|Role of Religion||Tolerance||Practices|
|Mysticism||Science & Religion||Individuals|
Among the values that Maslow identifies as motivating self-actualized individuals are: wholeness, justice, beauty, goodness, truth and honesty. These values, as well as the others that Maslow identifies, would seem to be essential if we are to build a better future. Religion is one of the primary means of developing these values.
As I pondered this subject I did a search of the Internet for the phrase "role of religion." [Using Google] Following are some of the more interesting links that I found:
Teaching the Role of Religion in American History
"Many religious faiths played tremendously important roles in the establishment and development of the United States. Their impact and influence continue to affect the way we as Americans live, think, and relate to each other in the nation and in our individual states."
One of the really useful aspects of this site is that it provides an extensive outline of the role of religion in America for each period of our history from several perspectives. Just looking at this outline expands one's awareness of how diverse and extensive religion has been experienced in America.
"Experts and everyday citizens alike recognize that religion has been a major force in history. For example, the author of a recent article in the American Historical Association newsletter, Perspectives, concluded that as "the history of religion and the impact of religious issues on freedom, rights, and responsibilities have, over time, helped to shape the modern world and its institutions, the academic study of religion is essential to a complete education." Religious experience has also been central in the shaping of the cultural and communal identities that constitute the American experience. The historical profession has confirmed this by including "the history of religion in that body of knowledge that constitutes the basic content material in the discipline."
A more cautionary approach was expressed by the National Secular Society, from the United Kingdom, in their report of a seminar, with the subject of the role of religion in international policy making, held at the European Parliament in Brussels on 28 November 2001. Their perspective brings focus to the issue of the separation of church and state.
In an article titled, Religion's Role in the Terrorist Attack of September 11, 2001, Michael E. Nielsen, PhD, looks at the role of religion from the worldview of militant Islamic fundamentalists and at the religious coping of the victims.
The Religious Campaign for Forest Conservation is a coalition of churches, synagogues and para-religious organizations who are joined by a common concern for forest conservation as a religious issue.
The World Health Organization book The Role of Religion and Ethics in the prevention and control of AIDS.
The conclusions and recommendations from the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights conference on, The Role of Religion and Belief in a Democratic Society: Searching for ways to Combat Terrorism and Extremism.
Kamal Aboulmagd in a paper titled, The Role of Religion in a Globalising World: An Agenda for a Joint Action. writes:
"Focusing on the role of religions in the process of cultural globalisation, I contend that throughout the different stages of cultural development, religion played a major role, if not the major role, in generating codes of ethics and values underlying different economic, political and social ways of life. It is also a matter of record that the extremely accelerated pace of change in modern times had generated several negative side effects. Foremost among such side effects are the spread of violence, wars, genocide, national and international terrorism, destruction of the environment, the spread of new diseases and the crises of family and neighbourhood ties. Awareness of these negative side effects has resulted in the triggering of a new wave of religiosity as a defence mechanism against the trauma caused by materialism, egocentrism and consumerism. Religion, therefore, is invited to play a major role in fostering a human value system fitting the nature and the needs of the globalising world."
These varied views on the role of religion makes clear that spirituality is of vital significance for our future.
"We are going to reflect on what I call the Vedic Revelation; and I use the word revelation intentionally because I think we have to recognize today that God has revealed Himself in other ways than through the Bible. God has been speaking to man, "in many and various ways," as it says in the letter to the Hebrews, from the beginning of time."
This realization that God has been speaking to all of humanity since the beginning of time is at the heart of the possibility for greater tolerance between the world's many religions. No religion has a monopoly on Truth. We are finite: God is beyond infinity. It is not possible for the human mind to grasp the Absolute.
This is not to say that all belief systems are equally valid, nor does it suggest that we cannot commit to any belief. Neither does it mean that knowledge of God is impossible. It's just that what we know individually and collectively, within our various faiths, is limited. Our understanding of other faiths is even more limited.
The Very Reverend Leonid Kishkovsky, Director of Ecumenical Affairs, Orthodox Church in America; President and Co-Moderator, World Conference on Religion and Peace; Moderator, United States Conference of Religions for Peace states:
"Each religious tradition has vast inner resources at the heart of its religious teaching and doctrine of its experience and spirituality and piety, which commend believers towards tolerance and respect, towards compassion and mercy. It happens that yesterday, in my religious tradition, orthodox Christian, the reading from scripture was a selection from the gospel of St. Luke in which Jesus gives the parable of the Good Samaritan. And what I was telling my congregation in my sermon, was that this teaching, at the heart of the message of Jesus, was that the neighbor is someone of another religion, is someone of another faith, and it is mercy and compassion that makes us neighbors to one another. So within the spiritual resources of my Christian tradition, there are vast possibilities for the teaching and the commandment towards tolerance and mercy. There are some who think that mercy and tolerance come from democratic, secular values, but I believe that Muslims and Jews and Christians and people of other faiths are discovering that tolerance and mercy and compassion come first of all from within the inner resources of our spiritual faith, our religious commitment."
The parable of the Good Samaritan makes Jesus' second commandment a call for tolerance.
"The first of all the commandments is: "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12: 29-31
Masami Saionji in an address titled Awakening to Our Own Divinity states:
"Today it gives me great pleasure to address you on the topic of "Awakening to Our Own Divinity", which falls beautifully under this morning's theme of "Religious Pluralism and Tolerance". For when we come to know the truth of our own divinity, we are able to see divinity in all people, whatever their religion might be. This, I believe, will be our key to living in the twenty-first century."
Dr. D. R. Bhandari in a paper titled, Religious Pluralism and Tolerance: Essential and Peripheral Concepts, states:
"Though there are differences among the religions of the world, there is an underlying unity among all religions. As it is already said in the Rig-Veda, "truth is One but wise men describe it in several ways". The core of all religions is the same. Plurality is only external. Unity is the basic principle of all religions. The ultimate aim of all the world’s religions is to establish unity among people. Though some religious leaders do not understand this, the real meaning of religion, and try to differentiate between one religion and another, this attitude basically contradicts the essential religious principles. Unity in Diversity is the pattern and framework of creation. The whole universe is a wonderful case of Unity in Diversity. In all religions we find essential elements of that unity. Their essential elements are common. All religions of the world accepts the existence of God. It is the essential principle that shows unity among religions. Every religion accepts moral values and more virtues which are the unifying principle of world religion. All religions of the world teach peace, compassion, bliss and humanism. This also shows the essential universal sense of the world religions. The unity and universality of religion signifies the peaceful co-existence of all religions."
In an increasingly connected world, a global village, there is an increasing need for religious tolerance. As we learn more about other people and their beliefs we can, with openness and awe, learn more about ourselves and deepen our understanding of our own beliefs.
Terms such as prayer, meditation and contemplation are often used interchangeably, but also frequently used to distinguish between different practices. Here they will be used by whichever term a particular source uses without worrying that the usage may not be completely consistent as we move through this section.
Spiritual practices, in my opinion, most often lead to spiritual growth. James Fowler has identified six stages of faith. His views can be a useful point of reference for reflecting on ones spiritual development.
Process of Spiritual Growth
This site provides a short, but broad approach to spiritual practices.
"Links to articles, websites, and headlines about personal spiritual practices people engage in at work, or at home in preparation for work."
Twenty Important Spiritual Practices
"What follows below is a summary of the most valuable spiritual skills that saints and sages have used since ancient times. Each one is vital. In lieu of a Guru or spiritual Master, these will serve you well."
Liturgy of the Hour
"The Liturgy of the Hours (also known as the Divine Office) is the richest single prayer resource of the Christian Church. It provides prayers, psalms and meditation for every hour of every day. It has existed from the earliest times, to fulfill the Lord's command to pray without ceasing. Never monotonous, always new, it provides the means for the whole world, united, to pray together and sanctify every hour of every day of every year."
