First Lesson About Man (A Few Words For Wednesday)

I’ve been engrossed in exploring the life and work of my new friend John C.H. Wu. Is it any surprise to you that he corresponded with Thomas Merton? How could he not have, is what I say. And I found some evidence that he did, of course. Merton wrote the introduction to John’s book The Golden Age of Zen. In fact, John writes this about their friendship,

There is no telling how much the friendship of this “true man” has meant to me during all these lonely years of my life.

See, practically bosum-buddies! And I also posted a thank you to Pink Floyd this week. Working on that, coupled with the knowledge that my friends John and Father Louis were correspondents, jogged my memory of one of Fr. Louis’ poems.

First Lesson About Man

Man begins in zoology.
He is the saddest animal.
He drives a big red car
Called anxiety.
He dreams at night
Of riding all the elevators.
Lost in the halls
He never finds the right door.

Man is the saddest animal.
A flake eater in the morning
A milk drinker.
He fills his skin with coffee
And loses patience
With the rest of his species.
He draws his sin on the wall
On all the ads in all the subways.

He draws moustaches
On all the woman
Because he cannot find his joy
Except in zoology.
Whenever he goes to the phone
To call joy
He gets the wrong number
Therefore he likes weapons.

He knows all guns
by their right name.
He drives a big, black Cadillac
Called death.
Now he is putting
Anxiety into space.
He flys his worries
All around Venus
But it does him no good.


In space, where for a long time
there was only emptiness
He drives a big white globe
Called death.
Now, dear children, you’ve learned
The first lesson about man.
Answer your test:

Man is the saddest animal.
He begins in zoology
And gets lost

In his own bad news.

I was getting the wrong number for a while too. How about you? Perhaps St. Anthony had something to do with helping me find the right number as well!

Take a look at this video for the full reading of the poem and a montage that works pretty well with it. The poster writes,

This surreal poem is from The Collected Poems of Thomas Merton. I thought the paintings of Giorgio de Chirico provided an interesting perspective (as it were) on the poetry.

I agree.

YouTube Preview Image

Because St. Anthony Helped Me Find John C.H. Wu

Anyone remember Webster’s first post on minor miracles? Something a little more than a coincidence led me to John C. H. Wu and I’m not ashamed to go “on the record” and say that. While browsing the shelves of my local public library, I came upon this little volume called St. Anthony’s Treasury. It’s a wee little book of prayers that is about the size of a pocket New Testament, like the ones the Gideon’s publish.

Catholic prayer books in the public library? That’s a minor miracle in itself, right? I know it was a gift from a patron. How? Because in pencil on the top right-hand corner of the blank page facing the inside cover is written carefully the word “gift.” The library, see, doesn’t have the money to purchase every published book under the sun. Especially not little Catholic prayer books like this one.

So I checked the book out, with the intention of looking over the prayers and devotions later. I was on my break and as I walked back to my office I learned about the First Friday Devotions right there on page 76. I always wondered what that devotion was all about. As someone who pretty regularly attends daily Mass, First Fridays are the same as every Friday, or so I thought. Now I know better.

When I got back to the office, I tossed the book into my book bag and forgot about it. And when I got home that evening, I dropped my bag in its customary resting place.  I forgot about it again until I needed to put my lunch into it the next morning. My routine? Grab my lunch, stuff it in the bag, grab my coffee, and out the door. Just another day, so far.

I work downtown and park in a garage that is about a ten minute walk from my office. So I get out of the car, throw my bag over my shoulder, lock the car and start walking. Oh yeah, then I dug into the bag and pulled out St. Anthony’s Treasury to read while I walked. Who knows? Maybe I’d learn something new.

The day before, I had checked the contents and skipped to the first devotion that caught my eye. For my walk, however, I started in the foreword, which is where I used to never look. You know, from before, when I was a “know-it-all.” I used to never read introductions, prefaces, or forewords, because I just wanted to get right to the action. I learned over the years that this wasn’t always a great idea.

So to the foreword it was. Written by a Robert Nash, S.J., he reminds us that St. Anthony is renowned as an “expert in the art of finding lost articles.” Does everyone know St. Anthony’s Prayer? You have lost something, say, and can’t find it anywhere. So you ask St. Anthony of Padua to help you out by calling on him like so,

St. Anthony!, St. Anthony!
Please come down.
Something is lost,
And can’t be found.

