Love Covers All

When we read this passage from the 10th Chapter of Proverbs, it may at first seem unremarkable.

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
    but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.

11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
    but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

12 Hatred stirs up conflict,
    but love covers over all wrongs.

from Proverbs, Chapter 10

Those wise, clear exhortations to treat our fellows with courtesy and respect are timeless. The exhortations to let love be our guiding principle in all things.

These words of wisdom are common to all cultures and all religions. All spiritual paths.

As verse 12 wraps up, the clear emphasis is on love and how love can cover over all wrongs.

Just in case a reader may think that Solomon had been imbibing too much of the fruit of the vine and had gone all hippy on us, there are, of course, hundreds–if not thousands–of passages from the Bible that put over that very same idea.

And from the literature and sacred books of a thousand religions and cultures.

The common folk saying found below is an almost word-for-word paraphrase of the familiar Wisdom we read in Matthew chapter 7, verse 12:

Do unto others as you would have done unto you.

Common folk saying

It is hard, at times, to understand why so many of us are in such great need of being reminded of these things.

The reminders, the exhortations, come from a thousand voices, heard at every turn as we walk along life’s path.

And often we aren’t listening.

I’m not. You’re not. He’s not. She’s not. They’re not.

Listen to those voices.

Heed them.

Let love be your touchstone, your all-in-all.

Brother Ben

© The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

Not Here, Not Now

More than two millennia ago, the writer of Proverbs had this to say:

Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
    I open my lips to speak what is right.
My mouth speaks what is true,
    for my lips detest wickedness.
All the words of my mouth are just;
    none of them is crooked or perverse.

Proverbs 8: 6-8, italics mine

Let’s take a closer look at verse 8. In the text, Wisdom is speaking, and says this about the words she utters: “none of them is crooked or perverse.”

What a wonderful thing it would be if we — in these troubling times — could say the same thing when we hear or read of things our leaders have said!

We hear a lot of spin, evasions and outright falsehoods virtually anytime we listen to, read or view the news these days.

The lies we’re hearing are pervasive. They’re deliberate. And they’re causing untold harm.

We might wonder how long this tragic state of affairs will go on.

I don’t know.

But I do know that it’s imperative that we recommit ourselves to speaking the truth. To recoil from deception and lies.

And to refuse to accept lying and deceit from those who hold positions of power and authority in this pivotal time in which we live.

Brother Ben

© 2020 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

When the Dam Breaks

14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
    so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

Proverbs 17:14 NIV

This verse in Proverbs tells us something we all know. But it’s good to be reminded of how this works, as it’s a truth we don’t often think about.

Now, it’s also true that going to great lengths to avoid confrontations is not always a good strategy.

But it’s also true that for so many of us, we often fall off the other end of the pier, so to speak.

Too often we behave as though quarrels and full-on fights are just a part of life and they’re no big deal.

Like the writer of Proverbs, I’m not of that school of thought. Framing this in that way can definitely set us up for a lot of unnecessary conflict in our friendships, relationships and in any other sphere of life as well.

It’s a good thing if we think twice before we say or do things that could easily lead to an argument or an interpersonal “slugfest”, as it were.

Before the dam breaks.

Brother Ben

© 2020 The Fellowship of St Francis

A Cheerful Heart and Lots of Coffee

A Cheerful Heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones

Proverbs 17:22

That verse is one I heard many times growing up, and it really has a ring of truth for me. A dash of cheerfulness is definitely an essential ingredient when we’re putting together a plan to live well each day.

May I also suggest you incorporate a couple of cups of coffee into your wellness plan?

Studies that show that the juice of the sacred bean can be a boon for one’s health are not hard to find. A new one published in March in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is the most recent.

The study’s bottom line: quaff up to five cups each day and you’re likely to reap considerable health benefits.

Here’s a link to an article that excerpts that study. It’s an excellent source if you’d like know more without diving into the clinical literature.

Work on cultivating that cheerful outlook, friends, and make sure you don’t slack up on your caffeine consumption!

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.