At Sea

" 'At sea!' What, I wonder, do these words suggest to you? In these islands we are surrounded by it. We may hate it, or love it. When I let the words 'at sea' float through my mind and memory and imagination, all kinds of reactions arise. I remember times of my life when I have felt completely 'at sea' amid unpredictable, or even hostile circumstances, without a clue as to what to do or how to respond. The words can evoke fear in me, in light of such memories, but also gratitude that, after all, I didn't drown. Then again, there are images of awesome beauty — times when the waters were calmer, and seemed to invite me to unfurl my sails confidently and let the great expanse of life draw me beyond all my known horizons. I feel awe, and a profound sense of wonder that the 'seas' can be so vast, yet so supportive of the tiny boat I call my life. This evokes a different kind of gratitude — a feeling of joyous amazement that I am a part of it all, however miniscule."
At Sea with God: A Spiritual Guidebook to the Heart and Soul

Putting Other's Down

"These are a few classic ways of 'stealing energy':

"Putting other people down, with the result that the insulter gains a sense of being 'up.' Putting down comes in all manner of forms, from the most subtle to the most brutal. It is especially effective against children, young people, and those who are already feeling vulnerable without your help. Sarcasm is a classic tool for putting others down. Comments like 'What? Did you get your driver's license at the fairground?', hurled at a passing driver, may relieve one person's anger but they aggravate another's. I remember being asked by an impatient teacher once in primary school 'Were you vaccinated with a gramophone needle, Margaret?' His putdown about my talkativeness gained him a round of laughter from my classmates, but it left me seriously worried about the state of my medical history."
At Sea with God: A Spiritual Guidebook to the Heart and Soul

The Mystery

"This mystery is not only the source of all creation, but . . .
This mystery is lovingly and intimately involved in what happens on planet Earth, and . . .
This mystery actively wants humankind to be in right relationship with it, so that we might evolve into the fullness of our destiny.
When the pilgrim is ready the guide appears.
The pilgrim is the human family in its entirety.
The pilgrim is homo sapiens/ Is the pilgrim ready? The events of two thousand years ago seem to say, 'Yes! And here is the Guide!' "
Roots and Wings: The Human Journey from a Speck of Stardust to a Spark of God


"How much does your footprint weigh?

"Could it really be, as Jesus suggests, that we are rich only in what we give away, secure only in what we relinquish, great only in our littleness and strong only in our vulnerability?

"This paradox, this upturning of all our assumptions and expectations, is the hallmark of the narrow way that leads us to all it means to be fully human. It points us towards the seed of divinity sleeping in the ground of our being, and shows us how to bring that seed to life.

"Let's spend a while now following the narrow trail that leads to the future. Let's be alert to the signs of the Guide's prints along the way, learning to notice when are following his prints, and when our own, much heavier, footprints are drawing us perhaps in other directions than the best. And let's see who we meet along the way, and what they have to tell us . . ."
Roots and Wings: The Human Journey from a Speck of Stardust to a Spark of God

Becoming More Fully Human

"Suppose you were invited to award Oscars for areas of our lives that are helping to makes usmore human, and to hand out red penalty cards for areas that are tending to dehumanize us. What would you select?

"My own Oscar list would include things like:

• Organisations that are truly working for the greater good of humankind, including most of the charity
organisations and their workers and all who support them with practical or financial help.

• Everyone who is working for an increase in justice in a grossly unfair world, whether in a large and visible organization, or in one of the very many little gatherings, world-wide, of a few committed individuals who quietly get on with the job of bringing justice into their own communities."
Roots and Wings: The Human Journey from a Speck of Stardust to a Spark of God

