Dear Light Group,

I am in Sicily, Italy at the moment, sitting on a veranda overlooking the Ionian Sea. Across the sea is Catania, one of the ten largest cities in Italy. Catania has expanded partway up the slopes of Mt. Aetna, from which a thin plume of volcanic smoke rises. The sun is shining. A sea breeze fluffs blossoms of bougainvillea, plumbago, and pink oleander. Large, sturdy aloe and cacti fence the cliff’s edge.
Paradise?  Perhaps.  
But Catania and the neighboring city of Syracuse have been through much. Founded in the eighth century BC, Catania has had many ups and downs. For a couple hundred years–into the Renaissance–Catania was one of Italy’s most important cultural, artistic, and political centers. But both before and after that golden period, it was invaded several times by hostile powers and ruled by despots. It was sacked by the Vandals in 440 and sacked by the Germans in 1194.  t has been under Greek, Roman, Islamic, German, Spanish, and Italian rule.  Volcanic eruptions from Mt. Aetna destroyed parts of the city in 121 and 1669. In 1693 it was completely destroyed by an earthquake. During World War II it was heavily bombed by the Allies. It is a wonder that Catania still exists. That it does is a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit.  
Catania’s history reminds me, again, of how fortunate we have been in the United States. We have retained our independence throughout the history of our nation. We have never been conquered by a foreign power. And much of our land has been free of or has experienced only a little warfare. The peace one feels in the Black Mountain, North Carolina area may be in part due to the fact that no wars have been fought there.
So, sitting on this veranda in Sicily, I feel again my love for this beautiful planet, compassion for those who have suffered, an appreciation for what we have in America, and a knowing that great work remains to elevate the people of Earth.
With those feelings in mind, you may want to join me this Saturday in prayers such as these:
  • Thank you, God, for this beautiful planet.  Thank you, God, for the beauty of Earth.  Thank you, God, for those who have taught us to appreciate and care for this planet.
  • Thank you, God, for the United States of America.  Thank you, God, for the opportunity to live there. 
  • Thank you, God, for Thy Peace, filling our beings.  Thank you, God, for Thy Peace, radiating from me to everyone and everything, that all may know Thee and Thy Peace.
  • Thank you, God, for Thy Peace filling all nations and all people, that Earth may become a planet of Peace and Light.
Love and Light,