke 12:51).
And what is this division? Well,
if you compare the texts of Luke 12:4953 and Matthew 10:3436,
you might realize that it is the division between the people and men
of good will.
For the sake of
eternal life, my brothers, let us do the will of the Father who called us,
resisting the temptations that lead us into sin and striving earnestly to
advance in virtue. Let us revere God for fear of the evils that spring from
impiety. If we are zealous in doing good, we shall have peace, but there is
no peace for those who, governed by human respect, prefer present enjoyment
to the future promises. They realize neither the torment that is laid up for
them on account of these momentary pleasures, nor the joy of the promises to
come. And indeed it could be endured if their conduct affected only themselves,
but as it is, they persist in corrupting the innocent, unaware that they incur
a double condemnation, for themselves and their disciples.
—From a homily
written in the second century
Office of Readings, Wednesday of Week 32 of Ordinary Time
is not the comfort of having everything go smoothly, just as you would like
it to go; peace is the confidencethe peace of heart and mindof
believing that no matter what happens, no matter how much a trial it may
be, God will give you the courage and strength to do whatever needs to be
done to fulfill His will.