How surely gravity's law,
strong as an ocean's current,
takes hold of even the smallest thing
and pulls it towards the heart of the world.

Each thing -
each stone, blossom, child -
is held in place.
Only we, in our arrogance,
push out beyond what we each belong to
for some empty freedom.

If we surrendered 
to earth's intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.

Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.
So like children, we begin again
to learn from things,
because they are in God's heart;
they have never left him.

This is what the things can teach us:
to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that before he can fly.

Rainer Maria Rilke

What makes the spiritual life different from any other life? What are we doing that is so different from what everybody else is doing? The answer is it not what we are doing at all that makes the spiritual life different from the life lived without consciousness. The answer is it is what we are and how we do what we do that is the mark of the spiritual life. It is what we are while we are doing whatever it is we do that makes Benedictine spirituality a gift for all ages.

Joan Chittister, Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, p164

If we aspire to less than we can be, we will get exactly that.

The size of our futures depends on the size of our dreams.

Our dreams are the path to a new kind of present. They not only show us what we seek; they show us what it will take to get there. Most of all, they make the length and difficulty of the journey worthwhile.

Joan Chittister, The Art of Life: Monastic Wisdom for Every Day, 47-50.


The Solitude of Night

The problem with this culture may well be that we have destroyed night. Even night is all light and noise and activities now. . . . The loss of night is a loss of human soul, I think, which means that if we do not have it naturally, we need to create it for ourselves: television and computers off, lights out, extra hours of quiet. Then maybe we can find the inside of ourselves again and the voice of God that echoes there so much more clearly than anywhere else.

Joan Chittister, The Art of Life: Monastic Wisdom for Every Day, 37

To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

A person should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of life in order that worldly cares do not obliterate the sense of the beautiful that God has implanted in the human soul.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The three signs of our vocation are:

  1. Vocation is the call of God. We are filled by the Holy Spirit to do our work
  2. The passion of our heart is the compass of our vocation. Our hearts are lifted up when we do our work.
  3. The recognition of others confirm our vocation. Friends, colleagues and others recognize our skill.