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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Food for thought from "a big little life" by Dean Koontz:

If we allow ourselves to be enchanted by the beauty of the ordinary, we begin to see that all things are extraordinary. If we allow ourselves to be humbled by what we do not and cannot know, in our humility we are exalted.

Our faith tells us that when the last hour comes, the best places to be taken are while in prayer or while engaged in work to which we committed ourselves in cheerful acceptance of the truth that work is the lot of humanity, post Eden. If done with diligence and integrity, work is obedience to divine order, a form of repentance.

She was not just graceful in a physical sense. The more I watched her, the more she seemed to be an embodiment of that greatest of all graces we now and then glimpse, from which we intuitively infer the hand of God, infer the truth that this world's beauty is a gift to sustain the heart, and infer the reality of mercy.

Too many of us die without knowing transcendent joy, in part because we pursue one form or another of materialism. We seek meaning in possessions, in pursuit of cosmic justice for earthly grievances, in the acquisition of power over others. But one day Death reveals that life is wasted in these cold passions, because zealotry of any kind precludes love . . .

Considering the potentially momentous nature of even the smallest decisions we make, we ought to be terrified and humbled, we ought to be filled with gratitude for every grace we receive.

This was a small taste of that [death], not an inoculation to prepare us to better handle grief - nothing can immunize against grief - but a reminder to cherish what you love while you have it, so that when it passes, you will have memories of joy to sustain you.

The only wisdom is humility, which engenders gratitude, and humility is the condition of the heart essential for us to know peace.

But then I realized that I was praying for something I wanted, which is not the purpose of prayer. My faith tells me that we should pray for strength to face our challenges, and for wisdom, but otherwise only for other people.

Each of us, each living thing, lives by the hand of grace.

Love and loss are inextricably entwined because we are mortal and can know love only under the condition that what we love will inevitably be lost.

The life of a seamstress is no smaller than the life of a queen, the life of a child with Down syndrome no less filled with promise than the life of a philosopher, because the only significant measure of your life is the positive effect you have on others, either by conscious acts of will or by unconscious example.

Every smallest act of kindness - even just words of hope when they are needed, the remembrance of a birthday, the compliment that engenders a smile - has the potential to change the recipient's life.

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