Earlier tonight, a young monk, laughing,
splashing my face
with holy water. Then, just as unexpectedly,
he flew down a banister, and
for one millisecond
without feet -
was an angel - robed,
all irrepressibly joy
and good news.
- Kathleen Norris
from Land for the Living
"If one day you become sick of words, as happens to us all, and you grow tired of hearing them, of saying them; if whichever you choose seems worn out, dull, disabled; if you feel nauseated when you hear 'horrible' or 'divine' for some everyday occurrence - you'll not be cured, obviously, by alphabet soup.
You must do the following: cook a plate of al dente spaghetti dressed with the simplest seasoning - garlic, oil and chili. Over the pasta toss in this mixture, grate a layer of Parmesan cheese. To the right of the deep plate full of the spaghetti thus prepared, place an open book. To the left, place an open book. In front of it a full glass of red wine. Any other company is not recommended. Turn the pages of each book at random, but they must both be poetry. Only good poets cure us of an overindulgence in words. Only simple essential food cures us of gluttony."
- Héctor Abad Faciolince
Recipes for Sad Women
live & learn
"Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."
- C. S. Lewis
Of Other Worlds
The Church says: the body is a sin.
Science says: the body is a machine.
Advertising says: The body is a business.
The Body says: I am a fiesta.
- Eduardo Galeano
"Sometimes people will say things like, "Your prayers didn't work, but thanks," as if a person could be praying for only one thing. A miracle. A cure. But in the hardest situations, all one can do is to ask for God's mercy: Let my friend die at home, Lord, and not in the hospital. Let her go quickly, God, and with her loved ones present. One Benedictine friend, a gentle, thoughtful man who has been in constant physical pain for years and is now confined to a wheelchair, says of prayer, "Often, all I can do is to ask God, 'Lord, what is it you want from me?'" From him I have learned that prayer is not asking for what you think you want but asking to be changed in ways you can't imagine. To be made more grateful, more able to see the good in what you have been given instead of always grieving for what might have been. People who are in the habit of praying - and they include the mystics of the Christian tradition - know that when a prayer is answered, it is never in a way that you expect. But prayer stumbles over modern self-consciousness and self-reliance, a remarkably ingenuous belief in our ability to set goals and attain them as quickly as possible. I recently received a mailing from a group of New Age witches who state in a kind of creed, their belief that "I can create my own reality and that sending out a positive expectation will bring a positive result." I suspect that only America could have produced Pollyanna witches, part and parcel of our pragmatism, our addiction to self-help and 'how-to.' No wonder we have difficulty with prayer."
- Kathleen Norris
Lord, as Rilke says, the year bears down toward winter, past
the purification of the trees, the darkened brook.
Only 4:45, and the sky's sheer black
clasps two clear planets and a skinny moon
as we drive quietly home from the airport,
the last kid gone.
The time of preparation's over, the time of
harvesting the seed, the husk, the kernel, saving
what can be saved - weaves of sun like
rags of old flannel, provident peach stones,
pies, pickles, berry wines to
hold the sweetness for a few more months.
Now the mountains will settle into their old
cold habits, now the white
birch bones will rise
like all those thoughts we've tried to repress:
madness of the solstice, phosphorescent
logic that rules the fifteen-hour night!
Our children, gorged, encouraged, have taken off
in tiny shuddering planes. Plump with stuffing,
we too hurry away, holding hands, holding on.
Soon it'll be January, soon snow will
shuffle down, cold feathers, swathing us in
inches of white silence -
and the ways of the ice
will be narrow, delicate.
- Sandra M. Gilbert
"True hospitality is marked by an open response to the dignity of each and every person. Henri Nouwen has described it as receiving the stranger on his own terms, and asserts that it can be offered only by those who 'have found the center of their lives in their own hearts'."
- Kathleen Norris