Wedding Ceremony Readings

Many thanks to the fabulous Laura Pennace for generously sharing this lovely image of a couple who married in Grand Central.

Should you choose to integrate prose or poems into your ceremony, kindly email me (Judie) at with selections in advance.

From My Antonia by Willa Cathar: Nothing happened. I did not expect anything to happen. I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes a naturally as sleep.

From Adam Bede by George Eliot: Love of this sort is hardly distinguishable from religious feeling….Our caresses, our tender words, our still rapture under the influence of autumn sunsets, or pillared vistas, or calm majestic statues, or Beethoven symphonies, all bring with them the consciousness that they are mere waves and ripples in an unfathomable ocean of love and beauty; our emotion in its keenest moment passes from expression into silence, our love at its highest flood rushes beyond its object, and loses itself in the sense of divine mystery.

From Adam Bede by George Eliot: …My soul is so knit to yours that it is but a divided life I live without you. And this moment, now you are with me, and I feel our hearts are filled with the same love, I have a fullness of strength to bear and do….What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined for life–to strengthen each other in all labour, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of last parting?

“love is more thicker than forget…” by e.e. cummings: love is more thicker than forget more thinner than recall more seldom than a wave is wet more frequent than to fail it is most mad and moonly and less it shall unbe than all the sea which only is deeper than the sea love is less always than to win less never than alive less bigger than the least begin less littler than forgive it is most sane and sunly and more it cannot die than all the sky which only is higher than the sky

“as freedom is a breakfastfood” by e.e. cummings: as freedom is a breakfastfood or truth can live with right and wrong or molehills are from mountains made —long enough and just so long will being pay the rent of seem and genius please the talentgang and water most encourage flame… hatracks into peachtrees grow or hopes dance best on bald men’s hair and every finger is a toe and any courage is a fear —long enough and just so long will the impure think all things pure and hornets wail by children stung….or as the seeing are the blind and robins never welcome spring nor flatfolk prove their world is round nor dingsters die at break of dong and common’s rare and millstones float —long enough and just so long tomorrow will not be too late….worms are the words but joy’s the voice down shall go which and up come who breasts will be breasts thighs will be thighs deeds cannot dream what dreams can do —time is a tree(this life one leaf) but love is the sky and i am for you just so long and long enough

“i carry your heart…” by e.e. cummings (1894-1962): i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)i am never without it(anywhere i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling) i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true) and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the r0ot and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

“Poem of You” by Walt Whitman (1819-1882): Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams, I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands, Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners, troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you, Your true soul and body appear before me. They stand forth out of affairs, out of commerce, shops, work, farms, clothes, the house, buying, selling, eating, drinking, suffering, dying. Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem, I whisper with my lips close to your ear. I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you. O I have been dilatory and dumb, I should have made my way straight to you long ago, I should have blabb’d nothing but you, I should have chanted nothing but you. I will leave all and come and make the hymns of you, None has understood you, but I understand you, None has done justice to you, you have not done justice to yourself, None but has found you imperfect, I only find no imperfection in you, None but would subordinate you, I only am he who will never consent to subordinate you, I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better, God, beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself. Painters have painted their swarming groups and the centre-figure of all, From the head of the centre-figure spreading a nimbus of gold-color’d light, But I paint myriads of heads, but paint no head without its nimbus of gold-color’d light, From my hand from the brain of every man and woman it streams, effulgently flowing forever. O I could sing such grandeurs and glories about you! You have not known what you are, you have slumber’d upon yourself all your life, Your eyelids have been the same as closed most of the time, What you have done returns already in mockeries, (Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return in mockeries, what is their return?) The mockeries are not you, Underneath them and within them I see you lurk, I pursue you where none else has pursued you, Silence, the desk, the flippant expression, the night, the accustom’d routine, if these conceal you from others or from yourself, they do not conceal you from me, The shaved face, the unsteady eye, the impure complexion, if these balk others they do not balk me, The pert apparel, the deform’d attitude, drunkenness, greed, premature death, all these I part aside. There is no endowment in man or woman that is not tallied in you, There is no virtue, no beauty in man or woman, but as good is in you, No pluck, no endurance in others, but as good is in you, No pleasure waiting for others, but an equal pleasure waits for you. As for me, I give nothing to any one except I give the like carefully to you, I sing the songs of the glory of none, not God, sooner than I sing the songs of the glory of you. Whoever you are! claim your own at any hazard! These shows of the East and West are tame compared to you, These immense meadows, these interminable rivers, you are immense and interminable as they, These furies, elements, storms, motions of Nature, throes of apparent dissolution, you are he or she who is master or mistress over them, Master or mistress in your own right over Nature, elements, pain, passion, dissolution. The hopples fall from your ankles, you find an unfailing sufficiency, Old or young, male or female, rude, low, rejected by the rest, whatever you are promulges itself, Through birth, life, death, burial, the means are provided, nothing is scanted, Through angers, losses, ambition, ignorance…. what you are picks its way.

Not much is free without price, but hope by Emily Dickinson: Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all, And sweetest in the gale is heard; And sore must be the storm That could abash the little bird That kept so many warm. I’ve heard it in the chillest land, And on the strangest sea; Yet, never, in extremity, It asked a crumb of me.

“Daffodils” by William Wordsworth: I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the Milky Way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. The waves beside them danced, but they Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee: A Poet could not but be gay, In such a jocund company: I gazed—and gazed—but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought: For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils

George Eliot: The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

“The Master Speed” by Robert Frost: No speed of wind or water rushing by But you have speed far greater. You can climb Back up a stream of radiance to the sky, And back through history up the stream of time. And you were given this swiftness, not for haste, Nor chiefly that you may go where you will, But in the rush of everything to waste, That you may have the power of standing still ? Off any still or moving thing you say. Two such as you with such a master speed Cannot be parted nor be swept away From one another once you are agreed That life is only life forevermore Together wing to wing and oar to oar.

“He Wishes For Cloths of Heaven” by W. B. Yeats: Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths, Enwrought with golden and silver light, The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half-light, I would spread the cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116: Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments. Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove: Oh, no! It is an ever-fixed mark. That looks on tempests and is never shaken; it is the star to every wandering bark, whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks within his bending sickle’s compass come; love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom. If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29: When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries And look upon myself and curse my fate, Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, Featured like him, like him with friends possess’d, Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope, With what I most enjoy contented least; Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising, Haply I think on thee, and then my state, Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate; For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Shakespeare Sonnet 105: Let not my love be called idolatry, Nor my beloved as an idol show, Since all alike my songs and praises be To one, of one, still such, and ever so. Kind is my love to-day, to-morrow kind, Still constant in a wondrous excellence; Therefore my verse to constancy confined, One thing expressing, leaves out difference. Fair, kind, and true, is all my argument, Fair, kind, and true, varying to other words; And in this change is my invention spent, Three themes in one, which wondrous scope affords. Fair, kind, and true, have often lived alone, Which three till now, never kept seat in one.

“Love and Friendship” by Emily Bronte: Love is like the wild rose-briar Friendship like the holly tree The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms But which will bloom most constantly? The wild rose-briar is sweet in spring, Its summer blossoms scent the air Yet wait till winter comes again And who will call the wild-briar fair? Then, scorn the silly rose-wreath now And deck with thee the holly’s sheen, Then when December blights thy brow He still may leave thy garland green.

