Third Sunday of Lent – Peace
Augustine seems to think that not to be in a state of divine peace is to be in a state of conflict. The conflict comes about from the deceptions of demons and from their multifarious temptations. Due to our weakness, when these deceptions and temptations are turned towards us what results is anxiety. At the occurence of these situations, the time is to be understood as evil.
Interestingly, Augustine thinks that any such situation can be useful. These situations of anxiety can stir up in us a more fervent longing for that state of serenity where peace is utterly complete and assured.
Now, Augustine thinks that these ‘situations of anxiety’ are resolved when the creator of all natures bestows on our nature the gifts that are ‘good but also everlasting’. Augustine says this applies to the spirit, which is healed by wisdom, and also to the body, which will be renewed by resurrection.
Augustine says, at the resurrection the virtues will no longer be engaged in conflict with evil. We will possess peace which no adversary would be able to disturb. At which point, we would be experiencing ultimate bliss.
However, he does say that we can experience this peace in this world – ‘the peace of a good life’.
Paul says ‘we have peace with God’.
So, let us:
‘Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
he blesses your children within you.
He grants peace within your borders’ (Psalm 147.12-14. NRSV).