Minute Meditations

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Love for the Sake of the Other

Whenever we speak about love, we are speaking about relationship. Bonaventure wrote that love is the gravity of the soul; it is what pulls us toward God. We could also say that love is the glue of the universe; it is what constantly holds everything together even when things fall apart. It is simply impossible to think of love sitting on an island all alone. Love likes company. Love means going out to the other for the sake of the other.

—from the book The Humility of God: A Franciscan Perspective  by Ilia Delio, OSF

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Everything Is Gift

Gratefulness strengthens a sense of belonging. There is no closer bond than the one which gratefulness celebrates, the bond between giver and thanks-giver. Everything is gift. Grateful living is a celebration of the universal give-and-take of life, a limitless “yes” to belonging.

—from the book The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life


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Why Do We Live Small?

We all wrestle with some internal governor prescribing some need for moderation or temperance, which translates, “It’s time to put the kibosh on all manner of joy or ecstasy or elation or, God forbid, wholeheartedness.” Here’s the deal: When we give way to any such shackling measure, we put a lid on our passion and our spirit, and we short-circuit the bounty and generosity that would spill from our heart. This all begs the question: What is the reason we internalize this script, and how does it procure its power? In other words…why do we allow ourselves to live so small?

—from the book This Is the Life: Mindfulness, Finding Grace, and the Power of the Present Moment by Terry Hershey

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The Key to a Joy-filled Life

Joy goes beyond happiness. Joy is the happiness that does not depend on what happens. It springs from gratefulness. When we begin to take things for granted, we get sucked into boredom. Boredom is deadly. Yet, everything within us longs for “life, life in fullness” (John 10:10). The key to life in fullness is gratefulness.

—from the book The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life


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When Have You Met the Dark?

The dark meets each person in unique ways, and our individual thresholds assume varying forms. Each one is significant. When a life experience calls into question the things you’ve formerly known and believed, the moment can be decisive. From my own journey, I vividly remember times of sheer confusion when I didn’t know if I was being overcome by the dark, or by a great love. Then the wondering, too deep for words, if they were in fact the same.

—from the book Stars at Night: When Darkness Unfolds As Light by Paula D'Arcy

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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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Blessed Are All the Saints

Jesus left no formal religious rule for his followers. The closest he came was his proclamation of the Beatitudes: Blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, the peacemakers….

Francis took to heart this spiritual vision and translated it into a way of life. In various ways, other saints before and since have done the same. But for many men and women since the time of Francis, his particular example has offered a distinctive key to the Gospel—or, as Pope Francis might say, “a new way of seeing and interpreting reality.” Among the central features of this key: the vision of a Church that is “poor and for the poor”; a resolve to take seriously Jesus’s example of self-emptying love; the way of mercy and compassion; above all, a determination to proclaim the Gospel not only with words but with one’s life.

—from the book The Franciscan Saints by Robert Ellsberg

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Resting in Our Limits

There is a restfulness in this acceptance of our limited lives. When we move low, back toward the soil from which we can learn the lessons of our true humanity, we are able to enter a kind of peace. Humility is not about struggle or diminishment but rather is the relief that we are not God, that we are mere creatures. Berry gives voice to this truth in one of his most popular poems, “The Peace of Wild Things”:

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light.

For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry, in seeking and finding the “grace of the world,” is following a thread of insight running from Psalm 23 to the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus calls us to live as sparrows and lilies, which is to say, to rest in the blessings of our givenness. To accept that we are creatures is to live into a kind of peace at the base of the world.

—from the book Wendell Berry and the Given Life by Ragan Sutterfield

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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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