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You may have noticed recently that in these troubling times there are a lot of inspirational phrases and captions appearing, all trying to make us feel better about the situation, focusing our thoughts onto a more positive approach. These lines, or short sayings, are always concise and direct, they are also usually easy for us to remember.
You may have your own particular favourite that speaks to you, and one that you would turn to as your first choice?
How we go about choosing which is our favourite one liner or snippet often depends on the situation or the mood that we are trying to convey. I remember that in the run up to my ordination I was asked to choose such a line for the traditional ordination card that accompanies such an occasion. I tried to think about what it meant to me and to capture a sense of how I was feeling at the time. Leading up to that point I was trying not to think about the importance of me rather, what God was calling me to take on. I settled on a line from scripture:
“In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.”
But that wasn’t the end of it. All ordination cards have two sides and it somehow seemed appropriate that I could have another quote. In thinking about what I thought my future might entail (little did I know the reality!!), there was one line that always stood out for me from the prayers of intercession from Morning Prayer of the Church (Wednesday Week 5 Lent)
“Show us in the confusion of our lives, the things that REALLY matter.”
It was also interesting to see what some of my colleagues chose to have on their cards:
“When we pray we speak to God; but when we read God speaks to us.”
“Lord, your ways are Faithfulness and Love.”
“The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today.”
“Only in love can I find you, my God.”
(Karl Rahner SJ)
“The Lord himself will lead you and be with you.He will not fail you or abandon you, so do not lose courage or be afraid”
I think that all of these sayings, lines and words of encouragement serve a great purpose, and the most important thing that they can do is to remind us of the presence of God in our day to day lives. Sometimes when things feel a bit difficult or beyond our control it is important that we can be reminded that we don’t have to face any situation completely alone.
They can also serve to help us with decision making, with choosing the option that fits with my faith in Christ and His church. To have a few wise guiding words that I know by heart let’s me have the space to stand back and make those difficult choices.
Some saints and leaders of the Church appear to have a gift for saying the right things in a succinct and straightforward way. They exactly hit the point in as few words as possible. You may recall in Deacon Diaries No. 40 I wrote about living simply. All of the reflection was summed up by a 7 word phrase from Saint Mother Teresa:
“Live simply, so others may simply live.”
Mother Teresa is a great source for these types of sayings, some of my favourites from her include:
“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at his disposition, and listening to his voice in the depths of our hearts.”
“If we worry too much about ourselves, we won’t have time for others.”
“Today it is very fashionable to talk about the poor. Unfortunately, it is not fashionable to talk with them.”
“I will never understand all the good that a simple smile can accomplish.”
“I believe that politicians spend too little time on their knees. I am convinced that they would be better politicians if they were to do so.”
So what is your ‘go to’ phrase or saying?
Perhaps you would be kind enough to share it with the rest of us by posting it in the comments section below.
Deacon Ian Black