A Spirituality of Service: Reflections on a Life-Long Journey of Faith and Work Among the Worlds Poor


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Although we need material things, deep down we all know that the best things in life are free. Our capacity to love and be loved is surely the most obvious expression of this truth. Our ability to wonder at the awesomeness and beauty of the natural world, and to be moved by human suffering and goodness are also treasures beyond price. When we re-connect with these values we are cultivating our spiritual side.

Perhaps the secret of happiness is not such a big secret after all — which is good news. Christians know all about good news. His message was urgent and insistent. There was to be the inauguration of a new era which would require a turning away from sinful ways and a counter-cultural change in the way we live. The priorities of the world are flawed and passing. The spiritual movement that built up around Jesus has retained its momentum, unlike many other more short-lived followings that have formed historically around charismatic religious leaders.

The death of Jesus was not the end of the Christian project. Jesus lives on and his Spirit is present in our world. Christians everywhere are endeavouring to make this spiritual side the central core of their lives by re-ordering their priorities and changing their lifestyles.


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The Livesimply challenge is one of the ways of taking such a stance. Livesimply arose as a grassroots initiative of Catholic Christians in the UK to underline the central connection between our spiritual lives and our lifestyles. Those who sign up to the Livesimply challenge promise to live in a way that defies the values and priorities of our sinful world. They pledge to live simply, sustainably and in solidarity with those who are poor. The Livesimply challenge is based on the realisation that spiritual growth involves personal change, and that personal change involves spiritual growth.

The aim is to nurture a spirituality of sufficiency more akin to that of Clare and Francis than Posh and Becks. This is good for the individual, good for the planet and good for those in the wider community whose lives are changed by this radical witness. Christians are not immune from the trappings of the modern world. Our response to the demands of the gospel can wane, grow flabby and become half-hearted. The Livesimply challenge is a call to awaken and a call to action.

Livesimply promotes a spiritually enriched diet that is good for you; as such, it offers a home-grown example of the strong social activist strand in Catholicism. And, even better, spirituality is catching. When we meet others who are spiritually rich we too want a share of their inner peace and sense of direction. The many people who are choosing to change their lifestyles through Livesimply show others how easy it is for them to do the same. And as each new person makes that commitment we will witness the strength that can come from standing alongside one another in solidarity as our Catholic communities — schools, parishes, dioceses, colleges, organisations, pledge to Livesimply.

The ultimate measure of spiritual happiness is not where you live, but how you live.

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You can also narrow your search by selecting a category from the dropdown menu. Photo by Graham Crumb at flickr. Shooter Teton Sioux Native American.

What Mother Teresa Taught Me About Meaningful Work and Service

One of the most spiritual things you can do is embrace your humanity. Connect with those around you today. Send random texts, write a cute note, embrace your truth and share it…cause a smile today for someone else…and give plenty of hugs. Steve Maraboli. I am convinced that the jealous, the angry, the bitter and the egotistical are the first to race to the top of mountains.

A confident person enjoys the journey, the people they meet along the way and sees life not as a competition. He is down below helping his followers to understand that the view is glorious where ever you stand. Shannon L. You must not let your life run in the ordinary way; do something that nobody else has done, something that will dazzle the world. Paramahansa Yogananda. Bring into play the almighty power within you, so that on the stage of life you can fulfill your high destined role.

The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you really are. If your intention is powerful, your action will be powerful. If your action is powerful, your results will be powerful. The real spiritual progress of the aspirant is measured by the extent to which he achieves inner tranquility.

Swami Sivananda. All power is within you; you can do anything and everything. Believe in that, do not believe that you are weak; do not believe that you are half-crazy lunatics, as most of us do nowadays. You can do any thing and everything, without even the guidance of any one. Stand up and express the divinity within you. Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it.

Wilferd Peterson. The resting place of the mind is the heart. The only thing the mind hears all day is clanging bells and noise and argument, and all it wants is quietude. The only place the mind will ever find peace is inside the silence of the heart. Elizabeth Gilbert. You will have to create the path by walking yourself; the path is not ready-made, lying there and waiting for you.

Seize the moment. Erma Bombeck. Bath, n. A kind of mystic ceremony substituted for religious worship, with what spiritual efficacy has not been determined. Ambrose Bierce. Self-love is a good thing but self-awareness is more important. Louis C. To be in time is to be asleep: to be awake is to be in eternity. Osho Click to tweet. The truth is that the universe has been answering you all of your life, but you cannot receive the answers unless you are awake. Rhonda Byrne. We are not human beings having a spiritual experience.

