The following is a reflection by Fr. Alain Lorans (SSPX).
“Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will! (Lk. 2:14). Peace is proclaimed throughout the earth; the peace of man with God, through the remission of sins; the peace of men among themselves, the peace of man with himself through the concurrence of all his desires with wanting what God wants. This is the peace of which the angels sing and announce to the whole universe.”
It is in these terms that Bossuet, in his Elevations sur les Mysteries (16th week, 9th elevation), comments on the angels’ song on Christmas night. There is everything that Christian souls should wish for on the threshold of a new year.
The Eagle of Meaux specifies: “Peace to men of good will, that is to say, first to those to whom God wishes good; and secondly to those who themselves have good will; since the first effect of the good will that God has for us is to inspire us with a good will towards Him.”
“Good will is that which conforms to the will of God: as it is good in essence and in itself, that which conforms to it is good in this respect. Let us therefore regulate our will to that of God, and we will be men of good will, provided it is not through insensitivity, indolence, negligence, and to avoid work, but by the faith that “we throw everything on God ” (cf. 1 Pet. 5:7: “Casting all your care upon Him, for He hath care of you”).
“Soft and lazy souls have done it earlier by suddenly saying: may God do what He wills; and only care to run away from pain and worry.”
The peace that we wish for men of good will is not an empty word. It is the fruit of faith and charity which truly act for the glory of God: “Good will is the sincere love of God, and, as St. Paul says, ‘Now the end of the commandment is charity, from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and an unfeigned faith’ (1 Tim. 1:5).”
“Faith is feigned in those where it is not supported by good works; and good works are those in which one seeks to please God, and not his own mood, inclination, desire.”
So, for the year 2023 to be truly good and holy, it is not enough to sing the canticle of the angels at Christmas: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will!” It must be transformed into a concrete resolution, every day of the year.