“From childhood on I have had the dream of life lived as a sacrament . . . . The dream implied taking life ritually as something holy.” Bernard Berenson
“A sign hangs on the wall in a New Monastic Christian community house. ‘Everyone wants a revolution. No one wants to do the dishes.’ I was, and remain, a Christian who longs for revolution, for things to be made new and whole in beautiful and big ways. But what I am slowly seeing is that you can’t get to the revolution without learning to do the dishes. The kind of spiritual life and disciplines needed to sustain the Christian life are quiet, repetitive, and ordinary. I often want to skip the boring, daily stuff to get to the thrill of an edgy faith. But it’s in the dailiness of the Christian faith–the making the bed, the doing the dishes, the praying for our enemies, the reading the Bible, the quiet, the small–that God’s transformation takes root and grows. . . . The point of exchanging my morning liturgy was to habituate myself to repetition, to the tangible, to the work before me–to train myself, in this tiny way, to live with my eyes open to God’s presence in this ordinary day. I’d cultivated a habit, from the first conscious moments of my day, of being entertained, informed, and stimulated. My brain would dart quickly from stimulus to stimulus, unable to focus, unable to lie fallow. Making my bed and sitting in silence for just a few minutes reminded me that what is most real and significant in my day is not what is loudest, flashiest, or most entertaining. It is in the repetitive and the mundane that I begin to learn to love, to listen, to pay attention to God and to those around me. I needed to retrain my mind not to bolt at the first sight of boredom or buck against stillness. That took the cultivation of habit.” Tish Harrison Warren
“Train yourself to be godly.”
1 Timothy 4:7b NIV
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Do you practice some spiritual disciplines that are quiet, repetitive, ordinary–very unspectacular?
- Is remembering “God’s presence in [your] ordinary day” something you’re working on?
- Are you “habituating” yourself to that by some repeated practice(s)?
Abba, may the daily rhythms I choose help me to remember the sacredness of each day, and your presence in it.
For More: The Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren
“In spiritual direction, we look at the truth of our present situation and experience. The question asked is not ‘What should be happening in my life?’ but ‘What is happening in my life?’ We look for God here, now, because the place we are in in our lives is the place where we find God.” Alice Fryling
“Never content with ordinariness, unable to address our fears, we pump up the volume on every dramatic (and violent) possibility. We live from one moment of fear-stifling exhilaration to the next. Only in this way do we feel engaged with life. In our best-selling novels, current films, and the tensions of urban life and foreign policy, the dragons of awfulness lurk in every corner, reminding us that if we’ve survived the terrors of death, we must be alive. Supervivo, ergo sum. But when the drama fails, when we grow weary of the intense pressure of life on the edge, we’re forced to reconsider the myths by which we live. War is not the principle metaphor of human existence. Death is not always an enemy. Life is more than a matter of breathless contention, triumphing over obstacles, denying the monsters of our own feelings. The dragons of the ordinary invite us back to simplicity and a quiet acceptance of life’s rhythms. The deepest joys are not so much spectacular as commonplace. ‘Do not forget,’ wrote Teilhard de Chardin, ‘that the value and interest of life is not so much to do conspicuous things …as to do ordinary things with the perception of their enormous value.’ …There are graces, we all come to realize, that we’d rather not receive. Theologians used to distinguish between special grace and common grace, but we’ve never much valued the latter. Special grace is extraordinary; it comes with drama and flair. We are rescued, singled out in a momentous act of boldness. But common grace falls upon the just and unjust alike. It strikes us as simply too …ordinary. …Yet the route to all grand things passes by way of the commonplace.” Belden Lane
“He causes his sun to rise
on the evil and the good”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Do you live as if war were “the principle metaphor of human existence?”
- Do you see death only as an enemy?
- Are you addicted to drama? …to violence? …to anything but simplicity?
- What would it look like for you do to “ordinary things with the perception of their enormous value?”
Abba, make me faithful when things are dull.
For More: The Solace of Fierce Landscapes by Belden Lane
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and God seeks you. I hope you’ll follow/share my blog. Thanks for your interest! – Bill