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God Speaks in Many Languages

Exclusion in the name of God is the very worst of religious sins. God speaks in many tongues and to every color and age of people. It is not ours to decide where God’s favor lies. But it is ours to see as a spiritual task the obligation to come to our own opinions. We are not to buy thought cheaply. We are not to attach ourselves to someone else’s decisions like pilot fish and simply go with the crowd. We are meant to be thinking Christians.

—from the book In God's Holy Light: Wisdom from the Desert Monastics by Sister Joan Chittister

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The Spiritual Problem of Our Time

The great spiritual problem of the day is being “like fish out of water.” A life without spiritual regularity drifts through time with little to really hang onto when life most needs an anchor. Instead, we often get caught up in someone else’s agenda most of our lives. We put the cell aside for work and its never-ending deadlines. We forget the cell when we need it most and make play a poor substitute for thought and prayer. We think that we can run our legs off doing, going, finding, socializing, and still stay stolid and serene in the midst of the pressure of it all. And then we find ourselves staring at the ceiling one night and thinking to ourselves, “There must be more to life than this.”

—from the book In God's Holy Light: Wisdom from the Desert Monastics by Sister Joan Chittister

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It's Not about Perfection

Perfection is not what being human is about. Perfection is simply not attainable in the human condition. The function of being human is to become the best human beings we can be, one insight, one mistake, at a time. Then, knowing the struggle that comes with trying and failing over and over again, we become tender with others who are also struggling in the process.

—from the book In God's Holy Light: Wisdom from the Desert Monastics by Sister Joan Chittister

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Learning Spiritual Discipline

 

In the spiritual life, we are meant to prod our souls to regular discipline so that in doing so our hearts will be softened to serve those whom Jesus served. The gentle Jesus wants clean hearts from us, not sacrifice; deep down basic commitment, not simply blue ribbons for winning the spiritual marathons we’ve run to make ourselves feel holy.

—from the book In God's Holy Light: Wisdom from the Desert Monastics by Sister Joan Chittister

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What the Desert Monastics Knew

Clearly one of the pillars of the spiritual life, as far as the Desert Monastics were concerned, was a time and place for reflection. A cell. A place to which we can retire in order to find our way back to our best ideals, our fullest selves, our life with God. A physical place, not a mental one, where we are truly alone and truly in peace. The cell is the place where clamor and chaos stop at the door. It’s the place where we get back in touch with our best selves. It’s the center of our very own, private, spiritual universe.

—from the book In God's Holy Light: Wisdom from the Desert Monastics by Sister Joan Chittister

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Look to the Saints

The Church has given us the gift of the saints to show that God does great things in people’s lives. The saints, after all, were ordinary people, too. They needed to call on the Lord for help.

By actively praising God and giving thanks, our hearts will find the resting place that we so desire. Saint Teresa of Avila said this:
“Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing away:
God never changes.”

—from the book Praise God and Thank Him: Biblical Keys to a Joyful Life by Jeff Cavins

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What Is a Mystic?

The mystics cultivate awareness. They listen for God’s word; they respond with concrete, often heroic, actions when they hear it. A mystic, then, is one who shows the rest of us who we really are, who we can become, if only we would realize the gift of God that is already within us and respond in our concrete daily lives to God’s great gift of love. The mystic shows us how not to let God’s word return to God empty. The mystic uncovers the mystery, a mystery inside each one of us, and models what it looks like and what it accomplishes. In all of this it is important to remember that God takes the initiative—both in the ordinary believer’s life and in the mystic’s life. One cannot force God’s hand or woo God to make one a mystic. But once that initiative is taken, the mystic’s heart is changed, and he or she falls in love with God.

—from the book Mystics: Twelve Who Reveal God's Love by Murry Bodo, OFM

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Eyes Fixed on the Lord Jesus

In exploring Francis as a mystic, we are reminded again to look upon Christ on the cross and know that despite what things look like from a human point of view, God is love, and everything we do and everything that happens to us takes place within God’s love—even to death upon a cross. Remaining in that love, no matter what befalls us, is to remain in God. The questions are not, “Why is this happening? How can God allow this? Why doesn’t, didn’t God prevent this?” but rather, “Can this separate me from the love of God? Is God’s love still here despite this?” God is love, and though love does not always do our will, it does not mean that God’s love is not there, even though that is what we may feel is happening.

—from the book Mystics: Twelve Who Reveal God's Love by Murry Bodo, OFM

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We Are Rich Soil for God's Word

All of us are invited to be rich soil for God’s word, and all of us have become rich soil in baptism. All of us have heard God’s word in Scripture, in nature, in prayer, and all of us experience intimacy with God, especially in the sacraments (the external signs of a deep, interior reality). What makes the difference is both in the fullness of our response and in the level of consciousness of what is really going on within us. The kingdom of heaven is already within and around us, but because of our often lukewarm response of heart and action, we don’t have eyes to see or ears to hear.

—from the book Mystics: Twelve Who Reveal God's Love by Murry Bodo, OFM

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