"This site does all the calendar calculations for you, and presents you with the psalms and readings for each hour of today, every day. "
Adorations, celebrations, invocations and meditations can be found here. Prayers from a wide range of faiths or you can select one particular tradition.
Prayer -- From the Roman Catholic Encyclopedia
Great detail, also see "prayer of quiet."
Lectio Divina And the Practice of Teresian Prayer
Prayer after the pattern of St. Teresa of Avila.
About Lectio Divina
A number of links regarding Lectio Divina Prayer.
In-Depth Feature on Prayer and Meditation
This site has sections on Centering Prayer, The Rosary, Lectio Devina, The Jesus Prayer, Verbal Prayer and The Scientific Power of Prayer.
Teresa of Avila on Prayer
Read what one of the great teachers of prayer had to say on prayer, meditation and contemplation.
Thoughts on Silence
This Quaker site discusses the value of silence, an important part of the Quaker tradition. A location in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania is the site of silent retreats.
Silent Retreats arise out of the Friends tradition of taking periods of time for retirement for silent "waiting on the Lord." They are like an extended meeting for worship which convenes over a weekend, with times for community and individual worship as well as quiet walks in the woods. There is time for:
-entering more fully and deeply into the Spirit's presence;
-finding rest, refreshment, strength, and direction for serving God in the world;
-opening up time and space for the Spirit's agenda to unfold;
-coming into God's presence with others, forming a loving community;
-knowing others in a new and deeper way beyond words;
-finding an alternative way of being in our modern, excessively busy, overstimulated secular world; and
Praying Made Simple
This site has extensive information on the various stages of prayer.
The World Community for Christian Meditation--
To meditate seek a quiet place, and find a comfortable upright sitting position. Close your eyes gently. Sit relaxed but alert. Silently, interiorly, begin to say a single word. We recommend the prayer phrase maranatha. It is utterly simple. Say it like this, ma-ra-na-tha. Four equally stressed syllables. Some people say the word in conjunction with their breathing. The speed at which you say the word should be fairly slow, fairly rhythmical. Maranatha is in Aramaic, the language Jesus himself spoke. It means "Come Lord Jesus". It is probably the most ancient Christian prayer. St. Paul ends Corinthians with it, and St. John ends the book of Revelation with it. Listen to the mantra as you say it gently but continuously. You do not have to think or imagine anything, spiritual or otherwise.
From the Bhavana Society Forest Monastery and Retreat Center, a Buddhist organization.
Council on Spiritual Practices -- Meditation
Links lead to a number of perspectives on meditation.
A Buddhist Meditation Site
Buddhist Mantra Meditation
Hindu Mantra Meditation
Tai Chi - Walking Meditation
The Spiritual Practice of Meditation
Yoga and Meditation
108 Meditation Techniques
The Meditation Site
"A reference site for meditation techniques from across the world."
Sri Aurobindo on Meditation
The Cloud of Unknowing
A classic work of Christian contemplation.
St. John and the Beginning of Contemplation
"An introduction to St. John's [St. John of the Cross] doctrine, even when we limit ourselves to his less daunting discussions of the beginning of the mystical life, suffers from some of the same limitations that are found in reading Jung's works; we are dealing with formulations that are meant to be lived out and practiced, and not simply understood intellectually. For St. John mystical experience, which he also called infused contemplation, meant a real experience of union with God, and his writings stressed the way in which a person must conduct himself in order to attain to this union and the sufferings that he must undergo." Infused Contemplation
East-West Contemplative Dialogue
Contemplative Prayer and Christ
Contemplation -- From the Catholic Encyclopedia
An extensive and technical description.
The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
Check the contemplative practices link for detailed practices. One example is the Metta or loving-kindness practice.
St. Teresa of Avila - Interior Castle
This is one of the great classics of Christian contemplation.
