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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings - April 9

Just For Today
April 9
Acting Out

“We learn to experience feelings and realize they can do us no harm unless we act on them.”
IP No. 16, “For the Newcomer”

Many of us came to Narcotics Anonymous with something less than an overwhelming desire to stop using. Sure, the drugs were causing us problems, and we wanted to be rid of the problems, but we didn’t want to stop getting high. Eventually, though, we saw that we couldn’t have one without the other Even though we really wanted to get loaded, we didn’t use; we weren’t willing to pay the price anymore. The longer we stayed clean and worked the program, the more freedom we experienced. Sooner or later, the compulsion to use was lifted from us completely, and we stayed clean because we wanted to live clean.

The same principles apply to other negative impulses that may plague us. We may feel like doing something destructive, just because we want to. We’ve done it before, and sometimes we think we’ve gotten away with it, but sometimes we haven’t. If we’re not willing to pay the price for acting on such feelings, we don’t have to act on them.

It may be hard, maybe even as hard as it was to stay clean in the beginning. But others have felt the same way and have found the freedom not to act on their negative impulses. By sharing about it and seeking the help of other recovering people and a Power greater than ourselves, we can find the direction, the support, and the strength we need to abstain from any destructive compulsion.

Just for today: It’s okay to feel my feelings. With the help of my sponsor, my NA friends, and my Higher Power, I am free not to act out my negative feelings.

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Daily Reflections
April 9
FREEDOM FROM “KING ALCOHOL”

. . . let us not suppose even for an instant that we are not under constraint. . . . Our former tyrant, King Alcohol, always stands ready again to clutch us to him. Therefore, freedom from alcohol is the great “must” that has to be achieved, else we go mad or die.
–As Bill Sees It, p. 134

When drinking, I lived in spiritual, emotional, and sometimes, physical confinement. I had constructed my prison with bars of self-will and self-indulgence, from which I could not escape. Occasional dry spells that seemed to promise freedom would turn out to be little more than hopes of reprieve. True escape required a willingness to follow whatever right actions were needed to turn the lock. With that willingness and action, both the lock and the bars themselves opened for me. Continued willingness and action keep me free–in a kind of extended daily probation–that need never end.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
April 9
A.A. Thought For The Day

Third, alcoholics recover their proper relationship with other people.  they think less about themselves and more about others. They try to help other alcoholics. They make new friends so that they’re no longer lonely. They try to live a life of service instead of selfishness.  All their relationships with other people are improved. They solve their personality problems by recovering their personal integrity, their faith in a Higher Power, and their way of fellowship and service to others. Is my drink problem solved as long as my personality problem is solved?

Meditation For The Day

All that depresses you, all that you fear, is really powerless to harm you. These things are but phantoms. So arise from earth’s bonds, from depression, distrust, fear, and all that hinders your new life.  Arise to beauty, joy, peace, and work inspired by love. Rise from death to life. You do not even need to fear death. All past sins are forgiven if you live and love and work with God. Let nothing hinder your new life. Seek to know more and more of that new way of living.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may let God live in me as I work for Him. I pray that I may go out into the sunlight and work with God.

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As Bill Sees It
April 9
The “Slipper” Needs Understanding, p. 99

“Slips can often be charged to rebellion; some of us are more rebellious than others. Slips may be due to the illusion that one can be ‘cured’ of alcoholism. Slips can also be charged to carelessness and complacency. Many of us fail to ride out these periods sober. Things go fine for two or three years–then the member is seen no more. Some of us suffer extreme guilt because of vices or practices that we can’t or won’t let go of. Too little self-forgiveness and too little prayer–well, this combination adds up to slips.

“Then some of us are far more alcohol-damaged than others. Still others encounter a series of calamities and cannot seem to find the spiritual resources to meet them. There are those of us who are physically ill. Others are subject to more or less continuous exhaustion, anxiety, and depression. These conditions often play a part in slips–sometimes they are utterly controlling.”

Talk, 1960

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Walk in Dry Places
April 9
Understanding Compulsion
Protecting Sobriety

Often called a “compulsive illness,” alcoholism is still a baffling mystery to most people. All we really know is that a single drink, a pleasant beverage for many, becomes a deadly trigger for alcoholics. We may even think it’s unfair that we’re unable to enjoy the pleasant customs of social drinking. If we let down our guard, we can even entertain the thought that we’ve somehow been cured of the compulsion to drink.

