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Weekly Meditations
The Spiritual Life Committee provides weekly meditations for inspiration.

Love looks through
A telescope, envy
Through a microscope

Fortune Cookie

O, let America be America again-
The land that never has been yet-
And yet must be-the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine-the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME-
Who made America, whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again....
O, yes,
I say it plain,
America was never America to me,
And yet I swear this oath-
America will be!

Langston Hughes

The really important kind of freedom
involves attention, and awareness, and
discipline, and effort, and being able truly
to care about other people and to sacrifice
for them, over and over, in myriad petty
little unsexy ways, everyday.
That is real freedom.

David Foster Wallace

If gray could rule
The throbbing summer world
And sweep the golden gleam of marigolds
Beneath its careful mediocrity,
Then we could sleep—
And quite forget about the day
And all its dangers and worth
And all its costly, bright variety
Which treacherously lies in wait
For sleepy men—
And could then be comfortable
—and dead.

John Julian

It may indeed seem
that nothing changes,
indeed that the
world is getting
worse. But what is
changing is my heart.

Virgil Elizondo

Development comes from within. Nature does not hurry but advances slowly.

Fred Rogers

The Church in AD160 had accepted the view that its members, like itself, would always have to live their lives on the basis of 'faith.' And the very condition of that faith was that Diety was single, supreme, and different. Without different there was no Reconciliation. And Reconciliation was the supreme aim of faith.

Charles Williams (Descent of then Dove)

Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending.

You plan a tower in the clouds?

Lay first the foundation of humility.

Augustine of Hippo

It is true that prayer is the means by which
we really experience the reality of God.
But once God has become a living reality for us,
we simply have to love our fellow men.
We cannot do otherwise.

Sadhu

Religion is not a mood that we wait to strike us
so we can feel holy or be in the right frame of mind
for the season, but a practice of behaviors (prayer,
sacraments, church, Scripture) that can help us
to be receptive to God when God shows up.

the Reverend Barbara Mraz

Confronting religious violence, the issue is repentance.
Forgiveness is easy, repentance --true change of character-
is difficult. Yet it is repentance, moral growth,
on which the biblical vision depends.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy.
Yea Lord, have mercy.
We know thou art the way for us:
But we do not like the steepness of the brae.
We k now thou art the truth for us:
But we do not like the starkness of thy word.
We know thou art the life for us:
But still we fear that life would be dull
or too demanding
if we gave up ours.
And even if we know thou hast climbed the brae,
Taken the starkness from the truth,
And the sweat from the demand,
We stand still and hesitate...

Wilt thou not turn again and quicken us
That thy people may rejoice in thee?
Make me a clean heart, O God
And renew a right spirit within me
O give the comfort of thy help again
And establish me with thy free spirit.

George F MacLeod

Each pine at dusk
lodges the bird
of its voice

perpendicular and still
the forest
indifferent to history
tearless as stone
repeats
in tremulous excitement
the ancient story
of the sun going down

John Berger

The splendor of the rose
and the whiteness of the lily
do not rob the little violet
of its scent nor the daisy
of its simple charm.
If every tiny flower
wanted to be a rose,
spring would lose its loveliness.

Therese de Lisieux

The message that the contemplative offers
is not that you need to find your way
through the jungle of language and problems
that today surround God; but that whether
you understand God or not,
God loves you, is present to you,
lives in you, dwells in you, calls you,
saves you, and offers you
an understanding and light
which are like nothing you ever found
in books or heard in sermons.

Thomas Merton

Miss no single opportunity of
making some small sacrifice,
here by a smiling look,
there by a kindly word;
always doing the smallest right
and doing it all for love.

Therese de Lisieux

We have a job to do, you and I, and
all those called to work beside us.
We are the stewards of mission,
the entrusted workers, hired on
not for wages, but for vocation,
for the love of what we do. We are
the skilled workers of love and faith,
of mercy and caring, of justice and
truth. We have a job to do. Let us be
about it with renewed energy and
cheerful hearts: making straight
the path that peace will take when
war is silent and only angels sing.

