Monday, June 15, 2009

A beautiful prayer for daily spiritual renewal

“O merciful God, fill our hearts, we pray, with the graces of your Holy Spirit; with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. Teach us to love those who hate us; to pray for those who despitefully use us; that we may be the children of your love, our Father, who makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. In adversity grant us grace to be patient; in prosperity keep us humble; may we guard the door of our lips; may we lightly esteem the pleasures of this world, and thirst after heavenly things; through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Prayer of Anselm, 1033-1109 AD)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Beauty of Literature

Good day! 

I'm currently in summer school at the Abbey as most of you know and I just wanted to let you in on a little tidbit of the joy that my imagination delights in through the gift of American literature. Imagine you are about to enter into a forest. You get out of your car or off your bike, walk up to the trailhead and upon a tree there rests a sign, crudely carved onto an old piece of driftwood. It reads: 

"Stranger, if thou hast learned a truth which needs
No school of long experience, that the world 
Is full of guilt and misery, and hast seen 
Enough of all its sorrows, crimes, and cares, 
To tire thee of it, enter this wild wood
And view the haunts of nature. The calm shade
Shall bring a kindred calm, and the sweet breeze
That makes the green leaves dance, shall waft a balm
To thy sick heart. Though wilt find nothing here
Of all that pained thee in the haunts of men, 
And made thee loathe thy life. The primal curse
Fell, it is true, upon the unsinning earth, 
But not in vengance. God hath yoked to guilt
Her pale tormentor, Misery. Hence these shades
Are still the abode of gladness; the thick roof 
Of green and stirring branches is alive 
And musical with birds, that sing and sport
In wantonness of spirit; while below
The squirrel, with raised paws and form erect, 
Chirps merrily. Throngs of insects in the shade 
Try their thin wings and dance in the warm beam. 
That waked them into life. Even the green trees
Partake the deep contentment; as they bend 
To the soft winds, the sun from the blue sky 
Looks in and sheds a blessing on the scene. 
Scarce less the cleft-born wildflower seems to enjoy
Existence, than the winged plunderer
That sucks its sweets. The mossy rocks themselves, 
And the old and ponderous trunks of prostrate trees
That lead from knoll to knoll a causeway rude, 
Or bridge the sunken brook, and their dark roots, 
With all their roots upon them, twisting high, 
Breathe fixed tranquility. The rivulet
Sends forth glad sounds, and tripping o'er its bed
Of pebbly sands, or leaping down the rocks
Seems, with continuous laughter, to rejoice
In its own being. Softly tread the marge, 
Lest from her midway perch thou scare the wren
That dips her bill in water. The cool wind, 
That stirs the stream in play, shall come to thee, 
Like one that loves thee nor will let thee pass
Ungreeted, and shall give its light embrace.

Inscription for the Entrance to a Wood - William Cullen Bryant

If you had trouble reading it, go back and reread it. Read it according to the punctuation, not the line breaks. 
This poem brings me so much joy! Think of the rivulet (a small brook or stream) that "sends forth glad sounds, and tripping o'er its bed of pebbly sands, or leaping down the rock seems, with continuous laughter, to rejoice in its own being." WHOA! I spent last summer as a camp counselor and this poem takes me back to so many places and so many times when I sat upon rocks amidst the stream just listening to the river. God bless your day! I hope this poem brought you some peace or a much needed break from work.