Quotations - About the Nature of Contemplation
From The Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation
Notes on Proper Breathing
More Breathing Exercises
And More Breathing Exercises
Proper Breathing - Yoga
How to Develop a Spiritual Journal
Spiritual Journaling as an Aid to Contemplative Prayer
The Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother
Includes a large number of yoga poses.
Yoga International Magazine
The Yoga Site
Yoga -- Articles, Interviews, and Reviews
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
There is a sense of unity or totality, of cosmic oneness;
Many mystics believe that there is nothing that an individual can do to bring about a mystical experience. However, even those who take this position often state that there are practices, such as contemplation, that make one more receptive to such an experience.
Mysticism in World Religions
Quotations from the great mystics, organized by topic and by faith.
Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill
Evelyn Underhill in her classic work, Mysticism: A Study in the Nature of Man's Spiritual Consciousness, uses a classification of five phases to describe the development of the mystical life. This is not meant to be a rigid pattern, but a tendency that can be found in the development of most mystics.
"The awakening of the Self to consciousness of Divine Reality. This experience, usually abrupt and well-marked, is accompanied by intense feelings of joy and exaltation."
"The Self, aware for the first time of Divine Beauty, realizes by contrast its own finiteness and imperfection, the manifold illusions in which it is immersed, the immense distance which separates it from the One. Its attempts to eliminate by discipline and mortification all that stands in the way of its progress towards union with God constitute Purgation: a state of pain and effort."
"When by Purgation the Self has become detached from the "things of sense," and acquired those virtues which are the "ornaments of the spiritual marriage," its joyful consciousness of the Transcendent Order returns in an enhanced form. Like the prisoners in Plato's "Cave of Illusion," it has awakened to knowledge of Reality, has struggled up the harsh and difficult path to the mouth of the cave. Now it looks upon the sun. This is Illumination: a state which includes in itself many of the stages of contemplation, "degrees of orison," visions and adventures of the soul described by St. Teresa and other mystical writers. These form, as it were, a way within the Way: a moyen de parvenir, a training devised by experts which will strengthen and assist the mounting soul. They stand, so to speak, for education; whilst the Way proper represents organic growth. Illumination is the "contemplative state" par excellence. It forms, with the two preceding states, the "first mystic life." Many mystics never go beyond it; and, on the other hand, many seers and artists not usually classed amongst them, have shared, to some extent, the experiences of the illuminated state. Illumination brings a certain apprehension of the Absolute, a sense of the Divine Presence: but not true union with it. It is a state of happiness."
"In the development of the great and strenuous seekers after God, this is followed--or sometimes intermittently accompanied--by the most terrible of all the experiences of the Mystic Way: the final and complete purification of the Self, which is called by some contemplatives the "mystic pain" or "mystic death," by others the Purification of the Spirit or Dark Night of the Soul. The consciousness which had, in Illumination, sunned itself in the sense of the Divine Presence, now suffers under an equally intense sense of the Divine Absence: learning to dissociate the personal satisfaction of mystical vision from the reality of mystical life. As in Purgation the senses were cleansed and humbled, and the energies and interests of the Self were concentrated upon transcendental things: so now the purifying process is extended to the very centre of I-hood, the will. The human instinct for personal happiness must be killed. This is the "spiritual crucifixion" so often described by the mystics: the great desolation in which the soul seems abandoned by the Divine. The Self now surrenders itself, its individuality, and its will, completely. It desires nothing, asks nothing, is utterly passive, and is thus prepared for."
