Week of Gratitude – Ram Dass

house“We’re all just walking each other home.” – Ram Dass

What I like about this saying is how it suggests we’re on a journey together towards warmth and safety and that we have a mutual obligation to help each other get there.

Don’t get me wrong – I can admire rugged individualism and I think our individual efforts are very important but I also believe that “no man is an island, entire unto himself.”

We are social creatures and have a mutual responsibility to help one another along the way. It’s also, in general, much more fun to travel with others than to be alone on the road.

I take this opportunity to thank all those people who have helped to bring me safely to this place and time. I hope and pray that I will continue to have your assistance as I continue on the trail and I ask God to help me be generous in helping others get along.

I’ll see you at home.


Week of Gratitude – Lucinda Williams

Lucinda_Williams_November_8_2006As it turns out, now is the moment you’ve been waiting for. — Lucinda Williams

In his “I have a dream” speech, Martin Luther King talked about “the fierce urgency of now.” Lucinda Williams is, I believe, tapping into the same sentiment.

I am capable of big dreams, grand plans of action, sweeping areas for reform and… and, in fact, little enough happens.  If Procrastination was an Olympic sport, I would be the undisputed World Champion.  And so I need Ms. Williams to remind me that the only time I have at my disposal is right now. Not when I fix my Irish temper, not when I lose all the extra weight, not when I learn to be kind and generous in every situation. I have this moment – and only this moment – in which to do the right thing.

This is the instant when I can do the good I’ve intended but rarely achieved.
The moment I finish this post, I’m going to work on a speech I have to give. I’ve been putting it off for months – but no longer.  I invite you to join me in getting a chore out of the way right now.

We’ll be thankful.

Carpe Diem!

[Image: By 6tee-zeven (Andy) from England (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

Week of Gratitude – Mary Oliver

General Map of the WorldWhen it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
— Mary Oliver

Did you seriously think you were going to get through a week of gratitude quotes without at least one reference to Mary Oliver?

I love the idea of being “married to amazement.” I remember visiting a college friend who had become a Cistercian monk. He was so happy and excited to see me – he was childlike in the best of ways: open, enthusiastic, happy and delighted by not very much.

Our vocations do not call us to the radical simplicity of the Cistercian abbey, but, in so far as is reasonable and possible, I hope that we are able to open our minds, spirits and hearts to wonder. To be able to see things fresh and new is a great gift to receive.

As for “taking the world into my arms,” I’m right there – at least in theory. Truly embracing the world means taking on its sorrows and wounds as much as its beauty and majesty and that is something that requires more courage than I normally have.  But I do always want to embrace our world.  Given to us by God, it is lovely beyond compare.

Praise God.

Week of Gratitude – Mr. Rogers


Love begins with listening. — Mister Rogers

In Genesis, after Adam and Eve have eaten of the forbidden fruit, God asks them, “Where are you?” and “Who told you you were naked?”  God wants to know. God loves by listening.

Ignatius, at the start of the Spiritual Exercises, has a meditation where the Trinity look down upon the world and, hearing the tumult and discord among humans, they decide to send Christ, the Word, to live with us and die for us.

In each of our own lives, I’ll wager, there have been moments when it was very important to us to have been listened to with patience, reverence and with respect.

Today, I give thanks to God for all those who have shown me love by hearing me out when I most needed it and I pledge – for this one day at least – to do my utmost to listen carefully to what is being said… and what is not being said.