John O'Donohue

You are not going somewhere strange

...May you know in your soul that there is no need to be afraid...You are not going somewhere strange. You are going back to the home you never left. May you have a wonderful urgency to live your life to the full...May your going be sheltered and your welcome assured. May your soul smile in the embrace of your anam cara.

~ John O'Donohue in ANAM CARA: A BOOK OF CELTIC WISDOM

For Death

...when destiny draws you
into these spaces of poverty,
and your heart stays generous
until some door opens into the light,
you are quietly befriending your death;
so that you will have no need to fear
when your time comes to turn and leave,
that the silent presence of your death
would call your life to attention...
to the urgency to become free
and equal to the call of your destiny.
~ John O'Donohue, "For Death" in TO BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEN US

A blessing is a form of grace

A blessing is a form of grace; it is invisible. Grace is the permanent climate of divine kindness. There are no limits to it... For one who believes in it, a blessing can signal the start of a journey of transformation. It belongs to the same realm as the inner life— its effect becomes only indirectly visible in the changed quality of one's experience. Where before gravity and deadness had prevailed, there is now a new sense of animation and lightness. Where there was grief, a new sense of presence comes alive. In the wall of blindness a window of vision opens.
~ John O'Donohue,"To Retrieve the Lost Art of Blessing," in TO BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEN US

No life is alone

The word blessing evokes a sense of warmth and protection; it suggests that no life is alone or unreachable. Each life is clothed in raiment of spirit that secretly links it to everything else.

~ from TO BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEN US by John O'Donohue

Hands are beautiful

Touch and the world of touch bring us out of the anonymity of distance into the intimacy of belonging. Humans use their hands to touch—to explore, to trace, and to feel the world outside of them. Hands are beautiful. Kant said that the hand is the visible expression of the mind. With your hands, you reach out to touch the world. In human touch, hands find the hands, face, or body of the Other. Touch brings presence home... The energy, warmth, and invitation of touch come ultimately from the divine. The Holy Spirit is the wild and passionate side of God, the tactile spirit whose touch is around you, bringing you close to yourself and to others.
~ from ANAM CARA: A BOOK OF CELTIC WISDOM by John O'Donohue

Eternal belonging

St. Augustine said, "Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee." Our dissatisfaction could, therefore, be the admission and awakening of our longing for the eternal. Rather than being simply the edge of some personal emptiness, it could be the first step in the opening up of our eternal belonging...desire cultivates dissatisfaction in the heart with what is, and kindles an impatience for that which has not yet emerged...There should always be a healthy tension between the life we have settled for and the desires that still call us. In this sense our desires are the messengers of our unlived life, calling us to attention and action while we still have time here to explore fields where the treasure dwells!
~John O'Donohue in TO BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEN US

For Lost Friends

Bring warmth again to
Where the heart has frozen
In order that beyond the walls
Of our cherished hurt
And chosen distance
We may be able to
Celebrate the gifts they brought,
Learn and grow from the pain,
And Prosper into difference,
Wishing them the peace
Where spirit can summon
Beauty from wounded space. 

~ from "For Lost Friends" by John O'Donohue

It is not a luxury to have such friends

It is such a privilege to have people who continue each day to bless us with their love and prayer. These inner friends of the heart confer on us inestimable gifts. In these times of greed and externality, there is such unusual beauty in having friends who practice profound faithfulness to us, praying for us each day without our ever knowing or remembering it. There are often lonesome frontiers we could never endure or cross without the inner sheltering of these friends. It is hard to live a true life that endeavors to be faithful to its own calling and not become haunted by the ghosts of negativity, therefore, it is not a luxury to have such friends; it is necessary.

~ from TO BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEN US by John O'Donohue

The journey of each life

At its heart, the journey of each life is a pilgrimage through unforeseen sacred places that enlarge and enrich the soul.

~ John O'Donohue

Within us and around us there is an invisible world

Within us and around us there is an invisible world; this is where each of us comes from... When you cross over from the invisible into this physical world, you bring with you a sense of belonging to the invisible that you can never lose or finally cancel... When you enter the world, you come to live on the threshold between the visible and the invisible... Because the invisible cannot be seen or glimpsed with the human eye, it belongs largely to the unknown. Still there are occasional moments when the invisible seems to become faintly perceptible... Now you belong fully neither to the visible nor to the invisible. This is precisely what kindles and rekindles all your longing and your hunger to belong. You are both artist and pilgrim of the threshold.

~ from ETERNAL ECHOES by John O'Donohue
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