Prayer of Saint Francis/Prayer Monday

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

 

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

 

Prayer of Saint Francis

Image from:
Red Letter Christians

 

I love this prayer as it PERFECTLY describes the meaning of Wisdom and Life.  The prayer also does a commendable job of describing my purpose of incarnating is this my most recent lifetime.  The entire reason Wisdom and Life came about is to discuss how faith can strengthen our lives.  I clearly understand there are those in my circles who can feel uncomfortable when I discuss words like faith, like God, like Spirit.

 

But as I do my best to explain, when I use these words I’m not using them in a religious way.  I use these words in the universal divine interpretation.  My faith is such an important part of my life and I believe The Prayer of Saint Francis neatly describes part of my worldview; especially the first paragraph.

 

If you read back through my blog I think you’ll see all of these themes underlying my entire blog.

 

Where there is injury, let me paron.

Look at all I’ve written about Forgiveness.

 

Where there is doubt, faith

Look at all I’ve written about faith and spirituality.

 

This line in the 2nd paragraph:
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

is another favorite of mine as I have said here many times that I no longer hold grudges.  I no longer stay angry.  Staying angry only hurts me.

I learned that valuable lesson several years ago after a lifetime of being challenged by it.  I’m so comforted by the fact that I’ve learned this lesson and if I can do JUST one thing in this, my latest incarnation it would be to teach people this lesson.  Teach them that peace is the only way.  Making me an instrument of peace.

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

 

This is the last Prayer Monday

King Nebuchadnezzar’s Prayer/Prayer Monday

It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me. How great are His signs, how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion endures from generation to generation.

 

Daniel 4:3

 

Signs?
Messages?

 

Sound familiar?  It should as I’ve written about messages and signs at Wisdom and Life many times before.  I choose to see EVERYTHING as a sign, as a message from God, from the divine.

 

How great are HIS signs?
That depends on who you ask.

 

Are you asking someone who believes there are no coincidences?
Are you asking someone who sees the divine in all coincidences?
Hence coincidences don’t exist.

 

How do we follow King Nebuchadnezzar and show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done?

There is only one way that I see:
Show those that want to be shown.
Explain your own experiences with signs and messages you have received.

 

It also seems good to ME to show how God has worked in my own life.  I’ve linked to:
Being Spiritual countless times at Wisdom and Life, however this column today makes sense to link to Being Spiritual, because there are several cases where I’ve seen God working his mystical plan, where I’ve noticed now looking back that there are certainly signs, there are certainly messages that HE has laid out for me.

 

Not just for me however.
He has seen fit to show EVERYONE signs.
He has seen fit to give EVERYONE HIS wonders.

 

We have to be open enough to see them.

Image below from:
In Touch with World History

 

So, King Nebuchadnezzar.

Who was he and why is this prayer named after him?

 

Let’s see if we can discover who he was and why this prayer is named after him.  According to:
Daniel 4.28-4.37
28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” 31 The words were still on his lips when a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. 32 You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.” 33 Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like cattle. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird. 34 At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” 36 At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

 

Maybe this explains to some degree why the prayer I’m using this week is named after Nebuchadnezzar.  Some of the passages from the above verses are similar to the prayer.

 

What do you think?

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Diet and Wellbeing

I know what you’re thinking after reading the title of this latest column:
What does diet have to with Wisdom and Life?

 

This column is not without precedence here as I’ve written about Health and Fitness here in the past.  Diet can have a profound impact on your wellbeing and wellbeing can also impact your spiritual health.  Last month a new G+ friend, Kris Ten posted content about what we eat and it set my mind running.  I left a comment at the post.

 

I’ve changed my diet a few times in the past few years. And when I attempt to eat in the old way:
Burgers
Fried food
Sweets like chocolate, cookies, ice cream
Chips, Doritos
All soda

 

I find it extremely challenging to digest.  Typically, these foods wreck havoc with my stomach, causing nothing but aggravation, pain and more.  Because I’m human and sometimes still think:
Oh one time won’t cause TOO much trouble so I succumb to temptation.

 

It NEVER works out.  I ALWAYS regret eating like that.  I THINK it is because I’m used to eating healthier now that my digestive system says:
Oh you’re putting THAT into me.  Well I’ll show you.  LoL!  I CERTAINLY hope I FINALLY heard the message.

