The true meaning of peace

Red Cross Museum templates depict messages of preserving human life through various civilisationsTrue peace goes hand in hand with justice. It is not merely the absence of war or the fragile exhaustion that exists in the aftermath of conflict, when lives have been torn apart, relationships broken, infrastructures destroyed and homes demolished. Rather, the God-given peace that our creator desires for us, and to which livesimply calls us, is built on justice, where everything and everyone in the created order is in right relationship with each other and can reach their God-given potential.

If we ignore the inequality that exists between those who have too much and those who have too little, and the mounting tensions that such polarisation brings, we only pay lip service to the pursuit of peace and God’s law of justice is denigrated. Real peace needs to be worked at, like a life-long relationship. It is built by those who direct their efforts to its establishment, day after day. Its pursuit means listening to the voice of the oppressed and being challenged to action. It means seeing all humanity as our brothers and sisters and honouring other people’s development, as well as our own. And it means building a future for the next generations so they can know life in all its fullness and peace in its entirety.

Annabel Shilson-Thomas


CAFOD is the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. CAFOD believes that all human beings have a right to dignity and respect, and that the world’s resources are a gift to be shared equally by all men and women, whatever their race, nationality or religion. Underpinning CAFOD’s work is a deeply held set of values that are central to its ethos and identity. We act based on principles of compassion, solidarity, stewardship and hope.

Photo: messages of hope written in different languages at the Red Cross Museum, Geneva. [Photo credit: Charlotte Broyd]