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Lent

Welcome dear feast of Lent: who loves not thee,
He loves not Temperance, or Authority,
But is compos'd of passion.
The Scriptures bid us fast; the Church says, now:
Give to thy mother, what thou wouldst allow
To ev'ry Corporation.

Yet Lord instruct us to improve our fast
By starving sin and taking such repast,
As may our faults control:
That ev'ry man may revel at his door,
Not in his parlour; banqueting the poor,
And among those his soul.

George Herbert, courtier, priest, poet (1593 - 1633)

Self

'My grace is suffient for thee'.
How I do need to look away from self to God,
I can only find satisfaction: in him.

My heart, to love him;
my will, to do his will;
my mind, to glorify him;
my tongue, to speak to him and of him;
my eyes to see him in all things;
my hands to bring whatever they touch to him;
my all only to be a real 'all': because it is joined to him;

And this will be utter joy: no man can take it away.
Self, self-consciousness, self-will, the self-centre cut away,
so that the centre which holds all my parts is God.

Michael Ramsey, September 1929,
on the eve of his ordination to the priesthood
(quoted in Michael Ramsey: A Life by Owen Chadwick, 1990)

On Liberation from Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness,
that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves,
'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?'
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

Nelson Mandela
in his 1994 inaugural speech

Death is nothing

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I, and you are you,
Whatever we were to each other, that we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name,
speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone,
wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
let it be spoken without effect,
without the trace of a shadow in it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was;
there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just round the corner.
All is well.

Henry Scott Holland (1847 - 1918),
Canon of St Paul's Cathedral

The Tombstone Test

(or how to design a life that works)
  • What do you really want to be remembered for? Being the last out of the office?
  • Learn about yourself, know when your health and well-being are being compromised and be prepared to change something.
  • Make your role models people you would not mind being stranded with on a desert island, as opposed to the have-it-all heroes—they rarely do have it all.
  • Figure out the important of both the provider and career roles in your life.
  • If you are in a couple, talk about how you can share these
  • Remember you are going to be working for a long time, so integrate your career into the seasonality of your own life and be prepared to wax and wane depending on the shift in your priorities.
The Daily Telegraph, 23 September 1999.

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