“Song of the Open Road” by Walt Whitman: Allons! the road is before us! It is safe–I have tried it–my own feet have tried it well–be not detain’d! Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the shelf unopen’d! Let the tools remain in the workshop! let the money remain unearn’d! Let the school stand! mind not the cry of the teacher! Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! let the lawyer plead in the court, and the judge expound the law. Camerado, I give you my hand! I give you my love more precious than money, I give you myself before preaching or law; Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

“Hanging of the Crane” by Longfellow: O fortunate, O happy day, When a new household finds its place Among the myriad homes of earth, Like a new star sprung to birth, And rolled on its harmonious way Into the boundless realms of space!”. . . . . “For two alone, there in the hall, Is spread the table round and small; Upon the polished silver shine The evening lamps; but, more divine, The light of love shines over all; Of love that says not mine and thine, But ours, for ours is thine and mine.” . . . . .They want no guests; they needs must be Each other’s own best company.

William Cowper: The kindest and the happiest pair Will have occasion to forbear; And something every day they live To pity, and perchance forgive. The love that cheers life’s latest stage, Proof against sickness and old age, Is gentle, delicate and kind: To faults compassionate or blind, And will with sympathy endure Those evils it would gladly cure.

“Sonnets from the Portuguese, XIV” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning: If thou must love me, let it be for nought Except for love’s sake only. Do not say ‘I love her for her smile–her look–her way Of speaking gently,–for a trick of thought That falls in well with mine, and certes brought A sense of pleasant ease on such a day’– For these things in themselves, Beloved, may Be changed, or change for thee,–and love, so wrought, May be unwrought so. Neither love me for Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry,– A creature might forget to weep, who bore Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby! But love me for love’s sake, that evermore Thou mayst love on, through love’s eternity.

Mark Twain: A Marriage… Makes of two fractional lives a whole; It gives to two purposeless lives a work And doubles the strength of each to perform it It gives to two questioning natures a reason for living, And something to live for; It will give a new gladness to the sunshine, A new fragrance to the flowers, A new beauty to the earth, And a new mystery to life.

Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672/arguably first Anglo-American writer): If ever two were one, then surely we. If ever man were lov’d by wife, then thee. If ever wife was happy in a man, Compare with me, ye women, if you can. I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold Or all the riches that the East doth hold. My love is such that Rivers cannot quench, Nor ought but love from thee give recompetence. Thy love is such I can no way repay. The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray. Then while we live, in love let’s so persevere That when we live no more, we may live ever.

Anne Bradstreet, Meditation 70: The certainty that time will come, together with the uncertainty, how, where, and when, should make us so number our days as to apply our hearts to wisdom, that when we are put out of these houses of clay we may be sure of an everlasting habitation that fades not away.

“A moment of happiness…” by Rumi: A moment of happiness, you and I sitting on the verandah, apparently two, but one in soul, you and I. We feel the flowing water of life here, you and I, with the garden’s beauty and the birds singing. The stars will be watching us, and we will show them what it is to be a thin crescent moon. You and I unselfed, will be together, indifferent to idle speculation, you and I. The parrots of heaven will be cracking sugar as we laugh together, you and I. In one form upon this earth, and in another form in a timeless sweet land.

“Oh promise me” by Reginald DeKoven & Clement W. Scott (song lyric): Oh promise me that someday you and I, Will take our love together to some sky. Where we can be alone and faith renew, And find the hollows where those flowers grew. Those first sweet violets of early spring, Which come in whispers thrill us both and sing Of love unspeakable that is to be, Oh promise me, oh promise me. Oh promise me that you will take my hand, The most unworthy in this lonely land. And let me sit beside you in your eyes, Seeing the vision of our paradise. Hearing God’s message while the voices roll, They’re mighty music to our very souls. No love less perfect than a life with thee, Oh promise me, oh promise me.

Langston Hughes—a “Dream” Trilogy: Bring me all of your dreams, You dreamers, Bring me all of your Heart melodies That I may wrap them In a blue cloud-cloth Away from the too-rough fingers Of the world. I dream a world where man No other man will scorn, Where love will bless the earth And peace its paths adorn I dream a world where all Will know sweet freedom’s way, Where greed no longer saps the soul Nor avarice blights our day. A world I dream where black or white, Whatever race you be, Will share the bounties of the earth And every man is free, Where wretchedness will hang its head And joy, like a pearl, Attends the needs of all mankind- Of such I dream, my world! Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow.

“Ithaka” by C. P. Cavafy: As you set out for Ithaka hope the voyage is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery. Laistrygonians and Cyclops, angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them: you’ll never find things like that on your way as long as you keep your thoughts raised high, as long as a rare excitement stirs your spirit and your body. Laistrygonians and Cyclops, wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them unless you bring them along inside your soul, unless your soul sets them up in front of you. Hope the voyage is a long one. May there be many a summer morning when, with what pleasure, what joy, you come into harbors seen for the first time; may you stop at Phoenician trading stations to buy fine things, mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, sensual perfume of every kind— as many sensual perfumes as you can; and may you visit many Egyptian cities to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars. Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you are destined for. But do not hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you are old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you have gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you would not have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

Blessing of the Hands, Adapted: The hands you now hold are the hands of your dearest friend; unconditional love flows through these hands. These are the hands that will continue to encourage you to realize every talent. They are the hands that will help heal tears. These are the hands that will never fail to touch you in compassion and curiosity; they will work thoughtfully to bring you smiles each day. These hands may double your difficulties, but they will also lighten burdens. Even as they age, these hands will touch you tenderly; they will remain strong because they interlock with your own. And these are the hands that offer you unwaivering, devoted affection now and in the days to come.

“Believe Me, If All these Endearing Young Charms” by Thomas Moore: Believe me, if all those endearing young charms, Which I gaze on so fondly to-day Were to change by to-morrow, and fleet in my arms, Like fairy-gifts fading away, Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art, Let thy loveliness fade as it will, And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart Would entwine itself verdantly still. It is not while beauty and youth are thine own, And they cheeks unprofaned by a tear, That the fervor and faith of a soul can be known, To which time will but make thee more dear; No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets, But as truly loves on to the close, As the sun-flower turns on her god, when he sets, The same look which she turned when he rose.

from T.S. Eliot’s “To My Wife” (1959): Be to whom each owes the leaping delight That quickens the senses in your waking time And the rhythm that governs the repose of sleeping time, The breathing in unison Of lives whose bodies smell of each other Who think the same thoughts without need of speech And babble the same speech without the need of meaning No peevish winter wind shall chill No sullen tropic sun shall wither The roses in the rose-garden which is yours and yours only…

“A Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns (1759-1796): O my Luve’s like a red, red rose That’s newly sprung in June; O my Luve’s like the melodie That’s sweetly played in tune. As fair art, my bonnie lass, So deep in luve am I; And I will luve still, my dear, Till a’ the seas gang dry: Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear, And the rocks melt wi’ the sun; I will luve still, my dear, While the sands o’ time shall run.

