Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Catholic monk of the Benedictine Order, is known for his pioneering work in interfaith dialogue and his ground-breaking leadership popularizing the spiritual practice of gratefulness. He serves a worldwide Network for Grateful Living, through www.gratefulness.org, S&P's sister website. He has written many books and is profiled as one of our Living Spiritual Teachers.

Br. David has dedicated this little book to "All things, plants, animals, humans, and angels that made me blessed and able to bless." With the same mixture of devotion, wonder, and imagination he brought to Words of Common Sense for Mind, Body, and Soul, his book on proverbs, the author presents 99 Blessings that he wrote during a three-month period.

In ancient times, people would regularly bless each other, their labors, their homes, their land, and their animals. Nowadays, this spiritual practice is often limited to religious services and ceremonies, the occasional "bless you" when someone sneezes in public, or the response of a homeless person after receiving a gift of money. Br. David brings these prayers back where they belong — into the midst of everyday life as an integral part of fresh linen, using the Internet, taking leave, listening to music, learning by heart, being taught by spiders, daydreaming in bed, smelling leather, and much more.

All blessings emanate from a deep and holy place within us, and Br. David helps us see that we too can deepen and enrich our daily activities and routines with these improvised prayers. See the excerpt for a few examples of blessings from the book. Here's a blessing from the book's preface:

"May this patchwork quilt of blessings help to sharpen your taste for the gift of life in its innumerable facets. May you grow ever more blessed, ever more able to bless."