Steve Charleston

People fail to get along because they
fear each other; they fear each other
because they don't know each other;
they don't know each other because
they have not communicated with
each other.

Martin Luther King

Why be a believer at all?
Thomas Merton's answer is blunt.
Because the desert place in each of us
"an arid, rocky, dark land of the soul"
is the place Christ came to earth to save.

Paul Elie

We need to find ways of being reminded that our religious sanctuaries are at best side chapels into the great cathedral of creation. Otherwise the impression is given, as it has been historically again and again, that God is somehow more present within the four walls than in every other place and that the meeting within the four walls of our religious sanctuaries is somehow more sacred than all other moments and that the people within the four walls are somehow more holy than all other people.

J. Philip Newell

Let the rain come and wash away the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds held and nurtured over generations. Let the rain wash away the memory of the hurt, the neglect. Then let the sun come out and fill the sky with rainbows. Let the warmth of the sun heal us wherever we are broken.

Rabbi Harold S. Kushner

Father, I am here before you,
all people are good in my eyes.
God, it is you
who judges the differences
between us people.

Traditional African Prayer, How the Children Became Stars

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.

James Baldwin

The divine flow either flows both in and out or it is not flowing at all. The “trap doors” at either end must be kept open in order to both receive and let go, which is the work of all true spirituality. The Law of Flow is simple, and Jesus states it in many formulations such as “Happy are the merciful; they shall have mercy shown to them” (Matthew 5:7) Or as we cleverly put it “What goes around comes around.” We are conduits.

Fr. Richard Rohr

Man is man because something divine is at stake in his existence. He is not an innocent bystander in the cosmic drama. There is more kinship with the divine than we are able to believe.

Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Insecurity of Freedom

In
my soul
there is a temple, a shrine,
a mosque, a church
where I kneel.

Prayer should bring us to an altar
where no walls or names exist.

In
my soul
there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque,
a church

that dissolve, that
dissolve in
God.

Rabia, a Sufi

Word by word, Word of God, let the Scripture speak to me with ever new and deeper meaning and guide us, like the Magi, to the place where I may kneel before you.

Evelyn Underhill

I have said before that the craftsman
searches for what's not there
to practice his craft.
A Builder looks for the rotten hole
where the roof caved in. A water carrier
picks the empty pot. A carpenter
stops at the house with no door.

Workers rush toward some hint
of emptiness, which they then
start to fill. Their hope, though,
is for emptiness, so don't think
you must avoid it. It contains
what you need.

Rumi

I have never been able to reconcile myself to the
gaieties of the Christmas season. They have appeared
to me to be so inconsistent with the life and teachings of Jesus.

How I wish America could lead the way by devoting
the season to a real moral stocktaking and emphasizing
consecration to the service of mankind for which Jesus
lived and died on the Cross.

Mohandas Gandhi

Making the House Ready for the Lord

Dear Lord, I have swept and I have washed but
still nothing is as shining as it should be
for you. Under the sink, for example, is an
uproar of mice - it is the season of their
many children. What shall I do? And under the eaves
and through the walls the squirrels
have gnawed their ragged entrances—but it is the season
when they need shelter, so what shall I do? And
the raccoon limps into the kitchen and opens the cupboard
while the dog snores, the cat hugs the pillow:
what shall I do? Beautiful is the new snow falling
in the yard and the fox who is staring boldly
up the path, to the door. And still I believe you will
come Lord: you will, when I speak to the fox
the sparrow, the lost dog, the shivering sea-goose, know
that really I am speaking to you whenever I say,
as I do all morning and afternoon: Come in, Come in.

Mary Oliver

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit;
send down from heaven's height
your radiant light.

Come lamp of every heart,
come, parent of the poor;
all gifts are yours.

A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.

Jackie Robinson

With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the gri
p of all that is evil, free us.

The Lord's Prayer, New Zealand Book of Common Prayer

Theology reminded me that, however diabolical the act, it did not turn the perpetrator into a demon. ....Theology said they still, despite the awfulness of their deeds, remained children of God with the capacity to repent, to be able to change.

