On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, we celebrate Peace. In our readings today, this is brought forth by remembering what God had done for the Israelites up to the rule of King David, giving them rest from the many conflicts with their enemies. In Mary’s life, we see this come to fulfillment in the Peace she has accepting God’s Will for her.
King David, in a time of peace and quiet, realized that he needed to build a house for the Lord to abide in. This realization could have only come when God’s people were at last able to feel settled and secure enough that they could build things permanently. For so long, even the Ark of the Covenant was simply in a tent, and King David realized (in shame) that he now had a better dwelling place than God. In promising to remedy this, we see the fruits of peace: time to reflect and set things right, a quiet mind that can hear God’s voice, and opportunity to better ourselves.
Mary, though living under Roman rule, lived a life of relative peace. The Israelites were still able to worship God in the Temple which was built according to David’s promise. Her own family was able to provide for themselves. But the true peace she embodied was within her, and shows us the way forward in any time or circumstance.
Mary’s peace wasn’t reliant upon her people defeating the Roman Empire, or on great wealth, or on security of any form. Her peace was what God had given her, being created from the moment of her Immaculate Conception to be a new Temple of the Holy Spirit, and so carry Christ into Creation. In being told that this was in store for her, she was at complete peace to accept this from God, and so embodies the spirit we strive for.
In the lives of all the rest of us, there is a struggle to find peace, to be at peace, to have peace of mind. But in the times when we have true peace in our hearts, we are at our best. We act better, we feel better, we make better decisions, we aspire to more, and we better ourselves in ways we couldn’t otherwise. Times of peace are when we should look to make something more of what we have been given.
For all the worries of this world which threaten our peace, we must have some help in fending them off. If you are among the people who feel at peace, please remember that there are many around you who aren’t. They are the people who need to be reassured that they are not alone in their struggles. It may be a bit harder this year to reach out in a meaningful way, but that is your challenge, not your excuse. There is no greater way to make more of what God has given you than to multiply it by sharing it with others.