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leaves of faith

Discussion in 'Prayers and Meditations' started by lilithu, Jan 28, 2005.

  1. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    A wise man does not accept men just because of what they say, nor reject sayings just because because of who said them.

    -- Confucius
     
  2. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    Does anyone write something on a place
    that has already been written over,
    or plant a sapling where one already grows?
    No, he seeks a blank piece of paper
    and sows the seed where none has yet been sown.
    Sister, be bare earth:
    be a clean piece of paper untouched by writing,
    that you may be ennobled by the pen of revelation,
    so that the Gracious One may sow seed within you.

    -- Jalaluddin Rumi
     
  3. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Oldest Heretic

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    Thanks for feeding our souls today.

    Terry
    ___________________________-
    Blessed are the gentle, they shall inherit the land
     
  4. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

    "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

    "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

    "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

    "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

    "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

    -- Matthew 25:34-45
     
  5. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    OK, I admit this is a little "Hallmark" but it sums up nicely my ideal of a blessed life.


    I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
    I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
    I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
    I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
    I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
    I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
    I wish enough "Hello"s to get you through the final "Goodbye."
    ...
    I wish you enough.

    - as related by Bob Perks
     
  6. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    Your gifts—whatever you discover them to be—
    can be used to bless or curse the world.

    The mind’s power,
    The strength of the hands,
    The reaches of the heart,
    The gift of speaking, listening, imagining, seeing, waiting

    Any of these can serve to feed the hungry,
    Bind up wounds,
    Welcome the stranger,
    Praise what is sacred,
    Do the work of justice
    Or offer love.

    Any of these can draw down the prison door,
    Hoard bread,
    Abandon the poor,
    Obscure what is holy,
    Comply with injustice
    Or withhold love.

    You must answer this question:
    What will you do with your gifts?

    Choose to bless the world.

    The choice to bless the world can take you into solitude
    To search for the sources of power and grace;
    Native wisdom, healing, and liberation.

    More, the choice will draw you into community,
    The endeavor shared,
    The heritage passed on,
    The companionship of struggle,
    The importance of keeping faith,

    The life of ritual and praise,
    The comfort of human friendship,
    The company of earth
    The chorus of life welcoming you.

    None of us alone can save the world.
    Together—that is another possibility waiting.

    The choice to bless the world is more than act of will,
    A moving forward into the world
    With the intention to do good.

    It is an act of recognition,
    A confession of surprise,
    A grateful acknowledgment
    That in the midst of a broken world
    Unspeakable beauty, grace and mystery abide.

    There is an embrace of kindness,

    That encompasses all life,
    Even yours.

    And while there is injustice, anesthetization, or evil
    There moves a holy disturbance,
    A benevolent rage,
    A revolutionary love
    Protesting, urging insisting

    That which is sacred will not be defiled.

    Those who bless the world live their life
    As a gesture of thanks
    For this beauty
    And this rage.

    - Rebecca Parker
     
  7. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    I think it must be lonely to be God.
    Nobody loves a master. No. Despite
    The bright hosannas, bright dear-lords, and bright
    Determined reverence of Sunday eyes.

    Picture Jehovah striding through the hall
    Of His importance, creatures running out
    From servant-corners to acclaim to shout
    Appreciation of His merit’s glare.

    But who walks with Him? –dares to take His arm,
    To slap Him on the shoulder, tweak His ear,
    Buy Him a Coca-Cola or a beer.
    Pooh-pooh His politics, call Him a fool?

    Perhaps – who knows? – He tires of looking down.
    Those eyes are never lifted. Never straight.
    Perhaps sometimes He tires of being great
    In solitude. Without a hand to hold.

    - Gwendolyn Brooks
     
  8. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    You'll never be much of a prophet if, when the call comes
    To preach to Nineveh, you flee on the ship for Tarshish
    That Jonah fled on, afraid like him of the people's outrage
    Were they to hear the edict that in thirty days
    Their city in all its glory will be overthrown.

    The sea storm that harried Jonah won't harry you.
    No big fish will be waiting to swallow you whole
    And keep you down in the dark till your mood
    Shifts from fear to thankfulness and you want to serve.
    No. You'll land safe at Tarshish and learn the language
    And get a job in a countinghouse by the harbor
    And marry and raise a family you can be proud of
    In a neighborhood not too rowdy for comfort.

