The Speechless Animal    Gibran's on "Death"   Prayer   Religion


When Flip Wilson visited our church The Hope Ministries this is a discourse he gave from Kahlil Gibran's works, written in a book called: "A Second Treasury Of Kahlil Gibran, The Author of the Prophet. 

Flip Wilson studied all of the works of Kahlil Gibran for many years.  He could recite by heart Kahlil Gibran's works through memory.  I would like to share with you one of my favorite pieces Flip spoke on while visiting with us in Cincinnati, Ohio. 



In the twilight of a beautiful day, when fancy seized upon my mind, I passed by the edge of the city and tarried before the wreck of an abandoned house of which only rubble was left.

In the rubble I saw a dog lying upon dirt and ashes.  Sores covered his skin, and sickness racked his feeble body.  Staring now and then at the setting sun, his sorrowful eyes expressed humiliation, despair, and misery.

I walked slowly toward him wishing that I knew animal speech so that I might console him with my sympathy.  But my approach only terrified him, and he tried to rise on his palsied legs.  Falling, he turned a look on me in which helpless wrath was mingled with supplication.  In that glance was speech more lucid than man's and more moving than a woman's tears.  This is what I understood him to say:

"Man, I have suffered through illness caused by your brutality and persecution. "I have run from your bruising foot and taken refuge here, for dust and ashes are gentler than man's heart, these ruins ruins less melancholy than the soul of man.  Be gone, you intruder from the world of misrule and injustice.  "I am a miserable creature who served the son of Adam with faith and loyalty.  I was man's faithful companion.  I guarded him day and night.  I grieved during his absence and welcomed him with joy upon his return.  I was contented with the crumbs that fell from his board, and happy with the bones that his teeth had stripped.  But when I grew old and ill, he drove me from his home and left me to merciless boys of the alleys.

"Oh son of Adam, I see the similarity between me and your fellow men when age disables them.  There are soldiers who fought for their country when they were in the prime of life, and who later tilled its soil.  But now that the winter of their life has come and they are useful no longer, they are cast aside. "I also see a resemblance between my lot and that of a woman who, during the days of her lovely maidenhood enlivened the heart of a young man; and who then, as a mother, devoted her life to her children.  But now, grows old, she is ignored and avoided.  How oppressive you are, son of Adam, and how cruel!"

Thus spoke the speechless animal whom my heart had under-stood.
-excerpt from

These are some more of Flip Wilson's favorites he spoke with us about when he visited our church.  We hope you will enjoy them as much as we did!


THEN Almitra spoke, saying, We would ask now of Death.

And he said:

You would know the secret of death.

But how shall you find it unless you seek
it in the heart of life?

The owl whose night-bound eyes are
blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery
of light.

If you would indeed behold the spirit of
death, open your heart wide unto the body
of life.

For life and death are one, even as the
river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires
lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;

And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow
your heart dreams of spring.

Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden
the gate to eternity.

Your fear of death is but the trembling
of the shepherd when he stands before the
king whose hand is to be laid upon him in

Is the sheered not joyful beneath his
trembling, that he shall wear the mark of
the king?

Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked
in the wind and to melt into the sun?

And what is to cease breathing, but to
free the breath from its restless tides, that
it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of
silence shall you indeed sing.

And when you have reached the mountain top,
 then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your
limbs, then shall you truly dance.

-excerpt from


THEN a priestess said, Speak to us of Prayer.

And he answered, saying:

You pray in your distress and in your
need; would that you might pray also in
the fullness of your joy and in your days
of abundance.
For what is prayer but the expansion of
yourself into the living ether?

And if it is for your comfort to pour
your darkness into space, it is also for your
delight to pour forth the dawning of your

And if you cannot but weep when your
soul summons you to prayer, she should spur
you again and yet again, though weeping,
until you shall come laughing.

When you pray you rise to meet in the
air those who are praying at that very hour,
and whom save in prayer you may not

Therefore let your visit to that temple in-
visible be for naught but ecstasy and sweet

For if you should enter the temple for no
other purpose than asking you shall not

And if you should enter into it to humble
yourself you shall not be lifted:

Or even if you should enter into it to
beg for the good of others you shall not be heard.

It is enough that you enter the temple invisible.

I cannot teach you how to pray in words.

God listens not to your words save when
He Himself utters them through your lips.

And I cannot teach you the prayer of the
seas and the forests and the mountains.

But you who are born of the mountains
and the forests and the seas can find their
prayer in your heart.
 And if you but listen in the stillness of the
night you shall hear them saying in silence,
"Our God, who art our winged self,
 it is thy will in us that willeth.
It is thy desire in us that desireth.
It is thy urge in us that would turn our
nights, which are thine,
 into days which arethine also.
We cannot ask thee for aught, for thou
knowest our needs before they are born in us:
Thou art our need; and in giving us more
of thyself thou givest us all."

-excerpt from


AND an old priest said, Speak to us of Religion.

And he said:

Have I spoken this day of aught else?

Is not religion all deeds and all reflection,
And that which is neither deed nor reflection,
 but a wonder and a surprise ever
springing in the soul, even while the hands
hew the stone or tend the loom?

Who can separate his faith from his actions,
 or his belief from his occupations?

Who can spread his hours before him,
saying, "This for God and this for myself;
This for my soul, and this other for my body?"

All your hours are wings that beat through
space from self to self.

He who wears his morality but as his best
garment were better naked.

The wind and the sun will tear no holes
in his skin.

And he who defines his conduct by ethics
imprisons his song-bird in a cage.

The freest song comes not through bars and wires.
 And he to whom worshiping is a window,
to open but also to shut, has not yet
visited the house of his soul whose windows
are from dawn to dawn.

Your daily life is your temple and your

Whenever you enter into it take with
you your all.

Take the plough and the forge and the
mallet and the lute,
The things you have fashioned in necessity or for delight.

For in every you cannot rise above your
achievements nor fall lower than your failures.

And take with you all men:

For in adoration you cannot fly higher
than their hopes nor humble yourself lower
than their despair.

And if you would know God be not
therefore a solver of riddles.

Rather look about you and you shall see
Him playing with your children.

And look into space; you shall see Him
walking in the cloud, outstretching His arms
in the lightning and descending in rain.

You shall see Him smiling in flowers
then rising and waving His hands in trees.

-excerpt from
Copyright 2000 Patricia Mischell & The Positive Living Center
 All Rights Reserved

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