Kiss of Peace


March 7th is the Memorial of Perpetua and Felicity.  In this morning's Office of Readings, from the story of the death of the holy martyrs of Carthage, I came across a passage that had me pause for reflection.

The people, however, had demanded that the martyrs be led to the middle of the amphitheater.  They wanted to see the sword thrust into the bodies of the victims, so that their eyes might share in the slaughter.  Without being asked they went where the people wanted them to go; but first they kissed one another, to complete their witness with the customary kiss of peace.


I knew that the Kiss of Peace was a custom from early Christianity.  I had no idea that it was so important a witness to Christian faith.

I had stopped giving the Kiss of Peace during Mass.  I don't hug, or even shake hands.  I nod to my neighbor--that's the extent of my witness.

But from now on, I'm giving a "kiss."  It's the least I can do.  Martyrs died giving witness, in just this way.

BTW, the picture is Dominic and Francis exchanging the Kiss of Peace.

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