A few years ago Pope Francis visited the United States for the first time. I was so intrigued by the effect he had on the crowds. Something in the way he interacted with the people fascinated me. He seemed to have a sincere wish to connect with those he met so that they could feel God’s love flowing through him.
Watching the Pope reminded me of the first time my husband (then boyfriend) took me to mass eighteen years ago. I was so confused by the standing, the kneeling, and the recited passages. I felt like an intruder in someone else’s church until we got to the Lord’s Prayer. Whew! I found comfort in knowing those words so that I could recite them along with the rest of the parishioners. After the Lord’s Prayer the priest looked out at the congregation and spoke the words: “Peace Be With You”. The parish responded with: “And also with you”. Then everyone in the pews began turning to each other to shake hands or hug and offer each other those same words: “Peace Be With You”.
At the time I was so touched by that reverent wish that I don’t remember much else of the service. I remember thinking wow, that’s it! Everyone wants peace. True Peace. A relaxed peace. A gentle peace flowing through their day. Peace. I knew I wanted peace. Peace no matter what. It sounded so inviting.
I now feel inspired to wish people peace again but not just in church. So, I have started my own peace packed ritual. Quietly to myself when I am going about my day I have been saying “Peace Be With You” to everyone I see. Driving in my car I wish it to the people at the bus stop. While waiting in line at the grocery store I wish peace to the checker, the sacker and the customers behind me. When I am pumping my gas I am silently looking at each person and reciting “Peace Be With You”. I am not sure what effect it has on the strangers around me but they often look at me and smile even though they can’t hear that I have just blessed them with peace.
Surprisingly, my experiment of blessing strangers with peace has had a boomerang effect. Peace has come right back to me. The peace I am giving away is making me more peaceful. Wishing others peace has brought me peace. It feels really good to look at another person and bless them with the thing I cherish most. Somehow it naturally brings me peace. Maybe its endorphins or vibrations or the old reap what you sow method? I don’t know and really I don’t care. It just feels good. So, I am going to keep doing it.
And know that the next time I see you I will silently say: “Peace Be With You My Friend”.