Assisi column and steps  

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Story of the plastic pearls, Helen Keller, Thomas a Kempis,
Book of Matthew, Book of Isaiah, Anne Lamott


Dear Readers,

I think that down deep, I'm less than thoroughly convinced that God has
my best interests at heart. Why else would I feel compelled to spell out
for him all the things I want? Is he Santa Claus that I need to write up a
wish list? Surely if I trusted that he wants to give me "all good things,"
I'd completely let go of desires and attachments; sit back and revel
in the mercy and kindnesses he so freely gives.

Besides, he has much more exquisite taste in gifts than I.
He wants to give us more splendid things than we can imagine.
Let's not settle for the cheap temporal when he offers us
the genuine beauty of the everlasting.
Father knows best!

- Lisa

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detail: Vermeer's Woman with Pearl Necklace
Detail: Woman With a Pearl Necklace  
    Johannes Vermeer

Note from Lisa: I'd like to take credit for this story, but I can't. I heard it in church.
Thank you, Fr. Chris.


A father once gave his little girl a plastic pearl necklace.
Even though it was only plastic, she loved it so much,
she wore it to bed every night.

One night, after reading her a bedtime story, the father asked,
"Honey, will you give me your pearl necklace?" The little girl giggled.
She knew he had to be teasing...after all, she loved that necklace.

The next night, though, the father asked again: "Sweetie, will you give me
your necklace?" The little girl clung to her necklace and said, "Daddy,
boys don't wear necklaces!" But her laugh was a little uncertain.

On the third night, the father asked yet again for the necklace. The little
girl's eyes welled up with fat tears. Her chin trembled. She was deeply
torn between her attachment to her plastic necklace and her love
for her daddy. Finally, choking back sobs, she took
off the necklace and placed it in his hands.

The father tucked the necklace into a pocket. He kissed her and said,
"Thank you, precious child." Then he reached into his other pocket,
drawing out a blue velvet box. He pried open the top and placed the
box on her lap.
Inside lay a beautiful string of pearls. Real ones.



When one door of happiness closes, another opens;
but often we look so long at the closed door that we
do not see the one which has been opened for us.

Helen Keller (1880-1968)
American author, lecturer
First deaf/blind to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree


Grant me, O Lord, to know what I ought to know, to love
what I ought to love, to praise what delights you most,
to value what is precious in your sight.

Thomas à Kempis (ca. 1380-1471)
German monk and author

detail: Vermeer's Girl With a Pearl Earring
Detail: Girl With a Pearl Earring 
   Johannes Vermeer

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
looking for fine pearls. When he found one of
great value, he went away and sold every-
thing he had and bought it.

Matthew 13:44-46
The Holy Bible
New International Version


O afflicted one, storm-battered and unconsoled,
I lay your pavements in carnelians,
and your foundations in sapphires;
I will make your battlements of rubies,
your gates of carbuncles,
and all your walls of precious stones.

Isaiah 54:11-12
New American Bible

The Last Word:

I've seen prayers answered. But often, in my
experience, if you get what you pray for,
you've really shortchanged yourself.

Anne Lamott (1954 -   )
American author and political activist

































































Utterly Random Bonus Quote:

"Unimportant, of course, I meant," the king hastily said,
and went on to himself in an undertone, 'important -
unimportant - important -' as if he were trying
which words sounded best."

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)
English; author of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"


Welcome to
The Religion Network!

I'm Lisa Bowman, editor
of The Religion Network,
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