 

Kinda odd; this coming from someone who up until two years ago was in love with Five Guys Burgers.  Would travel there at LEAST twice a month to get my fill.  Can’t do that anymore though.

 

My diet now consists of:
–More fruits and vegetables
–Salads
–Nuts and grains
–Yogurt

 

Not so much vegan but certainly I’m leaning more in the vegetarian group.

 

Maybe it has something to do with my getting older as well and as I age I have to treat my body as the temple it is.  I certainly can’t eat the way I did when I was twenty, twenty five, or even thirty.  In actuality, I probably shouldn’t have been eating the foods I did then.

 

With age comes wisdom, correct?  Hence why I’m writing about diet at WISDOM and Life.  The entire point behind this blog is to help us move forward, correct?  And as I’ve said multiple times here in the past, if I can help just ONE person with what I write, then I’ve done my job.

 

Well, here I am putting forth my suggestion to those of you who are eating unhealthy.  I no longer drink ANY soda.

 

Soda is simply a diuretic.  For me, soda reacts much the same way as all sweets do.  It causes digestive issues.  Water is my drink of choice now.

 

My new diet can sometimes cause another kind of aggravation however:
With family.  When we eat together as family I have to be very conscious of what is being served.  If there is anything that can cause issues I have to choose NOT to eat.

 

My friends understand as I spend more time with them.  I have an amusing story to share here regarding my friends and my new diet:
Over the Fourth of July weekend, I was invited to an annual picnic.  All of my close friends would be there.  I brought my own veggie burgers because I knew there wouldn’t be any there.  That’s what I have to do now when I’m invited to cookouts, as I can longer eat beef.  As it turned out, other friends were thankful that I brought enough for many people because several others had also stopped eating beef.

 

Of course I can’t show up with friends without taking some good natured ribbing about my change in diet.  My friend, Jeff B introduced me to Five Guys Burgers and when he saw my veggie burgers he laughed out loud and called me a girl.

 

That’s alright.  At least I’ll feel better after eating healthier.
Have you done something to change your health recently?

Let me know in the comments below.

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

The Four Vows/Prayer Monday

Sentient beings are numberless,
I vow to free them.

Delusions are inexhaustible,
I vow to end them.

The Dharma Gates are boundless,
I vow to open them.

The Enlightened Way is unsurpassable,
I vow to embody it.

The Four Vows
Zen Buddhist

 

As many of you know, I’ve written extensively at Wisdom and Life about Buddhism.  I find it very easy to be in that place.

Interesting that the first stanza states that:
Sentient beings are numberless,
I vow to free them.

That’s what Wisdom and Life is about or replacing the prayer’s words with mine:
Removing the spiritual blinders of those who want to see.

As far as I’m concerned, that’s one of the ultimate reasons for incarnating:
Those of us who know we are spiritual beings having a human experience MUST offer assistance to those who want to move closer to the divine.  That’s what I believe the first stanza of the prayer is telling us.

As far as the second stanza goes:
Delusions are inexhaustible,
I vow to end them.
Who is to say what is delusion and what is truth.  That reminds me of an old Moody Blues song Nights in White Satin:
But we decide which is right
And which is an illusion

Seriously!
Who gets to decide which is illusion or delusion?
Who gets to decide which is truth or right?

According to Wikipedia a delusion is:
Is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary.

Hmmmm.  Doesn’t that encompass the world religions?  Now do you understand why I said who gets to decide what is real and what isn’t?  Everything is real for the person experiencing it.

There are no delusions.
There is only the divine.

The Dharma Gates are boundless,
I vow to open them.
I think this stanza is saying that as long as we believe we can move mountains.
Faith, like the Dharma Gates are only as boundless as we allow.  If our faith is open and boundless then we can walk through anything, then we can move anything.  It is the responsibility of those who have boundless faith to show the way, to fling wide the gates that are closed, to remove the spiritual blinders who are wearing them.

Are you with me?
Will you do your best to fling open the gates?
Will you do your best to show the way?
Will you remove the blinders of others?

The Enlightened Way is unsurpassable,
I vow to embody it.
The Enlightened way is the ONLY way.  I see that now and I do my best to embody it on a daily basis.  Of course, having this shell encompassing my spirit, my soul, my TRUE nature I do slip.  But now understanding that we are more spiritual, more light based, I find it easier to return to the spiritual path, to the enlightened path.

