Leaves of Faith

The human race is a single being

The human race is a single being Created from one jewel If one member is struck All must feel the blow Only someone who cares for the pain of others Can truly be called human

- Saadi, circa 1200-1291

 

My Symphony

To live content with small means.
To seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion.
To be worthy not respectable,
and wealthy not rich.
To study hard, think quietly, talk gently,
act frankly, to listen to stars, birds, babes,
and sages with open heart, to bear all cheerfully,
do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never.
In a word, to let the spiritual,
unbidden and unconscious,
grow up through the common.
This is to be my symphony.

-Wiliam Henry Channing

O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit.

O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Purify my heart. Illumine my powers. I lay all my affairs in Thy hand. Thou art my Guide and my Refuge. I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being. O God! I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me. I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.

 O God! Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself. I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord.

 - 'Abdu'l-Bahá

 

Faith versus Works

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

James 2:14-26

 

The Sheep and the Goats

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'


"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Matthew 25: 31-46

 

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed by thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
They will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not unto temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

Amen.

 

Passover Prayer

May the light we now kindle
Inspire us to use our powers
To heal and not to harm,
To help and not to hinder,
To bless and not to curse,
To serve you, Spirit of freedom.

 

- Passover Haggadah

 

O God to whom we pray for truth

O God to whom we pray for truth, be with us in out trembling lest we find it. We fear its light; our lives are full of shadows: what shall we do for shelter when we stand before the brightness of truth? We do not want, O God, the truth that troubles us and seeks to save us; we look for truth that brings us safety, comfort and repose. . . . We do not want the truth that tells of a world of human wretchedness, with wrongs to be set right and justice calling us to serve it. For if we see this truth, we must admit our own betrayals: our callousness and our cowardice, our evasions and our love of ease. We do not seek at all the truth of conscience. We want Thee in thy tenderness, Thy loving kindness . . . What shall we do, O Spirit of the Holy and Highest? What shall we do to be saved?

- A. Powell Davies

 

Bodhisattva Prayer

From now on, until I achieve enlightenment, I rely on you.
Please give me wisdom to escape samsara.

If I am supposed to get sick, let me get sick, and I’ll be happy.
May this sickness purify my negative karma
and the sickness of all sentient beings

If I am supposed to be healed, let all my sickness
and confusion be healed, and I’ll be happy.
May all sentient beings be healed and filled with happiness.

If I am supposed to die, let me die, and I’ll be happy.
May all the delusion and causes of suffering of beings die.

If I am supposed to live a long life, let me live a long life, and I’ll be happy.
May my life be meaningful in service to sentient beings.

If my life is cut short, let it be cut short, and I’ll be happy.
May I and all others be free from attachment and aversion.

Spiritual Window-Shoppers

These spiritual window-shoppers,
who idly ask, 'How much is that?' Oh, I'm just looking.
They handle a hundred items and put them down,
shadows with no capital.

What is spent is love and two eyes wet with weeping.
But these walk into a shop,
and their whole lives pass suddenly in that moment,
in that shop.

Where did you go? "Nowhere."
What did you have to eat? "Nothing much."

Even if you don't know what you want,
buy something, to be part of the exchanging flow.

Start a huge, foolish project,
like Noah.

It makes absolutely no difference
what people think of you.

- Jalaluddin Rumi 

 

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