Peter Grimheden has an oval face with two blue, piercing eyes. I met him for the first time in Lund, Sweden, for the historical encounter between Catholics and Lutherans for the 500 years of the Reformation. Peter is a young pediatrician, passionate about his work, to which he is dedicated with great enthusiasm. His singularity is that of being Swedish, Lutheran, a focolarino, and for his having chosen a path of total donation to God. He lives in Stockholm, in a small community with other 4 Catholic focolarinos: a Belgian, an Argentinean and two Italians.
Were you raised in a Christian family and environment?
I belong to the Swedish Lutheran Church and come from a family which is strongly bound to traditions. As a child, I used to visit my grandparents. We would first go to Mass and then dine together. During dinner, after the women had washed the dishes, we would sit and listen to grandpa who would read one of Luther’s sermons. As if that of the Mass was not enough! The only thing I remember is that I would play at holding my breath. My record was to resist breathing for a minute. It was a strict and severe education. All was either black or white and I could never ever go to the cinema or play ice hockey.
How did you meet the Focolare?
I was dating a girl who invited me to a concert of Gen Verde, a musical band inspired by the Focolare. I liked the music, the words, and the atmosphere they created. The brother of a singer had been killed in a civil war and she had been able to forgive. I liked positive Christianity, not based on prohibitions and things one shouldn’t do. The people of the Focolare became my friends and I would frequent them with my girlfriend. But after some time, this relationship was too tight for me, so I left her. I continued to frequent the Focolare and I was strongly attracted by the people who gave themselves completely to God, living in a community. For me it was like slipping on a banana peel rather than making a big choice. It was like falling in love. So at 21, I went to Loppiano, Italy, close to Florence to attend the focolarini training school. It was a unique occasion to meet people from all over the world, even if I felt a bit “exotic” since almost all were Catholics.
Today you live in a community in Stockholm. Is it difficult to live with people of another Church?
Belonging to one Church or the other does not impact on our daily lives since we share the same ideals. We have a Christian life in common and I don’t feel any difference among us. I used to feel lonely upon frequenting my Lutheran Church but now my friends accompany me once in a while since they want to know my Church better, the same way in which I want to know about their church. We try to live in the presence of Jesus in our midst and are all his disciples.
Source: New City