Daily Prayers: March 31, 2016

reitan-marsh5

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Moral Lessons From Natural Facts

All true words fly, as from yon reedy marsh
The crane rings o’er the wild its screaming harsh.
Vainly you try reason in chains to keep;–
Freely it moves as fish sweeps through the deep.

Hate follows love, as ‘neath those sandal-trees
The withered leaves the eager searcher sees.
The hurtful ne’er without some good was born;–
The stones that mar the hill will grind the corn.

All true words spread, as from the marsh’s eye
The crane’s sonorous note ascends the sky.
Goodness throughout the widest sphere abides,
As fish round isle and through the ocean glides.
And lesser good near greater you shall see,
As grows the paper shrub ‘neath sandal-tree.
And good emerges from what man condemns;–
Those stones that mar the hill will polish gems.

Confucius

 

SU STM Daily Prayers

Daily Prayers: March 30, 2016

earth_sky_main

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I Ching Hexagram 08 – Peace, Advance, Unity, Greatness

The Earth’s natural relationship to space is beneath our feet to support us, feed us, give birth to us and to consume us. From the Earth we received all that we can hold, touch, see, taste and hear. Our senses are full of the Earth and we are drawn to explore it and define ourselves by and through it. Where we live, the food we eat, the shape of our bodies and the cultures we are born into are all derived and defined by the Earth from which they arose.

The Sky’s natural relationship to space is above. It opens the gateway to the sun, the planets and the stars and it provides that path through which the birds soar. Our ideas, our intellect, our desire to seek understanding and to organize our concepts, systems and societies are all drawn from our ability to look up and see the celestial majesty of the universe, breathe the air that fills our lungs and feeds our brains and apply the light and fire from the sun to manifest our plans.

The Sky and Earth cannot exist without each other. They need each other and we are the byproduct of the interactions between them. But in this image of Earth over Sky, however, we see the most powerful and intimate presentation of of this relationship. The Earth, in moving downward towards its natural place beneath our feet, and the Sky,n moving upwards towards its natural place above and around us, are brought together within an embracing and seeking that manifests within the Earth all of life, of which we are a part.

For this reason, Earth over Sky is associated with harmony, love, balance, peace and ultimately greatness. Everything within our human cosmos emanates from this union of Earth and Sky, Yin and Yang, Embracing and Seeking. When we disrupt this harmony between the Earth and Sky we disrupt the very foundation of all the systems that sustain us. It is no wonder that we yearn so profoundly for “peace”, “love” and “harmony”. It is no wonder that we see so much beauty within the Earth and throughout the depths of the Sky.

We know that this balance does not always exist. We know that change will have a significant effect upon us. We know that we, ourselves, as individuals and collectively, are only a temporary presence in the long history and evolution of this relationship between the Earth and Sky and we know that it will continue long after we, as individuals and collectively, are gone. But this shouldn’t be seen as a reason to belittle who we think we are or what we think we can do. Everything within the Earth/Sky cosmos has its role. Everything has its place and its moments of clarity, joy and pleasure. This is natural. And it is this that we all have the ability to experience. Those things we do to confuse, destroy and deprive others run counter to the way the Earth and Sky seek and embrace each other.

Perhaps if we spent more time working to share and yield to the natures of the Earth and Sky we would all experience more “clarity”, “joy” and “pleasure” and see (perceive, understand) that this is our own truly natural state.

James Oliver Smith, Jr.

 

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Daily Prayers: March 29, 2016

krishna

Divine Grace

The Vedas and Shastras say that there is no means of attaining God. God is beyond the reach of limited and material senses, mind and intellect, and these are the only three criteria through which a human attains knowledge. Material mind and intellect fail to comprehend even material phenomena, what to speak of God!

Moreover, God possesses innumerable mutual contradictions within Him. He is bigger than the biggest, yet smaller than the smallest. He is without name and form, but also with name and form. He is farther than the farthest, yet nearer than the nearest. God does not take birth, yet takes birth innumerable times. For all these reasons and more, it is impossible to know God with material senses, mind and intellect.

Finding out that God cannot be known, is very disappointing. But the Vedas instill hope in our hearts by clarifying that though He cannot be known through self-effort, yet He can be known through Divine Grace.

When God bestows grace, the material senses, mind and intellect become divine, and then they can see, hear, taste, touch, smell and know God.

http://radhamadhavsociety.org/teachings/essence-of-hindu-philosophy

 

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Daily Prayers: March 28, 2016

cross sunset

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The Embrace of Christ

I have found it very helpful to prayerfully imagine Jesus giving me a big hug. This may sound a little sentimental, but do we not see Jesus doing similar things in the Gospel. Jesus does not refrain from touching and healing those who (because of discrimination) sat on the edges of society. He stoops down to wash the feet of the disciples (cf. Jn 13). Last, but not least, Jesus embraces the small child and places him in the midst of the disciples saying “If anyone receives one such child in my name, he receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me” (Mk 9:36-37).  

The truth is that Jesus constantly shows us the tremendous love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit which is beyond anything we could ever ask or imagine. Christ loved us even before the world began. Do we not celebrate this humble love of God in a special way at Christmas? Jesus identifies Himself with the child and makes Himself totally dependent upon the human love of Mary and Joseph.

Whenever we receive the Eucharist we encounter Christ sacramentally present, body, blood, soul and Divinity. By “embracing” Him and offering our lives with Him to the Father, we grow in love of God and of neighbor. Jesus’ own love – the love which is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us (cf. Rom 5:5) – expands and comforts our hearts. Imagine Jesus giving you a big hug when you receive the Eucharist.

Br. Paschal Mary
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