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SPRINGTIME PRAYER

Ever-renewing and energizing Creator,
come, stir in my dormant spiritual limbs.

Wake up my tired prayer.

Revive my weary efforts of care.

Sing hope into my discouragement.

Wash my dusty, drab attitude
with the cleansing rains of your vision.

Go deep to my roots and penetrate my faith
with the vibrancy of your grace.

Shake loose the old leftover oak leaves
of my tenacious ego-centeredness.

Coax joy to sprout from my difficulties.

Warm the buds of my relationships
so they bloom with healthy love.

Clear out my wintered debris
with the wild breeze of your liberating presence.

Nudge me, woo me, entice me, draw me to you.

I give you my trust and my gratitude as you
grace my slowly thawing spirit.

Light-filled Being, my Joy and my Hope,
let the greening in me begin.

– Joyce Rupp

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THE APPLE ORCHARD

Come let us watch the sun go down
and walk in twilight through the orchard’s green.
Does it not seem as if we had for long
collected, saved and harbored within us
old memories? To find releases and seek
new hopes, remembering half-forgotten joys,
mingled with darkness coming from within,
as we randomly voice our thoughts aloud
wandering beneath these harvest-laden trees
reminiscent of Durer woodcuts, branches
which, bent under the fully ripened fruit,
wait patiently, trying to outlast, to
serve another season’s hundred days of toil,
straining, uncomplaining, by not breaking
but succeeding, even though the burden
should at times seem almost past endurance.
Not to falter! Not to be found wanting!

Thus must it be, when willingly you strive
throughout a long and uncomplaining life,
committed to one goal: to give yourself!
And silently to grow and to bear fruit.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke from Rainer Maria Rilke: Selected Poems, translated from German by Albert Ernest Flemming)

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When I think of glory I think of honour and celebration, light and majesty, truth and reward. I think of praise, of singing, of music that lifts up the heart. Our lives lived well give glory to God. We can celebrate with all creation the dawning of each new day, we can thank God for our gifts and talents, for our friends and family and our communion. We can honour Him through our prayers and by what we do to help our neighbour. And just like choristers do, we can turn labour into song, we can raise our thoughts above the menial and mundane until we find ourselves at home in a house of praise, whether that house has at its centre a kitchen sink or a marble altar, God is there. Glory be to God, to God be the praise. Let us serve and glorify Him all our days.

– Veritas

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Directly

“I’ll get it directly,” she’d say, meaning
soon, meaning, when I can, meaning, not
yet, be patient, the world don’t turn upon
your every need and whim. Or “the dogs
will be back home directly, I reckon,”
“the preacher will be finished,” “your daddy
will see to you,” “supper will be laid out”—
all “directly,” which never meant the straight
line between two surveyor’s points or
an arrow’s flight, but rather, by the curve,
the indirect, the arc of life and breath,
and she was right, and when she passed
or was passing, I could not say which,
in a patchwork quilt, the makeshift room,
the sweet hymn notes sung neighborly
across the hall, she whispered, “Learn to tell
what needs doing quick as a bluesnake
and what will take the slow way, full
of care and mulling, be fair in every
dealing with beasts and people and all
else alive, and surely, my dear, He will
come for you in His good time, the way
He comes for all of us, directly.”

– R. T. Smith

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CARRYING GOD

by Hafiz

No one can keep us from carrying God

wherever we go.

No one can rob His Name

from our heart as we try to relinquish our fears

and at last stand — Victorious.

We do not have to leave Him in the mosque

or church alone at night;

we do not have to be jealous of tales of saints

or glorious masts, those intoxicated souls

who can make outrageous love with the Friend.

We do not have to be envious of our spirit’s ability

which can sometimes touch God in a dream.

Our yearning eyes, our warm-needing bodies,

can all be drenched in contentment and Light.

No one anywhere can keep us

from carrying the Beloved wherever we go.

No one can rob His precious Name

from the rhythm of my heart,

steps and breath.

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“Nothing is so often irretrievably missed as a daily opportunity.”

– Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

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“Nothing is so often irretrievably missed as a daily opportunity.”

– Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

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This is the wilderness time,
when every path is obscure
and thorns have grown around the words of hope.
Be the wings of our strength, O God,
in this time of wilderness waiting.

This is the time of stone, not bread,
when even the sunrise feels uncertain
and everything tastes of bitterness.
Be the wings of our strength, O God,
in this time of wilderness waiting.

This is the time of ashes and dust,
when darkness clothes our dreams
and no star shines a guiding light.
Be the wings of our strength, O God,
in this time of wilderness waiting.

This is the time of treading life,
waiting for the swells to subside and for the chaos to clear.
Be the wings of our strength, O God,
in this time of wilderness waiting.

– Keri Wehlander, Canada, from “600 Blessings and Prayers from around the world” compiled by Geoffrey Duncan

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Good things come from a quiet place: study, prayer, music, transformation, worship, communion. The words ‘peace’ and ‘quiet’ are all but synonymous, and are often spoken in the same breath. A quiet place is the think tank of the soul, the spawning ground of truth and beauty.

A quiet place outdoors has no physical borders or limits to perception. One can commonly hear for miles and listen even farther. A quiet place affords a sanctuary for the soul, where the difference between right and wrong becomes more readily apparent. It is a place to feel the love that connects all things, large and small, human and not; a place where presence of a tree can be heard. A quiet place is a place to open up all your senses and come alive.

— Gordon Hempton, from One Square Inch of Silence

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The secret of beginning a life of deep awareness and sensitivity lies in our willingness to pay attention. Our growth as conscious, awake human beings is marked not so much by grand gestures and visible renunciations as by extending loving attention to the minutest particulars of our lives. Every relationship, every thought, every gesture is blessed with meaning through the wholehearted attention we bring to it. In the complexities of our minds and lives we easily forget the power of attention, yet without attention we live only on the surface of existence. It is just simple attention that allows us truly to listen to the song of a bird, to see deeply the glory of an autumn leaf, to touch the heart of another and be touched. We need to be fully present in order to love a single thing wholeheartedly. We need to be fully awake in this moment if we are to receive and respond to the learning inherent in it.

– Christina Feldman and Jack Kornfield, Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart