As the different streams Having sources in different places All mingle their water in the sea, so, O Love, Thy different paths which people take, Through various tendencies, Various though they appear Crooked or straight, All eventually lead to Thee.
Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. Yet, the choice for gratitude rarely comes without some real effort. But each time I make it, the next choice is a little easier, a little freer, a little less self-conscious. Because every gift I acknowledge reveals another and another until, finally, even the most normal, obvious, and seemingly mundane event or encounter proves to be filled with grace. There is an Estonian proverb that says:
"Who does not thank for little
Will not thank for much."
Acts of gratitude make one grateful because, step by step, they reveal that all is grace.
Our cup of sorrow and joy, when lifted for others to see and celebrate, becomes a cup to life . . . Mostly, we are willing to look back at our lives and say: "I am grateful for the good things that brought me to this place.” But when we lift our cup to life, we must dare to say: "I am grateful for all that has happened to me and led me to this moment. This gratitude which embraces all or our past is what makes our life a true gift for others, because this gratitude erases bitterness, resentments, regret, and revenge as well as all jealousies and rivalries. It transforms our past into a fruitful gift for the future, and makes our life, all of it, into a life that gives life.
It is not easy to distinguish between doing what we are called to do and doing what we want to do. Our many wants can easily distract us from our true action. True action leads us to the fulfillment of our vocation. . . . Actions that lead to overwork, exhaustion, and burnout can't praise and glory God. What God calls us to do we can do and do well. When we listen in silence to God's voice and speak with our friends in trust we will know what we are called to do. We will do it with a grateful heart.
Prayer leads you to see new paths and to hear new melodies in the air. Prayer is the breath of your life which gives you freedom to . . . find the many signs which point out the way to a new land. Praying is not simply some necessary compartment in the daily schedule of a Christian or a source of support in time of need, nor is it restricted to Sunday morning or as a frame to surround mealtimes. Praying is living.
A peacemaker prays. Prayer is the beginning and the end, the source and the fruit, the core and the content, the basis and the goal for all peacemaking. I say this without apology, because it allows me to go straight to the heart of the matter, which is that peace is a divine gift, a gift we receive in prayer.
As Rembrandt's life moves toward the shadows of old age, as his success wanes, and the exterior splendor of his life diminishes, he comes more in touch with the immense beauty of the interior life. There he discovers the light that comes from an inner fire that never dies; the fire of love. His art no longer tries to "grasp, conquer, and regulate the visible," but to "transform the visible in the fire of love that comes from his own unique heart."
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