Sister Doreen’s Reflections
Come! Wait with me! Peace for our world is coming! God calls us out of darkness to walk in the light.
“And you, my child, will be called the Prophet of the Most High, for you will go before our God to prepare the way for the Promised One, giving the people the knowledge of salvation through forgiveness of their sins. Such is the tender mercy of our God, who from on high will bring the Rising Sun to visit us, to give light to those who live in darkness and the shadow of death and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”(Luke 1:76-79)
The second candle symbolizes peace. It is sometimes called the “Angels Candle” in remembrance of the Angels greeting the Shepherds when “suddenly the angel was joined by a multitude of angels, a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises ‘Glory to God in the heavenly heights, and peace to all men and women on earth’. It represents all the preparation of many who prepare the way for the Prince of Peace to come into our lives and our world.
The candle reminds us of a light shining in the darkness where there is no peace. It challenges us with the importance of peacemakers. It lays bare the deep longing for peace, in our own hearts, in our homes and families, our communities, our country and our world. This candle also reminds us of the Peace which passes all understanding. With a quiet mind and an open heart I affirm the peace of God as my welcomed companion.
Joan Chittister in one of her books wrote: “We cannot have peace until we each cultivate within ourselves a child with open arms. We cannot have peace until we all sit down at the table of life intent on nourishing one another together…. Peace comes when we know that there is something that the Spirit has to teach us in everything we do, in everything we experience.” And Mother Teresa said a very similar thing: “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
This is the light of peace for the world! I have come to understand that the call to peace, to be at peace myself, I must first learn to accept myself, it’s a life-long journey! God is not finished with me yet! Coming to peace with who we are, what we have, and what we do is the spiritual basis for the acceptance of others.
In a very real way there is a two-sided reflection when we light this peace candle: a commitment to be open my own self and to that personal calm and serenity on the one side, and the commitment to peacemaking itself in the way we face pressure, danger, a world of opposites, strangers and differences on the other side.
Waiting we are called to contemplation and action. We are called to be peace, and to be peacemakers. Every moment of social tension needs someone of peace, and someone a peacemaker. As we look at the candle we light, may we celebrate the peace we have in Jesus, our Peace, and be peace for others, and never cease from praying for peace and striving to bring peace and justice to the world.
Bishop Tutu’s encouraging and challenging words ring true to all of us: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
It is a candle that poses the question for each of us to consider: “for me, what is the way to the beginning of peace?”
Joan Chittister in her own ponderings wrote: “Silence is the beginning of peace. It is in silence that we learn that there is more to life than life seems to offer. There is beauty and truth and vision wider than the present and deeper than the past that only silence can discover. Going into ourselves we see the whole world at war within us and begin to end the conflict. To understand ourselves, then, is to understand everyone else as well.”
It is so true that the answers are within us and they lay along side the questions that are within us, and we need to take the time to make friends with ourselves, to lose our righteousness, come to self-knowledge and self-acceptance, and come to peace.
In waiting we are called to be peacemakers. The commitment to peace, to speak peace, to create peace wherever we go is the call to the importance of peacemakers for today. It is the hard work of committing ourselves to a promise to tell the truth kindly, clearly, and compassionately, so that we do not forget that we belong to each other.
Let us pray:
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand;
To be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
A prayer song:
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me
Let There Be Peace on Earth, the peace that was meant to be
With God as our Creator, related all are we
Let us walk with each other in perfect harmony.
Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now.
With ev’ry step I take, let this be my solemn vow
To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me
(Songwriters: Jill Jackson / Sy Miller edited updated slightly by me 2022)
Advent calls us to peace in the promise that God is calling us to greater things and will be with us as we live them.