Monday, February 28, 2011

Strength from Distress ~ Leonardo da Vinci

"I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death" 

~ Leonardo da Vinci




More at  http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/leonardo/

Artwork  Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Chief Purpose of Life ~ Richard B. Gregg,

"Voluntary simplicity involves both inner and outer condition. It means singleness of purpose, sincerity and honesty within, as well as avoidance of exterior clutter, of many possessions irrelevant to the chief purpose of life. It means an ordering and guiding of our energy and our desires, a partial restraint in some directions in order to secure greater abundance of life in other directions."


Richard B. Gregg

The Emptiness and the Purity~Thomas Merton

"When we are alone on a starlit night, when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children, when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet, Basho, we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash - at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the "newness," the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, all these provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance."  


~Thomas Merton




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Merton

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Desire so Strong ~ Abraham Cowley

"I never had any other desire so strong, and so like covetousness, as that.... I might be master at last of a small house and a large garden, with very moderate conveniences joined to them, and there dedicate the remainder of my life to the culture of them and the study of nature. "
 
- Abraham Cowley



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In Memory of A Happy Day in February ~ Anne Bronte

"Was it the smile of early spring
That made my bosom glow?
'Twas sweet, but neither sun nor wind
Could raise my spirit so.

Was it some feeling of delight,
All vague and undefined?
No, 'twas a rapture deep and strong,
Expanding in the mind!"


Anne Bronte ~ In Memory of A Happy Day in February




Monday, February 21, 2011

Eternal Realities ~ Rufus Jones

“The new age cannot live on naturalism or on secularism. Life becomes sterile and futile without the depth and power which come from participation in eternal realities. But this new age cannot any more successfully live on religious faiths that are out of harmony with known truth, or that hang loose in the air, cut apart from the fundamental intellectual culture of the age. The hour has struck for the serious business of rediscovering the foundations, and of inter-penetrating all life and thought with the truths and realities of a victorious religious faith.” 




More at   http://www.philadelphia-reflections.com/blog/970.htm

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Scheming Swindlers ~ Søren Kierkegaard

"The matter is quite simple. The bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.” Soren Kierkegaard" 





— 
Søren Kierkegaard

More at  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_S%C3%B8ren_Kierkegaard

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Earnest in Small Things ~ Jerome

"We marvel at the Creator, not only as the one who made heaven and earth, sun and ocean, elephants, camels, horses, oxen, leopards, bears and lions, but also as the one who made the small creatures: ants, gnats, flies, worms and the like - things whose shape we know better than their names. And as in all creation we revere his skill, so the one whose mind is given to Christ is earnest in small things as in great, knowing that an account must be given even for an idle word."



Jerome (331-420)

A Prayer in Spring ~ Robert Frost



Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.


And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.


For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

Robert Frost 1915

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Ways of God ~ Thomas Traherne

"Till your spirit filleth the whole world, and the stars are your jewels; till you are as familiar with the ways of God in all Ages as with your walk and table: till you are intimately acquainted with that shady nothing out of which the world was made: till you love men so as to desire their happiness, with a thirst equal to the zeal of your own: till you delight in God for being good to all: you never enjoy the world."

— Thomas Traherne



Monday, February 14, 2011

Importance and Dignity ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

"It is a good idea sometimes to think of the importance and dignity of our every-day duties. It keeps them from being so tiresome; besides, others are apt take us at our own valuation. "

— 
Laura Ingalls Wilder




Thursday, February 10, 2011

Beautiful Blendings ~ John Muir

"Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life." 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Open a Window - Hilda Bright Clark

"One thing I understand now is that one's intellect alone won't pull one through, and that the greatest service it can perform is to open a window for that thing we call the divine spirit. If one trusts to it alone, it's like trusting to an artificial system of ventilation -- correct in theory but musty in practice. How I wish it were as easy to throw everything open to the spirit of God as it is to fresh air."


 - Hilda Clark, 1908  





More at  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Bright_Clark

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

For the Oak Tree Within an Acorn ~ John Birch


"For the promise of harvest
contained within a seed
we thank you.
For the oak tree
within an acorn
The bread
within a grain
The apple
within a pip
The mystery of nature
gift wrapped
for us to sow
we thank you"


More at   http://www.faithandworship.com/Praying_through_the_Celtic_Year.htm#ixzz1DMKkyfZW 

The Wisdom of the Worker ~ Anthony of Padua

"Our thoughts ought by instinct to fly upwards from animals, men and natural objects to their creator. If created things are so utterly lovely, how gloriously beautiful must he be who made them! The wisdom of the worker is revealed in his handiwork."


