Part Four - Being Real With Others  
Printable Portable Meditation
Featured Speakers & Writers
What is Benedictine spirituality?

"When you focus
just on yourself,
your universe
becomes small
and smaller.
it becomes so
tiny as the head
of a pin."

Kwong Roshi
Shambhala Sun
May 2003


"All are needed
by each one:
Nothing is
fair or good

Ralph Waldo


"Compassion is
the antitoxin of
the soul: where
there is
compassion even
the most
impulses remain

John O'Donohue
Eternal Echoes


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If we see humility as self-knowledge, that’s a very attractive virtue for modern people. Everyone wants to know themselves, and I think in coming to know yourself you need community, you need relationship, because you can’t know yourself in isolation. You don’t exist in isolation.
--Laurence Freeman

Holy realism is … really the opposite of narcissism. It welcomes the presence of others, not as intruders on our own personal stage play but as gifts from God. The great Easter story about St. Benedict comes to mind. He says to someone who has come to his hermitage to tell him it is Easter--he may have interrupted St. Benedict at an inconvenient time--but Benedict looked at him and said, “I know that it is Easter for I have been granted the grace of seeing you.” That’s Holy Realism, which seeks the balance, the true proportion in all things.
--Kathleen Norris

The denial of emotion is a terrible thing. But what takes time is learning that the positive path is the education of emotion not its uncritical indulgence, which actually locks us far more firmly into our mutual isolation. Likewise, the denial of rights is a terrible thing. And what takes time to learn is that the opposite of oppression is not a wilderness of litigation and reparation and recrimination, but the nurture of concrete shared respect. …

The community that freely promises to live together before God is one in which both truthfulness and respect are enshrined. I promise that I will not hide from you and that I will also at times help you not to hide from me or from yourself. I promise that your growth towards the good God wants for you will be a wholly natural and obvious priority for me, and I trust that you have made the same promise. And we have a lifetime for this. Without the promise, the temptation is always for the ego’s agenda to surface again, out of fear that I shall be abandoned once the truth is known, fear that I have no time or resource to change as it seems I must. But no one is going to run away, and the resources of the community are there on my behalf.
--Rowan Williams

Holy Realism…rejects polarization. And of course, we’re so comfortable with polarization in our lives, in our churches, and in the world. It’s so easy to think in terms of “us” and “them,” and you can put any label you want: liberal/conservative, gay or straight, secular or theocratic. But for the Christian, Christ blazes through our comfort zones and asks us to embrace something radically different.

Just one example of what I mean. I have been living in Hawaii for a time, and there’s a huge military presence there. Every armed service has at least one base on the island of Oahu alone. When troops were beginning to be deployed to the Persian Gulf, some women of our church who had been making Anglican prayer beads were asked to make some for the troops. They got, like, fifty volunteers. Whole families would come. They ended up making and distributing over 1200. Some of them were literally given to troops as they boarded the plane. They were given out by the military chaplains. With each set of beads was a little note from St. Clements’s Church with information on how to pray the beads, but also saying one could simply touch them and remember someone back home is praying for you.

Well, this little project made the newspapers and of course we got a few calls from people accusing us of aiding and abetting murderers. But I found it interesting in a church that some of the same people who were marching on every peace march in town were also making beads. One man told me that in the process of stringing the beads and making the knots and thinking of the young men and women who would carry them made him meditate on what it means to be one in Christ. It’s not necessarily comfortable and it’s beyond what we’re capable for ourselves, but it is a truth that Christ does make us one against all polarities.
--Kathleen Norris

We live in community, even when we go off by ourselves. Remember the old song: "I see the moon and the moon sees me, the moon sees somebody I want to see; God bless the moon and God bless me and God bless somebody I want to see." To be in relationship with God is to be in relationship with every person who is also in relationship with God. And we do not need to speak the same language or have the same accent to be in true community; we have only to realize that we are all part of God, and to keep that uppermost in our mind and spirit as we live and relate to each other.
--William A. Kolb, "Community: Where the Holy Spirit Hangs Out"

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