But, as far as I knew, I hadn’t lost anything on this day, so I kept on reading Fr. Nash’s foreword which was a lamentation on the huge numbers of people who have lost their faith and don’t really seem to care about it. It sounded like he was sulking, really, and I was just going to turn the page when I ran smack dab into these words,

The pagan philosopher Dr. Wu read…this in the Life of St. Thérèse. “What a wonderful girl!” he exclaimed. “If this saying of hers is an expression of the meaning of Catholic faith I see no reason why I should not become a Catholic.”

Having done a few posts on a guy named Wu, I was intrigued. The Wu I knew, though, became a Jesuit priest way before Thérèse of Lisieux had been born. As I walked, I resolved to see if I could find any information on this “pagan philosopher” named Wu, because from the quote Fr. Nash used, he sounded like a smart guy to me.

Now, this foreward is in the edition of St. Anthony’s Treasury that was published in 1975 by the Anthonian Press out of Dublin Ireland. I had some pretty good clues on this Wu person, and a Google search later, I had discovered that the guy who uttered these words was no pagan. Heck, by 1975, my friend John had been a Catholic for 38 years, and had published numerous books about the Faith. He had been an envoy to the Vatican in the early 1940′s, for crying out loud, and this Fr. Nash had no idea!

Something had been lost, alright, but it wasn’t my car keys. It was the Catholic legacy of John C.H. Wu that had been lost. Perhaps St. Anthony was pointing me in this direction so that John’s legacy can be rediscovered? That’s what I believe, anyway. Especially when I realized that most of his books are out of print, and used copies of them are few and far between. And expensive! Which got me thinking too.

Take a look at this map below.

This is the map of the world shaded by percentage of the population that identifies themselves as being Christian. See the big light colored space? Like all the way from Casablanca on the coast of Morocco to the islands of Japan? Less than 10 percent of the people in these areas are Christians. And the most populated country on that map is the Peoples Republic of China, right next to the second most populated country, the Republic of India.

Which leads me to make this appeal to the good folks at Our Sunday Visitor. Would OSV please consider republishing the works of John C.H. Wu if they still own the rights to them? I think the market for John’s books is pretty large. Heck, I love what he has written too and I’ve only read The Science of Love so far. He is the “Chinese” Chesterton after all. Just imagine the souls that could be reached in Mandarin, Cantonese, Hindi, Arabic, and other lanquages.

What do you say OSV? Can you bring John’s work back to the presses (or to Kindle)? St. Anthony has found him, but we here at YIMCatholic do not have a printing press. Thanks in advance for taking up this cause. If anyone reading this post knows anyone who can help make this happen, I would be much obliged.

With Gratitude to Yolande of Aragon

I’d never heard of Yolande of Aragon until I began delving into the life of Saint Joan of Arc. Now I know that without this medieval dynamo, the world might never have been blessed with the gifts of St. Joan.

Yolande’s role in St. Joan’s mission tells me a few things. First, none of us work Christ’s plan for our lives in isolation. Second, women have played key roles in history and their importance in Church history is no exception. In fact, one could argue that the Catholic Church stands alone in the degree to which it honors women and their role in securing salvation.Third, perhaps behind every powerful woman there is another woman, cheering her on.

Yolande of Aragon was born  a princess on Aug. 11, 1384. During her lifetime her titles included: titular queen regnant of Aragon, titular queen consort of Naples, Duchess of Anjou, Countess of Provence, and regent of Provence. Tradition says she commissioned the Rohan Hours, an illuminated manuscript book of hours that now sits in the Biblotheque Nationale in Paris. That book depicts the agonies of Christ and the grief of His mother  in dramatic detail.

At any rate, Yolande was strong and she was a contrarian. These traits gave this mother of six the ability to discern the face of Christ in a young illiterate peasant girl when others could not. She had claimed the throne of Aragon as her own after her father and uncle died, even though laws of succession at that time favored only males. She chose to support France in its Hundred Years’ War against the English and the Burgundians.  She supported the Dauphin, Charles, in his quest to become king even as his own mother plotted against him. “It has been said that Yolande was the person who kept the adolescent Charles alive and protected him when all sorts of plots were attempted against his life, and acted as a substitute mother to young Charles.”  And so she was his surrogate mother, and later, his mother in law when she arranged for one of her daughters to marry him.

