Benedict XVI explained that true and lasting peace can only be found in Jesus Christ.
Being a peacemaker is not easy to do, especially in our fallen and broken world. However, it is possible to be an effective peacemaker, and the Gospel holds the key.
Benedict XVI laid out a “pedagogy for peacemakers” in his message for the World Day of Peace in 2013. In it he explains the path to true and lasting peace.
[W]e see clearly the need to propose and promote a pedagogy of peace. This calls for a rich interior life, clear and valid moral points of reference, and appropriate attitudes and lifestyles. Acts of peacemaking converge for the achievement of the common good; they create interest in peace and cultivate peace. Thoughts, words and gestures of peace create a mentality and a culture of peace, and a respectful, honest and cordial atmosphere.
In particular, this approach to peace requires balancing act in the fight for justice.
A fundamental encouragement to this is “to say no to revenge, to recognize injustices, to accept apologies without looking for them, and finally, to forgive”, in such a way that mistakes and offenses can be acknowledged in truth, so as to move forward together towards reconciliation. This requires the growth of a pedagogy of pardon. Evil is in fact overcome by good, and justice is to be sought in imitating God the Father who loves all his children (cf. Mt 5:21-48) … The pedagogy of peace…implies activity, compassion, solidarity, courage and perseverance.
The ultimate model for this type of peacemaking is Jesus Christ.
Jesus embodied all these attitudes in his own life, even to the complete gift of himself, even to “losing his life” (cf. Mt 10:39; Lk 17:33; Jn 12:25)…Encountering Jesus Christ shapes peacemakers, committing them to fellowship and to overcoming injustice…Once we accept Jesus Christ, God and man, we have the joyful experience of an immense gift: the sharing of God’s own life, the life of grace, the pledge of a fully blessed existence. Jesus Christ, in particular, grants us true peace, which is born of the trusting encounter of man with God.Jesus’ beatitude tells us that peace is both a messianic gift and the fruit of human effort. In effect, peace presupposes a humanism open to transcendence.
Peace will never be easy to attain in this world of ours, but with help of God’s grace, imitating Jesus Christ, we can try to establish a Kingdom of Peace until this veil passes away and we are welcomed into the eternal peace of God.