Posted by: Ascentury | Monday, 28 July 2008

Virtuous & lovely

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
Article of Faith 13

Recently, the last phrase of the thirteenth article of faith has dominated my thoughts.  “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”  I’ve been reexamining my own life and goals in its light, and have found myself unhappy with some things I’ve found.

What triggered this, actually, was a comment my mother made.  My parents and brothers went to see The Dark Knight last weekend; afterwards, when I spoke with her, my mother told me a little bit about how dark it was, and how it was not “virtuous, lovely, or of good report”.  My point isn’t to discuss this specific (it’s been done elsewhere), but it illustrates how many people have lost sight of trying to bring light into their lives and pursue only darkness in so many ways.  No, right now I’d like to bring uplifting things into my life, into our lives.

The recent appreciations I’ve had include the pleasant surprise of finally reading Cry, The Beloved Country and Wuthering Heights, but the gems I’d really like to share are a few haiku of Matsuo Basho.  These are the contemplative Zen verses that haunt my mind, and they should, perhaps, be read only one at a time, and slowly at that.

Nothing in the cry
of cicadas suggests they
are about to die.

Between our two lives
there is also the life of
the cherry blossom.

Summer grasses:
all that remains of great soldiers’
imperial dreams.

May we all cultivate the gift of contemplation and meditation, and may it draw us toward virtue and good report.

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