I feel so much love over my soul,
it is like an Ocean I immerse and lose myself in:
it is my vision on earth while waiting
for the face-to-face vision in light.
[God] is in me, I am in Him.
I have only to love Him,
to let myself be loved,
all the time, through all things:
to wake in Love,
to move in Love,
to sleep in Love,
my Soul in His Soul,
my heart in His Heart,
my eyes in His eyes …
—Elizabeth of the Trinity
If there is love, there is hope that one may have real families, real brotherhood, real equanimity, real peace. — His Holiness the Dalai Lama
… the poems both affirm human love, but also show how it is itself only a pointer to something more grand and more sublime. The book never mentions God’s love, but all the links back to the garden of Eden make the point by themselves. Who is the author of life and human experience? And who, therefore, is the author of this powerful experience we call “love?” It’s none other than the Author of all reality, who has given humans a great gift and responsibility in our bodies, minds and hearts when it comes to sexual love. — BibleProject
We do not necessarily need to become religious, nor even believe in an ideology. We need only to develop our good human qualities and know that love and compassion are the most essential concepts for human survival. — His Holiness the Dalai Lama
… the good life consists of right relationships—between man and woman [covenant partners], between humanity and the earth, and between humanity and God. In the love described in the Song, we see a reflection of the love that first called the world into being (Proverbs 8), that continues to sustain it season by season (Ecclesiastes 3), and that will bring it to new life beyond death itself (Revelation 21). — Kathryn M. Schifferdecker
SONGS about LOVE as SACRED UNION:
- Wedding Song (There Is Love) by Peter, Paul, and Mary (folk): https://youtu.be/xxxsTYHvWa4
- All You Need Is Love by The Beatles (rock): https://youtu.be/_7xMfIp-irg
- Song of Songs by Ryan Malone (CHristian/choir/orchestra): https://youtu.be/IrBcbq0SByY
- Dark Night of the Soul by Loreena McKennitt (St Johnof Cross/Christian): https://youtu.be/MclLF473XtA
- God Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts (country): https://youtu.be/FaQHyHwFgeg
- Love Aboundeth in All Things performed by St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir (Hildegard of Bingen / Christian): https://youtu.be/F3yEi782RC8
- Song of Solomon performed by All Souls Orchestra ft Martin Smith (Christian/orchestra/vocal): https://youtu.be/zyIR4N5EFt8
- Come by Prayana (Rumi song – vocal/piano/contemplative): https://youtu.be/DY_kysjyB8U
- Chant to the Holy Angels performed by Harpa Dei (Hildegard of Bingen / Christian chant): https://youtu.be/yjIAXI2xkEM
- Where Everything is Music by Prayana (Rumi song – vocal/piano/contemplative): https://youtu.be/C-aBaGqJmI0
- O Ignitus Spiritus performed by Harpa Dei (Hildegard of Bingen / Christian chant): (https://youtu.be/yNiRNiqzRsc
- O Deep Love of Jesus ft Simon Khorolskiy (Christian/fiddle&vocal): https://youtu.be/KLTu1xv2-Us
Don’t go anywhere without me.
— Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
Don’t go anywhere without me.
Let nothing happen in the sky apart from me,
or on the ground, in this world or that world,
without my being in its happening.
Vision, see nothing I don’t see.
Language, say nothing.
The way the night knows itself with the moon,
be that with me. Be the rose
nearest to the thorn that I am.
I want to feel myself in you when you taste food,
in the arc of your mallet when you work,
when you visit friends, when you go
up on the roof by yourself at night.
There’s nothing worse than to walk out along the street
without you. I don’t know where I’m going.
You’re the road, and the knower of roads,
more than maps, more than love.
O, happy lot!
Forth unobserved I went,
My house being now at rest.
O, happy lot!
n darkness and concealment,
My house being now at rest.
Seeing nought myself,
Without other light or guide
Save that which in my heart was burning.
To the place where He was waiting for me,
Whom I knew well,
And where none appeared.
O, night that hast united
The lover with His beloved,
And changed her into her love.
There He reposed and slept;
And I cherished Him, and the waving
Of the cedars fanned Him.
He struck me on the neck
With His gentle hand,
And all sensation left me.
O glistening sunlight — Sr. Hildegarde of Bingen
O glistening starlight,
O most brilliant singular figure
of the royal marriage,
O glowing gem:
You are arrayed as a person of high rank
who has no mark nor wrinkle;You are also an angel’s companion
and a citizen of sacredness.
Run, flee from the ancient destroyer’s cave!
Come, enter into the palace of the King.
COMMENTARY on SONG of SONGS from Jewish and Christian Scholars
All eternity is not as worthwhile as the day the Song of Songs was given to Israel, for all biblical books are holy, but the Song of Songs is holy of holies.— R. Aqiva (m. Yadayim 3:5), 2nd c. CE
אין כל העולם כלו כדאי כיום שניתן בו שיר השירים לישראל שכל כתובים קדש ושיר השירים קודש קדשים The Song of Songs, along with the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, is related to Solomon as the source of Israel’s wisdom literature. As Moses is the source [though not the only author] of the Torah, and David is the source [though not the author] of the book of Psalms, so is Solomon the father of the wisdom tradition in Israel… The connection of the Song of Songs to Solomon in the Hebrew Bible sets these writings within the context of wisdom literature. – Brevard Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture (21st c).
