Christian Simplicity

"Christian simplicity frees us from this modern mania. It brings sanity to our compulsive extravagance, and peace to our frantic spirit. It liberates us from what William Penn called 'cumber.' It allows us to see material things for what they are — goods to enhance life, not to oppress life. People once again become more important than possessions. Simplicity enables us to live lives of integrity in the face of the terrible realities of our global village . . .

"The witness to simplicity is profoundly rooted in the biblical tradition, and most perfectly exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ. In one form or another, all the devotional masters have stressed its essential nature. It is a natural and necessary outflow of the Good News of the Gospel having taken root in our lives."
Freedom of Simplicity

My Grateful Center

"Let me describe my grateful center to you. I was seven years old, and my parents were trying to move to the West Coast. Our relative poverty, however, caught up with us, and we were forced to winter in the cabin of an uncle in the Rocky Mountains. The time was difficult for my parents, I am sure, but for me it was glory . . .

"But my most vivid memory is of the fireplace. (I had never been around a fireplace before, all of our heat heretofore having come from the coal furnace in our Nebraska home.) Every night I would pull out the bed that hid in the couch by day and climb under the heavy quilts, my head less than ten feet away from the crackling warmth. Night after night I would fall asleep, watching this strange yellow blaze that warmed us all. I was in my grateful center."
Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home

Praying the Ordinary

"We are also Praying the Ordinary when we engage in what Jean-Nicholas Grou calls 'the prayer of action.' 'Every action performed in the sight of God because it is the will of God, and in the manner that God wills, is a prayer and indeed a better prayer than could be made in words at such times.'

"Each activity of daily life in which we stretch ourselves on behalf of others is a prayer of action — the times when we scrimp and save in order to get the children something special; the times when we share our car with others on rainy mornings, leaving early to get them to work on time; the times when we keep up correspondence with friends or answer one last telephone call when we are dead tired at night. These times and many more like them are lived prayer. Ignatius of Loyola notes, 'Everything that one turns in the direction of God is prayer.' . . .

"Another way of Praying the Ordinary is by praying throughout the ordinary experiences of life. We pick up a newspaper and are prompted to whisper a prayer of guidance for world leaders facing monumental decisions. We are visiting with friends in a school corridor or a shopping mall, and their words prompt us to lapse into prayer for them, either verbally or silently, as the circumstances dictate. We jog through our neighborhood, blessing the families who live there. We plant our garden, thanking the God of heaven for sun and rain and all good things. This is the stuff of ordinary prayer through ordinary experience."
Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home

Be The Gardener of My Soul

"Spirit of the living God, be the Gardener of my
soul. For so long I have been waiting, silent and still —
experiencing a winter of the soul. But now, in the strong
name of Jesus Christ, I dare to ask:
Clear away the dead growth of the past,
Break up the hard clods of custom and routine,
Stir in the rich compost of vision and challenge,
Bury deep in my soul the implanted Word,
Cultivate and water and tend my heart,
Until new life buds and opens and flowers.
Prayers from the Heart

The Call To Prayer-Filled Living

"Question: What is the Contemplative Tradition?
"Answer: A life of loving attention to God.
"Question: Why should we explore it?
"Answer: Because through it we experience the divine rest that overcomes our alienation.

"Every one of us is called to be a contemplative — not in the sense of a particular vocation we call 'the contemplative life,' but in the sense of a holy habit of contemplative love that leads us forth in partnership with God into creative and redeeming work. Thomas Merton writes, 'I have not only repeated the affirmation that contemplation is real, but I have insisted on its simplicity, sobriety, humility, and its integration in "normal Christian life." ' I invite you to the adventure of exploring in 'normal Christian life' a loving attention to God and a growing union with God."
Streams of Living Water: Celebrating the Great Traditions of Christian Faith