Bishop Desmond Tutu

Greater minds than mine are at work on how to save the church. Experts in demographics, organizational gurus, master of mission strategy; they gather with those in power to plan the path to promise. I pray them well. I have no secret formula to fill our phantom pews, but only an experience for what worth it may share. To grow a church preach from the heart, work for the poor, welcome the stranger, embrace the Spirit. Laugh more than cry. Fail more than wait. Give more than keep. Be unexpected love and trust the becoming to God.

Steven Charleston

If you bring forth what is inside you, what you bring forth will save you.

Gospel of Thomas

Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it.
Muhammad Ali

If you read the Gospel texts carefully, you will see that the only people Jesus seems to “exclude” are those who are excluding others. Exclusion might be described as the core sin. Don't waste any time rejecting, excluding, eliminating, or punishing anyone or anything else. Everything belongs, including you.

Richard Rohr

Sometimes the task before us seems so overwhelming that we sputter out before we’ve begun. We're already mentally rounding the curve toward the steep and sticky part, the complex, exhausting, immeasurable length of it, the part we can't imagine doing, and so we stop right there. These days, I try hard to stop stopping and just start starting, because every impasse and impossibility is just one weed, saying, “Pull here.” Everything moves through this one place and time; the infinite and unimaginable totality of existence moves through this one moment of motion.

Karen Maezen Miller

Our worth as men and women comes from all of us being the children of God, and all our political affirmations of our equality derive not just from governments but directly from our identity as God’s equally valued children.

America’s Original Sin, Jim Wallis

Let nobody give you the impression that only time will solve the problem. That is a myth because time is neutral. It can be used either constructively or destructively. And I'm absolutely convinced that the people of ill will in our nation - the extreme rightists—forces committed to negative ends—have used time much more effectively than the people of good will... So we must help time and realize that the time is always right to do right.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.

Albert Einstein

Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function.
Garrison Keillor

Welcome to Lake Wobegon where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.
Garrison Keillor

My days sprint past me like runners;
I will never see them again.
They glide by me like sailboats;
they swoop down like hawks on their prey.

The Book of Job, Stephen Mitchell

Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.
Maya Angelou

Faith is a dynamic and ever-changing process, not some fixed body of truth that exists outside our world and our understanding. God's truth may be fixed and unchanging, but our comprehension of that truth will always be partial and flawed at best.

Gene Robinson

Every day it becomes more and more important to celebrate anything that makes us think beyond what it means to be an American in order to become a wild, loving Christian let loose in the world to pollute it with love.
Joan Chittister

Blessed are the parents who do not over schedule their children for they are the last patrons of playfulness.
Blessed are the religious who do not demonize other faiths for they keep open the bridges of understanding.
Blessed are the stewards of creation for they are defending the last meadows of Eden.
Blessed are the citizens who do not fall prey to political rant for they are the keepers of democracy.
Blessed are the romantics who still hold hands more than text for they are lights of an older love.
Blessed are the dreamers for they still see what many have never known.

Steven Charleston

Lord, who can be trusted with power,
and who may act in your place?
Those with a passion for justice,who speak the truth from their hearts;
who have let go of selfish interests
and grown beyond their own lives;
who see the wretched as their family
and the poor as their flesh and blood.
They alone are impartial
and worthy of the people's trust.
Their compassion lights up the whole earth,
and their kindness endures forever.

A Book of Psalms, translations by Stephen Mitchell

I have kept the night watch for you, whispering hope through the long hours, the dark hours, until the first almost unseen hints of the new day emerge from the shadows to smile the promise of new beginnings. I have no magic gift to tell you that my prayers for you conjured your need to fulfillment, but I can tell you that I was not alone as I prayed. A Spirit moved around me. A Life breathed near me. A Mind far deeper than any thought I will ever have shared the night with me and listened to my simple appeal and flies even now to find you.

Steven Charleston

There is nothing in nature like love.
Love is divine only and difficult always.
If you think it is easy you are a fool.
If you think it is natural you are blind.
It is a learned application without reason or motive except that it is God.

