March 31, 2010

March Thirty-First

ON March 31st in 1855, the author Charlotte Brontë died, aged 39. She had lived in Yorkshire. In one of her books, "Jane Eyre," she wrote:
“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.”

March Thirtieth

O THOU who chastenest whom Thou lovest, grant us grace, we pray Thee, to discern Thy love in whatever suffering Thou sendest us. Support us in patient thankfulness under pain, anxiety, or loss, and move us with pity and tenderness for our afflicted neighbors - amen.


March 29, 2010

March Twenty-Ninth

O LORD our God, who hast chased the slumber from our eyes, and once more assembled us to lift up our hands unto Thee, and to praise Thy just judgments, accept our prayers and supplications, and give us faith that maketh not ashamed, confident hope and love unfeigned; bless our coming-in and going-out, our thoughts, words, and works, and let us begin this day with the praise of the unspeakable sweetness of Thy mercy. Hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come - amen.

-- GREEK CHURCH from Life magazine archives, photo by George Silk, Sept. 1952

March 28, 2010

March Twenty-Eighth

O GOD, my God, I am all weakness, but Thou art my Strength; I am ever anew bowed down by any trial, but Thou canst and willest to life me up. Let me now fall, O God, my Strength; let me not be discouraged, O God, my Hope.
Draw me each day, if it be but a little nearer unto Thee; make me, each day, if it be but a little less unlike Thee; let me do or bear each day something, for love of Thee, whereby I may be fitter for Thee, to behold Thee. Let no day pass, let not tomorrow pass, without my having done something pleasing unto Thee. Thus alone would I live, that I may live more unto Thee; thus would I die, longing to love Thee more - amen.


March Twenty-Seventh

BESTOW on me, O Lord ,a genial spirit and unwearied forbearance; a mild, loving, patient heart; kindly looks, pleasant, cordial speech and manners in the intercourse of daily life; that I may give offence to none, but as much as in me lies live in charity with all men - amen.

-- JOHANN ARNDT (1555-1621)

March 26, 2010

March Twenty-Sixth

O GOD, the Shepherd of all Thy people, deliver the same from all sins which do assail them, that so they may ever be pleasing in Thy sight, and safe under Thy shelter; for Christ's sake - amen.


March 25, 2010

March Twenty-Fifth


WE must cast our bread Upon the waters, as the
Ancient preacher said,

Trusting that it may
Amply be restored to us
After many a day.

That old metaphor,
Drawn from rice farming on the
River's flooded shore,

Helps us to believe
That it's no great sin to give,
Hoping to receive.

Therefore I shall throw
Broken bread, this sullen day,
Out across the snow,

Betting crust and crumb
That birds will gather, and that
One more spring will come.


March 24, 2010

March Twenty-Fourth

O LORD, we beseech Thee to bless and prosper this Thy household; grand us sweet reasonablnes in all our dealings with one another; make us large-hearted in helping and generous in criticizing; keep us from unkind words and from unkind silences. Make us quick to understand the needs and feelings of others; and grant that living in the brightness of Thy presence we may bring Thy sunshine into cloudy places - amen.

photo from Life magazine archives - taken by Bob Landry, Dec. 9, 1940; Los Angeles, Calif.

March 23, 2010

March Twenty-Third

NOW I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

-- taught to me early on by my mother, this prayer used to scare me at night right before I went to bed. What if I *should* die, an uncomfortable feeling when boogeymen and monsters under the bed were my greatest fears. I didn't know anyone who had ever died. Where would I go, where would I be? Would only my soul get to go?

