David Steindl-Rast

To what am I deaf here?

Monks take a vow of obedience...It means a loving listening: listening to the Word of God that comes to us moment by moment, listening to the message of the angel that comes to us hour by hour. The very word obedience means an intensive listening. The opposite of that obedience is absurdity, which means being deaf to life's challenges and meaning. We have the choice in our life between living with this loving listening or finding everything absurd...So the next time you say, "This is absurd," you might consider the more helpful question, "To what am I deaf here?"

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

The angel announced peace

"Peace!" the angel announced. But peace is as much task as gift. Only if we become calm as earth, fluid as water, and blazing as fire will we able to rise to the task of peacemaking, and the air will stir with the rush of wings of angels arriving to help us. This is why I wish you that great inner stillness which alone allows us to speak, even today, without irony, of "peace on earth" and, without despair, to work for it.

~ Brother David Steindl-Rast, OSB, thanks to Toto Rendlen

That unique, irreplaceable mystic that only I can become

Just as we cannot leave contemplation to contemplatives, we cannot leave mysticism to mystics. It would mean cutting off the roots of human life. By putting mystics on a pedestal in our mind, high, out of reach, we don’t do justice to them, nor to ourselves either. Paraphrasing what Ruskin said about being an artist, we could say: A mystic is not a special kind of human being; rather, every human being is a special kind of mystic. I might just as well rise to this challenge and become that unique, irreplaceable mystic that only I can become. There never was and never will be anyone exactly like me. If I fail to experience God in my own unique way, that experience will forever remain in the shadow of possibility. But if I do, I will know life by the divine life within me.

~ from GRATEFULNESS, THE HEART OF PRAYER by Br. David Steindl-Rast

Prayer is attuning of yourself to the life of the world

Prayer is not sending in an order and expecting it to be fulfilled. Prayer is attuning yourself to the life of the world, to love, the force that moves the sun and the moon and the stars.

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

Pure hope

The hope that is left after all your hopes are gone -- that is pure hope, rooted in the heart.

~ from GRATEFULNESS: THE HEART OF PRAYER by Br. David Steindl-Rast, thanks to Liz Stewart

Silence is the matrix from which the word is born

Silence is the matrix from which word is born, the home to which word returns through understanding. Word (in contrast to chatter) does not break the silence.

In a genuine word, silence comes to word. In genuine understanding, word comes home into silence. For those who know only the world of words, silence is mere emptiness. But our silent heart knows the paradox: the emptiness of silence is inexhaustibly rich; all the words in the world are merely a trickle of its fullness.

~ Br David Steindl-Rast, thanks to Liz Stewart

Gratitude gentles us

Gratitude gentles us
and grants us grace.

As I express my gratitude,
I become more deeply aware of it.
And the greater my awareness,
the greater my need to express it.
What happens here is a spiraling ascent,
a process of growth in
ever expanding circles
around a steady center.

~ David Steindl-Rast

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

To listen to music has not practical purpose

To listen to music or to sing a chant is to do something that has no practical purpose; it is just celebration and praise; it is just tasting the joy and beauty of life, the glory of God. Listening to it, even in the midst of a very purposeful day, reminds us to add the other dimension to our experience, the dimension of meaning, that makes it all worthwhile.

~ 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

Contemplative life is the putting together of vision and action

Contemplative life is the putting together of vision and action. Vision alone, meditation alone, is not true contemplation. We must put vision into action. Not just monks, but all of us are called to contemplation in this full sense. If we want to live healthy lives, we have to build into our daily life moments of vision, and let our actions be formed by that vision.

~ 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
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