THE FIRE OF LOVE
"God's signature is on the whole of nature. All creatures are love letters from God to us. They are outbursts of love. The whole of nature is bursting with love, set in it by God, who is love, to kindle the fire of love in us. All things have no other reason for existing, no other meaning. They can give us no satisfaction or pleasure beyond this, to stir in us the love of God "
— Ernesto Cardenal in Abide in Love
"In the Babemba tribe of South Africa, when a person acts irresponsibly or unjustly, he is placed in the center of the village, alone and unfettered. All work ceases, and every man, woman, and child in the village gathers in a large circle around the accused individual. Then each person in the tribe speaks to the accused, one at a time, each recalling the good things the person in the center of the circle has done in his lifetime. Every incident, every experience that can be recalled with any detail and accuracy, is recounted. All his positive attributes, good deeds, strengths, and kindnesses are recited carefully and at length. This tribal ceremony often lasts for several days. At the end, the tribal circle is broken, a joyous celebration takes place, and the person is symbolically and literally welcomed back into the tribe. Even if you cannot stage this extensive a ritual, you can reinforce and encourage forgiveness by reminding the person who has committed a wrong of their positive qualities and contributions."
— Jack Kornfield in The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace
GOD & GOODNESS
"As God's sons and daughters, we are called to cherish and lift up the good that we see and experience. For in doing so we are communing with the Holy One since God and Goodness go together like a horse and a carriage. Be alert like a detective looking for clues."
— Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
THE GOD OF PLEASURE
" 'God is voluptuous and delicious,' Meister Eckhart has observed. Whenever and wherever we find pleasure, the fingerprints of the Creator are all over it and we rejoice in these marvels and delights as gifts of grace."
— Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
GOD'S DREAM OF JUSTICE
"The Bible is political as well as personal. It combines sharp political criticism and passionate political advocacy: radical criticism of systems of domination and impassioned advocacy of an alternative social vision. Protesting the nightmare of injustice, its central voices proclaim God's dream of justice, a dream for the earth. Criticism and advocacy are grounded in the understanding of the character and passion of God: a God of love and justice whose passion for our life together is the Kingdom of God."
— Marcus A. Borg in The Heart of Christianity
GOD'S UNIVERSAL NATURE
"The nature of God is universal. No one religion owns it, and it is available in myriad forms. But underneath its forms, its character is consistent. God's nature is love, freedom, renewal, and truth."
— Brian C. Taylor in Setting the Gospel Free
GOING BEYOND OURSELVES
"Compassion has been advocated by all the great faiths because it has been found to be the safest and surest means of attaining enlightenment. It dethrones the ego from the center of our lives and puts others there, breaking down the carapace of selfishness that holds us back from an experience of the sacred. And it gives us ecstasy, broadening our perspectives and giving us a larger, enhanced vision. As a very early Buddhist poem puts it: 'May our loving thoughts fill the whole world; above, below, across — without limit; a boundless goodwill toward the whole world, unrestricted, free of hatred and enmity.' We are liberated from personal likes and dislikes that limit our vision, and are able to go beyond ourselves."
— Karen Armstrong in The Spiral Staircase: My Climb out of Darkness
"Get in the habit of acknowledging moments of grace in your life. When something happens unexpectedly; when a reward comes to you without your having worked for it; when you receive an opportunity you think you do not deserve; when you recognize an insight or a person's appearance as a gift; say, 'That's a freebie.' "
— Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat in Spiritual Rx
"You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, and swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and grace before I dip the pen in ink."
— G. K. Chesterton in Different Seasons by Dale Turner
To Practice This Thought: Begin each new activity with a brief grace.
The HATCHING OF THE HEART
"Spirituality is thus for the hatching of the heart. Whatever helps to open our hearts to the reality of the sacred is what we should be engaged in. This awareness leads to an image of the Christian life very different from the one with which I grew up. The Christian life is not about pleasing God the finger-shaker and judge. It is not about believing now or being good now for the sake of heaven later. It is about entering a relationship in the present that begins to change everything now. Spirituality is about this process: the opening of the heart to God who is already here."
— Marcus J. Borg in The God We Never Knew