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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Three Words of Strength

(Toleware Box, watercolor painting by John H. Tercuzzi,
 American artist)

The spirit of charity requires that gifts be given without condition.

“Go, give a penny to that blind beggar,” said the Rabbi of Witkowo to his son, when they were walking together.

The boy did so. When he rejoined him, his father asked him, “Why didst thou not raise thy hat?”

“But he is blind,” replied the boy. “He could not have seen me.”

“And how dost thou know,” retorted his father, “that he is not an impostor? Go, raise thy hat.”

~ Celia Haddon, from
The Yearbook of Hope and Inspiration


There are three lessons I would write —
Three words, as with a burning pen,
In tracings of eternal light,
Upon the hearts of men.

Have hope! though clouds environ round,
And gladness hides her face in scorn,
Put though the shadow from the brow,
No night but hath its morn.

Have faith! where’er thy bark is driven —
The calm’s disport, the tempest’s mirth —
Know this: God rules the hosts of heaven,
The inhabitants of earth.

Have love! not love alone for one,
But man as man they brother call,
And scatter, like the circling sun,
Thy charities on all.

Thus grave these lessons on the soul,
Hope, faith, and love; and thou shalt find
Strength when life’s surges rudest roll,
Light when thou else wert blind.

~ Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805), German poet, philosopher, and playwright of dramas including the story of the Swiss marksman William Tell

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