"Union: the true goal of the mystic quest. In this state the Absolute Life is not merely perceived and enjoyed by the Self, as in Illumination: but is one with it. This is the end towards which all the previous oscillations of consciousness have tended. It is a state of equilibrium, of purely spiritual life; characterized by peaceful joy, by enhanced powers, by intense certitude. To call this state, as some authorities do, by the name of Ecstasy, is inaccurate and confusing: since the term Ecstasy has long been used both by psychologists and ascetic writers to define that short and rapturous trance--a state with well-marked physical and psychical accompaniments--in which the contemplative, losing all consciousness of the phenomenal world, is caught up to a brief and immediate enjoyment of the Divine Vision. Ecstasies of this kind are often experienced by the mystic in Illumination, or even on his first conversion. They cannot therefore be regarded as exclusively characteristic of the Unitive Way. In some of the greatest mystics--St. Teresa is an example--the ecstatic trance seems to diminish rather than increase in frequency after the state of union has been attained: whilst others achieve the heights by a path which leaves on one side all abnormal phenomena."
This is a really wonderful site. I keep finding new things here. Be sure to see Kahlil Gibran's Jesus Son of Man and A Gospel of Jesus by Brian Robertson.
Christian Mysticism -- The Christian Prayer and Contemplation Forum
"Where the mysticism of John of the Cross enters into dialogue with modern attempts to renew the contemplative life like centering prayer, Christian meditation and the Catholic charismatic movement."
Deautomization and the Mystic Experience
A scholarly article on mystic techniques and the mystical experience.
A Functional Approach to Mysticism
Another sholarly article, same author as above, in which he makes references to science and mysticism as a source of knowledge.
"Where Christian mysticism, theology and metaphysics meet Eastern religions, Jungian psychology and a new sense of the earth.
The Meister Eckhart Site
One of the great Christian mystics.
Dark Night of the Soul
A classic of mysticism by St. John of the Cross.
Who's Who in Western Mysticism
Western mysticism until about 1700, very well done.
Plotinus (204-270 C.E.)
Considered the father of neo-platonism, one of the most influential mystics in history.
"The Dionysian system is a complex and sophisticated integration of Neoplatonic motifs into a Christian framework."
James, William . The Varieties of Religious Experience
A landmark book for the understanding of religious experience.
The Mysticism Resources Page
"Information on traditional and modern spiritualities."
Thomas Merton Resources
An important modern mystic.
From the Catholic Encyclopedia.
Kabbalah Links Page
An abundance of links to Jewish mysticism.
The Ten Sefirot of the Kabbalah
The Jewish mystical doctrine known as "Kabbalah" (="Tradition") is distinguished by its theory of ten creative forces that intervene between the infinite, unknowable God ("Ein Sof") and our created world.
The great Sufi and world renown poet.
Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi
"Who is Mevlana? Mevlana who is also known as Rumi, was a philosopher and mystic of Islam, but not a Muslim of the orthodox type. His doctrine advocates unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. To him and to his disciples all religions are more or less truth. Looking with the same eye on Muslim, Jew and Christian alike, his peaceful and tolerant teaching has appealed to men of all sects and creeds."
A Parenthesis in Eternity. Living the mystical life. by Joel S. Goldsmith
Mysticism as represented by the new thought movement.
St. John of the Cross and Dr. C.G. Jung: Christian -- Mysticism in the Light of Jungian Psychology
A very useful book.
Savitri by Sri Aurobindo
An epic poem by a modern mystic of India.
Science & Spirit
Science & Spirit Mission Statement: Our mission is to facilitate a rich and robust dialogue between the scientific and religious communities by forging a common vocabulary. We intend the result to be a more integrated and balanced approach to complex social issues. The following operating principles guide us:
--Science can be enabling and liberating.
-- Values provide a path to human integrity.
--Religious traditions should provide bridges between science and values.
The American Scientific Affiliation
A fellowship of men and women in science and disciplines that relate to science who share a common fidelity to the Word of God and a commitment to integrity in the practice of science
Evolutionary Psychology Challenges the Current Social Sciences
The implications of evolutionary psychology for Christian thought, some unexpected possibilities.
A Theological Argument For Evolution
An interesting argument.
Albert Einstein on: Religion and Science
A number of Einstein articles.
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion
Some interesting articles here.
