I took at look at the film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into The Woods” for Aleteia this week. It’s missing some stuff I would have liked to have seen make the transition to the big screen, but overall, it’s still pretty good. Much like the play, probably the biggest crowd pleasing moment comes courtesy of the two prince charmings. You know, a lot of the unfortunate events which occur during “Into The Woods” could easily have been avoided if the ladies involved had been a little less impressed with royalty. In fact, they should have taken some hints from Pucca, she’s a gal who knows how to properly handle a prince charming…
In the end, there’s only one prince worth going gaga over, the one mentioned in the seasonally appropriate Isaiah 9:5. It says, “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.”
Prince of Peace. It’s a nice title, but does it just mean that Jesus is the sovereign of saying we shouldn’t kill each other? Well, Pope Benedict XVI didn’t think so. As his holiness once noted, “Peace is not the mere absence of war, or the result of man's actions to avoid conflict; it is, above all, a gift of God which must be implored with faith, and which has the way to its fulfillment in Jesus.”
Peace, explains Msgr. Stuart W. Swetland, actually has a number of different meanings and uses. For clarity, he breaks it down into seven categories:
- Inner Peace - the absence of internal conflicts.
- Peace in the Community - harmony with family, friends, and neighbors.
- Peace with God – a right relationship with the creator.
- Civil Order – freedom from civil war, unrest, strife or rebellion.
- Absence of War - not actively engaged in military action
- Tranquility of Order – society based justice and respect for human rights.
- Eschatological Peace – the peace that Christ will establish once and for all at the end of time.
All of these connotations of the word peace fall under the domain of that child born unto us whose birth we’ve just celebrated, and each one can be obtained by submitting to his reign. So, if like the ladies of “Into The Woods” you’ve just got to give yourself to a prince, why not make it the Prince of Peace, the only one who actually has something worthwhile to offer.