It was in her own castles in the Loire Valley where Charles first encountered Joan of Arc. In Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, Twain’s narrator recounts how Yolande was the first in the royal family to recognize Joan was inspired by God,


At last she said. slowly, as if she were talking to herself: “A child of seventeen – a girl – country bred – untaught – ignorant of war, the use of arms, and the conduct of battles – modest, gentle, shrinking – yet she throws away her shepherd’s crook and clothes herself in steel, and fights her way through one hundred and fifty leagues of hostile territory, never losing heart or hope and never showing fear, and comes – she to whom a king must be a dread and awful presence – and will stand before such a one and say, Be not afraid, God has sent me to save you! Ah, whence could come such courage and conviction so sublime as this but from very God himself!”

This lead me to wondering: can I see the face of Christ in others? Am I open to understanding God’s hand guides our lives? Would I see a saint if she passed by me?

St. Joan, pray for me so that I am able to do so.


Thanks to Pink Floyd (Music for Mondays)

I’m warning you early—this edition of MfM will eat up your entire lunch hour. And if you don’t like rock n’ roll, get out now while there is still time.

Wait a second, I take that back. Stay. Because maybe, just maybe, everything you heard about Pink Floyd, is wrong. That is how it was for me and the Catholic Church for a long time, see? I was listening to people’s opinions instead of checking out the facts for myself. You all know where that led, as this blogs marquee proclaims. Besides, who else will show you Roger Waters, David Gilmore & Co. like this?

So what is it about these drug-crazed hippies that I think you should find appealing? You may be thinking to yourself, Obviously Frank…can’t you tell a bunch of sinners when you see them? [Read more...]

For All The Charities: “The Christian Foundation for Children and Aging”

Christ has a way of getting us to listen. I’ve been struggling to fully obey the Second Commandment, loving your neighbor as yourself. In fact, I blogged about it yesterday morning. Shortly thereafter, my husband and I and our two sons headed to Mass at  St. Peter the Apostle Parish in New Brunswick, NJ, where both our boys had been baptized. We arrived early and as I lingered in the foyer, I noticed some brochures set up on a table. It seemed there would be a guest preacher at this Mass.

During Mass, the guest preacher, Father Tom Singer O.M.I , read from the Gospel the Canticle of Mary from the Book of Luke. And then he did something remarkable, something I never had seen a priest do. He raised the Lectionary high in one hand and proclaimed “THIS is the Gospel of the Lord.” By then, I was eager to hear what he had come to share.

He began by talking about the Our Lady, given that yesterday was the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This dogma teaches us that when Mary died, her body and soul were assumed into heavenly glory. This means that Mary is fully human in heaven, just like her son Jesus.

What, Father Tom asked, does this have to do with us? He explained that the fact of Mary’s Assumption means that the more human we are, the more holy we are. God did not design us to avert our gaze from others. He designed us to love others, even in their poverty and their despair. Father Tom has been a priest for more than half a century. He told us one of the most meaningful experience of his life was when his superiors sent him to do mission work in a Brazilian slum. He said that caused him to understand we all must be a voice for the poor and the hungry, “God’s favorites,” he called them, because otherwise no one will hear their voices.

Now in semi-retirement, Father Tom spends his days preaching for a lay Catholic organization called the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging. Neither Greg nor I had ever heard of it, but you can look it up. CFCA has a beautiful mission and the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator and the American Institute for Philanthropy. Virtually all the funds it raises help people in need. Sponsoring an individual costs $30 a month.

One aspect of CFCA’s work in 24 developing countries that impresses me is that it offers sponsorships to  the aging as well as to children and teens. This reflects the Catholic value of honoring life in all its stages and Catholic social justice teaching, articulated in the 1998 by the United States Catholic Bishops.

Dear readers: are any of you sponsors with CFCA? Do you have experiences with other Catholic groups of this kind? Close friends who are Evangelicals always have pictures on their refrigerator of children they sponsor through church missions. Until yesterday I was unaware of any Catholic group with such an outreach.

Based in Kansas City, Kan., CFCA was founded  in 1981 by four siblings and a family friend. Perusing its website this afternoon I discovered one of those founders, Bob Hentzen, is walking 8,000 miles from his home in Guatemala to Chile. Right now, he’s in Ecuador. Check it out.
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=9580485&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=1&color=&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0Walk2gether: 12 countries, 16 months, 8,000 miles from CFCA on Vimeo.

Because We Are All Conceived in Love

The other day in my neck of the woods, just as I was heading out the driveway to Mass, something sad happened. Three police cars raced down the street, parking haphazardly in front of a home where a large family lives. I don’t know what happened: on the front lawn a young woman cried, a father walked away, children were in distress, and an elderly couple talked with the police. All I could do was pray.

