In reading and meditating the Holy Father’s homily for January 1st, I was moved to discover that he spoke so eloquently and so simply of Our Lady’s peace. This was one of themes that I addressed in my Advent Letter to our Oblates. For those of you who may have missed it, here again is the relevant section.
There was never moment when the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary was not established in peace. Her Immaculate Heart is a haven of peace for poor sinners, a refuge from the attacks of the enemy who seeks to destroy all peace in our souls and on the face of the earth. In the Vespers hymn for feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Ave Maris Stella, we ask Our Blessed Lady to establish us in peace: funda nos in pace. The closer we are to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the closer we are to peace, that is, the absence of sin.
Sin Destroys Peace
Sin is what disturbs true peace; sin is what destroys peace. If you would have peace, avoid sin, and should you fall into sin, confess it without delay, so that peace may be restored to your soul. Mary, being sinless from the first instant of her conception, is, of all creatures, the most peaceful. She is utterly tranquil and perfectly serene.
The Sanctuary of Our Lady’s Heart
God created the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be the single most peaceful place in the universe. Mary is the living temple prepared by God for God; her Heart is a sanctuary untouched by the violence and wickedness of a world seduced by Satan. Even when, as a mother full of pity for her wayward children, Mary presses sinners to her Heart, nothing of sin’s contagion taints her. The Immaculate is not soiled by the filth of her fallen children, even as she stoops to lift us out of the mire of our miseries.
If you would be apt for the advent of the Lord, seek peace where it is to be found: in the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God. The closer you are to Mary, the more will you experience a peace that the world cannot give. Mary will teach you to discern the things that make for peace and avoid those that threaten to destroy it.
The peace of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is not diminished by suffering; it flourishes in the midst of thorns. The old Benedictine motif depicting the word PAX surrounded by a crown of thorns — pax inter spinas — is a kind of monogram of the Heart of the Mother of God. Did she not appear at Fatima with her Immaculate Heart surrounded by thorns?
The inviolable peace of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was purchased at a great price, that is, with the Precious Blood of her Son, the immolated Lamb. If, in making our way to the sanctuary of the maternal Heart of Mary, we must pass through the thorns that encircle it, it is so that we might be associated with the redeeming Passion of her Son, and so that a few drops of our blood might be mingled with the torrent of that flood so copiously from His head, His hands, His feet, and His side.
Those of you who have come to love the rosary know that it produces peace in the soul of one who perseveres in praying it. The rosary leads one directly into the refuge of Mary’s sinless heart, into a sanctuary of peace that cannot be threatened, troubled, or assailed by powers visible or invisible. Peace, being the absence of sin, is rightly in the giving of the Immaculate Virgin Mary. If you pray her rosary, she will give you her peace.