The Little Way

One of my favorite saints is Thérèse of Lisieux (“The Little Flower”). She is remembered by the Roman Catholic Church on October 1st. I encourage you to take 10 minutes of your day to hear Fr. James Martin, SJ tell the story of Thérèse. Within the video you will hear more about her “little way.” It is a way for you and me, don’t you think?

I do not have the courage to force myself to search out beautiful prayers in books. There are so many of them it really gives me a headache! and each prayer is more beautiful than the others. I cannot recite them all and not knowing which to choose, I do like children who do not know how to read, I say very simply to God what I wish to say, without composing beautiful sentences, and He always understands me. For me, prayer is an aspiration of the heart, it is a simple glance directed to heaven, it is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trial as well as joy; finally, it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus.
From Story of a Soul (via Wikiquote)

Read more about Thérèse

Therese of Lisieux on Wikipedia

Advertisements

Do all you can

Do all you can

How many of your “teachers” are people you have never met? How many of your teachers are persons you will never meet in this life? One word answer for me: “Plenty.” Longer answer: so numerous they are like the stars in the sky. I am grateful to be alive in this “Digital Age.”

One of my teachers, Nkosi Johnson, is a young boy who died in 2001 at the age of 12. Not only is he a teacher (I hear his wisdom frequently and have used one powerful teaching in my “About” note on Twitter), but he is also one of my heros: I hope to be as courageous and loving as this boy “when I grow up.”

The “Word for the Day” on 3 August 2010 was this: “Do all you can with what you have in the time you have in the place you are.” It was Nkosi’s final word to an interviewer (a well-traveled, accomplished, and much older reporter).

A few simple words, filled with a wisdom far beyond his years, crackling with a power that comes from knowledge gained by experience. I hope that you will read more about Nkosi. I hope that you may welcome him into your life as a teacher and hero and even a saint.

Read more about Nkosi

One boy’s heroism in the face of AIDS – the interview on NPR from which the Nkosi’s was spoken

Nkosi Johnson – the write up about Nkosi on the My Hero Website

A Great Cloud of Witnesses – 10 Apr 2011

The Columbarium at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church

Every Sunday is a pilgrimage. One goes to the Columbarium niche and renews the flowers for another week. One goes to a different Columbarium niche and pauses and prays and then touches that cold metal cover so tenderly, so tenderly. Each man remembering the woman who shared his life for so many years. Each man remembering a covenant “from this day forward … until death do us part.” Each man discovering, and teaching me, that even in death the touch and presence of the woman, the spouse, continues in grace and truth and power in the heart and in the communion of saints. They are quiet witnesses to me of the truth of scripture about the power of love: unquenchable (Song of Solomon 8:6-7), the greatest gift of all (1 Cor 12:31), that which never ends (1 Cor 13:8). These two open me to the joy and wonder of the truth that “God is love” and that the one who knows love, knows God. Knowing is not just for a moment, but for a lifetime. And, I give thanks for their witness.

Invitation

  • be still
  • let the cloud of witnesses envelop you
  • find your witness or witnesses who lived/are living this truth
  • give thanks for their presence in your life
  • when ready, go with encouragement and renewed energy
  • go and witness this truth in your own life

Explanation and purpose

Introduction to my occasional series A Great Cloud of Witnesses

A Great Cloud of Witnesses – 8 Feb 2011

Courage has been on my mind and heart over the last several days. Here is a virtue, a mystery, which our word courage tries to contain. Like many mysteries, much can be said about courage (and has been said). Yet, in the end, we will never exhaust the mystery that is courage. We will recognize it in ourselves and others, we will celebrate it, we will draw inspiration from it, but we will never be able to speak the final word about courage. As always, I give thanks for those witnesses in my life who have demonstrated and today witness courage to me. They inspire and have inspired (by invitation rather than command) courage enough to face my fears. I offer several quotes today (found on Wikiquote) to help you find the witnesses to courage in your own life, and give thanks for their presence.

Courage and Fear

Today’s quotes:
Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.

G. K. Chesterton (1)

Without belittling the courage with which men have died, we should not forget those acts of courage with which men … have lived. The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy. A man does what he must—in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures—and that is the basis of all human morality…. In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience—the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men—each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient—they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul.

John F. Kennedy (2)

Invitation

  • be still
  • let the cloud of witnesses envelop you
  • find your witness or witnesses who lived/are living this truth
  • give thanks for their presence in your life
  • when ready, go with encouragement and renewed energy
  • go and witness this truth in your own life

Explanation and purpose

Introduction to my occasional series A Great Cloud of Witnesses

____________
(1) Orthodoxy, Ch. 6 (1909) – under “courage” in Wikiquote accessed 8 Feb 2011
(2) Profiles in Courage (1956) – under “courage” in Wikiquote accessed 8 Feb 2011
Image: from the internet

A Great Cloud of Witnesses – 6 Feb 2011

Kindness and joy

I have been blessed by the people I have served and the people I have served with. In ministry, in illness, in recovery from illness, in friendship and even in chance and brief encounters I have had joy kindled in my heart by gentleness, kindness, and respect. I have seen joy in the face of many in my cloud of witnesses. I pray that you have, too.

Today’s quote: You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of one who gives and kindles joy in the heart of one who receives.

St. Seraphim of Sarov (1)

Invitation

  • be still
  • let the cloud of witnesses envelop you
  • find your witness or witnesses who lived/are living this truth
  • give thanks for their presence in your life
  • when ready, go with encouragement and renewed energy
  • go and witness this truth in your own life

Explanation and purpose

Introduction to my occasional series A Great Cloud of Witnesses

____________
(1) Word for the Day on August 8, 2010 on Gratefulness.org
Photo: “hands of an old man” by Kardo Ayoub on http://www.photo.net

A Great Cloud of Witnesses – 29 Jan 2011

My great cloud of witnesses includes young and old alike. Through the very young I have learned and continue to (re)learn the truth of today’s quote. Children can renew wonder in the simplest and most profound ways. I am blessed to have young (and potent) teachers in my cloud of witnesses.

Today’s quote: Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.

E. B. White in Charlotte’s Web (1)

Invitation

  • be still
  • let the cloud of witnesses envelop you
  • find your witness or witnesses who lived/are living this truth
  • give thanks for their presence in your life
  • when ready, go with encouragement and renewed energy

Explanation and purpose

Introduction to my occasional series A Great Cloud of Witnesses

____________
(1) Word for the Day on January 22, 2010 on Gratefulness.org

A Great Cloud of Witnesses – 26 Jan 2011

On Sunday we will listen to a reading from the Book of Micah. It contains a wisdom that I strive to live by. I have been blessed along my way to meet persons (young and old) actually living the wisdom of Micah. Their witness encourages me.

Today’s quote: “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to act justly, love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Micah 6:8 (1)

Invitation

  • be still
  • let the cloud of witnesses envelop you
  • find your witness or witnesses who lived/are living this truth
  • give thanks for their presence in your life
  • when ready, go with encouragement and renewed energy

Explanation

____________
(1) Micah 6:8 Translation offered by Walter Brueggemann (a scholar of the Hebrew Bible) in the book To Act Justly, Love Tenderly, Walk Humbly: An Agenda for Ministers