Kathleen Norris

The silence of the present moment

The silence of the present moment was awe-inspiring in its power, oceanic was the word that came to mind, as it carried away everything in its path. The flow of our liturgy had become one with nature's incessant movement from light to dark and back again.
~ from DAKOTA: A SPIRITUAL GEOGRAPHY by Kathleen Norris

The name of the living God

All things change when you measure them.
You might as well sing, the sound of your voice
joining the others, like water overflowing,
the name of the living God.

~ Kathleen Norris

The beauty f the Plains is like that of an icon

A person is forced inward by the spareness of what is outward and visible in all this land and sky. The beauty of the Plains is like that of an icon -- what seems stern and almost empty is merely open, a door into simple and holy state.

~ from DAKOTA by Kathleen Norris

God wanted me empty, alone, silent and watchful

I watched ice form on the river outside my window one Sunday afternoon and felt loneliness more intense than any I could remember since childhood. The day had grown incredibly still -- so deep it seemed poised at the edge of eternity... Nearly empty, I could not hope to fill myself -- certainly not with human companionship -- and I began to sense that this was exactly as it should be. God wanted me empty, alone, silent and watchful. I was suffering from both sever laryngitis and a lame leg, and had to laugh at myself, wondering if I was really so dense that God had to resort to these extremes in order to get me to shut up and be still.

~ from THE CLOISTER WALK by Kathleen Norris

You have only to play as a child with an unselfish heart

What sets monks apart from the rest of us is not an overbearing piety by a contemplative sense of fun. They know, as Trappist monk Matthew Kelty reminds us, that "you do not have to be holy to love God. You have only to be human. Nor do you have to be holy to see God in all things. You have only to play as a child with an unselfish heart."

~ from DAKOTA by Kathleen Norris
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