Sacred acts inspired by love

10.31.2021. An excerpt by Laurence Freeman OSB from “Unity” in FIRST SIGHT: The Experience of Faith (London: Continuum, 2011), pp. 129-130.
friends helping each other climbing a mountain

Civilization rests on faith not technology. Faith leads to the belief in human goodness and equality, to trust in our neighbor, a sense of the common good rather than just selfish advantage, a passion for justice and a courage for compassion extended to the vulnerable. It empowers forgiveness and patience in times of betrayal and conflict. 


Civilization also rests upon sustained faith in the future, believing that there is a point to it all, that we have not achieved perfection but we’re not going to give up. [ . . . . ] Civilized society rests on the belief born of faith that we have something worthwhile to leave for the next generation to perfect better than we were able to. 


Meditation begins and ends in faith. It expresses the unity of all in the spirit, as do indeed all sacred acts inspired by love or compassion.

After meditation: “Terry Berrigan” by Anne Porter in LIVING THINGS: Collected Poems (Hanover, NH: Steerforth Press, 2006), pp. 31-33.

Terry Berrigan

The seven years we lived

On 52nd Street

We had a neighbor

Terry Berrigan

Who was the playmate

Of our youngest son


Terry was one of eight

Most of them boys

Who ran all through

The neighborhood

Dodging trucks

And scattering sparrows


Gap-toothed and freckle-faced

With ears

A size too big

Terry was little

For a boy of seven


His Irish mother told him

Terry you’re so small

That if the devil

Should ever catch you

He’d throw you back

For sure

He’s got no use at all

For little minnows


In my last year

On 52nd Street

When all the world around us

Was steeped in war

Terry and I

Each had a war at home


For Terry had

His drunken father

And my own house was filled

With anger and confusion


And Terry understood

I was in trouble

One day he brought me 

A child-size plastic medal

On a scrap of ribbon

And in his husky brogue

He said it was the nuns

Had got it for him

He said it had a blessing on it

And I should keep it always 

And that was all he said


After we moved away

From 52nd Street

I had no news of Terry

But I kept his medal

In a cracked saucer

On a pantry shelf


One day I picked it up

And looked at it

Intently in a way

I hadn’t looked before


And there in front of me

Was Terry’s Mary

And her wide-open hands

That streamed with blessings. 

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

  • Related Posts
Scroll to Top