The peace our lord came to bring was dependent entirely upon an interior state of soul, and was wholly independent of external circumstances.

These might be favorable or not, but they could not enter into the sanctuary of the soul, its inmost and deepest shrine, where the armed man, secure; kept his court in peace. The peace of the world meant that I had all that I desired, the peace of Christ that I desired no more than all I had. The peace of the world was largeIy in its cause negative; it implied the absence, the careful removal of every form of trouble, evil, distress; it was a peace through circumstance.

But the peace of Christ depended wholly, under the grace of God, on the attitude of the soul. It was built upon a firm determination of the will never to be troubled or dismayed. It was compatible with every form of suffering, with every privation, with failure in every line of life; it was compatible even with discontent — nay, it really necessitated discontent.

The Pharisee is self-satisfied, but the Publican is never content; he realizes the great gulf fixed between what he is and what he should be; he is always leaving the things that are behind, and spurring himself onwards to the things that are more excellent.

All the saints, all who love justice and hate iniquity, must be for ever discontented, must see a great number of things ill-done by themselves and others and must be longing to restore all things in Christ. By prayer, example, encouragement, denunciation, we have all labored to bring in the reign of justice, yet are conscious of how much still remains to be done. Yet despite this chronic state of discontent, the heart should be at peace.




Father Bede Jarrett, O.P. "Peace." from Meditations for Layfolk (London: Catholic Truth Society, 1915).

Note: Meditations for Layfolk is in the public domain.


Father Bede Jarrett, O.P. (1881-1934) was Cyril Jarrett, who received the name Bede when, at age 17, he entered the Dominican order in England. The Dominicans sent him to study at Oxford and at Louvain, where he received his degree in theology. Ordained in 1904, Fr. Jarrett was stationed at St. Dominic's Priory in London. At 33, he was named Prior there and, just two years later, was elected Provincial — an office he held the rest of his life. While serving as Provincial, Fr. Jarrett wrote numerous scholarly books, as well as a lively, popular biography of St. Dominic.

Fr. Jarrett's demanding schedule of preaching and lecture engagements in England and abroad soon brought him to the attention of Catholics in the pew. He inspired them with his profound grasp of human nature and his eloquent explanations of the wise and loving ways of God. That same eloquence and Catholic understanding permeates the meditations he penned for this book.

In his own life time he held a recognised position as the greatest preacher in Catholic England. The Times of London noted in his obituary that "he has been called the best Roman Catholic preacher in this country, and he was perhaps the most popular English preacher in the United States, his sermons being marked by their intellectual quality, their appositeness to the times and their incisiveness". He is the author of Classic Catholic Meditations, Life of St. Dominic, The abiding presence of the Holy Ghost in the soul, and Mediaeval Socialism.

Copyright © public domain

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