The daily actions of religious people have accomplished uncounted good deeds throughout history, alleviating suffering, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick. Religions have brought the comfort of belonging and companionship to many who would otherwise have passed through this life all alone, without glory or adventure.
They have not just provided first aid, in effect, for people in difficulties; they have provided the means for changing the world in ways that remove those difficulties. As Alan Wolfe says, "Religion can lead people out of cycles of poverty and dependency just as it led Moses out of Egypt".
There is much for religion lovers to be proud of in their traditions, and much for all of us to be grateful for. The fact that so many people love their religions as much as, or more than, anything else in their lives is a weighty fact indeed. I am inclined to think that nothing could matter more than what people love. At any rate, I can think of no value that I would place higher.
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I would not want to live in a world without love. Would a world with peace, but without love, be a better world? Not if the peace was achieved by drugging the love and hate out of us, or by suppression. Would a world with justice and freedom, but without love, be a better world? Not if it was achieved by somehow turning us all into loveless law-abiders with none of the yearnings or envies or hatreds that are wellsprings of injustice and subjugation.
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It is hard to consider such hypotheticals, and I doubt if we should trust our first intuitions about them, but, for what it is worth, I surmise that we almost all want a world in which love, justice, freedom, and peace are all present, as much as possible, but if we had to give up one of these, it wouldn't — and shouldn't — be love. But, sad to say, even if it is true that nothing could matter more than love, it wouldn't follow from this that we don't have reason to question the things that we, and others, love.
Love is blind, as they say, and because love is blind, it often leads to tragedy: to conflicts in which one love is pitted against another love, and something has to give, with suffering guaranteed in any resolution. Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. There's nothing you can do that can't be done Nothing you can sing that can't be sung Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game It's easy. We all been playing those mind games forever Some kinda druid dudes lifting the veil. Doing the mind guerrilla, Some call it magic — the search for the grail.
Love is the answer and you know that for sure. Love is a flower, you got to let it — you got to let it grow. We have come by curious ways To the Light that holds the days; We have sought in haunts of fear For that all-enfolding sphere: And lo! Deep in every heart it lies With its untranscended skies; For what heaven should bend above Hearts that own the heaven of love?
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If you believe in peace , act peacefully; if you believe in love, acting lovingly; if you believe every which way, then act every which way, that's perfectly valid — but don't go out trying to sell your beliefs to the system. You end up contradicting what you profess to believe in, and you set a bum example. If you want to change the world , change yourself. There are three lessons I would write, — Three words — as with a burning pen, In tracings of eternal light Upon the hearts of men. Have Hope. Though clouds environ now, And gladness hides her face in scorn, Put thou the shadow from thy brow, — No night but hath its morn.
Have Faith. Where'er thy bark is driven, — The calm's disport, the tempest's mirth, — Know this: God rules the hosts of heaven, The habitants of earth. Have Love. Not love alone for one, But men, as man, thy brothers call; And scatter, like the circling sun, Thy charities on all. Thus grave these lessons on thy soul, — Hope, Faith, and Love, — and thou shalt find Strength when life's surges rudest roll, Light when thou else wert blind.
Before our lives divide for ever, While time is with us and hands are free , Time, swift to fasten and swift to sever Hand from hand, as we stand by the sea I will say no word that a man might say Whose whole life's love goes down in a day; For this could never have been; and never, Though the gods and the years relent, shall be.
Is it worth a tear, is it worth an hour, To think of things that are well outworn? Of fruitless husk and fugitive flower, The dream foregone and the deed forborne? Though joy be done with and grief be vain, Time shall not sever us wholly in twain; Earth is not spoilt for a single shower; But the rain has ruined the ungrown corn. I had grown pure as the dawn and the dew, You had grown strong as the sun or the sea.
But none shall triumph a whole life through: For death is one, and the fates are three.
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At the door of life, by the gate of breath, There are worse things waiting for men than death; Death could not sever my soul and you, As these have severed your soul from me. You have chosen and clung to the chance they sent you, Life sweet as perfume and pure as prayer. The presence of the Spirit in creation generates order, harmony and interdependence in all that exists. Created in the image of God, human beings become the dwelling-place of the Spirit in a new way when they are raised to the dignity of divine adoption cf.
Gal Reborn in Baptism, they experience the presence and power of the Spirit, not just as the Author of Life but as the One who purifies and saves, producing fruits of "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" Gal These fruits of the Spirit are the sign that "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" Rom When accepted in freedom, this love makes men and women visible instruments of the unseen Spirit's ceaseless activity.
It is above all this new capacity to give and receive love which testifies to the interior presence and power of the Holy Spirit. As a consequence of the transformation and re-creation which he produces in people's hearts and minds, the Spirit influences human societies and cultures. Following the lead of the Second Vatican Council, the Synod Fathers drew attention to the multiple and diversified action of the Holy Spirit who continually sows the seeds of truth among all peoples, their religions, cultures and philosophies.