Alexander Pushkin: The wondrous moment of our meeting . . . I well remember you appear Before me like a vision fleeting, A beauty’s angel pure and clear. In hopeless ennui surrounding The worldly bustle, to my ear For long your tender voice kept sounding, For long in dreams came features dear. Time passed. Unruly storms confounded Old dreams, and I from year to year Forgot how tender you had sounded, Your heavenly features once so dear. My backwoods days dragged slow and quiet- Dull fence around, dark vault above- Devoid of God and uninspired, Devoid of tears, of fire, of love. Sleep from my soul began retreating, And here you once again appear Before me like a vision fleeting, A beauty’s angel pure and clear. In ecstasy the heart is beating, Old joys for it anew revive; Inspired and God-filled, it is greeting The fire, and tears, and love alive.

Kuan Ta-sheng (13th c): You and I Have so much love, that is burns like a fire, In which we bake a lump of clay Molded into a figure of you And a figure of me. then we take both of them. and break them into pieces, And mix the pieces with water. and mold again a figure of you And a figure of me. I am in your clay. You are in my clay. In life we share a single quilt, In death we will share one coffin.

Tecumseh/Shawnee: So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and Demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, Beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and Its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, Even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and Bow to none. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and For the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, The fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and nothing, For abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts Are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes They weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again In a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

Ohiyesa, Wahpeton Santee Sioux: Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind and spirit. The man who preserves his selfhood is ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence … What are the fruits of silence? They are self-control, true courage or endurance, patience, dignity and reverence. Silence is the cornerstone of character.

“Evolution” by Langdon Smith: When you were a tadpole and I was a fish–In the Paleozoic time, And side by side on the ebbing tide–We sprawled through the ooze and slime, Or skittered with many a caudal flip–Through the depths of the Cambrian fen, My heart was rife with the joy of life, For I loved you even then. Mindless we lived and mindless we loved–And mindless at last we died; And deep in the rift of the Caradoc drift–We slumbered side by side. The world turned on in the lathe of time, The hot lands heaved amain, Till we caught our breath from the womb of death–And crept into life again. We were amphibians, scaled and tailed, And drab as a dead man’s hand; We coiled at ease ‘neath the dripping trees–Or trailed through the mud and sand. Croaking and blind, with our three-clawed feet–Writing a language dumb, With never a spark in the empty dark–To hint at a life to come. Yet happy we lived and happy we loved, And happy we died once more; Our forms were rolled in the clinging mold–Of a Neocomian shore. The eons came and the eons fled–And the sleep that wrapped us fast–Was riven away in a newer day–And the night of death was passed. Then light and swift through the jungle trees–We swung in our airy flights, Or breathed in the balms of the fronded palms–In the hush of the moonless nights; And oh! what beautiful years were there–When our hearts clung each to each; When life was filled and our senses thrilled–In the first faint dawn of speech. Thus life by life and love by love–We passed through the cycles strange, And breath by breath and death by death–We followed the chain of change. Till there came a time in the law of life–When over the nursing sod–The shadows broke and the soul awoke–In a strange, dim dream of God. I was thewed like an Auroch bull–And tusked like the great cave bear; And you, my sweet, from head to feet–Were gowned in your glorious hair. Deep in the gloom of a fireless cave, When the night fell o’er the plain–And the moon hung red o’er the river bed–We mumbled the bones of the slain. I flaked a flint to a cutting edge–And shaped it with brutish craft; I broke a shank from the woodland lank –And fitted it, head and haft; Than I hid me close to the reedy tarn, Where the mammoth came to drink; Through the brawn and bone I drove the stone–And slew him upon the brink. Loud I howled through the moonlit wastes, Loud answered our kith and kin; From west to east to the crimson feast–The clan came tramping in. O’er joint and gristle and padded hoof–We fought and clawed and tore, And cheek by jowl with many a growl–We talked the marvel o’er. I carved that fight on a reindeer bone–With rude and hairy hand; I pictured his fall on the cavern wall–That men might understand. For we lived by blood and the right of might–Ere human laws were drawn, And the age of sin did not begin–Til our brutal tusks were gone. And that was a million years ago–In a time that no man knows; Yet here tonight in the mellow light–We sit at Delmonico’s. Your eyes are deep as the Devon springs, Your hair is dark as jet, Your years are few, your life is new, Your soul untried, and yet –Our trail is on the Kimmeridge clay–And the scarp of the Purbeck flags; We have left our bones in the Bagshot stones–And deep in the Coralline crags; Our love is old, our lives are old, And death shall come amain; Should it come today, what man may say–We shall not live again? God wrought our souls from the Tremadoc beds–And furnish’d them wings to fly; He sowed our spawn in the world’s dim dawn, And I know that it shall not die, Through cities have sprung above the graves–Where the crook-bone men made war–And the ox-wain creaks o’er the buried caves-Where the mummied mammoths are. Then as we linger at luncheon here–O’er many a dainty dish, Let us drink anew to the time when you–Were a tadpole and I was a fish.

The Didache: …Be meek, since the meek shall inherit the earth. Be long-suffering and pitiful and guileless and gentle and good and always trembling at the words which you have heard. You shall not exalt yourself, nor give over-confidence to your soul. Your soul shall not be joined with lofty ones, but with just and lowly ones shall it have its intercourse. Accept whatever happens to you as good, knowing that apart from God, nothing comes to pass.

Bhagavad Gita, chapter 10 on virtues 4-5: Intelligence, spiritual vision, victory over delusion patient forgiveness, truth, self-harmony, peacefulness, joys and sorrows, to be and not to be, fear and freedom from fear, harmlessness and non-violence, an ever quietness, satisfaction, simple austerity, generosity, honour…: these conditions are the conditions of mortals and they all arise from me….11: In my mercy, I dwell in their hearts and I dispel their darkness of ignorance by the light of the lamp of wisdom.

Gita, Chapter 18 49-56: When a man has his reason in freedom from bondage, and his soul is in harmony, beyond desires, then renunciation leads him to a region supreme which is beyond earthly action. Hear now how he then reaches Brahman, the highest vision of Light. When the vision of reason is clear, and in steadiness the soul is in harmony; when the world of sound and other senses is gone, and the spirit has risen above passion and hate; When a man dwells in the solitude of silence, and meditation and contemplation are ever with him; when too much food does not disturb his health, and his thoughts and words and body are in peace; when freedom from passion is his constant will; And his selfishness and violence and pride are gone; when lust and anger and greediness are no more, and he is free from the thought ‘this is mine’; he is worthy to be one with the Brahman, with God. He is one with Brahman, with God, and beyond grief and desire his soul is in peace. His love is one for all creation, and he has supreme love for me. By love he knows me in truth, who I am and what I am. And when he knows me in truth he enters into my Being. In whatever work he does he can take refuge in me, and he attains then by my grace the imperishable home of Eternity.

Gita, Chapter 18 (on work) 11-12: For there is no man on earth who can fully renounce living work, but he who renounces the reward of his work is in truth a man of renunciation. When work is done for a reward, the work brings pleasure, or pain, or both, in its time; but when a man does work in Eternity, then Eternity is his reward. 23: When work is done as sacred work, unselfishly, with a peaceful mind, without lust or hate, with no desire for reward, then the work is pure. 25 & 39: And that work which is done with a confused mind, without considering what may follow, or one’s own powers, or the harm done to others, or one’s own loss, is a work of darkness….And that pleasure which is both in the beginning and in the end is only a delusion of the soul, which comes from dullness of sleep, laziness or carelessness, is the pleasure of darkness. 41-44: The works of Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras are different, in harmony with the three powers of their born nature. The works of a Brahmin are peace; self-harmony, austerity and purity; loving-forgiveness and righteousness; vision and wisdom and faith. These are works of a Kshatriya: a heroic mind, inner fire, constantsy, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and noble leadership. Trade, agriculture and the rearing of cattle is the work of a Vaisya. And the work of the Sudra is service. They all attain perfection when they find joy in their work…

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu: What is well planted will not be torn up. What is well kept will not escape. Whosoever leaves their memory to their children will not fade away. Whosoever moulds their person, their life becomes true. Whosoever moulds their family, their life becomes complete. Whosoever moulds their community, their life will grow.

