An incredibly insightful book. This is a remarkable work and one that should leave the reader asking many questions about why the message of Jesus was hijacked by those who decided instead to follow Augustine. This is one of the best books I’ve read recently. Original Blessing is a blessing to read.
Today in reading and preparing for class I came across and old favorite and it’s worth sharing again. It’s author is unknown, but we’ve all known what it is to feel inferior and to wish to be more than we are. Too often we fail to see that our imperfections are what makes us valuable to God and to those around us. Franciscans see God in everything. God is very much in this world and God made all of us, even with our imperfections. Native Americans in the American Southwest deliberately knit an imperfection into all the blankets they produce because it is their belief that this is the mark of the Creator.
A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”
“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”
“I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”
Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.
The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”
Now, aren’t you glad you are a “cracked pot” too!
In a few days I will be celebrating four years of sharing my thoughts. It’s been quite a journey and like most journeys I have meandered around and at times thought of getting rid of this thing. Sometimes I’m embarrassed when reading my own thoughts. At other times it’s been interesting to see the growth of my writing and to reflect on how much this experience has helped me to become a more reflective person and a better writer. I’m thankful too for the occasional readers who comment on my writing. One of the first pieces I shared was not mine at all but a prayer I read on a card at Mt. Irenaeus on one of my many visits there. The community at Mount Irenaeus continues to animate my life. It has been nearly ten years since I first visited the Mountain and in that time much has happened. I share this prayer that comes from a Franciscan publication because it continues to touch my heart.
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain to joy.
May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.
From “Troubadour: A Missionary Magazine”, UK Spring 2005
This comes from another site and its one of my favorite blessings. I hope it gives you a sense of what I believe is truly important at Christmas.
A Franciscan Christmas Blessing for Justice and Peace
May God bless you with discomfort…
at easy answers, hard hearts,
half-truths ,and superficial relationships.
May God bless you so that you may live
from deep within your heart
where God’s Spirit dwells.
May God bless you with anger…
at injustice, oppression,
and exploitation of people.
May God bless you so that you may
work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with tears…
to shed for those who suffer from pain,
rejection, starvation and war.
May God bless you so that
you may reach out your hand
to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with
to believe that you can make a difference
in this world, in your neighborhood,
so that you will courageously try
what you don’t think you can do, but,
in Jesus Christ you’ll have all the strength necessary. Continue reading “Christmas blessing”