Toni Morrison

During the picking season my grandmother would get out of bed at four o'clock (she never used an alarm clock) and creak down to her knees and chant in a sleep-filled voice, “Our Father thank you for letting me see this New Day. Thank you that you didn't allow the bed I lay on last night be my cooling board, nor my blanket my winding sheet. Guide my feet this day along the straight and narrow, and help me to put a bridle on my tongue. Bless this house and everybody in it. Thank you, in the name of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Maya Angelou

Blessed are the wrongly accused, the ones who never catch a break, the ones for whom life is hard, for those are with whom Jesus chose to surround himself. Blessed are those without documentation.
Blessed are the ones without lobbyists.
Blessed are foster kids and trophy kids and special ed kids and every other kid who just wants to feel safe and loved.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Blessed are they who know there has to be more than this. Because they are right.
Blessed are those who make terrible business decisions for the sake of people.
Blessed are the burned-out social workers and the overworked teachers and the pro bono case takers.
Blessed are the kindhearted NFL players and the fundraising trophy wives.
Blessed are the kids who step between the bullies and the weak.
Blessed are they who hear that they are forgiven. ...
Blessed are the merciful, for they totally get it.

Nadia Bolz-Weber

Augustine said to a group of people,
“We are talking about God. What wonder is it that you do not understand?
If you do not understand, then it is not God.”

Annie Dillard

Wake up. I hear something.
The sound of Spirit. Coming this way.
Coming on the rush of wings.
Listen.
It draws closer.
With every breath it moves on currents of prayer. Wake up. Be alert.
This power knows your name.
It calls you with intimate grace.
It whispers an echo of your heart.
Wake up. Your moment has come.
Spirit hovers before you. Speak. Life is yours.
Even angels await your word.

Steven Charleston

Time for some Spring cleaning. I take up the authority God has given me to cast out the things that clutter my spiritual home, I take hold of prayer like a great broom, and I start to sweep clean the corners of my soul.

Out with the small jealousies and petty angers, out with self-serving pity or righteousness, out with resignation and avoidance, out with excuses and emptiness.

Open go the windows to the Spirit as the fresh wind of faith fills the house. Let the dust of the past fly, let the sunlight of hope beckon the new season of my bright tomorrow.

Steven Charleston
What is justice?
Giving water to trees.
What is injustice?
To give water to thorns.
Justice consists in bestowing
bounty to its proper place,
Not on every root that
will absorb water.

Rumi

May God give you grace never to sell yourself short, grace to risk something big for something good,

Frederick Buechner

This is an interesting planet. It deserves all the attention you can give it.
Marilynne Robinson

The world needs a
a few less people to own
their greatness,
and a few more
to own their humility.

Karen Maezen Miller

...racism is not an evil in human hearts or minds; racism is ... a demonic power, a representative, image, and embodiment of death, over which human beings have little or no control, but which works its awful influence over their lives. This is the power with which Jesus Christ was confronted and which, at great and sufficient cost, he overcame.

William Stringfellow

In the childhood of the spiritual life, when we have just begun to allow ourselves to be directed by God, we feel his guiding hand quite firmly and surely. But it doesn't always stay that way. Whoever belongs to Christ must go the whole way with him. He must mature to adulthood: He must one day or other walk the way of the cross to Gethsemane and Golgotha.
Edith Stein

A Spiritual Journey

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,
no matter how long,
but only by a spiritual journey,
a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,
and learn to be at home.

Wendell Berry

I imagined Jesus standing there blessing us all because I believe that is our Lord's nature. Because, after all, it was Jesus who had all the powers of the universe at his disposal but did not consider his equality with God something to be exploited. Instead, he came to us in the most vulnerable of ways, as a powerless, flesh-and-blood newborn.

As if to say, “You may hate your bodies, but I am blessing all human flesh. You may admire strength and might, but I am blessing all human weakness. You may seek power, but I am blessing all human vulnerability.”

This Jesus whom we follow cried at the tomb of his friend and turned the other cheek and forgave those who hung him on the cross. He was God's Beatitude—God's blessing to us.

