An Excerpt from Silent Hope: Living with the Mystery of God by John Kirvan

John Kirvan opens up the meaning of the spiritual practice of mystery with meditations on the words of ten Christian, Jewish, and Muslim mystics. Here is a soul-stirring passage on wonder.

"At a time when we have become accustomed to having technological miracles served up with our morning coffee, it is hard to be amazed by anything. Which is to say, it is hard to pray.

"The incredible speed and flexibility of our home computer and its move from our desk to our pocket is yesterday's miracle. 'What have you done for me today?'

"So except for triggering a plaintive plea for the world to slow down, amazement is not the stimulus to prayer that we have come to think of as essential. But it's the only one we have.

"What it means is that — and this is a marvelous aid to prayer — we are going to have to look beyond Silicon Valley for our miracles, for the wonderful, amazing things that are just beneath the surface of our hour by hour world. We are going to have to look beyond and beneath the sign that says 'genius at work' for the one that reads 'mystery at work.'

"In the process we are going to discover that 'acts of wonder and radical amazement' lead to prayer along a path shaped by hope."