Zachary Lenox, baritone; Barton Rippe, piano; Colin Crandal, tambourine; Kate Crandal, double bass •


(A Paraphrase of St. Francis of Assisi’s teaching on Perfect Joy • by Robert Bryant)

If everyone saw me as an example of holiness,
This would not be perfect joy.

If I were the most successful physician, or engineer, or psychologist, or teacher,
or musician, or public speaker;
If I could breathe new life into things long dead,
This would not be perfect joy.

If I could speak all languages, and know all science,
If I could explain all wisdom, and foresee the future,
If I could see inside others’ souls,
This would not be perfect joy.

If my speech could soothe any aching heart,
If I could travel amid the stars, while caring for the earth,
If I possessed all riches,
This would not be perfect joy.

If I try my best to be part of the community, treating everyone with respect and kindness,
and they, in turn, treat me with contempt,
calling me a fraud, an imposter, a pretender,
If they kick me out and slam the door, and
I refuse to be ruffled, refuse to get angry or indignant,
If I believe there may, in fact, be some truth to what they say—
That God may be speaking through them, inviting me to
Get real and lose the masks:
That is perfect joy!