In 2014, I have read three books by Minnesotan Kent Nerburn. I know him for his stories on Native Americans.
Last week as I searched for new books for the bookstore I volunteer at, I found a book written in 1999 by Mr. Nerburn titled Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace, Living in the Spirit of the Prayer of Saint Francis. I have long believed that St. Francis’s prayer is the perfect prayer. That conviction was made stronger when I read Timeless Wisdom by Eknath Easwaran. The heart of this Hindu’s book is the prayer of St. Francis. I was a bit surprised when I learned that Mr. Nerburn had written a book with this title. I ordered some copies for the bookstore. They arrived this morning, and I purchased one for myself.
As the early morning sunlight pierced the chapel windows at the Redemptorist Center, I read the introduction. Mrs. tVM arrived around 6:30AM and I asked her to read it. She was amazed. Of St. Francis’s prayer, Mr. Nerburn writes,
It gives voice to our faith without asking us to turn our backs on those who have chosen other paths. It is so pure, so human, so universal in its expression, that no good-hearted person of any faith would stand against it.
I so agree with his assessment. Mr. Nerburn concludes his introduction with this story, the most beautiful story I have ever read, and it is only two sentences long.
There is a story told by some of the Native American peoples about the stars in the midnight sky. Each star, they say, is a hole pierced in the veil of heaven by souls that have died, and the light that shines through is the light of God, the Great Spirit, the Great Mystery.
Can any definition of the infinite number of stars that populate our midnight sky be any more beautiful, any purer? Please let me know if there is.