Assisi column and steps  

   The Religion Network publishes every Monday, Wednesday & Friday
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   Originally published 1-25-10
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Tzvi Freeman, Fred Pratt Green, Michael Shepherd, Annie Dillard


Dear Readers,

Notice how much you notice the first time you see or do something? Maybe it's a
mountain's crags; or the clothing of the people; or the instructions to an appliance.
The first time you do or see something, you pay intense attention to it. You open
wide your physical faculties to perceive it. You allow its impact to play upon your
emotions. You analyze it with a perspective so fresh it affects your very soul.

We can live this in freshness more frequently than we do. Living the inward way
is living in the present, with acute awareness. But one more thing - perceive
the moment with a heart full of wondering love for its Creator and the earthly
element becomes replete with the spiritual Being who endlessly creates it.

- Lisa

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"Pomegranite" painting by Nan Rae
"Pomegranate" by Nan Rae         All rights reserved

At every moment, in each thing, a miracle occurs
far transcendent of even the splitting of the Red Sea:
Existence is renewed out of the void, and a natural
order is sustained where there should be chaos.

Indeed, it is not the miracle that is wondrous,
but the natural order. Does anyone have a good reason
why gravity should behave today the way it behaved
yesterday? Does anyone have a good reason
why there should be anything at all?

From the wisdom of Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson
Words and condensation by Tzvi Freeman
American rabbi, musician and author
Courtesy of

"Winter Berries" painting by Nan Rae
"Winter Berries" by Nan Rae      All rights reserved

For the fruits of his creation,
Thanks be to God;
For the gifts to every nation,
Thanks be to God;
For the ploughing, sowing, reaping,
Silent growth while men are sleeping,
Future needs in earth's safe keeping,
Thanks be to God.

In the just reward of labor,
God's will is done;
In the help we give our neighbor,
God's will is done;
In our world-wide task of caring
For the hungry and despairing,
In the harvests men are sharing,
God's will is done.

For the harvests of his spirit,
Thanks be to God;
For the good all men inherit,
Thanks be to God;
For the wonders that astound us,
For the truths that still confound us,
Most of all, that love has found us,
Thanks be to God.

Hymn lyrics by Fred Pratt Green (1903-2000)
British Methodist minister and hymn writer
Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL

"Preying Mantis" painting by Nan Raes
"Mantis" by Nan Rae         All rights reserved

The Eye of Beauty

Krishna passed that mountain many times;
and yet his followers observed that day
that all his mind was filled with fresh delight
as if he'd never walked, nor seen, that way;

the beauty of the mountain ever new,
the moment of its sight, the world reborn;
the mind surprised by what it always knew:
the beauty past all beauty's name and form.

This is true beauty, in ourself revealed:
a sight that's ever fresh, yet ever known;
which eye sees pure, yet mind too oft
conceals: God's unity, in beauty seen;
all, One;

The moment's grace of beauty, ours all day;
from outward eye the sight of inward Way

Michael Shepherd (b. 1929)
English poet, editor and art critic

The Last Word:

As soon as beauty is sought not from religion and love, but for pleasure,
it degrades the seeker.

Annie Dillard (1945 -    )
Pulitzer Prize-winning American author





























































Utterly Random Bonus Quote:

After returning from the moon in 1969, Neil Armstrong said,
"I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don't intend to waste any of mine."


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