All Shall Be Well: Finding Joy and Gratitude in Challenging Times

All Shall Be Well: Finding Joy and Gratitude in Challenging Times

Day 1 - 

There is a tradition, strong among spiritual writers, that we will not advance within the spiritual life unless we pray at least an hour a day privately. I was stressing this one day in a talk, when a woman asked how this might apply to her, given that she was home with young children who demanded her total attention. “Where would I ever find an uninterrupted hour each day?” she moaned. “I would, I am afraid, be praying with children screaming and tugging at my pant legs.”

A few years ago, I might have been tempted to point out to her that if her life was that hectic then she, of all people, needed time daily away from her children, for private prayer, among other things. As it is, I gave her different advice: “If you are home alone with small children whose needs give you little uninterrupted time, then you don’t need an hour of private prayer daily. Raising small children, if it is done with love and generosity, will do for you exactly what private prayer does.” Left unqualified, that is a dangerous statement. It, in fact, suggests that raising children is a functional substitute for prayer.

However, in making the assertion that a certain service – in this case, raising children – can in fact be prayer, I am bolstered by the testimony of contemplatives themselves. Carlo Carretto, one of the twentieth century’s best spiritual writers, spent many years in the Sahara Desert by himself praying. Yet he once confessed that he felt that his mother, who spent nearly thirty years raising children, was much more contemplative than he was, and less selfish. If that is true, and Carretto suggests that it is, the conclusion we should draw is not that there was anything wrong with his long hours of solitude in the desert, but that there was something very right about the years his mother lived an interrupted life amid the noise and demands of small children.

Carretto was careful to draw the right lesson from this. What this taught was not that there was anything wrong with what he had been doing in living as a hermit. The lesson was rather that there was something wonderfully right about what his mother had been doing all these years as she lived the interrupted life amidst the noise and incessant demands of small children. He had been in a monastery, but so had she.

What is a monastery? A monastery is not so much a place set apart for monks and nuns as it is a place set apart, period. It is also a place to learn the value of powerlessness and a place to learn that time is not ours, but God’s. 

Our home and our duties can, just like a monastery, teach us those things.
 
                       -Ronald Rolheiser, from his book, Domestic Monastery

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We have enough sense of loss in our lives right now.

We have grieved, or we are grieving,
and without diminishing our need to do that,
what we need more than anything, now, 
are reasons for optimism and joy.

So join us every day for the next 30 or 60 days....

We will send you stories, teachings, video clips, spiritual practice suggestions, and prayers that will give you reasons for gratitude, reminders of grace, and promises for a better future.

Authors include familiar teachers such as Sybil MacBeth, Christine Valters Paintner, Jana Riess, Ronald Rolheiser, Gerard Straub, Will Willimon, and Friar Jack Wintz; teachers who may be new to you, including David Bannon, Stephanie Emmons, Wendi Nunnery, and Friar Jeremiah Shryock; as well as select passages from classic Christian writers including St. Francis of Assisi, St. Teresa of Avila, Brother Lawrence, Julian of Norwich, and St. John of the Cross. 

Begins: September 1

Our aim is to bring a smile to your face and a sense of peace at the end of each day.

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