Author C. K. Bannister


Take Counsel. I hear your cry. It passes through the darkness, filters through the clouds, mingles with starlight, and finds its way to my heart on the path of a sunbeam. I have anguished over the cry of a hare choked in the noose of a snare, a sparrow tumbled from the nest of its mother, a child thrashing helplessly in a pond, and a Son shedding his blood on a cross. Know that I hear you, also. Be at peace. Be calm. I bring you relief for your sorrow for I know its cause . . . and its cure.

You weep for all your childhood dreams that have vanished with the years. You weep for all your self-esteem that has been corrupted by failure. You weep for all your potential that has been bartered for security. You weep for all your individuality that has been trampled by mobs. You weep for all your talent that has been wasted through misuse. You look upon yourself with disgrace and you turn in terror from the image you see in the pool. Who is this mockery of humanity staring back at you with bloodless eyes of shame? Where is the grace of your manner, the beauty of your figure, the quickness of your movement, the clarity of your mind, the brilliance of your tongue? Who stole your goods? Is the thief's identity known to you as it is to Me?

You have no memory of that moment when first you emerged from your mother's womb and I placed My hand on your soft brow. And the secret I whispered in your small ear when I bestowed My blessings upon you? Remember our secret? You cannot. The passing years have destroyed your recollection, for they have filled your mind with fear and doubt and anxiety and remorse and hate and there is no room for joyful memories where these beasts habitat.

Weep no more. I am with you . . . and this moment is the dividing line of your life. This is your birthday. Light your candles. Share your cake. Pour the wine. You have been reborn. Feel My hand upon your head. Attend to My wisdom. Let Me share with you, again, the secret you heard at your birth and forgot. You are My greatest miracle. You are the greatest miracle in the world. Those were the first words you ever heard. Then you cried. They all cry.

You did not believe Me then. . . and nothing has happened in the intervening years to correct your disbelief. For how could you be a miracle when you consider yourself a failure at the most menial of tasks? How can you be a miracle when you have little confidence in dealing with the most trivial of responsibilities? How can you be a miracle when you are shackled by debt and lie awake in torment over whence comes tomorrow's bread? Enough. The milk that is spilled is sour.

Yet, how many prophets, how many wise men, how many poets, how many artists, how any composers, how many scientists, how many philosophers and messengers have I sent with word of your divinity, your potential for godliness, and the secrets of achievement? How did you treat them? You believed no one. You burned your map to happiness, you abandoned your claim to peace of mind, you snuffed out the candles that had been placed along your destined path of glory, and then you stumbled, lost and frightened, in the darkness of futility and self-pity, until you fell into a hell of your own creation. Then you cried and beat your breast and cursed the luck that had befallen you. You refused to accept the consequences of your own petty thoughts and lazy deeds and you searched for a scapegoat on which to blame your failure. How quickly you found one. You blamed Me! You cried that your handicaps, your mediocrity, your lack of opportunity, your failures . . . were the will of God! You were wrong!

No nation's gold is better protected than you. None of your ancient wonders are greater than you. You are My finest creation. Within you is enough atomic energy to destroy any of the world's greatest cities . . . and rebuild it.

Tally your assets! Why have you betrayed yourself? Why have you cried that all the blessings of humanity were removed from you? Why did you deceive yourself that you were powerless to change your life? Are you without talent, senses, abilities, pleasures, instincts, sensations, and pride? Are you without hope? Why do you cringe in the shadows, a giant defeated, awaiting only sympathetic transport into the welcome void and dampness of hell? You have so much. Your blessings overflow your cup . . . and you have been unmindful of them, like a child spoiled in luxury, since I have bestowed them upon you with generosity and regularity. Answer Me.

Answer yourself.

From your father, in his moment of supreme love, flowed countless seeds of love, more than four hundred million in number. All of them, as they swam within your mother, gave up the ghost and died. All except one! You. You alone persevered within the loving warmth of your mother's body, searching for your other half, a single cell from your mother so small that more than two million would be necessary to fill an acorn shell. Yet, despite impossible odds, in that vast ocean of darkness and disaster, you persevered, found that infinitesimal cell, joined with it, and began a new life. Your life. You arrived, bringing with you, as does every child, the message that I was not yet discouraged of man.