Excerpted from “…Tintern Abbey” by William Wordsworth (13 July 1789): ….For I have learned To look on nature, not as in the hour Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes The still, sad music of humanity, Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power To chasen and subdue. And I have felt A presence that distrubs me with the joy Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime Of something far more deeply interfused, Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, And round ocean and the living air, And the blue sky, and in the mind of man: A motion and a spirit that impels All thinking things, all objects of all thought, And rolls through all things. Therefore I am still A lover of the meadows and the woods, And mountains; and of all that we behold From this green earth; of all the mighty world Of eye, and ear,–both what they half create, And what perceive; well pleased to recognize In nature and the language of the sense, The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse, The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul Of all my moral being. ……Nor perchance, If I were not thus taught, should I the more Suffer my genial spirits to decay: For thou art with me here upon the banks Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend, My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch The language of my former heart, and read My former pleasures in the shooting lights Of thy wild eyes. Oh! Yet a little while May I behold in thee what I was once, My dear, dear Sister! And this prayer I make, Knowing that Nature never did betray The heart that loved her; ’tis her privilege, Through all the years of this our life, to lead From joy to joy; for she can so inform The mind that is within us, so impress With quietness and beauty, and so feed With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues, Rash judgments; nor the sneers of selfish men, Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all The dreary intercourse of daily life, Shall e’er prevail against us, or disturb Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon Shine on thee in thy solitary walk; And let the misty mountain-winds be free To blow against thee; and in after years, When these wild ecstacies shall be matured Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms, Thy memory be as a dwelling-place For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! Then, If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief, Should by they portion, with what healing thoughts Of tender joy wilt thou remember me, And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance– If I should be where I no more can hear Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams Of past existence—wilt thou then forget That on the banks of this delightful stream We stood together; and that I, so long A worshipper of Nature, hither came Unwearied in that service; rather say With warmer love—oh! With far deeper zeal Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget, That after many wanderings, many years Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs, And this green pastoral landscape, were to me More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!

From “The Old Cumberland Beggar” by Wordsworth (against pride of the self-righteous) …’Tis Nature’s law That None, the meanest of created things, of forms created the most vile and brute, The dullest or the most noxious, should exist Divorced from good—a spirit and pulse of good, A life and soul, to every mode of being Inseparably linked.

Benedict Spinoza: Blessedness is not the reward of virtue: it is virtue itself. We do not find joy in virtue because we control our lusts: but, contrariwise, because we find joy in virtue we are able to control our lusts.

Samuel Taylor Cooleridge: And in Life’s noisiest hour, There whispers still the ceaseless Love of Thee, The heart’s Self-solace and soliloquy. You mould my Hopes, you fashion me within; And to the leading Love-throb in the Heart Thro’ all my Being, thro’ my pulses beat; You lie in all my many Thoughts, like Light, Like the fair light of Dawn, or summer Eve On rippling Stream, or cloud-reflecting Lake. And looking to the Heaven, that bends above you, How oft! I bless the Lot, that made me love you.

Wendell Berry: Geese appear high over us, pass, and the sky closes. Abandon, as in love or sleep, holds them to their way, clear in the ancient faith: what we need is here. And we pray, not for new earth or heaven, but to be quiet in heart, and in eye, clear. What we need is here.

Hadewijch (13th century): The madness of love is a blessed fate; And if we understood this we would seek no other: brings into unity what was divided, and this is the truth: Bitterness it makes sweet. It makes the stranger a neighbor, and what was lowly it raises on high.

William Blake: Love to faults is always blind, always is to joy inclined. Lawless, winged, and unconfined, and breaks all chains from every mind. To see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour…..Love seeketh not itself to please, nor itself hath any care; But for another gives its ease, and builds a heaven in Hells despair.

Richard Baxter (1615-91, English Dissenter): Agree together beforehand, that when one of you is sinfully angry and upset the other shall silently and gently bear it until you have come to your sanity. Have an eye to the future and remember that you must live together until death, and must be the companions of each other’s lives, and the comforts of each other’s lives, and then you will see how absurd it is for you to disagree and upset each other. Help each other by an exemplary life. Be yourself, what you desire your husband or wife should be; excel in meekness, and humility, and charity, and dutifulness, and diligence, and self¬-denial, and patience. Also you must be careful to guard the honour of one another. You must not divulge, but conceal, the failings of each other; The reputation of each other must be as dear to you as your own.

“Notes on Marriage” by Charles Darwin: Not Marry? Freedom to go where one liked choice of Society and little of it. Conversation of clever men at clubs Not forced to visit relatives, and to bend in every trifle to have the expense and anxiety of children – perhaps quarreling – Loss of time – cannot read in the Evenings – fatness and idleness – anxiety and responsibility – less money for books if many children forced to gain one’s bread (But then it is very bad for one’s health to work too much). Perhaps my wife won’t like London, then the sentence is banishment and degradation with indolent, idle fool. Marry? Children – (if it please God) – constant companion, who will feel interested in one (a friend in old age) – object to be beloved and played with – better than a dog anyhow Home, and someone to take care of house Charms of Music and female Chit Chat – These things good for ones health but terrible loss of time My God, it is unthinkable to think of spending one’s whole life, like a neuter bee, working, working, and nothing after all No, no won’t do Imagine living all one’s days militarily in smoky dirty London House – Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire, and books and music perhaps – compare this vision with dingy reality. Marry! Marry! Marry!

Reading adapted from Plato’s Symposium: Suppose Hephaestus, with his instruments, to come to the pair who are lying side by side and to say to them, ‘What do you people want of one another?’ they would be unable to explain. And suppose further, that when he saw their perplexity he said: ‘Do you desire to be wholly one; always day and night to be in one another’s company? For if this is what you desire, I am ready to melt you into one and let you grow together, so that being two you shall become one, and you live a common life as if you were a single man, and after your death in the world below still be one departed soul instead of two….there is not a man of them who when he heard the proposal would deny that this melting into one another, this becoming one instead of two, was the very expression of his ancient need. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love.

Lost Letters between Abelard and Helosie: Scientists often say that the moon does not shine without the sun, and that when deprived of this light, it is robbed of all benefit of heat and brightness and presents to humans a dark and ashen sphere. Surely the similarity of this phenomenon to you and me is very plain to see: for you are my sun, since you always illumine me with the most delightful brightness of your face and make me shine. I have no light that does not come from you and without you I am dull, dark, weak and dead. But to tell the truth, what you do for me is even greater than what the sun does for the sphere of the moon. For the moon becomes more obscure the closer it gets to the sun, whereas the nearer I am brought to you and the closer I get, the more on fire I become. So much do I burn for you, that, just as you yourself have often noted, when I am next to you I become completely on fire and am burned right down to the marrow.

