I have come home at last!
This is my real country!
I belong here.
This is the land I have been looking for all my life,
though I never knew it till now…
Come further up, come further in!
Then two wonders happened at the same moment.
One was that the voice was suddenly joined by other voices;
more voices than you could possibly count.
They were in harmony with it, but far higher up the scale: cold, tingling, silvery voices.
The second wonder was that the blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars.
They didn’t come out gently one by one, as they do on a summer evening.
One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand,
thousand points of light leaped out –
single stars, constellations, and planets, brighter and bigger than any in our world.
There were no clouds.
The new stars and the new voices began at exactly the same time.
If you had seen and heard it, as Digory did,
you would have felt quite certain that it was the stars themselves which were singing,
and that it was the First Voice, the deep one,
which had made them appear and made them sing.
Safe?” said Mr. Beaver.”Who said anything about safe?
‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.
He’s the King, I tell you.
But I cannot tell that to this old sinner,
and I cannot comfort him either;
he has made himself unable to hear my voice.
If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings.
Oh, Adam’s son,
how cleverly you defend yourself against all that might do you good!
C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia
The Road Home – Emerald Depths
It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us;
it is the very sign of His presence.
And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history —
money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery —
the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God
which will make him happy.
My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust.
But how had I got this idea of just and unjust?
A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.
What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?
The irony is that while God doesn’t need us but still wants us,
we desperately need God but don’t really want Him most of the time.
It might be a good idea if, like the White Queen,
we practiced believing six impossible things every morning before breakfast,
for we are called on to believe what to many people is impossible.
Instead of rejoicing in this glorious “impossible” which gives meaning and dignity to our lives,
we try to domesticate God,
to make his mighty actions comprehensible to our finite minds.
What the soul hardly realizes is that, unbeliever or not,
his loneliness is really a homesickness for God.
Dom Hubert Van Zeller
Lent is a tree without blossom, without leaf,
Better than blackthorn in its winter sleep,
All unadorned. Unlike Christmas which decrees
The setting-up, the dressing-up of trees.
Lent is a taking down, a stripping bare,
A starkness after all has been withdrawn
Of surplus and superfluous,
Leaving no hiding place, only emptiness
Between black branches, a most precious space
Before the leaf, before the time of flowers;
Lest we should see only the leaf, the flower,
Lest we should miss the stars.
Sightseers into Pilgrims
I used to think –
loving life so greatly –
that to die would be
like leaving a party
before the end.
Now I know that the party
is really happening
that the light and the music –
escaping in snatches
to make the pulse beat
and the tempo quicken –
come from a long way away.
And I know too
that when I get there
the music will never end.
Even if there is only one possible unified theory,
it is just a set of rules and equations.
What is it that breathes fire into the equations and
makes a universe for them to describe?
The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model
cannot answer the questions
of why there should be a universe for the model to describe.
Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?
Science is not only compatible with spirituality;
it is a profound source of spirituality.
When we recognize our place in an immensity of light‐years
and in the passage of ages,
when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life,
then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined,
is surely spiritual.
So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature,
or acts of exemplary selfless courage
such as those M. Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr.
The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive
does a disservice to both.
Science investigates; religion interprets.
Science gives man knowledge, which is power;
religion gives man wisdom, which is control.
Science deals mainly with facts;
religion deals mainly with values.
The two are not rivals.
Martin Luther King Jr.
It would be possible to describe everything scientifically,
but it would make no sense;
it would be without meaning,
as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure.
The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster
than society gathers wisdom.
The most exciting phrase to hear in science,
the one that heralds the most discoveries,
is not “Eureka!” (I found it!) but ‘That’s funny…’
Pierre-Auguste Renoir – Woman with a Parasol in a Garden, 1875
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth
find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.
There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature –
the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.
We know that God is everywhere;
but certainly we feel His presence most
when His works are on the grandest scale spread before us;
and it is in the unclouded night-sky,
where His worlds wheel their silent course,
that we read clearest His infinitude,
His omnipotence, His omnipresence.
We need the tonic of wildness…
At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things,
we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable,
that land and sea be indefinitely wild,
unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable.
We can never have enough of nature.
Henry David Thoreau
The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses
are still truly adjusted to each other;
who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood.
His intercourse with heaven and earth,
becomes part of his daily food.
In the presence of nature,
a wild delight runs through the man,
in spite of real sorrows…
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Jean Baptiste Oudry – Ducks Resting in Sunshine, 1753
When God had finished the stars and whirl of coloured suns
He turned His mind from big things to fashion little ones;
Beautiful tiny things (like daisies) He made them, and then
He made the comical ones in case the minds of men
Should stiffen and become
Dull, humourless and glum,
And so forgetful of their Maker be
As to take even themselves – quite seriously.
Caterpillars and cats are lively and excellent puns:
All God’s jokes are good – even the practical ones!
And as for the duck, I think God must have smiled a bit
Seeing those bright eyes blink on the day He fashioned it.
And He’s probably laughing still at the sound
that came out of its bill!
Gauguin – Landscape with Dog 1903
You ever feel
dat 6 o’clock feeling
6 o’clock shadow falling
wrapping you up
mekkin you stop
bout all dese tings
6 o’clock bee calling
all dem tree
tekking strange, strange shape
and stan up
sharp! sharp! gainst dat sky
you know dem 6 o’clock colour
pink an orange an blue an purple an black
dat 6 o’clock feeling
mekkin you feel like touchin
mekkin you feel so small
you could cry
or fall down pun your knee
and thank God
you could still
see de 6 o’clock sky
If I can put one touch of rosy sunset
into the life of any man or woman,
I shall feel that I have worked with God.
Nikolay Dubovskoy – Rainbow
To believe is to know that
every day is a new beginning.
Is to trust that miracles happen,
and dreams really do come true.
To believe is to see angels
dancing among the clouds,
To know the wonder of a stardust sky
and the wisdom of the man in the moon.
To believe is to know
the value of a nurturing heart,
The innocence of a child’s eyes
and the beauty of an aging hand,
for it is through their teachings we learn to love.
To believe is to find the strength
and courage that lies within us
When it’s time to pick up
the pieces and begin again.
To believe is to know
we are not alone,
That life is a gift
and this is our time to cherish it.
To believe is to know
that wonderful surprises are just
waiting to happen,
And all our hopes and dreams are within reach.
If only we believe.
Finally unafraid to be free,
Ready to surrender all the illusions of
recognition and external securities,
Living off the sky and earth like soaring
eagles and braying burros,
Trusting in a Power even beyond Dow Jones
and hoarded retirement.
Finally ready to live like the noble animal that I am-
Without masters or servants, with dignity dependent on no one,
Content to know that I am God’s child, and
only good has been prepared for me.
When I am not afraid to release all that my life
and culture taught me to prize.
To abandon fears once and for all, to discard the
anxieties of a lifetime like a suit that no longer fits,
To be afraid of no one, beholden to no one,
dependent on no one
Save the few who know and love me as I am,
and the God Who alone gives meaning and joy
to the madness of my life.
James Kavanaugh, There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Take time to think – it is the source of power.
Take time to play – it is the secret of perpetual youth.
Take time to read – it is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to dream – it is hitching your wagon to a star.
Take time to pray – it is the greatest power on earth.
Take time to love and be loved – it is a God-given privilege.
Take time to be friendly – it is the road to happiness.
Take time to laugh – it is the music of the soul.
Take time to give – it is too short a day to be selfish.
Take time to work – it is the price of success.
Old English Prayer