What a wonderful evening we had last night, with Brigid leading us after a brief time around the table with cheese and wine (taking some final footage for our video which CMS has requested). Brigid led us inan extremely challenging, thought-provoking and poignant time of reflection and prayer, leading us through Psalm 139 and sharing thoughts from John Henry Newman and others about the way we view things and speak. With differing political allegiences in the group, it was a sensitivly led evening after the events of the last week, and the resignaton of Gordon Brown and the appointment of the coalition government the night before. Here are some of the words shared, though we all appreciated, as much as anything, the silence and reflection and open prayer for country and ourselves and for Tony, Frances and Charlotte once again.
John Henry Newman
There are ten thousand ways of looking at this world, but only one right way. The man of pleasure has his way, the man of gain his, and the man of intellect his. Poor men and rich men, governors and governed, prosperous and discontented, learned and unlearned, each has his own way of looking at the things which come before him, and each has a wrong way. There is but one right way; it is the way in which God looks at the world. Aim at looking at it in God’s way. Aim at seeing things as God sees them. Aim at forming judgments about persons, events, ranks, fortunes, changes, objects, such as God forms. Aim at looking at this life as God looks at it. Aim at looking at the life to come, and the world unseen as God does. Aim at seeing the king in his beauty. All things that we see are but shadows to us, and delusions, unless we enter into what they really mean.
Celtic Parables – Robert Van Weyer
Never mock what others say.
Perhaps their words are full of nonsense.
Perhaps they are trying to puff themselves up.
Perhaps they like hearing the sound of their voices.
Perhaps they are trying to deceive their hearers.
Perhaps they are foolish and dim.
Perhaps they are more clever than wise.
Yet amidst the useless clay
You may find jewels beyond price.
The word of God is in every heart,
And can speak through every voice.
17th Century Nun’s prayer
Give me the ability to see good in unexpected places, talents in unexpected people, and give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so. Amen.
(She also said, I discovered later: Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and on every occasion… with my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but you know Lord that I want a few friends at the end…. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken). Am I alone in finding those words alarmingly easy to identify with?