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Photo by Chuck Bowman
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Photo: Chuck Bowman
Photo by Chuck Bowman

    Suellen's story is now in the Forum
    At the top of the Home Page:
    --O love, you rule all things...
    --She saw only God...
    --An invitation for animal lovers

    Midway down the page:
    --An interview with Rabbi Goldmark: The Vietnam years
    --The Song of Songs

    For Prayer Warriors who scroll down:
    --Martin Buber explains ecstasy
    --Rumi speaks

          And the Last Word: Nearest of the near
                                                                                                                                                                      


                          



                           The Religion Network
                        Inspirational Sayings for the Day.

                       
                                                     
Photo by Chuck Bowman

     WELCOME! I'm Lisa Bowman. The Religion Network is an interfaith website providing daily inspiration and
    religious resources. Faith and religion are precious gifts that bless. However you worship, I hope this site enhances your
    journey. Please check in daily. Become part of the community by contributing a prayer or a story of your faith.
    Let us meet regularly and build a spiritual network.
         
                                                            If you'd like to know my personal story, click on biography.
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TODAY'S INSPIRATIONAL THEME: In Ecstasy
Support The Religion Network!
If you desire an hour's happiness, take a nap.
If you desire a day's happiness, go fishing. If
you desire a month's happiness, get married.
If you desire a year's happiness, inherit a
fortune. If  you desire a lifetime's happiness,
help someone else.

Chinese proverb
This page changes each weekday.
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Question: How did you wind up an Army Chaplain?

When I became a rabbi in 1969, I was given the option of becoming a chaplain, in
my case it turned out to be in Army, if I was not a conscientious objector. And I
wasn’t…so of my ordination class, a number of us went into the chaplaincy and
served for two years, because the Vietnam War was taking place.

By absolute chance, I was assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia. I went initially to
Chaplain School, which was in Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, New York. After two
months or so, my wife and I…we’d been married a year at this point, drove to
Fort Benning. As it turns out, Fort Benning was, and is, one of the major
headquarters for the United States Infantry. At the time, so many young Jewish
men were being drafted and sent to Vietnam, to the point that I can say to you
today, roughly 35 years after I left Fort Benning, that during the two years that I
served there, I counseled more Jewish men than I have in the sum total of the
35 years since. They were lined up at the door for me, day and night, because of
their fear of death and their fear of going to Vietnam. These were young men
who were at Fort Benning for basic training from major cities in the Northeast,
such as New York, Philadelphia, Boston and so on. And they were just ...
continued
This is a continuation of my interview with Rabbi Lawrence Goldmark of Temple Beth Ohr in
La Mirada. Rabbi Goldmark is Executive Vice President of the Pacific Association of Reform
Rabbis. Today he speaks of his stint as an Army Chaplain during the Vietnam War.
  --Lisa
And now, the Last Word:
Photo: Stephen Bowman
O love, O love! Give me so strong a voice, O my Lord,
so that, when it calls you love, it may be heard from the
East to the West and by all parts of the earth even into
hell, so that you may be recognized and revered as the
true love. O love, you penetrate and pierce, you tear and
bind, you rule all things; you are heaven and earth, fire
and air, blood and water; you are God and man.

Saint Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi (1566-1607)
Italian Carmelite nun who was subject to great ecstasies
Photo by Chuck Bowman
...in an instant I saw myself wholly united with God, transformed into God,
and outside all bodily feeling, so that I would have felt nothing if I had been
thrown into a fiery furnace. I did not know whether I was dead or alive, in
the body or in the soul, on earth or in heaven; I saw only the whole glorious
God in himself, loving himself purely, knowing himself infinitely, embracing
all created things in pure infinite love, a oneness in three, an undivided
Trinity, a God of boundless love, all-exalted in goodness, incomprehensible
and unfathomable; so that I was with him and found nothing more of myself;
only this I saw, that I am in God; but I did not see myself, only God alone.

Saint Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi (1566-1607)
From "Ecstatic Confesssions" by Martin Buber
Harper & Row, 1985
This is Jack, our all-time favorite dog. When he
died suddenly at the end of June, it was devas-
tating, and I confess I'm still grieving. But his
passing has made me once again contemplate
what wonderfully Divine gifts of Love our pets are.
I wish to devote a day or two to them. Do you have
photos of present or past pets that you'd like to
jpeg to me at: Lisa@TheReligionNetwork.com?
All I need along with the jpeg is your name and the
name(s) of your pet(s). You are also invited to
write a spiritually-oriented piece about your pet
for the Forum, if you're so inclined.
--Lisa
Photo by Chuck Bowman
Photo by Chuck Bowman
Communicate your innermost
wisdom to me again in loving
closeness, for Your love is dearer
to me than all earthly delights. Like
the scent of goodly oils is the
spreading fame of Your great
deeds; Your very name is "Flowing
Oil," therefore have nations loved
You. Upon perceiving a mere hint
that You wished to draw me (near),
we rushed with perfect faith after
you into the wilderness.

Song of Songs 1:2-4 (Song of Solomon)
The Stone Edition Tanach, Mesorah Publications
(An allegorical rendering following Rashi
(1040-1105), rabbi and author of the first
comprehensive commentaries on the
Talmud  and the Tanakh)
Photo by Stephen Bowman
Ecstasy is originally an entering into God, enthusiasmos,being filled with the god. Forms
of this notion are the eating of the god; inhalation of the divine fire-breath; loving union
with the god (this basic form remained characteristic of all later mysticism); being
rebegotten, reborn through the god; ascent of the soul to the god, into the god. The
Apostle Paul does not know whether his soul was in the body or outside the body, and the
Jewish sage, Hai Gaon rejects a popular opinion when he says of the adept who has
surmounted the ten rungs of mystical ascent: "Then heaven opens up before him--not in
order that he may ascend into it, but something happens in his heart, whereby he enters
into the contemplation of things divine." And however long the way that leads from him to
the Platonists, to the Sufis, to the German friends of God, the god with whom ecstasy is a
union still lives with them too. Only in the most ancient Indian sayings--and perhaps
afterward in rare utterances of individuals--is the I proclaimed which is one with the
universe, which is unity.

Martin Buber (1878-1965)
Austrian-Jewish philosopher, translator and educator
From his book, "Ecstatic Confessions, The Heart of Mysticism"
Harper and Row, 1985
Jack
The light which shines in the eye
is really the light of the heart.
The light which fills the heart
is the light of God, which is pure
and separate from the light of intellect and sense.

Rumi (1207-1273)
Persian poet and theologian
He is the nearest of the near, the dearest of the dear. Love
Him as a miser loves money, as an ardent man loves his
sweetheart, as a drowning person loves breath. When you
yearn for God with intensity, He will come to you.

Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952)
Indian yogi, founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship
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