Wager and a Boast
Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.
~ Dr. Albert Schweitzer
Do we still have ...bound feet and tied tongue?
When Ryökan wrote,
"Oh, that my monk's robe
Were wide enough to embrace
The suffering of the world"
He was invited
To recite before the king
And handed a poet's crown.
If Ryökan pounded
On the emperor's palace gates
And from his monk's robe poured
An eighteen-year-old boy maimed in battle
A hungry child with an empty rice bowl
Prisoners on death row
Missiles of mass murder
Women with bound feet and tied tongue
Then Ryökan becomes
A dangerous revolutionary
And is hanged by royal decree.
— Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB
There are hundreds of paths up the mountain,
all leading in the same direction,
so it doesn't matter which path you take.
The only one wasting time is the one
who runs around and around the mountain,
telling everyone else that their path is wrong.
— Hindu Teaching
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please,
not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep,
but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine.
I don't want enough of Him to make me love a black man
or pick beets with a migrant.
I want ecstacy, not transformation;
I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth.
I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
— Wilbur Rees
Teaching a Child the Art of Confession
by David Shumate
from High Water Mark: Prose Poems © University of Pittsburgh Press
It is best not to begin with Adam and Eve. Original Sin is
baffling, even for the most sophisticated minds. Besides,
children are frightened of naked people and apples. Instead,
start with the talking snake. Children like to hear what animals
have to say. Let him hiss for a while and tell his own tale.
They'll figure him out in the end. Describe sin simply as those
acts which cause suffering and leave it at that. Steer clear of
musty confessionals. Children associate them with outhouses.
Leave Hell out of the discussion. They'll be able to describe it
on their own soon enough. If they feel the need to apologize
for some transgression, tell them that one of the offices of the
moon is to forgive. As for the priest, let him slumber a while more.
A PRAYER FOR THE WORLD
Let the rain come and wash away
the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations.
Let the rain wash away the memory
of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out and
fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the Sun heal us
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that
we can see beyond labels,
beyond accents, gender, or skin color.
Let the warmth and brightness
of the Sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and
feel the sorrows of our neighbors.
And let the light of the Sun
be so strong that we will see all
people as our neighbors.
Let the Earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.
— Rabbi Harold S. Kushner
It will yet be the proud boast of women that they never contributed a line to the Bible.
— George W. Foote