We are spiritual beings having a human experience. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

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You are never alone or helpless. The force that guides the stars, guides you too. Shrii Shirr Anandamurti. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path. Vine Deloria Jr Native American. The meaning of life is just to be alive.

It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves. Alan Watts. The want of goods is easily repaired, but the poverty of the soul is irreparable. Michel de Montaigne. We are at our most powerful the moment we no longer need to be powerful. Eventually, all that one has learnt will have to be forgotten. Ramana Maharshi Click to tweet. Enlightenment means taking full responsibility for your life. William Blake Click to tweet. Wisdom says we are nothing. Love says we are everything. Between these two our life flows.

Jack Kornfield. Anything that makes weak — physically, intellectually and spiritually, reject it as poison. A life of reaction is a life of slavery, intellectually and spiritually. One must fight for a life of action, not reaction. Rita Mae Brown.

It took me forty years on earth to reach this sure conclusion: there is no Heaven but clarity, no Hell except confusion. Jan Struther. Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again. Joseph Campbell Click to tweet. Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well. The only person wasting time is the one who runs around the mountain, telling everyone that his or her path is wrong. Hindu proverb. You can read books without ever stepping into a library; and practice spirituality without ever going to a temple. Anthony de Mello.

If you wish to know the divine, feel the wind on your face and the warm sun on your back. Eido Tai Shimano Roshi. I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me. You are awareness. Awareness is another name for you. Since you are awareness there is no need to attain or cultivate it.

The path of awakening is not about becoming who you are. Rather it is about unbecoming who you are not. Albert Schweitzer. There is something wonderfully bold and liberating about saying yes to our entire imperfect and messy life. Tara Brach. Be present in all things and thankful for all things.

Maya Angelou Click to tweet. Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love.

Introduction

So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation. Being love rather than giving or taking love, is the only thing that provides stability. Ram Dass. Spiritual opening is not a withdrawal to some imagined realm or safe cave. It is not a pulling away, but a touching of all the experience of life with wisdom and with a heart of kindness, without any separation. Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness… the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.

Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting. Elizabeth Bibesco. It is love alone that leads to right action. What brings order in the world is to love and let love do what it will. Jiddu Krishnamurti. Love gives us in a moment what we can hardly attain by effort after years of toil.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Forgive the past. It is over. Learn from it and let go. People are constantly changing and growing. Do not cling to a limited, disconnected, negative image of a person in the past. See that person now. Your relationship is always alive and changing. Brian Weiss. Beautify your inner dialogue. Beautify your inner world with love light and compassion. Life will be beautiful. Amit Ray. Compassion is the wish for another being to be free from suffering; love is wanting them to have happiness.

Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present. Albert Camus Click to tweet. Happiness is your nature.

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It is not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside. We have only now, only this single eternal moment opening and unfolding before us, day and night. The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware; joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware. Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.

Denis Waitley. The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation, but rather your thoughts about the situatio n. Always say yes to the present moment. Surrender to what is. Accept — then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it… This will miraculously transform your whole life. Surrender is the most difficult thing in the world while you are doing it and the easiest when it is done. Bhai Sahib.

It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed. The true definition of mental illness is when the majority of your time is spent in the past or future, but rarely living in the realism of now.

The magic in this world seems to work in whispers and small kindnesses. Charles de Lint. You just understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing, and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life. As long as a sense of self-importance rules your being, you will never know lasting peace.


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Matthieu Ricard Click to tweet. To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, but to live gratitude is to touch heaven. Johannes A. Only in quiet waters things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world. Hans Margolius. If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things. Rene Descartes. If peace is our single aim in all we do, we will always know what to do because we will do whatever will protect and deepen our peace.

Gerald Jampolsky. It does not matter how long you are spending on the earth, how much money you have gathered or how much attention you have received. It is the amount of positive vibration you have radiated in life that matters. The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery.

There is always more mystery. Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all.


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  • It may just be the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. The whole of life is to spiritualize our activities by humility and faith, to silence our nature by charity. Thomas Merton. I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be.

    Groucho Marx. Not thinking about anything is Zen. Once you know this, walking, sitting, or lying down, everything you do is Zen. Ask nothing; want nothing in return. Give what you have to give; it will come back to you, but do not think of that now. Nothing kills the ego like playfulness, like laughter. When you start taking life as fun, the ego has to die, it cannot exist anymore. Nature always wears the colors of the spirit. Ralph Waldo Emerson Click to tweet. For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves.