And it IS my responsibility to show others the way as well.
Will you join me?

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

 

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

–Reinhold Niebuhr

I’m sure even those not involved in a twelve step program is familiar with The Serenity Prayer.  The origin is somewhat a mystery.  Though the prayer has been attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr, it’s not clear if he originated the prayer either.

 

What is known according Alcoholism.About.Com, is that the first four stanzas were discovered in “routine New York Herald Tribune obituary.”

 

It soon after that discovery that the prayer became ubiquitous among ALL twelve step programs.  This prayer, at least the first four stanzas fits in VERY nicely with Wisdom and Life’s theme.  What’s the significant word in the first four stanzas?

Could it be change?

 

That word, change, plays an important role at Wisdom and Life.  And look.  There’s another important word in the prayer:
Wisdom to know the difference.  I hadn’t picked up on that but notice the title of my blog.  Interesting.

 

Because my goal with Wisdom and Life is to provide wisdom, to help those who are still wearing their spiritual blinders.

 

Returning to the word change:
Change is something that happens to everyone sees.  We shouldn’t fight against it.  When we accept the changes that we cannot do anything about, life will no longer be a challenge.

 

That’s what the first four and most popular stanzas of The Serenity Prayer are professing.  We need the strength to change what we can as well.  If we can learn the difference, we can make some real growth.

 

That’s what The Serenity Prayer is doing its best to show.
That’s what Wisdom and Life is doing its best to do.

 

The Serenity Prayer has been adopted by ALL twelve step programs for the same reason.  Twelve Step programs, just like Law of Attraction and Spirituality go hand in hand.

 

You can’t have one without the other.  Faith and Twelve Step programs cannot be separated.  If look at the origin of AA, the REALLY very first Twelve Step program, God plays an extensive role.

 

From the phrases:
God As We Understand Him
A Higher Power
A Power Greater than ourselves

 

We can clearly see there is an underlying belief system in a higher power, in God.  The Serenity Prayer can be used in our daily lives as well.

 

Change happens.
If we accept what we can change and let go what we can’t, our lives will flow down the stream, instead of up the stream.

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Perhaps I Shall Return/Prayer Monday

Here’s an obscure prayer to wrap your head around:
Perhaps I shall return someday

Under each stanza I will attempt to decipher the meaning from my interpretation.  My interpretation will be in Bold.

Perhaps I shall return someday
Once more to stand before this
Valley of the Winds
Perhaps I shall return someday?
Is Raleigh Michael Smith discussing reincarnation?  As in the next stanza he writes the word:
stygian which refers to The River Styx  which is the path to the underworld.

Image from:
Commons Wikipedia

The Valley of the Winds?

Australia.  There also appears to be a Styx River in Australia

 

And the
Guardian of the Night
will fill my Cup and bid me drink, once again
of stygian nights in half remembered dreams
and
Sacred Barren Ground.
If we are indeed talking about the mythical River Styx in the fourth line here, I’m guessing the Guardian of the night is the ferryman, Charon.

Image from:
Wiki.Godvillegame

Fill my Cup and bid me drink again:
Staying with the River Styx analogy here, another stop on the way to the underworld is The River Lethe:

All passengers on Charon’s Ferry must stop and drink from The River Lethe, The River of Forgetfulness.

 

What does all this remind you of?

Perhaps when you cross over, when you transition?  Just before you return?  Upon our return we can NOT recall our previous lives, so we MUST drink from The River of Forgetfulness.

 

But my heart will still remember those
Ageless Hymns of old.
Which stirred my soul with their
Deeper Truths
and made my spirit bold.
The heart will ALWAYS remember.  There is in that chamber a special place locked off from the rest of ourselves that has a sense of everything that has ever taken place in all of our past lives.  It where, I believe that the feeling of deja vu originates.  Why do you think they say the heart knows?

It is because the heart is the center.
It is because the heart remembers EVERYTHING.

For my task is not to seek some
Higher Ground,
nor make the darkness bright.

