Sunday Sermons- by the Bishops

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23 Mar 2008 02:31 - 23 Mar 2008 02:39 #12787 by Jon
An Easter Message-23 March 2008

„Everything praises God. Darkness, privations, defects, evil too, praise God and bless God.’
- Meister Eckhart

Everyone here speaks from their own experience. This is what gives us authenticity. We all have our own perspective, our own piece of the truth. That is why we need to listen to each other. On this Easter day I want to talk about beauty wealth, pain, poverty and letting go, about St Francis.

Francis came from Assisi, Italy, and lived in the Middle Ages. He invented the crib and has been badly sentimentalised as an animal-lover who dropped out of the real world to live on the streets among the poor. He was a man of the middle classes, had a wealthy father and a good life. This was the time of the troubadours, of the tradition of chivalry, and he aspired to be a noble knight leading a life of courtly love and carrying out bold deeds of daring and valour for his lady.

This he gave up to follow Christ. He made a deliberate choice to live in extreme poverty, to embrace ‘Lady Poverty’ and to live his life among the marginalised. His chosen way of life was so radical, people probably thought he was mad. He was impulsive, a man of the dramatic. When he renounced his possessions, he stripped naked in public to give back to his father even the clothes off his back. Francis came to be loved as a man of passion, a man who followed his heart and was full of joy because he did what he felt he had to. Having randomly opened the Gospel he read: ‘Take no gold or silver or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals, or a staff, for labourers deserve their food.’ (Matt 10:9) His response: ‘This is what I wish, this is what I seek, this is what I long to do with all my heart!’

His life wasn`t without its darker sides. He founded the Franciscans, which against his own wishes became incorporated into the institution of the Church. He preached reverence and obedience to the Church but maintained a serenity and detached distance from it. His vision focused on the Gospel ideals of simplicity, humility and poverty.

He had no programme for political or social reform, although no doubt he had no difficulty in seeing the wrongs of his society and church. He simply sought to follow Christ and to love creation as his brothers and sisters. ‘Lord, if we had goods, we would also have to have arms to defend them. It is from wealth that questions and lawsuits come, and thus the love of God and love of neighbour are hindered in many ways. Therefore we do not want to have any possessions in this world.’

Francis was a very down-to-earth sort of man. He was very human. Full of contradictions and full of struggles, especially in the early days. He kept trying but was drawn back over and over again by his friends, the pleasure and ease of his life at home, his love of ambition. Letting go of all these things was a gradual and painful process for him.

Material deprivation that is caused by injustice and inequity is probably ‘the worst form of violence’, as Gandhi said. But Francis gave up his wealth freely which led to liberation from the things we use to cover up and surpress our deepest longings. And the further he pursued this life, the more joy and freedom he found. Poverty led to a simplicity of life that was the greatest wealth, precious treasure, the pearl of great price. A way to the true self.

By letting go does not mean that like Francis we have to Strip naked, it means that we free ourselves from a dependency on material things. Things of the world that we may enjoy and take delight in. Our letting go may be voluntary, chosen. Or we may be pruned by the events of our lives. By ill-health, losing someone we love, the enduring sadness of seeing the suffering of those we love, by injustice, by a betrayal of trust. We may lose our home, our security, our job, our position in society. We may be forced to let go of so many things we value, kicking, screaming, cursing, feeling torn apart by pain and loss. If we do not run from pain, or bury it, or cling to it — if we embrace it and let it be, pain will transform us. A wealth of compassion, awareness, understanding may be created. Jesus died dirty, ugly, bloody and naked. But never-the-less beautiful.

We are called to be co-creators with the Force. We are called to make our life a work of art. And by realising our own beauty we will be in the Position to recognise the beauty of all Creation, the sanctity of life, which has the right to exist in itself, not according to how useful it is to us, or whether it benefits us.

On this note I wish all Jedi a blessed Easter feast day filled with the revealing power of the Force.

