The Interfaith Contact Group
The Brighton & Hove Interfaith Contact Group

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Lyrical Words of Faith, Hope and Love

October 7, 2020
We are constantly bombarded with news that doesn’t give us a lot of faith in our leaders, let alone trust in the information we get from the media. This is the moment when spirit can step in, and offer a helping hand, making us feel stronger and optimistic in the face of uncertainty. With this in mind, it seemed like a good moment to revisit our feelings about faith, hope and love, and so this week’s Words of Connection is dedicated to this theme.
We open with a prayer that will be very familiar to many of us. It’s the prayer attributed to St Francis of Assisi, yet it’s not found in any of his writing. The first known version of it was discovered just over 100 years ago in France… But it really doesn’t matter what its origins might be. It remains beautiful and mystical, reminding us that where there is doubt, there is faith, if we ask for it. Our second reading has just been published — it comes from the great author and teacher Caroline Myss. It has been taken from her latest book – Intimate Conversations with the Divine. It’s a commentary entitled “Give up the Need to Know Why” and looks at the grace of trust, and is followed by a short prayer. After this we have three poems by the Polish poet Czesław Miłosz, dedicated to Faith, Hope and Love. We close with Chapters 23 and 24 from the Chinese text – The Tao Te Ching, written 2,600 years ago; it gently reminds us of the importance of integrity, at its deepest level.
Stay well, and try to keep optimistic at this strange time.

Very best wishes,

Anthea
Chair IFCG

LORD, MAKE ME AN INSTRUMENT OF YOUR PEACE
St Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.

 

INTIMATE CONVERSATIONS WITH THE DIVINE
Caroline Myss

Give Up the Need to Know Why

The grace of Trust gives us the capacity to defy even what our eyes and ears tell us. Trust springs from deep within our gut and flows to our heart. Trust is not an intellectual grace; it is a survival grace. It gives us the stamina to hold on through challenging times and to endure difficult experiences. Because in our gut and heart, we can sense and trust that there is purpose to what — and why — things happen as they do.

Lord, grant me the grace to give up wanting to know why things happen as they do. This requires the grace of Trust. I must Trust in the whole story and not just the page I am reading or living that day. You hold the book of my life in Your hands; I live it one day at a time. I must Trust that You, as the author, know far more than I.

 

FAITH
Czesław Miłosz

Faith is in you whenever you look
At a dewdrop or a floating leaf
And know that they are because they have to be.
Even if you close your eyes and dream up things
The world will remain as it has always been
And the leaf will be carried by the waters of the river.

You have faith also when you hurt your foot
Against a sharp rock and you know
That rocks are there to hurt our feet.
See the long shadow that is cast by the tree?
We and trees throw shadows on the earth.
What has no shadow has no strength to live.

 

HOPE
Czesław Miłosz

Hope is with you when you believe
The earth is not a dream but living flesh,
That sight, touch, and hearing do not lie,
That all things you have ever seen here
Are like a garden looked at from a gate.

You cannot enter. But you’re sure it’s there.
Could we but look more clearly and wisely
We might discover somewhere in the garden
A strange new flower and an unnamed star.

Some people say we should not trust our eyes,
That there is nothing, just a seeming,
These are the ones who have no hope.
They think that the moment we turn away,
The world, behind our backs, ceases to exist,
As if snatched up by the hands of thieves.

 

LOVE
Czesław Miłosz

Love means to learn to look at yourself
The way one looks at distant things
For you are only one thing among many.
And whoever sees that way heals his heart,
Without knowing it, from various ills—
A bird and a tree say to him: Friend.

Then he wants to use himself and things
So that they stand in the glow of ripeness.
It doesn’t matter whether he knows what he serves:
Who serves best doesn’t always understand.

 

TAO TE CHING

From the Tao* Te Ching
Translated by Stephen Mitchell

 

Chapter 23

Express yourself completely,
Then keep quiet.
Be like the forces of nature:
When it blows, there is only wind;
When it rains, there is only rain;
When the clouds pass, the sun shines through.

If you open yourself to the Tao,
You are at one with the Tao
And you can embody it completely.
If you open yourself to insight,
You are at one with insight
And you can use it completely.
If you open yourself to loss,
You are at one with loss
And you can accept it completely.

Open yourself to the Tao,
Then trust your natural responses;
And everything will fall into place.

Chapter 24

He who stands on tiptoe
Doesn’t stand firm.
He who rushes ahead
Doesn’t go far.
He who tries to shine
Dims his own light.
He who defines himself
Can’t know who he really is.
He who has power over others
Can’t empower himself.
He who clings to his work
Will create nothing that endures.

If you want to accord with the Tao
Just do your job, then let go.

 

The word Tao means way, path, teaching

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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