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He is a person of goodwill and even the enemies of the church have to concede that he is a sincere and decent person. But Pope Francis would be the first to say that the decisions he makes are inspired by the life and teachings of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

The Prophet Isaiah wrote, “For there is a child born for us, a son given to us, and dominion is laid on His shoulders, and this is the name they give Him: Wonder-Councillor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).  When Christ, the Prince of Peace, was born, the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth to men of goodwill” (Luke 2:14). For us, the song of the angels teaches us that we must have goodness in our hearts in order to be at peace.

In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus teaches that our hearts can be in three states. The first is a hardened heart, the second is a heart that entertains evil desires, and the third is a heart of goodness. Only the heart of goodness is capable of bearing fruit. But it is only through genuine prayer and humble reflection that we can soften our hearts and remove the weeds. We should be delighted to know this, because God has revealed to us the means to attain peace in our life while on earth.  

A heart of goodwill spreads peace among people. It enables us to wish one another well. Goodwill encourages us to see what we possess as gifts from God. It empowers us to accept that God’s gifts are never meant only for us but should be shared with the poor.

Bishop Ambrose of Milan wrote, “It is for all that the earth was created. Nature knows no rich. She only gives birth to poor. When you give to the poor, it is not from your own wealth, but it is a fragment of their property you are returning to them, for it is common property, given for all to use, that you are keeping for yourself”.

Charity releases the spirit of joy and peace. Sharing shows love and goodwill and helps builds lasting peace. Lasting peace is a gift from God to men and women of goodwill. The principles of peace, based on goodwill, teach us not to look down on others, especially the poor and needy.

Love, justice and goodwill are necessary conditions for peace. Peace is not only the absence of worry, war and misunderstanding. The presence of worry, war and misunderstanding cannot negate peace; peace, rather, is the presence of goodwill in the heart and prayer is the key to goodwill.

But what about those people who deliberately cause trouble? Jesus addressed this problem one evening as St. Faustina records in her Diary. She writes that Jesus spoke to her and said. “Have great love for those who cause you suffering. Do good to those who hate you”. I answered, O my Master, You see very well that I feel no love for them, and that troubles me. Jesus answered, “It is not always within your power to control your feelings. You will recognize that you have love if, after having experienced annoyance and contradiction, you do not lose your peace, but pray for those who have made you suffer and wish them well” (Diary 1628).  

This does not mean that criminal behaviour should go unpunished, for otherwise society would fall apart. This refers to our ordinary relationships. There are people in everyone’s life who cause suffering. Most of the time, the weapons of these stressful relationships are words backed up with rejection. Everyone one knows how hurtful these behaviours are and we all fear them, but people of goodwill never use them to hurt others.

Everything in Christianity depends on our heart. We can read a thousand books and not understand this. This is why Jesus said, “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” (Matthew 13:11) We must use our minds to examine our hearts to remove any obstacles to God’s grace. This is the path to peace in our life. 

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