We hope that you are safe and well.
Today's Meditation features Joan Chittister: "Heart to Heart." Note also the celebration of Hildegarde of Bingen, Dag Hammarskjold and Wendell Berry's poem as you scroll down.
We invite you to join us as we commit ourselves to working tirelessly to end systemic and structural racism in our society, in the church, in healthcare, in the workplace--wherever it shows up so that everyone may come to have more abundant life. May this meditation nourish our contemplative-active hearts and sustain all of us in action.
In the spirit of our philosophy of co-creating community and our awareness that the Spirit speaks through each of us, we invite you to share your meditations with us as well. We truly believe that it is God's economy of abundance: when we share our blessings, our thoughts, our feelings, we are all made richer.
We hope and pray that you find peace, healing, hope and the infusion of joy in your life!
With our love and care,
Ron and Jean
MEDITATION 776: Joan Chittister: "Heart to Heart"
Heart to heart
The truly prayerful person, the person adult in the ways of the Spirit, does not pray to get things. The person of mature faith prays only to become like the One who leads us to the fullness of God. We pray to become more like Jesus, always more and more immersed as time goes by….
We pray to know God in every small way we can here so that we ourselves can become more like the God we seek.
To bring ourselves to sense the God-life within us, to sit in silence and allow the soul to be nourished under the impulse of the Spirit is to grow in wisdom and age and grace. It lifts us above the tumult of the world around us. It deepens our understanding of what it is to live in the sight of God. It brings us closer to seeing God face to face, heart to heart, mind to mind. We do not go to prayer to coax God to create the world according to our own personal designs and fancies. We are there to learn how to live well in the life and world we have.
A life of prayer is not an exercise in spiritual athleticism. We do not go down into prayer every day just to prove to ourselves that we can do it. We go down into prayer in order to become both more humble before God who made us and more confident that the God who made us will sustain us in our limitations. We go down into prayer to become like the One whose life lives in us.
—This excerpt from Breath of the Soul by Joan Chittister (Twenty-Third Publications) was reprinted in the monthly devotional Give Us This Day (Liturgical Press) on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022.
PS: Sister Joan Chittister’s monthly reflection pamphlet, The Monastic Way, is dedicated to the subject of prayer for September 2022. Sister Joan will lead a Zoom discussion on the September Monastic Way. Subscribers are invited to register for the event. For a free subscription to The Monastic Way, click here.
What's New: September 12, 2022
GERMANY’S SYNODAL PATHAn essay by Joan Chittister was included in a German publication called, “Universal Church in Motion: Synodal Paths,” alongside pieces by other religious and academics. This comes as the Catholic Church in Germany works through its synodal path, which has included significant discussion about reforms related to sexual morality, the role of women, and clericalism. Read more about this here.
The 2023 Joan Chittister calendar features twelve of Sister Joan’s most tender and inspiring teachings, helping you greet each month with a renewed sense of hope and peace. Sister Joan’s words are illustrated by Anne Kernion, of Cards by Anne, in beautiful calligraphy and watercolor. As you move through the year ahead, let this calendar and its messages be your guide. Available in two sizes. Order the wall calendar here and the mini calendar here.
AUDIO BLOGThe latest audio blog from Joan Chittister is about playing. “The problem with play is that very few people take it seriously enough,” she says. To listen to the full piece, which explains the important benefits of play, click here.
AWAKENINGS REVIEWThe September issue of the quarterly magazine “Dominican Ashram,” contained a review of Awakenings, the recent book of essays written by Joan Chittister, edited by Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB, and Mary Hembrow Snyder. Peter Lobo, OP, writes, “In my opinion, Sister Joan is at her best … for she has her ear to the ground and is at the same time tuned in very delicately to the divine. … Reading her thoughts and reflections makes one stop, ponder, and ask questions about God, self, world, the call of Christ, our place, our future and a host of other vital matters that impinge deeply on our life.”
WEBINAR ON ENGAGED CONTEMPLATIONRegister now for the next webinar offered by Monasteries of the Heart, which will be held on Zoom on October 26, 2022, at 7 p.m. Eastern Time. Join a dialogue with Adam Bucko as we explore themes in his new book Let Your Heartbreak Be Your Guide: Lessons in Engaged Contemplation. The book is a collection of reflections, stories, and insights from Bucko’s years of prayer and activism, including in the streets with homeless and LGBTQ youth, in new monastic communities across the world, and as an Episcopal priest in an engaged contemplative community. In the webinar, Bucko will share initial reflections on engaged contemplation in tradition and practices, and then we will open it for questions and conversation.
SOUL POINTSSeptember 17: “Today is the feast of Hildegard of Bingen, a Benedictine abbess of the twelfth century who was a scholar, a counselor, a mystic, and a preacher. She was deeply involved in the social issues of her culture and corresponded with all the major figures of her time. Popes and kings alike corresponded with her, seeking her ideas and her advice. She published the only medical encyclopedias of her day and her ‘Illuminations,’ or theological insights, have become as popular in this decade as in her own. She was a woman of her time and a woman for her time. She poured herself out all her life. She was a truly humble woman who knew her gifts and developed them to the benefit of all of us. No false diminishment here. Maybe she ought to be the patron saint of the women’s movement.”
—from A Monastery Almanac, by Joan Chittister
Click here to listen to a recording of one of Hildegard’s musical compositions.
September 18: “It is not we who seek the Way, but the Way which seeks us. That is why you are faithful to it, even while you stand waiting, so long as you are prepared, and act the moment you are confronted by its demands,” said Dag Hammarskjöld, former Secretary General of the United Nations, who died on this date in 1961. Considered to be one of the greatest diplomats of the twentieth century, Hammarskjöld remained grounded in spirituality and efforts to make peace around the world throughout his career. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize posthumously.
POEM OF THE WEEK
I go by a field where once
I cultivated a few poor crops.
It is now covered with young trees,
for the forest that belongs here
has come back and reclaimed its own.
And I think of all the effort
I have wasted and all the time,
and of how much joy I took
in that failed work and how much
it taught me. For in so failing
I learned something of my place,
something of myself, and now
I welcome back the trees.