March 22, 2010

March Twenty-Second

"OUR AIM must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding. We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. And that will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man. (Yes)
"I know you are asking today, 'How long will it take?' (Speak, sir) Somebody's asking, 'How long will prejudice blind the visions of men, darken their understanding, and drive bright-eyed wisdom from her sacred throne?'
"Somebody's asking, 'When will wounded justice, lying prostrate on the streets of Selma and Birmingham and communities all over the South, be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men?'
"Somebody's asking, 'When will the radiant star of hope be plunged against the nocturnal bosom of this lonely night, (Speak, speak, speak) plucked from weary souls with chains of fear and the manacles of death? How long will justice be crucified, (Speak) and truth bear it?' (Yes, sir) I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, (Yes, sir) however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, (No sir) because 'truth crushed to earth will rise again.' (Yes, sir) "How long? Not long, (Yes, sir) because 'no lie can live forever.' (Yes, sir) How long? Not long, (All right. How long) because 'you shall reap what you sow.' (Yes, sir)
"How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

-- Martin Luther King Jr., March 22, 1965

March Twenty-First

FOR ALL THIS, thank you. For life, nature, the trees, the wind, the rain and the sun, thank you.

-- the blog author

March 20, 2010

March Twentieth

BLESS us, let us bless others
With kindness, soft words, gentle thoughts
And more kindness.
Accept our neighbors
Accept our differences
Accept our commonality.

-- by the blog author

March 19, 2010

March Nineteenth

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 midair 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 fulfill.

-- Robert Frost
Image taken by photographer Gordon Parks, May 5, 1959

March 18, 2010

March Eighteenth

At The End
...I sat with Rupert. At 4 o’clock he became weaker, and at 4.46 he died, with the sun shining all round his cabin, and the cool sea-breeze blowing through the door and the shaded windows. No one could have wished for a quieter or a calmer end than in that lovely bay, shielded by the mountains and fragrant with sage and thyme.

-- by Rupert Brooke's friend William Denis Browne

March Sixteenth

May the frost never afflict your spuds.
May the leaves of your cabbage always be free from worms.
May the crows never pick your haystack.
If you inherit a donkey, may she be in foal.

-- an Irish blessing

March 17, 2010

March Seventeenth

MAY the blessing of the rain be on you—
the soft sweet rain.
May it fall upon your spirit
so that all the little flowers may spring up,
and shed their sweetness on the air.
May the blessing of the great rains be on you,
may they beat upon your spirit
and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there many a shining pool
where the blue of heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.

May the good earth be soft under you
when you rest upon it,
and may it rest easy over you when,
at the last, you lay out under it,
And may it rest so lightly over you
that your soul may be out
from under it quickly,
and up, and off,
And be on its way to God.

March 15, 2010

March Fifteenth

THESE I have loved: White plates and cups, clean-gleaming, ringed with blue lines; . . . wet roofs, beneath the lamplight; the strong crust of friendly bread; . . . the rough male kiss of blankets; grainy wood; live hair that is shining and free; blue-massing clouds; the keen unpassioned beauty of a great machine; the benison of hot water; furs to touch; the good smell of old clothes . . .


March 14, 2010

March Fourteenth

THE SEAT of the soul is where the inner world and the outer world meet. Where they overlap, it is in every point of the overlap.
There is but one temple in the universe and that is the body of man.


March 13, 2010

March Thirteenth

WE bless and praise and magnify Thee, O God of our fathers, who hast led us out of the shadows of night once more into the light of day. Unto Thy loving-kindness we make our entreaty; be merciful to our misdeeds; accept our prayers in the fullness of Thy compassions, for Thou art our refuge from one generation to another, O merciful and almighty God. Suffer the true Sun of Thy righteousness to shine in our hearts, enlighten our reason, and purify our senses; that so we may walk honestly as in the day, in the way of Thy commandments, and reach at last the life eternal, where we shall rejoice in Thy life. For Thou art the Fountain of Life, and in Thy light shall we see light - Amen.


March 12, 2010

March Twelfth

Aleph's wonderful words:

"Just a slight touch and the whole world will change.
But of course, you have to dare to touch, and get a little wet, catch the chill and hand over a little of your warmth!"

March 11, 2010

March Eleventh

May There Be Peace Within
May you trust your highest power that you are exactly where you are meant to be ... . May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you ... .
May you be content knowing you are a child of God ... . Let this presence settle into our bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of you ...

