today and every day we have a need for…

a need for permanence in a civilization of transience;
a need for the absolute when all else has become relative;
a need for silence in the midst of noise;
a need for gratuitousness in the face of unbelievable greed;
a need for poverty amid the flaunting of wealth;
a need for contemplation in a century of action, for without
contemplation, action risks become mere agitation;
a need for communication in a universe content with
entertainment and sensationalism;
a need for peace amid today’s universal outbursts of violence;
a need for quality to counterbalance the increasingly prevalent
response to quantity;
a need for humility to counteract the arrogance of power and
science;
a need for human warmth when everything is being rationalized
or computerized;
a need to belong to a small group rather than to be part of a crowd;
a need for slowness to compensate the present eagerness for
speed;
a need for truth when the real meaning of words is distorted in
political speeches and sometimes even in religious
discourses;
a need for transparency when everything seems opaque.

  • J.P. Dumbois-Dumee

Prophets of a future not our own

17457748_10210863766403011_6326499814056609153_nMarch 24, the anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero. This prayer, often attributed to Romero, was written by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, Michigan.

It helps, now and then,
to step back and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything
and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning,
a step along the way,
an opportunity for God’s grace
to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

6 parables of outer perception

If there are obstacles, it cannot be space
If there are numbers, it cannot be stars
If it moves and shakes, it cannot be a mountain
If it grows and shrinks, it cannot be an ocean
If it must be crossed by a bridge, it cannot be a river
If it can be grasped, it cannot be a rainbow
These are the six parables of outer perception
-Milarepa

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The Trees – Philip Larkin

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The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.