Creativity is so delicate a flower that praise tends to make it bloom, while discouragement often nips it in the bud.
A garden of flowers blooming is a beautiful sight to see. Through the green leaves surrounding a tulip we see hints of yellow or pink or red. Each day the flowers greet us with their radiant color. Yet, a sudden frost would wilt and fade the flowers.
Each time we create something new with our talents we are like a young flower opening. Whether we draw or write or sew or play a musical instrument, all creativity has this in common. Appreciation from those around us is like sunshine for the flowers. Harsh criticism, however, is like the cold air - it wilts and deadens our desire to create.
We all need warm encouragement for our endeavors, and we can give as well as receive it. In this way, creativity can bloom in our homes and our friendships, bringing a garden full of color and delight into our lives.
What encouragement can I offer to someone near me?
Daily Bible Readings From The Universal Life Church World Headquarters
Reading 1, Isaiah 55:1-3
1 Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty; though you have no money, come! Buy and eat; come, buy wine and milk without money, free!
2 Why spend money on what cannot nourish and your wages on what fails to satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and you will have good things to eat and rich food to enjoy.
3 Pay attention, come to me; listen, and you will live. I shall make an everlasting covenant with you in fulfilment of the favours promised to David.
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 145:8-9, 15-16, 17-18
8 Yahweh is tenderness and pity, slow to anger, full of faithful love.
9 Yahweh is generous to all, his tenderness embraces all his creatures.
15 All look to you in hope and you feed them with the food of the season.
16 And, with generous hand, you satisfy the desires of every living creature.
17 Upright in all that he does, Yahweh acts only in faithful love.
18 He is close to all who call upon him, all who call on him from the heart.
Gospel, Matthew 14:13-21
13 When Jesus received this news he withdrew by boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But the crowds heard of this and, leaving the towns, went after him on foot.
14 So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them and healed their sick.
15 When evening came, the disciples went to him and said, 'This is a lonely place, and time has slipped by; so send the people away, and they can go to the villages to buy themselves some food.'
16 Jesus replied, 'There is no need for them to go: give them something to eat yourselves.'
17 But they answered, 'All we have with us is five loaves and two fish.'
18 So he said, 'Bring them here to me.'
19 He gave orders that the people were to sit down on the grass; then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing. And breaking the loaves he handed them to his disciples, who gave them to the crowds.
20 They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected the scraps left over, twelve baskets full.
21 Now about five thousand men had eaten, to say nothing of women and children.
Reading 2, Romans 8:35, 37-39
35 Can anything cut us off from the love of Christ -- can hardships or distress, or persecution, or lack of food and clothing, or threats or violence;
37 No; we come through all these things triumphantly victorious, by the power of him who loved us.
38 For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nothing already in existence and nothing still to come, nor any power,
39 nor the heights nor the depths, nor any created thing whatever, will be able to come between us and the love of God, known to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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"The Universal Life Church World Headquarters defends the unborn, feeds the hungry, shelters the homeless, educates the young, welcomes refugees, and cares for the sick, both at home and abroad. They believe the Bible is the verbally inspired, inerrant Word of God."
A vocation is a fruit that ripens in a well cultivated field of mutual love that becomes mutual service, in the context of an authentic ecclesial life. No vocation is born of itself or lives for itself. A vocation flows from the heart of God and blossoms in the good soil of faithful people, in the experience of fraternal love. We are designed with a dreaming brain and a hopeful spirit; it is our nature to envision the life of our dreams. And while dreaming comes easy to us, we must never forget that it takes strength, dedication, and courageous action to bring that dream to life.
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