The Song of Songs, a duet scored for two young lovers, each delighting in the other, longing for one another’s presence, is one of the central books of Tanach and the key that unlocks the rest. It is about love as the holy of holies of human life. It is about the love of Israel for God and God for Israel, and the fact that it is written as the story of two young and human lovers is also fundamental, for it tells us that to separate human and Divine love is to allocate one to the body, the other to the soul, is a false distinction. Love is the energy God has planted in the human heart, redeeming us from narcissism and solipsism, making the human or Divine Other no less real to me than I am to myself, thus grounding our being in that-which-is-not-me. One cannot love God without loving all that is good in the human situation. Love creates. Love reveals. Love redeems. Love is the connection between God and us. That is the faith of Judaism, and if we do not understand this we will not understand it at all. We will, for example, fail to realise that the demands God makes of His people through the prophets are expressions of love, that what Einstein called Judaism’s “almost fanatical love of justice” is about love no less than justice, that the Torah is God’s marriage contract with the Jewish people, and the mitzvot are all invitations to love: “I see You with all my heart; do not let me stray from Your commands” (Ps. 119:10).” — Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ceremony & Celebration, 21st c.
… In short, there are two primary interpretations of the Song of Songs. The traditional interpretation is that it is an allegory of the love between God and Israel or between Christ and the Church. The dominant interpretation in modern times is that it is nothing more than ancient erotic love poetry.
I would argue that the Song is both of these things. It is a celebration of the love of a man and a woman for one another, a love “strong as death” (Song of Solomon 8:6), a love reflected in the renewed life of the earth itself (Song of Solomon 2:10-13). At the same time, the Song is also a celebration of the love between Christ and the Church, a love that is in fact stronger than death, sealed by the Resurrection.
As Phyllis Trible and Ellen Davis have both argued, the Song is a reversal of the curses of Eden. The relationship between man and woman is restored. In place of Eve’s punishment in Genesis 3:16 (“your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you”), the woman in the Song declares, “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me.”6 In fact, the woman’s is the dominant voice in the Song. She is in a full, robust, and mutual relationship with her beloved.
The rupture between humanity and the earth is also restored. Here, in the garden of the Song, there are no thorns and thistles (see Genesis 3:17-19). Indeed, the earth itself rejoices with the lovers.
Finally, the rupture between humanity and God is restored, if one understands the Song allegorically, as interpreters have done for 2000 years. One of the dominant biblical metaphors for the relationship between God and Israel (and later, Christ and the Church) is that of marriage. This metaphor takes some troubling turns in the prophets (see Hosea), but in the Song, the marriage is healed and renewed and rooted in love, love as fierce as the grave, love unquenchable (Song of Solomon 8:6-7).— Kathryn M. Schifferdecker, full article: https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/narrative-lectionary/preaching-series-on-o-t-wisdom-and-poetry/commentary-on-proverbs-11-7-31-8, (21st c).
The Song of Songs is a collection of love poetry. The Rabbis read it as an allegory of the relationship between God and the Jewish people. Only in the Middle Ages, in Spain and Northern France, did scholars begin to pay attention to the plain (Peshat) meaning of the text. Some went as far as dropping the allegory altogether and treating it as love poetry, as it was originally intended. — Dr. Barry Dov Walfish, (21st c).
King Solomon wrote this through the inspiration of the divine spirit, for he saw that Israel in their exile was destined to mourn God, who distanced himself from them like a groom who parted from his beloved. And he began to sing his song on behalf of the Community of Israel who is like a bride before him. — Rabbi Samuel ben Meir (ca. 1085-ca. 1160)
“God is love” (1 John 4:16) may be the single most important verse in the entire Bible …
Is it any wonder that many of the great Christian mystics are renowned as lovers of God? This can take a variety of forms: for some, being God’s lover is very ethereal and philosophically abstract; but for others, an embodied, physical, even erotic quality characterizes their mysticism of love. There is even a term—“bridal mysticism”—for the many mystics (both female and male) whose experience of profound love of God was so deep and all-encompassing that it led to a spiritual sense of being “married” to God …
[It’s important to] consider that this derives from the Bible itself. One of the loveliest books in the Hebrew Bible…. is the Song of Solomon, also called the Song of Songs or the Canticle of Canticles… It is the story of a bride and bridegroom, their passion for one another, their devotion to one another, and their (strongly hinted at) passion as physical lovers.
Historically, the Song of Songs has been read as a kind of allegory: the two lovers symbolize the caring relationship between God and Israel, or Christ and the Church, or Christ and the individual believer. This is where the mysticism of love comes in. — Cart McColman, full article: https://cac.org/daily-meditations/the-great-love-song-2021-05-11/ (21st c).
I think religion, especially when it comes to messages around our sexuality, causes a really particular type of harm in us. Now, the culture, the broader culture, also has some very damaging messages. There’s the commodificationwa of sex. You can “know” how worthy you are of desire according to how close you are to a body ideal. Once you’re too old, or too fat, or too plain, you’re no longer worthy of sexual desire and so there are these damaging messages that society gives us around the commodification of sex.
… messages from religion, those go down to our created place, our source code. Those seep into us in a very deep level and the difference is that the society has … our society has never said that the creator of the universe is disgusted by my cellulite. Do you know what I mean? So, the religious messages are saying, “This is God. God feels this way about you as a sexual being.” And that can be pernicious in a very particular way.
