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The Mendicant 

Anthony De Mello  


When I think how long I have lived
I am struck by life's injustice:
others have lived much less
(I think of some I have known),
some have been given less than an hour of life.

I recall my childhood
and the various stages of my growth.
I have been blessed, indeed, beyond anything
I expected or deserved!

I think of the experiences that life has given me
- happy ones that filled my heart,
painful ones that helped me grow -

Of the discoveries I have made...

Of the persons I was privileged to meet...

And of my talents and abilities,
of sight
and hearing,
smell and taste and touch
and mind and will and memory
and the limbs and organs of my body.

If I were to die today
I should certainly have had more than my fair share
of life's blessings.
Whatever else life has in store for me is an added gift
quite undeserved.

Having accepted this, I make myself aware of the fact
that I have another day of life to live and relish.
I see myself go through the morning,
the afternoon,
and evening,
and accept my good luck gratefully.

I think of the person who to me is the dearest
of all who are alive today,
of how he or she has enriched my life.

Tomorrow I may lose her...
such is life's fragility.

And if I did, I should have no cause for complaint.
I have had her for so long,
God knows I had no right to her for a single hour.
Life has been unjust:
I think of those who never had
the riches she has brought me.
I tell her this in fantasy
and see what happens.

I now become aware
that she is here for yet another day
and I am grateful.

Anthony De Mello is an internationally renowned spiritual guide and Jesuit priest whose teachings integrate the ancient traditions of the East. This writing is from his book, Wellsprings.

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