By Fra Giovanni Giocondo
I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not. But there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.
Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see. And to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look!
Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you.
Everything we call a trial, a sorrow or a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there. The gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Your joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.
Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering, that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it; that is all! But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, wending through unknown country home.
Fra Giovanni Giocondo (c.1435–1515) was a Renaissance pioneer, accomplished as an architect, engineer, antiquary, archaeologist, classical scholar, and Franciscan friar. Today we remember him most for his reassuring letter to Countess Allagia Aldobrandeschi on Christmas Eve, 1513.
(New York Times, November 2015) Arthur C. Brooks writes, “Choosing to focus on good things makes you feel better than focusing on bad things…In addition to building our own happiness, choosing gratitude can also bring out the best in those around us.”
(Business Insider, November 2015) Faisal Hoque writes how successful entrepreneurs, authors and innovators achieve more, are happier, and make a difference, by consciously practicing gratitude.
(NPR, November 2015) “We are saturated with time. Right now, as you read these words, it’s rolling out from you. It’s filling space with your awareness of this one precious present moment. That, after all, is all the time we ever know. The past is a memory and the future an idea. But this moment, this breath, this deep sigh of relief.”
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