Daily Riches: Listen To Your Life (Joan Chittister)

“In the midst of all this indistinguishable cacophony of life, the bell tower of every Benedictine monastery rings ‘listen.’ Listen with the heart of Christ. Listen with the lover’s ear. Listen for the voice of God. Listen in your own heart for the sound of truth, the kind that comes when a piece of quality crystal is struck by a metal rod.” Joan Chittister

“The Rule [of Saint Benedict] teaches us to listen to the circumstances of our own lives. We have to begin to face what our own life patterns might be saying to us. When we are afraid, what message lurks under the fear: a horror of failure, a rejection of weakness, panic at the thought of public embarrassment, a sense of valuelessness that comes with loss of approval? When we find ourselves in the same struggles over and over again, what does that pattern say? That I always begin a thing with great enthusiasm only to abandon it before it is finished? That I am always reluctant to change, no matter how good the changes might be for me? That I keep imposing unsatisfactory relationships with people from my past on every new person I meet? That down deep I have never given myself to anything except myself? Not to my friends. Not to my work. Not to my vocation. Until I learn to listen – to the Scriptures, to those around me, to my own underlying life messages, to the wisdom of those who have already maneuvered successfully around the dangers of a life that is unmotivated and unmeaningful – I will really have nothing whatever to say about life myself. To live without listening is not to live at all; it is simply to drift in my own backwater.” Joan Chittister

“Listen as Wisdom calls out! 
Hear as understanding raises her voice! …
Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you.”
Proverbs 8:1,6

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you a listening person? Are you quiet enough? Moving at a slow enough pace?
  • Do you think of being a good listener as essential to living the life of faith? …to loving well?
  • What habits prevent you from listening well? Are you doing anything about them?

Abba, help me to hear the important things in my life I would otherwise miss.

For More: Wisdom Distilled From the Daily by Joan Chittister

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. Thanks!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Prayer – Submitting Ourselves for Conversion (Joan Chittister)

“Prayer … is not a matter of mood. To pray only when we feel like it is more to seek consolation than risk conversion. To pray only when it suits us is to want God on our terms. To pray only when it is convenient is to make the God-life a very low priority in a list of better opportunities. To pray only when it feels good is to court total emptiness when we most need to be filled. The hard fact is that nobody finds time for prayer. The time must be taken. There will always be something more pressing to do, something more important to be about than the apparently fruitless, empty act of prayer. But when that attitude takes over, we have begun the last trip down a very short road because, without prayer, the energy for the rest of life runs down. The fuel runs out. We become our own worst enemies: we call ourselves too tired and too busy to pray when, in reality, we are too tired and too busy not to pray. Eventually, the burdens of the day wear us down and we no longer remember why we decided to do what we’re doing: work for this project, marry this woman, have these children, minister in this place. And if I cannot remember why I decided to do this, I cannot figure out how I can go on with it. I am tired and the vision just gets dimmer and dimmer. To pray when we cannot, on the other hand, is to let God be our prayer. The spirituality of regularity requires that we turn over our bruised and bleeding and fragmented and distracted selves to the possibility of conversion, in memory and in hope, in good times and in bad, day after day after day, morning and night, this year and next.” Joan Chittister

“always keep on praying”
Ephesians 6:18

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you hoping to “find time for prayer” or are you making time for prayer? Are you unmotivated because prayer seems “fruitless” and “empty?”
  • Chittister suggests that by prayer (fixed-time daily prayers over months and years) “we turn over our bruised and bleeding and fragmented and distracted selves to the possibility of conversion.” Is this the kind of prayer you’re praying?

Abba, help me to always pray and not lose heart.

For More: Wisdom Distilled From the Daily by Joan Chittister

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Gripping the Hands of Jesus (Mother Teresa, James Stewart and Joan Chittister)

“Pray for me that I not loosen my grip on the hands of Jesus even under the guise of ministering to the poor.” Mother Teresa

“Another thing which commonly stifles prayer is men’s business. The days become so full that prayer gets crowded out. Sometimes when that happens, the plea is urged in extenuation that work itself is prayer, that honest work is indeed one of the highest kinds of prayer which can ever be offered, and that, therefore, the crowding out of the devotional hour does not really matter much. But look at Jesus. Busy and crowded as our days are, his were emphatically more so. Read the opening chapters of Mark’s Gospel. There you have a number of pictures of typical days in Jesus’ ministry, days that were quite usual and normal for Jesus; and as you study these pictures and see how one duty was heaped upon another, how sick people and broken sinners came clamoring for him until far into the night and none of them were sent away unhelped, you can almost see the virtue going out of him and can realize something of the strain and the drain of it; and yet the harder the days were, the more time did Jesus make for prayer.” James Stewart

“Prayer that is regular confounds both self-importance and the wiles of the world. It is so easy for good people to confuse their own work with the work of creation. It is so easy to come to believe that what we do is so much more important than what we are. It is so easy to simply get too busy to grow. It is so easy to commit ourselves to this century’s demand for product and action until the product consumes us and the actions exhaust us … [In Benedictine prayer] … a whole new life emerges and people are changed. Not in the way tornadoes change things, perhaps, but in the way that the sand in oysters does.” Joan Chittister

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace.”
Proverbs 11:2

Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • Have you ever succumbed to “self-importance” or “the wiles of the world” while ministering?
  • Have you ever lost your grip on the hands of Jesus while spending yourself in ministry?
  • What practices help you to remember your proper place? your dependence upon God to act?

Abba, humility, humility.

For More: The Life and Teaching of Jesus Christ by James Stewart

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

 

Daily Riches: Statio …Do Consciously What You Would Do Mechanically (Joan Chittister)

Statio is “the practice of stopping one thing before we begin another. …the time between times. …In monastic spirituality it is common for the community to gather … for a few minutes together in the chapel itself before intoning the opening hymn of the office. My novice mistress, in fact, insisted that we all be in chapel five minutes before the bell rang for prayer, an expectation the logic of which managed to elude me for years. After all, ‘an idle mind is the devil’s workshop,’ the Puritan in me knew well. ‘Every minute counts,’ I’d learned somewhere along the way. …Think of all the things that could have been done in that additional five minutes a day or thirty-five minutes a week or two hours and twenty minutes a month or twenty-eight hours a year…. Work, valuable work, could have been done and I could still have made it on time for prayer. It took years to realize that [it was] … highly unlikely, though, that my mind would have been there too. The practice of statio is meant to center us and make us conscious of what we’re about to do and make us present to the God who is present to us. Statio is the desire to do consciously what I might otherwise do mechanically. Statio is the virtue of presence. If I am present to this child before I dress her, then the dressing becomes an act of creation. …If I am present to the flower before I cut it, then life becomes precious. If I am present to the time of prayer before I pray, then prayer becomes the juncture of the human with the Divine. We have learned well in our time to go through life nonstop. Now it is time to learn to collect ourselves from time to time so that God can touch us in the most hectic of moments. Statio is the monastic practice that sets out to get our attention before life goes by in one great blur and God becomes an idea out there somewhere rather than an ever present reality here.” Joan Chittister

“You …set me in your presence forever.” Psalm 41:12

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Imagine pausing to commit the last thing to God before beginning the next thing.
  • Imagine lifting up the next thing to God before you begin it.
  • Imagine the sanity, clarity and sense of God’s presence that could come from this practice.

Abba, help me to regularly come to a full stop, recalibrating, increasingly present to you.

For More: Wisdom Distilled From the Daily by Joan Chittister

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In “Daily Riches” my goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)