Hang in there. Here’s some wisdom that has crossed my path.
First, this week’s Gospel: John 1:43-51
1:43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”
1:44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
1:45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.”
1:46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
1:47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!”
1:48 Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
1:49 Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
1:50 Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.”
1:51 And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
All forms of taking pride in ourselves have a dangerous potential in the spiritual life. [Thomas Merton] said of himself, ‘If I make anything out of the fact that I am Thomas Merton, I am dead.’ And then he added: ‘And if you make anything out of the fact that you are in charge of the pig barn (a dubious distinction which I had recently received and which I considered to involve some kind of promotion in status) you are dead. The moment you make anything out of anything you are dead.’
To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something, if we remember those times and places – and there are so many – where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
To feed the hungry, clothe the naked and shelter the harborless without also trying to change the social order so that people can feed, clothe and shelter themselves is just to apply palliatives. It is to show a lack of faith in one’s fellows, their responsibilities as children of God, heirs of heaven.
Want to step so quickly
Over a beautiful line on God’s palm
As I move through the earth’s
I do not want to touch any object in this world
Without my eyes testifying to the truth
That everything is
Something has happened
To my understanding of existence
That now makes my heart always full of wonder
I do not
Want to step so quickly
Over this sacred place on God’s body
That is right beneath your
~ Hafiz ~