People do not need your opinions or your advice. People do not need to be fixed, corrected, or judged. What people need is to be empowered and encouraged so that they can discover and live their own sacred truth, however different that may look to you, and since their struggle and their mistakes are part of that path, you may not assume anything about it. Pray moment by moment with confidence and calm. Eternity is the reality, and all is well.” (I don’t have a source for this.)
“One of St. Benedict’s great suppositions is that if you want to pray, you pray as simply and directly as possible, by saying prayers out loud. He believes in vocal prayer very much. St. Benedict is always concerned with what we need as beginners, and when we are beginning the life of prayer, we need things to pray, as it were. We need words. Just as we need good works to do, we need prayers to say. He’s very realistic about that. So he has us pray at various times of the day and night. No matter what we are feeling at the time, no matter what our state, we come to pray, to discover the mystery of prayer.” Benedictine Abbot Hugh Gilbert, O.S.B., quoted in an interview in Parabola, Summer 1999.
“A recurring theme in Zen’s paradoxical and inimitable fascination with language has been the primacy of silence. This silence is not a mere refusal to speak, though sometimes Masters do. Nor is it remaining silent, though sometimes they are. Instead, Zen treats words as if they had not been spoken, and listens to silence as if the universe were speaking…When all molds of thought break, the imaginary distinction between self and other disappears. At this moment, silence becomes what it has always been: the voice of oneness.”J. A. Taylor, “Koans of Silence,” Parabola, Summer 1999.
“If we long to see a miracle, we need look no further than our daily activities. Any task performed with concentration and respect is a marvel to behold. When every act is a new beginning, there are no ordinary events. Cosmic actions such as these turn the world around. Zen is the way of action, which is to say it is the way of giving our hopes and fears to the universe. Sitting, standing, lying down, and walking: these actions shared by everything that breathes proclaim our mutual interdependence–one upon the other and all upon the universe. The extent to which the interdependence of all existence–the supreme mystical power–permeates our consciousness determines the degree to which we are connected to the Buddhas of the past, present in everything that exists, and foretold in what will be.” J. A. Taylor, “Koans of Silence,” Parabola, Summer 1999.
“Buddhism has always recommended itself as a cure, an antidote for those who feel ill at ease in the world. This remedy is not a philosophical system to ponder or moral precepts to follow. Leaving doctrine and ethics aside, Zen prescribes the ancient and proven practice of zazen, always carried out in silence: a treatment for the mind that leads from studying the self, to knowing the self, to forgetting the self.” J. A. Taylor, “Koans of Silence,” Parabola, Summer 1999.
“We are working with God as He works to bring the created world and the human race to the end to which He has destined us…praise is an acknowledgment of what God has done and is doing, and through intercession, it is striving to complete that work in historical circumstances and in the here and now.” Benedictine Abbot Hugh Gilbert, O.S. B., quoted in an interview in Parabola, Summer 1999.
“I love the passage from John 15, when Crist says ‘No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.’ God wants us to work with Him; He wants us to know His work and participate willingly in it. That is what is going on in intercessory prayer. It’s not that we tell God what He already knows; rather, He tells us what He knows and enables us, through intercession, to say ‘Yes, this is what I want too.’ Intercession is the first work of the Christian, the first work of the Church. The fallen man prays for himself, the redeemed man prays for others, and Newman points out. The exemplar is Christ himself. Early Christian writers, in the second and third centuries, said that God keeps the world in being because of the prayers of all people.” Benedictine Abbot Hugh Gilbert, O.S. B., quoted in an interview in Parabola, Summer 1999.
“Prayer for me is the practice of the presence of God in all situations, in the midst of noise and distractions of all sorts, of pain and suffering and death, as in times of peace and quiet, of joy and friendship, of prayer and silence, the presence is always there.” Father Bede Griffiths, from “Going out of Oneself,” Parabola, Summer 1999.
“The right relation between prayer and conduct is not that conduct is supremely important and prayer may help it; but that prayer is supremely important and conduct tests it.” William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury.
“Lord, I know not what I ought to ask of Thee, Thou only knowest what I need: Thou lovest me better than I know how to love myself, O Father! Give to thy child that which he himself knows not how to ask. I dare not ask either for crosses or consolations; I simply present myself before Thee. I open my heart to Thee. Behold my need which I know not myself; see and do according to Thy tender mercy. Smite or heal, depress me or raise me up; I adore all Thy purposes without knowing them; I am silent; I offer myself in sacrifice; I yield myself to Thee, I would have no other desire than to accomplish Thy will. Teach me to pray. Pray Thyself in me.” Archbishop Fenelon.
“This was a totally different kind of prayer. There was no question of petitions or intercessions. I was, if I properly applied myself, heading for the ’prayer of simplicity,’ ‘the prayer of quiet,’ illumination, ecstasy, ‘practicing the presence,’ ‘the life of union with God.’ Once sanctified–that was what Heard told me I must aspire to, sanctity, for ‘if you reach for excellence you may achieve mediocrity’–I could devote my life to unremitting, incomparable service to my fellow man. Prayer could do all that. It could demand all that of me…” Marvin Barrett, “Praying in the World,” Parabola, Summer 1999
“I have had some moments of realization that prayer is serenity. Serenity surrounds it (overarching, as St. Therese says), encircling and setting free everyone and everything one remembers in this state of prayer. I have so often remembered the words of old Father Robson so many years ago when he said that serenity was the divine condition, the love of God realized. The derivation of ‘serenity’ involves ‘brightness,’ ’clarity,’ a natural state of calm that cannot be shaken. It does not spring from the disciplined composure of the will.” Helen Luke, “A Blessing of One’s Own,” Parabola, Summer 1999.
“The thought is with me of how the ‘letting go’ of the ten thousand things, the detachment, is paradoxically one with the ceasing to exclude anything at all from the affirmation and acceptance of what is–the horrors of the nuclear threat included. You or I may be the ‘makeweight that tips the scales’ (Jung, Undiscovered Self) through this daily, moment-by-moment work of nonexclusion. Watching I realize how constant is the slipping into tenseness in case this or that small thing happens which may interfere with my plans, expectations, etc. It is a humbling thing, bringing one down again and again to the ‘humus,’ the earth of the smallest things in life…The tension, the blood pressure problem, come from the deep instinctive level where rejection of the ‘just so’ still lies hidden.” Helen Luke, “A Blessing of One’s Own,” Parabola, Summer 1999.
“If Ye knew God as He ought to be known, ye would walk on the seas, and the mountains would move at your call.” Muhammad