The author of the TOTJO simple and solemn oath, the liturgy book, holy days, the FAQ and the Canon Law. Ordinant of GM Mark and Master Jestor.
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23 Mar 2008 07:46 #12790 by Merin Kyo Den
Replied by Merin Kyo Den on topic Sunday Sermons- by the Bishops
Thank you Brother, that was a lovely sermon. I wish I had more time on this holiday morning to digest it. You can be sure a quote or two from you will come up at the dinner table tonight. Thank you again for this inspirational message. When I don't have family pulling me three ways at once I'd love to share some thoughts on this with you and the other members, as I'm sure others reading this thread will want to do. Until then have a blessed day and may the living force be within you always.

~Merin~

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23 Mar 2008 11:50 #12796 by Jon
Replied by Jon on topic Sunday Sermons- by the Bishops
Thank you Merin for your kind and encouraging thoughts. Glad you liked it. If you don`t have the time now we could also talk about it later.

The author of the TOTJO simple and solemn oath, the liturgy book, holy days, the FAQ and the Canon Law. Ordinant of GM Mark and Master Jestor.

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01 Apr 2008 04:29 #13048 by Br. John
Sunday Sermon by Br. John+

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Remember that with patience you can control your destiny.

Anyone who has a series of painful positions must be responsible for them in some way; not that it’s just \"their fault\"; but that they have contributed to it by impatience, intolerance, unfriendliness or some provocation. Many times this is due to lack of patience (something Br. John is hardly immune too to).

Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. The RSV Bible - Romans 8:24-26

A good Religion inspires us to live courageously and joyfully on the face of the earth; it joins patience with passion, insight to zeal, sympathy with power, and ideals with The Force. Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to happiness and peace.

You know you're in harmony with The Force when you experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and above all, self-control. “Never think that God's delays are God's denials. Hold on; hold fast; hold out. Patience is genius.” Comte de Buffon 1707 – 1788
Insanity is repeating the same behavior, getting bad results and expecting a different outcome the next time around. You cannot repeat your old self centered ways and not suffer. Call in your scattered energies; concentrate on your life at this moment, your own requirements for growth. Don’t over focus on outcomes, nor to bind yourself with the memory of past achievement. In so doing, you rob yourself of a true present, which is the only time in which you can realize self change and growth.

You may feel overwhelmed with exhaustion from meeting obstruction upon obstruction in your passage. Yet you always have a choice: you can see all this apparent negativity as \"bad luck\" or you can recognize it as an obstacle course, a challenge specific to the initiation you are presently undergoing. Then each setback, each humiliation, becomes a test of character.

So stay centered, see the humor, and never give up.

MTFBWYA and God Bless,

Br. John+

With patience you can control your destiny.

Founder of The Order
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05 Apr 2008 20:34 #13163 by Merin Kyo Den
Replied by Merin Kyo Den on topic Sunday Sermons- by the Bishops
Hello all,

this is an old message of mine but it bears repeating. Especially seeing all he new members coming in to the temple every day. Much has been said, and a lot negative, about the practice of religion. I think that if viewed in the right context with the right frame of mind there's no reason why we can't learn from ALL religions. You see to me all religions no matter what they are have a Story to tell. These stories impart wisdom to the follower and show a path to the soul. That's what their there for. The story or \"Myth\" is what defines a religion. Now when I say myth it's not to say a religious story is true or false, to me that does not matter. What really matters is it true or false to YOU. These stories must be believed by the person who follows them. To believe the myth of your faith is to take it into your soul and make it part of your story, your myth if you will. You see it's that belief, that faith, that gives it the power to change us. without it how would it touch our souls? This does not mean to follow blindly, but to put your trust in the wisdom of the storyteller.

You may say that these stories cant be proven, but I ask you what is the value of faith if it can be proven as fact? You see, to me at least, faith is what changes the hearts of people, not scientific proof. Carl Jung wrote that the collective human psyche is inherently religious, I believe this to be true. We need the myth, as a race and as individuals. By our very nature we are religious. So you can say we need our myths. They tell us so much about ourselves, things we may never see without them. Everything we can be or aspire to is within our myths. From the greatest heights to the lowest depths of human nature, they contain all about us. These collective myths our the story of us. Our story.

