Hear 0 Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One.
Praised be His glorious sovereignty throughout all time.
Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, with all
your soul, with all your might. And these words which
I command you this day you shall take to heart. You
shall diligently teach them to your children. You shall
recite them at home and away, morning and night.
You shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, they
shall be a reminder above your eyes, and you shall
inscribe them upon the doorposts of your homes and
upon your gates.
The twice-daily recitation of the “Sh’ma” is one of the fundamental elements of Jewish worship. Its recitation is an affirmation of the unity of God and a reminder lovingly to infuse one’s life, in all its aspects, with God’s word.]]>
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs-
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah’ bright wings.
GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS, S]]]>
Discernment is the process of making choices, from within the context of faith, between competing alternatives that seem good. For St. Ignatius, the process involves prayer, reflection and openness to the advice of others. While the rational consideration of pros and cons is important, special attention is paid to the movements of various spirits as experienced in one’s feelings, emotions, and fundamental desires. Do they lead toward God or away from God?
For Ignatius, a prerequisite for good discernment is freedom from attachments to all things, except of course, to God. To what are you attached? Consider all the “things,” desires and assumptions that shape your life today or your ambitions for tomorrow. But consider also how attached you are to the “world” which your imagination constructs, or to your imagined “self’ — your ideas, your worldviews, your ambitions and dreams. How do these “attachments” cloud your judgment as you try to make the choices that keep you on the path to God?]]>
In prayer we shift the center of living from self-
consciousness to self-surrender. God is the center
toward which all forces tend. He is the source, and we
are the flowing of His force, the ebb and flow of
RABBI ABRAHAM ]OSHUA HESCHEL
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1901-1972), educated in Germany, emigrated to the United States in 1940, fleeing Nazi persecution. His religious philosophy brings together traditional Jewish texts and modern questions to explore the reality underlying religion, including the living and dynamic relationship between God and humanity.]]>
than falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.
ATTRIBUTED TO FR. PEDRO ARRUPE, S.J. (1907-1991)]]>
You created all people in your image.
We thank you for the astonishing variety of races and
cultures in this world.
Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of friendship,
and show us your presence in those who differ most from us,
until our knowledge of your love is made perfect in
our love for all your children;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lutheran Book of Worship
to be the first to become conscious
of all that the world loves, pursues, and suffers;
I want to be the first to seek,
to sympathize and to suffer;
the first to unfold and sacrifice myself
to become more widely human
and more nobly of the earth
than of any of the world’s servants.
PIERRE TEILLHARD DE CHARDIN, S.J. (1881-1955)]]>
I am walking.
If I get down on my knees I think, “Do
I really believe? Whom am I praying to?” And a
terrible doubt comes over me, and a sense of shame,
and I wonder if I am praying because I am lonely,
because I am unhappy ….
But, I reason with myself, I am praying because
I am happy, not because I am unhappy. I did not turn
to God in unhappiness, in grief, in despair – to
get consolation, to get something from God. And
encouraged that I am praying because I want to
thank God, I go on praying.
No matter how dull the
day, how long the walk seems, if I feel low at the
beginning of the walk, the words I have been saying
have insinuated themselves into my heart before I
have done, so that on the trip back I neither pray nor
think but am filled with exultation … .It is so hard to
say how this delight in prayer has been growing on
Two years ago, I was saying as I planted seeds in
the garden, “I must believe in these seeds, that they
fall into the earth and grow into flowers and radishes
and beans. It is a miracle to me because I do not
understand it. The very fact that they use glib tech-
nical phrases does not make it any the less a miracle,
and a miracle we all accept. Then why not accept
I rouse you with loud knocking, I do so
only because I seldom hear you breathe;
And I know: you are alone.
And should you need a drink, no one is there
to reach it to you, groping in the dark.
Always I harken. Give but a small sign.
I am quite near.
Between us there is but a narrow wall,
and by sheer chance; for it would take
merely a call from your lips or from mine
to break it down,
and that without a sound.
The wall is builded of your images.
They stand before you hiding you like names.
And when the light with me blazes high
that in my inmost soul I know you by,
the radiance is squandered on their frames.
And then my senses, which too soon grow lame,
exiled from you, must go their homeless ways.
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) was a German lyric poet who wrote works heavily influenced by mysticism.]]>
You are in the entire universe
and in its tiniest and most trifling things.
Wherever I go and wherever I look,
I see you, 0 Mother, present in your cosmic form.
The whole world – earth, fire, water, air -
All are your forms, Mother,
the whole world of birth and death.
Mountains, plants, animals living on land and in the water,
All moving and unmoving beings in this beautiful world
are full of Divine will, says Prasad.
Ramprasad, an 18th century Bengali poet-saint, addressed God as his own Mother. He had a vivid sense of God’s enormous power and universal presence.]]>