    If you're going to be a prophet, you must listen the first time.
    Setting off at sunrise, you can't be disheartened
    If you arrive at Nineveh long past midnight,
    On foot, your donkey having run off with your baggage.
    You'll have to settle for a room in the cheapest hotel
    And toss all night on the lice-ridden mattress

    That Jonah is spared. In the space of three sentences
    He jumps from his donkey, speaks out, and is heeded, while you,
    Preaching next day in the rain on a noisy corner,
    Are likely to be ignored, outshouted by old-clothes dealers
    And fishwives, mocked by schoolboys for your accent.
    And then it's a week in jail for disturbing the peace.
    There you'll have time, as you sit in a dungeon
    Darker than a whale's belly, to ask if the trip
    Is a big mistake, the heavenly voice mere mood,

    The mission a fancy. Jonah's biggest complaint
    Is that God, when the people repent and ask forgiveness,
    Is glad to forgive them and cancels the doomsday
    Specified in the prophecy, leaving his prophet
    To look like a fool. So God takes time to explain
    How it's wrong to want a city like this one to burn,
    How a prophet's supposed to redeem the future,
    Not predict it. But you'll be left with the question
    Why your city's been spared when nobody's different,

    Nobody in the soup kitchen you open,
    Though one or two of the hungriest
    May be grateful enough for the soup to listen
    When you talk about turning their lives around.
    It will be hard to believe these are the saving remnant
    Kin to the ten just men that would have sufficed
    To save Gomorrah if Abraham could have found them.

    You'll have to tell them frankly you can't explain
    Why Nineveh is still standing though you hope to learn
    At the feet of a prophet who for all you know
    May be turning his donkey toward Nineveh even now.

    - Carl Dennis
     
  9. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    It must be troubling for the god who loves you
    To ponder how much happier you'd be today
    Had you been able to glimpse your many futures.
    It must be painful for him to watch you on Friday evenings
    Driving home from the office, content with your week?
    Three fine houses sold to deserving families?
    Knowing as he does exactly what would have happened
    Had you gone to your second choice for college,
    Knowing the roommate you'd have been allotted
    Whose ardent opinions on painting and music
    Would have kindled in you a lifelong passion.
    A life thirty points above the life you're living
    On any scale of satisfaction. And every point
    A thorn in the side of the god who loves you.
    You don't want that, a large-souled man like you
    Who tries to withhold from your wife the day's disappointments
    So she can save her empathy for the children.
    And would you want this god to compare your wife
    With the woman you were destined to meet on the other campus?
    It hurts you to think of him ranking the conversation
    You'd have enjoyed over there higher in insight
    Than the conversation you're used to.
    And think how this loving god would feel
    Knowing that the man next in line for your wife
    Would have pleased her more than you ever will
    Even on your best days, when you really try.
    Can you sleep at night believing a god like that
    Is pacing his cloudy bedroom, harassed by alternatives
    You're spared by ignorance? The difference between what is
    And what could have been will remain alive for him
    Even after you cease existing, after you catch a chill
    Running out in the snow for the morning paper,
    Losing eleven years that the god who loves you
    Will feel compelled to imagine scene by scene
    Unless you come to the rescue by imagining him
    No wiser than you are, no god at all, only a friend
    No closer than the actual friend you made at college,
    The one you haven't written in months. Sit down tonight
    And write him about the life you can talk about
    With a claim to authority, the life you've witnessed,
    Which for all you know is the life you've chosen.

    - Carl Dennis
     
  10. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    And yet, though we strain
    against the deadening grip
    of daily necessity,
    I sense there is this mystery:

    All life is being lived.

    Who is living it then?
    Is it the things themselves,
    or something waiting inside them,
    like an unplayed melody in a flute?

    Is it the winds blowing over the waters?
    Is it the branches that signal to each other?

    Is it flowers
    interweaving their fragrances
    or streets, as they wind through time?

    - Rainer Maria Rilke
     
  11. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    Poetry reveals that there is no empty space.

    When your truth forsakes its shyness,
    When your fears surrender to your strengths,
    You will begin to experience

    That all existence
    Is a teeming sea of infinite life.

    In a handful of ocean water
    You could not count all the finely tuned
    Musicians

    Who are acting stoned
    For very intelligent and sane reasons

    And of course are becoming extremely sweet
    And wild.

    In a handful of the sky and earth,
    In a handful of God,

    We cannot count
    All the ecstatic lovers who are dancing there
    Behind the mysterious veil.

    True art reveals there is no void
    Or darkness.

    There is no loneliness to the clear-eyed mystic
    In this luminous, brimming
    Playful world.

    - Hafiz
     
  12. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

    - Thomas Merton
     
  13. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
    On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
    Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth--
    Assorted characters of death and blight
    Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
    Like the ingredients of a witches' broth--
    A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
    And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

    What had that flower to do with being white,
    The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
    What brought the kindred spider to that height,
    Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
    What but design of darkness to appall?--
    If design govern in a thing so small.

    - Robert Frost
     
  14. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    To my Divine Mother I prayed only for pure love. I offered flowers at Her Lotus Feet and prayed to Her: `Mother, here is Thy virtue, here is Thy vice. Take them both and grant me only pure love for Thee. Here is Thy knowledge, here is Thy ignorance. Take them both and grant me only pure love for Thee. Here is Thy purity, here is Thy impurity. Take them both, Mother, and grant me only pure love for Thee. Here is Thy dharma, here is Thy adharma. Take them both, Mother, and grant me only pure love for thee.

