Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
— MARY OLIVER
Quotes that Challenge and Inspire
There is a kindness that dwells deep down in things; it presides everywhere, often in the places we least expect.
— John O'Donohue
I went to the woods with my two dogs yesterday. I had been feeling the weight of troubled times. I don’t think I’m alone in sensing the dark shadows of unkindness framing the world like an old style vignetted photo. I go to the woods to hear the woodthrush and song sparrow, the towhee and cardinals, the phoebes and warblers. I go to smell the thick living greenness all around and feel the stones in the creek bed beneath my boots. I go to remind myself that there is another reality, a world of wonder, and sense the intimate kindness that “dwells deep down in things”. I go to enjoy the sensual gifts of the visible world, and sense the ancient aquifer of goodness that makes up the invisible world. Despite all the shadows that edge the frame of our world today, there is still a deep instinct within us that hopes and leans toward, that even expects an abiding kindness at the heart of all things. There is a greater presence and deep down goodness that I can participate with, I can give and experience, if I am willing to be open and aware.
From, “A Gathering of Spirits,” a reader-supported publication.
We have a tendency to think in terms of doing and not in terms of being. We think that when we are not doing anything, we are wasting our time. But that is not true. Our time is first of all for us to be. To be what? To be alive, to be peaceful, to be joyful, to be loving. And that is what the world needs most.
— Thich Nhat Hanh (1926 - 2022)
Please do not build a stupa (shrine) for me. Please do not put my ashes in a vase, lock me inside and limit who I am. I know this will be difficult for some of you. If you must build a stupa though, please make sure that you put a sign on it that says, “I am not here.” In addition, you can also put another sign that says, “I am not out there either,” and a third sign that says, “If I am anywhere, it is in your mindful breathing and in your peaceful steps.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh (1926 - 2022)
Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
— Martin Luther King, Jr. (1963)
Join with the earth and each other, to bring new life to the land, to restore the waters, to refresh the air, to renew the forests, to care for the plants, to protect the creatures, to celebrate the seas, to rejoice in the sunlight, to sing the song of the stars, to recall our destiny, to renew our spirits, too reinvigorate our bodies, to recreate the human community, to promote justice and peace, to love our children and love one another, to join together as many and diverse expressions of one loving mystery, for the healing of the Earth and the renewal of all life.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
I would say to young people
a number of things.
I would say — let them remember
that there is a meaning beyond absurdity.
Let them be sure that every little deed counts,
that every word has power,
and that we do — everyone — our share
to redeem the world, in spite of all absurdities,
and all the frustrations, and all the disappointment.
And above all, remember that the meaning of life
is to live life as if it were a work of art.
— Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
There are only two days in the year in which nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly, live.
— H.H. The Dalai Lama
Always in big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the unknown, and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into. You are undertaking the first experience, not of the place, but of yourself in that place. It is an experience of our essential loneliness, for nobody can discover the world for anybody else. It is only after we have discovered it for ourselves that it becomes a common ground and a common bond, and we cease to be alone.
And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our feet, and learn to be at home.
— Wendell Berry
I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof.
— John Adams upon arriving at the White House after being elected President in 1797. He served as President until 1801. This quote is inscribed on the fireplace mantle of the White House state dining room.
Anyone with courage to look at the stars, anyone who believes in God, has no enemies to fight. He or she has only one enemy to face, an enemy that stands at the door of the heart and knocks to enter. That enemy is hatred.
— Pope Francis in Iraq, March 5-8, 2021
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
(translation in common use.)
Let us not fall into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One.
(a more accurate translation from ancient Aramaic, Greek, and Latin texts approved by Pope Francis )
— The Lord’s Prayer
— Ernest Hemingway
You are loved. You are unique. You are free. You are on the way. You are going somewhere. Your life has meaning. That is all grounded in the experience and the knowledge and the reality of the unconditional love of God. This is what we mean by being “saved.”
— Richard Rohr, OSF
Shem Center for Interfaith Spirituality
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Oak Park, IL 60302
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