St. Francis and Being True Peacemakers
Those familiar with the famous Canticle of the Creatures of St. Francis will know that when he finally mentions humanity, after naming the elemental and non-sentient dimensions of the created order, the way in which human persons best live up to the expectations of God and live as they were created to be (much like the Sun lives as it was created to be by shedding light, the wind by bringing various forms of weather, etc.) is to be peacemakers and those who forgive. Peacemaking, this is the central vocation or responsibility of the human person in the eyes of St. Francis. In his Admonition XV, Francis again brings up peacemaking and, starting with the beatitudes, elaborates every so briefly on what it means to be a true peacemaker.
Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.
Those people are truly peacemakers who, regardless of what they suffer in this world, preserve peace of spirit and body out of love of our Lord Jesus Christ (Admonition XV).
This is perhaps no easy task and echoes, in some sense, the question that Jesus asks his two ambitious disciples in today’s Gospel: “Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?” Can we, following in the footprints of Christ, even to the point of being pushed to the margins of society and treated as a criminal, “preserve peace of spirit and body” and be peacemakers in the world? Do we know what we’re getting into in claiming the name “Christ” for ourselves in bearing the name Christian? Are we willing to live as the fully alive human persons God intends us to be, as St. Francis says, as peacemakers and those who forgive?