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Starving with a Full Pantry

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Starving with a Full Pantry
One of my favorite authors, G. K. Chesterton, in his preface to Dickens’ Pickwick Papers, summed up my belief about wonders when he wrote, “The world will never starve for wonders, but only for want of wonder.” Paradoxically, this insightful sentence was used as an inscription in 1944 on the General Motors Building at the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition.

I say paradoxically, since it seems industrial progress not only has in the past but continues today to drain us of our sense of wonder.

Enkindle my childhood wilting wonder,
exhausted by endless electronic gadgets
that deplete my wonder at a singing bird,
a cricket’s charm, or a single star at night.

From A Book of Wonders by Ed Hays

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Prematurely Freeze-dried
Clarence Birdseye, while working with the U.W. Government Fish and Wildlife Department in 1912, observed the natives of Labrador catching fish in fifty-below-zero weather. It was so cold that it froze the fish as soon as they were taken out of the water. Birdseye observed how months later the natives thawed and ate the fish. As you may have already guessed, these observations led to the first Birdseye frozen foods. Today, we not only have frozen foods, we can also have a freeze-dried funeral. In ecologically advanced Sweden, instead of using enormous amounts of energy to cremate the dead, the bodies of the deceased are dipped in liquid nitrogen, causing them to become brittle and then turn to dust. There is yet another type of freezing that these considerations prompt us to remember: spiritual freezing. The fourteenth-century Persian mystic Rumi said, “Spend not your time with cold faces in dead places or else your breath will freeze your breast and heart.” Good advice if you don’t want to have your heart prematurely freeze-dried!

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When I discover I’m in a lifeless place—
a party or in a church—show to me the exit!
Encountering those with icy cold faces,
alert me lest I suffer heart-soul frostbite.

From A Book of Wonders by Ed Hays

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Prayer action suggestion:
Let your kindness warm your heart and also offer others the chance to thaw frozen hearts.

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Visit Ave Maria Press for a full selection of books by Fr. Hays.

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In This Issue

September 12-25, 2014

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