If you patiently accept what comes, you will always pray with joy.
n Evagrios the Solitary (Philokalia)
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.
To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.
–Barak Obama (Inaugural Speech 1/20/09)
St. Antony the Great once was living in the desert. The demons were giving him a hard time, beat him up, left him in a coma. Eventually folks found the body and carried him to the church, planning a funeral in the morning. In the middle of the night he got up and went back to his cave. And immediately the mean and nasties were at him again. Finally he called out in desperation, “Lord, help me!” and immediately Christ appeared and the demons scattered. “Lord, where were you when I needed you?” “I was always here, but I wanted to see what you were made of. As soon as you called (rather than relying on your own struggle) I am present.”