 My faith teaches me that despite my inability to fix a situation, Christ wants me to pray. I figured everyone in that home needs prayers. A friend recently told me something she heard while attending Mass in Scotland: we need to pray for those who have no one to pray for them.

Why is this? The mere fact of our existence means that God loves us. Everyone who ever has lived is beloved by God. No matter what kind of a mess we make of our lives, God still loves us. We were conceived in love by God. When I judge others or try to avert my gaze from their distress, I try to imagine them as babies in their mother’s womb, deeply loved by God.

This insight might seem obvious. But my tendency, particularly since becoming a parent, has been to turn away from the pain of others, to cocoon myself in my own family and parish life, avoiding even thinking about others’ struggles. Sometimes I think, I don’t want to be dragged down by these people.

But Christ brings family, friends and neighbors to us. We are called to look upon them as He, in his overwhelming mercy and love, does.

 “God revealed that He desires a personal relationship with us, one based on His very essence which He imprinted on our very nature; “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image and likeness….’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:26f). What is this essence of God? “God is Love.” (1 John 4:8).

Reading Mark Twain’s Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc last night underlined this point for me once again. In the book’s first section, the narrator recounts a conversation between the young Joan and her village priest in Domrémy about imaginary fairies the children play with. Twain uses this  fictional anecdote to show Joan’s understanding of Christ’s love.

When I read this passage, I thought about the people I condemn because their lives are a struggle or because they lack faith. Joan tells her priest: “Who gave these poor creatures a home? God. Who protected them in it all those centuries? God. Who allowed them to dance and play there all those centuries and found no fault with it? God. Who disapproved of God’s approval and put a threat upon them? A man.”

Sometimes, the wounds of the world in front of us seem too deep to bear. Or the confusion and emptiness of those who are lost can feel overwhelming. On this, for the Feast Day of the Assumption of Mary,  we can pray.

Because of Catholics like the “Chinese Chesterton”

Today I want to introduce you to another man from China named Wu, who also became a Catholic. His full name is Wu Jingxiong, or Wu Ching-hsiung. As he spent much of his life in Western countries, he did what many do and adopted an Anglicized form of his name: John Ching Hsiung Wu, or John C. H. Wu for short.

Earlier this year, before summer started, I happened upon the story of a Chinese painter and poet who became a Catholic, way back in the year of Our Lord 1681. His name is Wu Li and I wrote several posts about him, his art, and his poetry. He eventually became a Jesuit Priest and spent the remainder of his years serving Christ as a missionary to his native land.

It was an exciting discovery, for me anyway, to find a convert to Catholicism whose decision to become a Catholic made my own decision to join the Church look like a cake-walk. There I was,  thinking that my swimming the Tiber had been the biggest step that anyone could have ever possibly taken. But from a cultural perspective, living in a nation founded on Christian principles, it can’t begin to compare to the decision Wu Li made to become a Catholic. Unlike Wu Li, though, John is a modern convert to the Church, having been born in the year 1899 and passing on to eternity in 1986.

John had already made the leap to Christianity, as a Methodist, 20 years before he entered the Roman Catholic Church, so he was a bold pioneer who stepped aside from the norms of his own culture early on. Again, I’m humbled by stories of courageous, audacious actions of converts like these. See what the Holy Spirit can do? So how did he wind up becoming a Catholic? That’s where the story gets good.

But first, the biographical information that will help you understand my new friend better.  I am indebted to the work of Li Xiuqing, editor-in-chief of the Journal of East China University Political Science and Law for her paper on the college life of John, as well as to Nicholas Howson of the University of Michigan School of Law for translating it. Howson’s commentary appears in italics below.

John was born in 1899 in Ningbo, China, a little town south, and across the bay, from Shanghai. Details of his youth are lacking, but he wrote of them and when I get my hands on one of his books, I look forward to learning more. He studied and graduated from the Suhzou University Law School with an L.L.B in 1920, and then went on to obtain his J.D. degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1921. Yep, you read that correctly, one year later.  Because he was a “young man in a hurry,” see? I know the type. Howson writes the following,

John C. H. Wu is one of the giants of post-Imperial Chinese law, philosophy, education and religion, who visited at law schools and universities throughout the United States and Europe — including Paris (1921), Harvard (1923 and 1930) and Northwestern (1929). He engaged in a long correspondence with Justice Holmes between 1921 and 1935, founded “Tianhsia Monthly” (1935) as a bridge between Chinese and Western culture, and served as Vice Chairman of the KMT-era Legislative Yuan’s Constitutional Drafting Committee starting in the early 1930s. In fact, he is well-known in China and Taiwan as the principle drafter of the 1946 Chinese Constitution, largely based on his June 1933 draft constitution (still described in Chinese as the “Wu draft”).

