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January 2017 (Vol. XXX, No. 1)

Dear Friends ~ As we welcome 2017, saying "Happy New Year" may feel a bit trite and hollow in this troubled world. Yet in a recently published collection of songs, Carrie Newcomer reminds us to hold on to what sustains us:

"The shadows of this world will say—There's no hope why try anyway?
But every kindness large or slight—shifts the balance toward the Light...
When justice seems in short supply, lean in toward the Light."

The only way to deepen this moment into something more meaningful is to use this transition for reflection—to cultivate gratitude for all we have been given and to ponder anew why we are here and what we are meant to be doing. How will we slip through the doorway into a new year? What is the next step we are called to take, the work we are meant to do? Whatever it is, know that you carry with you the love and blessings of this circle of friends and the everlasting presence of the One that sustains us all.

Despite everything you belong to God

Blessing means to lay the hand upon the shoulder and say, "Despite everything you belong to God." That is how we deal with the world that inflicts so much suffering upon us. We don't give up, reject or despise it; we call it to love; we give it hope, we lay our hand upon it and receive God's blessing in joy and in sorrow. We who have ourselves been blessed can do no other than pass on this blessing...to be a blessing wherever we are. Only by the impossible can the world be renewed and God's blessing is the impossible.

~ from MY SOUL FINDS REST: REFLECTIONS ON THE PSALMS by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The workplace is as good a school for spirituality as a monastery

The workplace is as good a school for spirituality as a monastery. Our work, our homes, our neighborhoods, our public meeting places, our voting booths, our classrooms – all are conducive to the practice of spirituality. Our turf, our stuff, however cluttered and discombobulated, are holy ground. The ordinary hassles of daily living are rich soil in which to grow and bloom.

~ from ADVENTURES FOR SIMPLE LIVING by Rich Heffern

Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth

Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.

~ Shirley Chisholm

I'm done with great things and big things

I'm done with great things and big things, great intentions and big success, and I am for those tiny invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water. Yet which, if you give them time, will rend the hardest monuments of our pride.

~ William James

Loving service rendered with integrity

Loving service rendered with integrity teaches multitudes in darkness, those who still sleep, far faster than books or lectures.
~ from LUMEN CHRISTI...HOLY WISDOM by Nan Merrill

Seeking Clarity

Seeking Clarity

if each day falls
inside each night
there exists a well
where clarity is imprisoned.

we need to sit on the rim
of the well of darkness
and fish for fallen light
with patience.
~ Pablo Neruda

Work when there is work to do

Work when there is work to do. Rest when you are tired. One thing done in peace will most likely be better than ten things done in panic.

~ Susan McHenry
Therapy with God
By Susan Henderson McHenry

If we have a goal in life, work becomes like mountaineering

If we have a goal in life, work becomes like mountaineering. We have a view of the role we want to play: a vision of becoming a complete person, contributing both as an individual and one of humankind. One stands at the foot of the mountain and the climb seems easy; yet after the first few hours it becomes difficult, you get tired, you rest, then the path clears only to get difficult again before the summit — but what joy and what ecstasy on reaching the top where the canopy of Heaven is all-embracing.

~ from THE VOICE OF SILENCE by Oonagh Stanley-Foffolo

Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries

Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each of us individually. Peace, for example, starts within each one of us. When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us. When our community is in a state of peace, it can share that peace with neighboring communities, and so on. When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.

~ Dalai Lama
The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World
By Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Carlton Abrams
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