Assisi column and steps  

   The Religion Network publishes every Monday, Wednesday & Friday
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Published 5/24/10
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Abraham J. Heschel, Michael J. Himes, Ryan Wilkins


Dear Readers,

I was crying backstage: I'd been covering a role in the LA company of
"A Chorus Line". It wasn't my usual character, but they needed me to
play the role until they could find a replacement. I'd done my best to get
the laughs written into the part; alas, comedy is not my forte. That night
a new cast member had stepped in and the audience was rolling in the
aisles. I was devastated. That's when my older and wiser girlfriend in-
formed me sternly, "You will go to her, give her a hug and congratulate
her on a wonderful performance." I nodded glumly and went to do it.

I'm grateful I followed my dear friend's admonishment. But if I'd had
the graciousness inside of me to begin with, and congratulated my
colleague out of a grace based in the love of God, my action would
have reverberated with power; my conscious heart would've nudged
the world a little closer to the Lord's kingdom and I would have been
been transformed by a kindness I was merely performing instead.

Food for thought.

- Lisa

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rocks and flowers photo
Photo by Lisa Bowman            All rights reserved


A moral deed unwittingly done may be relevant
to the world because of the aid it renders unto others.
Yet a deed without devotion, for all its effects on the
lives of others, will leave the life of the doer unaffected.
The true goal for man is to be what he does. The worth
of a religion is the worth of the individuals living it...

Even before Israel was told in the Ten Commandments
what to do it was told what to be: a holy people. To per-
form deeds of holiness is to absorb the holiness of deeds...

Man is not for the sake of good deeds: the good deeds are for
the sake of man. We must learn how to be one with what we
do...The goal is not that a ceremony be performed; the goal
is that man be transformed; to worship the Holy in order to
be holy. The purpose of the mitzvot is to sanctify man.

Excerpted from "Between God and Man,"
by Abraham J. Heschel
Free Press Paperbacks, 1959

gnarled tree trunk photo
Photo by Chuck Bowman    All rights reserved

I fear that we sometimes play off service and reflection
against one another, as if to question our experience
critically is in some way to sap it of its vitality. That is
an immense mistake...Reflection and action must be
held in tension with one another.

...(U)nless reflection and action are held together, no
truly effective service will be given (except, possibly,
by accident) and no real growth will occur. The deepest
reason for this is that we are called as full human beings
to serve others. Human beings have hearts and heads,
and both must be brought to self-gift. To act as though
one need only be led by the promptings of the heart
is to decapitate oneself. The head has been left out.

Excerpted from "Doing the Truth in Love,"
by Michael J. Himes
Paulist Press, 1949


I have one simple prayer, Lord;
Sanctify me, sanctify me.
I have one simple prayer, Lord;
Sanctify me...

Make me more like you
O my God, O my God.
Make me more like you
O my God, O my God...

Lyrics by Ryan Wilkins

The Last Word:

The more we do for His sake,
the more we receive for our sake.

Abraham J. Heschel (1907-1972)
A leading Jewish theologian of the 20th century





























































Utterly Random Bonus Quote:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately...
and see if I could not learn what it had to teach.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
American author, philosopher and Transcendentalist


Welcome to
The Religion Network!

I'm Lisa Bowman, editor
of The Religion Network,
a multi-faith Web site.
We offer motivational
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Our God So Close

The Real Meaning
of Meekness


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