We may not agree with the stories of other religions, and that's fine. Yet I think we need to look at them for what they do for there followers. Do they help them to learn about themselves? I think for the most part they do. To say to someone\" Your religion is false. It's a lie\" is missing the point. Telling someone that they are wrong in their beliefs does not in most cases steer the person to your point of view, but has the opposite effect. It puts them on to the defensive and closes them off, the opposite of what you tried to do! Instead, let me suggest this if I may. Embrace their myth as you embrace your own. Share myths instead of trying to correct mistakes. Do not judge the words, but judge the effect on the person.

A myth should be judged, in my opinion, on it's value to and effect on the individual and not on it's accuracy. To understand another we must first see things as they see it, and not by what we believe they see. If we learn to embrace all myth then we can begin to extract wisdom from all religion and all peoples. Remember that our minds, early on, our given to us by our parents and our society. When we look at another culture we look at it through the eyes of our own culture. This applies to all and not just one country or people. Right or wrong, lie or truth, this is relative to the mind we we're raised with.
Learning to embrace another’s myths is to glimpse into the mind of their society. Further still, learning to embrace all myths is to look inside the mind of all mankind. It's my opinion that if we all learned to embrace the myths of the religions of the world that would in itself begin a new myth to carry us into the future, our future. All of this should be embraced. It's my story, your story, the story of mankind that's being told after all by many different singers, but singing the same song. Maybe one day we will all learn to sing along in harmony. You with your myth, me with mine, but both together. Separate and still as one, Like a real harmony should be. So what about Jediism you may ask;

As Jedi what do we believe you may ask? In the inherent worth of every living thing, All life is worthy of respect, support, and caring just because it is alive. In working towards a culture that is relatively free of discrimination on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation, national origin, degree of ability, age, etc. In the sanctity of all sentient life, In the importance of democracy within religious, political and other structures, In the separation of church and state; and the freedoms of speech, association, and expression. That the systems of truth in the field of morals, ethics, and religious belief that we have studied are not absolute, but part of a greater whole: they vary by culture, by religion, and over time. And in the importance of individual believers collectively determining influences and policies within their chosen faith group, and have the right to advocate for their change and evolution. These are just some of the beliefs at the very core of our faith.

A religious myth is not a yardstick with which to measure the world by, but a mirror to look at your true self. It's the yardstick you measure YOURSELF by. Jediism, as with all religions, is but a mirror to your soul. It's myths are meant to take you on an inward journey. Each story, each parable, reveals to us another aspect of the human soul. Much like the religions of today in their infancy, Jediism is still being defined by it's followers and struggling for acceptance in the mainstream world. When we look at this with just a glance, it's easy to discount this as just the whim and fancy of over dramatic Star Wars fans.

What we re going through is no different then what Islam or Christianity went through in their early years. Really in the end we have to ask ourselves what makes a religion valid in the first place. What gives any religion ownership of the truth. If you look deeper you will see that all religions tell the same story. The singer and the tune may be a little different, but it's all the same song. We as Jedi are not doing anything new. We are singing the same song as every religion before us, we just have new singers. In the end it's not really which one is true or false, that's not really what's important. What really matters is the effect, the change, it's brought about upon you. The absolute is not important, for it's the truth within YOUR soul that will bring forth fruit to enrich the world.

You see with religion, it really is the same story, told over and over. All of the major religions around today have borrowed from older religions that have come before them. The virgin birth is a god example. In Buddhism, just as in Christianity, we have a virgin birth story that seems to mirror the Christian one. As the story goes (or how I remember it....LOL) is that Maia, the mother of Siddhartha Buddha, was taken to a field and tended to by angles. They anointed her with oil and the a white elephant descended from heaven bearing a pink lotus in it's trunk. It then entered her womb and that is how the Buddha was conceived. Sound familiar? Also the Buddha was tempted with three sins of the world, Also borrowed by Christianity in my opinion. I could site more, but really the point is that if we learn to view religion as myth used to show an aspect of our nature to us, we can take and borrow wisdom from anywhere, even a movie. It's when we get caught up in the TRUTH of things that we run into trouble.

