August 20, 2015

An Interpretation of the Beatitudes of Christ (7 of 9)

...continued from part six.

By His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos
of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God" (Matt. 5:9).

The peace which peacemakers have and is blessed by Christ, is not a social or worldly peace, but a peace that is the result and fruit of the purification of the heart and union with God. This is when a person becomes a peacemaker, savoring the peace of God "which surpasses all understanding" (Phil. 4:7), which guards people's hearts.

Peacemakers are not only peacekeepers of those who are alike, but reconcile people who oppose each other. Whoever has tasted within themselves the peace of God, then they become by all means a peacemaker.

In Holy Scripture peace is interpreted as reconciliation. This also is the work of the Incarnation of the Son and Word of God. Christ, by His Incarnation, teaching and especially His Cross, death and Resurrection reconciled humanity with God. Holy Scripture does not speak of the reconciliation of God with humanity, because God does not hate humanity, rather it speaks of the reconciliation of humanity with God. Humanity distanced themselves from God, darkened the image of God within, their noetic soul, and being in darkness they worshipped idols, twisting all the powers of their soul, becoming wild in their passions. Christ loved us and received us, bringing us to the Father and reconciling us.

Peace, first of all, is experienced within; it is the pacification of the will of the flesh with the will of the soul, the subordination of the body to the soul. Many Fathers use the image of the irrational horse and its rider to show the relationship between the body and the soul. The body with its passions, that have accrued after the ancestral sin, is like the irrational horse. This is why Genesis speaks of garments of animal skin which Adam and Eve were dressed in after their fall - it is the life of irrational animals. The soul must administer the body with its powers and lead both towards God. When this is reversed, and the body administers the soul, then there is a civil war within, because we are in an unnatural state. The restoration of the relationship of the soul with the body is called pacification.

Then, peace as reconciliation must be experienced as pacification between humanity and God. God is our peace (Eph. 2:14). He liberated us from death, sin and the devil and we must unite with Him in order to acquire true peace.

Having these two forms of peace, namely inner peace and our relationship with God, we become true peacemakers in the family and social environment. Because, if a person does not taste of peace within their soul and with God, if they do not experience internal tranquility, they cannot offer it to others. Each of us gives to others what we have, not what we don't have. When we do something with trepidation and anxiety, we transmit the same to others, but if we do something peacefully, prayerfully and calmly, then this will be reflected in others.

Peacemakers will be called children of God, because just as Christ by His Incarnation brought peace between the soul and body, between people and God, so do peacemakers by their teachings help return people to God and pacify them. Hence, they are called children of God because they do divine salvific work.

It is interesting here that it speaks of peacemakers becoming children of God, and it was not given to us at our creation. Each of us when we are born are a creation of God, but we become children of God by our regeneration, a child by God's Grace.

In our societies and in our hearts we see many conflicts, many civil wars, many revolutions and hostilities. All fight for peace without having pure hearts. We must therefore acquire peace, that we may become peacemakers and children of God.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.