Lau Tzu (6th century BCE): Your love is a great mystery. It is like an eternal lake whose waters are always still and clear like glass. Looking into it you can see the truth about your life. It is like a deep well whose waters are cool and pure. Drinking from it and you can be reborn. You do not have to stir the waters or dig the well. Merely see yourself clearly. And drink deeply. Your love requires space in which to grow. This space must be safe enough to allow your heats to be revealed. It must offer refreshment for your spirits and renewal for your minds. It must be a space made sacred by the quality of your honesty, attention, love, and compassion. It may be anywhere, inside or out, but it must exist. Your love contains the power of a thousand suns. It unfolds as naturally and effortlessly as does a flower, and graces the world with its blooming. Its beauty radiates a transforming energy that enlivens all who see it. Because of you, compassion and joy are added to the world. That is why the stars sing together…

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, selected verses: A wife loves her husband not for his own sake, dear one, but because the Divine Beloved lives in him. A husband loves his wife not for her own sake, dear one, but because the Divine Beloved lives in her. Children are loved not for their own sake, dear one, but because the Divine Beloved lives in them… All things are loved not for their own sake, but because the Divine Beloved lives in them. The Divine Beloved must be realized. Hearing about and meditating upon the Divine Beloved, you will come to understand everything in life… As long as there is the sense of separateness, one sees another as separate from oneself… But when the Divine Beloved is realized as the indivisible unity of life, who can be seen by whom… who can be spoken to by whom, who can be thought of by whom, who can be known by whom?

William Penn (1644-1718) from Some Fruits of Solitude: Never marry but for love; but see that thou lovest what is lovely. If love be not the chiefest motive, thou wilt soon grow weary of a married state and stray from thy promise, to search out thy pleasures in forbidden places… Between a man and his wife nothing ought to rule but love … As love ought to bring them together, so it is the best way to keep them well together. A husband and wife that love and value one another show their children… that they should do so too. Others visibly lose authority in their families by their contempt of one another, and teach their children to be unnatural by their own examples. Let not enjoyment lessen, but augment, affection; it being the basest of passions to like when we have not, what we slight when we possess. Here it is we ought to search out our pleasure, where the field is large and full of variety, and of an enduring nature; sickness, poverty or disgrace being not able to shake it because it is not under the moving influences of worldly contingencies. Nothing can be more entire and without reserve; nothing more zealous, affectionate and sincere; nothing more contented than such a couple, nor greater temporal felicity than to be one of them. There can be no Friendship where there is no Freedom. Friendship loves a free Air, and will not be penned up in straight and narrow Enclosures. It will speak freely, and act so too; and take nothing ill where no ill is meant; nay, where it is, ‘twill easily forgive, and forget too…Friends are Twins in Soul; they Sympathize in every thing….One is not happy without the other.

From Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: I have for the first time found what I can truly love—I have found you. You are my sympathy—my better self—my good angel—I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my center and spring of life, wraps my existence about you—and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one.

Raine Maria Rilke– “Letters to a Young Poet”: It is…good to love: because love is difficult. For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the modest difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation…Loving does not at first mean merging, surrendering, and uniting with another person…it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world in himself for the sake of another person; it is a great demanding claim on him, something that chooses him and calls him to vast distances.

Adapted Song: I will be here, by your side. You deserve to be praised, and I will shower you with flattery. You deserve someone who does not presume to know everything, and I will be open to your ideas. You deserve a confidant, and I will keep the mysteries you conceal from others. I will be your ‘forever friend.’ I will listen to you and communicate with you. When you are tired, I will cook or get take-out; when you feel despair, I will keep you company; when I am angry at life, I will complain with you and not against you; and when the world is about to devour you, I will rescue you from its horrors. I will do more than my share of the work if you need me. It is okay if you tease me; I will tease you gently too. But we will defend each other from any ridicule or harm that may come. Young or old, mad or content, I will be here for you.

From Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn:

“….The child must have a secret world in which to live things that never were. It is necessary that she believe. She must start out by believing in things not of this world. Then when the world becomes too ugly for living in, the child can reach back and live in her imagination….Only by having these things in my mind can I live beyond what I have to live for….”

“If there was only one tree like that in the world, you would think it was beautiful…But because there are so many, you just can’t see how beautiful it really is…”

“Honesty is casting bright light on your own experience; truth is casting it on the experiences of all…”

From Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte: …he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same…If all else perished and he remained, I should still continue to be, and if all remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a might stranger….He’s always, always in my mind; not as a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.

From Dharma Recitations: I offer to you my body, transformed into a celestial mansion, adorned by an ocean of understanding, wreathed about by flowers of virtue. In it shines the lamp of wisdom and there, too, lies a lake of faith’s perfume. The food of meditative bliss I offer you with the sweet music of songs of praise; a canopy fashioned from my compassion for others; a banner that consists of discernment and a sign of courage held high. This I offer to you, who dwells always in the lotus of my heart. From the deep recesses of my mind I pray you will always be pleased with me.

Letter from Gustave Flaubert to his wife: Have you really not noticed, then, that here of all places, in this private, personal solitude that surrounds me, I have turned to you? All the memories of my youth speak to me as I walk, just as the sea shells crunch under my feet on the beach. The crash of every wave awakens far-distant reverberations within me. I hear the rumble of bygone days, and in my mind the whole endless series of old passions surges forward like the billows. I remember my spasms, my sorrows, gusts of desire that whistled like wind in the rigging, and vast vague longings that swirled in the dark like a flock of wild gulls in a storm cloud. On whom should I lean, if not on you? My weary mind turns for refreshment to the thought of you as a dusty traveler might sink onto a soft and grassy bank.

Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams: Should I draw you the picture of my heart it would be what I hope you would still love though it contained nothing new. The early possession you obtained there, and the absolute power you have obtained over it, leaves not the smallest space unoccupied. I look back to the early days of our acquaintance and friendship as to the days of love and innocence, and, with an indescribable pleasure, I have seen near a score of years roll over our heads with an affection heightened and improved by time, nor have the dreary years of absence in the smallest degree effaced from my mind the image of the dear untitled man to whom I gave my heart.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: All are architects of Fate, Working in these walls of Time; Some with massive deeds and great, Some with ornaments of rhyme. Nothing useless is, or low; Each thing in its place is best; And what seems but idle show Strengthens and supports the rest. For the structure that we raise, Time is with materials filled; Our to-days and yesterdays Are the blocks with which we build. Truly shape and fashion these; Leave no yawning gaps between; Think not, because no man sees, Such things will remain unseen. In the elder days of Art, Builders wrought with greatest care Each minute and unseen part; For the Gods see everywhere. Let us do out work as well, Both the unseen and the seen; Make the house, where Gods may dwell, Beautiful, entire, and clean. Else our lives are incomplete, Standing in these walls of Time, Broken stairways, where the feet Stumble as they seek to climb. Build to-day, then, strong and sure, With a firm and ample base; And ascending and secure Shall to-morrow find its place. Thus alone can we attain To those turrets, where the eye Sees the world as one vast plain, And one boundless reach of sky.

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss: Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go. You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street. And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town. ………On and on you will hike and I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are. You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed!……. KID(S), YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS! So… be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!

