For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.
— Anne Lamott
CREATION . . . “New every morning is the love / Our wakening and uprising prove,” says the hymn. Using the same old materials of earth, air, fire, and water, every twenty-four hours God creates something new out of them. If you think you’re seeing the same show all over again seven times a week, you’re crazy. Every morning you wake up to something like that in all eternity never was before and never will be again. And the you that wakes up was never the same before and will never be the same again either.
— Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC
God, what is man’s best gift to mankind? To be beautiful of soul and then let people see into your soul.
— Richard J. Foster, Streams of Living Water
The purpose of group spiritual direction is to provide a place where individuals can experience what it means to be listened to and loved by others, so that they can learn to listen more attentively to God in their daily lives and be used by God to spread God’s grace and love throughout the world.
— Alice Fryling, Seeking God Together: An Introduction to Group Spiritual Direction
According to Hebrew tradition, the heart is the seat of the whole person, including body, intellect, feeling, will, intuition, imagination, and action. . . . The Ignatian method . . . constitutes a prayer path of profound simplicity –one in which our whole being is gathered toward a singular attentiveness (particularly in spiritual direction) the happiness, health and safety of all of the people of a community or a nation
— John Mogabgab, Communion, Community, Commonweal
Humanity does not differ in any profound way; there are not essentially different species of human beings. If we could only put ourselves in the shoes of others to see how we would react, then we might become aware of the injustice of discrimination and the tragic inhumanity of every kind of prejudice.
— John Howard Griffin, Black Like Me
To become human means to become “poor,” to have nothing that one might brag about before God. To become human means to have no support and no power, save the enthusiasm and commitment of one’s own heart. Becoming human involves proclaiming the poverty of the human spirit in the face of the total claims of a transcendent God.
— Johannes Baptist Metz, Poverty of Spirit
To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude. The movement from loneliness to solitude, however, is the beginning of any spiritual life because it it is the movement from the restless senses to the restful spirit, from the outward-reaching cravings to the inward-reaching search, from the fearful clinging to the fearless play.
— Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out: Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
Your false self is your role, title, and personal image that is largely a creation of your own mind and attachments. It will and must die in exact correlation to how much you want the Real. ‘How much false self are you willing to shed to find your True Self?’ is the lasting question. Such necessary suffering will always feel like dying. . . .
— Richard Rohr, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life
“You got a God. Don’t make no difference if you don’ know what he looks like.”
— John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
The God to whom we pray and with whom we commune knows we want to pray, try to pray, but cannot pray. So God comes to us as man in Jesus Christ to stand in for us, pray for us, teach us to pray and lead our prayers. God in grace gives us what he seeks from us–a life of prayer–in giving us Jesus Christ and the Spirit.
— James B. Torrance, Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace
You gwyne to have considerable trouble in yo’ life, en considerable joy. Sometimes you gwyne to git hurt, en sometimes you gwyne to git sick; but every time you’s gwyne to git well agin.
— Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
I do not understand the mystery of grace — only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.
— Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life
The Greeks learned in order to comprehend. The Hebrews learned in order to revere.
— Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism