“…we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.” – 2 Peter 3:13-14
Those words from 2 Peter are proclaimed on the Second Sunday in Advent when we light the Advent candle for peace.
“…be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.” (emphasis mine)
Earlier this week, I sat by my grandma’s bedside while she was nearing her last breath. It was a gift to be allowed into the hospital given the current restrictions in place. The song Go in Peace rested on my heart. I sang it to her while holding her hand. Even though she was motionless, I know she heard me sing.
Go in peace, God be with you,
Go in peace, be at rest
With the saints and the angels
Now you are free
Go in peace.
Grandma Mary Ann passed away some hours later. Now you are free, Grandma. Go in peace.
I agreed to write this “peace post” a few weeks ago. It didn’t dawn on me until I finally sat down to write how the word peace has traveled with me all week. As we light the second candle on the Advent wreath, I feel the Lord is encouraging us to focus on the connection between repentance and peace. To live out those words shared in 2 Peter: “…be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.”
During the Divine Liturgy in the Orthodox Church, there is a prayer that reads: “That we may live out our lives in peace and repentance, let us ask of the Lord.” St. Augustine famously said, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.” Restlessness is a lack of inner peace. A restless heart is searching for its one true home. To find our heart’s true home, we need to fix our gaze upon God. The search for peace leads us to repentance … the search for repentance leads us to peace.
What areas or circumstances in my life bring me the most anxiety? Where do I need to abandon myself more fully to God? Have I failed to resolve any conflicts in my life according to the ways of the Gospel? How deeply do I realize I cannot give peace to others unless I first experience peace? Ask Jesus to sit beside you and hold your hand as you explore what it means to “go in peace.”
- Say the name of Jesus … often! He is the Prince of Peace. There’s power in saying His holy name reverently and often. St. Diadochus recommends we constantly repeat the utterly simple prayer, “Lord Jesus. Lord Jesus. Lord Jesus.”
- Purple-itize! Cheesy, yes, but I’m putting it here. Consider wearing purple often this Advent – nail polish, scarves, earrings, socks, etc. Seeing purple can serve as a reminder to prepare.
- Practice Stillness. Using something as simple as a sand timer from a board game, practice the discipline of stillness and silence this week. Start small and gradually increase the time you sit and wait with Him. I suggest a sand timer rather than your phone’s timer to help avoid the “near occasion of cell.”
- Pray the Daily Examen. To acquire inner peace, we must continuously foster a conversion of heart. The Examen is our friend, here. The practice of praying an Examen daily will help us become more aware of those urges that make us restless and disturb our inner peace. (Learn more and download a free Examen printable here)
- Celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The discoveries we make while practicing the ideas above will prepare us for a true encounter with Jesus through Reconciliation. What joy to ponder how our hearts are preparing to be the most beautiful mangers that welcome baby Jesus on Christmas morning.
Scripture to Ponder:
Psalm 85:11: Love and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss.
- Philippians 4:7: Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 5:22-23: In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
Hebrews 12:14: Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Isaiah 9:5: They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
A Peace-Filled Playlist for Week 2:
Copyright 2020 Lisa A. Schmidt