Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Holy Spirit

O Holy Spirit of greatest power,
Come down upon us and subdue us;
From Thy glorious mansion in the heavens,
Thy light effulgent shed on us.

Father beloved of every naked one,
From whom all gifts and goodness come,
Our hearts illumine with Thy mercy,
In Thy mercy shield us from harm.

Without Thy divinity there is nothing
In man that can earn esteem;
Without Thyself, O King of kings,
Sinless man can never be.

In succour Thou art all the best
Against the soul of wildest speech;
Food art thou sweeter than all;
Sustain and guide us at every time.

The knee that is stiff, O Healer, make pliant,
The heart that is hard make warm beneath Thy wing;
The soul that is wandering from Thy path,
Grasp Thou his helm and he shall not die.

Each thing that is foul cleanse Thou early,
Each thing that is hard soften Thou with Thy grace,
Each wound that is working us pain,
O best of healers, make Thou whole!

Give Thou to Thy people to be diligent
To put their trust in Thee as God,
That Thou mayest help them in every hour
With Thy sevenfold gift, O Holy Spirit generous!

      Anon - collected and translated from the Gaelic by Dr. Alexander Carmichael  (1832-1912)

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Robert Burns

Today, for Scots and Scotophiles, is a day to celebrate and commemorate the life and works of Robert Burns, so raise a glass and make a toast to Scotland's national poet.

Paraphrase of the First Psalm                       1781

The man, in life wherever plac'd,
Hath happiness in store,
Who walks not in the wicked's way,
Nor learns their guilty lore!

Nor from the seat of scornful pride
Casts forth his eyes abroad,
But with humility and awe
Still walks before his God.

That man shall flourish like the trees,
Which by the streamlets grow;
The fruitful top is spread on high,
And firm the root below.

But he whose blossom buds on guilt
Shall to the ground be cast,
And, like the rootless stubble, tost
Before the sweeping blast.

For why? that God the good adore,
Hath giv'n them peace and rest,
But hath decreed that wicked men
Shall ne'er be truly blest.
                                                                      Robert Burns  (1759 - 1796)

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Jonni's 90 Today

Today is the 90th. birthday of a very remarkable lady, I am proud to have known her as a work colleague and friend for a little over forty years.  Jonni Stratton-Brook is an inspiring conversationalist and correspondent, she eschews modern forms of communication and the abbreviations of the tweet or text relying on her amazing grasp of the English language to enthral the listener or recipient of her prose.
In 1999 she published an anthology of her poetry and verse, entitled 'Twigs', it covers a sample of her work from 1942 to 1999 and includes some poems by family and friends.


The Wonders                                                                 1998

I, being old, find nowadays that there is less to lose.
Each day sees retrocession of the old taboos
Which took themselves so seriously and meant so much.
What was their point? I used them as a crutch
To lend support when things got out of hand
In situations I found difficult to understand.
Times or occasions need not be so tense.
I, being old, have gained some common sense.
Words now may take their place in conversation
But not engulf me in that cold sensation
Which followed when I said an awkward thing.
Now - if I wish - I walk along and sing.
I, being old, see many things so clear
Compared with doubt-filled fears of yesteryear.
Faces on buses are a new delight.
I have developed keener, deeper sight.
Flowers embrace me. Brass bands, which once I hated,
Move me to tears, yet make me feel elated.
Weather's no longer such a source of pain
Despite the aching joints which herald rain,
For, like St.Francis who could call it "Brother",
I understand rain now, and I discover
That when the thought of Winter's on my mind
I have the feeling even snow's meant to be kind.
Manged dogs and scrawny cats do not deter;
Youths on their Sons of Thunder range the street,
Ripping the village air, frightening my feet.
Being old, I find I can more easily ignore
Their loud uncaring passage by my door.
Music, which always gave each day an extra grace
Transports me now to almost edgeless space.
The irritants like housework are not there.
Each person a collectors item: strange and rare,
Filling my memory against the day when I
May not have chance to meet them eye to eye.
My mirror shows my skin to me: deep-lined
Yet if I only try, I usually find
There is a long and fascinating list of things untold
Which fill my life with wonder, I being old.

Just a thought about the advantages of becoming a Senior Citizen... an Old Age Pensioner... an Old Lady... an Old Man... a Wrinkly... or whatever!
                                                                              Jonni Stratton-Brook

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Sufi Light

'I' and 'You'

'I' and 'you' are but the lattices,
In the niches of a lamp,
Through which the One Light shines.

'I' and 'you' are the veil
Between heaven and earth;
Lift this veil and you will see
No longer the bond of sects and creeds.

When 'I' and 'you' do not exist,
What is mosque, what is synagogue?
What is the Temple of Fire?

The Written Faith

Read the writing on your heart,
And you will understand whatever you desire,
For on the day He kneaded the clay,
He wrote on your heart, by grace, the faith.

