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“We must work unceasingly to uplift this nation that we love to a higher destiny, to a higher plateau of compassion, to a more noble expression of humanness.”

 

—Martin Luther King Jr.

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

 

—Martin Luther King Jr.,  Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.

 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.  Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, . . . in a descending spiral of destruction. . . . The chain reaction of evil—hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars—must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”

 

—Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963.

 

Expostulation and Reply 

"Why, William, on that old gray stone,

Thus for the length of half a day,

Why, William, sit you thus alone,

And dream your time away?

 

"Where are your books?—that light bequeathed

To Beings else forlorn and blind!

Up! up! and drink the spirit breathed

From dead men to their kind.

 

"You look round on your Mother Earth,

As if she for no purpose bore you;

As if you were her first-born birth,

And none had lived before you!"

 

One morning thus, by Esthwaite lake,

When life was sweet, I knew not why,

To me my good friend Matthew spake,

And thus I made reply:—

 

"The eye—it cannot choose but see;

We cannot bid the ear be still;

Our bodies feel, where'er they be,

Against or with our will.

 

"Nor less I deem that there are Powers

Which of themselves our minds impress;

That we can feed this mind of ours

In a wise passiveness.

 

"Think you, 'mid all this mighty sum

Of things forever speaking,

That nothing of itself will come

But we must still be seeking?

 

"Then ask not wherefore, here, alone,

Conversing as I may,

I sit upon this old gray stone,

And dream my time away."

 

 

The Tables Turned 

Up! up! my friend, and quit your books,
Or surely you'll grow double.
Up! up! my friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble.

The sun, above the mountain's head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.
 

Books! 'tis a dull and endless trifle:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There's more of wisdom in it.

And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.
 

One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.

 

William Wrdsworth, Lyrical Ballads, 1798.

It is a morning in January.  And I’m

wondering about dreaming and prayer.

I’m awake sometimes during a dream

and have fallen asleep during prayer.

So that’s not the difference.

 

An American flag blows in the breeze

on a pole beside the house I hate, which is

across from the house with the burning

porch light.  I’ve not noticed that flag before.

Perhaps, it’s a Christmas flag.

 

I mean, one they got for Christmas,

and just now—in the new year—

found the time to put up.  When the wind

stops blowing, the flag disappears.  And then,

all I see is a yard full of trees.

The Breath of God Within Us

When we speak about the Holy Spirit, we speak about the breath of God, breathing in us. The Greek word for "spirit" is pneuma, which means "breath." We are seldom aware of our breathing. It is so essential for life that we only think about it when something is wrong with it.

The Spirit of God is like our breath. God's spirit is more intimate to us than we are to ourselves. We might not often be aware of it, but without it we cannot live a "spiritual life." It is the Holy Spirit of God who prays in us, who offers us the gifts of love, forgiveness, kindness, goodness, gentleness, peace, and joy. It is the Holy Spirit who offers us the life that death cannot destroy. Let us always pray: "Come, Holy Spirit, come."

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