But we don’t have to understand the exact nature of compulsion to realize that we are victims of it. Bitter experience and the tragic examples of others should tell us that our compulsion exists and is activated by the first drink. That’s really all the understanding we need for living successfully in sobriety.

If there’s anything we should question, it’s not whether we have the compulsion, but why we would have any doubts after so much bad experience with alcohol. After all, if we always had a bad reaction from any other food or beverage, we would soon give it up. Why is there so much persistence in denying that we are compulsively attached to alcohol?

We still may be trying to convince ourselves that we can take a drink safely, and this delusion is another way the compulsion works. All we have to understand is that a single drink leads to our destruction.

I’ll remember today that I’ve accepted the fact that I am alcoholic and subject to disaster with a first drink. I’ll live today with the knowledge that I only have to understand that I have a compulsion to drink.

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Keep It Simple
April 9

The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day a time.
–Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln did great things for the United States. He took life One Day at a time.. He broke the future into manageable pieces. We can do the same. We can live in the present and focus on the task at hand.

Spirituality comes when we focus this way. When we stay in the present we find choice. And we worry less about the future. Still, we must have goals.  We must plan for the future.

Goals and plans help us give more credit to the present than to the future. And when we feel good about the present, we feel good about the future.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me focus. Help me keep my energy in the present. Have me live life One Day at a Time.

Action for the Day: When I find myself drifting into the future, I’ll work at bring myself back to the present.

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Each Day a New Beginning
April 9

For is it not true that human progress is but a mighty growing pattern woven together by the tenuous single threads united in a common effort? –Soong Mei-ling
–(Madame Chiang Kai-shek)

We each are spinning our individual threads, lending texture, color, pattern, to the “big design” that is serving us all. Person by person our actions, our thoughts, our values complement those of our sisters, those of the entire human race. We are heading toward the same destination, all of us, and our paths run parallel on occasion, intersect periodically, and veer off in singleness of purpose when inspiration calls us.

It’s comforting to be reminded that our lives are purposeful. What we are doing presently, our interactions with other people, our goals, have an impact that is felt by many others. We are interdependent. Our behavior is triggering important thoughts and responses in someone else, consistently and methodically. No one of us is without a contribution to make. Each one of us is giving what we are called upon to give when we are in a right relationship with God, who is the master artist in this design we are creating.

Prayer and meditation will direct my efforts today. My purpose can then be fulfilled.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
April 9
LISTENING TO THE WIND

– It took an “angel” to introduce this Native American woman to A.A. and recovery.

Sometime in the middle of the long, restless night, a kindly middle-aged white man laid his hand on my shoulder. “Come on, young lady,” he said. “Let’s get you to someplace warm and get you something to eat.” The price he asked in return seemed little, considering the cold rainy night behind me. I left his hotel with $50 in my hand. Thus began a long and somewhat profitable career in prostitution. After working all night, I would drink to forget what I had to do to pay the rent until the sunrise brought sleep. The weeks passed.

p. 459

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
April 9

Step Four – “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

Before tackling the inventory problem in detail, let’s have a closer look at what the basic problem is. Simple examples like the following take on a world of meaning when we think about them. Suppose a person places sex desire ahead of everything else. In such a case, this imperious urge can destroy his chances for material and emotional security as well as his standing in the community. Another may develop such an obsession for financial security that he wants to do nothing but hoard money. Going to the extreme, he can become a miser, or even a recluse who denies himself both family and friends.

p. 43

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Xtra Thoughts
April 9

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go unto the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.
–Alan Alda

Right now, this moment, is the time to celebrate by dancing beneath the warmth of the sun.
–Gary Barnes

When we are doing our best to live as God would have us live, if we are in harmony with God, we shall feel and be at peace.
–SweetyZee

Silence is the great revelation.
–Lao Tzu

“God answers all kneel-mail.”
–Gary R.

Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.
–Unknown

Make a conscious effort to thank God today.
–Patricia Ferris

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
April 9
SERVICE

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
–Charles Dickens

As a drunk I thought that the world owed me a living. Everybody existed for my employment and service; the world was waiting for my telephone call! For years I manipulated people, and I was such a good con artist they often left thanking me!

Today a part of my spiritual program requires service. I make the no coffee, put out the cookies, cook the meal and invite friends for dinner. I make the telephone call, give the lectures, share in groups and write articles. The life of service helps to keep me sober. I am the message that I share. And I do it for me!

Thank you for making me aware of my need to give.

