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    For Prayer Warriors who scroll down:
    --St. Francis' definition of perfect joy
    --Paramahansa Yogananda: Blossoms of forgiveness

    And the Last Word: A swami thinks carefully

               WELCOME! I'm Lisa Bowman.
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For you diehards:

A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey.

--Traditional Sufi saying.
--Matthew 5:9-11
The Holy Bible, King James Version

And now, the Last Word:
Photo: Stephen Bowman
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall
be called the children of God. Blessed are
they which are persecuted for righteousness'
sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you,
and persecute you, and say all manner of
evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice,
and be exceeding glad: for great is your
reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the
prophets which were before you.
I will be truthful.
I will suffer no injustice.
I will be free from fear.
I will not use force.
I will be of good will to all men.
--Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
Founder of the Indian Independence Movement, he is known as the "Father of the Nation" in India.
Photo: Stephen Bowman
You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and
hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for
those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father
who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the
good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love
those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax
collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren what
more are you doing than others?
--Matthew 5:43-47
The Holy Bible Revised Standard Edition
"Brother Leo, God's Little Sheep, take your pen. I am going to
dictate something to you," declared Francis.
"I am ready, Father."
"You are going to write what perfect joy is."
"Gladly, Father!"
..."I'll tell you. Supposing that in the winter, coming back
from Perugia, I arrive in pitch darkness at the Portiuncula.
Icicles are clinging to my habit and making my legs bleed.
Covered with mud and snow, starving and freezing, I shout
and knock for a long time. 'Who is there?' asks the porter,
when he finally decides to come. 'It is I, Brother Francis.' But
he doesn't recognize my voice. 'Off with you, prankster!' he
replies. 'This is no time for jokes!' I insist, but he won't listen.
'Will you be off, you rascal? There are enough of us without
you...Smart men like us don't need idiots like you around...'"
"Once more I beg him not to leave me outside on a night like
that, and implore him to open up. He opens up, all right. 'Just
you wait, impudent cur! I'll teach you some manners!'
And grabbing a knobby club, he jumps on me, seizes me by
the hood, and drags me through the snow, beating me and
wounding me with all the knobs in his cudgel...Well, Leo, if I
am able to bear all this for love of God, not only with patience
but with happiness, convinced that I deserve no other
treatment, know, remember, and write down on your paper,
God's Little Sheep, that at last I have found perfect joy."
St. Francis Cathedral
Assisi, Italy
The following is from Omar Englebert's book, "St. Francis of
Assisi: A Biography," first published in French in 1947. This
excerpt details an exchange between Francis and Brother Leo, to
whom he frequently dictated.
Let the ugliness of unkindness in others impel me to make myself
beautiful with loving-kindness.

May harsh speech from my companions remind me to use sweet
words always. If stones from evil minds are cast at me, let me send
in return only missiles of goodwill.

As a jasmine vine sheds its flowers over the hands delivering ax
blows at its roots, so, on all who act inimically toward me may I
shower blossoms of forgiveness.
--Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952)
Founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship
From 'Whispers form Eternity'
Photo by Stephen Bowman
We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what
you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.
--Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)
Indian Hindu spiritual leader