Begin with Me

July 17, 2014

“Make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light…”
~From the Prayer of St. Francis


In the 1987 movie, Roxanne, the lead character is taking an evening walk and stops to buy the newspaper.  He takes one look at the news of the day, screams in horror and then deposits another coin in order to put the newspaper he has just purchased back inside the vending machine.

There are some days when the news makes one want to hide away from the world like a religious hermit, contemplating nothing but his own navel.

With all of the good there is in the world, with all the compassion that can be found within the human heart, with all of the progress that continues to be made toward human rights and healing, there are some days when events threaten to overwhelm us with anger or sadness or hopelessness.

Unlike the hermit, who prefers solitude over pain and experience, some choose to dive head first into conflict with weapons or with words.  It can be tempting, when the loudest voices are preaching anger and hate, sometimes understandably, sometimes unjustifiably, to lash out in response or defense.  But hate cannot be vanquished with further hate and anger added to anger produces only more anger.

Adding your voice to an argument merely increases the volume, and running away from the world does nothing to help those left behind.  Are these the only choices for one who wishes, at the risk of sounding cliché, to “change the world”?

The definition of the word neutralize is given by the Oxford English Dictionary as:
“To render something ineffective or harmless by applying an opposite force or effect.”

As difficult as it can be some days to answer hate with love, anger with compassion, despair with hope and darkness with light, as tough as it is to focus on solutions in the midst of strife, to do so is the only way to heal our own hearts and, in doing so, begin to heal the heart of the world.

Let it begin with you.  Make yourself an instrument of peace.


Transform powdered green tea into something sweet with Matcha Latte Ice Cream.


Matcha Latte Ice Cream
A tablespoon of matcha green tea powder added to a basic ice cream recipe turns fine green tea into a sweet summer treat.

1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon matcha green tea powder
2 cups cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Heat milk in a small, heavy saucepan over low heat.  Do not boil.

Whisk together sugar and eggs in a medium-sized heatproof bowl.  Slowly pour the hot milk into the bowl with the egg and sugar mixture, whisking constantly as you pour, until all the milk is poured and mixture is combined.

Return mixture to pan and heat slowly, over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens (consistency will be like runny pudding).  Do not boil.  Let cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, whisk matcha powder into cream until completely blended.  Add matcha cream and vanilla to cooled custard mixture and stir to combine well.

Chill in refrigerator overnight.

Process in an ice cream maker, according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Makes about one quart.

One Response to “Begin with Me”

  1. John B.

    St. Francis of Assisi understood, on a
    Fundamental level, the need for all of us to be peacemakers, beginning with ourselves. It makes no sense to decry the events on the West Bank, or the Ukraine when our own lives and relationships are in turmoil. We have to begin with ourselves. Only then can we be channels of peace to others. Ultimately, we cannot give what we do not have.