From "The Secret Rose Garden" by Shabistari  (Sa'd ud Din Mahmud Shabistari - 1250-1320)

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

A Shepherd Boy's Story

Hear again the story that a shepherd boy once told
Of God his heavenly shepherd and creator of His fold.
I shall not want, young David said, my maker doth provide,
Lush pastures and still waters where my flock and I abide.

He uplifts me in my loneliness and my faith and joy restores,
Illuminates my pathway leading to His heavenly shores.
No evil fate or deathlike sting is there for me to fear.
Truths of life eternal are words of comfort to my ear.

He provides me with my daily bread and defends me in my need.
With blessings He anoints my head so my joy overflows indeed,
Happiness of heart and mind my future days will hold;
God ever here within me and I within His fold.

Taken from 'The Poems of Malcolm Hann'. Self published in memory of his wife Elizabeth.

Saturday, 11 January 2014


Love is the golden rule, a part
Of joy and hope within the heart.

Love is with honour and truth aligned;
Love is forgiving, gentle, kind.

With firm resolve man fashions his schemes
And builds with Love his house of dreams.

All nature displays the exultation
And Love of the Master of creation.

Love is a word, sun kissed, dew pearled....
The candle flame that lights the world.

                                                   by Bess Berry Carr

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The Brink of a New Year

Here we are on the brink of a new year, at this time it is often that we look back at the old year to see what has been and some look forward to try to predict what will be.  What has been cannot be unmade, unsaid, undone.  If what has been made, said or done is not for the betterment of self or ones fellows then we can and must resolve to do better in the new time.  Whether good, bad or indifferent the seeds have been sown and eventually the harvest must be reaped.  We can however resolve to strive even harder to work towards greater understanding, towards greater deeds, towards greater speech and words.  All things will be as ordained and all will eventually emerge at the will of Spirit.

If we walk the byeways when we should be swiftly moving on the highway it could be that the experience will add to the whole and that the wandering will not be in vain.  If we travel with hope and love regardless of the journey we will arrive at our destination, our true destination, at the right time even if a little breathless from the last dash.  Time is only of the essence to the human life, the earthly existence, when all eternity awaits what is the use of a calendar or clock.  These things inhibit our earthly growth, they are artificially placed or imposed on our Spirit being, which longs to be at one with all creation; which needs to move with the planets and stars, the ebb and flow of the waters, the cycle of the sun and moon.

Send your prayers to the celestial spheres in pure thought at any time whatever your posture.  Yes, be awed by the might and wonder of creation - flow do not fight - you cannot master it nor should you it is not your creation it is not yours to own, to control, to direct, to harness.  Flow with the energy, blend with the innermost being, know that Spirit is.  Know that you are of Spirit, open to the wonder of all creation.  All things that are exist in the shape of Spirit from the smallest atom to the immensity of the Universe.

All that is of the Spirit is good, even the freewill which you are given, use it wisely and well; for if it is freewill it can be corrupted.  Yours is the responsibility, you will take stock, you will need to account for what you have done and your cycle of years will continue so long as you misuse your talents.


Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Power of the Holy Spirit

It is only by the breath of the Holy Spirit that spiritual development can come about.  No matter how the material world may progress, no matter how splendidly it may adorn itself, it can never be anything but a lifeless body unless the soul is within, for it is the soul that animates the body; the body alone has no significance.
Deprived of the blessings of the Holy Spirit the material body would be inert.

In short it behoves us all to be lovers of truth.  Let us seek her in every season and in every country, being careful never to attach ourselves to personalities.  Let us see the Light wherever it shines, and may we be enabled to recognize the light of truth no matter where it may arise.  Let us inhale the perfume of the rose from the midst of thorns that surround it; let us drink the running water from every pure spring.

                                                                   Selected from the Talks by 'Abdu'l-Baha

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year

A Happy, Healthy and Peaceful 2014 to you.

Schastlivy, zdorovy i mirnoye 2014 dlya vas.

Eingluckliches, gesundes und friedliches 2014 fur sie.

Une heureuse, saine et pacifique 2014 pour vous.

Eka apa ko khusa, svastha aura 2014 santipurna.

Een gelukkig, gezond en vredig 2014 aan u.

Un felice, sano e sereno 2014 a voi.

Un feliz, sana y pacifica de 2014 para usted.

Please join me in sending out healing thoughts and prayers to all victims of war or conflict, to all who suffer because of man-made or natural disasters and to all who suffer from sickness of body, mind or spirit. Let us pray too for all in transition to Eternal Life.  For all who mourn the passing of a loved one we ask for the comforting presence of the Lord.  May we be mindful of the flora and fauna and the whole environment.  May we dwell in peace with our family, friends, neighbours and the wider world.