Well, Augustine interpreted the Garden of Eden story in a really particular way that we are so influenced by that we don’t even know the difference between the text and his interpretation. For instance, the word sin isn’t in there, the word temptation isn’t in there, the devil is not in there, “original sin” is not in there, fall from grace is not in there. All of that is stuff that Augustine interpreted into the Garden of Eden story. So then it’s like, “Okay, well who was Augustine?” Well, brilliant guy, however had some sexual hangups like all of us do. His original shame, his story, his original shame came from an incident in the bathhouse with his father when he was going through puberty and he had an erection and his father commented on it.
In the same way, the Song of Solomon is this beautiful erotic poem in the Bible, and it’s most likely the only book in the Bible that was possibly written by a woman, and it is mostly an erotic poem about a very shameless woman who has a lover and she loves her body and she loves their body and she loves sex and eroticism, and she has no shame about this. So what happens? Origen, another … church father comes along, and he goes, “No, that’s not about sex. That’s about Jesus’ love for the church. It’s just an allegory.” And okay, well who was Origen? Origen was this guy who was so terrified of sexual temptation, no kidding, he castrated himself…. Is that the guy we want to go to for direction?” — Rev Nadia Bolz-Weber, full interview: https://wanderlust.com/journal/sex-church-debunking-doctrine-desire/
I believe the meaning of the Resurrection of Jesus is summed up in the climactic line from the Song of Songs, “love is stronger than death” (8:6). If the blank white banner that the Risen Christ usually holds in Christian art should say anything, it should say: “Love will win!” Love is all that remains. Love and life are finally the same thing, and we know that for ourselves once we have walked through death.
Love has you. Love is you. Love alone, and your deep need for love, recognizes love everywhere else. Remember that you already are what you are seeking. Any fear “that your lack of fidelity could cancel God’s fidelity, is absurd” (Romans 3:3), says Paul. Love has finally overcome fear, and your house is being rebuilt on a new and solid foundation. This foundation was always there, but it takes us a long time to find it. “It is love alone that lasts” (1 Corinthians 13:13). All you have loved in your life and been loved by are eternal and true .. — Richard Rohr, full article: https://cac.org/daily-meditations/love-is-stronger-than-death-2020-03-27/, (21st c).
And in this vision, he showed me a little thing, the size of a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand, and to my mind’s eye it was as round as any ball. I looked at it and thought, ‘What can this be?’ And the answer came to me, ‘It is all that is made.’ I wondered how it could last, for it was so small I thought it might suddenly disappear. And the answer in my mind was, ‘It lasts and will last forever because God loves it; and in the same everything exists through the love of God.’
In this little thing I saw three attributes: the first is that God made it, the second is that he loves it, the third is that God cares for it. But what does this mean to me? Truly, the maker, the lover, the carer; for until I become one substance with him, I can never have love, rest or true bliss; that is to say, until I am so bound to him that there may be no created thing between my God and me. — Julian of Norwich
— Hildegard of Bingen
Loving tenderness abounds for all
from the darkest
to the most eminent one beyond the stars,
Exquisitely loving all
she bequeaths the kiss of peace
upon the ultimate King.
THERE IS NO GOING BACK – Wendell Berry
No, no, there is no going back.
Less and less you are
that possibility you were.
More and more you have become
those lives and deaths
that have belonged to you.
You have become a sort of grave
containing much that was
and is no more in time, beloved
then, now, and always.
And so you have become a sort of tree
standing over a grave.
Now more than ever you can be
generous toward each day
that comes, young, to disappear
forever, and yet remain
unaging in the mind.
Every day you have less reason
not to give yourself away.
THE WHISTLER — Mary Oliver
All of a sudden she began to whistle. By all of a sudden
I mean that for more than thirty years she had not
whistled. It was thrilling. At first I wondered, who was
in the house, what stranger? I was upstairs reading, and
she was downstairs. As from the throat of a wild and
cheerful bird, not caught but visiting, the sounds war-
bled and slid and doubled back and larked and soared.
Finally I said, Is that you? Is that you whistling? Yes, she
said. I used to whistle, a long time ago. Now I see I can
still whistle. And cadence after cadence she strolled
through the house, whistling.
I know her so well, I think. I thought. Elbow and an-
kle. Mood and desire. Anguish and frolic. Anger too.
And the devotions. And for all that, do we even begin
to know each other? Who is this I’ve been living with
for thirty years?
This clear, dark, lovely whistler?
“in love I am more God than I am in myself.” … “It sounds wondrous, that the human being is thus able to become God in love; however, it is true in the eternal truth.” — Meister Eckhart
Covenant love is conscious love. It is intentional love. It is commitment to love no matter what. It requires thought and action. It does not wait for the encouragement of warm emotions but chooses to look out for the interest of the other party because you are committed to the other’s well-being.
Covenant love requires two factors: knowledge of the nature of love and the will to love. Understanding the 5 love languages will give you the information you need to have a successful long term covenant love relationship. Hopefully, as you see the benefits of covenant love, you will also find the will to love. — Gary Chapman
God willeth that we understand [this], desiring with all our heart to have knowing of them [Trinity] more and more unto the time that we be fulfilled: for fully to know them is nought else but endless joy and bliss that we shall have in Heaven, which God willeth should be begun here in knowing of His love. — Julian of Norwich
Peace does not rest in the charters and covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of all people. So let us not rest all our hopes on parchment and on paper, let us strive to build peace, a desire for peace, a willingness to work for peace in the hearts and minds of all of our people. I believe that we can. I believe the problems of human destiny are not beyond the reach of human beings. — John F. Kennedy
We are already one. But we imagine we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we already are. — Thomas Merton
This is our great covenant:
To dwell together in peace,
To seek the truth in love,
And to help one another.