When we ascribe absolute truth to a myth then it can no longer effectively guide us the way it was meant to. Instead of making the inward journey that was intended the person ends up using the stories to judge the world around them, and not inside them. This is the danger of taking myth as an absolute. You close yourself off to all of the wisdom that may well be right before your eyes

your brother in the mystery,

~Merin~

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06 Apr 2008 14:09 #13193 by Jon
Replied by Jon on topic Sunday Sermons- by the Bishops
Thank you Arch-Bishop Merin. Your words mirrored what is in my heart and the dream of every Jedi. What you say is so obvious, so simple yet very often not understood. I will carry your words in my heart through this week and try to make this world a more bearable place.

The author of the TOTJO simple and solemn oath, the liturgy book, holy days, the FAQ and the Canon Law. Ordinant of GM Mark and Master Jestor.

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19 Apr 2008 21:49 #13895 by Merin Kyo Den
Replied by Merin Kyo Den on topic Sunday Sermons- by the Bishops
Well it's been quiet in here so I guess I'll just post another sermon. It'd be cool if the knights and apprentices would comment and start a discussion about the sermon. Not only will we spark a nice lively debate but I'll also know that more people then just Jon and myself are reading these things. Anyway here goes......

If you want to ask where the flowers come from, even the gods of spring don’t know.


I was watching the news this morning as I always do, and I got to thinking, “Who is this “I” that’s watching the news? I mean I can’t see him. I can’t really talk to him in a way that would appear sane to an outside observer. So who is this “I” guy anyway. So much emphasis is placed on “Knowing who you are” or “Knowing your place” and I’m beginning to wonder if anyone really knows who this “I” or subsequently “You” fellow is. If were all going to talk about being yourself and finding your path shouldn’t we first know who this “I” is who’s finding that path or finding itself? I would think so.

Make no mistake, this is no small task this finding the “I” in “You”. We’re told early on things like “Every child is special” that “We’re all unique” yet in the same breath we’re told “Your not the only pebble on the beach” or “What makes you so special” or my favorite, “There’s lots of fish in the sea”. So which one is it, we’re unique and special or just common ordinary rocks or fish among other rocks or fish innumerable? As George Carlin said, “At what point does a child cease to be Special and become just an ordinary adult”? So all of these things in my opinion serve to confuse us as to the nature of “I” or “Self”.

So who is this “I” and where do we look for him? Can we find him in Holy books? Is he some force beyond us? Is “I” our physical bodies? The color of our hair, the curve of our hips, the shape of our faces, or the color of our eyes? Or maybe it’s something beyond all of this. Do your eyes do the seeing? That is to say when you look at something do your eyes do the “Looking”? If your eyes aren’t responsible for the “Looking” but just the ability to look then who the hell is manning the monitors!! While our eyes do allow us to see they surely aren’t the ones seeing. That’s something well beyond the realm of having eyes to see. because we have them “To See” and not for seeing. So we can say our eyes were developed by whatever method suits tour beliefs to allow us to see but not to do the “Seeing”.

Then there’s this organ in us that we make such a big stink about called the brain. Is the “I” there? Many would argue “Yes it is” and be done with it. But how can you prove that it really is the “I” in “You”? What was this brain made for anyway? It runs our bodies without so much as a conscious thought from us. It just goes about the business of pumping, breathing, eating, digesting, and a myriad of other functions without any help from us, beyond supplying it with the raw materials it needs to carry out these tasks, whatsoever. What about thinking? There’s the rub! It needs us to think. So again I ask, who’s the “Us” it needs to think? Where does that come from?

Science has come a long way as far as the brain is concerned. They know where your thoughts of speech take place, memory, and a host of other functions. But they can only be seen AFTER they happen. A thought has to be made first before it can be seen. So if we can see the thought as it’s carried out, why can’t we see it before it becomes a physical action or an electrical response in the brain? If it only exists during it’s action then where was it before it was action? Who created it? Who would have the power to do such a thing? And that brings me to the crux of this post. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Not like the “The Secret” book series, just a little cover up created by us to hide “Us”.

Who created that you ask? Who would have the power to create something from nothing? Some would say God, other’s would say Gods, and still others would say random chance. yet I say to you simply that it’s no gods or force that holds this power of creation. The power of creation lies not in any Holy book or spiritual path you can take because all these paths by their nature lead to one thing, one truth. The author of creation, the maker of your world, the bringer of all of the blessings and all of the bad tidings in your life......... Is you.