Whaat?! Yes, he wrote a government’s constitution. Like Madison, Jefferson, Adams, Morris, et al., wrote the U.S. Constitution. And he corresponded with Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, as well. He was getting pretty well known. Did I mention he later became Chief Justice of a district court in China too?

In January 1927, he was appointed by the Jiangsu Provincial Government to sit as a judge on the new “Shanghai Provisional Court”, a court with jurisdiction over all controversies in the Shanghai International Settlement, except those cases where the defendants were citizens of the Treaty nations. (As he exulted to Justice Holmes at that time, “I shall try to Holmesianize the Law of China!”) He was later promoted to Chief Justice and then President of the same Court.

Soon he tired of this position and left it to further hone and polish his legal expertise by heading to the United States for a few plum assignments.

He resigned from the Court in the Fall of 1929 to return to the United States as a Rosenthal Lecturer at Northwestern Law School (Winter 1929) and a Research Fellow at the Harvard Law School (Spring 1930). By the Fall of 1930 he had returned to Shanghai, where he practiced law until the Japanese invasion.

And from what I gather, he became a wealthy and very influential lawyer during that short time—and disenchanted, nay, with an empty feeling inside as a result. Surely there is more to life than this. It is time for a saint to intervene. More on that further on, but first, let’s round out his career.

After 1937 John Wu rediscovered his early Christian faith, only now as a Catholic and not a Methodist, and went on to an equally rich career as a Catholic intellectual and leader, translating the New Testament and the Psalms into Chinese, and serving as Chinese minister to the Vatican in 1947-8. (He later, in 1961, completed a still popular English translation of Laozi’s Taoist classic, the Tao Teh Ching (Classic of the Way).

He kept busy, huh? It’s humbling to me to think of translating a menu at a restaurant into English, but John translated the entire New Testament and the Psalms into Mandarin. Gulp! And my friend Jonathan Chaves informs me that his translation of the Tao Teh Ching is excellent. And he was the Chinese minister to the Vatican too? Sheeeeesh. What more can this guy possibly have accomplished? Well, there was revolution brewing back home, see. Surely that tripped him up.

In February 1949 he returned from Rome to Shanghai and was asked by the Guomindang Prime Minister Sun Fo (Sun Yat-sen’s son) and Acting President Li Chung-zen (Chiang Kai-shek having “retired” to his home of Ningbo, prior to his transfer to Taiwan) to be China’s Minister of Justice. The appointment was never formalized with the collapse of the Sun Fo cabinet, and in March 1949 – after a final, melancholy, interview with Chiang Kai-shek at their shared hometown Ningbo – John Wu departed China for the last time. After the 1949 Revolution, he was a long-time professor at the University of Hawaii and later still Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

Wow. Have you seen the movie Field of Dreams? “Hey Rookie—you were good!” This guy was a secular superstar if there ever was one. And then he became a Catholic and, to use a baseball term, he kept hitting long balls over the fence. I mean, Mao Zedong came to power on the mainland and John left China and settled in the United States none the worse for wear. At least that’s how is seems. Of course there is probably more to the story, much more.

That’s enough for the particulars though, wouldn’t you say? Not quite, because there are a few more things to cover. According to Dr. Karl Schmude, of Campion College in Sydney, Australia, John was given the sobriquet “the Chinese Chesterton” by “a Chinese-Australian lady whom the Australian author and publisher Frank Sheed met in Sydney in 1944.” Sheed published one of John’s books about Catholicism entitled Beyond East and West and I can’t wait to read it.

John authored a number of books. As mentioned above, some were related to his cultural heritage, like his translation of the Tao. Others concerned his profession as a lawyer. After his conversion to Catholicism, his writing career flourished as a means to explain his conversion to others and as a way to explore the common ground between Confucianism and Catholicism. In fact, he wrote another book that I look forward to reading entitled From Confucianism to Catholicism.

