reflections

Everybody needs to step back sometimes and make space for reflection.  Here is a collection of poems, quotes and prayers which have resonated with me down the years -  I hope you will find something here to inspire you, too.
 - Teresa Newham


Sorrow looks back.
Worry looks around.
Faith looks up.
     - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the
pearl of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realise now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying

on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
     - R S Thomas, The Bright Field

Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament....There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man's heart desires.
     -  JRR Tolkien, Letters, no.43

Every believer in this world must be a spark of light, a core of love, life-giving leaven in the mass: and the more he is so, the more he will live, in his innermost depths, in communion with God.
     - the daily decalogue of Blessed Pope John XXIII


Let nothing disturb you;
Let nothing dismay you:
All things pass;
God never changes.
Patience attains
All that it strives for.
He who has God
Finds he lacks nothing.
God alone suffices
     - St Teresa of Àvila

You say grace before meals.
All right.
But I say grace before the play and the opera,
And grace before the concert and pantomime,
And grace before I open a book,
And grace before sketching, painting,
Swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing;
And grace before I dip the pen in ink.
      - G K Chesterton


The only thing to seek in contemplative prayer is God; and we seek Him successfully when we realize that we cannot find Him unless He shows Himself to us, and yet at the same time that He would not have inspired us to seek Him unless we had already found Him.”  
― Thomas Merton


Gratitude attracts the abundance of the good God's graces.  If we thank him for one blessing he is moved and eager to give us ten more.  Once we thank him for these witht he same generosity, what a countless multiplication of graces ensues!  I know this from personal experience. 
Try it and you will see.
         - St Thérèse of Lisieux

NOTHING is so beautiful as spring—
  When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
  Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
  The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
  The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy?
  A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning       
In Eden garden.—Have, get, before it cloy,
  Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
  Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.
                        - Gerard Manley Hopkins, Spring

Fäerie contains many things besides elves and fays, and besides dwarfs, witches, trolls, giants, or dragons: it holds the seas, the sun, the moon, the sky; and the earth, and all things that are in it:  tree and bird, water and stone, wine and bread, and ourselves, mortal men, when we are enchanted.
     - JRR Tolkien, On Fairy Stories


Deep Peace of the running water to you
Deep Peace of the flowing air to you

Deep Peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep Peace of the shining stars to you
Deep Peace of the Son of Peace to you
     -  the Iona Community, Scotland


People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centred.  Forgive them anyway.  If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.  If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.  If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway . . . The good you do today will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.  Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.  In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.
     - attributed to Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
     Christ's compassion is to look out to the world.
Yours are the feet by which Christ is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands with which Christ is to bless all people now.
     - St Teresa of Avila


Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.
     - Einstein

Art means: revealing God in everything that exists.
     -  Hermann Hesse

God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission—I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.
     - Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman

Glory be to God for dappled things
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscapes plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
     All things counter, original, spare, strange;
     Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
     With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
     He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
     Praise Him.
     - Gerard Manley Hopkins, Pied Beauty

There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action;  and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression in unique.  And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost.  The world will not have it.  It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions.  It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.  You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.  You have to keep open and aware to the urges that motivate you to keep the channel open.
     - Martha Graham to Agnes de Mille


The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
- Gerard Manley Hopkins
 

Lord, take me where You want me to go, let me meet who You want me to meet, tell me what You want me to say, and keep me out of Your way.      - a prayer found on Fr Mychal Judge at the World Trade Centre, 9/11