Peace be within your walls,
and security within your towers.
For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.
During this first week of Advent, we look not to the past, to the Incarnation. Instead we look ahead, to the second coming of Christ. This “peace within” comes not from our own striving and grasping for power, but in loving surrender to the will of God, as revealed through Jesus Christ.
As Christians, every part of our life is oriented toward our place as citizens in the kingdom of God. We are called to love. We are called to serve. We are called to recognize the face of Christ in everyone around us, even our enemies, for the greater good of all.
In her lifetime, Mother Teresa frequently ministered to people in countries torn apart by war and civil unrest. Although she never met Mohandas Gandhi, who was assassinated soon after she began her work, she borrowed from him the term “Co-Workers” to describe the laymen and women who assisted the Missionaries of Charity. Like her Sisters, the Co-Workers tended to the immediate physical and spiritual needs of the impoverished and destitute, who were largely ignored by those in authority, to whom Mother Teresa appealed for consideration on their behalf.
Listen to the simple wisdom of this most beloved saint who wrote in a letter dated January 2, 1991, to then-Presidents George Bush and Saddam Hussein:
It is not for us to destroy what God has given to us. Please, please let your mind and your will become the mind and will of God. You have the power to bring war into the world or to build peace. Please choose the way of peace.
We are not leaders of nations, and yet we hold in our power the ability to make peace in our corner of the world. Where have you experienced conflict this week at work, in your parish, as a volunteer, or among your family? Is there a “way of peace” that you are being called to walk? This path may not always be the most pleasant, or the most personally gratifying. It may involve letting go of some personal slight or forgiving an injustice—even if the other person is unwilling to meet you halfway.
As we begin our Advent journey, consider how God is calling you to choose the way of peace for the good of all…beginning with yourself.
A Moment to Reflect
Where did you experience the “way of peace” in a special way?
How will you show greater love and kindness today?
A Moment to Pray
today you come to us not as a tiny stranger,
but as the Prince of Peace.
Take your place in our hearts, and stay there forever.
Help us to grow each day
in greater faith, hope, and love.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us!
Excerpted from Advent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta, by Heidi Hess Saxton.
Heidi Hess Saxton holds a masters in theology from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. As an undergraduate she spent an internship year in Senegal, West Africa, that sparked a lifelong interest in missions—an interest that gave her a deep appreciation for the life and work of Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Heidi writes for adoptive, foster, and special-needs families at A Mother on the Road Less Traveled.