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Just Peace A Message of Hope

Mattie J.T. Stepanek ¿ 4 Summary

I was touched by the depth of passion and awed by the firm resolve with which Mattie Stepanek pursued a dream that has evaded men and women throughout history What began as a casual discourse not too different from others I have had with inuisitive young people who have reached out to me became a treasured and enlightening friendship that changed my life forever With the purity of heart that only a child can possess and the indomitable spirit of one who has survived physical suffering than most adults will ever know Mattie convinced me that his uest was not inconceivable Inspired by his enthusiasm and without reservation I committed to a partnership with him These words of wisdom and inspiration came from the most. A beautiful book filled with hope and peace It's written by Mattie a 13 year old boy who is far wiser than his years Mattie's also had greater challenges than most people will ever experience He suffers from a rare form of MS he lived most of his life in a wheelchair and was in and out of the hospital his whole life Yet the book is inspirational and hopefulMattie's goals for his life were to 1 publish his poems of peace 2 meet Jimmy Carter his peacemaking hero and 3 meet Oprah He was able to do all of these things in his lifetime He developed a close relationship with Jimmy Carter and their letters to one another are included in the book Jimmy Carter's eulogy to Mattie was very movingMattie's poems are thoughtful and beautifully written Although the book was written than 10 years ago Mattie's message of peace is very timely today

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Niue mosaic of gifts War and injustice shatter the mosaic which can only be made whole again by planning and actively pursuing peace The young visionary's essays poetry and photographs appear throughout the book Jimmy Carter has written a special foreword for the bookJust as important to the book and enlightening to the reader are Mattie's many correspondences Central to these are his personal e mails to and from former president Jimmy Carter Mattie's peace hero and role model The Nobel Peace Prize winner met Mattie considered him an angel messenger and hero in his own right and was genuinely affected by Mattie's passion and drive Just Peace is an intimate portrait of a president a young man of hope and peace itsel. I only knew of Mattie Stepanek for his Heartsong poetry series and for his role as spokesperson and ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association I remembered watching him many years back as the grace filled youth in the wheelchair during the MDA Labor Day Telethons with Jerry Lewis And even then I marveled at what a remarkable person he seemed to be Outside of these things I really knew nothing of him When my Catholic book club selected Stepanek’s Just Peace A Message of Hope for April’s reading selection I was eager and curious to read what such a young person could possibly say to me After finishing the book I will admit I was pleasantly surprised and stunned by the cogent and intellectual vision that he was so easily and soundly able to expressLiving life in a wheelchair with oxygen tubes and wires of a numerous sort embracing him like a mechanical octopus would in the eyes of most seem not like a life at all but rather a hellish nightmare But Mattie Stepanek never woefully dwelled long enough on his own limitations While he was physically disadvantaged religiously spiritually intellectually and mentally speaking he was as strong as a stallion; his thinking as expressed in this book is sharp penetrating and clear And while his ideology for peace had a sweet naivety to it oddly enough it was that very innocence of thought and desire that gave his profound insights such a meaty weight a kind of pause for thought uncontaminated potency For all the time and energy that people use to knowingly and meticulously plot to do bad in the world it would be amazing if people could stop what they were doing and briefly think as Mattie says Just peace If everybody in some degree or another could stop bashing each other with cultural political economic and religious differences and stop and pause and reflect if even only briefly and think just peace what could we come up with This thinking of Mattie Stepanek’s was a religious and philosophical obsession a calling even Because peace has a grandiosity to it all on it’s own it is amazing how razor sharp this little kid could whittle things down to their primary bare bones Peace begins within ourselves and flows outward Despite the bombardment of things contrary to peace the flow of it can still continue irrelevant of blockades I think a lifetime in a wheelchair coupled with a slew of hospitalizations as well as the additional loss of his siblings due to the same disease that he battled cannot but help wizen a soul It made him introspective and a seer of things that are unseen by the majority And this book reads precisely that way Because Mattie Stepanek died before Just Peace A Message of Hope could be published what this work really is is a tribute that encapsulates all that he stood for and all that he wanted to be It comprises some of his beautiful poetry from his Heartsong poetry series such as “Heavenly Gates” “On being A Champion” and especially “The Church Ride” There are also e mails from some influential friends who guided him along his uest for peace And there are also photos that capture happier times of when he was celebrating and preaching peace and just being a kid All of this gives a well rounded portrait of a remarkable little boy and of his mother too who would not be limited by disease It is great to know that the Mattie JT Stepanek Guild has been established and that the Catholic Church is seriously looking deeply into his life for his possible Cause of Canonization This was a surprisingly pleasant read