The “I” is the creator of our world. You are that “I”. We are all a part of the force of the universe and therefore a part of the force of creation. Each of us, as do all living things, contains within a spark of the divine. Really think about it. We for the most part create our circumstance. Granted some things seem to be out of our control, but not really. It only appears that way at first because of what society has taught the “I” in you.
We’re told early on in the west at least that the nature of man is evil, but he’s a creation of a divine God that is not responsible or can tolerate the presence of evil. So at first though we’d say, if you think about it, “If this divine god can not create evil and we’re made in his image, then why are we not already created perfect and without evil?” And this is of course contributed to free will, otherwise known as the “I” in you.

Funny thing about this “I”, at least as we’re shown as children, is that while he can create bad things, he’s just not capable of good by himself. He needs a “Higher Power” to be able to undo all of his bad. yet if you think about it, the bad, as well as the good, were all just a choice. In the same way we choose bad we can choose good. It’s this conditioning by society that’s told us we can’t, nothing more. It’s this being told we’re not special and not unique when we “Arrive” in adulthood that gives us this. It was and will always be the “I” that makes those choices and no one else. there is on external force or being that can make them for you.

That’s not to say there’s no God. That’s really not the point of this article. The Bible, just as the Sutras I read, is of immeasurable value if taken in the right context. And I’m not one to tell you who created the universe anyway because I’m really not concerned with that. The point of this all? To rediscover the “I” in you. In the New Testament I’ve gotten the impression that Jesus really didn’t understand why he needed to heal the sick. I think the sick he came for were the sick of spirit and not of the body. the body is impermanent (Something we’ll cover in a future post), only the soul or the “I” endures after physical death. If there is one god anyway and we’re all created in his image, doesn’t that make us sons of God as well and as such on an equal footing with Jesus and the disciples? Maybe Jesus, like Buddha, came to show us that the path to enlightenment can indeed be walked, and he, as others before him, just showed us how to walk it.

So knowing this when we look in the mirror who do we see? Is it just an ordinary guy or girl? Nothing special here, nothing to look at. If we listen to society then that’s just what we see. And we always think back to the wonderful time in our early youth (Provided we had a normal childhood) we we’re “Special”. I leave you all with this. When you look in the mirror, try to see the great “I” in you that created the universe and everything in it, because as surely as you are standing there, the “I” in you is looking back. The divinity in you is just as real as anything you can taste or touch, smell or feel. So next time you look in that mirror maybe, just maybe, you’ll see the face of a Buddha, a Christ, a God, even a Jedi master, staring back at you because really, all these things are within our grasp if we can just learn to see the divine within us all. Until next time may the force be with you, because really you are it and it is the“I” in you.

In the mystery,
~Merin~

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20 Apr 2008 06:39 #13918 by Kana Seiko Haruki
I hope I am not out of place putting this here, and it is Sunday for me right now (1pm UK time)

In light of recent events on this forum, which to some degree has has an effect on everybody, I thought it would be beneficial to remind everybody including myself, of what being a Jedi means.

Now I freely admit I am not as eloquent as Jon, Br John or Merin Kyo Den or a host of others here, but I hope by the end you will understand what I want to get across. So for this reason, I am going to begin by reminding everybody of some of the things they swore to uphold as a Jedi, I appreciate many of you probably know all these things by heart and inside out in Mandarin Chinese too, but here goes, I have also highlighted the most relevant points

The Jedi Oath:- I choose the Jedi path as a way to do that which is right. I choose to be a jedi to express my allegiance to the force. I vow to uphold the Jedi teachings, and to henceforth devote my life to the force, May The Force Be With Me!

I would also like to draw attention to the 16 teachings, I will not rewrite those here, but I would like to just say to everybody, please read them all again as a part of contemplating what has gone on (even though we are not supposed to dwell on the past) especially numbers, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, (and especially 8), & 16 and finally the Jedi Code.

We all have at some level recently, failed on at least one of these, this is not aimed at any individual, it is directed at us all, myself included. It is human nature to feel our emotions, but as jedi, are we not supposed to not can them, but steady them and keep them at a reasonable level. There has been a failure to be balanced and fair in our views, and some in my mind, have seemingly taken a big step towards the dark side or at least forgotten what they swore too when they took their respective oaths.