Accidental Saints, Nadia Bolz-Weber

If you listen on quiet nights, when only the stars are
awake, you can hear the sound of laughter, falling faint
but clear through the icy air. It is the voice of our elders,
gathered by glowing hearths in heaven on high, telling their
stories, sharing their memories, ringing in the peace that
surrounds them with a joy that chimes the ageless hours of
their lives. They call us to remember that we need never
fear these short days, for they are only a faint vision
passing while more life still waits for us, in the lighthearted
halls of our other home among the ones we love.

Steven Charleston

Come, come, whoever you are,
Wanderer, worshipper lover of leaving-
it doesn't matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vows
a hundred times.
Come, come again, come, come.

Rumi

White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field

Coming down
out of the freezing sky
with its depths of light,
like an angel,
or a Buddha with wings,
it was beautiful
and accurate,
striking the snow and whatever was there
with a force that left the imprint
of the tips of its wings-
five feet apart-and the grabbing
thrust of its feet,
and the indentation of what had been running
through the white valleys
of the snow-

and then it rose, gracefully,
and flew back to the frozen marshes,
to lurk there,
like a little lighthouse,
in the blue shadows-
so I thought:
maybe death
isn't darkness after all,
but so much light
wrapping itself around us-

so soft as feathers-
that we are instantly weary
of looking, and looking, and shut our eyes,
not without amazement,
and let ourselves be carried,
as through the translucence of mica,
to the river
that is without the least dapple or shadow-
that is nothing but light-scalding, aortal light-
in which we are washed and washed
out of our bones.

Mary Oliver

Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future.

Oscar Wilde

Love affords wonder. And it is only love that gives me the liberty, the courage to go inside and see who am I really.

Maya Angelou

Lord, show me the color and substance of my soul, and help me release it from bondage that it may soar on wings to you.
Help me prepare it with your word, the Bible.
Immerse it in prayer for cleansing.
I place it in your hands, unworthy though it is to travel.
Amen

Hilary McDowell

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
God who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by thy might led us into the light,
keep us forever in the path, we pray.

Lift Every Voice and Sing, James Weldon Johnson

To love and accept for who they are All others, whether near or far;
And share the beauty that I see in them, for it's the same in me.
Whatever culture, creed, or place, We all can lovingly embrace
The shadows that we have within And with the old song "Let it Begin...
With Me - This Peace on Earth I find,
In morning wind, and quiet mind.

Rev. Laura Barrett Bennett, Morning Wind

Here and there an individual or group dares to love, and rises to the majestic heights of moral maturity. So in a real sense this is a great time to be alive. Therefore, I am not yet discouraged about the future.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I no longer desired a better world because I was thinking of creation as a whole: and in the light of this more balanced discernment, I had come to see that higher things are better than the lower, but the sum of all creation is better than the higher things alone.
Augustine, from Peter Brown's Augustine of Hippo

You cannot see God and live, that was the ancient caution, the one that turned the hair of Moses to snow. But then again, you cannot not see God and live, for without a vision the people perish says the ancient Book. So we are caught between what we may never be and what we must always have. The spiritual reality is not a placid place, but a world crackling with the electric presence of the holy. It burns bushes and withers fig trees, it changes the very substance of life, it drives those who see it to do things they would never have imagined. Behold the face of God and you will see how God beholds you.

Steve Charleston, Cloud Walking

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

E. M. Forster

O God who comes to us in Advent, help us recognize our humanity as a gift that, with Jesus, we share with you.

Caryll Houselander, A Child in Winter

I will give you the treasures of darkness
and riches hidden in secret places,
so that you may know that it is I, the Lord,
the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.

Isaiah 45:3

Obedience to God means, first of all, waiting, having to
wait, sustine Dominum - waiting for the Lord.
The first thing is to accept the fact that one
will have to wait.
Otherwise obedience is undermined
by an implicit condition that destroys it.

A Year with Thomas Merton

O Jesus, joy of loving hearts, the fount of life and our true light, we seek the peace your love imparts, and stand rejoicing in your sight...

