“Peace of Man”

Greet each man with words of love
And peace,
And a dove will be placed
On an olive tree.
Leave a man with feelings
Of betrayal
Or envy,
And a dove gets shot
Off the olive tree.
Greet each man with peace,
And leave each man with love.
Ask yourself –
One more enemy,
Or one more dove?
Always choose love.
It’s time for everybody to
Speak love.
Let’s fill the trees with doves,
And spread the leaves of love.
So,
Always add
And never subtract
Another peace of man
From the olive tree.”
― Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

Always choose love! Good advice. Seems obvious enough. Easy right? Not so quick. Envy, jealously, pride, betrayal, regret, fear, …. (you fill in the blank), all seem to get in the way. Once they do, love is removed and peace becomes elusive.

For some, this poem may be a reminder of the old adage “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” This poem of Suzy Kassem goes further though. They old saying is holds a perspective of acquiring. It is about what we can get if we just be nice, play nice, talk nice. I have quoted Kassem’s Poem “Peace of Man” because it’s perspective is about giving. In this short poem, we are reminded that that words that we use and the way we treat another has an impact on what we leave behind, what we give to another, what we give to the world. a life of Christian love is not about what we catch, its about what we release. What we add to this life and that world is far more critical that what we can take from it.

One of the short readings that I include in my daily prayers and readings comes from Mother Teresa.

Spread love everywhere you go; first of all in your house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbour. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.

 As a part of our Lenten discipline let us ask ourselves about the approach we make to others. Do we approach bringing love, peace, forgiveness, hope? OR Do we approach with envy, fear, resentment,suspicion? It is an important question to consider on our walk through Lent. In many cases Suzy Kassem is correct — we are choosing — enemy or dove, friend or foe?

Addition is better than subtraction.

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 1 Thessalonians 5:13 

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