We walked through a field of wheat, a little Child and I. His face was as fair as the dawn, his eyes as bright as the sky. O’er hillside and valley we went, through blossom strewn meadow and glade. He held my hand as I told him the names of the flowers that he had made. We worked at the carpenter’s bench, a beautiful Child and I. The air was still as the star light, and the Mother of Grace was nigh. The burden of labor and toil were sweet, though hard was my trade, for I taught the heavenly Child to use the tools which he had made. We gathered for eventide prayer, a Child, the mother and I. The only sound was the vesper song of the birds that were flying by. We gazed at the sinking sun as the light began to fade and saw a flame from the heart of the Child by whose power all things were made.
Carmel of Terre Haute
All my soul to God I raise, be my guardian all my days. Confident in hope I rest, daily prove your path is best. Ever work in me your will, faithful to your promise still. Sheltered safe when troubles fret, trusting God I triumph yet! Undismayed in him I stand, victor only by his hand. Worship, homage, love and praise, all my soul, to God I raise.
Timothy Dudley Smith
It is not necessary to be always in church to be with God, we can make a private chapel of our heart where we can retire from time to time to commune with him, peacefully, humbly, lovingly. Everyone is capable of these intimate conversations with God, some more, others less; he knows what we can do. Let us begin – perhaps he is only waiting for a single generous resolution from us.
Lawrence of the Resurrection
A quarter century ago a black social worker, Roger Wilkins had this experience in Cleveland. “If you went into that house it was like going into a coffin. The people were white and they were pale, and they had blue numbers on their arms. The house smelled like death because the people were scared to go out, and they wouldn’t let anybody come in. They only let me come in because I was the man with the money. The woman had been in Auschwitz, the man had been in some other, less well known camp, and somehow they had survived; somehow they had married; somehow they’d come to Cleveland; somehow I was the government; and I was a kid. Of course, I’d known about the war. I’d had friends at school in Harlem who had been refugees from Germany. But I had never seen that evil in its face that way before. After awhile, I gained their confidence. One day I heard, I swear to you this is true, a scratching inside a closet, and I asked, ’what is that in that closet?’ And then I opened the door and there was a kid in the closet. The worst looking, most malnourished kid I ever saw. It was their child, and they were afraid to bring that child out of the closet because they thought Hitler would come from the grave and burn that child. I said, you can’t do this. You can’t inflict the pain of history on this child. I will help you find a school for this child. I did. . . .”
Speaking Out, Civil Rights Quarterly, Spring, 1980
I carry a cross in my pocket, a simple reminder to me, of the fact that I am a Christian no matter where I may be. This little cross is not magic, nor is it a good luck charm. It isn’t meant to protect me from every physical harm. It’s not for identification for all the world to see. It’s simply an understanding between my Savior and me. When I put my hand in my pocket to bring out a coin or a key, the cross is there to remind me of the price he paid for me It reminds me, too, to be thankful for my blessings day by day and to strive to serve him better in all that I do and say. It’s also a daily reminder of the peace and comfort I share with all who know my Master and give themselves to his care. So, I carry a cross in my pocket, reminding no one but me, that Jesus Christ is the Lord of my life, if only I’ll let him be.
Verna Mae Thomas
Lord, may my heart overflow with compassion, so I might emulate the sacrificial love you showed for all people in your hour of suffering. May those I encounter come to know you through the love I show to them in word and deed. Grant me a heart of understanding so that I might not judge others, but rather walk with them on the path you are guiding them along. And may I always strive to be an example of patience and forbearance, carrying compassion in my heart as a constant witness to your merciful ways. Amen
You are not what you do, although you do a lot. You are not what you have collected in terms of friendships and connections, although you might have many. You are not the popularity that you have received. You are not the success of your work. You are not what people say about you, whether they speak well or whether they speak poorly about you. All these things that keep you quite busy, quite occupied, and often quite preoccupied, are not telling the truth about who you are. I am here to remind you in the name of God that you are the beloved daughters and sons of God, and that God says to you, “I have called you from all eternity and you are engraved from all eternity into the palms of my hands. You are mine. You belong to me, and I love you with an everlasting love.”
No one has ever laughed at a pun who did not see in the one word a twofold meaning. To materialists this world is opaque, like a curtain; nothing can be seen through it. A mountain is just a mountain, sunset just a sunset. But to poets, artists, and saints, the world is transparent like a window pane. It tells of something beyond. For example, a mountain tells of the power of God, the sunset of his beauty, and the snowflake of his purity.
Hear me, Lord, on behalf of all those who are dear to me, all whom I have in mind at this moment. Be near them in all their anxieties and worries. Give them the help of thy saving grace. I commend them all with trustful confidence to thy merciful love. Remember, Lord, all who are mindful of me, all who have asked me to pray for them, all who have been kind to me, all who have wronged me, or whom I have wronged by ill will or misunderstanding. Give all of us grace to bear with each other’s faults and to share each other’s burdens. Have mercy also on the souls of our loved ones who have gone before us. Grant them peace and happiness with thee. Amen
And only when God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the loving God in Christ do we know what life is. We’re not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know him and to speak to others of our relationship with him.