— James Vila Blake
We are already in union with God! There is an absolute, eternal union between God and the soul of everything. — Fr. Richard Rohr
Sometimes we feel empty; we feel a vacuum, a great lack of something. We don’t know the cause; it’s very vague, but that feeling of being empty inside is very strong. We expect and hope for something much better so we’ll feel less alone, less empty. The desire to understand ourselves and to understand life is a deep thirst. There’s also the deep thirst to be loved and to love. We are ready to love and be loved. It’s very natural. But because we feel empty, we try to find an object of our love. Sometimes we haven’t had the time to understand ourselves, yet we’ve already found the object of our love. When we realize that all our hopes and expectations of course can’t be fulfilled by that person, we continue to feel empty. You want to find something, but you don’t know what to search for. In everyone there’s a continuous desire and expectation; deep inside, you still expect something better to happen. That is why you check your email many times a day!
In a deep relationship, there’s no longer a boundary between you and the other person. You are her and she is you. Your suffering is her suffering. Your understanding of your own suffering helps your loved one to suffer less. Suffering and happiness are no longer individual matters. What happens to your loved one happens to you. What happens to you happens to your loved one. …
In true love, there’s no more separation or discrimination. His happiness is your happiness. Your suffering is his suffering. — Thich Nhat Hanh
Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life. ― Rumi
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. ― Melody Beattie
O my Great Elder, I have no words to thank you,
But with your deep wisdom I am sure that you can see
How I value your glorious gifts … when I look upon your greatness, I am confounded with awe. O Great Elder, Ruler of all things earthly and heavenly, I am … ready to act in accordance with your will.
— Excerpted from Kikuya Prayer (Kenya)
Savoring the Small Stuff: Ordinary Gratitude as Spiritual Practice (excerpt from full article) — Carl Gregg
… ways that we can be more intentional about noticing and responding to the parts of our lives for which we are most (and least) grateful. I. Noticing… What do you tend to notice in your daily life? And why? … we could notice at any given time — different sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touches, or emotions — but our personalities shape what stands out to us and what fades into the background … you can amplify the power of this practice — and keep yourself accountable to regularly noticing what you are grateful for — by making a commitment to share your daily gratitude (or gratitudes) with someone else, whether it is a child, a partner, or a friend.
II. The Awareness Examen
… one of the most consistently helpful ways … is a practice called the Awareness Examen … It helps you weigh the value of various aspects of your life. The examen was first detailed by Ignatius of Loyola, the 16th century founder of the Jesuits … shorter and more accessible book by Dennis, Sheila and Matthew Linn called Sleeping with Bread: Holding What Gives You Life. In short, the examen encourages you to respond to two questions at the end of each day either around the dinner table with your family or silently before you go to sleep: … you can ask “What am I most grateful for today?” and “What am I least grateful for today?” Over time, to add nuance, you can ask variations on your consolations such as, “Where did I feel most connected, most alive, most energized, or most loved?” Correspondingly, you can ask “Where did I feel most isolated, most enervated, or most taken for granted?”
… And as you notice patterns of what consistently makes you feel connected, alive, energized, and loved, the invitation is to find ways to cultivate more of that person, place, or activity in your life. … As you notice patterns of what consistently makes you feel isolated, enervated, or taken for granted, an invitation is to consider if you should find ways to have less of that person, place, or activity in your life.
III. The Spiritual Practice of Savoring
This practice of noticing and choosing what is life-affirming over what is life-negating can seem particularly simple or obvious: structure your life to do morefrequently those things that bring you consolation and do less frequently those things that bring you desolation … gently think back through my day, and name those things I’m grateful for. It’s honestly a great way to fall asleep: savoringthose things you are most grateful for. … Of course, all this talk about gratitude and savoring is easier said than done. Cultivating ordinary gratitude, noticing our consolations and desolations, and savoring them are all practices that happen over time. As with practicing the piano, practicing basketball, or practicing yoga, method and frequency matter … “Practices doesn’t necessarily make perfect, but it does make permanent.” … Practice makes permanent by ingraining habits that are difficult to break.
For now, with the potential stress and joy of Thanksgiving still a few days away, I invite you to spend a short time practicing the art of savoring. Ask yourself, “What am I grateful for?” Then, pause in the silence, and listen. Allow yourself to be potentially surprised about what emerges for you as a source of gratitude. As you do so, remember the guidance from Buddha’s Brain: “Make [your consolation] last by staying with it for 5, 10, even 20 seconds [or longer].” Savor this source of gratitude with your whole self. “Focus on your emotions and body sensations…. Let the experience fill your body and be as intense as possible.”
- What are you grateful for in your life?
- What do you need to savor?
Other articles on gratitude:
- Gratitude practices by Deepak Chopra (full article): “What am I grateful for?” is one of four key questions that practitioners pose to themselves prior to entering into meditation. Such practices of gratitude bring awareness to and appreciation of the positive features within and around us, helping us to embrace life as it is with all of its imperfections. Other practices to consciously cultivate a grateful life include journaling, counting blessings, savoring positive moments, and behavioral expressions of gratitude such as thank you notes, to name a few. By cultivating gratitude, we cultivate wellbeing.