Here is a list of his published works,

Jingxiong Wu, Juridical Essays and Studies

Some Unpublished Letters of Justice Holmes

The Art of Law and Other Essays Juridical and Literary

Essays in Jurisprudence and Legal Philosophy

The Science of Love: A Study in the Teachings of Thérèse of Lisieux

Justice Holmes to Doctor Wu: An Intimate Correspondence 1921-1932

From Confucianism to Catholicism

Beyond East and West

The Interior Carmel: The Threefold Way of Love

Fountain of Justice: A Study in Natural Law

Justice Holmes: A New Estimate

Cases and Materials on Jurisprudence

Chinese Humanism and Christian Spirituality

Sun Yat-sen: The Man and His Ideas

The Four Seasons of T`ang Poetry

Zhongguo zhe hsuëh [Chinese philosophy]

The Golden Age of Zen

*Translations*

Jingxiong Wu, Tao Teh Ching

Not quite as prolific as Chesterton, you say? Sure, but John was a law professor for his day job, remember? That can take up a little bit of your time too. Anyway, I think I’ve covered the basics of what you need to know about my newest friend in the faith for one post. I’ll delve more into the particulars of John’s “rediscovery of his Christian faith,” and what led him to Rome, in a post tomorrow.

Because Winning Wars Takes Organization

I could sit here and bore you in nauseating detail about why the Church is necessary, and why it is vital to the salvation of all mankind. I could fill my dissertation with footnotes, and quotes from sources old and new. But really, that would be a colossal waste of your time and mine.

A few high-placed people have questioned the legitimacy of organized religion of late. Are they right? Or are they wrong? Look at this picture  and get a clue. Wars aren’t won by individuals on their own. They are won by individuals united in a common purpose and with a unifying mission. To get to this point, where these troops have crossed the “line of departure,” as you see here, thousands of hours and millions of lives have been at work together to bring the fight to a foe.

Is organized religion necessary? Not when you are at peace. But when you remember that we are at war, and have been since the beginning, the question is moot. As someone I met recently would say, “Think well on’t.”

Semper Fidelis

For Thoughts Like These from Robert Hugh Benson

Robert Hugh Benson was an English convert to Catholicism. No big deal, right? Wrong! You see, RHB had been ordained an Anglican priest in 1895. The thing was, his dad was the Archbishop of Canterbury at the time.  Think of how proud his parents and the rest of his family were of him.

In 1896, his father passed away suddenly, and Benson himself was ill as well. While on a field trip to recover his health, he began delving into his beliefs and began to lean toward becoming a Catholic. His relatives were underwhelmed with the idea of the son of the late head of the Church of England doing such a thing. Preposterous—but Bobbie did just that in 1903. [Read more...]

There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy (A Few Words for Wednesday)

Back in June, I shared a poem by Frederick Faber in this space.  This week, I share the words of a hymn he wrote. You can find the music, too, and sing along if you like.  But I actually prefer these words without the music.

I first read read them in my favorite book about my favorite Old Testament book. Faber wrote lots of hymns, Faith of Our Fathers being one of the better known ones. This hymn is a gift that reminds me of the passage that St. Paul writes to the Corinthians:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God.(2Cor. 1:3-4)

Though the road that leads to life is narrow, God’s mercy is not.

There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in His justice,
Which is more than liberty.

There is no place where earth’s sorrows
Are more felt than up in Heaven;
There is no place where earth’s failings
Have such kindly judgment given.

There is welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the good;
There is mercy with the Savior;
There is healing in His blood.

There is grace enough for thousands
Of new worlds as great as this;
There is room for fresh creations
In that upper home of bliss.

For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of our mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.

There is plentiful redemption
In the blood that has been shed;
There is joy for all the members
In the sorrows of the Head.

‘Tis not all we owe to Jesus;
It is something more than all;
Greater good because of evil,
Larger mercy through the fall.

If our love were but more simple,
We should take Him at His word;
And our lives would be all sunshine
In the sweetness of our Lord.

Souls of men! why will ye scatter
Like a crowd of frightened sheep?
Foolish hearts! why will ye wander
From a love so true and deep?

It is God: His love looks mighty,
But is mightier than it seems;
‘Tis our Father: and His fondness
Goes far out beyond our dreams.

But we make His love too narrow
By false limits of our own;
And we magnify His strictness
With a zeal He will not own.

Was there ever kinder shepherd
Half so gentle, half so sweet,
As the Savior who would have us
Come and gather at His feet?


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