Maybe next year, an exception can be made for the couple below to attend.
An elderly couple lived together in a nursing home. Although they’d been married for 60 years, their relationship had been strained from the beginning with constant arguments, disagreements and shouting contests.
The fights didn’t stop even in the nursing home. The couple carped and squabbled from the time they got up in the morning until they went to bed at night.
The nursing home supervisor, tired of the complaints about this couple, threatened to throw the man and woman out if they didn’t change their ways. Even then, the couple couldn’t agree on what to do.
Finally, the wife said to her husband, “I’ll tell you what, Joe. Let’s pray that one of us dies. After the funeral is over, I’ll go live with my sister.” (Adapted from “Fighting to Death,” found in “1001 Illustrations That Connect,” by Craig Brian Larson and Phyllis Ten Elshof, eds.)
Oh, my. It’s amazing this couple made it to their dia- mond wedding anniversary!
Peace. It’s something that’s so elusive — not only on an international or na- tional scale, but often much closer to home.
This Pen- tecost Sunday, June 8, Pope Francis will hold a “prayer for peace” encounter at the Vatican with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. During his general audience on May 28 in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis made a request of the crowd — and us, by extension — about that meeting: “Please, I ask all of you not to abandon us; pray hard so that the Lord gives us peace in that blessed land. I am counting on your prayers — pray hard, and a lot, so that peace may come.”
Ever the realist, though, Pope Francis noted that peace on a worldwide scale “is created day by day, handcrafted” by individuals whose hearts are open to God’s gift of peace. Particularly on Pentecost, Christians are urged “to let themselves be anointed” by the Holy Spirit, so they may be “ever more capable of gestures of humility, fraternity and reconciliation.”
This Pentecost let’s take a look at how peaceful we are inside. I’m convinced that if we’re not experiencing peace in our own hearts, then we can’t really bring peace to our relationships.
So, what does your heart look like? Could you use a peace transfusion? If so, try out one or more of the following:
Spend 5-10 minutes meditating on a line or two from this Sunday’s Scriptures. Close your eyes, concentrate on your breathing, and let the words of Scripture seep into your mind and heart.
Apologize for a mistake instead of rehashing it . . . and forgive yourself.
Take a walk with your camera and photograph beau-
tiful things you encounter.
Create a list of what you’re grateful for.
Have fun with someone you love.
Spend the day without your wristwatch or cellphone.
The more peace we have inside, the more likely we are to share it with those around us.
And in answer to Pope Francis’ request, maybe we can say this peace prayer, written by St. John XXIII:
“Lord Jesus Christ, who are called the Prince of Peace, who are yourself our peace and reconciliation, who so often said, “Peace to you,” grant us peace. Make all men and women witnesses of truth, justice, and brotherly love. Banish from their hearts whatever might endanger peace. Enlighten our rulers that they may guarantee and defend the great gift of peace. May all peoples of the earth become as brothers and sisters. May longed-for peace blossom forth and reign always over us all.”
Pax, paz, mir, pace, Friede, heiwa, amani, shalom, salam — no matter how we say it, “let there be peace on earth . . . and let it begin with me.”