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So wake up,
and live in the present moment.

What calls out in your life?
What song needs singing,
what person needs loving,
what risk invites the investment
of all of yourself?

Child, awaken.
Rise to this day.
If you love someone, tell them,
before the moment to do so
is burned in a flash.
If you have a gift,
give it before the moment
vanishes like a dream.

~ Steve Garnaas-Holmes

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God, we thank you for all things small –
the acorn, the maple leaf, the single word of praise.

God, we thank you for all things short –
trees near the seashore, toddlers,
shortbread with hot apple sauce, ten-minutes sermons.

God, we thank you for all things small and short –
homework on a weekend, a perfect sunrise,
a text message of kindness, the way a haircut makes us feel.

God, we thank you for the ability to extend
what is too short or too small in our lives –
a deep breath before a short temper,
a generous friend when the rent is short,
a hand up the stairs for small legs,
and the way many small gifts make love abundant.

God, we thank you for the vote,
every person’s vote, each single one so small,
and we thank you for those who
make short and simple
the path for all people to the polls. Amen.

~ By Elizabeth Snider, who was a very quiet and simple woman, often over-shadowed by her dynamic and gregarious husband, Russell. She died last year on October 18. Her ninety-third birthday would have been October 21. She was born before women could vote in the United States and one of her great passions was the right to do so. She was taken to the polls with assistance when she could no longer see or walk or use her hands. She asked that it be written in her obituary that a legacy to her would be that all people who can vote do so on every occasion. In this day between the anniversary of her death and the remembrance of her birth and less than a month before the US general elections, to which access is threatened as it has not been in a long time, this prayer speaks for her

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Bless us this day with time
Bless us this day with choices
Bless us this day with friendship

Bless us this day with work to do
Bless us this day with adventures
Bless us this day with opportunities

Bless us this day with health & safety
Bless us this day with faith in the future
Bless us this day with lessons to be learned

Bless our families & friends today
Bless those who serve & protect us all
Bless all who share this day under the sky

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Loving God,
You who dwell in our hearts,
make for us a cave there
in which to hear your voice
more distinctly,

feel your care
more tenderly,

understand your will
more clearly,

and come to know
your presence
at every moment
of our lives
with new clarity
and new courage,
with new faith
and new urgency.

++
Enable us to grow
in the Benedictine spirit
in ways that make us
compassionate co-creators
of a world in process,
creative keepers
of the human community,
loving listeners
to the heartbeat of the world,
caring sisters and brothers
to its wounded
and bringers of peace
to a world in distress.

++
Let us sink into your Word,
let us nourish it to life,
let it lead us beyond
the burdens of the day
so that we may become
the people you desire us to be.

Give us hearts
where all may enter in,
ears to hear your call,
hands to do your will,
voices to sing your praise
and soul enough
to recognize You
in everything we do.

This we ask
through the intercession
of all the faithful monastics
who have gone before us
and through the grace
of the living God.
Amen.

— Joan Chittister, Prayer of Those Who Dwell in a Monastery of the Heart

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Grace by Wendell Berry

The Wood is shining this morning.

Red. Gold and green. The leaves

Lie on the ground, or fall,

Or hang full of light in the air still.

Perfect in its rise and in its fall, it takes

The place it has been coming to forever.

It has not hastened here, or lagged.

See how surely it has sought itself,

Its roots passing lordly through the earth.

See how without confusion it is

All that it is, and how flawless

Its grace is. Running or walking, the way

Is the same. Be still. Be still.

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Now is the time to free the heart,
Let all intentions and worries stop,
Free the joy inside the self,
Awaken to the wonder of your life.
Open your eyes and see the friends
Whose hearts recognize your face as kin,
Those whose kindness watchful and near,
Encourages you to live everything here.
See the gifts the years have given,
Things your effort could never earn,
The health to enjoy who you want to be
And the mind to mirror mystery.
A good beginning is half the work.

– Irish proverb

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I
Do not
Want to step so quickly

Over a beautiful line on God’s palm

As I move through the earth’s

Marketplace

Today.

I do not want to touch any object in this world

Without my eyes testifying to the truth

That everything is

My beloved.

Something has happened

To my understanding of existence

That now makes my heart always full of wonder

And kindness.

I do not

Want to step so quickly

Over this sacred place on God’s body

That is right beneath your

Own foot.

As I

Dance with

Precious life

Today.

– Today by Hafiz

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from More Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie

Live Big!! Sometimes, that’s the best advice we can hear. Win or lose succeed or fail, go for it, and go all the way. As my flight instructor told me on the first day of flying lessons, “Keep one hand on the throttle and one hand on the yoke.” “Aahhhhh!” I would say during my early lessons as the plane lifted into the air, but I kept the throttle pushed all the way in.

There are times when it’s wise to be cautious. And there are times when the best thing we can do – the only thing we can do – is go for it by living big. Ask her out. Request the raise. Say no – and mean it. Learn to drive a racecar or climb a tall hill. Learn to snorkel or surf. Dreams remain dreams until you act upon them. Then they become real life.

Will you throw a few coins into the beggar’s cup, or will you bring him a hamburger and fries from the local fast-food place? Will you do an average job at work, or will you look for ways to go big – really give it your best – in the everyday areas of your job? Will you put your all – your heart and emotions – into the relationship with the people you love? Will you wait for another, more convenient time to pray, or will you start genuinely trusting God?

You don’t have to get a life. You’ve already got one. Live it, and live big.

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Be not lax in celebrating.
Be not lazy in the festive service of God.
Be ablaze with enthusiasm.
Let us be an alive, burning offering
before the altar of God.

~~Hildegard of Bingen

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Oh, I can hear you, God, above the cry

Of the tossing trees—

Rolling your windy tides across the sky,

And splashing your silver seas

Over the pine,

To the water-line

Of the moon.

Oh, I can hear you, God,

Above the wail of the lonely loon—

When the pine-tops pitch and nod—

Chanting your melodies

Of ghostly waterfalls and avalanches,,

Washing your wind among the branches

To make them pure and white.

Wash over me, God, with your piney breeze,

And your moon’s wet-silver pool;

Wash over me, God, with your wind and night,

And leave me clean and cool.

~ Lew Sarett, Wind in the Pine