Hymn 649, HYMNAL 1982, Bernard of Clairvaux

People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered,
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest person with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest person with the smallest mind.
Think big anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you help them.
Help them anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you might get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

Dr. Keith Kent, written on wall of Mother Teresa's charity in Calcutta

The same impulse that leads me to sing of God leads me to sing of godlessness. God would have us know that we must live as men who manage our lives without him... The God who lets us live in the world without the working hypothesis of God is the God before whom we stand continually. Before God and with God we live without God.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Sometimes God calls a person to unbelief in order that faith may take new forms.
Christian Wyman, My Bright Abyss

Weapons are tools of ill omen
wielded by the ignorant.
If their use is unavoidable,
the wise act with restraint.
The great sorrow is to be a veteran,
witness to the atrocities of humanity.

"War" 365 TAO: DAILY MEDITIONS, Deng Ming-Dao

The ordinary Christian, lay or clergy, does not need to be a scholar to have recourse to the Bible and, indeed, to live within the Word of God in the Bible in this world. What the ordinary Christian is called to do is to open the Bible and listen to the Word.

William Stringfellow, Essential Writings

Every man prays in his own language,
and there is no language that God does not understand.

Duke Ellington

Welcome!
There's bread and wine.
Come, eat with us and talk.

Rachel Held Evans, Searching for Sunday

I've learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did:
but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

Racism...dislodges brains, blocks airways, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth. You must never look away from this.
Letter to My Son" Ta-Nehisi Coates, Atlantic, September, 2015

Jesus did not command us to form an organization, to construct elaborate flow charts, or to erect buildings.... All that, is good but it does not come first.
Troublemaker, Vicki Gray

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Wild Geese, Mary Oliver, found in Good Poems, ed. Garrison Keillor

We thank thee for thy Church,
founded upon thy Word, that challenges us to do more
than sing and pray, but go out and work as though
the very answer to our prayers depended on us
and not upon thee.

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., A Pastoral Prayer

Vengeance is a cold hand that takes but cannot give.
In the arc of night I saw shrouded figures standing on parade by a grave. Their testimony burned my heart, though never a word was spoken. Their truth, a somber love, of lives lost and broken. Hate for hate never
ends war's endless dance. We do not regain the fallen
with more of what took them. Justice gives birth
to peace. Revenge is barren.

Hope as Old as Fire, Steven Charleston

O Lord, thou knowest the balm to heal my wounds,
the help to strengthen my weakness,
the path to prosper my progress.
Thou knowest all that is expedient to fulfil my life,
as the potter knows how to contrive
his own vessel's perfection.
For the work is wrought according to the design
and wisdom of its maker.

Hymn to the Blessed Virgin, Ethiopian Orthodox Prayer

The Lord is my pace-setter, I shall not rush.
He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals:
He provides me with images of stillness,
which restore my serenity.
He leads me in ways of efficiency through calmness of mind.
And His guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things to
accomplish each day,
I will not fret, for His presence is here.
His timelessness, his all-importance will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity
By anointing my mind with His oils of tranquility.
My cup of joyous energy overflows.
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruit of my hours for
I shall walk in the place of my Lord and dwell in His
House forever.

All Saints Convent, Cantonville, Maryland
"The Nuns' Twenty-Third Psalm"

The world is not a courtroom,
there is no judge, no jury, no plaintiff.

There is a caravan,
filled with eccentric beings
telling wondrous stories about God.

Saadi

Remembering my youth
makes me aware that I never really had enough of it,
it was over before I was done with it.
...Oh, I will miss the world!

Gilead, Marilynne Robinson

Lord, I am happy this morning.
Birds and angels sing and I am exultant.
The universe and our hearts are open to your grace.
I feel my body and give thanks.
The sun burns my skin and I thank you.
The breakers are rolling toward the seashore,
The sea foam splashes our house.
I give thanks.

My Joys Mount as Do the Birds, Ghana

If you lie quietly in bed in the very early morning,
in the half-light before time begins,
and listen carefully, the language of crows
is easy to understand. "Here I am."
That's really all there is to say
and we say it again and again.

Nice Fish: New and Selected Poems, The Language of Crows Louis Jenkins

I hunt what I never find. I seek what I never see.
I am on the go, looking, digging, uncovering.
You take me where I have never been, and I return
to places as though I have not seen them before.
My world stays new;
there is a vista before me, and then another.
I come to one horizon and there is the next.
Inside me is an eye that needs to seek
and find what is hidden before me.

