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The Gift of Peace: Personal Reflections Paperback – Deckle Edge, November 10, 1998

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The Gift of Peace: Personal Reflections + Eucharist (Catholic Spirituality for Adults) + The Christian Vision of Humanity (Zaccheus Studies New Testament)
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Product Details

  • Series: The Gift of Peace
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Image; 1 edition (November 10, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385494343
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385494342
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The well-loved cardinal of Chicago completed this book during the last few months of his life. In it he records the personal struggle of his final three years, during which he faced charges of sexual misconduct, later dropped as admittedly false. Eventually, Bernardin made peace with his accuser, helping the younger man reconcile with his Catholic faith before he died of AIDS. Bernardin also accepted his own imminent death from pancreatic cancer as a true lesson of the cross, writing here about his mixed sense of abandonment and hope with a profound awareness of the meaning of shared suffering and Christian love. A very moving last testament, written with simplicity and deep wisdom.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


“A wonderful book celebrating and showing the way to peace.”
New York Newsday

Chicago Tribune

“A gem of a book.”
Publishers Weekly

“This is a book for people of all religions.”
Columbus Dispatch

“Very moving–written with simplicity and deep wisdom.”
Library Journal

"A gentle, personal voice."
USA Today

“This uplifting book testifies to a life well spent–The Cardinal shares with his readers a tremendous trust in the Lord that results in inner peace–Simple true words that can give us all a deeper sense of hope.”

“Overflows with strength and compassion–Bernardin's recipe for personal peace transcends organized religion.”
–Paul Reid, Palm Beach Post

“In his final testament, Cardinal Bernardin urges the dying to bask in the light of each other.”

“We come to know a humble man who touched many people with love and compassion, without judgment.”
Hartford Courant

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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His thoughts on cancer and dying were very helpful to me as I have lost family members to this terrible disease.
Even if you have never heard of him, you will be inspired by his poignant recounting of a life well spent and discovering the great gift of inner peace amidst tragedy.
Antoinette Klein
Just as we must do unto others what we want others to do for us, JEsus also calls us actively to forgive others in the same way we want the Father to forgive us.
C. Scanlon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By cnyadan on June 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As a native Chicagoan, I was living there when the allegations of sexual abuse against Cardinal Bernardin came out back in 1993. Being quite young still, as well as not being Roman Catholic, and not having a whole lot of contact to the Roman Catholic Church, I didn't know who he was before then. However, from that point onward, Cardinal Bernardin became more of a presence in Chicago, in good part because of his loving attitude toward his accuser, whose charges were false, and because of all the work he did trying to work for the good of all people, Roman Catholic or not. Therefore, when he died in 1996, I, as well as most of the city of Chicago, mourned the passing of a truly great man.
This book is an autobiographical "letter" from Cardinal Bernardin chronicling the last three years of his life. It's written as somewhat of a long letter to the reader, and at once one gets drawn in to the utter love and the kindness that radiate through the words written in the pages of this book.
I had been looking for something to learn more about the kind of person Cardinal Bernardin was and the sort of things that he taught. I was fairly dubious that I would "get" much from this book, as a lot of it is written about his battle with cancer, and with him facing an imminent death. However, I ended up enjoying it immensely. It's just a bit eerie as well, because by the time he finishes it up, he knows his time on earth is extremely short, and the reader is kind of put in a place of seeing glimpses of the world as he must have seen it in that fall in Chicago. Here I was, in that same city, seventeen years old, and "starting" life as a college freshman.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
Recently I lost my father to a 10 year bout with cancer. This book provided me with joy, tears and abudance within a month of my own fathers death. Cardinal Bernardin was a remarkable man who had the courage to face his accusers, his illness and ulitmately his death. He has reconfirmed that faith, hope, love, forgivenss and kindness is the very essentials of what life needs to be about. It is clear from the Cardinal as it was from my experience with my own father that even when you think you are at your darkest human hour you need to reach out and make a difference every single day until your final moment in this part of your journey here on earth.
This book is a must read for anyone who has doubted that there is peace in death. He reconfirms that the lessons most important in life are to continue to give of yourself every day despite the adversities you face. In his illness, through his false accusation and his wonderful rediscovery of a deeper faith in Christ it makes accepting God's plan for you important.
Anyone who has an ill parent or someone close to them should read this book it will give you a much clearer spiritual understanding of illness, death and living every moment under God's plan.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 17, 1997
Format: Hardcover
A year ago, on November 14, 1996, our beloved Cardinal Bernardin died, as we the people of his flock, spent time in prayer and reflection over his years as our shepherd. It is amazing to realize how we were enveloped into his loving care, even as he lay dying. Some months later, his book, "The Gift of Peace: Personal Reflections" was published, as his gift to us. More than its worldwide sales, is its personal value to those who read it, perhaps once, maybe several times. How many people near death will ever have the energy to focus on the Lord's Presence, amidst physical pain? For Cardinal Bernardin, the pain he wrote about may have focused on physical and emotional difficulties that surfaced in the final three years of his life, but clearly, there are words in his book that can yet feed the flock, "how if we let Him, God can write straight with crooked lines," if only we let go of the control and allow HIM to direct our life's journey. This does not mean we should make no plans, but rather, set aside time daily to draw close to the Lord, and let go of the concerns that may grip us --- to make room for HIM in our lives. Is there room for HIM in the inn of our deepest selves? There is no other option. No matter what difficulties or hurts arise, we are all still family, always needing to work on healing; the other choice leaves us without family and friends. Cardinal Bernardin speaks of redemptive suffering -- the kind Jesus felt, the kind we may experience. The message clearly leads the reader to know that we, like Jesus, can move beyond the suffering, toward something better, allowing the Lord to work in our lives, bringing us into communion with Him and others who are feeling pain and suffering.Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
Joseph Cardinal Bernadin of Chicago was one of the leading lights of the Roman Catholic church through the past few decades; in the last three years of his life (he died in 1996) he endured the beginnings of the scandals of the church (including accusations, later proved false, against himself) as well as a recurring battle with cancer. Through all of this, Bernadin was able to find peace, and it was the peace of God, a peace that is a gift and grace from God.
While the issue of the false accusation is the first piece of the text, it does not dominate it. After a few pages, it is over and done with. One wonders at such power of forgiveness. Perhaps it was in response to the next, final battle that became much more dominant. Prominent throughout the book is the battle with cancer. Bernadin speaks of his own struggles and fears, but puts these in perspective as he became acquainted with the others who were getting treatment with him. He became, in his words, an unofficial chaplain to the other cancer patients. Bernadin struggled to maintain his sense of faith that all who similarly suffer must endure - as Bernadin said, it was finally time to practice what he preached! He renewed his sense of the importance of prayer, and his sense of ministry. While his post-operative treatments would only require ten minutes, he often found his visits would last for hours, as he visited with others. When the hospital staff offered to make private entrance and exit arrangements so that he would not be `disturbed', he countered with the observation, `I'm a priest first, a patient second.'
Bernadin shares letters he received from other cancer patients, their families and friends, all added to his prayer list. It grew from the handful of people he met to well over 700 names in a very short time.
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