Letter To a Friend

candle-in-hand

“I salute you. I am your friend. There is nothing I can give you which you have not got; but there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take.

No Heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. TAKE HEAVEN! No peace lies in the future, which is not hidden in this present little instant. TAKE PEACE! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is JOY. There is radiance and glory in the darkness, could we but see – and, to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to LOOK.

Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly, or heavy, or hard. Remove the covering and you will find beneath it a living splendour, woven by love, by wisdom, with power.

Welcome it, clasp it, and you touch the Angel’s hand that brings it to you. Everything we call a trial or sorrow or duty, believe me, that Angel’s hand is there; the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Our joys, too…be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty, beneath its covering, that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.

Courage then to claim it, that is all! But courage you have; and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, wending through unknown country, home.

And so I greet you. Not quite as the world sends greetings, but with profound esteem and with prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away…”

– Fra Giovanni Giocondo

Fra Giovanni Giocondo (c.1435–1515) was a Renaissance pioneer, accomplished as an architect, engineer, antiquary, archaeologist, classical scholar, and Franciscan friar.  Today we remember him most for his reassuring letter to Countess Allagia Aldobrandeschi on Christmas Eve, 1513.

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