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Remarkable person I have ever known Jimmy Carter Sometimes the most important messages come from the most unlikely places Mattie JT Stepanek a 13 year old boy made a difference before he died with his Heartsongs poetry He continues to impact the world through Just Peace This poet best selling author peace activist and prominent voice for the Muscular Dystrophy Association fervently believed in and promoted world peace not just as a concept but as a realityMattie was working on this manuscript with Jimmy Carter when he died in June 2004 His mother Jeni who edited the material and wrote a preface for the book has published it at her son's reuest Just Peace explores Mattie's concept of the world and all people as a u. I was struck by the high level connections a 10 13 year old made to get his message out It is as though had he not been morbidly ill he would not have received the make a wishes or attentions of the media For those purposes God had a plan that Mattie followed well It makes me wonder what could happen for this generation if all children everywhere were granted without reservation 3 wishes


About the Author: Mattie J.T. Stepanek

Jeni Stepanek has the adult form diagnosed only after all four of her children were born



10 thoughts on “Just Peace A Message of Hope

  1. says:

    When Mattie Stepanek appeared on Oprah in 2001 she received mail than she had gotten about a guest to date I was one of those who responded He was only 11 and dying of cancer Make a Wish asked him what he'd like and he responded To have my poems published to meet Jimmy Carter and to be on Oprah His poems were published by a tiny press in New England Jimmy Carter called him on the phone and he was on Oprah's showFor someone so young and near death he had the charisma presence and wisdom of someone much much older I still treasure the paperback copy of his first book of poems called Heartsongs I have used them as a teaching tool for comfort and shared them with many others Of course as his later books were published I bought them allSeveral weeks after his spot on Oprah he was a guest on Good Morning America where he was surprised by an in person appearance by Jimmy Carter From that meeting the two became fast friends and planned to write a book together about peacemaking Unfortunately Mattie died just a month before his 14th birthday but his mother Jeni and Jimmy finished the book he had dreamed ofAnd what a book it is It's still hard to believe that the essays and poems included were written by one so youngMattie wanted to be remembered as a poet and peacemaker This book proves he was bothRead it and be inspired


  2. says:

    Now this guy could inspire a revolution What a sweet sensible inspiring individual Your heart will be full when you read this


  3. says:

    A beautiful book filled with hope and peace It's written by Mattie a 13 year old boy who is far wiser than his years Mattie's also had greater challenges than most people will ever experience He suffers from a rare form of MS he lived most of his life in a wheelchair and was in and out of the hospital his whole life Yet the book is inspirational and hopefulMattie's goals for his life were to 1 publish his poems of peace 2 meet Jimmy Carter his peacemaking hero and 3 meet Oprah He was able to do all of these things in his lifetime He developed a close relationship with Jimmy Carter and their letters to one another are included in the book Jimmy Carter's eulogy to Mattie was very movingMattie's poems are thoughtful and beautifully written Although the book was written than 10 years ago Mattie's message of peace is very timely today


  4. says:

    I was struck by the high level connections a 10 13 year old made to get his message out It is as though had he not been morbidly ill he would not have received the make a wishes or attentions of the media For those purposes God had a plan that Mattie followed well It makes me wonder what could happen for this generation if all children everywhere were granted without reservation 3 wishes


  5. says:

    I found this book among my moms collection and put it away for a future time That time is now We need to remember the peace makers in our world and to be reminded that each one has a part in making this a better world for everyone I highly ecomend this book I especially loved the poems he wrote


  6. says:

    This book will make you cry it is touching and heart wrenching at the same time Prepare to be drawing to tears by the story of a boy who truly knew what it meant to be a peacemaker and live


  7. says:

