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Leisure Is a Virtue

We tend to think that the opposite of work is leisure. Leisure is not the opposite of work; play is the opposite of work, if you have to have a polarity like that. And leisure is precisely the bridging of this gap between the two. Leisure is precisely doing your work with the attitude of play. That means putting into your work what is most important about playing, namely, that you do it for its own sake and not only to accomplish a particular purpose. And that means that you have to give it time. Leisure is not a privilege for those who can take time for leisure. Leisure is a virtue. It is the virtue of those who give time to whatever takes time, and give as much time as it deserves, and so work leisurely and find meaning in their work and come fully alive. If we have a strict work mentality we are only half alive.

—from the book The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life by Brother David Steindl-Rast



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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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Do We Limit Belonging?

All morality that was ever developed in any tradition in the world can be reduced to the principle of acting as one acts toward those with whom one belongs. And the differences between the different codes of morality are only the limits that we draw for belonging: “These are the ones toward whom you have to act morally, and the others are ‘the others,’ outside.” And when you really live with common sense, that has no limitations; you live out of a morality that includes everybody, and therefore you behave toward everybody as one behaves when one belongs. That is what Jesus meant when he said “the kingdom of God”—and any other term of that sort that you get from any religious tradition will fit in here.


—from the book The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life by Brother David Steindl-Rast



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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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The Soul Desires, Loves, and Lets Go

An ego response is always an inadequate or even wrong response to the moment. It will not deepen or broaden life, love, or inner laughter. Your ego self is always attached to mere externals, since it has no inner substance itself. The ego defines itself by its attachments and revulsions. The soul does not attach nor does it hate; it desires and loves and lets go. Please think about that, it can change your very notion of religion.

—from the book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr, OFM

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God Desires Our Happiness

How helpful it is to see sin, like addiction, as a disease, a very destructive disease, instead of merely something that was culpable, punishable, or “made God unhappy.” If sin indeed made God unhappy, it was because God desires nothing more than our happiness, and wills the healing of our disease. The healing ministry of Jesus should have made that crystal clear; healing was about all that he did, with much of his teaching illustrating the healings—and vice versa.

—from the book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr, OFM

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Success Isn't Everything

I cannot pretend to understand God, but this is what I see: People who have moved from seeming success to seeming success seldom understand success at all, except a very limited version of their own. People who fail to do it right, by even their own definition of right, are those who often break through to enlightenment and compassion.

—from the book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr, OFM

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The Genius of the Twelve Steps

The absolute genius of the Twelve Steps is that it refuses to bless and reward what looks like any moral worthiness game or mere heroic willpower. It spotted the counterfeit and “drags it publicly behind it in a triumphal parade” (Colossians 2:15). With Gospel brilliance and insight, A.A. says that the starting point and, in fact, the continuing point, is not any kind of worthiness at all but in fact unworthiness! (“I am an alcoholic!”) Suddenly religion loses all capacity for elitism and is democratic to the bone. This is what Jesus affirmed in prostitutes, drunkards, and tax collectors, and what Paul praised when he said, “It is when I am weak that I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

—from the book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr, OFM

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Love Responds to Love

We have been graced for a truly sweet surrender, if we can radically accept being radically accepted—for nothing! “Or grace would not be grace at all”! (Romans 11:6). As my father, St. Francis, put it, when the heart is pure, “Love responds to Love alone” and has little to do with duty, obligation, requirement, or heroic anything. It is easy to surrender when you know that nothing but Love and Mercy is on the other side.

—from the book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr, OFM

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