A Meditation: God’s Unfailing Love and our Gratitude

Last week I published a brief post about God’s faithfulness and our response of gratitude that can come from reflecting or meditating on it. It was based on verses 2 and 3 of the 26th Psalm.

When I think about God’s love and unfailing goodness, it always reminds me that her love can always be appropriated by all of us, all of her children.

This amplifies my feelings of great gratitude! It’s such a splendid thought–one upon which I often meditate–that each of us bears the image of the Divine One in our soul.

Looking for the Divinity in your fellows will help to align your soul–and your intentions–in a direction of gratitude. And when our intention is aligned this way, our actions will follow suit.

This principle, this truth about human behavior, is as unfailing as God’s Love.

Here’s is a meditation, a mantram that can help to focus your intentions in that way:

Oh God, thank you for your love and unfailing goodness!

A suggested meditation for grateful people

The aforementioned post from last week laid the foundation for this one and can be found here.

Brother Ben

© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

Can you eat compassionately?

Yes, you most certainly can! The food choices we make are very important, and in ways you may not have thought about.

The ways we choose to eat have big effects on our economy, the environment, our healthcare system and certainly on animals.

The effects that I’ve focused on the most lately are how my eating choices affect my own health.

I’ve told many friends over the years about how I went vegetarian for three years in the early ’90s. About how the health effects were startling. About how I lost 90 lbs. About how it made me more serene, more at peace.

Well, back in ’95, I went back to eating meat, junk food and lots and lots of pasta. Plenty of sugar, as well.

And, as you might imagine, the results were not good.

So the direct effects to our health and well-being are a big deal. I don’t want to make this post all about me but let me just say that the issue of our food choices is a big deal for me again now because back on Earth Day, I eliminated meat and sugar from my diet.

The results–just as back in 1992–have been startlingly good. For me, the strategy is just to go back to what worked. It worked very well for me a quarter-century ago, and it’s working again.

How our food choices effect all those other things I mentioned earlier in this post are extremely important, of course.

Here is a link to a brief and excellent article that covers ten of the most important reasons why eliminating meat from your diet is a good way to go.

Because acting compassionately is at the very heart of our mission here at the FSF, the ways in which our food choices affect animals is a very big deal. Here’s an article that focuses mostly on that aspect of this issue.

Yes, we most certainly can eat compassionately!

And for many of us, choosing to love and protect animals rather than eating them could be a very good place to start.

Brother Ben

© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

The Divine One is Faithful

Test me, Lord, and try me,
    examine my heart and my mind;
for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love
    and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.

This passage from Psalm 26 is a favorite of mine. And it reminds us that keeping in mind God’s unfailing love and faithfulness is an outlook on life that will serve anyone well.

No one expects life to be that proverbial bowl of cherries. All of us have known moments of pain and great despair. Sadly, some of us have seen more of that side of life than most will ever know.

Nevertheless, cultivating that attitude of gratitude–as the Psalmist does in this passage–reminds us that the Divine One loves humanity. And that each of us was fashioned in the Divine Image.

Looking for and honoring that reflection of God, that Divine Spark, in the people we meet each day will point us in the direction of gratitude. Gratitude and awe.

The unfailing goodness and love of God is all around you and in everyone you meet!

Embrace it. Embrace it and be grateful!

Brother Ben

© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis

Compassion is what they do

For most people who have a career or a job, there are always opportunities to care about the people you interact with each day.

Almost everybody has opportunities to act compassionately, to be the hand or the voice of compassion.

In some professions, acting compassionately is just what they do.

I’m not sure we can ever show appropriate gratitude to those in the nursing profession. But today is “their” day and I think that’s a wonderful thing.

If you know a nurse or come in contact with one today–or any day, for that matter–tell them you appreciate their compassionate care.

They do so much for so many; the patients committed to their care know very well how much people in the medical profession channel that spirit of compassion and love as they do what they do each day. Nurses, especially.

I went through repeated hospitalizations and a serious surgery back in 2014 and I was–and still am–in awe of the care nurses provide. It was almost overwhelming at the time and the memories of my time in their care are still fresh in my mind.

Show some gratitude to someone today. Especially if you “catch them” in an act of blatant compassion!

If it is someone in that esteemed profession, all the better!

Brother Ben

© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

Drink the Wine of Violence

There have been times in the last two years when it seemed as though people who make policy or enforce the laws in our country have inverted our cherished and long-held values and ideals.

At times it almost seems as though they value heartlessness, advocate for cruel policies and practices and encourage or condone violent acts.

Because most of us have not seen such a sad spectacle in our lifetimes, it’s hard to imagine that problems like these are–for lack of a better word–normal.

Not normal in the sense that we should accept these terrible things. But in the sense that cruel, heartless people do take hold of the reigns of power from time to time and that when they do, cruelty and heartlessness begin to manifest and metastasize.

Things were no different when the writer of Proverbs recorded this text:

14 Do not enter the path of the wicked,
   and do not walk in the way of evildoers. 
16 For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;
   they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble. 
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness
   and drink the wine of violence. 

from Proverbs, Chapter 4

These are dark days in our shared history. Dark, baleful days for people of faith. Especially those who will not bend the knee to Mammon nor worship a god of cruelty, rage and revenge!

But in spite of all the dark and tragic things going on around us right now, I can tell you this: countering anger and hate with more anger and hate will do nothing to change any of it!

Rather we must recommit ourselves to the values we have learned from our loving parents, our teachers, our Rabbis, Priests, Pastors and Imams.

The values of love, of community and of compassion.

Our hope is to be found in holding fast to these values.

Channeling the rage and hate we see all around us today will only further sicken our country and our kin.

We must choose love. We must choose compassion.

Brother Ben

© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.