September 2004 (Vol. XVII, No. 8)

Never let your work hold your spirit in bondage!

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

Peace and grace to you, dear friends! How we work, what we choose to do for our livelihood, what our service renders for our own well-being, for that of others and society, is deeply connected to our deep inner values: our very being. To spend time in silence and in prayer reflecting on our work in the world can bring insights, open the door to new possibilities, change our way of envisioning work. Ultimately, may our work be or become what we love and enable us to co-create in the great Plan of Love for Earth: our home.

When everything we do becomes a prayer

If we add up all the time we have spent in our life getting things over with, it may turn out to be half our lives. The monastic attitude is to begin deliberately and to do anything we do with an even, stately pace and with wholehearted attention. This is how master artisans, weavers, experienced farmers, and other sage laborers work. That way even difficult tasks can be done leisurely ande with joy, for their own sake. And then they become life-giving.... We pray that God may guide our actions. When we do our work in this way, then everything becomes a prayer

~ from THE MUSIC OF SILENCE by David Steindl-Rast
Music of Silence: A Sacred Journey through the Hours of the Day
By Ph.D. Brother David Steindl-Rast, Sharon Lebell

Those who would be of great service

Those who would be of great service, remain silent;
they simply pour themselves out in all they do
unreservedly, confidently, peacefully.

~ Anonymous

In order to make my own contribution

So long as space remains,
So long as sentient beings remain,
I will remain,
In order to help, in order to server,
In order to make my own contribution.

~ one of the Dalai Lama's favorite prayers

God works for us by working through us as us

God is the silent Power behind all things,
always ready to pur int our experience that which we need.
God works for us by working through us as us.

~ TEACHING OF THE MYSTIC by Ruth Lambek

A spirituality of work

A spirituality of work is based on a heightened sense of sacramentality, of the idea that everything that is, is holy and that our hands consecrate it to the service of God. A spirituality of work puts us in touch with our own creativity ... draws us out of ourselves and, at the same time, makes us more of what we are meant to be. A spirituality of work immerses me in the search for human community. I finally come to know that my work is God's work, unfinished by God because God meant it to be finished by me.

~ from THERE IS A SEASON by Joan Chittister
There Is a Season
By Joan Chittister

My chief duty is to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble

I long to accomplish a great and noble task;
but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks
as if they were great and noble.

~ Helen Keller

The song that the world sings through us

The song that the world sings through us is to be sung into others:

Go into the world, go build cities, go discover cultures; go spread love, go give, go make magnificence, get and give light, save and join and piece together to form a whole. Gather the broken pieces, connect them; these are the things we have to work with.

Make like a map, a world where all things are linked together and murmur through each other -- a singing, a round, strong, clear song of total meaning, a language within language, responding each to each forever in the memory of each individual.

~ from THE HOUSE OF BREATH by William Goyem

We are transmitters of life

As we live, we are transmitters of life.
And when we fail to transmit life,
life fails to flow through us ...
And if, as we work, we can transmit
life into our work,
life, still more life, rushes into us
to compensate, to be ready
and we ripple with life through the days.

Give, and it shall be given unto you
is still the truth about life ...
It means kindling the life-quality
where it was not,
Even if it's only in the whiteness
of a washed pocket-handkerchief.

~ from "We Are Transmitters" by D. H. Laurence

The Inner Gate that leads to the great Work

Wend your way through the corridors of time,
not as passengers on a free ride
watching the seasons pass;
Rather, steady mindfulness quickens
the spirit, awakens the soul,
and opens the Inner Gate that leads
to the great Work so needed in these times.
Discover the joy of helping humanity
to reverence all Creation,
of offering your healing hands
in the restoration of planet Earth.
Discernment and discipline will cut through
impediments to action.

~ from LUMEN CHRISTI, HOLY WISDOM by Nan Merrill

We've got a job to do

Fr. Joe's retort in answser to some enthusiastic piety of mine about the sanctity of community and its high purpose: "Good gracious -- we're not silly old monks mumbling prayers all day. We've got a job to do!" I realized how like him this was, how down-to-earth encapsulating his generous view of the ordinary. Every word he spoke was drawn from a deep well of generosity. He hade built it up over decades of contemplating people and loving them all without reserve. His gentle power spring from a straightforward assessment of the world and his job in it. That job was love.

~ from FR. JOE by Tony Hendra

The work we do in the world corresponds to the work that goes on within us

Each pereson, no matter how old, has an important work to do. This good work not only accomplishes something needed in the world, but completes something in us. When it is finished a new work emerges that will help us make green a desert place, as well as to scale another mountain in ourselves. The work we do in  the world, when it is a true vocation, always will correspond in some mysterious way in the work that goes on within us.

~ from CRY PAIN, CRY HOPE by Elizabeth O'Connor

Service is the carying out of soul purpose

Service is one of the two main levers of evolution: one is meditation, the other is service. Service, of whatever kind, gradually distances you from yourself. As your service grows, expands outwards from yourself, you do not lose touch with yourself but you become less and less concerned with your own ego, your personality expression. Service is the impulse of the soul, the carying out of soul purpose.

~ Benjamin Creme

To contribute wisdom and experience to the young

How can we prepare for the most important years of our lives, the latter years, by thinking that we are going to shut down our engines? What have we done by limiting those persons who have the most to offer our society?

The eastern cultures know the secret. Elder members of society have mujch wisdom to share. The truth is that as one approaches the years beyond seventy, the veils of heaven are particularly open to the soul. This means that the individual has the opportunity to be of special service to humanity and can begin his or her most important work:

To contribute wisdom and experience to the young.

~ from A MESSAGE FOR HUMANITY by K. Martin-Kuri