- Start a Gratitude Practice — Melissa, Lionheart Life
In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
One can never pay in gratitude; one can only pay ‘in kind’ somewhere else in life. — Anne Morrow Lindbergh
How I show love has always been through food. That, for me, has been the foundation of how I express gratitude for anybody around me. — Antoni Porowski
Gratitude for the present moment and the fullness of life now is the true prosperity. – Eckhart Tolle
None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy. —Fred De Witt Van Amburgh
Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty. – Doris Day
Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for. — Zig Ziglar
Happiness cannot be traveled to owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. – Denis Waitley
When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.– Anthony Robbins
What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude. – Brene Brown
When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around. – Willie Nelson
Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. —Oprah Winfrey
As with all commandments, gratitude is a description of a successful mode of living. The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us. – James E. Faust
As Connection to Holiness
Perhaps nothing helps us make the movement from our little selves to a larger world than remembering God in gratitude. Such a perspective puts God in view in all of life, not just in the moments we set aside for worship or spiritual disciplines. Not just in the moments when life seems easy. — Henri Nouwen
All human bodies are things lent by God. With what thought are you using them? — Terrikyo. Ofudesaki 3.41
I acknowledge my feeling and gratitude for life by praising the world and whoever made all these things. — Mary Oliver
I acknowledge with great gratitude the peace and contentment we can find for ourselves in the spiritual cocoons of our homes, our sacrament meetings, and our holy temples. — James E. Faust
Be not like those who honor their gods in prosperity and curse them in adversity. In pleasure or pain, give thanks! — Midrash, Mekilta to Exodus 20.20
O you who believe! Eat of the good things that We have provided for you, and be grateful to God, if it is Him that you worship. — Qur’an 2.172
‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding. — Alice Walker
It is God who has made the night for you, that you may rest therein, and the day, as that which helps you to see. Verily God is full of grace and bounty to men, yet most men give no thanks. It is God who has made for you the earth as a resting place, and the sky as a canopy, and has given you shape–and made your shapes beautiful–and has provided for you sustenance of things pure and good; such is God, your Lord. So glory to God, the Lord of the Worlds! — Qur’an 40.61, 64
Gratitude exclaims, very properly, ‘How good of God to give me this.’ — C. S. Lewis
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. — John F. Kennedy
Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts. —Henri Frederic Amiel
You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it. —Lyndon B. Johnson
Feeling gratitude isn’t born in us – it’s something we are taught, and in turn, we teach our children. — Joyce Brothers
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. —William Arthur Ward
Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you. Go outside and turn your attention to the many miracles around you. This five-minute-a-day regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to focus your life in awe. — Wayne Dyer
For me, every hour is grace. And I feel gratitude in my heart each time I can meet someone and look at his or her smile. — Elie Wiesel
The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy. — Henri Nouwen
Gratitude is an antidote to negative emotions, a neutralizer of envy, hostility, worry, and irritation. It is savoring; it is not taking things for granted; it is present-oriented. – Sonja Lyubomirsky
I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude. — Brene Brown
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. —Robert Brault
It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up. — Eckhart Tolle
The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness. —Dalai Lama
Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. — John Milton
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. —Albert Einstein
If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice. — Meister Eckhart
Being thankful is not always experienced as a natural state of existence, we must work at it, akin to a type of strength training for the heart. – Larissa Gomez
If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul. — Rabbi Harold Kushner
The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. —Charles Schwab
We learned about gratitude and humility – that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean… and we were taught to value everyone’s contribution and treat everyone with respect. — Michelle Obama
Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. — Charles Dickens
Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. — William Arthur Ward
Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful. – Buddha
Two kinds of gratitude: The sudden kind we feel for what we take; the larger kind we feel for what we give. – Edwin Arlington Robinson
He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. – Epictetus
When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ― G.K. Chesterton
What barriers stand between you and Love? Can you really keep out a love that is transformative, or will it pass through your closed door and locked heart, somehow? Yet doubt and questions have their place … they sometimes help open the way.
Man goes far away or near but God never goes far-off;
he is always standing close at hand,
and even if he cannot stay within he goes no further than the door.
— Meister Eckhart
Locked Room Mysteries
Locked room mystery lists. What is your favorite locked room mystery?
- Eight Fiendish Locked Room Mysteries recommended by Barnes & Noble
- Top 10 Locked Room Mysteries recommended by the The Guardian
History of Locked Room Mysteries — Scott Laming (link to article)
The ‘locked room’ mystery is one of the most intriguing sub-genres of crime writing. These books depict a crime committed in what appears to be an entirely impossible situation such as a locked room where the killer has seemingly vanished into thin air.
The concept of a behind-closed-doors mystery has been a plot device since the heyday of Ancient Greece but it was not established as a sub-genre of crime fiction until the 19th century. One of the earliest examples is Edgar Allan Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue … Several other authors (Joseph Conrad, Sheridan Le Fanu and Wilkie Collins) also made early attempts at this style of mystery.
The real kick-starter for the genre came in 1892 when Israel Zangwill used the same locked room puzzle concept for his primary plot device in The Big Bow Mystery. However, he added another classic mystery writing element, the red herring … John Dickson Carr, who also wrote as Carter Dickson, is probably the king of the locked room mysteries and The Hollow Man is the Dickson Carr book to read to encounter the best example. Also look up The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux.
ON KNOCKING & ENTERING
Poem — Rumi
One went to the door of the
Beloved and knocked.
A voice asked: “Who is there?”
He answered: “It is I.”
The voice said: “There is no room
here for me and thee.”
The door was shut.
After a year of solitude
this man returned to the door
of the Beloved.
