There’s a beautiful quote that is often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words.” We don’t need to quote a Bible verse to share our faith. Each time we share a gift of kindness or mercy, we are giving testimony to the love of Christ.

– Nancy Jo Sullivan, 2015 A Book of Grace-Filled Days, p. 266

Growing up

We can move mountains and fly to the moon, we can murder by the millions and map the mystery of our genetic making, but what if we ever dropped the dagger, plucked the beams from our eyes, and grew up? What if? And we have maps of that bright country already, in the brilliant bones of every religion. There are and have been many thousands of religions, each stridently different, all flawed and greedy, but all, in their absolute essence, about the same thing: praise for the miracle of life, awe for the mysterious force that creates life, yearning for life beyond death, and, most of all, inarticulate desperation for a future in which mercy trumps murder. More than any other force on this bruised earth, religious keep that desperate dream alive; for which this morning I sing and celebrate them, and bow to what is best in us. What if…?

– Brian Doyle, Grace Notes, p. 141

Believe in believing

Look, I know very well that brooding misshapen evil is everywhere, in the brightest houses and the most cheerful denials, in what we do and what we have failed to do, and I know all too well that the story of the world is entropy, things fly apart, we sicken, we fail, we grow weary, we divorce, we are hammered and hounded by loss and accidents and tragedies. But I also know, with all my hoary muddled heart, that we are carved of immense confusing holiness, that the whole point for us is grace under duress; and that you either take a flying leap at nonsensical illogical unreasonable ideas like marriage and marathons and democracy and divinity, or you huddle behind the wall. I believe that the coolest things there are cannot be measured, calibrated, calculated, gauged, weighed, or understood except sometimes by having a child patiently explain it to you, which is another thing that should happen far more often to us all.

In short I believe in believing, which doesn’t make sense, which gives me hope.

– Brian Doyle, Grace Notes, p. 56-57

Divine Mother

We say a great deal about the Mother and we know nothing of Whom we speak. That is what I want to say to you. But She knows us. Trust me when I say that I know this to be true. Whatever else you hear today, whatever else you read, whatever else happens in your life, whatever way your heart is bruised and elevated today, remember that.

– Brian Doyle, Grace Notes, p. 98

God, the Pure

Peace came to my door

Without luggage or sandals

With just its name — peace

– Brother Paul Quenon, OCSO, in The Art of Pausing, p. 44

Dance lightly

Let your life

lightly dance

on the edges of time

like a dew

on the tip

of a leaf.

– Rabindranath Tagore

God, the Wise

Words eluded me

lifted like tails of white deer

fleeing through dense woods.

– Brother Paul Quenon, OCSO, in The Art of Pausing, p. 34


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