Dog Psalms: Prayers My Dogs Have Taught Me, "God" by Herbert Brokering

The Buddha was asked,
"What have you gained from Meditation?"

He replied, "It is not what I have gained
that is important but rather what I have
diminished: greed, anger, anxiety, depression,
insecurity, fear of old age and death."

Modern rendition from the Dhammapada

Today I'm flying low and
I'm not saying a word.
I'm letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I'm taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I'm traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.

Mary Oliver, Why I Wake Early

Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust to thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer, Prayers for National Life, p. 820

What I love about believing in a living God is that
I believe God is constantly revealing God's
self to us over time, and with each succeeding
generation, we come a little closer to
understanding the mind of God.

Bishop Gene Robinson

When you awake in the morning, give thanks
for the morning light, for your life and strength.
Give thanks for your food and the joy of living.

Tecumseh

Patience takes courage and is not an ideal state of calm.
Practice patience, you will see agitation more clearly.

Pema Chodron, Comfortable with Uncertainty

By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all
nature seems renewed around me and with me.
The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees
a deeper green. The whole world is charged with
the glory of God and I feel fire and music
under my feet.

Thomas Merton

God is heard only when we hope to hear Him, and if, thinking our hope to be fulfilled, we cease to listen, he ceases to speak; his silence ceases to be vivid and becomes dead, even though we recharge it with the echo of our own emotional noise.

Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude, 1956

American culture has diluted and secularized Christmas and Easter. But no one can tame the Pentecost...

Heaven touched earth on the day of the Pentecost,
inviting us to live a resurrection life here and now.
Don't wait for death. You can enter heaven even now.
It can come to you right here.
The light is all around you, just open your eyes.

Kate Moorehead, Resurrecting Easter: Meditations for the Great 50 Days

He who receives kindness
should never forget it;
but he who performs it
should never remember it.

Heart of a Buddha

Be Still

Practice stillness. Stillness is not just doing nothing. In stillness we let our attention come to life. We experience the moment through our senses. We relax and take a deep breath.

Traffic jam
Above all those tail lights
The full moon.

Clear Water: A haiku invitation into our luminous, sacred world.
Jeannie F. Martin

Be patient with everyone but especially yourself.
Start all over again every day.

Attributed to St. Francis de Sales, Quoted by Joan Chittister

I give beauty to all the earth
I am the breeze that refreshes all green things
I encourage blossoms to flourish with ripening fruit
I am led by the spirit to feed the purest streams
I am the rain coming from the dew
that causes the grasses to laugh with the joy of life.
I am the yearning for good.

from Hildegard of Bingen, cited in "How the Children Became Stars" by Aaron Zerah

Start by doing what is necessary;
then do what is possible;
and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

St. Francis of Assisi

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes,
And into your brother's face,
Your country,
And say simply
Very simply
With hope-
Good morning.

Maya Angelou

I believe that in every plight God wants to give us as much power of resistance as we need. But he does not give it in advance, so that we will rely not on ourselves, but on him alone. In such faith all anxiety about the future would have to be overcome.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

There is a tendency for us to flee from the wild silence and the wild dark, to pack up our gods and hunker down behind city walls, to turn the gods into idols, to kowtow before them and approach their precincts only in the official robes of office. And when we are in the temples, then who will hear the voice crying in the wilderness? Who will hear the reed shaken by the wind?

Soul of the Night, Chet Raymo (quoted in Barbara Brown Taylor's Learning to Walk in the Dark)

The present moment is a sacrament because God is in it. If we miss this moment, we miss God.

Jean Pierre de Caussade

There is a part of the soul that stirs at night, in the dark and soundless times of day, when our defenses are down and our daylight distractions no longer serve to protect us from ourselves. It's then in the still of life, when we least expect it, that questions emerge from the damp murkiness of our inner underworld... These questions do not call for discovery of data; they call for the contemplation of possibility.