A voice from within asked:
“Who is there?”
The man said:
“It is Thou.”
The door was opened for him.
If I Knew Then (excerpt)
— performed by Lady Antebellum,
written by Charles Kelley /
Richard Belmont (monty) Powell / Anna Wilson
… ‘Cause love only comes
Once in a while
And knocks on your door
And throws you a smile
And takes every breath,
Leaves every scar,
Speaks through your soul
And sings to your heart …
So I say to you, Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. — Jesus Christ
It’s really interesting how music can knock down a wall and be an open connection between you and someone else where something else can’t. When music comes along, it just opens your heart a little more. — Phillip Sweet
If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. — Milton Berle
No man ever got very high by pulling other people down. The intelligent merchant does not knock his competitors. The sensible worker does not knock those who work with him. Don’t knock your friends. Don’t knock your enemies. Don’t knock yourself. — Alfred Lord Tennyson
If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
How strange that nature does not knock, and yet does not intrude!
— Emily Dickinson
I can’t never stop nobody, can’t knock nobody hustle.
— The Notorious B.I.G.
There are five issues that make a fist of a hand that can knock America out cold. They’re lack of jobs, obesity, diabetes, homelessness, and lack of good education. — will.i.am
We know we cannot plant seeds with closed fists. To sow, we must open our hands. — Adolfo Perez Esquivel
You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space. — Johnny Cash
All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant’s revolving door. — Albert Camus
I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can’t make it through one door, I’ll go through another door – or I’ll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present. — Rabindranath Tagore
In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself. — Jiddu Krishnamurti
The outward man is the swinging door; the inner man is the still hinge. — Meister Eckhart
You close the door on me and tell me I can’t, I’m gonna find a way to get in. — Tyler Perry
Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during the moment. — Carl Sandburg
I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 A.M. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. — Joan Didion
I cannot sleep for dreaming; I cannot dream but I wake and walk about the house as though I’d find you coming through some door. — Arthur Miller
Commentary on Fear, Doubt & Questions: John 20
The fact is that all the great spiritual models of the ages before us found themselves, at one point or another, plunged into doubt, into darkness, into the certainty of uncertainty: Augustine, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Meister Eckhart, John the Baptist, Thomas, Peter, one after another of them all wondered, and wavered, and believed beyond belief. Surely, then, doubt is something to be grateful for, something about which to sing an alleluia. Unlike answers that presume the static nature of God and the spiritual life, doubt stretches us beyond ourselves to the guidance of a God whose face is not always in books. Doubt is what leaves us open to truth, wherever it is, however difficult it may be to accept. But most of all, doubt requires us to reconfirm everything we’ve ever been made to believe is unassailable. Without doubt, life would simply be a series of packaged assumptions, none of them tested, none of them sure, and all of them belonging not to us, but to someone else whose truth we have made our own. — Joan Chittister
… questions … So many of them seemed to imply that people were struggling with the fact that hard things in life are hard. That somehow since they don’t have great positive feelings about God in the midst of their own suffering that this somehow means they lack faith and this worries them. For some reason we tend to think that having faith means unwavering belief, and never doubting and always no matter how awful things get, never ever having negative feelings about God and certainly never wondering if there really is a God. It’s like we’ve forgotten the strong, and totally awesome tradition in the Hebrew Bible of complaining to God. It’s called lamenting – and we should totally reclaim this part of our tradition…I have a friend who says if you’re going to have a praise band in your church, that’s fine but only if you also have a lament band because being the people of God has always meant a whole lot of both praise andlament. — Nadia Bolz-WeberNot surprisingly, Jesus came to visit his disciples, knowing that they would feel defeated and understanding the support they would need in order to move forward. He bestowed peace upon them, and they were overjoyed when he showed them his wounds. They, like Thomas, apparently needed physical proof of the resurrection. Jesus’ return to visit with his disciples appears to have had a clear mission of fortifying them to continue his work. First of all, they would need peace to counter the turbulence of his death, and secondly, they needed evidence of his resurrection to restore their faith. Jesus dealt with these two pressing issues immediately. He did not simply return to celebrate his resurrection, but to prepare them as he sent them forth to continue the work he had begun. — Samuel Cruz, Workingpreacher.org
John is explicit about the prevailing sentiment behind the closed doors. They were behind the doors because of fear, one of the most powerful human emotions. Fear shuts all sorts of doors in our lives. It shuts the door to anyone who is “other” because it sees them as a threat more than a friend. Fear causes us to live out of reptilian fight or flight rather than the deeper virtues of faith, hope, and love. Fear causes us to react to what we fear rather than reflect the one we worship. When one lives in a constant state of fear, it can actually rewire the brain so that everything looks like a threat. Fear had the disciples behind locked doors. Despite the pervasiveness of walls and locked doors, however, Jesus walked right through them. And his greeting to them was one of peace. — Preston Clegg, The Truett Pulpit
And suddenly, in the midst of their fear and confusion, there he was, not with angels, trumpets, or legions, but quietly, without a hint of anger. No accusations, no trouble or turmoil. Only peace. And then, the very next thing, he gives them the gift of the Holy Spirit – he doesn’t just give it to them, but breathes the Spirit into them. — Katheryn Matthews