RELIGION AND SCIENCE By SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA
A perspective from India.
Religion & Science: The Best of Enemies - The Worst of Friends
Gods Plan For Man - Christian Inspirational Story - Attention Economy
A unique view of science, technology, economy and God.
Science & Christian Faith
"Christians today live in a world shaped by science and technology. This site is designed to help Christians and congregations respond effectively to the challenges of scientific and technological change. We believe that far from destroying our faith, today’s science enriches our understanding of the wonders of God's creation while technology calls for faithful and courageous action."
Metanexus: The Online Forum on Religion and Science
Check the Magazine and Meta-Library links articles.
St. Francis of Assisi
"Francis of Assisi was a poor little man who astounded and inspired the Church by taking the gospel literally—not in a narrow fundamentalist sense, but by actually following all that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit and without a mite of self-importance."
St. Francis of Assisi
From Catholic Online Saints. " Founder of the Franciscan Order, born at Assisi in Umbria, in 1181."
St. Francis of Assisi
From the Catholic Encyclopedia.
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
His understanding of nonviolence is now more important than ever.
The Official Mahatma Gandhi eArchive
A great source.
The Complete Site on Mahatma Gandhi
Very comprehensive site.
Gandhi - A Pictorial Biography
Gandhi's entire life with photos from all periods.
The M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence!
Information concerning current nonviolent initiatives.
"Hatred ever kills, love never dies such is the vast difference between the two. What is obtained by love is retained for all time. What is obtained by hatred proves a burden in reality for it increases hatred."
"There are times when you have to obey a call which is the highest of all, i.e. the voice of conscience even though such obedience may cost many a bitter tear, and even more, separation from friends, from family, from the state to which you may belong, from all that you have held as dear as life itself. For this obedience is the law of our being."
"Insistence on truth can come into play when one party practises untruth or injustice. Only then can love be tested. True friendship is put to the test only when one party disregards the obligation of friendship."
"It may be long before the law of love will be recognised in international affairs. The machineries of government stand between and hide the hearts of one people from those of another."
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
"The spirit of non-violence necessarily leads to humility. Non-violence means reliance on God, the rock of ages. If we would seek his aid, we must approach Him with a humble and contrite heart."
"In nature there is fundamental unity running through all the diversity we see about us. Religions are given to mankind so as to accelerate the process of realisation of fundamental unity."
"Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment."
"Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man."
"Democracy must in essence, therefore, mean the art and science of mobilising the entire physical, economic and spiritual resources of all the various sections of the people in the service of the common good of all."
"Glory lies in the attempt to reach one's goal and not in reaching it."
The King Center
"Established in 1968 by Coretta Scott King, The King Center is the official, living memorial dedicated to the advancement of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., leader of America’s greatest nonviolent movement for justice, equality and peace."
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
"There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society, with a large segment of people in that society, who feel that they have no stake in it; who feel that they have nothing to lose. People who have a stake in their society, protect that society, but when they don't have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it."
"Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love."
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction....The chain reaction of evil--hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars--must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation."
"Love is the key to the problems of the world."
Jesus of Nazereth is apparently the most influential religious person in history. Kahlil Gibran's book Jesus, Son of Man presesents the life of Jesus from the perseptives of individuals from Jesus time who had met him or had heard of him. Each person found something different.
The Sermon on the Mount
ONE HARVEST DAY Jesus called us and His other friends to the hills. The earth was fragrant, and like the daughter of a king at her wedding-feast, she wore all her jewels. And the sky was her bridegroom.
When we reached the heights Jesus stood still in the grove of the laurels, and He said, "Rest here, quiet your mind and tune your heart, for I have much to tell you." Then we reclined on the grass, and the summer flowers were all about us, and Jesus sat in our midst.
And Jesus said:
"Blessed are they who are not held by possessions, for they shall be free.
"Blessed are they who remember their pain, and in their pain await their joy.
"Blessed are they who hunger after truth and beauty, for their hunger shall bring bread, and their thirst cool water.
