The kiss of peace! What is it? It comes from
the Latin expression: Osculum Pacis. But is that
sufficient to keep the peace? Is there a better way
to protect the world from war? To protect our personal lives
from the ravages of despair and disappointment? Find out.
Sunday, February 15,
2004—Ground Zero Plus 886
Osculum Viglantes Pacis
GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Feb 15, 2004 -- Eternal words are scribed
in Latin, the "dead language," the one supposedly not subject to
change, not afflicted by the tides and seasons that shift and
rearrange most all things.
pacis" mean KISS OF PEACE
Latin is the
"high ground" of communication, words one chisels into granite in
hopes that immortality will cup its hand around the message,
delivering it to far-flung generations long after all the other
languages have been swept by the winds and scattered into dust.
That's where "osculum pacis" fits in.
Osculate in Latin means to come together, to contact, to kiss.
"Osculable" means kissable. Osculant is defined as kissing.
"Pacis" comes from the Latin word for peace.
The day after Valentine's Day is a
reminder of the true meaning of love--and not just the love of
another, but the love of all others, including the Children's
Children's Children and their progeny.
"Osculum pacis" is Latin for "kiss of
peace." It is best described when a mother or father leans
over their baby's crib and sees the innocence of the sleeping child,
and presses his or her lips on the child's forehead, wishing upon that
child all the peace and harmony the world has to offer.
It is also illustrated at a deathbed,
when the person lying there has lived a full life. The man or women
sitting next to them has accepted the passing of the other as part of
nature's order, and, in a final moment of communion, leans over and
kisses the departing soul, wishing them the ultimate peace and harmony
in the world after this.
There are other versions of it, such as
when two warring groups agree to put down their weapons and live in
harmony. They seal the bargain with a Osculum pacis.
When I stumbled on the expression early
this morning, and read its history, I thought about the need to add
something that would give "peace" more fortitude.
Peace is the
absence of war
believe, is the absence of "war." It is the time between
the next war, not a perpetual state. At its extreme
connotation, "peace" implies that war has been buried and one can turn
his or her back on its presence or its threat.
History has shown us that isn't true.
When nations or people let their
guards down, relax their defenses against the storms of war, then
someone will seek to take advantage of that weakness. The
unlocked door invites the burglar.
A "kiss of peace," an "osculum
pacis," is, ultimately a Band-Aid to the war or violence that preceded
it. It is, at best, transitory rather than final, a comma not an
exclamation point. One might even deliver a "osculum
pacis" with a knife in one's hand, ready to plunge it when everyone
thinks the war is over.
I don't believe this is a harsh point
of view. Almost every peace treaty in history has been
violated between nations at one time or another. Nearly as many
"peace treaties" between people have fallen to the wayside when
promises have been broken, or trusts violated, or expectations dashed
because one party assumed the "kiss of peace" was an eternal bonding
rather than medication to heal a wound.
That's why I offer a suggestion to
the "osculum pacis" fans of the world--specifically to those who want
to believe that "peace" can become a pact honored by all who subscribe
My contribution is "osculum
vigilantes pacis," or, "kiss of vigilant peace."
While I'm not sure about proper
syntax of the Latin, or its grammatical accuracy, I am sure what the
words mean. If one is to issue a "kiss of peace," it
would seem far more mature and responsible to modify the kiss with
| I am
aware peace is not eternal
A "kiss of
vigilant peace" means that I am aware that peace is not final,
eternal. It implies that I must guard the word "peace" with my
Sentinels of Vigilance to insure its perpetuity, and not assume
because the sky is clear and the sun is shining that the storms of war
are not brewing just beyond the horizon, massing to strike when I
least expect it.
Certainly, September 11, 2001,
brought America and the world to its knees. Those who thought
the "advanced" nations were free from third-world Terrorism huddled in
fear that their Eiffel Towers or their Autobahns, or their Taj Mahals could
be reduced to rubble in less than 10 seconds, the amount of time it
took the Twin Towers to fall.
Countless Mid-East peace accords have
been signed and after the elation and pomp in the Rose Garden, the
flowers of peace wilted into bloody violence.
In business, Congressional committees
attack the warring ethics of big companies and issue fines and
penalties to try and make "peace" between them and their stockholders.
But then, as time passes and the "peace" seems to work, up pops an
Enron to validate the "kiss of peace" was delivered by false lips.
the war starts again because everyone Complacently turned their heads away from the Beast of Terror who infects anyone he deems
Nothing is more evident about the
fragility of the "kiss of peace" than couples who engage in a great
argument over some flaw in their relationship and threaten one another
with physical or emotional violence, brought about by rage and anger.
Then, in an attempt to reconcile, they "kiss and make up," vowing to
one another never to do or act or think as they did. For a
while they float placidly along the Relationship River until the next
storm comes. Then the rage and anger flares again,
as though there had never been any "kiss of peace."
The children are caught in the crossfire. They duck and hover in
their foxholes, wondering who will be wounded the most, who will
In fifty-percent of these cases, the
marriage breaks up. The "kiss of peace" dies a sorrowful
That's why peace needs modification.
A "kiss of vigilant peace"
means simply that for peace to exist, one must work to protect it on a
daily basis. One must be a Sentinel of Peace for Peace to
survive, and a Sentinel of Peace is one who is constantly alert to the
presence of the Beast of Terror and all his or her wiles.
"Osculum vigilantes pacis"
means I make a bond with myself to expect the peace to be attacked by
the forces of Terrorism, and that I am not willing to accept "peace"
as a state, an entity that can exist without being afflicted by the
seasons of life.
violable like a rose petal
Like a rose petal, peace is violable. Vigilance, however,
Vigilance simply means I
will keep my eyes open and alert to the presence of Terrorism, to its
shadow casting upon my land - in my relationships, to its nefarious
forms of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency that seek to gnaw at the
foundation of Courage, Conviction and Right Actions for future
The mother or
father who leans over the child's crib and kisses the child on the
forward with a "osculum pacis" knows that the child's safety and
security will depend on how it is brought up. A
parent's job is to build a child's self worth, to bolster his or her
self-image so that when the Beast of Terror tries to attack, that
Courage will overpower Fear, Conviction will trump Intimidation, and
Right Actions for the Children's Children's Children will override
Each of us has a choice
in life. We can expect peace and harmony in our lives and
be sadly disappointed when it doesn't come the way we expected, or we
can be Vigilant i our expectations, and guard against the disappoint
that life is supposed to be all about peace with no disharmony.
By becoming Sentinels of
Vigilance, Parents of Vigilance, Loved Ones of Vigilance, we vow to
issue to all those we love "osculum vigilantes pacis," a kiss of
vigilant peace. We realize that our job is to help others
learn to defend their right to peace and harmony, and not expect it to
fall from the sky.
of Vigilance are responsible for peace keeping
comes from within. It is the knowledge that we are
responsible for peace keeping, that we are the Sentinels of Vigilance,
and we cannot afford to abdicate that role to anyone else, or let our
loved ones think that peace without protection against the Beast of
Terror can be achieved to its fullest.
Become a Sentinel of Vigilance.
Take the Pledge of Vigilance and then issue all the possible "osculum
Feb. 14 --Valentine