Of course, it’s not just a story about Thomas. It’s also a story about frightened disciples. So scared, in fact, that, they hid behind locked doors. And who can blame them? They had just witnessed the one they confessed to be the Messiah betrayed by one of his own, tried and convicted by both religious and civil authorities, and then brutally executed. Little wonder they were afraid, assuming that the next step would be to round up Jesus’ followers. But when Jesus comes on the scene, their fear falls away and is replaced by joy… But that’s not the way it works with Thomas. He doubts. He questions. He disbelieves. He’s not satisfied with second-hand reports and wants to see for himself. And again I would say, who can blame him? … do we make room for the Thomases in our world? Because I suspect that their number is legion … And sometimes faith is like that – it needs the freedom of questions and doubt to really spring forth and take hold. Otherwise, faith might simply be confused with a repetition of creedal formulas, or giving your verbal consent to the faith statements of others. But true, vigorous, vibrant faith comes, I think, from the freedom to question, wonder, and doubt … Indeed, I think that if we don’t have any doubts we’re probably not taking the story seriously enough. — David Lose
This is John’s great commission: Jesus breathes on his disciples and tells them to be about the business of forgiveness. John’s commission … does not imply the necessity for conversion of others, but a rebirth of the self. — Jonathan Burkey, aplainaccount.com
Resurrection is relationship. A relationship that will never be broken, that will never be abandoned, that will never know separation, and will forever be. Think this is just a pie-in-the-sky promise? Let’s pause and think about how much a relationship that will never end might mean. We live for and exist in relationships that are not life-giving, that are on the brink of dissolving, that will end, most certainly, because of every fault or no fault of our own. Think about the relationships that have changed over time, that can’t go back to the way they were before, that need to change, but maybe can’t and, in the end, maybe that’s okay. So we exist in tension and frustration and grief because we are not sure how to handle an acceptable demise or how to negotiate what this means for our relationships in the future. Think about the relationships that ended too soon — by terrorist acts, the ruthlessness of illness, the not-so-random events of nature’s reaction to environmental complacency, the sudden separations not planned, never anticipated, and so devastating, for whatever reason and for whatever cause. Our lives exist in, are known through, and defined by broken relationships. But it is not so with our relationship with God. — Karoline Lewis, workingpreacher.org
The spiritual practice of seeking wisdom balanced with the capacity to be foolish in a transformative way … and some reflections on issues facing Veterans, offered from a military chaplain.
Wisdom shows up as a desirable quality to be sought and learned through spiritual discipline in the writings of Solomon and in the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids in Matthew 25. It is something we can reach for. Yet in other texts, we are encouraged to be fools, to cast aside caution and prudence, to take astonishing risks … which spiritual practice do you cultivate?
See notes below in honor of Veterans Day. This song lyric is highlighted by a 3-tour Iraqi war veteran and military chaplain to provoke insight into the perspective of many of our veterans. It may not reflect all experiences, but it deserves our attention.
Wrong Side of Heaven (excerpt)
— Five Finger Death Punch
I spoke to god today, and she said that she’s ashamed.
What have I become, what have I done?
I spoke to the devil today, and he swears he’s not to blame.
And I understood, cuz I feel the same.
Arms wide open, I stand alone.
I’m no hero, and I’m not made of stone.
Right or wrong, I can hardly tell.
I’m on the wrong side of heaven,
and the righteous side of hell …
I heard from god today,
and she sounded just like me.
What have I done, and who have I become.
I saw the devil today, and he looked a lot like me.
I looked away, I turned away!
Arms wide open, I stand alone.
I’m no hero, and I’m not made of stone.
Right or wrong, I can hardly tell.
I’m on the wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side of hell …
I’m not defending, downward descending,
falling further and further away!
I’m closer EVERYDAY!
I’m getting closer every day, to the end.
The end, The end, the end,
I’m getting closer EVERYDAY!
Arms wide open, I stand alone.
I’m no hero, and I’m not made of stone.
Right or wrong, I can hardly tell.
I’m on the wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side of hell …
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. ― Aristotle
Music is … A higher revelation than all Wisdom & Philosophy. ― Ludwig van Beethoven
Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens. ― Jimi Hendrix
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. ― Jalaluddin Rumi
Turn your wounds into wisdom. ― Oprah Winfrey
We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. ― Joseph Campbell
Even strength must bow to wisdom sometimes. ― Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief
In this life we are to become heaven so that God might find a home here. — Meister Eckhart
The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise. ― Maya Angelou
Before God we are all equally wise and equally foolish. ― Albert Einstein
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool. ― William Shakespeare, As You Like It
Risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. ― Leo Buscaglia
The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. ― Socrates
You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm. ― Colette
Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom. ― Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters
It’s a dangerous business … going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to. ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
Love is wise; hatred is foolish. In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don’t like. We can only live together in that way. But if we are to live together, and not die together, we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance, which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet. ― Bertrand Russell
Connecting with Veterans
Rev Brendan also posted a link to this music video “Wrong Side of Heaven” by Five Finger Death Punch (see lyrics above). Brendan says “the words to the song, with various images of war on the homefront and battlefront … messages about the needs that Veterans have,” reflects the feelings of many veterans who served alongside him in Iraq. He asks, “What feeling do you have from watching the video and reading the lyrics to this song?” Rev Brendan says, “Admittedly mine are mixed, but I am provoked and challenged. We must connect, care, and communicate in deeper and more profound ways. The song “Wrong Side of Heaven” gives voice to the feelings many have. The truth is that it is a reality that many are living, now.”
