"The Giving Tree" - read by Brennan Manning
At this moment in my household, there are two things that are being played and replayed by my immediate family: on the television, the movie Pitch Perfect, and in the car, Lorde’s catchy hit song ”Royals.”
Enter Florida State University’s AcaBelles to beautifully merge these two spheres. The video is nearing five million views on YouTube now and is worth posting, if only to hear an flesh-and-bone a cappella group rival those Barden Bellas. It’s a gorgeous rendition that just might compel you to loop a few times this morning — and in the process smile, groove, and contemplate the message of the song.
~Trent Gilliss, head of content
“‘i’m so small, i can barely be seen. how can this great love be inside of me?’
‘look at your eyes, they’re small in size but they see enormous things.’”
On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines.
7 On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
8 he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.
Justify my soul, O God, but also from your fountains fill my will with fire. Shine in my mind, although perhaps this means “be darkness to my experience,” but occupy my heart with your tremendous life. Let my eyes see nothing in the world but your glory, and let my hands touch nothing that is not for your service. Let my tongue taste no bread that does not strengthen me to praise your great mercy. I will hear your voice and I will hear all harmonies you have created, singing your hymns. Sheep’s wool and cotton from the field shall warm me enough that I may live in your service; I will give the rest to your poor. Let me use all things for one sole reason: to find my joy in giving you glory.
Therefore keep me, above all things, from sin. Keep me from the death of deadly sin which puts hell in my soul. Keep me from the murder of lust that blinds and poisons my heart. Keep me from the sins that eat a man’s flesh with irresistible fire until he is devoured. Keep me from loving money in which is hatred, from avarice and ambition that suffocate my life. Keep me from the dead works of vanity and the thankless labor in which artists destroy themselves for pride and money and reputation, and saints are smothered under the avalanche of their own importunate zeal. Stanch in me the rank wound of covetousness and the hunger that exhaust my nature with their bleeding. Stamp out the serpent envy that stings love with poison and kills all joy.
Untie my hands and deliver my heart from sloth. Set me free from the laziness that goes about disguised as activity when activity is not required of me, and from the cowardice that does what is not demanded, in order to escape sacrifice.
But give me the strength that waits upon you in silence and peace. Give me humility in which alone is rest, and deliver me from pride which is the heaviest of burdens. And possess my whole heart and soul with the simplicity of love. Occupy my whole life with the one thought and the one desire of love, that I may love not for the sake of merit, not for the sake of perfection, not for the sake of virtue, not for the sake of sanctity, but for you alone.
For there is only one thing that can satisfy love and rewarded, and that is you alone.
Returning to the most basic human instinct. Exploring this for the next six months.
We were meant to live free.
avoid any train of thought that leads off the beaten track.
Concentrate on money,
and (above all)
on your own grievances.
Keep the radio on.
Live in a crowd.
Use plenty of sedation.
If you must read books, select them very carefully. But you’d be safer to stick to the papers. You’ll find the advertisements helpful;
especially those with a sexy or a snobbish appeal.
“Peace is the fruit of love, a love that is also justice. But to grow in love requires work — hard work. And it can bring pain because it implies loss — loss of the certitudes, comforts, and hurts that shelter and define us.”
~Jean Vanier from Finding Peace
Photo by George Duncan, cc by-nc-nd 2.0
Hear more of Jean Vanier in L’Arche a Community of Brokenness and Beauty