David Steindl-Rast

PRAYER: Heart And Mind (Part Three) by Brother David Steindl-Rast

August 7, 2017

From Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer Meaning Here, another prayer from Rilke’s Book of Hours allows these intuitions to crystallize into poetic images.  Once more Rilke starts out with the polarity of noise and silence.  This time it is the crowd of contradictions in our life that fills the palace of our heart with a riotous feast of fools.  It is impossible, of course, to eliminate contradictions altogether from our life.  Life itself is contradictory.  But we can reconcile contradictions in the great primordial symbols, like the symbol of the heart itself.  When we succeed in this, a great silence begins to reign, serenely festive and gentle.  And in the middle of that silence stands God, as guest, as silent core of our [...]

PRAYER: Heart And Mind (Part Two) by Brother David Steindl-Rast

July 31, 2017

From Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer Restless Is Our Heart The German poet Rainer Maria Rilke celebrates both our longing for healing and wholeness and our primordial conviction that God’s healing power wells up in our own innermost heart.  He finds God in “the spot that is healing,” while we, like children picking on a scar, keep ripping it open with the sharp edges of our thoughts.  If only we could quiet all that agitation within and around us, the din that distracts us.  In our silence a thousand scattered thoughts would be gathered into one.  And in the thousandfold power of that concentration we would be able to hold God one smiling moment long in a single thought.  Just long enough to give that divine [...]

PRAYER: Heart And Mind (Part One) by Brother David Steindl-Rast

July 24, 2017

From Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer Together Gratefulness is a mindful response, as we have seen.  Our intellect, our will, our feelings are all engaged when we are grateful.  But when we say mindful, someone might still get the impression that we want to stress the mind over against the rest of our person.  It might be less misleading to speak of the heart rather than the mind.  Gratefulness is a full response.  We sense that.  And we sense also that this kind of fullness cannot go together with halfheartedness.  Gratefulness is always wholehearted.  Our whole person is engaged in it.  And this is precisely what the symbol of the heart stands for – the whole person. When lovers say to one another, I will give you my [...]

PRAYER: Surprise And Gratefulness by Brother David Steindl-Rast

July 10, 2017

From Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer A rainbow always comes as a surprise.  Not that it cannot be predicted.  Surprising sometimes means unpredictable, but it often means more.  Surprising in the full sense means somehow gratuitous.  Even the predictable turns into surprise the moment we stop taking it for granted.  If we knew enough, everything would be predictable, and yet everything would remain gratuitous.  If we knew how the whole universe worked, we would still be surprised that there was a universe at all.  Predictable it may be, yet all the more surprising. Our eyes are opened to that surprise character of the world around us the moment we wake up from taking things for granted.  Rainbows have a way of waking us up.  A [...]

PRAYER: Aliveness And Wakefulness (In Place of an Introduction) by Brother David Steindl-Rast

July 3, 2017

From: Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer This book is about life in fullness.  It is about coming alive.  I could summarize it in two words: Wake up! A poet like Kabir is able to say these two words with a freshness that makes us sit up.  Kabir’s poems have power.  They wake us up to an aliveness we never thought possible. Do you have a body? Don’t sit on the porch! Go out and walk in the rain! If you are in love, then why are you asleep? Wake up, wake up! You have slept millions and millions of years. Why not wake up this morning? In my own way, I try to get the same message across.  And people are hungry for it.  All around the world I have been invited to speak about it.  And people always ask, “Why don’t [...]

SATURDAY READING: Gratitude As Thankfulness And As Gratefulness by David Steindl-Rast

February 20, 2016

From The Psychology of Gratitude At this early stage of concerted scientific research concerning gratitude, it is essential to fine-tune our terminology. Precise terminology is a necessary instrument for clear thinking. Scientific terminology differs from conversational usage by its precision. Emmons and Shelton noted, “Given that gratitude is a commonly occurring affect, it is remarkable that psychologists specializing in the study of emotions have, by and large, failed to explore its contours.” Because we have failed to explore even the contours, we lack the terminology necessary for more detailed exploration. My effort at precision is twofold: linguistic and psychological. Here, I examine idiomatic usage and etymological derivation [...]

POETRY: A Good Day by Brother David Steindl-Rast

February 17, 2016

A Gift Of Gratitude You think this is just another day in your life?  It’s not just another day; it’s the one day that is given to you… today It’s given to you. It’s a gift. It’s the only gift that you have right now, and the one appropriate response is gratefulness. If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response to the great gift that this unique day is, if you learn to respond as if it were the first day of your life, and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well. Begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes you can open, that incredible array of colors that is constantly offered to us for pure enjoyment. Look at the sky. We so rarely look at the sky. [...]

PRAYER: Faithfulness, Not Performance — Building A Daily Practice, by Jane Redmont

February 17, 2014

Excerpt from When in Doubt, Sing Good-bye, Sir, excuse me, I haven’t time. I’ll come back, I can’t wait, I haven’t time. I must end this letter—I haven’t time. I’d love to help you, but I haven’t time. I can’t accept, having no time. I can’t think, I can’t read, I’m swamped, I haven’t time. I’d like to pray, but I haven’t time. (Michael Quoist)   We give you thanks for this food which is our life, for the fruits of the earth, conceived in darkness rooted in the secret soil. We offer you our part in the mess of creativity. We wash, prepare, cook, present; we eat and taste and enjoy with our bodies; we clear away the mess. We embrace with you the chaos that fulfils, the secret labor that maintains life. [...]

REFLECTION: A Whimsical Story, by David Steindl-Rast

November 7, 2013

From A Listening Heart The food chain is a closed circle.  On the biological level we humans are but one link in that chain.  Wisdom will taste life and death with full awareness and will relish their tart intermingling.  But wisdom has a wider perspective.  Wisdom can see a food chain, as it were, that transcends biological life – not a closed circle, but an ever-rising helix.  Father George Kosicki tells a delightfully whimsical story about this: Once upon a time, there was a dandelion growing in a meadow.  The dandelion whispered to the amino acids and all the other nutrients in the soil, “How would you like to become dandelion?  You need only to allow yourselves to be dissolved in a drop of water and I will suck you up [...]

GRATITUDE: Awake, Aware, and Alert — Three Steps in the Process of Living a Life of Gratefulness, by David Steindl-Rast

November 8, 2012

From Essential Writings An act of gratitude is a living whole.  To superimpose on its organic flow a mental grid like a series of “steps” will always be somewhat arbitrary. And yet, for the sake of practice, such a delineation can be helpful.  In any process, we can distinguish a beginning, a middle, and an end.  We may use this basic three-step grid for the practice of gratitude: What happens at the start, in the middle, and at the end, when we experience gratitude?  What fails to happen when we are not grateful?  Before going to bed, I glance back over the day and ask myself: Did I stop and allow myself to be surprised?  Or, did I trudge on in a daze?  To be awake, aware, and alert are the beginning, middle, and end of [...]