It is to walk with Faith amidst the gloom
Undaunted, Unafraid & Undiminished
by the darkness
of the
night.
Our task in each one of our incarnations IS to walk with faith.
There is no reason to fear.
We incarnate each time to understand this.  We DO seek higher ground with each incarnation, but that is NOT the body’s task it is the soul’s task.

raleigh michael smith – 2000
World Prayers.org

Someone not familiar with Greek Mythology may not be able to see all the similarities it presents to that time period.  Even the Ancient Greeks believed reincarnation occurred as can be seen from this Encyclopedia Britannica article on The River Lethe.

 

As I’ve said multiple times times at Wisdom and Life:
If there were those that long ago who thought reincarnation is a possibility, there MUST be something to it.

Here is the prayer in full; sans my interpretation:
Perhaps I shall return someday
Once more to stand before this
Valley of the Winds

And the
Guardian of the Night
will fill my Cup and bid me drink, once again
of stygian nights in half remembered dreams
and
Sacred Barren Ground.

But my heart will still remember those
Ageless Hymns of old.
Which stirred my soul with their
Deeper Truths
and made my spirit bold.

For my task is not to seek some
Higher Ground,
nor make the darkness bright.

It is to walk with Faith amidst the gloom
Undaunted, Unafraid & Undiminished
by the darkness
of the
night.

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:
Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:
The third day he rose again from the dead:
He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:
I believe in the Holy Ghost:
I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:
The forgiveness of sins:
The resurrection of the body:
And the life everlasting.
Amen.

 

The Apostles’ Creed holds a special place in my mind.  My best friend, while growing up in Lisbon, Connecticut went to Saturday night Mass in Taftville, Connecticut just about ten minutes from our homes in Lisbon.  I usually went with him and it was typically the only time I attended any organized religion.  I recall the prayer being said about half way through mass and I always appreciated its cadence, its intonation.  The Creed was probably my most loved prayer to say because I loved its cadence so much.

 

The Creed also has meaning because of its theme.
Everything about the prayer is in my entire paradigm:
–The Resurrection
–Forgiveness
–Everlasting life

 

I find this stuff so fascinating:
That after some thirty years; BEFORE I even understood my belief system, BEFORE I knew what I REALLY understood about spirituality, about faith, on some deep level I DID KNOW that faith and spirituality were an important facet of my life, that they would become so intertwined in my life that as I’ve written:
If you were to attempt to take them away’ I would cease to be who I am.

 

It’s another reason I resonate so deeply with this prayer, because now as I look back at my spiritual growth I realize I understood even when I didn’t understand.

 

God was merely prepping me.
God was giving me clues.
God was showing me at a young age how important a role faith would play in my later life.
HE was presenting me with pieces to my life’s puzzle that wouldn’t fit until I was ready.

 

That’s what a master HE is at the intricate process of our growth.

And only those of us who see the Divine everywhere,

Only those of us who have removed the veil,
Only those of us who have seen through the veil
understand the intricacies of HIS process.

 

Are you one who understands?
Do you see the Divine everywhere?

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Now I Lay Me Down

Welcome to my next Theme Monday:
Prayer Monday.  First Prayer:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

God bless Mommy & Daddy &…

I think everyone from a young age recited a variation of this prayer.  I remember it most while spending time with my maternal grandparents.  The last two lines can be frightening for a young child and now looking back, I find it quite surprising that children were taught this prayer.

 

I suppose as children we think we are invincible, that nothing will ever happen to us, thus the prayer only frightens us as adults.  In fact, I don’t remember at ALL being disturbed those lines.

Maybe even at that young an age I understood on some deep spiritual level that my overflowing faith would somehow keep me safe, that I would indeed survive, that there is some purpose to my being here to this day.

Could it be that I KNEW on some level that I was protected?

Could that be why those two lines didn’t distress me?

Just a curiosity.

As adults, however you would think we would know better than to teach children this prayer.

 

Do you as adults now recall this bedtime prayer?
Do you think it is an appropriate prayer to teach our children?
I’d love some feedback.

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Prayer Monday

New Monday Theme:
Prayer Monday

Image from:
commons.wikimedia

I’ve often written here about prayer.  And after my last Theme Monday ended, I looked for a new theme to start.  I decided on a prayer theme.  Starting next week I will be discussing prayers that have impacted my own life and giving examples of the influence they have made on my life.