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Bible Scriptures
April 9

It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
–Lamentations 3:26

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
–Matthew 6:20

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Daily Inspiration
April 9

Courage is not the lack of fear, but the ability to go on in spite of it. Lord, may I be strong in my abilities and courageous in my beliefs.

In life it is those that persevere that will succeed. Lord, every day is a fresh beginning. With You, I will come closer to my goals each day if only I don’t give up and quit.

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A Day At A Time
April 9

Reflection For The Day

Faith is more than our greatest gift: its sharing with others that our greatest responsibility.  May we of The Program continually seek the wisdom and the willingness by which we may well fulfill the immense trust of which the Giver  of all.  Perfect gifts has placed in our hands.  If you pray, why worry?  If you worry, why pray?

Today I Pray

Our God is a mighty fortress,m a bulwark who never fails us.  Many we praise Him for our deliverance and for our protection.  He  gives us the right of faith to share.  May we pass it along to others as best we know how and in the loving spirit in which He gave it to us.

Today I Will Remember

God will not fail us.

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One More Day
April 9

The comforter’s head never aches.
–  Italian Proverb

Sometimes, people who undergo a family crisis, such as the sudden death of a loved one, hold up commendably during the most difficult times, only to collapse later.  While none of us can always stay calm, we rarely buckle when our strength is needed by others.

We comfort our loved ones when they’re angry, hurt, or disappointed.  We comfort friends who have undergone surgery or had other crises of their own.  We sit by the bed of people we love as they wait to die.  Again and again, we prove we are strong.  Our experience in comforting others helps us recognize the strength of our friends and family when they comfort us in our anger or disappointment, in our sadness or illness.

I am proud I can give comfort and strength to those who need it.  I am grateful for those who comfort me.

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One Day At A Time
April 9
~ Feelings ~

Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.
–Albert Einstein

Before working the Twelve Step program, one reason I used to overeat was that I couldn’t manage my feelings. My feelings were overwhelming and incapacitating to me. I would also overreact to feelings and this would make them truly more than I could handle. So I would then overeat to make the feelings stop. I would stuff myself, to stuff them down!

In working the Twelve Step program, I got a chance to work through past hurts and resentments that intensified my feelings. I learned to feel my feelings, just as they are, and how to stop overreacting to them. I learned to sort through messages my family gave me about feelings, that it’s not okay to have or feel or express them. I learned to decide what is true for me, today, about feelings. I also worked through my codependency issues and learned how to communicate feelings in an appropriate, effective and loving way.

Now feelings are a part of my life and not something overwhelming and incapacitating. In fact, they have become something beautiful that enrich my life and give it color and texture and even pleasure.

One Day at a Time . . .
I honor the blessing of having my feelings returned to me. I enjoy them, and I respect my feelings and those of others. I thank my Higher Power for this wonderful gift.

~ Lynne ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – April 9

“Everything really is equal. The Creator doesn’t look at me any better than He looks at the trees. We’re all the same.”
–Janice Sundown Hattet, SENECA

Sometimes humans think we are the center of the Universe. Sometimes we think we are above or better than other people or things. The Great Spirit made a set of Laws and Principles by which all things should live. Everybody and everything lives by the same Laws. We are all made of atoms just like the trees. The life force in the middle of the atom is the life force of the Great Mystery. It is the same for everything. We are all equal in the eyes of the Creator.

Great Spirit, today, I will respect your handiwork.

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Today’s Gift
April 9

There are persons who have some parts like me, but no one adds up exactly like me.
–Virginia Satir

Most of us feel pretty ordinary. We probably wish we were taller or shorter. Some of us are fat rather than thin. Few of us have perfect skin or teeth. Often we look at others, compare ourselves, and wish we were different. At these times, it’s important to remember that each of us is special. We differ from others because we’re created for different purposes.

Some of us will make a contribution to the world of sports, some to the art of music. Teaching or medicine will attract others and yet, no two of us will give to the world in the same way. Our unique mixture of looks, attitudes, and abilities will be special and very necessary to the people sharing our lifetime.

How can I give my special gift to the world today?

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The Language of Letting Go
April 9
Giving

Learning to be a healthy giver can be a challenge. Many of us got caught up in compulsive giving – charitable acts motivated by uncharitable feelings of guilt, shame, obligations, pity, and moral superiority.

We now understand that catering and compulsive giving don’t work. They backfire.

Caretaking keeps us feeling victimized.

