Annunciation of the Lord

(which occurred on this day around the year 0)

Dear Gabby,

You won’t find the peace of heart you’re looking for just by choosing the right major.  You won’t find it just by taking the right classes, or landing the perfect summer job (by the way, why not spend your summer in the missions, or doing else something for the Church?), or the perfect boyfriend (there is no such thing, trust me).  These are exterior realities.  They are unstable.  They are finite.  Your heart was made for bigger things, infinite things.  It was made for God himself.  He alone can give you peace – if you let him in, that is, all the way in.  Aye, there’s the rub.

He’s a King, so if you let him in, you can no longer rule your life by yourself.  It’s not that you become a slave, or that you have to turn off your intelligence or your creativity.  It’s just that you have to acknowledge that you’re not God, and let God be God.  That’s the secret to peace of heart.  You can’t find it anywhere else.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is called the Queen of Peace, because she lived this better than any of us.  It’s one of the reasons why today the Church commemorates the moment in which the world got a glimpse of her beautiful and courageous humility, of the source of her peace of heart.

Today, nine months before Christmas, the Church recalls the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary (see Luke chapter 1).  He appeared to her and told her that God wanted her to become the mother of the Messiah.  But she had already promised herself to him in perpetual virginity, and she didn’t understand at first how that was going to fit in with this new plan.  But Gabriel explained that God himself would father this child, that the Holy Spirit would conceive him in her womb.

And that’s when she shows her true colors.  She says in response, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to his word.”  She not only obeys God’s will, but she does so with her whole heart, trusting him completely.  And she is able to do that because she recognizes that she is not God, she is only God’s junior partner in salvation history – the “handmaid of the Lord”.

Until we accept our roles as junior partners, we will NEVER have peace of heart.  It’s impossible, because we will be interiorly divided, interiorly opposed to reality.  The reality is that we are dependent on God; if we don’t live in accordance with that truth, we will spend our lives on earth in frustration, like fish who keep trying to become “independent” from the water that supports their life.

Take a lesson from the Queen of Peace, my bright young niece – you won’t regret it.

Your loving uncle,


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