"Blessed are the kindly, for they shall be consoled by their own kindliness.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall be one with God.
"Blessed are the merciful, for mercy shall be in their portion.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for their spirit shall dwell above the battle, and they shall turn the potter's field into a garden.
"Blessed are they who are hunted, for they shall be swift of foot and they shall be winged.
"Rejoice and be joyful, for you have found the kingdom of heaven within you. The singers of old were persecuted when they sang of that kingdom. You too shall be persecuted, and therein lies your honor, therein your reward.
"You are the salt of the earth; should the salt lose its savor wherewith shall the food of man's heart be salted?
"You are the light of the world. Put not that light under a bushel. Let it shine rather from the summit, to those who seek the City of God.
"Think not I came to destroy the laws of the scribes and the Pharisees; for my days among you are numbered and my words are counted, and I have but hours in which to fulfil another law and reveal a new covenant.
"You have been told that you shall not kill, but I say unto you, you shall not be angry without a cause.
"You have been charged by the ancients to bring your calf and your lamb and your dove to the temple, and to slay them upon the altar, that the nostrils of God may feed upon the odor of their fat, and that you may be forgiven your failings.
"But I say unto you, would you give God that which was His own from the beginning; and would you appease Him whose throne is above the silent deep and whose arms encircle space?
"Rather, seek out your brother and be reconciled unto him ere you seek the temple; and be a loving giver unto your neighbor. For in the soul of these God has builded a temple that shall not be destroyed, and in their heart He has raised an altar that shall never perish.
"You have been told, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say unto you: Resist not evil, for resistance is food unto evil and makes it strong. And only the weak would revenge themselves. The strong of soul forgive, and it is honor in the injured to forgive.
"Only the fruitful tree is shaken or stoned for food.
"Be not heedful of the morrow, but rather gaze upon today, for sufficient for today is the miracle thereof.
"Be not over-mindful of yourself when you give but be mindful of the necessity. For every giver himself receives from the Father, and that much more abundantly.
"And give to each according to his need; for the Father gives not salt to the thirsty, nor a stone to the hungry, nor milk to the weaned.
"And give not that which is holy to dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine. For with such gifts you mock them; and they also shall mock your gift, and in their hate would fain destroy you.
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures that corrupt or that thieves may steal away. Lay up rather treasure which shall not corrupt or be stolen, and whose loveliness increases when many eyes behold it. For where your treasure is, your heart is also.
"You have been told that the murderer shall be put to the sword, that the thief shall be crucified, and the harlot stoned. But I say unto you that you are not free from wrongdoing of the murderer and the thief and the harlot, and when they are punished in the body your own spirit is darkened.
"Verily no crime is committed by one man or one woman. All crimes are committed by all. And he who pays the penalty may be breaking a link in the chain that hangs upon your own ankles. Perhaps he is paying with his sorrow the price for your passing joy."
Thus spake Jesus, and it was in my desire to kneel down and worship Him, yet in my shyness I could not move nor speak a word.
But at last I spoke; and I said, "I would pray this moment, yet my tongue is heavy. Teach me to pray."
And Jesus said, "When you would pray, let your longing pronounce the words. It is in my longing now to pray thus:
"Our Father in earth and heaven, sacred is Thy name.
Thy will be done with us, even as in space.
Give us of Thy bread sufficient for the day.
In Thy compassion forgive us and enlarge us to forgive one another.
Guide us towards Thee and stretch down Thy hand to us in darkness.
For Thine is the kingdom, and in Thee is our power and our fulfillment."
And it was now evening, and Jesus walked down from the hills, and all of us followed Him. And as I followed I was repeating His prayer, and remembering all that He had said; for I knew that the words that had fallen like flakes that day must set and grow firm like crystals, and that wings that had fluttered above our heads were to beat the earth like iron hoofs
|Peace and Justice||Evolution of Consciousness||Implementation|