A Web of Interconnectedness

"We belong, not merely to the created order of things, but in a great web of relationship, and interconnectedness, in which every particle is intimately interwoven with every other, and in which, in some mysterious way, each particle holds and reflects something of the totality. This makes a huge difference to the way we live. Every choice we make, every response we offer, every reaction we reveal has an effect on that web of being. We are made for relationship. The Wisdom of creation insists on it. No single creature can disengage from the dance of creation without jeopardizing the eternal beauty of that dance. We are indeed created to be 'we'. To opt for merely being 'I' is to opt out of the creative process itself. It is only in interrelationship that we have our being and our meaning."
The Way of Wisdom

Indigenous Wisdom

"Whether we are scientists or mystics, whether we deal in reason or in dreams, we are human beings, and what human beings do, above all, is to search for meaning in the vast mystery around us. There are those who would say that this restless quest is simply an antidote to the sure knowledge that after a few short decades each of us will die. But there would be many who would beg to differ, and would argue that the very fact that humankind is perpetually on a quest for wisdom and meaning is itself a sure pointer to the presence of a Wisdom that is eternally holding us in being, and unfolding its multilayered meaning to our finite hearts."
The Way of Wisdom

A Moment for God

"Making time for God need not be a complicated process. On the contrary, it can be as simple as taking a moment to gaze at the world, to see it with God's eyes. In doing so, we may be taken by surprise many times in the course of a single day: when we watch a sleeping child, for example, or notice the steady breathing of a loved one; when we see how the cobwebs on the downspout have turned to lace under the touch of frost, or notice one drop of dew on a rose petal. All of these are moments of retreat. They are all visits to the oasis in the depths of our hearts, where God is at home."
Going on Retreat: A Beginner's Guide to the Christian Retreat Experience

The Silence of Retreats

"The silence in a retreat house has a special quality, and most people discover very quickly that it is not a threatening silence at all. On the contrary, it creates an ambience that bonds the retreatants and their guides closer together without any actual intrusion on the individuals' personal space. When we cannot use words to greet each other or to express our needs (at meals, for example) or to convey empathy, we are obliged to use a deeper kind of language. We become much more aware of people's gestures, their facial expressions, the language of their eyes, and so on. As a result of this awareness, we become much more sensitive to their needs."
Going on Retreat: A Beginner's Guide to the Christian Retreat Experience

Creating the Future

"The future is not some place we are going to but one we are creating. The paths to it are not found but made, and the making of those pathways changes both the maker and the destination."
Wayfaring: A Gospel Journey in Everyday Life

Why We Pray

"One reason we pray is because we sense
that this right relationship is to be found
only in the mystery we call God.
We intuit that 'everything belongs'
and that all life is interrelated and interdependent.
In prayer we seek to come close to the heart
of that wholeness,
and allow our own lives to be touched by it,
and even transformed by it."
The Gift of Prayer: Embracing the Sacred in the Everyday

Searching for Meaning

"To be alive in a universe that reveals its meanings to us,
through science and through art,
through the life and growth of all creatures
and through our own attempts to live our lives
according to values of harmony and cooperation, is to ponder the source of these underlying
meanings in
the mystery of things.

"Such pondering turns to prayer,
as we realize that the Meaning is something
so much bigger than our own small minds can fathom.

"Our search for meaning is a reason to pray."
The Gift of Prayer: Embracing the Sacred in the Everyday

Because I can't Express What I Feel

"Prayer speaks its truth in silence.
And the silence is understood
and enfolded back into the silences of space,
where its energy is not lost,
but transformed.

"We pray when the words fail
and only silence suffices."
The Gift of Prayer: Embracing the Sacred in the Everyday

Walking Prayer

"Exercising the dog is an opportunity for 'walking prayer',
and exercising yourself can also be sacred time,
as you pedal the bike or pound the treadmill or jog around the park.

"Even if you are 'never alone', you will bathe or shower
from time to time,
and that too can become time for prayer,
as you let the cleansing water flow over and around you."
The Gift of Prayer: Embracing the Sacred in the Everyday

Personal Currency

"The most life-giving elements of our human existence are not the heart transplants or moon shots. They are the unnoticed conversations with the lonely ones; the listening ear we offer to the hurting ones; the word of affirmation that lifts a veil of fear. These are the things that lie well within the range of our personal currency. How we spend that currency makes a great deal of difference."
Companions of Christ: Ignatian Spirituality for Everyday Living

A Person of Faith

"To be a person of faith is to believe that you can make a difference and to work at making that happen.

