Monday, October 16, 2006

It is in dying that we are born

The Prayer of Saint Francis

"O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light, and
Where there is sorrow, joy.

Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not
so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life."

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  1. You have to be aware of the uselessness of your self-importance and of your personal history.
    Your death can give you a little warning, it always comes as a chill. Death is our eternal companion, it is always to our left, at an arm's length.
    How can anyone feel so important when we know that death is stalking us. The thing to do when you're impatient is to turn to your left and ask advice from your death. An immense amount of pettiness is dropped if your death makes a gesture to you, or if you catch a glimpse of it, or if you just have the feeling that your companion is there watching you.
    The issue of our death is never pressed far enough. Death is the only wise adviser that we have. Whenever you feel, as you always do, that everything is going wrong and you're about to be annihilated, turn to your death and ask if that is so. Your death will tell you that you're wrong; that nothing really matters outside its touch. Your death will tell you, "I haven't touched you yet."
    One of us here has to change, and fast. One of us here has to learn again that death is the hunter, and that it is always to one's left. One of us here has to ask deaths advice and drop the cursed pettiness that belongs to men that live their lives as if death will never tap them.

    Think of your death now. It is at arm's length. It may tap you any moment, so really you have no time for crappy thoughts and moods. None of us have time for that. The only thing that counts is action, acting instead of talking.

  2. Thanatopsis

    by William Cullen Bryant

    To him who in the love of nature holds
    Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
    A various language; for his gayer hours
    She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
    And eloquence of beauty; and she glides
    Into his darker musings, with a mild
    And healing sympathy that steals away
    Their sharpness ere he is aware. When thoughts
    Of the last bitter hour come like a blight
    Over thy spirit, and sad images
    Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,
    And breathless darkness, and the narrow house,
    Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;--
    Go forth, under the open sky, and list
    To Nature's teachings, while from all around--
    Earth and her waters, and the depths of air--
    Comes a still voice. Yet a few days, and thee
    The all-beholding sun shall see no more
    In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,
    Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears,
    Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist
    Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim
    Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again,
    And, lost each human trace, surrendering up
    Thine individual being, shalt thou go
    To mix forever with the elements,
    To be a brother to the insensible rock
    And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain
    Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak
    Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mold.

    Yet not to thine eternal resting-place
    Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish
    Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down
    With patriarchs of the infant world -- with kings,
    The powerful of the earth -- the wise, the good,
    Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,
    All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills
    Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun, -- the vales
    Stretching in pensive quietness between;
    The venerable woods -- rivers that move
    In majesty, and the complaining brooks
    That make the meadows green; and, poured round all,
    Old Ocean's gray and melancholy waste,--
    Are but the solemn decorations all
    Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun,
    The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,
    Are shining on the sad abodes of death
    Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
    The globe are but a handful to the tribes
    That slumber in its bosom. -- Take the wings
    Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness,
    Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
    Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound,
    Save his own dashings -- yet the dead are there:
    And millions in those solitudes, since first
    The flight of years began, have laid them down
    In their last sleep -- the dead reign there alone.

    So shalt thou rest -- and what if thou withdraw
    In silence from the living, and no friend
    Take note of thy departure? All that breathe
    Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh
    When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care
    Plod on, and each one as before will chase
    His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave
    Their mirth and their employments, and shall come
    And make their bed with thee. As the long train
    Of ages glides away, the sons of men--
    The youth in life's fresh spring, and he who goes
    In the full strength of years, matron and maid,
    The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man--
    Shall one by one be gathered to thy side,
    By those, who in their turn, shall follow them.

    So live, that when thy summons comes to join
    The innumerable caravan, which moves
    To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
    His chamber in the silent halls of death,
    Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
    Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
    By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
    Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
    About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

  3. Thank you for the Prayer of St. Francis. God bless you.


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