People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle.
But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air,
but to walk on earth.
Every day we are engaged in a miracle
which we don’t even recognize:
a blue sky,
the black, curious eyes of a child —
our own two eyes.
All is a miracle.
— Thich Nhat Hanh
Miracles do not, in fact, break the laws of nature. — C. S. Lewis
Therefore once for all this short command is given to you:
“Love and do what you will.”
If you keep silent, keep silent by love:
if you speak, speak by love;
if you correct, correct by love;
if you pardon, pardon by love;
let love be rooted in you,
and from the root nothing but good can grow.
— St. Augustine of Hippo from “In Epistulam Ioannis ad Parthos”
The child whispered, ‘God, speak to me’
And a meadow lark sang.
The child did not hear.
So the child yelled, ‘God, speak to me!’
And the thunder rolled across the sky
But the child did not listen.
The child looked around and said,
‘God let me see you’ and a star shone brightly
But the child did not notice.
And the child shouted,
‘God show me a miracle!’
And a life was born but the child did not know.
So the child cried out in despair,
‘Touch me God, and let me know you are here!’
Whereupon God reached down
And touched the child.
But the child brushed the butterfly away
And walked away unknowingly.
— A Lebanese Poem about God
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Rumi from The Essential Rumi, New Expanded Edition
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.
A poem by Naomi Shihab Nye
In the morning
When I began to wake
It happened again —
That You, Beloved
Had stood over me all night
That as soon as I began to stir
You put Your lips on my forehead
And lit a holy lamp
Inside my heart.
— Hafiz from I Heard God Laughing: Poems of Hope and Joy
Contemplatives and ascetics of every age and every religion have always sought God in the silence and solitude of deserts, forests and mountains. Jesus himself lived for forty days in complete solitude, spending long hours in intimate converse with the Father in the silence of the night.
Continue reading “In Silence …”
Lord, it is night – the night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day.
What has not been done, has not been done.
Let it be.
The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world,
and of our lives rest in you.
The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
all who are dear to us, and all who have no peace.
the night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day –
new joys, new possibilities.
In your name, we pray.
Lord, make us to walk in your way: Where there is love and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance; where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor annoyance; where there is poverty and joy, there is neither greed nor avarice; where there is peace and contemplation, there is neither care nor restlessness; where there is the fear of God to guard the dwelling, there no enemy can enter; where there is mercy and prudence, there is neither excess nor harshness; this we know through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (Prayer of Francis of Assisi, 1182-1226)