    - Ramakrishna
     
  15. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    Live your life that the fear of death
    can never enter your heart.
    Trouble no one about his religion.
    Respect others in their views
    and demand that they respect yours.
    Love your life, perfect your life,
    beautify all things in your life.
    Seek to make your life long
    and of service to your people.
    Prepare a noble death song for the day
    when you go over the great divide.
    Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting
    or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.
    Show respect to all people, but grovel to none.
    When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light,
    for your life, for your strength.
    Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living.
    If you see no reason to give thanks,
    the fault lies in yourself.
    Touch not the poisonous firewater that makes wise ones turn to fools
    and robs the spirit of its vision.
    When your time comes to die, be not like those
    whose hearts are filled with fear of death,
    so that when their time comes they weep and pray
    for a little more time to live their lives over again
    in a different way.
    Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.

    - Tecumseh
     
  16. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    Carl Dennis is a relatively recent discovery for me; he's awesome! :)

    How much would it take for this city
    That so far has belonged to others
    To be yours as well,
    The houses set in rows and each row named
    So you can find the garden of your new acquaintance
    Long before sundown, just as you promised,
    And the talk has time to wander and pause.

    How much as you walk home in the dark
    For the portly policeman, who now
    Stands on the corner for others,
    To stand for you by the grocery store
    Still open for your convenience,
    The lettuce and cucumber planted last spring
    For you as well, weeded and watered,
    Picked this very week, sorted and loaded,
    And driven along a highway where a highway crew
    Has worked all month for you digging a culvert.

    How much till the book on the nightstand at home
    Written now for others be written for you
    In hours stolen from sleep and children,
    Sweet and bitter wisdom distilled as a gift
    As the author guesses you're coming along
    In need of encouragement and of warning.

    Three weeks till it's due at the local library.
    How much would it take for the right
    To wander the stacks all afternoon,
    Wrested for others from kings and shamans,
    To be wrested for you as well,
    And the Constitution amended to protect your rights
    Against the privileges of the few
    And the prejudice of the many.

    You learned the story in school, along with stories
    Of parents who sold their wagons and farms
    And said good-bye in tears to friends and family.
    You heard your teacher say they sailed for you,
    But you couldn't believe it.

    How much would it take for it all to be possible,
    For you to walk the streets of a glimmering city
    Begemmed with houses of worship and lecture halls
    That thrust the keys to bliss into your hands.
    A city where for you as well
    Mohammud decides to linger at Mecca
    And Jesus rides his donkey into crazed Jerusalem
    And Moses descends the mountain and loving Buddha
    Turns his back on heaven, hearing your sighs.

    How much till invisible hands,
    That have left instructions for others
    In every lonely hotel room, lead you
    To lock up evil and coax the good
    From whatever corner of your soul it's fled to.
    The beleaguered good you've always imagined
    Looking for others to deliver it
    When all along it's looked for you

    - Carl Dennis
     
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  17. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    Go out into the highways and by-ways.
    Give the people something of your new vision.

    You may possess a small light,
    but uncover it, let it shine,
    use it in order to bring more light and understanding
    to the hearts and minds of men and women.

    Give them not hell, but hope and courage;
    preach the kindness and
    everlasting love of God.

    - John Murray, one of the founders of American Universalism
     
  18. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    Each one is a gift, no doubt,
    mysteriously placed in your waking hand
    or set upon your forehead
    moments before you open your eyes.

    Today begins cold and bright,
    the ground heavy with snow
    and the thick masonry of ice,
    the sun glinting off the turrets of clouds.

    Through the calm eye of the window
    everything is in its place
    but so precariously
    this day might be resting somehow

    on the one before it,
    all the days of the past stacked high
    like the impossible tower of dishes
    entertainers used to build on stage.

    No wonder you find yourself
    perched on the top of a tall ladder
    hoping to add one more.
    Just another Wednesday

    you whisper,
    then holding your breath,
    place this cup on yesterday’s saucer
    without the slightest clink.

    - Billy Collins
     
  19. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    May God bless you with discomfort,
    At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,
    So that you may live deep within your heart.

    May God bless you with anger,
    At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
    So that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

    May God bless you with tears,
    To shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war,
    So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain to joy.

    And may God bless you with enough foolishness,
    To believe that you can make a difference in this world,
    So that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

    Amen.

    (A Franciscan Benediction from the savedafur.org website)
     
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  20. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    This is he, who, felled by foes,
    Sprung harmless up, refreshed by blows:
    He to captivity was sold,
    But him no prison-bars would hold:
    Though they sealed him in a rock,
    Mountain chains he can unlock:
    Thrown to lions for their meat,
    The crouching lion kissed his feet:
    Bound to the stake, no flames appalled,
    But arched o'er him an honoring vault.
    This is he men miscall Fate,
    Threading dark ways, arriving late,
    But ever coming in time to crown
    The truth, and hurl wrongdoers down.
    He is the oldest, and best known,
    More near than aught thou call'st thy own,
    Yet, greeted in another's eyes,
    Disconcerts with glad surprise.
    This is Jove, who, deaf to prayers,
    Floods with blessings unawares.
    Draw, if thou canst, the mystic line,
    Severing rightly his from thine,
    Which is human, which divine.

    - Ralph Waldo Emerson
     
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