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The Lenten Blessing — A Franciscan Benediction
May God bless you with Discomfort…
at easy answers,
half–truths, and superficial relationships,
so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with Anger…
at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people
so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with Tears…
to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war,
so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness…
to believe that you can make a difference in their world, so that you
can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen.
–St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, in The Parish Newsletter of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (April 2014); courtesy of Wikiquote
Today is the first Friday of Lent. After what seems to have been an entire year of Lent, may this penitential season be beneficial to us.
“What really is the point of trying to teach anything to anybody?”
This question seemed to provoke a murmur of sympathetic approval from up and down the table.
Richard continued, “What I mean is that if you really want to understand something, the best way is to try and explain it to someone else. That forces you to sort it out in your mind. And the more slow and dim-witted your pupil, the more you have to break things down into more and more simple ideas. And that’s really the essence of programming. By the time you’ve sorted out a complicated idea into little steps that even a stupid machine can deal with, you’ve learned something about it yourself.”
–Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency; courtesy of Wikiquote
The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.
–G.K. Chesterton, A Chesterton calendar Compiled from the Writings of G.K.C. (1911); courtesy of Wikiquote.
The purpose and cause of the incarnation was that He might illuminate the world by His wisdom and excite it to the love of Himself.
–Peter Abelard, as quoted in “The Abelardian Doctrine Of The Atonement” (1892), published in Doctrine and Development : University Sermons (1898) by Hastings Rashdall, p. 138; courtesy of Wikiquote.
A Hebrew belief asserted that if Yahweh lays aside his bow and hangs it in the clouds, this is a sign that his anger has subsided. Other peoples have had similar ideas, based upon the tradition that an archer carries his bow with the ends pointing downward when he wishes to indicate his peaceful intentions.
In ancient classical literature the rainbow sometimes was deified as Iris; at other times it was regarded merely as the route traversed by the messenger of Hera. The conception of the rainbow as a pathway or bridge has been widespread. For some it has been the best of all bridges, built out of three colors; for others the phrase “building on the rainbow” has meant a bootless enterprise. North American Indians were among those who thought of the rainbow as the Pathway of Souls, an interpretation found in many other places. Among the Japanese the rainbow is identified as the “Floating Bridge of Heaven”; and Hawaiian and Polynesian myths allude to the bow as the path to the upper world. In the Austrian Alps the souls of the righteous are said to ascend the bow to heaven; and in New Zealand the dead chieftains are believed to pass along it to reach their new home. In parts of France the rainbow is called the pont du St. Esprit, and in many places it is the bridge of St. Bernard or of St. Martin or of St. Peter. Basque pilgrims knew it as the ‘puente de Roma’. Sometimes it is called instead the Croy de St. Denis (or of St. Leonard or of St. Bernard or of St. Martin). In Italy the name arcu de Santa Marina is relatively familiar. Associations of the rainbow and the milky way are frequent. The Arabic name for the milky way is equivalent to Gate of Heaven, and in Russia the analogous role was played by the rainbow. Elsewhere also the bow has been called the Gate of Paradise; and by some the rainbow has been thought to be a ray of light which falls on the earth when Peter opens the heavenly gate. In parts of France the rainbow is known as the porte de St. Jacques, while the milky way is called chemin de St. Jacques. In Swabia and Bavaria saints pass by the rainbow from heaven to earth; while in Polynesia this is the route of the gods themselves.
In Eddic literature the bow served as a link between the gods and man — the Bifrost bridge, guarded by Heimdel, over which the gods passed daily. At the time of the Gotterdamerung the sons of Muspell will cross the bridge and then demolish it. Sometimes also in the Eddas the rainbow is interpreted as a necklace worn by Freyja, the “necklace of the Brisings,” alluded to in Beowulf; again it is the bow of Thor from which he shoots arrows at evil spirits. Among the Finns it has been an arc which hurls arrows of fire, in Mozambique it is the arm of a conquering god. In the Japanese Ko-Ji-Ki (or Records of Ancient Matters), compiled presumably in 712, the creation of the island of Onogoro is related to the rainbow. Deities, standing upon the “floating bridge of heaven,” thrust down a jeweled spear into the brine and stirred with it. When the spear was withdrawn, the brine that dripped down from the end was piled up in the form of the island. In myth and legend the rainbow has been regarded variously as a harbinger of misfortune and as a sign of good luck. Some have held it to be a bad sign if the feet of the bow rest on water, whereas a rainbow arching from dry land to dry land is a good augury. Dreambooks held that when one dreams of seeing a rainbow, he will give or receive a gift according as the bow is seen in the west or the east. The Crown-prince Frederick August took it as a good omen when, upon his receiving the kingdom form Napoleon in 1806, a rainbow appeared; but others interpreted it as boding ill, a view confirmed by the war and destruction of Saxony which ensued. By many, a rainbow appearing at the birth of a child is taken to be a favorable sign; but in Slavonic accounts a glance from the fay who sits at the foot of the rainbow, combing herself, brings death.
–Carl Benjamin Boyer, The Rainbow: From Myth to Mathematics (1959); courtesy of Wikiquote
I am grateful for what I am & have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite — only a sense of existence. Well, anything for variety. I am ready to try this for the next 1000 years, & exhaust it. How sweet to think of! My extremities well charred, and my intellectual part too, so that there is no danger of worm or rot for a long while. My breath is sweet to me. O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it — for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.
—Henry David Thoreau, in a letter to Harrison Gray Otis Blake (6&7 December 1856), as published in The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau (1958), p. 444; also published in Letters to Various Persons (1865), p. 145, but with a line within this appearing in what has become its most quoted form as “I am ready to try this for the next ten thousand years, and exhaust it.” Courtesy of Wikiquote.
Buddhist concepts have made their way into a lot of the posts I’ve written here. Over the past few months, I have written three posts dealing directly with Buddhism as the main topic. I have ideas for several others, too. I therefore decided that I need to have a dedicated index page for Buddhist topics. Some articles will still be cross-indexed elsewhere, but this will be a one-stop-shop for specifically Buddhist topics.
Most extremely healthy people frequently experience of intense affirmation and certainty; Maslow called these “peak experiences.” No one had made this discovery before because it had never struck anyone that a science calling itself “psychology” and professing to be a science of the human mind (not merely the sick mind), ought to form its estimate of human beings by taking into account healthy minds as well as sick ones. A sick man talks obsessively about his illness; a healthy man never talks about his health; for as Pirandello points out, we take happiness for granted, and only begin to question life when we are unhappy.
–Colin Wilson; courtesy of Wikiquote