Before I go on, I just want to reiterate what I’ve sais before and continue to maintain:
That when I speak of God, I’m writing about the UNIVERSAL God, God as I understand him to be.   Anyone reading who is NOT comfortable with the word can replace it with something they feel more at ease with:
Universe
Higher Power
Source

I believe there is divinity looking out for us, someone or something guiding our lives.  That’s what I mean when I use the word “God,” a loving all knowing source

of power enriching our lives.

 

I don’t consider my communication with God prayer, because in my opinion, prayer is a one way communication.  Prayer is asking for something.

 

I learned long ago, that God responds to all of our prayers and sometimes the answer is no.  When the answer is no, it only means that we are not ready for yes, yet.  God has to make room for the yes.

 

Until Prayer Monday begins next Monday with my first prayer:

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!

Blessings to you.

Chris

Saint Rose of Lima

Saint Rose of Lima.

The last in my Saints Monday Theme
Image from:
har22201.blogspot.com

Isabel as was Rose’s given name was born in 1856.  Rose, as she is known because everyone who looked upon her saw only beauty wanted from an early age to give her life to Jesus.  Her parents unsuccessfully attempted to marry her off; the only time she disobeyed her parent’s wishes.  

 

She said her love of Jesus was stronger than her love of everything else.  In fact when Rose spoke of Jesus it was said that her face glowed and her eyes sparkled.
Catholic.org.

 

Rose worked hard to provide for her parents and as stated above the only time she didn’t follow her parent’s advice was when they wanted her to marry.  To stop the pressure from family to have her marry, Rose joined an order of nuns, the Third Order of St. Dominic.

 

Miracles of Saint Rose:.
–It was at this time that perhaps the most spectacular of Rose’s miracles occurred when Dutch pirates invaded Lima’s harbor and defeated the Peruvian fleet. Due to the Reformation, they intended not only to loot the city but also to desecrate the churches. The women, children and religious of Lima took refuge in the churches. In the church of Santo Domingo, Rose stirred them all to prayer. It is said that as pirates burst into the church, they were confronted with the terrifying spectacle of a young girl ablaze with light, holding a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament. They turned away and fled to their ships, which sailed away.
Nashville Dominican

 

–In order to defeat the machinations of the enemies of her purity, she resolved to put on the habit of the third order of Saint Dominic. This determination was confirmed by two miracles. She doubted of her vocation and had some intention of entering the monastery of the Incarnation, where the nuns were anxiously expecting her; but before setting out, she went to bid farewell to our Blessed Lady in the Chapel of the Rosary, belonging to the Convent of Saint Dominic. She remained on her knees at prayer for a considerable time at the foot of the altar; and when she had finished her prayer, she tried to rise, but could not succeed. She called her brother to aid her, who pulled her violently by the hand, without being able to stir her from the spot. She immediately understood this to be an intimation from Heaven, that she was not to leave Saint Dominic; and no sooner had she, come to a resolution not to prosecute her design, and to return home, than she was able to rise and leave the Chapel without difficulty.
Catholic Forum

 

Upon researching Saint Rose, I came across a piece of information about her that I connected with:
When she faced a challenge, whether a sickness or something else, Rose use to pray: “Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Your love in my heart.”

 

This is something I believe as well.  Maybe not in the same way that Saint Rose expresse it.  However, when we are given many challenges in our lives, I DO believe it is because the Divine/God/Spirit understands that we are stronger than we know.  And the challenges that are given to us our simply that:
Challenges.

And just what IS a challenge?

 

Merriam-Webster defines challenge as:
: to arouse or stimulate especially by presenting with difficulties.

 

We are presented challenges to help us improve, to help us move forward.  It’s why I’m convinced of the theory of past lives.  My own theory for past lives and reincarnation is simple:
We come back again and again to learn from our past challenges.  Each time we learn from a past challenge we move further up that spiritual ladder.  Our ultimate goal is to reach a point where we can decide for ourselves if we want to continue returning.

 

Saint Rose of Lima and those who have reached sainthood before and after her have reached the ultimate goal.  They can now stay with God for all eternity.

 

As I said at the top of this column, this is the last in my Saints Monday theme.  I hope you enjoyed this theme and I hope you learned some interesting information.  I know I did,  Look for a new Theme Monday coming soon.  If anyone has a recommendation I’ll be more than happy to take anything under advisement.  The only caveat I have is that the theme stay central to topics I’ve written about in the past.

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris