I shall not pass this way again…
“I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing,
therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow human being let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” ~~Stephen Grellet, 1773-1855~~ French-born Quaker Minister
Merchant of Venice: The Quality of Mercy by William Shakespeare
Portia: The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there.
What Have You Done With My Name?
by President George Albert Smith
“A number of years ago I was seriously ill. . . . With my family I went to St. George, Utah, to see if it would improve my health. . . .
“In St. George …. I became so weak as to be scarcely able to move. It was a slow and exhausting effort for me even to turn over in bed.
“One day, under these conditions, I lost consciousness of my surroundings and thought I had passed to the Other Side. I found myself standing with my back to a large and beautiful lake, facing a great forest of trees. There was no one in sight and there was no boat upon the lake or any other visible means to indicate how I might have arrived there. I realized, or seemed to realize, that I had finished my work in mortality and had gone home. I began to look around, to see if I could not find someone. There was no evidence of anyone living there, just those great, beautiful trees in front of me and the wonderful lake behind me.
“I began to explore, and soon I found a trail through the woods which seemed to have been used very little, and which was almost obscured by grass. I followed this trail, and after I had walked for some time and had traveled a considerable distance through the forest, I saw a man coming towards me. I became aware that he was a very large man, and I hurried my steps to reach him, because I recognized him as my grandfather. In mortality he weighed over three hundred pounds, so you may know he was a large man. I remember how happy I was to see him coming. I had been given his name and had always been proud of it.
“When Grandfather came within a few feet of me, he stopped. His stopping was an invitation for me to stop. Then –and this I would like the boys and girls and young people never to forget– he looked at me very earnestly and said:
“‘I would like to know what you have done with my name?’
“Everything I had ever done passed before me as though it were a flying picture on a screen–everything I had done. Quickly this vivid retrospect came down to the very time I was standing there. My whole life had passed before me. I smiled and looked at my grandfather and said:
“‘I have never done anything with your name of which you need be ashamed.’
“He stepped forward and took me in his arms, and as he did so, I became conscious again of my earthly surroundings. My pillow was as wet as though water had been poured on it—wet with tears of gratitude that I could answer unashamed.
“I have thought of this many times, and I want to tell you that I have been trying, more than ever since that time, to take care of that name. So I want to say to the boys and girls, to the young men and women, to the youth of the Church and of all the world: Honor your fathers and your mothers. Honor the names that you bear, because some day you will have the privilege and the obligation of reporting to them (and to your Father in heaven) what you have done with their name.” (“Your Good Name,” Improvement Era, Mar. 1947, p. 139.)
Which One Loved Her Best? by Anon.
“I love you, Mother,” said little John.
Then, forgetting his work, his cap went on,
Off to the garden-swing, and
Left Mother the water and wood to bring.
“I love you, Mother,” said rosy Nell,
“I love you better than tongue to tell,”
Then she teased and pouted full half the day.
Till her mother was glad when she went to play.
“I love you, Mother,” said little Fran,
“Today I’ll help you all I can.
How glad I am that school doesn’t keep!”
So she rocked the babe till it fell asleep.
Then, walking softly, she fetched the broom
And swept the floor and dusted the room.
Busy and happy all day was she,
Helpful and happy as a child could be.
“I love you, Mother,” again they said,
Three little children going to bed.
How do you think that mother guessed,
Which of them REALLY loved her best?
Responsibilities of Children from Gospel Principles, chapter 37
Children share with their parents the responsibilities of building a happy home. They should obey the commandments and cooperate with other family members. The Lord is not pleased when children quarrel (see Mosiah 4:14).
The Lord has commanded children to honor their parents. He said, “Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land” (Exodus 20:12). To honor parents means to love and respect them. It also means to obey them. The scriptures tell children to “obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1).
President Spencer W. Kimball said that children should learn to work and to share responsibilities in the home and yard. They should be given assignments to keep the house neat and clean. Children may also be given assignments to take care of the garden (see Conference Report, Apr. 1976, p. 5; or Ensign, May 1976, p. 5). Proverbs 22:6 (train up a child) Ephesians 6:1-3 (children are to obey parents) A loving and happy family does not happen by accident. Each person in the family must do his or her part. The Lord has given responsibilities to both parents and children. The scriptures teach that we must be thoughtful, cheerful, and considerate of others. When we speak, pray, sing, or work together, we can enjoy the blessings of harmony in our families. (See Colossians 3.)
