Reflection for the week of April 22, 2013 Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. –Attributed to Calvin Coolidge and read at his memorial service, 1933 ******************************** Can we be like drops of water falling on the stone Splashing, breaking, disbursing in air Weaker than the stone by far but be aware That as time goes by the rock will wear away And the water comes again. –Holly Near quoted in Leading from Within: Poetry that Sustains the Courage to Lead
Reflection for the week of April 16, 2013 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen . . . Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us . . . Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.” – Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews We at The Faith & Politics Institute are lifting up in prayer all those affected by the attack at the Boston Marathon, and are heartened to see the immediate outpouring of generous response to the tragedy.
Reflection for the week of April 8, 2013 “What does power mean to us? Why are most people willing to do almost anything to get it? Even if we are not aware of it, most of us seek to be in positions of power because we believe this will enable us to control our life situations. We believe power will get us what we most want: freedom and happiness. “Our society is founded on a very limited definition of power, namely wealth, professional success, fame, physical strength, military might, and political control. My dear friends, I suggest that there is another kind of power, a greater power, the power to be happy right in the present moment, free from addiction, despair, discrimination, anger, and ignorance. This power is the birthright of every human being, whether celebrated or unknown, rich or poor, strong or weak. “… What most people call power Buddhists call cravings. The five cravings are for wealth, fame, sex, fancy food, and lots of sleep. In Buddhism, we speak of the five true powers, five kinds of energy. The five powers are faith, diligence, mindfulness, concentration, and insight.” –Thich Nhat Hanh, The Art of Power, pages 1 and 15
Reflection for the week of April 2, 2013 “Every breath we draw is a gift of God’s love; every moment of existence is a grace.” –Thomas Merton
Reflection for the week of March 27, 2013 “Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.” –Abraham Joshua Heschel To all our Jewish friends, may this be a blessed and joyful Passover. To our Christian friends, blessings this holy week and Easter. And for every friend of Faith & Politics, may this springtime be a time of renewal and growth for you.
Reflection for the week of March 18, 2013 Lord, make me and instrument of your peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love where there is injury, pardon where here is doubt, faith where there is despair, hope where there is darkness, light where there is sadness, joy O 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 it is in dying that we are born to eternal life Amen. – In honor of the new Pope Francis, this is the peace prayer by St. Francis of Assisi.
Reflection for the week of March 11, 2013 “[Carl] Jung attributes a key importance to the individual. According to him, only a change in the attitude of the individual can initiate a change in the psychology of nations. ‘The great events of world history are, at bottom, profoundly unimportant. In the last analysis, the essential thing is the life of the individual. This alone makes history, here alone do the great transformations first take place, and the whole future, the whole history of the world, ultimately springs as a gigantic summation from these hidden sources in individuals. In our most private and most subjective lives we are not only the passive witnesses of our age, and its sufferers, but also its makers.’” The Way of Individuation by Jolande Jacobi, in An Almanac for The Soul: Anthology of Hope, edited by Marv and Nancy Hiles, p. 62
Reflection for the week of February 25, 2013 “It is true, political problems are not solved by love and mercy. But the world of politics is not the only world, and unless political decisions rest on a foundation of something better and higher than politics, they can never do any real good… When a country has to be rebuilt after war, the passions and energies of war are no longer enough. There must be a new force, the power of love, the power of understanding and human compassion, the strength of selflessness and cooperation, and the creative dynamism of the will to live and to build, and the will to forgive. The will for reconciliation.” From Introductions East & West: The Foreign Prefaces of Thomas Merton
Reflection for the week of February 11, 2013 “While we will not forget the brutality of apartheid, we will not want Robben Island to be a monument of our hardship and suffering. We would want it to be a triumph of the human spirit against the forces of evil; a triumph of wisdom and largeness of spirit against small minds and pettiness; a triumph of courage and determination over human frailty and weakness.” –Ahmed Kathrada With his friend and ally Nelson Mandela, Kathrada endured 18 years of harsh treatment as a political prisoner on Robben Island. He later led the creation of the Robben Island Museum as a monument to peace and reconciliation. Nelson Mandela emerged from prison as mediator, philosopher, and South Africa’s president in waiting on February 11, 1990.
Reflection for the week of February 4, 2013 I have been reading Borges’ ‘Conversations At Eighty’ and was greatly moved by the following: “A poet should think of all things as being given him, even misfortune. Misfortune, defeat, humiliation, failure, those are our tools-we are given mistakes, we are given nightmares-and our task is to turn them into poetry. And were I truly a poet I would feel that every moment of my life is poetic, every moment of my life is a kind of day I have to mould, I have to shape, to lick into poetry. So that I don’t think I should apologize for my mistakes. These mistakes were given me-in order that I might turn them into poetry.” I was re-reading this yesterday and thinking of how the turning of experience into ‘poetry’ could of course happen in so many ways which were not actually poetry. That which Borges says of the actual poet’s task is true for the poetic spirit in everyone-the work of giving form, expression, to everything that happens, thus discovering and revealing meaning, ‘the pattern of the glory.’ Discovering that all experiences, light or dark, are stars and take their place in the … (more)