    I only knew of Mattie Stepanek for his Heartsong poetry series and for his role as spokesperson and ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association I remembered watching him many years back as the grace filled youth in the wheelchair during the MDA Labor Day Telethons with Jerry Lewis And even then I marveled at what a remarkable person he seemed to be Outside of these things I really knew nothing of him When my Catholic book club selected Stepanek’s Just Peace A Message of Hope for April’s reading selection I was eager and curious to read what such a young person could possibly say to me After finishing the book I will admit I was pleasantly surprised and stunned by the cogent and intellectual vision that he was so easily and soundly able to expressLiving life in a wheelchair with oxygen tubes and wires of a numerous sort embracing him like a mechanical octopus would in the eyes of most seem not like a life at all but rather a hellish nightmare But Mattie Stepanek never woefully dwelled long enough on his own limitations While he was physically disadvantaged religiously spiritually intellectually and mentally speaking he was as strong as a stallion; his thinking as expressed in this book is sharp penetrating and clear And while his ideology for peace had a sweet naivety to it oddly enough it was that very innocence of thought and desire that gave his profound insights such a meaty weight a kind of pause for thought uncontaminated potency For all the time and energy that people use to knowingly and meticulously plot to do bad in the world it would be amazing if people could stop what they were doing and briefly think as Mattie says Just peace If everybody in some degree or another could stop bashing each other with cultural political economic and religious differences and stop and pause and reflect if even only briefly and think just peace what could we come up with? This thinking of Mattie Stepanek’s was a religious and philosophical obsession a calling even Because peace has a grandiosity to it all on it’s own it is amazing how razor sharp this little kid could whittle things down to their primary bare bones Peace begins within ourselves and flows outward Despite the bombardment of things contrary to peace the flow of it can still continue irrelevant of blockades I think a lifetime in a wheelchair coupled with a slew of hospitalizations as well as the additional loss of his siblings due to the same disease that he battled cannot but help wizen a soul It made him introspective and a seer of things that are unseen by the majority And this book reads precisely that way Because Mattie Stepanek died before Just Peace A Message of Hope could be published what this work really is is a tribute that encapsulates all that he stood for and all that he wanted to be It comprises some of his beautiful poetry from his Heartsong poetry series such as “Heavenly Gates” “On being A Champion” and especially “The Church Ride” There are also e mails from some influential friends who guided him along his uest for peace And there are also photos that capture happier times of when he was celebrating and preaching peace and just being a kid All of this gives a well rounded portrait of a remarkable little boy and of his mother too who would not be limited by disease It is great to know that the Mattie JT Stepanek Guild has been established and that the Catholic Church is seriously looking deeply into his life for his possible Cause of Canonization This was a surprisingly pleasant read


  8. says:

    JUST PEACE BY MATTIE J STEPANEK Tkis is one of the most inspirational and moving books I have ever read A few uotes from Mattie Remember to play after every storm If we simply but profoundly choose to make pece an attitude and a habit and a reality peace is possible Besides being a person or as he liked to referto himself an ambassador of peace Mattie was also a poethere is one of his shorter poems UNFOLDING BORN OF THE DUST OF HUMILITY SPREAD ON THE WINGS OF PRIDE CARRIED BY WINDS OF HOPE I GROW WITH THE EBBING TIDEMattie was 13 years old when he died he wrote this poem in 2001 he died in 2004 SO READ THIS BOOK BY A BOY WHO ONLY LIVED TO BE 13 YEARS OF AGE YET THIS YOUNG MAN HAD THE WISDOM OF SOMEONE WHO LIVED TO BE 90 BESIDES JUST PEACE Mattie J Stepanek has 7 books of poetry


  9. says:

    This is the remarkable touching story of Mattie Stepanek a boy with a family trait of muscular dystrophy Even as a young child he was very wise and peaceful and showed it by making a series of peace poems called Heartsongs He had dreams and wishes 1 For world peace 2 To meet President Jimmy Carter who wrote a little bit of this but the majority of it is written by Mattie himself and his mother Jeni 3 To meet Oprah Winfrey All but 1 came true and Mattie was a remarkable child that was lucky to be alive In 2004 he died but his legacy goes on This is a touching an great read One of the books you need to read before you die I'd say


  10. says:

    Among many highlights are the emails between Mattie and former President Carter; the pictures; Mattie's description of MDA summer camp his week in heaven which reminds me also of Camp Hope; the five page essay he wrote about Jimmy Carter when he was 7 years old; and Jimmy Carter's eulogy from Mattie's funeral I was surprised to learn there's an effort to name Mattie a saint


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