Libya, Syria, Armenia, Ukraine: an unfinished litany of a long series of wars that have spanned the last decade. How do we find peace?
The following is a reflection on the topic of war by Fr. Patrick de la Rocque, FSSPX.
Certainly, Cain and Abel taught us that war is always a consequence of vice: it is inhabited by greed and jealousy, by the thirst for power, and the desire to crush. In this sense, it is irrefutable proof of original sin.
It is therefore important to ask ourselves: is the multiplication of violent confrontations, within our country and internationally, not a manifestation of sin which, from the outset, vitiates our modern societies?
In other words, wouldn't war, violence, and destruction be inscribed in the very DNA of the so-called Western world, wouldn't it be an integral part of its identity? The thing would be most serious, because it would show how much our culture is a culture of death, and how much our societies, far from uniting, are dissolving and dividing by nature.
It is no secret that the spirit of the French Revolution brought with it its share of conflicts, internal and external. The film Vanquish or Die was able to say it. This flow, alas, never dried up. On a very small scale, today's labor strikes in France remind us of this, just like these major conflicts of the last decade.
Could it be otherwise? There is peace when human desire focuses primarily on goods that multiply when they are shared. Such are the goods of a spiritual order: joy multiplies, beginning in oneself. Such is God: each has his part, and all have it in full.
Therefore interior peace only comes when the desire for infinity which dwells in the human heart can be fulfilled in the Infinite, and there is social and international peace only insofar as this same Infinite is placed at the top of human endeavours.
On the other hand, when spiritual goods are denied or, which comes to the same thing, placed in the purely private sphere, then the quest for material goods reigns. Temporal riches are divided each time they are shared. The thirst for infinity then turns into greed, with always a desire for more, and the quest for material goods engenders rivalry.
Yet our Western societies define themselves as consumer societies, centered thus on material and perishable goods. They also admit of having financial interests as their regulator, and no longer the infinite good. That says it all. They divide instead of unite; they are in their very nature generating conflicts, wars and strikes.
Recovering a culture of peace will not be achieved through human-rights incantations or interreligious gatherings. Loudly singing about peace has never pacified anything, and playing the pacifist by not going back to the sources of the conflict is tantamount to exposing oneself to more danger.
There is no other way to find peace than through a radical questioning of the constituent principles of our societies, since they are flawed at their roots. They must relearn how to live under the gaze of the Infinite, and no longer of the consumable.
There is peace only in the Absolute, Who has taken flesh for us. And if He wanted to be called Jesus, it was to tell us that there is our only salvation, even here below. (Etymologically, the name “Jesus” or “Joshua” derives from Hebrew roots meaning “the Lord is salvation.”) He merited salvation for us; He wanted to die on the cross. He alone, by His victory, uproots vice and frees us from sin. He alone is the true good, Who wishes to give Himself to all without in any way diminishing.
If wars cause so much material ruin and many very real deaths, the remedy remains and will always remain in the spiritual order. There is no other alternative than the reign of God or the reign of death. Our Western societies have chosen the second option; pray for their conversion.