Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ut Unum Sint 1 16 15



Ut  Unum  Sint  [That All May Be One]                                                

 So often down through the past 3000 years religious beliefs have been used as measurements of orthodoxy vs. heresy, causing revolutions and warfare instead of facilitating the seeking and the finding of the Kingdom of God. The current hostilities between Jew and Muslim, Catholic and Orthodox, Christian and Muslim, Catholic and Protestant, Buddhist and Muslim, Scientist and Believer, etc.. have got to stem from a failure to understand the original message of their founders, and a substitution of religious symbols for spiritual reality.The following is a brief sample of prayers, poems, stories and anecdotes which I believe all can understand and accept. I hope that you like at least some of these:               -------------------------------------------------                                         

“ My Lord God,  I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.  Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following  your will... does not mean that I am actually doing so.  But I believe that the desire to please you  does in fact please you.  And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.  I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire  And I know that if I do this  you will lead me by the right path  though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, will  I  trust  you  always  though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.  I will not fear, for you are ever with me,  and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."                  
                                                              {Thomas Merton, The Silent Life}
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 “Life is what happens to you . . .
while you’re busy making other plans” 
                                                              { J. Lennon , "Beautiful Boy"}
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  “Abba Antony said, “ A time is coming  when men will go mad, and when they see someone who  is  not mad,  they will attack him saying, ‘You are mad, you are not like us.’”                                             
                                                   {from The Sayings of the Desert Fathers}
                       ------------------------------
"I had just one desire -  to give myself completely to God. So I headed for the monastery.  An old monk asked me, 'What is it you want?' I said, 'I just want to give myself completely to God.' I expected him to be gentle,  fatherly,  but he shouted at me, 'NOW!!'  I was stunned. He shouted again, 'NOW!'  Then he  reached for a club and came after me. I turned and ran. He kept coming after me, brandishing his club and shouting, 'Now! .... Now!'
That was years ago. He still follows me, wherever I go.
Always that stick,  always that  'NOW!'                                                                                     {Theophane the Monk, Tales of the Magic Monastery}
                             -------------------------
"I sat there in awe as the old monk answered our questions. Though I’m usually shy, I felt so comfortable in his presence that I found myself raising my hand. 'Father, could you tell us something about yourself?'
He leaned back. 'Myself?'  he mused. There was a long pause. 'My name ...   ... used to be...   ...me.  But now...   ... it’s  You.' 
                                                                                                               [Ibid.]
                   ----------------------------
"When an archer is shooting for nothing
He has all his skill,
If he shoots for a brass buckle
He is already nervous.
If he shoots for a prize of gold
He goes blind
or sees two targets -
He is out of his mind!

His skill has not changed,
But the prize divides him.  He cares.
He thinks more of winning
than of shooting -
And the need to win
Drains him of his power"
                                                           {Chuang Tzu, ca. 4th Century BCE}.  
                             -----------------------
"All men will come to him who keeps to the one,
For there lie rest and happiness and peace.
Passersby may stop for music and good food,
but a description of the Tao
Seems  without substance or flavor.
It cannot be seen, it cannot be heard,
And yet, it  cannot be exhausted."
                                                                             {Lao Tzu  ca. 6th century}

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"The wise man has no mind of his own.
He is aware of the needs of others.
He is good to people who are good;
He is also good to people who are not good
Because Virtue is goodness.

The wise man is shy and humble-
to the world he seems confusing
Men look to him and listen-
he behaves like a little child."
                                                                                                           (Ibid.)
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“... but now I tell you,  love your enemies and
pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become
children of your Father in heaven.  For he makes his sun shine on bad and good people alike... And if you speak only to your friends, have you done anything out of the ordinary?  You must be  perfect- just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”                                           
                                                                                          { Jesus  - Mt 5:43}  

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"Very early the next  morning, long before daylight,
Jesus got up and left the house.  He went out of town to a
lonely place,  where he prayed".
                                                                                          { Jesus - Mk 1:35}.
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“For this belongs properly to the nature of love, that the lover will the good of the one he loves."
                                                            { St. Thomas Aquinas  ca. 1270 AD} 
          
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"Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple Host
Who took the Flag today
Can tell the definition
So clear of victory

As he defeated - dying
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Burst agonized and clear!"
                                                                                         [Emily Dickinson]
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                                                PERFECT JOY
“Is there to be found on earth a fullness of joy, or is there no such thing? Is there some way to make life fully worth living, or is this impossible? If there is such a way, how do you go about finding it?

What should you try to do? What should you seek to avoid? What should be the goal in which your activity comes to rest?  What should you accept?  What should you refuse to accept? What should you love? What should you hate?

“What the world values is money, reputation, long life, achievement. What it counts as joy is health and comfort of body, good food, fine clothes, beautiful things to look at, pleasant music to listen to.     

“What it condemns is lack of money, a low social rank, a reputation for being no good, and an early death.
“What it considers misfortune is bodily discomfort and labor, no chance to get your fill of good food, not having good clothes to wear, having no way to amuse or delight the eye, no pleasant music to listen to. If people find that they are deprived of these things, they go into a panic or fall into despair. They are so concerned for their life that their anxiety makes life unbearable, even when they have the things they think they want. Their very concern for enjoyment makes them unhappy.

“The rich make life intolerable, driving themselves in order to get more and more money which they cannot really use. In so doing they are alienated from themselves, and exhaust themselves in their own service as though they were slaves of others.
“The ambitious run day and night in pursuit of honors, constantly in anguish about the success of their plans, dreading the miscalculation that may wreck everything. Thus they are alienated from themselves, exhausting their real life in service of the shadow created by their insatiable hope.

“The birth of a man is the birth of his sorrow. The longer he lives, the more stupid he becomes, because his anxiety to avoid unavoidable death becomes more and more acute. What bitterness! He lives for what is always out of reach!  His thirst for survival in the future makes him incapable of living in the present...

“I cannot tell if what the world considers “happiness” is happiness or not. All I know is that when I consider the way they go about attaining it, I see them carried away headlong, grim and obsessed, in the general onrush of the human herd, unable to stop themselves or to change their direction. All the while claiming to be just on the point of attaining happiness.

“For my part, I cannot accept their standards, whether of happiness or unhappiness. I ask myself if after all their concept of happiness has any meaning whatever.

“My opinion is that you never find happiness until you stop looking for it. My greatest happiness consists precisely in doing nothing whatever that is calculated to obtain happiness:  and this, in the mind of most people, is the worst possible course."
                                                                    -  Chuang Tzu  ( ca 300 BC)
[As edited by Thomas Merton in “The Way of Chuang Tzu” 1965]
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"The only place we can touch Jesus and the Kingdom of God is within us."              [Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh, p. 44]
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In conclusion, I apologize for having left off this list so many quotes which are so helpful and such good counsel as one lives a believing prayerful life. One last reference I must make is to all the work of the last thirty years of Thomas Keating, OCSO.
to select from just one of his books, I would choose his most recent, Reflections on the Unknowable. In it he writes:
"Religion needs to make sure that it is leading and teaching people to go in this direction(i.e., to contemplative prayer). Otherwise, it's not really meeting its purpose and getting too involved in externals, rituals or structures. They are important, but only up to a point; they are not ends in themselves. God can work independently of religion. He has many ways of bringing people to Himself. Some people have been so damaged by religious misinformation or malformation that they can no longer go by that path."[P.58]
 Also: "Here is a formula to deepen and further
 
                                                                            
Charlie Mc