Daily Riches: Community, Stability and Spirituality (Joan Chittister)

“Everything in life, contrary to Madison Avenue’s guarantees, can’t be cured or resolved or eliminated. Some things must simply be endured. Some things must simply be borne. Some things must simply be accepted. Community and relationships enable us to do that. …It is in community where we find out who we really are. It is life with another that shows my impatience and life with another that demonstrates my possessiveness and life with another that gives notice to my nagging devotion to the self. Life with someone else, in other words, doesn’t show me nearly as much about his or her shortcomings as it does about my own. In human relationships I learn how to soften my hard spots and how to reconcile and how to care for someone else besides myself. In human relationships I learn that theory is no substitute for love. It is easy to talk about the love of God; it is another things to practice it. That’s how relationships sanctify me. They show me where holiness is for me. That’s how relationships develop me. They how me where growth is for me. If I’m the passive-victim type, then assertiveness may have something to do with coming to wholeness. If I’m the domineering character in every group, then a willingness to listen and to be led may be my call to life. Alone, I am what I am, but in community I have the chance to become everything that I can be. And so, stability bonds me to this group of people and to these relationships so that resting in the security of each other we can afford to stumble and search, knowing that we will be caught if we fall and we will be led where we cannot see by those who have been there before us.” Joan Chittister

“Iron sharpens iron,
So one man sharpens another.”
Proverbs 27:17

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you discovering “who you really are” through your life in community – perhaps as a spouse, sibling, parent, roommate, employee, church member, neighbor? What about you needs to change?
  • Have you discovered in your relationships that some things won’t change and “must simply be endured?” Are you doing that well?
  • Are you engaged in community life so that, you are not only learning about yourself, but changing? Is a probationary approach to relationships hindering your transformation?

Abba, help me to submit to this messy but essential part of spirituality.

For More: Wisdom Distilled From the Daily by Joan Chittister


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog.  I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill

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

Daily Riches: Sticking When Things Get Tough (Joan Chittister)

“Stability says that where I am is where God is for me. More than that, stability teaches that whatever the depth of the dullness or the difficulties around me, I can, if I will simply stay still enough of heart, find God there in the midst of them. …When the monastic makes a vow of stability it is a vow designed to still the wandering heart. There comes a time in life when everyone else’s family seems to have been better than my own. …when this job, this home, this town, this family all seem irritating and deficient beyond the bearable.  …when I regret every major decision I’ve ever made. That is precisely the time when the spirituality of stability offers its greatest gift. Stability enables me to outlast the dark, cold places of life until the thaw comes and I can see new life in this uninhabitable place again. But for that to happen I must learn to wait through the winters of my life. …[Stability] says that we have an obligation to see things through until we have done for them what can be done, and, no less important, until they have done for us what can be done for us. …Stability says that we will stay with the humdrum if only to condition our souls to cope with the unfleeable in life. We stay with what, if we want to, we really could get away from so that we can come someday to cope with what we will not be able to leave. …It is not easy to continue the hard work of being here when everything around us says go there where it will be easier. It is hard to go on when it would be so much simpler just to quit. But the question becomes, what will happen to me as a person … if I don’t persist, if I don’t see this through? …In the first place, I will certainly fail to learn a great deal about myself… [and] in the second place, I will lose the opportunity to grow.” Joan Chittister

“But you, keep your head in all situations,
endure hardship”
2 Timothy 4:5

Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • Are you thinking about quitting something hard or moving on to something more exciting?
  • Do you have a history of quitting on things or people prematurely? If so, what has that cost you?
  • Could you trust instead that where you are is “where God is for you?” That God has something in mind greater than you do? …something that depends on you staying?

Abba, keep me from running after the shiny, the new, the easy.

For More: Wisdom Distilled From the Daily by Joan Chittister


Thanks for following and sharing “Daily Riches.” – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Boring Prayer, Perpetual Prayer (Joan Chittister)

“When I was a young monastic, I found prayer a long boring interruption of life. It was not anything the spiritual books and biographies of the period promised it would be. It was not sweet. It did not give me personal consolation. It simply cluttered the day with annoying distractions. Surely my work with students was more important than running in and out of chapel for group recitation of prayers that had nothing whatsoever to do with me or what I was doing at the time. Where were the lights? Where were the insights? Where were the lovely visions of God reported by the saints, assumed by the public, and expected by the spiritually immature? Little by little, I learned. …Benedict called for prayer at regular intervals of each day, right in the middle of apparently urgent and important work. The message is unequivocal. Let no one forget what they are really about. Let no one forget why they have really come to this life. Let no one forget the purpose of life. Let no one forget to remember. Ever. Benedictine spirituality is not a spirituality of escape; Benedictine spirituality is a spirituality that fills time with an awareness of the presence of God …if we keep our souls tied to a consciousness of God as the Rule directs, even in the face of things of apparently greater or more immediate value, then consciousness of God becomes a given. …We pray to see life as it is, to understand it, and to make it better than it was. We pray so that reality can break into our souls and give us back our awareness of the Divine Presence in life.” Joan Chittister

“Pray continually.”
1 Thessalonians 5:17

 Moving From Head to Heart

  • Have you adapted a daily routine where you pray at fixed times – so that your day is more permeated “with an awareness of the presence of God?”
  • Do you stop whatever you’re doing to pray at those times whenever possible? …refusing to offer your “important and urgent work” as an excuse to skip it?
  • If you don’t have such a practice, do you have another way to stay present to and conscious of God throughout the day?
  • Do you have a friend to encourage you on this kind of journey?

Abba, help me to be more aware of your constant presence.

For More: Wisdom Distilled From the Daily by Joan Chittister


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. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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