From the Preface to Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman: “This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”

“Love’s Philosophy” by Percy Bysshe Shelley: The fountains mingle with the river-And the rivers with the ocean. The winds of heaven mix for ever-with a sweet emotion; Nothing in the world is single. All things by a law divine–in one another’s being mingle -Why not I with thine? See the mountains kiss high heaven–And the waves clasp one another; No sister-flower would be forgiven if it disdain’d its brother: And the sunlight clasps the earth–And the moonbeams kiss the sea -What are all these kissings worth–if thou kiss not me?

Prayer for Kindness by the Bahá’u’lláh: Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be a lamp unto those who walk in darkness, and a home to the stranger. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be a breath of life to the body of humankind, a dew to the soil of the human heart, and a fruit upon the tree of humility.

Oral Celtic Tradition: You are the peace of all things calm. You are the place to hide from harm. You are the light that shines in dark. You are the heart’s eternal spark. You are the door that’s open wide. You are the guest who waits inside. You are the stranger at the door. You are the calling of the poor. You are with me still. You are my love, keep me from ill. You are the light, the truth, the way.

From Prashna Upanishads: May we hear only what is good for all. May we see only what is good for all. May we serve you, Lord of Love, all our life. May we be used to spread your peace on earth. OM. Shanti shanti shanti

Prayer for Peace: May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness. May they be free of suffering and the causes of suffering. May they never be separated from that sacred joy that is beyond suffering. May they rest in equanimity free of grasping, hatred and ignorance. And may they be aware of the equality of all that lives.

Sanskrit Prayers: May ALL be happy. May ALL be free from diseases. May ALL see things auspicious. May NONE be subjected to misery. Om Peace, Peace, Peace. May WE protect each other, May WE nourish each other, May WE work together with great energy, May OUR study be enlightening and fruitful. May WE never hate each other. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

Daniel Rogers (Puritan): Husbands and wives should be as two sweet friends, bred under one constellation, tempered by an influence from heaven whereof neither can give any reason, save mercy and providence first made them so, and then made their match; saying, see, God hath determined us out of this vast world for each other.

William Shakespeare

“Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.”

“O it is excellent to have a giant’s strength; but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant.”

“The quality of mercy is not strained; it droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath: it is twice blessed; it blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.”

“The better part of valor-discretion.”

“Oh, be my friend, and teach me to be thine!”

“A friend should bear a friend’s infirmities.”

“What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a God.”

“Assume a virtue, if you have it not.”

“Happy are they that hear their detractions, and can put them to mending.”

“Heaven has no rage like a love turned to hatred, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.”

“There are bonds of all sorts in this world of ours–fetters of friendship and ties of flowers and true-lovers’ knots I ween; the girl and the boy are bound by a kiss, but there’s never a bond, old friend like this, we have drunk from the same canteen.”

Voltaire (1694-1778): “Sensual pleasure passes and vanishes in the twinkling of an eye, but the friendship between us, the mutual confidence, the delights of the heart, the enchantment of the soul…these things do not perish and can never be destroyed. I shall love you until I die.”

Francis Quarles (1592-1644): “Be wisely worldly, but not worldly wise.”

Matthew Prior (1664-1721): “Be to her virtues very kind; be to her faults very blind.”

Edward Everett: “Home is the resort of love, of joy, of peace and plenty where, supporting and supported, polish’d friends and dear relations mingle into bliss.”

Robert Dodsley (1703-1764): “One kind kiss before we part, drop a tear and bid adieu; though we sever, my fond heart till we meet shall pant for you.”

Thomas A Kempis (1380-1471): “Man proposes, but God disposes.”

Chaucer (1625): “Give every man thin ear, but few thy voice; take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.”

Dryden: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness; but still will keep a bower quiet for us, and a sleep full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.”

Crabbe: “Dreams, books, are each a world; and books, we know, are a substantial world both pure and good; round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood our pastime and our happiness will grow.”

George Eliot: “Human feeling is like the mighty rivers that bless the earth: it does not wait for beauty–it flows with resistless force and brings beauty with it.”

Joseph Rodman Drake: “He is the freeman whom truth makes free.”

Cowper: “Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.”

Thomson: “Absence of occupation is not rest–a mind quite vacant is a mind distress’d.”

Byron: “True fortitude is seen in great exploits that justice warrants and wisdom guides; all else is tow’ring frenzy and distraction.”

Wordsworth: “Children are the key to paradise. They alone are good and wise, because their thoughts, their very lives, are prayers.”

Rudyard Kipling: “Good nature and good reason must ever join; to err is human, to forgive divine.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne: “Tradition–which sometimes brings down truth that history has let slip, but is oftener the wild babble of the time…”

From The Happy Marriage: “Good, the more communicated, more abundantly grows….The best portion of a good man’s life — his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love. That blessed mood, in which the burden of the mystery in which the heavy and the weary weight of all this unintelligible world is lightened….For pity melts the mind to love.”

Marcel Proust: Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

Voltaire: Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: The sum which two married people owe to one another defies calculation. It is an infinite debt, which can only be discharged through all eternity.

Agatha Christie: Adopt the vision of an archaeologist so that the more your better half ages, the more you will be interested.

Larry Burkett: Opposites attract. If two people alike get married, one of you is unnecessary.

Leo Tolstoy: The goal of life should not be to find joy in marriage, but to bring more love and truth into the world. We marry each other to assist in this task.

Thomas Merton: Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone….We find it with another.

Willa Cathar: Where there is great love there are always miracles.

Lau Tzu: To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage.

William Butler Yeats: True love is a discipline in which each divines the secret self of the other and refuses to believe in the mere daily self.

Percy Bysshe Shelley: Love withers under constraints: its very essence is liberty: it is compatible neither with obedience, jealousy, nor fear: it is there most pure, perfect, and unlimited where its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve.

Baruch Spinoza: All happiness or unhappiness solely depends on the quality of the object to which we are attached by love. Love for an object eternal and infinite feeds the mind with joy aloe, a joy that is free from sorrow.

St. Augustine (354-430): What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has the eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.

Hassidic Saying: When passion burns within you, remember that it was given to you for good purpose.

Albert Einstein: Strange is our situation here upon the Earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. However, there is one thing that we do know: that we are here for the sake of others. Above all, for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends.

Robert Browning: Grow old with me, the best is yet to be.

Victor Hugo: Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be lonely again. And great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves. And even loved in spite of ourselves.

Letter from Victor Hugo: When two souls, which have sought each other for, however long in the throng, have finally found each other …a union, fiery and pure as they themselves are… begins on earth and continues forever in heaven…….This union is love, true love, … a religion, which deifies the loved one, whose life comes from devotion and passion, and for which the greatest sacrifices are the sweetest delights.

Lord Byron: The bravest are the tenderest and the loving are the daring.

David Foster Wallace: The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom.

Kurt Vonnegut: A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.”

Kurt Vonnegut: Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up afterwards.

W. E. B. DuBois:

The most important thing to remember is this: To be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become.

The return from your work must be the satisfaction which that work brings you and the world’s need of that work. With this, life is heaven, or as near heaven as you can get. Without this — with work which you despise, which bores you, and which the world does not need — this life is hell.

One thing alone I charge you. As you live, believe in life! Always human beings will live and progress to greater, broader and fuller life. The only possible death is to lose belief in this truth simply because the great end comes slowly, because time is long.

I have loved my work, I have loved people and my play, but always I have been uplifted by the thought that what I have done well will live long and justify my life, that what I have done ill or never finished can now be handed on to others for endless days to be finished, perhaps better than I could have done.