Many of us gave too much, thinking we were doing things right; then we became confused because our life and relationships weren’t working. Many of us gave so much for so long, thinking we were doing God’s will; then in recovery, we refused to give, care, or love for a time.

That’s okay. Perhaps we needed a rest. But healthy giving is part of healthy living. The goal in recovery is balance – caring that is motivated by a true desire to give, with an underlying attitude of respect for others and ourselves.

The goal in recovery is to choose what we want to give, to whom, when, and how much. The goal in recovery is to give and not feel victimized by our giving.

Are we giving because we want to, because it’s our responsibility? Or are we giving because we feel obligated, guilty, ashamed, or superior? Are we giving because we feel afraid to say no?

Are the ways we try to assist people helpful, or do they prevent others from facing their true responsibilities?

Are we giving so that people will like us or feel obligated to us? Are we giving to prove we’re worthy? Or are we giving because we want to give and it feels right?

Recovery includes a cycle of giving and receiving. It keeps healthy energy flowing among our Higher Power, others, and us. It takes time to learn how to give in healthy ways. It takes time to learn to receive. Be patient. Balance will come.

God, please guide my giving and my motives today.

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More Language Of Letting Go
April 9
You get to choose

Don’t forget that we get to choose.

I got my “A” license in skydiving. I continued to jump. But I was procrasitnating on buying my own parachute and gear. I used the rental gear, even though it didn’t fit my body comfortably and I was throwing money down the drain. I used the rental gear because the student parachutes were big.

A lot of sky divers start going for the smallest possible canopy as soon as they get into the sport. That didn’t work for me. As safe as I try to be and as much as I concentrate on landing properly, I usually land on my behind.

The bigger the canopy over my head, the better my behind feels when I land.

Whenever I discuss buying my own gear, the other skydivers would start insisting that I had to buy a small canopy, not to waste my money going big. So I put off the purchase, wondering when I’d want to jump and land with a canopy that small.

One day Eddy, a sky diver with more than ten thousand jumps and no injuries in the sport, pulled me aside. He asked me if I had bought my equipment. I told him no. He asked why. I told him because everybody had told me that when I bought my first canopy, it should be smaller than the size I was comfortable jumping.

“Don’t be ridiculous. Order the largest size you can. You’re the one jumping. You’re the one paying for the gear. Don’t let other people convince you that you shouldn’t have what you want. Do what’s right for you, and you’ll be in this sport for a long time.”

I was comforted and surprised by his words. How easy it is to let other people’s expectations control our thoughts and actions. Sometimes we just need a little reminder that it’s more than okay to choose what’s right for us– it’s what we’re meant to do.

God, help me set myself free from the limits that other people put on me.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
April 9

It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can.
—SYDNEY SMITH

We are capable of far more than we think. The task before us sometimes seems mountainous, but we don’t have to do it all in one day. We can do only a little, although we want to accomplish the whole job at once. We must not let our desire for complete change all at once discourage us from doing what we can. We may need to look for a new job, or face the loneliness of ending a hurtful relationship, or hold firmly to our wisest fathering role with our children, or deal with an illness in ourselves or a loved one.

We do not have to face the tasks that challenge us by ourselves. We are all members of a large, quiet network of spiritual support for each other. We have our Twelve Step program, the loving strength of our Higher Power, and the companionship of other men and women in our group. With help, we can do what must be done. We only need to faithfully do a little at a time.

Today, I will remember that I am not alone. I have help in many forms, and I will do what I can.

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Journey To The Heart
April 9
Take Better Care of Yourself

Take better care of yourself than you ever have before. That’s what your heart is telling you to do.

Those times of driving yourself, depriving yourself, not being gentle and loving with yourself will no longer work. Punishing, criticizing, repressing, and denying won’t bring the feelings, the growth, the result you’re seeking. The harder you push, the more you relentlessly demand perfection, the worse you’ll feel.

Fall in love with yourself. Be gentle, loving, kind, and attentive. Take time throughout each day to tend to your needs, just as you would tend to someone you loved deeply and dearly. Loving and caring for yourself this way won’t waste time. It’s not a delay. Take better care of yourself, and life’s magic will return. Your life will improve. You’ll feel better,too.

Taking care of yourself is a simple act with profound consequences. The better and more often you care for yourself, the more you’ll align with the universe and God’s love.

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Food for Thought
April 9
Retreats

OA retreats are a wonderful way to recharge our batteries and gain strength through sharing. Whether for a day or for a weekend, the retreat is an extremely effective tool for growth in our program.

