St. Paul urges Christians to 'be at peace'

By  Michael Scaffidi, Catholic Register Special
  • January 17, 2008

{mosimage}From the conception of the Catholic Church to the present day, Christians have existed as a proud, yet humble people, full of courage and hope. Thousands died for Christ throughout the ages, be it in battles fought over the Holy Land, or in the merciless and bloody persecutions of tyrants and unjust empires.

Yet, in spite of pain, suffering and injustice, (concepts familiar to Christ), Christians have tirelessly worked together, to counter evil with good, vice with virtue and despair with hope. Along the way, however, unity has been compromised. There exist today numerous Christian denominations following diverse doctrines, beliefs and traditions. However, these differences, which developed over time, cannot be allowed to impede Christian unity. What was lost can still be recovered.   
In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he urges the Christian community at Thessalonica to “be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:13).  Be at peace. How perfectly this sentiment fits the situation. During the week for Christian Unity, this adage resounds quite loudly amongst all Christians. Baptists, Catholics and Lutherans share more aspects which join them than divide them. How can Christians be unalike, when Christianity is founded upon one underlying foundation: the love of Christ. A Fundamentalist may interpret the Bible in a fashion dissimilar to the way of a Catholic, but it is difficult, almost impossible, to misinterpret the love of Christ poured out for Christians and the world in those three hours on Calvary. 

As different as Christians may think themselves to be, there is still room for coming into one, formidable body. Christians, as mentioned previously, all partake in the Grace of the Lord’s love. Unity, then, can come from our response to this love: prayer to God. “Praying without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), as Paul tells us, could bind all Christians together. It matters not whether the words in prayer we use are the same or alien. Prayer is the act of putting ourselves in God’s presence. All Christians can do this. We can communicate to God through meditation, reflection, or offering up our toils and sacrifices to Him. By praying together, Christians from all walks of life can join together. It is possible, therefore for Christians to unite because they share Christ’s redemptive love.

However, the simple question arises: Why? Why should Christian denominations forget their differences, differences for which wars have been fought over? It seems now, that “why” is not so easy to answer, considering the numerous arguments which would arise for keeping one tradition over another, or abandoning one doctrine of the Faith for a more theologically sound one. St. Paul, however, solves this question for us. In the aforementioned letter to the Thessalonians, he talks about the Second Coming — Christ’s return to earth (1 Thessalonians 4:13- 18). He says that Christ will return to those on earth, and enfold them into His presence. But how would Christ like to see us? Will He see Christians scattered, dispersed, and fragmented? Will he see us at odds with each other for trivial matters? No, Christ should see us as strong, firm and unified people, willing to serve Him. So, let all Christians pray “without ceasing” that one day, a day not too far off, we may be united — united in His love.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible, which has become acutely important amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.