Spirituality Café: January 2006

Spiritual guide and Catholic priest Father Anthony de Mello, S.J. integrated Eastern and Western traditions. His wisdom on dealing with change:

“Acceptance and resignation are not identical. Balzac once said, ‘Those who resort to self-resignation are the unfortunate people who consummate their misfortune.’

“Acceptance is quite different. I accept the reality but try to change what can be changed. If the reality can’t be changed, then I use the misfortune in order to grow.

“Remember the Serenity Prayer: ‘God grant me the serenity to change the things I can, the courage to accept the things I can’t, and the wisdom to know the difference.’

“The resigner shrugs his shoulders and says, ‘That’s the way the ball bounces.’ This is a form of denial, avoidance. Don’t go around it, under it, over it, or avoid it by denial, dulling the pain with alcohol, drugs, or useless activity. What’s needed is more like grieving: One must ‘lean into the pain’ while getting on with life.”
(From Praying Naked, by Francis Stroud, S.J., Image Books)

Laughter is a holy thing. It is as sacred as music and silence and solemnity, maybe more sacred. . . Laughter is like mercy; it heals. When you can laugh at yourself, you are free.—Ted Loder (in Spiritual Rx, Hyperion)

we walked in the woods
in the snow
and the trees were dark
and their branches were bare.
I put my arms around a tree and I leaned against the trunk
and put my ear against the bark
and listened
and I could hear the tree, inside,
for the time when God
will bring it back to green. Do you do that for us, too, Lord, when we grow old and bare?”
(Madeleine L’Engle, Anytime Prayers, Shaw)

Celebrate this month Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 16
"On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ And Vanity comes along and asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But Conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.”
—From his address to Southern Christian Leadership Conference ministers, Feb. 6, 1968

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