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Published 9-19-11    The Religion Network publishes every Monday

Annie Dillard, Thomas Merton, "Dawn of New Beginnings," Robert Louis Stevenson


Dear Readers,

Earth drips with emerald leaves and jade rivers;
garnet sunsets and coral sunrises; turquoise day
oceans and diamond-studded onyx midnights.

Peacocks flaunt piercing eyes on iridescent feathers.
Parrots screech colors brighter than clowns, while
small, walnut wrens plead soothing beauty.

Today the world was born again, created anew by
an extravagant, wildly creative God. Today again, He
breathed a vast breath and blew the cosmos into being.

- Lisa

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Photo by Chuck Bowman            All rights reserved

The extravagant gesture is the very stuff of creation. After one extravagant
gesture of creation in the first place, the universe has continued to deal
exclusively in extravagances, flinging intricacies and colossi down aeons
of emptiness, heaping profusions on prolificacies with fresh vigor.
The whole show has been on fire since the word go!

Annie Dillard (1945-      )
Pulitzer Prize winning American author


How the valley awakes. At two-fifteen in the morning there are
no sounds except in the monastery: the bell rings, the office begins.
Outside nothing, except perhaps a bullfrog saying "Om" in the creek
or in the guesthouse pond. Some nights he is in Samadhi; there is not
even "Om." ... The first chirps of the waking day birds mark the "point
vierge" of the dawn under a sky as yet without real life, a moment of
awe and inexpressible innocence, when the Father in perfect silence
opens their eyes. They begin to speak to Him, not with fluent song,
but with an awakening question that is their dawn state, their state at
the "point vierge*." Their condition asks if it is time for them to "be."
He answers "yes." Then, they one by one wake up, and become birds...
Here is an unspeakable secret: paradise is all around us
and we do not understand. It is wide open.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968)
American Trappist monk, contemplative writer, poet.
From "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander"

*The literal translation from French of "le point vierge"
is "the virgin point." The deeper meaning suggests a
rebirth so complete and pure, so devoid of precedent,
that it is virginal each time it occurs. Life is recreated
each moment by the Creator as if it had
never happened before.


Dawn of New Beginnings

O God,
We thank you for this earth, our home;
for the wide sky and blessed sun, for the
ocean and streams, for the towering hills and
  the whispering wind, for the trees and grass green.

We thank you for our senses by which we hear the
songs of bird, and see the splendor of fields of
golden wheat, and taste autumn's fruit, rejoice in the
feel of snow, and smell the breath of spring flowers.

Grant us a heart opened wide to all this beauty;
and save us from being so blind that we pass unseeing
where even the common thornbush is aflame with your glory.

For each new dawn is filled with infinite possibilities
for new beginnings and new discoveries. Life is
constantly changing, renewing itself. In this
new day of new beginnings with God, all things
are possible. We are restored and renewed
in a joyous awakening to the wonder
that our lives are and yet, can be.


The Last Word:

The best things are nearest:
breath in your nostrils,
light in your eyes,
flowers at your feet,
duties at your hand,
the path of God just before you.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
Scottish novelist and poet


























































Utterly Random Bonus Quote:

In the deepest sense, love is the life, the energy of God in us.

Kallistos Ware  (1934 -  )
English, Eastern Orthodox priest and author



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I'm Lisa Bowman, editor
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