Anthony of Padua

Monday, February 7, 2011

Glue of the Universe ~ Harvey Gillman

"We live in Spirit; it is the glue of the universe; it suffuses all life; it gives whatever meaning there is to our fragile existences; it gives us the connection with all life, if we attend to its promptings. It leads us beyond the individualism of the separated ego to the oasis where we can meet together before the next part of our journey. But most of us are called out of the desert into the bustling market place among the traders, the shakers and the movers; among the beggars and the broken. And it is there that we are called to answer that of God in everyone."






More at  http://www.universalistfriends.org/quf2009a.html

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Decency and Justice ~ Bobby Kennedy

"Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted, when we tolerate what we know to be wrong, when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy or too frightened, when we fail to speak up and speak out, we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice."


— Robert F. Kennedy




Friday, February 4, 2011

Maintaining an Attitude - Scotty McLennan

"Religious life, as a life committed to justice, should never be a deadly serious affair. A sense of humor is one of the most important ingredients of a vital spiritual life. Enthusiasm is another - maintaining an attitude of eagerness and delight in the face of the struggles of life. Enthusiasm can also bring appreciation of the small everyday joys along the way that renew us and fulfill us."

The Rarity of Happiness ~ Edgar A. Collard,

"The art of contentment is the recognition that the most satisfying and the most dependably refreshing experiences of life lie not in great things but in little. The rarity of happiness among those who achieved much is evidence that achievement is not in itself the assurance of a happy life. The great, like the humble, may have to find their satisfaction in the same plain things."

- Edgar A. Collard, 1974



Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Beginning of Humanity ~ Mencius


"The feeling of commiseration is the beginning of humanity; the feeling of shame and dislike is the beginning of righteousness; the feeling of deference and compliance is the beginning of propriety; and the feeling of right or wrong is the beginning of wisdom."




Wednesday, February 2, 2011

At Candlemas ~ Charles Causley

'If Candlemas be bright and clear
There'll be two winters in that year';

But all the day the drumming sun
Brazened it out that spring had come,

And the tall elder on the scene
Unfolded the first leaves of green.

But when another morning came
With frost, as Candlemas with flame,

The sky was steel, there was no sun,
The elder leaves were dead and gone.

Out of a cold and crusted eye
The stiff pond stared up at the sky,

And on the scarcely breathing earth
A killing wind came from the north;

But still within the elder tree
The strong sap rose, though none could see.


(C) The estate of Charles Causley


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Optimism and Hope ~ Doug Muder


"At times like these it is important to remember the difference between hope and optimism. Optimism is an expectation of the future, but hope is a way of experiencing the present. Optimism assures us that the oasis we see in the distance is not a mirage, but hope simply inspires us to keep going. Optimism promises specific outcomes, but hope just says that striving is worthwhile, that whether or not good things will happen, creating opportunity is a good thing in itself.


Optimism often lies, but hope never fails. Optimism argues with the predictions of cynicism and bitterness, and is often proved wrong. Hope rejects cynicism and bitterness as unhelpful, and is perennially proved right.


Hope cares for the eggs without counting the chickens that might come from them. Hope plants as wisely as it can, knowing that the rains and the harvest are uncertain. Hope is—right here and right now, whatever may happen in the future—a better way to live."






More at   http://www.uuworld.org/spirit/articles/175192.shtml?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+uuworld+(uuworld.org:+latest+stories)

We Can Do Nothing - William Penn

"There is nothing of which we are apt to be so lavish as of Time, and about which we ought to be more solicitous; since without it we can do nothing in this World. Time is what we want most, but what, alas! we use worst; and for which God will certainly most strictly reckon with us, when Time shall be no more."


William Penn


What William Cobbett thought of the Quakers

"The Quakers have been urging [the "infamous London press"] on, underhanded. They have, I understand, been bribing it pretty deeply, in order to culumniate me, and to favour their own monopoly; but, thank God, the cunning knaves have outwitted themselves. They wont play at cards; but they will play at Stocks; they will play at Lottery Tickets, and they will play at Mark-lane. They have played a silly game, this time. Saint Swithin, that good old Roman Catholic Saint, seemed to have set a trap for them: he went on wet, wet, wet, even until the harvest began. Then, after two or three day's sunshine, shocking wet again. The ground soaking, the wheat growing, and the'Friends;' the gentle Friends, seeking the Spirit, were as busy amongst the sacks at Mark-lane as the devil in a high wind. In short they bought away, with all the gain of Godliness, and a little more, before their eyes. All of a sudden, Saint Swithin took away his clouds; out came the sun; the wind got round to the East; just sun enough and just wind enough; and as the wheat ricks every where rose up, the long jaws of the Quakers dropped down; and their faces of slate became of a darker hue. That sect will certianly be punished, this year; and, let us hope, that such a change will take place any rate; for, at present, their sect is a perfect monster in society; a whole sect, not one man of whom earns his living by the sweat of his brow. Asect a great deal worse than the Jews; for some of them do work. However, God send us the eaterly wind, for another fortnight, and we shall certainly see some of this sect at work."

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