10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She ariseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
The Most Beautiful Flower by Anon.
The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read
Beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree.
Disillusioned by life with good reason to frown,
For the world was intent on dragging me down.
And if that weren’t enough to ruin my day,
A young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play.
He stood right before me with his head tilted down
And said with great excitement,” Look what I found!”
In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight,
With its petals all worn – not enough rain or too little light.
Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play,
I faked a small smile and then shifted away.
But instead of retreating he sat next to my side
And placed the flower to his nose and declared
with overacted surprise,
“It sure smells pretty and it’s beautiful too.
That’s why I picked it; here, it’s for you”.
The weed before me was dying or dead.
Not vibrant of colors, orange, yellow and red.
But I knew I must take it, or he might never leave.
So I reached for the flower and replied, ” Just what I need.”
But instead of him placing the flower in my hand,
He held it in midair without reason or plan.
It was then that I noticed for the very first time
That weed-toting boy could not see: he was blind.
I heard my voice quiver, tears shone like the sun
As I thanked him for picking the very best one.
“You’re welcome,” he smiled, and then ran off to play.
Unaware of the impact he’d had on my day.
Through the eyes of a blind child, at last I could see
The problem was not with the world, the problem was me.
And for all of those times I myself had been blind,
I vowed to see the beauty in life, and appreciate every second that’s mine.
And then I held that wilted flower up to my nose
And breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose
And smiled as I watched that young boy, another weed in his hand
About to change the life of an unsuspecting old man.
Hearken to the Spirit by Elder Bruce R. McConkie
I was once saved from death or serious accident because my father hearkened to the voice of the Spirit. If he had not responded instantly to the whisperings of the still small voice, my life might have ended then or had its course totally changed.
One of my earliest childhood recollections is of riding a horse through an apple orchard. The horse was tame and well broken, and I felt at home in the saddle.
But one day something frightened my mount, and he bolted through the orchard. I was swept from the saddle by the overhanging limbs, and one leg slipped down through the stirrup. I desperately hung to an almost broken leather strap that a cowboy uses to tie a lariat to his saddle. My weight should have broken the strap, but somehow it held for the moment. Another lunge or two of the stampeding horse would have broken the strap or wrenched it from my hands and left me to be dragged to injury or death with my foot entangled in the stirrup.
Suddenly the horse stopped, and I became aware that someone was holding the bridle tightly and attempting to calm the quivering animal. Almost immediately I was snatched up into the arms of my father.
What had happened? What had brought my father to my rescue in the split second before I slipped beneath the hoofs of my panic-driven horse?
My father had been sitting in the house reading the newspaper when the Spirit whispered to him, “Run out into the orchard!”
Without a moment’s hesitation, not waiting to learn why or for what reason, my father ran. Finding himself in the orchard without knowing why he was there, he saw the galloping horse and thought, I must stop this horse.
He did so and found me. And that is how I was saved from serious injury or possible death.
The Spirit told Wilford Woodruff to move his team away from the tree where he had tied them. He did so, and almost immediately the tree was uprooted and destroyed by a whirlwind.
The Spirit told President Joseph F. Smith to leave the platform on the rear of a train and to go inside and sit down. He did so, and almost immediately the train was involved in an accident.
I know an army pilot who was flying a military plane through a dense cloud over Vietnam when the Spirit told him to turn right. The pilot made an instant turn and another plane flashed by. He missed a head-on collision by inches.
When we are baptized, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is the right to the constant companionship of this member of the Godhead based on faithfulness. This is the greatest gift possible to receive in mortality.
There is nothing any of us need as much as the guiding and preserving care of the Holy Spirit—the Spirit that is given by the prayer of faith to those who love and serve the Lord.
I testify that if we love the Lord, keep His commandments, and seek His Spirit, we shall be blessed beyond our fondest hopes.
Bruce R. McConkie, “Friend to Friend: Hearken to the Spirit,” Friend, Sept. 1972, 10. © 2002 Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
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