Even though the sun sets within ten minutes of leaving work in December, the sunset fills my nearby church with the most ethereal glow. The warmth of the church envelops me as I genuflect and kneel in the pew, my mind racing over my day in the silence.
Most days, I pray with whatever thoughts come flying through my head. Eventually, the absence of noise settles into peaceful, holy, and quiet presence. My struggle to focus on our Eucharistic Lord shifts into the desire to stay put in the silent, golden space for a little longer.
In those five minutes, I am reminded that seeking out God and that which he offers us is the most important thing we do every day. Time spent praying with the Eucharist changes us, our lives, and our world for the better—even if all it seems to do is calm our hearts.
Our world yearns for peace. Wars and injustice fill our news with suffering which steals our peace, physically and spiritually. Chaos holds a stronghold in our lives and tempts us to remain overwhelmed. Yet in the chaos, Our Lord invites us into an abiding peace. What better way to help the world, he says, than by resting in him who made it?
Easier said than done, of course. Fitting that time into our schedules can feel next to impossible! Bishop David L. Ricken faithfully witnessed to how five minutes each day in a chapel transformed his spiritual life. I then received the same advice from Fr. Ben Holdren, and again from Life-Giving Wounds’ founder Dan Meola. Even a rock with the word “peace” on it resurfaced from a college retreat. It was time for me to accept the invitation the Lord was clearly extending.
I decided I would stop at the Catholic church off my street after work every day for a week. Months later, I am still challenged to embrace silence in the presence of the Lord. Yet it’s comforting to know that even the greatest saints knew this struggle. Saint John Paul II articulated it perfectly: “In order to do, we must first learn ‘to be’… in the sweet company of Jesus in Adoration.”
Once I began the search for the Eucharistic Prince of Peace each day, my world calmed in surprising ways. The headlines in my inbox every day became instances to intercede for others I would never meet. Hard conversations evolved into humble moments of honest conversation with God. I realized my regular confessor always opened with, “May the Lord grant you peace.” I even noticed I would ache to sit with Jesus in the tabernacle at the end of the day.
The Lord means it when he says to us in the Gospel of Matthew, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I shall give you rest” (Mt 11:28). If we give God the chance to ease our burdens, he provides what we need. And that includes peace in our ever-chaotic world and our aching hearts.
Jesus calms the seas with a word in the Gospels; he frees us from our shackles and our worries. He reminds us that we have no need for worry: “do not be afraid, for you are worth more than many sparrows” (Mt 10:31).
So take heart this Christmas season! The Prince of Peace invites you to sit with him and receive. As you pray for world peace, you are also called to cultivate it in your own heart. How beautiful it is that, when you rest in Peace himself, your prayers for peace in your family, your nation, and your world mean all the more.
From the Heart of the Revival staff, supporters, and contributors, we wish you a happy Advent and peace-filled Christmas!
Colleen Schena is a writer at Relevant Radio with a passion for the stories of disciples moved to action by the Eucharist.