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The Gift of Peace

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  536 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
Joseph Cardinal Bernardin's gentle leadership throughout his life of ministerial service had made him an internationally beloved figure, but the words he left behind about his final journey would change the lives of many more people from all faiths, from all backgrounds, and from all over the world.

In the last two months of his life, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin made it his u
Paperback, 176 pages
Published November 10th 1998 by Image (first published 1997)
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♥ Ibrahim ♥
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
The title is a testimony in itself. In my restlessness and lack of contentment about where I was and tossed by worries here and there, Monsignor Joseph Tawk advised me to read this book. This was the best advice. It is enough to just see it and let the title stick in your head and keep being reminded: peace is a gift and it outweighs any dreams that have yet to be fulfilled.
Charles Lewis
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Joseph Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago died in 1996. He left this book as a spiritual will for those who walk the path of suffering - whether just dealing with pain and disability or facing death. I bought it on the recommendation of someone who knew I was looking for something to accept the chronic pain in my spine and leg that I've had for several years. I'm not the self-help-book type but I've found these spiritual books on the nature of God and suffering have helped - each one in a different w ...more
Sep 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
If ever you think things are bad . . . read this. The memoirs of a man dying of pancreatic cancer while trying to heal others really puts one's own trials in perspective. How do you forgive the person who wronged you? How do you find peace in times of pain? How do you pray when you cannot even catch your breath?
This was given to me by a dear friend who was dying of cancer with the caveat--I was not to loan it, only to give it as a gift. I encourage you to tread the same path . . .
Dec 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
I read this along with Tuesdays with Morrie for a book club. I expected this to be a very dry and boring book but was mistaken. Cardinal Bernardin found that his battle for his reputation mattered more than his battle with cancer. This had deeper meaning than Tuesdays with Morrie.
Anne Marie
May 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Each time I put this book down I was left with a deep sense of peace. Simply and beautifully written, there's so much to learn from this man who so deeply loved Jesus and desired to serve and shepherd His people every day.
Jul 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
Excellent! Read this in a day.
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing. It has the power to deepen our understanding of death and loss as told from the voice of someone that is dying. It is a real and moving story. Joseph Cardinal Bernardin was truly an inspiring human being who strived to live as God intended for us. He served and loved others and humbly worked on his own spiritual journey. A great book!
Catherine Espada
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great read! So inspiring to be able to read how this great man overcame all the evils that life threw at him and still forgave his accusers. Truly a good and holy man. Pray for us Joseph Bernardin.
Lee Yahnker
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Inspirational story of a priest who has terminal cancer. In the few months he has to live he chooses not to have any treatment but Just to live life to the fullest and make peace where he can.
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great re-read.
Sep 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Cardinal Joseph Bernardin completed this book just a few weeks before succumbing to cancer. It is a short but intimate account of the final two years of his life, years marked by emotional and physical suffering. The challenging road began with a false claim of sexual abuse (later recanted by the accuser), followed by a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer which would eventually lead to the Cardinal's death.

This could easily have been a bitter book or, if not, one marked by bleakness and/or self-pity
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Is our faith strong enough to carry us through any challenge? Can we find hope when there is darkness? In his book, Cardinal Bernardino provides some powerful suggestions on how we should live? If you're facing a health challenge, or a challenge to your integrity, you may find answers here.
Richard Kuhn
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
THE GIFT OF PEACE reminds one of Albom's TUESDAY'S WITH MORRIE or Randy Pausch's THE LAST LECTURE with all three sharing the similar theme of principle character dying and the book essentially acts as his farewell. All three are excellent, however CARDINAL BERNARDIN'S work offers the reader much more, forgiveness and victory.

This book is one of those treasures I found at a book festival at a used book stand. What drew me to the book was it was written by a Cardinal of the Catholic Church, head
May 29, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Had it not been a bookside bed at the Catholic Retreat House where I spent last week-end, I would not have chosen this. It was an easy read, written simply and written within the last two months of the Cardinal's life.

The focus of the book is on the three years prior to his death and includes reflections on his being accused of sexual mis-conduct (a charge that was proven untrue and for which the accuser apologized) and his experience with Cancer.

