A riot raged in the La Mesa Prison in Tijuana, Mexico. Thousands of inmates battled the guards with bottles and rocks, while the guards shot back with machine guns—until a small American woman in her 70s walked into the middle of the war, raised her hands, and signaled for quiet. Remarkably, calm fell on the prison.
That woman was Mary Brenner, who was raised in Beverly Hills. There she lived what she called "a glamorous life," until she found Christ and followed him in a whole new direction.
Now she's known as Sister Antonia. She dresses in a nun's habit and lives in a sparse 10-foot cell inside the Mexican prison. She moved there 25 years ago to live among murderers, thieves, and drug dealers. Sister Antonia has poured out her life for these prisoners, nursing their wounds, getting them eyeglasses and medicine, caring for their families, and washing their bodies for burial.
Loving them doesn't mean she ignores their crimes. In her words, "There isn't anyone who hasn't heard my lecture. They have to accept that they're wrong. They have to see the consequences. They have to feel the agony…but I do love them dearly." She refers to each prisoner as her son.
Although she lives in a prison, the prison does not live inside of her. Her friends and the inmates all describe her incredible energy, joy, and hopefulness. She describes it as simply living out her calling. In an interview she said, "I wouldn't trade this cell for any place in the world." (source: "Antonia's Mission," Readers Digest -June 2004).
What an attitude Sister Antonia has! That in the midst of a harsh, cruel and violent prison she lives a life of love and hope. What would you call someone who has that kind of attitude? That just by walking into a room she could bring calm to a volatile situation. That just by being who she is, her life brings reconciliation. What would you call someone like that? Jesus calls her a peacemaker and a child of God.
Jesus said (Mat 5:9 NIV), “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” A peacemaker is one who:
· Has peace with God. Jesus makes us right with God when we put our trust (faith) in Him. (Romans 5:1)
· Leads others to peace with God. They encourage people to be reconciled to God. (2 Cor. 5:20) Sons of God are like God. They demonstrate that they are children of God because they are peacemakers, just like God is a peacemaker.
· Helps make peace with other people. A Peacemaker builds bridges between people. (Rom. 12:18)
Do you need peace with God? Find it today.
How long has it been since you introduced someone to Jesus, the Prince of Peace?
Do you need to make peace with someone today?