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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Humanly made beauty

From Jean Vanier:

How easy it is to fall into the illusion of a beautiful world when we have lost trust in our capacity to make of our broken world a place that can become more beautiful.

This beautiful park is humanly made and it gives joy to all who visit it
 Jean Vanier: Becoming Human, Paulist Press, NY, 1998

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The preciousness of life

My nephew-in-law used this poem recently to remember the life of a friend who had recently died. It is called The Summer Day by Mary Oliver* and I think it is a  poem about our choice to live life or to let it slip through our fingers. Here is an excerpt:

        I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
        I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
        into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
        how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
        which is what I have been doing all day.
        Tell me, what else should I have done?
        Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
        Tell me, what is it you plan to do
        with your one wild and precious life?

* Mary Oliver: New and Selected Poems, Beacon Press, Boston Mass. 1992

Monday, June 2, 2014

The right place...or not?

Henri Nouwen has some very wise and real things in his books. Here is something that makes a lot of sense to me:

There is not such a thing as the right place or the right job. I can be happy and unhappy in all situations. I am sure of it, because I have been. I have felt distraught and joyful in situations of abundance as well as poverty, in situations of popularity and anonymity, in situations of success and failure. The difference was never based on the situation itself, but always on my state of mind and heart. When I knew that I was walking with the Lord, I always felt happy and at peace. When I was entangled in my own complaints and emotional needs, I always felt restless and divided.*

*Henri Nouwen: Gracias; A Latin American Journal, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, N.Y., 1993

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The power of love

This is a quote from Mary Jo Leddy's book Radical Gratitude. In the chapter called 'Creative Power' she is writing also about the implications for each of us when we feel powerless.

' For want of a sense of power, the dream of something new and someone different dies. When we don't believe we can make any difference, some small part of God's dream for the world dies.' *

Sadly, I did not take this photo. It is of Jean Vanier and Dolores Szarfinski
* Mary Jo Leddy: Radical Gratitude, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, N.Y.,  2002

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Your own path

Mary Oliver in this poem entitled, The Journey, reminds us that we each have a path and it belongs to us, not anyone else.
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--

though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Beauty is so healing: 

From Abraham Heschel:

Awe is an act of insight into a meaning greater than ourselves...the beginning of awe is wonder, and the beginning of wisdom is awe...Awe is a way of being in rapport with the mystery of all reality.

Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Wisdom of Heschel, selected by Ruth Marcus Goodhill, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, N.Y., 1975.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


For a little while I am just going to 'write' my blog with one of my photos and a quote or a poem that I like. I want to take some time to ponder...

 A quote from Henri Nouwen:

When we become aware that we do not have to escape our pains, but that we can mobilize them into a common search for life, those very pains are transformed from expressions of despair into signs of hope.

Nouwen, Henri: The Wounded Healer, Doubleday, N.Y., 1972