Becoming Perceptive · Reflecting · Words

“The prayer of the contemplative…”

“The prayer of the contemplative is, essentially, an attention to the omnipresence of God. God is omnipresent not as a theological doctrine, but as the great silence that is present in every moment—but from which we are usually distracted by an overactive mind that refuses to wait in a humble unknowing for a pure wisdom from above [James 3:17].”

Richard Rohr, Richard Rohr Meditation, “Beholding,” August 13, 2019

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Becoming Perceptive

On living a life…and being a prophet

In her weekly newsletter on August 5, 2019 Joan Chittister discusses what it means to be a prophet and quotes Mary Oliver:

The poet Mary Oliver may have written the best definition of what it means to be a prophet in contemporary spirituality. She writes, “Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. (emphasis mine)

I seek to pay attention, I am constantly astonished, and with AttentiontoLife.com in all of its forms, I try to tell.

Becoming Perceptive · Words

Attention and randomness and resilience

Krista Tippett: Here’s something else you wrote: “The outline of our lives, like the candle’s flame, is continuously coaxed in new directions by a variety of random events that, along with our responses to them, determine our fate.” You say that we are driven to see patterns and create patterns where the patterns aren’t there. But it seems to me that you’re also presenting our responses as mattering. There is randomness, and then you talk about that even though that is true, the number of chances taken, the number of opportunities seized does make a difference. It does shift things.

Leonard Mlodinow: …little things make a big difference. And what they really do is they raise opportunities for you. Or they raise challenges. And the course of your life depends on how you react to those opportunities and challenges that the randomness presents to you. If you’re awake and paying attention, you will find that things happen. They might seem good, they might seem bad. But the important thing is how you reacted to it. (emphasis mine)

 

Words

“It will flame out, like shining from shook foil”

God’s Grandeur
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

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.
“God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Public Domain. Read on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor, July 6, 2019.