Two cells now united in a miracle. Two cells, each containing twenty-three chromosomes and within each chromosome hundreds of genes, which would govern every characteristic about you, from the color of your eyes to the charm of your manner, to the size of your brain. With all the combinations at my command . . . I could have created three hundred thousand billion humans, each different from the other. But who did I bring forth? You! One of a kind rarest of the rare. A priceless treasure, possessed of qualities in mind and speech and movement and appearance and actions as no other who has ever lived, lives, or shall live.

Why have you valued yourself in pennies when you are worth a king's ransom? Why did you listen to those who demeaned you . . . and far worse, why did you believe them? Take counsel. No longer hide your rarity in the dark. Bring it forth. Show the world. And now you have received two laws. Count your blessings! Proclaim your rarity!

What of your next complaint? Opportunity never seeks you? The only certain means of success is to render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what your task may be. This is a habit followed by all successful people since the beginning of time.

Therefore I say the surest way to doom yourself to mediocrity is to perform only the work for which you are paid. Think not you are being cheated if you deliver more than the silver you receive. For there is a pendulum to all life and the sweat you deliver, if not rewarded today, will swing back tomorrow, tenfold. The mediocre never goes another mile, for why should he cheat himself, he thinks. But you are not mediocre. To go another mile is a privilege you must appropriate by your own initiative. You cannot, you must not avoid it. Neglect it, do only as little as the others, and the responsibility for your failure is yours alone. You can no more render service without receiving just compensation than you can withhold the rendering of it without suffering the loss of reward.

Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, these cannot be separated. The effect already blooms in the cause, the end pre-exists in the means, and the fruit is always in the seed. You cannot command success, you can only deserve it . . . and now you know the great secret necessary in order to merit its rare reward. Go another mile! And now the laws of happiness and success are three. Count your blessings! Proclaim your rarity! Go another mile!

Be patient with your progress. To count your blessings with gratitude, to proclaim your rarity with pride, to go an extra mile and then another, these acts are not accomplished in the blinking of an eye. Yet, that which you acquire with most difficulty you retain the longest; as those who have earned a fortune are more careful of it than those by whom it was inherited.

And fear not as you enter your new life. Every noble acquisition is attended with its risks. He who fears to encounter the one must not expect to obtain the other. Now you know you are a miracle. And there is no fear in a miracle. Be proud. You are not the momentary whim of a careless creator experimenting in the laboratory of life.

You are not a slave of forces that you cannot comprehend. You are a free manifestation of no force but Mine, of no love but Mine. You were made with a purpose. Feel My hand. Hear My words. Never have I lost faith in you.

I gave you this world and dominion over it. Then, to enable you to reach your full potential I placed My hand upon you, once more, and endowed you with powers unknown to any other creature in the universe, even unto this day. I gave you the power to think. I gave you the power to love. I gave you the power to will. I gave you the power to laugh. I gave you the power to imagine. I gave you the power to create. I gave you the power to plan. I gave you the power to speak. I gave you the power to pray. My pride in you knew no bounds.

I gave you one more power, a power so great that not even my angels possess it. I gave you . . . the power to choose.

Choose Jesus and spiritual life . . . rather than Satan and spiritual death.

Choose to act . . . rather than procrastinate.

Choose to love . . . rather than hate.

Choose to laugh . . . rather than cry.

Choose to create . . . rather than destroy.

Choose to persevere . . . rather than quit.

Choose to praise . . . rather than gossip.

Choose to heal . . . rather than wound.

Choose to give . . . rather than steal.

Choose to grow . . . rather than rot.

Choose to pray . . .rather than curse.

Choose to live . . . rather than die.

The choice is exclusively yours. I can only watch, as before . . . in pride. . . or sorrow.

Remember, then, the four laws of happiness and success:

Count your blessings.

Proclaim your rarity.

Go another mile.

Use wisely your power of choice.

And one more to fulfill the other four. Do all things with love . . . love for yourself, love for all others, and love for Me. Wipe away your tears. Reach out, grasp My hand, and stand straight. Let Me cut the grave clothes that have bound you. You are the greatest miracle in the world!

Jesus replied: "`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:37-40