by Nikki Pereira, illustration by Annemarie Lim
“Peace I leave you; my peace I give to you”. We hear these same words each time we attend Mass, just after we pray the Lord’s Prayer and just before we receive the Eucharist! In fact, these are the words in Scripture (John 14:27), of Jesus’ promise to the Apostles and to us, His Church! So what exactly is this peace that Jesus speaks of?
Peace: A Fruit of the Holy Spirit
As St Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians, peace is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The fruits of the Spirit are “perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory” (CCC1832). It is no coincidence that Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate who is sent to be with the Apostles (and with us!) to remind them of all that Jesus has said (John 14:26). This peace Jesus speaks of is thus the assurance that God is with us, always. Especially in this Advent season, we are invited to make room in our hearts for this peace to be born. This Peace who is Christ Himself!
God’s Promise of Peace
Following this promise of peace, Jesus encourages the Apostles as He says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” In these words, Jesus explains the promise of peace – that we need not be overwhelmed by the troubles of our hearts, nor let fear consume our hearts. This is what Peace says to us – we have received the peace of Christ, the assurance that God is with us and therefore we do not need to be afraid! Peace is not the absence of fear or struggle, but the firm conviction and assurance that God is with us, and that He is faithful.
Guarding our Peace through Prayer
This peace that Christ gives us is a gift that we need to treasure and protect. In our everyday lives, our peace is often shaken or stolen by little worries and fears that tug at our hearts and threaten to distract us from the promise of God. In these moments when we feel anxious, we can call out to Christ Himself and ask for the grace to stand firm against our fears and struggles. Through daily prayer, we give God space to speak His promises to us, to give His peace to us. As we enter into prayer, our hearts grow rooted in peace, and we are attuned to the voice of God. When fear and anxiety strike, we can arm ourselves with the word of God, as we speak the truth of God’s presence with us and His power to overcome these fears and anxieties!
Peace in this Season of Advent!
In this season of Advent, we await with great anticipation and hope, of the birth of Christ, the Son of God. God’s promise to be with us remains constant and true, from the time of the Apostles till now. This Advent, we await the Incarnation, the Word of God made flesh in Jesus, so that God could be one with us. Christ, in His Incarnation has allowed God to be so close to us, to be one with us in our humanity; in the Incarnation, we are reconciled to God through Christ. As we are reconciled to God through Christ, we find that all our struggles and fears are powerless before God. Our hearts can rest in the assurance, in the peace that we are not left abandoned or alone, but always united and in communion with the Father through His Son!
Emmanuel – “God with Us”
As we enter into this season of Advent, I pray that we may come to experience the peace of Christ, a peace that the world can never give. Let us give God space to enter into our hearts and into our lives so that His Word can be made flesh in us. This Advent, as Christ is born, let us rejoice in the promise of peace, the assurance of Emmanuel, God with Us.
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