If an organized retreat is not available when we need it, we can arrange our own personal retreat for a day or two. Choosing a day or a weekend when we can concentrate on our program may give us a boost we need when we are having difficulty. If a minimum of time is spent on necessary tasks, there will be many hours free for reading, writing, and meditating. We can plan our abstinent meals ahead of time so that they require as little preparation as possible.

A personal retreat may take place at home or, if there are many distractions and it is possible to leave for a day or two, we may go somewhere away from home where we can be quiet and reflect. Extra time spent in prayer and meditation yields enormous dividends, and we return with increased strength and perspective.

I seek the refreshment that comes from You.

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Daily TAO
April 9
HOMECOMING

Where was Tao while I was gone?
Wasn’t I following it where I went?
Do you think that there are two?

After traveling awhile, we come home to a familiar place, only we often look at it in a new light. Were things different while we weren’t here? We experienced so many new and different things while we were gone — wasn’t that Tao too? How can there be so many differences?

You might argue that a mountain is a mountain, but our attitudes toward it are changeable. If we mistake our subjective viewpoints as something that is solid, permanent, and never relative to circumstances, then we will have no end to our problems. However, if we always remember that everything is comparative, then we can move through life in a much more dynamic way.

There are not two ways. There is only one. It is so vast that we can experience widely diverging aspects of it and imagine that we are in different realities. This is a misconception. We cannot outrun Tao, cannot be outside of it. It is only our viewpoints that change to the degree that we think we are in differing dimensions. In the river of Tao, we are like minnows that can never plumb the length and breadth of the water.

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DailyZen
April 9

He stays in a thatched hut
In Ling Mountain Valley;
Studies diligently by oil lamp
The Odes and History.
In this still world without people,
His rustic door’s half shut;
Only white clouds go with him
Through the night.

– Hsieh Ling-chih (early 8th c)

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Faith’s Check Book
April 9
The Bible’s Supreme Place

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (Psalm 119:165)

Yes, a true love for the great Book will bring us great peace from the great God and be a great protection to us. Let us live constantly in the society of the law of the Lord, and it will breed in our hearts a restfulness such as nothing else can. The Holy Spirit acts as a Comforter through the Word and sheds abroad those benign influences which calm the tempests of the soul.

Nothing is a stumbling block to the man who has the Word of God dwelling in him richly. He takes up his daily cross, and it becomes a delight. For the fiery trial he is prepared and counts it not strange, so as to be utterly cast down by it. He is neither stumbled by prosperity—as so many are—nor crushed by adversity—as others have been—for he lives beyond the changing circumstances of external life. When his Lord puts before him some great mystery of the faith which makes others cry, “This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” the believer accepts it without question; for his intellectual difficulties are overcome by his reverent awe of the law of the Lord, which is to him the supreme authority to which he joyfully bows. Lord, work in us this love, this peace, this rest, this day.

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This Morning’s Meditation
April 9

“And there followed Him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented Him.”

—Luke 23:27.

AMID the rabble rout which hounded the Redeemer to His doom, there were some gracious souls whose bitter anguish sought vent in wailing and lamentations—fit music to accompany that march of woe. When my soul can, in imagination, see the Saviour bearing His cross to Calvary, she joins the godly women and weeps with them; for, indeed, there is true cause for grief—cause lying deeper than those mourning women thought. They bewailed innocence maltreated, goodness persecuted, love bleeding, meekness about to die; but my heart has a deeper and more bitter cause to mourn. My sins were the scourges which lacerated those blessed shoulders, and crowned with thorn those bleeding brows: my sins cried “Crucify Him! crucify Him!” and laid the cross upon His gracious shoulders. His being led forth to die is sorrow enough for one eternity: but my having been His murderer, is more, infinitely more, grief than one poor fountain of tears can express.
Why those women loved and wept it were not hard to guess: but they could not have had greater reasons for love and grief than my heart has. Nain’s widow saw her son restored—but I myself have been raised to newness of life. Peter’s wife’s mother was cured of the fever—but I of the greater plague of sin. Out of Magdalene seven devils were cast—but a whole legion out of me. Mary and Martha were favoured with visits—but He dwells with me. His mother bare His body—but He is formed in me the hope of glory. In nothing behind the holy women in debt, let me not be behind them in gratitude or sorrow.

“Love and grief my heart dividing,
With my tears His feet I’ll lave—
Constant still in heart abiding,
Weep for Him who died to save.”

 

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