Week After Pentecost

Thy Will Be Done On Earth

Promoting God's peace must involve practicing what we preach. If we are going to pray "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," we should be a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem!

This must begin with adhering to the moral precepts of Christ and his Church. We cannot be agents of God's peace on earth if we are not at peace with him in our hearts or if our actions disturb the peace. On the other hand, when we pursue personal holiness by loving our neighbors as ourselves and striving for purity of heart, we build the kingdom of heaven on earth.

Doing God's will and spreading his peace also involves the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. As we saw in the Third Week of Lent, mercy puts us in right relationship with other people, especially those in need. It is our way of promoting God's justice in the world, ensuring that everyone has what he or she ought to have and is at peace with others. This primarily takes the form of concrete acts of love like serving, giving, comforting, and forgiving.

Catholics should also be attentive for ways to promote justice and peace in the world through political and social action. This can include voting and various forms of advocacy for justice, but it is a much broader category. Our everyday interactions with people in our communities, our marriages and family lives, our jobs and economic activities, how we engage with the various organizations of society, our use of media, our friendships, and our efforts to resolve conflicts (from disputes between neighbors to wars between nations) can all contribute to peace.

As laypeople, we sanctify the world and bring about Christ's peace when we live our ordinary lives imbued with the Holy Spirit. Thus the Catechism, quoting Lumen gentium, says this about the lay vocation:

"By reason of their special vocation it belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God's will... It pertains to them in a special way so to illuminate and order all temporal things with which they are closely associated that these may always be effected and grow according to Christ and may be to the glory of the Creator and Redeemer." The initiative of lay Christians is necessary especially when the matter involves discovering or inventing the means for permeating social, political, and economic realities with the demands of Christian doctrine and life. (898-899)

How can you go forth into Ordinary Time doing God's will and spreading his peace?
Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.

This collect prayer begins the Mass for Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Jesus is calling us to "take up battle against spiritual evils." We'll explore fasting itself in a few weeks; during the week of Ash Wednesday, we're going to dig into an important set of weapons the Lord gives us to fight evil: sacramentals.

What's a sacramental? Well, if you attend Mass on Ash Wednesday, you're probably going to receive one on your forehead.