    And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.

    Mother Nature speaks in a language understood within the peaceful mind of the sincere observer. Radhanath Swami. The smallest flower is a thought, a life answering to some feature of the Great Whole, of whom they have a persistent intuition. Honore De Balzac. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love. Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

    When one loses the deep intimate relationship with nature, then temples, mosques and churches become important. God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars. Martin Luther.

    The Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of Priests

    When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator. Mahatma Gandhi. The little reed, bending to the force of the wind, soon stood upright again when the storm had passed over. In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. Aristotle Click to tweet. Whatever life takes away from you, let it go. Don Miguel Ruiz Click to tweet. The darker the night, the brighter the stars. The deeper the grief, the closer is God! Crying is one of the highest devotional songs.

    One who knows crying, knows spiritual practice. If you can cry with a pure heart, nothing else compares to such a prayer. When something dies is the greatest teaching. Shunryu Suzuki Click to tweet. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy. Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak. William Paul Young. Pain insists upon being attended to.

    God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world. There is nothing to worry about. There will be tough times, nice times, good times and bad times. They all come in life and go. Nothing stays. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar. Accepting death as a part of life serves as a spur to diligence and saves us from wasting our time on vain distractions.

    Matthieu Ricard. A happy family is but an earlier heaven. George Bernard Shaw Click to tweet. Friendship has always belonged to the core of my spiritual journey. Henri Nouwen. Elbert Hubbard. Our capacity to make peace with another person and with the world, depends very much on our capacity to make peace with ourselves. Family life is full of major and minor crises — the ups and downs of health, success and failure in career, marriage, and divorce — and all kinds of characters. It is tied to places and events and histories. With all of these felt details, life etches itself into memory and personality.

    Thomas Moore. People hear you on the level you speak to them from. Speak from your heart, and they will hear with theirs. Marianne Williamson. When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself. Wayne Dyer Click to tweet. We find greater lightness and ease in our lives as we increasingly care for ourselves and other beings. Sharon Salzberg. Desmond Tutu. Faith, hope, love, and insight are the highest achievements of human effort. Be patient with yourself. There is no greater investment. Stephen Covey.

    Our prayers are answered not when we are given what we ask, but when we are challenged to be what we can be. Morris Adler. If you lose money you lose much, If you lose friends you lose more, If you lose faith you lose all. Eleanor Roosevelt. Believe in your infinite potential. Your only limitations are those you set upon yourself. Roy T. Our way is to practice one step at a time, one breath at a time, with no gaining idea.

    A Spirituality of Service: Reflections on a Life-Long Journey of Faith and Work Among the Worlds Poor A Spirituality of Service: Reflections on a Life-Long Journey of Faith and Work Among the Worlds Poor
    A Spirituality of Service: Reflections on a Life-Long Journey of Faith and Work Among the Worlds Poor A Spirituality of Service: Reflections on a Life-Long Journey of Faith and Work Among the Worlds Poor
    A Spirituality of Service: Reflections on a Life-Long Journey of Faith and Work Among the Worlds Poor A Spirituality of Service: Reflections on a Life-Long Journey of Faith and Work Among the Worlds Poor
    A Spirituality of Service: Reflections on a Life-Long Journey of Faith and Work Among the Worlds Poor A Spirituality of Service: Reflections on a Life-Long Journey of Faith and Work Among the Worlds Poor
    A Spirituality of Service: Reflections on a Life-Long Journey of Faith and Work Among the Worlds Poor A Spirituality of Service: Reflections on a Life-Long Journey of Faith and Work Among the Worlds Poor
    A Spirituality of Service: Reflections on a Life-Long Journey of Faith and Work Among the Worlds Poor A Spirituality of Service: Reflections on a Life-Long Journey of Faith and Work Among the Worlds Poor
    A Spirituality of Service: Reflections on a Life-Long Journey of Faith and Work Among the Worlds Poor A Spirituality of Service: Reflections on a Life-Long Journey of Faith and Work Among the Worlds Poor
    A Spirituality of Service: Reflections on a Life-Long Journey of Faith and Work Among the Worlds Poor A Spirituality of Service: Reflections on a Life-Long Journey of Faith and Work Among the Worlds Poor
    A Spirituality of Service: Reflections on a Life-Long Journey of Faith and Work Among the Worlds Poor

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