Today, may I know what I am

Many will Come – Rachel Srubas

(Photo: somewhere on The Airline Road, sometime 2008)

Today, may I walk in right paths, in God’s light. May peace prosper the steps of my family and friends, in city streets and buildings, and among all nations.
Today, may people stream from east and west to converge in God’s neighborhood. May nations labor to dismantle barricades. May our city be a just, peaceable center, united and vibrant. May my friends and relations strive for the good of each other, and may I remember I am neither higher nor lower than a servant.
Today, may east and west meet in my right and left hands, complementing, comprehending one another.
In my body, may north and south correspond, lifting my mind above worry, grounding my feet on the earth.
Today may I know what I am: created, not self-made, instructed to walk and work in God’s ways.
May I hammer old knives into new spoons, old enmities into love.
May I respect the least functional part of myself as surely as Jesus cherishes a paralytic slave and saves him with a word.
May the shriveled and disused part of my heart be bathed in God’s mercy today, that I might see sunlight for what it is: the gaze that beholds and heals us all.
In a banquet hall spacious enough for a whole world of nations, may I rest among neighbors and strangers, friends and relations.
May we feast among prophets on food grown in plowed mountain soil, reaped with weapons repurposed as tools.

The best things

Via Joseph Campbell: My friend Heinrich Zimmer of years ago used to say, “The best things can’t be told,” because they transcend thought. “The second best are misunderstood,” because those are the thoughts that are supposed to refer to that which can’t be thought about, and one gets stuck in the thoughts.” The third best are what we talk about.

Some storms

There’s no sin in being overpowered by a deadly storm.

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Beyond mental illness we can be defeated in life by many other things. Tragedy, heartbreaking loss, unrequited obsession, and crippling shame can at times break a heart, crush a will, kill a spirit, and bring death to a body. And our judgment on this should reflect our understanding of God: What all-loving, merciful God would condemn someone because he or she…could not weather the storm? Does God side with our own narrow notions where salvation is mostly reserved for the strong? Not if Jesus is to be believed.

Notice when Jesus points out sin he doesn’t point to where we are weak and defeated; rather he points to where we are strong, arrogant, indifferent, and judgmental. Search the Gospels and ask this question: On whom is Jesus hardest? The answer is clear: Jesus is hardest on those who are strong, judgmental, and have no feeling for those who are enduring the storm. Notice what he says about the rich man who ignores the poor man at his doorstep, what he says about the priest and scribe who ignore the man beaten in a ditch, and how critical he is of the scribes and Pharisees who are quick to define who falls under God’s judgment and who doesn’t.
Ronald Rolheiser