The forces of death isolate people, societies and religious communities from one another, and generate the suspicion and rivalry that lead to conflict. The Holy Spirit, by contrast, sustains people in their search for mutual understanding and acceptance. The Synod was therefore right to see the Spirit of God as the prime agent of the Church's dialogue with all peoples, cultures and religions. The Holy Spirit and the Incarnation of the Word.
Under the Spirit's guidance, the history of salvation unfolds on the stage of the world, indeed of the cosmos, according to the Father's eternal plan. That plan, initiated by the Spirit at the very beginning of creation, is revealed in the Old Testament, is brought to fulfilment through the grace of Jesus Christ, and is carried on in the new creation by the same Spirit until the Lord comes again in glory at the end of time.
Having been conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary by the Spirit's power cf. The Spirit descended upon him at his baptism cf. Mk and led him into the wilderness to be strengthened before his public ministry cf. Mk ; Lk ; Mt In the synagogue at Nazareth he began his prophetic ministry by applying to himself Isaiah's vision of the Spirit's anointing which leads to the preaching of good news to the poor, freedom to captives and a time acceptable to the Lord cf.
By the power of the Spirit, Jesus healed the sick and cast out demons as a sign that the Kingdom of God had come cf. After rising from the dead, he imparted to the disciples the Holy Spirit whom he had promised to pour out on the Church when he returned to the Father cf. All of this shows how Jesus' saving mission bears the unmistakable mark of the Spirit's presence: life, new life. Between the sending of the Son from the Father and the sending of the Spirit from the Father and the Son, there is a close and vital link.
The "seeds of the Word" sown by the Spirit prepare the whole of creation, history and man for full maturity in Christ. The Synod Fathers expressed concern about the tendency to separate the activity of the Holy Spirit from that of Jesus the Saviour. The universal presence of the Holy Spirit therefore cannot serve as an excuse for a failure to proclaim Jesus Christ explicitly as the one and only Saviour. On the contrary, the universal presence of the Holy Spirit is inseparable from universal salvation in Jesus. The presence of the Spirit in creation and history points to Jesus Christ in whom creation and history are redeemed and fulfilled.
The presence and action of the Spirit both before the Incarnation and in the climactic moment of Pentecost point always to Jesus and to the salvation he brings. So too the Holy Spirit's universal presence can never be separated from his activity within the Body of Christ, the Church.
The Holy Spirit preserves unfailingly the bond of communion between Jesus and his Church. Dwelling in her as in a temple cf. Then, it is the Spirit who empowers the Church to continue Jesus' mission, in the first place by witnessing to Jesus himself, thus fulfilling what he had promised before his death and resurrection, that he would send the Spirit to his disciples so that they might bear witness to him cf.
The work of the Spirit in the Church is also to testify that believers are the adopted children of God destined to inherit salvation, the promised fullness of communion with the Father cf. Endowing the Church with different charisms and gifts, the Spirit makes the Church grow in communion as one body made up of many different parts cf. The Spirit gathers into unity all kinds of people, with their different customs, resources and talents, making the Church a sign of the communion of all humanity under the headship of Christ. Acts In this sense, the Holy Spirit is the prime agent of evangelization.
From this the Synod Fathers could conclude that, just as the earthly ministry of Jesus was accomplished in the power of the Holy Spirit, "the same Spirit has been given to the Church by the Father and the Son at Pentecost to bring to completion Jesus' mission of love and service in Asia". The Father's plan for the salvation of man does not end with the death and resurrection of Jesus. By the gift of Christ's Spirit, the fruits of his saving mission are offered through the Church to all peoples of all times through the proclamation of the Gospel and loving service of the human family.
As the Second Vatican Council observed, "the Church is driven by the Holy Spirit to do her part for the full realization of the plan of God, who has constituted Christ as the source of salvation for the whole world". Her identity and mission are inseparable from the Kingdom of God which Jesus announced and inaugurated in all that he said and did, above all in his death and resurrection. The Spirit reminds the Church that she is not an end unto herself: in all that she is and all that she does, she exists to serve Christ and the salvation of the world.
In the present economy of salvation the workings of the Holy Spirit in creation, in history and in the Church are all part of the one eternal design of the Trinity over all that is. The Spirit who moved upon Asia in the time of the patriarchs and prophets, and still more powerfully in the time of Jesus Christ and the early Church, moves now among Asian Christians, strengthening the witness of their faith among the peoples, cultures and religions of the continent.
Just as the great dialogue of love between God and man was prepared for by the Spirit and accomplished on Asian soil in the mystery of Christ, so the dialogue between the Saviour and the peoples of the continent continues today by the power of the same Holy Spirit at work in the Church. In this process, Bishops, priests, religious and lay men and women all have an essential role to play, remembering the words of Jesus, which are both a promise and a mandate: "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth" Acts The Church is convinced that deep within the people, cultures and religions of Asia there is a thirst for "living water" cf.