"Peace will not come as the result of our own efforts; it is not something that the world can give. It is a gift from the Lord, and to receiv it we have to prepare our hearts. When conflicts arise, peace can only come through a process of reconciliation, and this requires both humility and generosity."
----Pope John Paul II
Scripture: Peace be with you. As God has sent me, so I send you. (JOHN 20:21)
Loving Savior, you send me out to restore peace: in my family, with my friends, and with my co-workers. But without your guidance I don't know how to be a peacemaker. I'm not very courageous when it comes to reconciling with others. Please give me your gift of peace.
We did not have a very good turnout last night for the fundraiser for the Church in Russia. Too bad. Father Dan told an incredible story about one of his parishoners. He called her his 'Dowager Emperess of the Parish". Her older brother was one of the martyrs under Stalin, murdered at the age of 17 by the Communists when he refused to renounce the Faith and stood with other men in the town trying to protect the Eucharist from desecration. The priest had been murdered, many of the women raped and abused..now it was time to kill the young men.
She spent the next 50 years of her life walking silently, once a day, around the building where she had been baptized and confirmed, where the Holy Sacrifice of The Mass had once been given. Each day she would walk around the building, silently praying The Rosary for the return of The Church to Russia. The Rosary she kept hidden in the folds of her dress. It had belonged to her grandmother - one of the 'Babushkas' as the government called them - and she risked death if found with it.
When the first Catholic Priest returned to her home town 15 years ago she met him at the train station. "Father", she said firmly to him in greeting. "We have much work to do".
Of a parish of 15 thousand, 10 were left.
The Church had been desecrated, turned into a government archivists building. Returned to The Church, the remaining parishoners were under constant threat of attack by Russian Orthodox members and those who fear the return of religion to Russia.
This past year, after 15 years of back breaking work, the towers of the Church were completed. The bells might be ringing in time for Advent. There is a new Russian Orthodox Bishop who stated recently that he does not think the real threat is from The Catholics, but from the 7th Day Adventists (conflict never stops when there is concupiscence to spur us forward in our sin).
The Dowager Empress passed away in the Jubilee Year of 2000. She lived long enough to attend Mass once again in the Church of her childhood, and to dedicate a small memorial to the older brother who died protecting Jesus Christ in The Eucharist.
How could I walk away from Him?
I stand on the shoulders of giants.