It sets no stylistic standards. It reads much li
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely little book recommended to me by a good friend, Martin Salvucci. Cardinal Bernardin, who completed the book shortly before his death, discusses overcoming three challenges of the last few years of his life: a false accusation of sexual abuse and reconciliation with his accuser; a diagnosis of cancer, its treatment, and apparent remission; and the return of the cancer and his decision to forgo further medication. Throughout, the Cardinal focuses on letting go of the things of thi ...more
Jul 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful short spiritual book about how to leave the troubles you face in life completely in the hands of the Lord. Joseph Cardinal Bernardin writes about his final spiritual journey.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Matthew: 11: 28-30

Christopher Leach
I read this book in a 24-hour period as a personal spiritual retreat. I had been working as a hospital chaplain and was struggling to cope with life, death, and eternal life. Cardinal Bernardin's words are inspiring, life-giving and soul refreshing. His faith and holiness shine through each page. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with serious illness, either physical or spiritual.
Simple and hopeful. Cardinal Bernardin journals his search for meaning with each of his struggles -- a false accusation, cancer, and finally dying. He reveals reasons for hope and peace in each experience. Rather than sad, this story is joyful and gives hope in an Easter after each trial. He insightfully answers the question of why we have suffering, as someone who experiences it and who truly cares for his people and wants to provide them with encouragement.
Sue MacDonald
Apr 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who is looking for a return to peace in their daily lives
Originally read in 2006, I still pick up this book by Cardinal Bernadin. It is a thoughtful journal of Carindal Bernadin's last few years. Regardless of your religious background or spirituality, there are life lessons to be learned from this small but memorable book.

What I learned from this book - 1. oftentimes forgiveness can provide relief for both people 2. Illness affects everyone 3. The number of people who care about you is more than you could imagine.
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A moving book describing Joseph Bernardin's journey to let go of non-essential daily concerns and achieve inner peace as he approached the end of his life. His reflections on life; forgiveness, joy, pain, caring, and suffering while staring at death and embracing the end of his life as a blessing is indeed moving and inspirational. Although His story at times moved me to tears, I highly recommend this book. It can prepare us all to deal with the inevitable adversities of life.
Stephanie Barrett
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a book filled with love and forgiveness. It touched me deeply that here was a greatly
loved Cardinal dying of cancer, and besieged by accusations of assault.
Read the book, you will get a glimpse of how to live well in a difficult situation.
This book,brought me to tears often, not of sadness as much as of love for
this person,called, "My Brother Joseph," written by a friend.,
Sep 23, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: faith, gave-up-on
i only read his chapters on being accused falsely of a crime. bernardin is Arrogant. he may be a good preacher, i've not heard him, or administrator but by his own words he is no pastor.

later in the book he writes about getting cancer. just guessing - he didn't deserve it and his pride was strengthened by surviving it.
Tom Wascoe
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Memoir chronicalling the final years of his life-through the sexual assault charge, the cancer and his cancer ministry. Completed 13 days before his death, the book is inspiring in that he writes about his amazing faith and his acceptance of his fate.
Kelby Cotton
Jan 05, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a book that provides a glimpse into a brave, humble servant of God. I appreciated his candor and servant spirit. Ultimately, however, it is one of many, many books that show us the same message, but in a simplistic and heartfelt manner.
Jun 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
Like Randy Pausch, Cardinal Bernardin also suffered pancreatic cancer. His book reflects the last 3 years of his life, including the false accusation of sexually abusing a seminarian. A wonderful book-full of hope, insight and reflection.
Beth Neu
Apr 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
The title speaks volumes about this book. How to carry on with dignity when others accuse you falsely. The important things to look for in this life and how to prepare for the next. Well written and inspirational.
Apr 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Cardinal Bernardin was a truly amazing man; full of forgiveness, serenity & holiness. Sespite what he went through,he was steadfast in his faith & love for Jesus & folloowed God's dire4ction throughout all of his humilation & suffereing.
Jaime Contreras
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
I met and spoke to cardinal bernadin on two ocassions and both times left me with a sense that this man knew the peace of our lord. This book lays it all out about what an incredible believer he was in life.
Chris Chase
Dec 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book that provides a great look at forgiveness and also the compassion of one suffering from cancer yet ministering to those suffering. The cardinal does a great job of communicating his deepest convictions and fears.
Dave Reidy
Jul 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-it-dug-it
In 150 pages, Cardinal Bernadin shows us a lot about how to live and how to die. I might not hit the bar he sets for us in emptying ourselves and befriending death, but I'm going to work toward it--the benefits of doing so are too great not to try.
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Joseph Louis Bernardin (originally Bernardini) (April 2, 1928 – November 14, 1996) was an American Cardinal of the Catholic Church. He served as President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as Archbishop of Chicago from 1982 until his death in 1996.

Bernardin's original academic ambition was to become a physician, inspiring him to enroll in the pre-medical program at the Univer
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“What I would like to leave behind is a simple prayer that each of you may find what I have found—God’s special gift to us all: the gift of peace. When we are at peace, we find the freedom to be most fully who we are, even in the worst of times. We let go of what is nonessential and embrace what is essential. We empty ourselves so that God may more fully work within us. And we become instruments in the hands of the Lord.” 3 likes
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