We were once a part of something bigger than ourselves. We were once brothers and sisters in a cause. We need to find each other, take care of each other, in the small things. In the everyday things. We can’t wait for the public to understand. — David Wyckoff, veteran
Those of us who have worn the uniform and stood on the line plead with our fellow civilians to notice us, hear us, talk with us. We are a better nation when that happens. — Veteran
Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
If there really had been a Mercutio, and if there really were a Paradise, Mercutio might be hanging out with teenage Vietnam draftee casualties now, talking about what it felt like to die for other people’s vanity and foolishness. ― Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Hocus Pocus
[Y]ou [man] are fool enough, it seems, to dare to war with [woman=] me, when for your faithful ally you might win me easily. ― Aristophanes, Lysistrata
One of the greatest evils is the foolishness of a good man. For the giving man to withhold helping someone in order to first assure personal fortification is not selfish, but to elude needless self-destruction; martyrdom is only practical when the thought is to die, else a good man faces the consequence of digging a hole from which he cannot escape, and truly helps no one in the long run. ― Mike Norton, Just Another War Story
My father came down not killed
from among others, killers or killed,
for whom he’d worn a uniform,
and he lived a long afterward,
a steady man on the flattest of plains.
I called after him many times, surprised
when I heard the catch in my own voice.
He didn’t know how to find the solace
of listening to someone else speak of
what he’d seen and survived.
He himself closed his own
mouth against his own words.
In the wrong sequence, his spirit,
then his mind, and last his body crossed over …
The War Works Hard — Dunya Mikhail
How magnificent the war is! How eager and efficient! . . .
The war continues working, day and night.
It inspires tyrants to deliver long speeches,
awards medals to generals and themes to poets.
It contributes to the industry of artificial limbs,
provides food for flies, adds pages to the history books,
achieves equality between killer and killed,
teaches lovers to write letters, accustoms young women to waiting,
fills the newspapers with articles and pictures,
builds new houses for the orphans,
invigorates the coffin makers, gives grave diggers a pat on the back
and paints a smile on the leader’s face.
The war works with unparalleled diligence!
Yet no one gives it a word of praise.
Reflections on themes in Exodus 33:12-23 & Matthew 22: 15-22. “Glory” contrasted as the overwhelming presence of God into which Moses was invited in Hebrew scripture, and the glory of empires and governments vs spiritual movements: what do we offer to God and what do we give to other authorities in our lives?
It will be ours, it will be ours …
Formed against, yes glory is destined
Every day women and men become legends
Sins that go against our skin become blessings
The movement is a rhythm to us
Freedom is like religion to us
Justice is juxtapositionin’ us
Justice for all just ain’t specific enough
One son died, his spirit is revisitin’ us
Truant livin’ livin’ in us, resistance is us
That’s why Rosa sat on the bus
That’s why we walk through Ferguson with our hands up
When it go down we woman and man up
They say, “Stay down”, and we stand up
… King pointed to the mountain top and we ran up
It will be ours, it will be ours …
Even Jesus got his crown in front of a crowd
They marched with the torch, we gon’ run with it now
Never look back, we done gone hundreds of miles
From dark roads he rose, to become a hero
Facin’ the league of justice, his power was the people
Enemy is lethal, a king became regal
Saw the face of Jim Crow under a bald eagle
The biggest weapon is to stay peaceful
We sing, our music is the cuts that we bleed through
Somewhere in the dream we had an epiphany
Now we right the wrongs in history
No one can win the war individually
It takes the wisdom of the elders and young people’s energy
Welcome to the story we call victory
The comin’ of the Lord, my eyes have seen the glory
It will be ours, it will be ours
… when it’s all said and done
We’ll cry glory (Glory, glory)
Oh (Glory, glory)
True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written, in writing what deserves to be read, and in so living as to make the world happier and better for our living in it. ― Pliny the ElderAn awake heart is like a sky that pours light. — Hafiz
The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. That’s the essence of it. ― Vince Lombardi Jr.
Never lose a holy curiosity. — Albert Einstein
“Reflecting his glory” means that God is taking the shards of the world and our broken lives and restoring his glory to them. We become a place of intersection where people can meet God as he makes us holy … We may be broken but we are recreatable. — Kevin Scott, Recreatable: How God Heals the Brokenness of Life
The thing about light is that it really isn’t yours; it’s what you gather and shine back. And it gets more power from reflectiveness; if you sit still and take it in, it fills your cup, and then you can give it off yourself. — Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things. Every single creature is full of God and a book about God. Every creature is a word of God. — Meister Eckhart
Glory: Political & Economic via Empires & Governments (Caesar, Pharoah)
Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the numbers of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and the dates. ― Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
… But in me she loves only a shadow and a thought: a hope of glory and great deeds, and lands far … ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but boys, it is all hell. — William Tecumseh Sherman
I do not say that there is no glory to be gained [in war]; but it is not personal glory. In itself, no cause was ever more glorious than that of men who struggle, not to conquer territory, not to gather spoil, not to gratify ambition, but for freedom, for religion, for hearth and home, and to revenge the countless atrocities inflicted upon them by their oppressors. ― G.A. Henty
Soyons fermes, purs et fidèles; au bout de nos peines, il y a la plus grande gloire du monde, celle des hommes qui n’ont pas cédé. Let us be firm, pure and faithful; at the end of our sorrow, there is the greatest glory of the world, that of the men who did not give in. — Charles de Gaulle
But in its de facto alliance with Caesar, Christianity connives directly in the murder of Creation. For in these days, Caesar is no longer a mere destroyer of armies, cities, and nations. He is a contradicter of the fundamental miracle of life. — Wendell Berry