March Tenth

O God, as Naomi and Ruth journeyed from one land to another seeking a home, we ask your blessing upon all who are homeless in this world. You promised to your chosen people a land flowing with milk and honey; so inspire us to desire the accomplishment of your will that we may work for the settlement of those who are homeless in a place of peace, protection, and nurture, flowing with opportunity, blessing, and hope. Amen.

March 9, 2010

March Ninth

TEACH me, O Father, how to ask Thee each moment, silently, for Thy help. If I fail, teach me at once to ask Thee to forgive me. If I am disquieted, enable me, by Thy grace, quickly to turn to Thee. May nothing this day come between me and Thee. May I will, do, and say, just what Thou, my loving and tender Father, willest me to will, do and say. Work Thy holy will in me and through me this day. Protect me, guide me, bless me, within and without, that I may do something this day for love of Thee; something which shall please Thee; and that I may, this evening, be nearer to Thee, though I see it not, nor know it. Lead me, O Lord, in a straight way unto Thyself, and keep me in Thy grace unto the end - Amen.

Photo of the Champs Elysee by Ralph Crane, Life magazine archives, 1963

March 8, 2010

March Eighth

IF everyone had a father like mine
They would want for nothing.
He had a smile that could melt a cold heart,
He worked hard - too hard - so we could have a roof
Over our heads and clothes on our backs.
We had cow's milk he drained from the animal
Each morning and every evening too.
He took us to the beach and walked in the sand
With us, holding our hands.
He told us to behave ourselves
And we mostly did.
He told us to study hard in school
And we mostly did.
He told us to be honorable people ...
Well, didn't tell us: showed us.
That's what he did.
Today would have been his 97th birthday.
Can that be right? I don't know. I can't believe he's been gone so long.
- the blog author

March 7, 2010

March Seventh

LORD, we commend unto Thee all those about to depart this life, beseeching Thee to grant unto them the spirit of tranquility and trustfulness. May they put their hope in Thee, and, having passed through the valley of the shadow in peace, may they enter into the rest that remaineth for the people of God; through Jesus Christ our Lord - Amen.


March 6, 2010

March Sixth

MAKER and Lover of beauty, we adore Thee for the splendor of the universe. Help us to use its wonders and its loveliness as an open door through which we shall enter into the imperishable beauty of Thy Kingdom - Amen.

March 5, 2010

March Fifth

WHOEVER, whatever is there above, outside or within us, listen to our requests, we ask, and consider them thoughtfully, because sometimes we're really serious and need results. (No offense intended.)

March 4, 2010

March Fourth

O GOD, the Source of perfect blessedness, who dost teach Thy faithful ones to walk in Thy laws, to search Thy testimonies, to keep Thy commands; grant unto us, we beseech Thee, Thy righteousness, that we may seek Thee with our whole hearts; that we, who hither have wandered like lost sheep, restored by Thy kind arms, may rejoice in the glories of Paradise, through Jesus Christ Thy Son - Amen.


March 3, 2010

March Third

BLESS all who worry tonight, sleepless when they should be resting, crying when they should be dreaming, desperate when they should be still, awaiting the peace of morning. Allow the weight to lift from them and ease their burden.

-- by the blog author

March 2, 2010

March Second

Prayer for Those Who Mourn

Exalted and honored, adored and acclaimed be Your name, O Holy One, blessed are You, whose glory transcends all praises, songs, and blessings voiced in the world, and let us say, Amen.

Grant abundant peace and life to us and to all Israel, and let us say, Amen.

May You who establish peace in the heavens, grant peace to us, to Israel, and to all the earth, and let us say, Amen.

May God comfort you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

-- from the Jewish Kaddish for Mourners

March 1, 2010

March First

LORD, we go to our daily work; help us to take pleasure therein. Show us clearly what our duty is; help us to be faithful in doing it. Let all we do be well done, fit for Thine eye to see. Give us strength to do, patience to bear; let our courage never fail. When we cannot love our work, let us think of it as Thy task; and, by our true love to Thee, make unlovely things shine in the light of Thy great love - Amen.