The Soul’s Only Hope

Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth:

I came not to send peace, but the sword.

Matthew 10:34

St. Augustine reminds us that true peace is not the absence of conflict, but the tranquility of order.

So long as disorder remains in the world—that is, so long as sin governs souls—peace in the complete sense is impossible.

The text of Antonio Vivaldi’s motet, Nulla in mundo pax sincera, may sound clichéd at first, but on closer inspection, it correctly identifies the problem of peace, its source, and its solution:

In this world there is no honest peace, free from bitterness; pure and true peace, sweet Jesus, lies in Thee. Amidst punishment and torment lives the contented soul, chaste love its only hope.

This world deceives the eye by surface charms, but corrodes hearts with hidden wounds. Let us flee him who smiles, shun him who follows us, for by skillfully displaying its pleasures, this world overwhelms us by deceit.

The serpent’s hiss conceals its venom, as it uncoils itself among blossoms and beauty. But with a furtive touch of the lips, a man maddened by love will often kiss as if licking honey.

Speaking of disorder, I am decidedly opposed to the current fashion of asphyxiating musicians, or any of their fellow anthropoids. Still, I cannot help but applaud this performance of Vivaldi’s meditative work:

The only sincere peace to be found in this world is the fruit of our union with a Ruler whose Kingdom begins within us, and extends into Kingdom Come. Here below, we recognize this Kingdom in those souls eager to speak and do the truth, from a love that is no less ardent for being chaste.

When we encounter them, let us join them in sacred song, and holy hope!

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