Joan Chittester

Compassion is not a social facade

Compassion is not a social facade. Compassion is not a sham designed to mask our essential self–centeredness. Compassion is the emotion that links us to those outside ourselves. It is the capacity for outreach. It enables us, it drives us, to go beyond ourselves to the beating pulse of the rest of the world. Compassion, then, is a dimension of what it means to be fully human.

~ Joan Chittister

Darkness deserves gratitude

Darkness deserves gratitude. It is the alleluia point at which we learn to understand that all growth does not take place in the sunlight.

~ from UNCOMMON GRATITUDE by Joan Chittister
Uncommon Gratitude: Alleluia for All That Is
By Joan Chittister OSB, Rowan Williams

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. . . when we care for everything we touch and touch it reverently, we become the creators of a new universe. Then we sanctify our work and our work sanctifies us.

A spirituality of work puts us in touch with our own creativity. . . Work enables us to put our personal stamp of approval . . . the autograph of our souls on the development of the world. . .

A spirituality of work draws us out of ourselves and, at the same time, makes us more of what we are meant to be. Good work . . . develops qualities of compassion and character in me.

~ Joan Chittister, in "Vision and Viewpoint,” an e-newsletter

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?  Knowledge gives us information.  Wisdom gives us light on the way.  Knowledge is skill.  Wisdom is a quality.  Knowledge can be learned.  Wisdom can only be distilled from those places in life where knowledge is not enough to really explain what was happening to us, or information failed to resolve what was happening to the other.

~ by Joan Chittester in the Foreword to WISDOM OF THE BENEDICTINE ELDERS

Peace is a choice

The quality of life is in our own hands. But shaping it takes a spirituality of balance. "We should be peaceful in our words and deeds and in our way of life," Angela Foligno wrote. It was ancient spirituality, tried and true. And I understood it in a new way. I wrote,

"It's so true. Peace is a choice. If I didn't worry, didn't fear, didn't react negatively to things, I wouldn't be disturbed by them."

~ from CALLED TO QUESTION by Joan Chittester

To be a contemplative

To be a contemplative we must become converted to the consciousness that makes us one with the universe, in time with the cosmic voice of God. We must become aware of the sacred in every element of life. We must bring beauty to birth in a poor and plastic world. We must grow in concert with the God who is within. We must restore the human community. We must be healers in a harsh society.

~ from ILLUMINATED LIFE by Joan Chittester
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