Prayers from Around the World

Anonymous: We repent, O God most merciful, for all our sins; for every thought that was false or unjust or unclean; for every word spoken that ought not to have been spoken; and for every deed done that ought not to have been done; We repent for every deed and word and thought inspired by selfishness, and for every deed and word and thought inspired by hatred. We repent most specially for every lustful thought and every lustful action; for every lie; for all hypocrisy; for every promise given but not fulfilled, and for all slander and backbiting. Most specially also, we repent for every action that has brought ruin to others, for every word and deed that has given others pain; and for every wish that pain should befall others. In Your unbounded mercy, we ask you to forgive us, O God, for all these sins committed by us, and to forgive us for our constant failures to think and speak and act according to Your will.

T.S. Eliot: Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden, Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still Even among these rocks. Our peace in his will And even among these rocks Sister, mother, And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea. Suffer me not to be separated And let my cry come unto Thee.

Native American, Chief Yellow Lark (1887): Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me. I am small and weak. I need your strength and wisdom. Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise so that I may understand the things you have taught my people. Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock. I seek strength, not to be superior to my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy – myself. Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes, so when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit will come to you without shame.

Plato’s Prayer from the Symposium: Open my eyes, O God, to behold true beauty, divine beauty, pure and unalloyed, not clogged with the pollutions of mortality and the vanities of human life. So beholding beauty with the eyes of the mind I shall be enabled to bring forth, not images of beauties but realities, and nourishing true virtue may become thy friend and attain to immortality, O God, of truth and beauty.

Statement of Belief: Chrysippus, in Cicero, de Natura Deorum, i. The universe itself is God and the universal outpouring of its soul; it is this same world’s guiding principle, operating in mind and reason, together with the common nature of things and the totality which embraces all existence; then the foreordained might and necessity of the future; then fire and the principle of aether; then those elements whose natural state is one of flux and transition, such as water, earth, and air; then the sun, the moon, the stars; and the universal existence in which all things are contained.

Statement of Belief: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, iv. 40. Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things that exist; observe too the continuous spinning of the thread and the structure of the web.

“Look to this Day” from the ancient Sanskrit: Look to this day for it is life the very life of life. In its brief course lie all the realities and truths of existence, the joy of growth, the splendor of action, the glory of power. For yesterday is but a memory and tomorrow is only a vision. But today well lived

A Great Opening Prayer: This is a day made by our great universe. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Let us love one another, for those who love emulate the divine. As we behold our community assembled here, we express our sincerest appreciation for this place, for affection and wisdom, for the harmony accorded this day, for the beauty of concord and creativity we expect in our tomorrows, for our friends in each part of this earth and beyond, and for the health, work, and brightness that make our lives wonderful.

Nondenominational Prayer: Let us pray: Spirit of Life and Love, you embrace all that exists. You are the undercurrent of the universe. You are the deep peace of the universe. By contrast, we are imperfect. Sometimes, we fail to strive for what is good. Sometimes, we withdraw and take each other for granted. And sometimes we stop seeking to mature in knowledge and love. But today is a day for renewal. When we hurt someone, we promise to confess and atone; we promise to think before speaking and acting in haste; and we promise to forgive with dignity when we feel to have suffered wrongdoing. In these endeavors, we seek Your help. We pray that You enlighten the hearts of those who have yet to grasp the pure, healing power of love. Inspire everyone to give generously, discover wisdom, learn tenderness, and cultivate integrate. Help open our eyes, minds, and souls so that we may give joy and comfort to others. And we request that Your compassionate grace bless this couple. Fortify their union with everlasting well-being. Spirit of life, we commit this marriage to your safe-keeping. Amen.

Let us pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; [for Thine is the power and the glory forever.] Amen.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Benjamin Franklin – quotes from Poor Richard’s Almanac

Eat to live, and not live to eat.

The favor of the Great is no inheritance.

Visits should be short, like a winter’s day, lest you’re too troublesome to hasten away.

Tongue double brings trouble.

A good wife lost is God’s gift lost.

The heart of a fool is in his mouth, but the mouth of a wise man is in his heart.

Would you live with ease,, do what you ought and not what you please.

Many dishes – many diseases.

Would you persuade, speak of interest not reason.

There have been as great souls unknown to fame as any of the famous.

He that cannot obey cannot command.

Vice knows she’s ugly, so she puts on a mask.

He that is rich need not live sparingly, and he that can live sparingly need not be rich.

He does not possess wealth. It possess him.

Approve not of him who commends all you say.

Necessity never made a good bargain.

Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing.

Humility makes great men twice honorable.

Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.

Deny Self for Self’s sake.

It is better to take many injuries than to give one.

Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

If what most men admire they would despise, it would look as if mankind were growing wise.

If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the philosopher’s stone.

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.

Admiration is the daughter of ignorance.

He that can have patience, can have what he will.

God helps those who help themselves.

Don’t throw stones at neighbors if your own windows are glass.

He that speaks much is much mistaken.

He that would live in peace and ease must not speak of all he knows nor judge all he sees.

The use of money is all the advantage of money.

He that buys upon Credit pays Interest for what he buys.

Well done is better than well said.

If you have time, don’t wait for time.

The noblest question in the world is: what good may I do in it?

A good wife and health are a man’s best wealth.

It is wise not to seek a secret and honest not to reveal it.

There are three faithful friends –a good wife, an old dog, and ready money.

Who has deceived thee so oft as thyself?

If thou has wit and learning, add to it wisdom and modesty.

Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, not liberty to purchase power.

Keep eyes wide open before marriage and half shut afterwards.

Wink at small faults: remember thou hast great ones.

None but the well-bred man knows how to confess a fault or acknowledge himself in error.

He that teaches himself has a fool for a master.

A good conscience is a continual Christmas.

Have you something to do to-morrow, do it today.

The preacher, like a candle bright, consumes himself in giving others’ light

As pride increases, fortunes decline.

When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.

Despair ruins some, presumption many.

He is not well-bred that cannot bear ill-breading.

Many a man thinks he is buying pleasure when he is really selling himself a slave to it.

What signifies knowing names if you know not the nature of things?

Today is yesterday’s pupil.

‘Tis not a holiday that is not kept holy.

Haste makes waste.

He that best understands the world least likes it.

Men take more pains to mask than mend.

You may delay, but time will not.


Quite often, of course, ministers and even some JOPs added scripture. Formally, the couple would choose a psalm (which is sung or expressed in responsorial format, old and new testament passage, as well as a part of the gospel). But it was and continues to be very common for the couple to choose just one passage. On this chosen passage a minister might base a sermon or homily. If you want me to write a piece based upon your favorite scripture, you must inform me at least one week prior to your wedding day. Remember that translations vary from Bible to Bible. Be sure to tell your officiant which version you prefer. For example, the King James Bible uses “charity” and not “love” for the famous passage “Love is patient…”

Psalm 51:1-4: Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness; according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight; that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Psalm 67: God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

Psalm 101: I will sing of loyalty and of justice to you O Lord, I will sing. I will study the way that is blameless. When shall I attain it? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is base. I thwart the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil. One who secretly slanders a neighbor I will avoid. A haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not tolerate. I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, so that they may live with me; whoever walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me. No one who practices deceit shall remain in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue in my presence. Morning by morning I will thwart iniquity in my house.