There has been much over reaction to recent events so whilst this is a brief 'sermon' I would like to ask everyone to please stand back a little, and contemplate recent events, not dwell on them, or regret anything, but to just look back a little and seen we all could have done things differently. After all, there are much bigger and more important things in the world at which to direct such passions.

Hopefully, The Force will guide us on this and we will all emerge a little wiser from the whole event.

May Your God Go With You & The Force Be With You Always...







Grand Master Knight Of Jediism ; Library Webmaster; Knight Marshal
Apprentices :- Kevtehone,

A long time ago, there was a man, a better man than I - He was the son of a carpenter - the carpentry business was the death of him - the moral of the tale? Beware the furniture you gather and the crosses you bear.

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20 Apr 2008 07:04 #13919 by Merin Kyo Den
Replied by Merin Kyo Den on topic Sunday Sermons- by the Bishops
I keep looking back but all that's behind me is a damn mirror. :P

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29 Apr 2008 01:23 #14363 by Nayeldraccon
Replied by Nayeldraccon on topic Sunday Sermons- by the Bishops
I completely forgot to post this here!

I hope that you all like it!

Attitude Adjustment. On Patience and a positive attitude, By Rev. Joshua D. Foss D.D.

\"Don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes.\" It's a sentence we all know. Famous orders given to colonial troops at the Battle of Bunker Hill as the colonial soldiers stood fast, watching a giant sea of red walking toward them, bayonets fixed. I would imagine that the anticipation was nearly sickening. But what was meant by the words, don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes? Do you think that it literally meant to hold your fire until the enemy was that close? Possibly. But I would rather think that the officer in charge of saying this phrase was telling his men to bide their time, and wait for the opportune moment to attack. Don't waste time, and energy (not to mention ammunition) by trying to rush things. Pick your shots, and make sure that they count. Certainly you've heard someone during your life say something along the lines of, \"Don't buy the first car that you drive.\" This follows the same principle. You've gotta wait until you find the one that best suits your needs. One that feels comfortable. One that you can trust to take you from where you are, to where you need to be, safely and reliably. Sound familiar?

One very important factor in our spiritual growth is the attitude that we use to approach it. Attitude can be both a tool, and a hindrance, depending on a person's views when taking on things such as training, study, meditation, waiting to be taken as an apprentice, etc. Someone with a positive outlook on his or her spiritual advancement will have a much easier time of accepting the ever-important myths of faith and the words of others, as opposed to someone who grows impatient rapidly or views things in a negative light. Nothing worth having comes easily or immediately.

If you believe that you are a Jedi, then you are a Jedi. Plain and simple fact. However, if you wish to study and become a Knight, Senior Knight, or even a Master, then you must walk down a long and difficult path. You must study. You must listen to your fellow Jedi. You must listen to yourself. You must complete assignments. You must contribute to the study of your brethren. In doing all of this, you must be patient. This will take time. You must trust in yourself and your teachers. You have to KNOW that you are going to do this. You must create positive habits that will help you reach your goals. Habits that will help you understand that becoming a Jedi Knight is not what someone teaches you, but what you learn. Even our Masters continue to learn and grow on a daily basis, and some have been Masters for several years.

Becoming an apprentice does not guarantee that you will become a Knight. Once you become an apprentice you will have to believe that all of the assignments that you are doing are worthwhile. And you can't give up when things get tough, either. And trust me, my friend, things will get tough. It all falls back to your attitude and your patience. If you approach an assignment as \"Just more homework.\" Or \"Why do I have to do this?\" You are already doubting yourself, and your Master. Embrace the assignments that you are given with vigor, and without question. Do the best job that you can. Take the time that you need to complete it efficiently. Use patience in completing your assignments as well as in receiving them. Though you will not see any subterfuge at this Temple, sometimes your Master is looking for an answer that isn't obvious to someone that rushes through it.

Don't approach your Jedi path as a means to an end. Don't look at your studies as the next step closer to being a Knight. It's not the rank or the initials beside your name that define you as a Jedi. It's how you live as a Jedi. What you do with what you learn, and how you apply these teachings. Also, remember that we are not here to change your mind. We are here to open it.

May the Force be with you all.

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