Between the Dark and the Daylight, Joan Chittister

May all you read bring you wisdom,
May all you see bring you insight,
May all you hear bring you understanding,
May all you feel bring you inner peace.

Steven Charleston

The invitation to a journey has been made. Not just any journey, but the one at the heart of Christian life. The one that leads to Calvary. The one that leads to salvation, new life and peace. Are you willing to accept it? If so, stop a moment and just be. Find a quiet place without distractions. Relax. Take a few breaths, breathing out tension and anxiety and breathing in peace and serenity. Now, prayerfully place yourself in the hands of the Lord. Trust in God's Love and Fidelity. Let go.

Cardinal Joseph Bernardin

...though it is sometimes very difficult to imagine our nation totally free of racism and sexism, my intellect, my heart and experience tell me that it is actually possible for that day when neither exists, we must struggle.

James Baldwin

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.

Mother Theresa

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I believe deeply that all good things our world has to offer are yours to enjoy. But you can enjoy them truly only when you can acknowledge them as affirmations of the truth that you are the beloved of God.

Henri J. M. Nouwen

SING THEN
As long as we sing,
the pain of the world
cannot claim our lives.

Mark Nepo

To look at the last great self-portraits of Rembrandt or to read Pascal or hear Bach's B-minor Mass is to know beyond the need for further evidence that if God is anywhere, he is with them, as he is also with the man behind the meat counter, the woman who scrubs floors at Roosevelt Memorial, the high-school math teacher who explains fractions to the bewildered child. And the step from "God with them" to Emmanuel, "God with us," may not be as great as it seems. What keeps the wild hope of Christmas alive year after year in a world notorious for dashing all hopes is the haunting dream that the child who was born that day may yet be born again even in us and our own snowbound, snowblind longing for him.

Frederick Buechner

The joy of God has passed through the poverty of the manger and the torment of the cross; and so it is unconquerable, irrefutable.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Lady Mary, you whose "yes" opened the door to our salvation, show us how we can say "yes" without reservations. Teach us to wait, as we hang in the balance of the past and the possible. Let us make loving choices as you did, acquiescing freely in God's plan for us. Mother us as we make our way to your son. Amen.

Thomas Merton

following the breath
breathing in, I calm my body.
breathing out, I smile.
dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment!

Thich Nhat Hanh

Come stand over here, just a step or two beyond the place you have occupied for so long, where you have worn the earth smooth with your pacing, where you have spent so many hours fighting the problem you cannot seem to solve. Take a break. Catch your breath. Come stand here, where you can catch a freshening breeze and see far into the valley below. Let the distant clouds carry your worry for a while, see how the sun empties the world of shadow. The answer you seek may be just a step beyond, a higher place where the view is clear of all obstructions.

Steve Charleston

We should split the sack
of this culture
and stick our heads out.

Look around.
Leave your childhood.

Reach your right hand up
and take this book from the air.
You do know right from left, don't you?

A voice speaks to your clarity.
Move into the moment of your death.
Consider what you truly want.

Now call out commands yourself.
You are the king. Phrase your question,
and expect the grace of an answer.

Rumi

Dear God, help me to use words sparingly,
and help me be quick to listen,
to learn to listen with my heart. Amen

Joshua Dubois

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

the eye through which I see god
is the same eye through which god sees me;
my eye and god's eye are one eye,
one seeing, one knowing, one love.

Meister Eckhart

The most basic and powerful way to connect to
another person is to listen. Just listen.

Perhaps the most important thing we ever
give each other is our attention... A loving
silence often has far more power to heal and
to connect than the most well-intentioned words.

Rachel Naomi Remen

Human beings come
from the same source
We are one family.

If a part of the body hurts,
all parts contract with pain.

If you are not concerned
with another's suffering,
we shall not call you human.

Saadi

Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said,
“Surely the Lord is in this place
and I did not know it.”

Genesis 28:16

Holy Spirit,
Giving life to all life,
Moving all creatures,
Root of all things,
Washing them clean,
Wiping out their mistakes,
Healing their wounds,
You are our true life,
Luminous, wonderful,
Awakening the heart from its ancient sleep.

Hildegarde of Bingen - 12th century

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