"It's about turning the ideal into the real. And we get to do that in the small things that happen every day.

"We have a choice about those thoughtless comments, destructive put-downs, sarcastic rejoinders, times when we walk past a needy neighbor without offering help, times when we say nothing to challenge an injustice."

"These things happen every day, and they are in our own power to change.

"Just as surely, we can choose to offer an encouraging comment when we might have said nothing, to give time and a listening ear when someone close to us is hurting, to take some small step to do what we can — to slow climate change, to live more simply, to speak a word of tolerance and understanding where there is strife. There are opportunities for these things every day, and they are ours to use or not to use.

"The currency of change is in our own back pockets.

"A person of faith is one who chooses to spend that currency, moment by moment, by making ordinary choices that tip the scales toward the greater good."
Simple Faith: Moving Beyond Religion as You Know It to Grow in Your Relationship with God

Soul Friends

"Soul friends are a bit like midwives. They help bring Christ to birth in your life and circumstances, but they only assist at the birth. They don't second-guess what form the baby will take, and they let the birth happen in its own way and time. They are there not to administer medication to take away the pain but to be alongside you as you deal with it. It is you who does the laboring, but they will rejoice with you at the miracle that is coming to pass.

"How do you find a soul friend? Look around you. Seek and you will find, and perhaps in places you didn't expect. A soul friend is someone your soul can connect to and your heart can trust. It isn't necessarily someone with a string of qualifications. One of the wisest soul friends I know is a woman who left school at fourteen and sees herself as a humble housewife, mother, and grandmother."
Simple Faith: Moving Beyond Religion as You Know It to Grow in Your Relationship with God

Secret Life of the Ocean

"I look out to sea, and get a glimpse of the secret life of the ocean, its hidden beauty and its hidden fears, and they speak to my heart of my own hidden possibilities and unspoken fears. I see, in the ocean, the cradle of all life on earth, and I want to thank the universe for this miracle, that we exist at all, and to recommit myself to living in a way that is worthy of the divine intention and desire that keeps on dreaming us into being."
Landscapes of Prayer: Finding God in Your World and your Life

The River

"A river is always part of a greater cycle, and our prayer, too, is always part of a greater conversation, a single note in a great symphony. The river remembers your story and all our stories and carries their treasure with it to its destiny in the ocean of God's love. And even as it flows it calls us to be where we are, and who we are, in the only moment we have, the eternal present moment."
Landscapes of Prayer: Finding God in your World and Your Life


"For as long as human beings have pondered the meaning of their own lives and of the world they live in, it has been through storytelling that much of this exploration has happened. In stories, the natural human delight in narrative walks hand in hand with the equally powerful desire within us to make sense of ourselves.

"The world abounds in 'wisdom stories'. Some of these stories suggest explanations for who we are and how we came to be who we are. Others offer guidance on how to live, how to relate to each other and how to cope with life's joys and crises. Almost all of them can be engaged with at different levels — from the simple delight of a child at bedtime, to the probing of the adult mind and heart into the deepest mysteries of life."
One Hundred Wisdom Stories from Around the World

Mystery of the Pearl

"The legend of the pearl reveals a spiritual truth. Science gives us another 'take' on the mystery of the pearl. From science we learn that pearls are formed as a reaction by the oyster to the presence of an irritant grain of sand in its tender inner parts, a grain of sand which it tries to coat with a substance which gradually creates the pearl. So too, perhaps, the beauty within us is also the fruit of the irritant grain of sand that we would sometimes do anything to be rid of. Our worst pain may be creating that deep beauty which is becoming a reflection of God's own Being."
Wayfaring: A Gospel Journey Into Life