Psalm 112: Praise the Lord! Happy are those who fear the Lord, who greatly delight in his commandments. Their descendants will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever. They rise in darkness as a light for the upright; they are gracious, merciful, and righteous. It is well with those who deal generously and lend, who conduct their affairs with justice. For the righteous will never be moved; they will be remembered forever. They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord. Their hearts are steady; they will not be afraid; in the end they will look in triumph over their foes. They have distributed freely; they have given to the poor; their righteousness endures forever; their horn exalts in honor…

Hosea 2: 19-20: I shall betroth you unto me forever; I shall betroth you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy; I shall betroth you in fidelity, and you shall know the Lord.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiasticus/Sirach 6:5;14-17: If you are polite and courteous, you will enjoy the friendship of many people. Exchange greetings with many, but take advice from only one person of a thousand…..A faithful friend is a sure shelter, whoever finds one has found a rare treasure. A faithful friend is something beyond price, there is no measuring his worth. A loyal friend is like a medicine for good health… Whoever fears the Lord makes true friends, for as a man is, so is his friend.

Deuteronomy 4:29-31: But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice (for the Lord thy God is a merciful God), he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy ancestors which he swore unto them.

Tobit 8:4b-8: (A personal favorite because it express history, rather than because I am traditionally religious, the Book of Tobit describes an ancient wedding in the tradition of Moses/Judaism. The ceremony was quite simple; once the initial pledge of mutual betrothal was given by the prospective bride accepting wine given by the prospective groom, a marriage contract was signed. Perhaps a gold token to symbolize the union was exchanged. And then a celebration lasted for fourteen days—it was a time of prayer, peace, and cheer extended to honor the newlyweds.)….On their wedding night Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife, “Sister, get up. Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us and to grant us deliverance.” Sarah got up, and they started to pray and beg that deliverance might be theirs. They began with these words: “Blessed are you, O God of our fathers; praised be your name forever and ever. Let the heavens and all your creation praise you forever. You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve to be his help and support; and from these two the humanity descended. You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a partner like himself.’ Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine not because of lust, but for a noble purpose. Call down your mercy on me and on her, and allow us to live together to a happy old age.” They said together, “Amen, amen.”

Song of Songs 8: 6: Set your greatest treasure, love, like a seal on your hearts, like a seal on your arms. For love is strong as death, its passion is relentless. The flash of it is a flash of fire, a flame of the divine itself.

St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians 13:1: Love is patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage; it does not take offense or store grievances. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth. It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes. Love never comes to an end.

Corinthians 12:22-26: On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians 9:6-15: Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”(Proverbs 112:9).Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Colossians 3:12-17: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Romans 12:3-8: For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans 12: 9-18: Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, but be fervent in spirit, and serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, and persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, and exercise hospitality. Bless those who persecute you–bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, on your part, live at peace with all.

Romans 12:3-12: Then since the gifts that we have differ according to the grace that was given to each of us: if it is a gift of prophecy, we should prophesy as much as our faith tells us; if it is a gift of practical service, let us devote ourselves to serving; if it is a gift to teaching, to teaching; if it is encouraging, to encouraging. When you give, you should give generously from the heart; if you are put in charge, you must be conscientious; if you do works of mercy, let it be because you enjoy doing them. Let love be without any pretense. Avoid what is evil; stick to what is good. In brotherly love let your feelings of deep affection for one another come to expression and regard others as more important than yourself. In the service of the Lord, work not halfheartedly but with conscientiousness and an eager spirit. Be joyful in hope, persevere in hardship; keep praying regularly; share with any of God’s holy people who are in need; look for opportunities to be hospitable.

John 15: 12-13: This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

1 John 4:16-21: God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is not fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say “I love God,” and despise their brothers and sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

Luke 6:27-31;37: But I say to you that listen: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them to do you….Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not contemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will the be measure you get back.

Luke 21:34-36: Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and the worries of this life and that day does not catch you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place.

Matthew 5:23-26: So when you are offering your gift at the altar if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison.

Matthew 6:19-21: Do not store for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves steal; but store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 5:1-12a: When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn,for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”

Philippians 2:2-3: Fulfill joy that you be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vanity; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem the other better than themselves.

Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Proverbs 3:27-28: Don’t hold back bounty from one who earned it when it’s within your hand’s power to perform. When you have something that can be helpful, don’t say to your friend at the moment you are asked,―Go and come back, and tomorrow I’ll give.

Proverbs 6:20-21: Keep your father’s command and do not abandon your mother’s teaching. Bind them on your heart at all times, garland them around your neck.

Proverbs 9:6: Lay aside immaturity, and live, and walk in the way of insight.

Proverbs 10:2: Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit.

Proverbs 10: 12: Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

Proverbs 11:2: When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but wisdom is with the humble.

Proverbs 11:12: Whoever belittles another lacks sense, but an intelligent person remains silent.

Proverbs 13: 3: Those who guard their mouths preserve their lives; those who open wide their lips come to ruin.

Proverbs 13:12: Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Proverbs 13:22: The good leave an inheritance to their children’s children.

Proverbs 14: 29: Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but one who has a hasty temper exalts folly.

Proverbs 15:1: A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:15: All the days of the poor are hard, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast.

Proverbs 15:22: Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

Proverbs 16: 21: The wise of heart is called perceptive, and pleasant speech increases persuasiveness.

Proverbs 16: 24: Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

Proverbs 19: 2: Desire without knowledge is not good, and one who moves to hurriedly misses the way.

Proverbs 22: 1: A good name is to be chosen rather than riches.

Proverbs 24:10: If you remain indifferent in times of adversity, your strength will depart from you.

Proverbs: 27:2: Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.

Proverbs 27:17: As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:19: As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.

James 2:24: You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

Sirach 6:33: If you are wiling to listen, you will learn and become wise.

Long ago, Clement’s letters and epistles were part of the Biblical canon; currently, they are apocrypha.

1 Clement 7:4: Be ye merciful and ye shall obtain mercy; forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: as ye do, so shall it be done unto you: as ye give, so hall it be given unto you: as ye judge, so shall ye be judged: as ye are kind to others, so shall God be kind to you: with what measure ye mete, with the same shall it be measured to you again.

1 Clement 14:5: And let us put on concord, being humble, temperate; free from all whispering and detraction; and justified by our actions, not our words.

1 Clement 21:4: Charity unites us to God; charity covers the multitude of sins; charity endures all things, it is long-suffering in all things. There is nothing base and sordid in charity; charity lifts not itself up above others; admits no divisions; is not seditious: but does all things in peace and concord. By charity were all the elect of God made perfect: without it nothing is pleasing and acceptable in the sight of God. Through charity did the Lord join us unto himself.

2 Clement 5: For the Lord himself, being asked by a certain person, when his kingdom should come, answered, When two shall be one, and that which is without as that which is within, and the male with the female, neither male nor female. Now two are one, when we speak the truth to each other, and there is without hypocrisy one soul in two bodies: and that which is without as that which is within–he means this: he calls the souls that which is within, and the body that which is without. As therefore thy body appears, so let thy soul be seen by its good works. And the male with the female, neither male nor female–He means this: he calls our anger the male, our concupiscence the female. When therefore a man is come to such a pass that he is subject to neither the one nor the other of these. But rather, having dispelled the mist arising from them, and being full of shame, shall by repentance have united both his soul and spirit in the obedience of reason; then, as Paul says, there is in us neither male nor female.

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