After describing peace, we continue our journey of peace. Let us reflect today on the kinds of Peace and the four columns of peace (plus one).

                                     KINDS OF PEACE

In his Summa Theologiae (II-II, 29), Thomas Aquinas speaks of different kinds of peace. First, he speaks of peace as personal and social peace.Personal peace is union among the appetites and desires of the same individual whilesocial peace is concord, or union of will of different persons.”  Integral peace – personal as well as social – is, radically, peace in the depth of the soul of the individual as a person and a social being. John Paul II accentuates social peace as universal peace: “Peace is either for all or for none” (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 26).

St. Thomas also speaks of true and false peace. True peace is “concerned only with what is good,” and it is found in good persons, while false peace is related to evil things and found in wicked men and women.

The Angelic Doctor distinguishes, finally, between perfect and imperfect peace. With St. Augustine, he describes perfect peace as the ultimate end, complete happiness, and possession of God in heaven. Perfect peace is eschatological peace, peace at the end of time, a peace that we have to anticipate imperfectly in this world by our peacemaking. Peace on earth, then, is imperfect peace and, therefore, a limitless process towards perfection, towards eschatological peace – towards heaven.

                  FOUR COLUMNS OF PEACE (PLUS ONE)

The four classical columns of the building of peace are freedom, truth, justice and love (Pacem in Terris 35).

(1) Freedom. Peace is based on freedom, on true freedom, which is freedom for the good, freedom to love. True freedom builds up peace, if – in the choice of the means to the peaceful end -, people act reasonably, freely, responsibly and nonviolently. In fact, “peace and progress could only be achieved by respecting the universal moral law written on the human heart” (John Paul II, Message, January 1, 2003).

False freedom, on the other hand, is the abuse of freedom, the freedom to do evil: “I tell you most solemnly, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin” (Jn 8:34). This is the freedom Augustine had before his conversion, that is, “the freedom of a run-away slave” (Confessions).

(2) Truth. Jesus: “The truth will make you free” (Jn 8:32). “Truth is the driving power of peace because it reveals and brings about the unity of man with God, with himself and with others” (John Paul II, Message, January 1, 1980).” The human person has to be true to himself/herself. Human beings have to make the journey from a false self (warring, selfish, lustful – sinful – to a true self (peaceful, free, responsible and open to others in justice and love). The truly free and responsible human person is obliged to know the truth, say the truth, and do the truth in love.

Truth is required to build peace: truth builds peace if every individual is conscious of his/her rights and of the duties towards others. Beware: “Those who claim their own rights, yet altogether forget or neglect to carry out their respective duties, are people who build with one hand and destroy with the other” (John XXIII, PT, 39 and 91).

(3) Justice. Justice means to give to each person his or her due, that is, their equal fundamental human rights. Itis essentially connected with peace: “The effect of justice will be peace” (Is 32:17); “Justice and peace will kiss each other” (Ps 85:10).  Peace is the work of justice: “If you want peace, work for justice” (Paul VI, Message, January 1, 1972). The fundamental duty of power is solicitude for the common good of society” (John Paul II, RH 17).  Benedict XVI quotes Saint Augustine in Deus Caritas Est (26): “A State which is not governed according to justice would be just a bunch of thieves.”

The virtue of justice obliges us all to denounce injustice, to practice justice and to promote justice. Often, it would seem that justice is the most important virtue and value of social life. It is not: love is. Separated from love justice may be “unjust justice,” a sort of “an eye for an eye.” Without love, the other is a stranger, an alien. Hence, no love without justice, and no justice without love.

(4) Love. Peace is principally connected with love, with charity – the form of all virtues and values. John Paul II says: “When good overcomes evil, love prevails and where love prevails, there peace prevails” (Message, January 1, 2005). Peace is the work of solidarity, too. This solidarity, or practical love of neighbors walking together (synod-ally) is rooted in justice. Justice and love are the main causes of peace.

A common current definition of peace: Peace is living together in justice and love.This love is universal, and prioritizes love of the poor and marginalized. Authentic global peace is composed of three essential elements: truth, justice and mercy (Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti 227).

Justice and love forgive: “No peace without justice. No justice without forgiveness” (Message, January 1, 2002). Peace entails “to say no to revenge, to recognize injustices, to accept apologies without looking for them, and finally, to forgive” (Benedict XVI, Message. the World Day of Peace: January 1, 2013).

5. Human life is the fifth column of peace today. It entails respect for human life from its beginning to its end, and in-between beginning and end (a dignified life for all).

Paul VI adds: authentic development “is the new name of peace.” Integral authentic development is the transition from less human to more human conditions, the promotion of the good of every man and of the whole man and in solidarity with all (PP  87, 14, 29). Benedict XVI cautions us: “super-development” may be accompanied by “moral under-development,” and then is not authentic development (cf. Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate 29).  

Peace is the goal of social life. The means to achieve peace ought to be peaceful, too. It used to be said (connected with the “just war” theory): If you want peace, prepare for war. It ought to be said: If you want peace, prepare for peace.  

Peace is the way to peace. There is no way to peace, peace is the way (Gandhi).