On Gratitude

A few links that have caught my eye so far this week that seem to come together in some ways on the theme of gratitude, which figures prominently in Sunday's Gospel.

Speaking at Monday's morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Monday, Pope Francis pointed out the everyday temptations that can turn us away from God. Click here to read the rest.

Click here for a fine article by Conor Mc Donough on why he considers Seamus Heaney a poet of Holy Saturday.

Related articles Seamus Heaney: A Poet of In-Between (newyorker.com)

Following on from National Poetry Day last week which this year focused on the theme of Water, ( see my previous post here,)  poet Malcolm Guite joins in a celebration for the poet Kathleen Raine, organized by The Temenos Acadamy

He is going to read ‘Air’ from her suite of poems about the four elements and will be reading some of his own poems that play with or reflect on the traditional four elements, including the one below about a walk in Grantchester Meadows, titled "Out In The Elements," which will be published in his nest book The Singing Bowl. You can find more on the Kathleen Raine celebration here and listen to Malcolm reading his poem at his website here.

Out In The Elements

I crunch the gravel on my ravelled walks
And clabber with my boots in the wet clay
For I myself am clay that breathes and talks
Articulated earth, I move and pray
Alive at once to walk and be the way.
The root beneath, the branch above the tree
These hedges bright with blossom, white with May,
Everything concentrates, awaits in me
the coming of the One who sets creation free

Earth opens now to sudden drumming rains,
The raised and falling waters of the sea
Whose tidal pull and play is in my veins
Spilling and spreading, filling, flowing free
Whose ebb and flow is still at work in me
And in the wombing pulse of play and work
When heart beats pushed in waves of empathy
Till waters broke and bore me from the dark
And found this foundered shore and took me from the ark

As rain recedes I pause to fill my pipe
And kindle fire that flickers into light
And lights the leaf all curled and cured and ripe
Within a burr-starred bowl. How fierce and bright
It glows against the cold. And I delight
In taste and fragrance, watching whisps of grey
And graceful smoke in their brief flight,
As sun breaks from the clouds and lights my way
I feel the fire that makes the light that makes the day

Now air is all astir in breaks and blasts,
The last grey rags of cloud are blown aside
The hedgerows hush and rustle in the gusts
As clean winds whistle round me. Far and wide
Bent grasses and frail flowers lean aside
I breathe the world in with this brimming breeze
That tugs at me and eddies at my side
Quickens and flickers through the tangled trees
And breathes me back to life and brings me to my knees

Akin to every creature I will learn
From each and all the meaning of my birth
I love the dust to which I will return
The subtle substance of my mother earth,
From water born by fire fathered forth,
An index and epitome of nature,
I sum and summon all the world is worth,
And breathing now His elemental air
I find the One within, without, and everywhere.

 Looking towards Sunday's Gospel

 Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten
     made clean? But the other nine,
     where are they? Was none of them
     found to return and give praise to
    God except this foreigner?"
   Then he said to him, "Get up and go
     on your way; your faith has made
     you well

Luke 17: 17-19


 To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything God has given us–and God has given us everything…. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience.

"Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world."

 - John Milton Source -Edge of Enclosure

"If you can just appreciate each thing, one by one, then you will have pure gratitude. Even though you observe just one flower, that one flower includes everything.
— Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

 "I  can set a little altar, in the world or in my heart. I can stop what I am doing long enough to see where I am, who I am there with, and how awesome the place is.... Human beings may separate things into as many piles as we wish--separating spirit from flesh, sacred from secular, church from world. But we should not be surprised when God does not recognize the distinctions we make between the two. Earth is so thick with divine possibility that it is a wonder we can walk anywhere without cracking our shins on altars."

Source - Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World

Fr. Austin Fleming in his pause for prayer here yesterday at A Concord Pastor Comments quotes these lines below attributed to St Francis of Assisi
 I once spoke to my friend, an old squirrel, 
about the sacraments.

He got so excited and ran into a hollow in his tree 
and came back holding some acorns, 
an owl feather and a ribbon he found. 

And I just smiled and said, 
"Yes, dear, you understand: 
everything imparts His grace."  

Click on the links below for related posts from my archives on the theme of gratitude

All That I Have Seen Teaches Me

A Miracle For Breakfast

Amo La Vida 

 This is a lovely poem for reflection by Ted Loder especially in the gathering harvest time of Autumn..

Gather Me God

O GOD, gather me now to be with you as you are with me.

Soothe my tiredness;
quiet my fretfulness;
curb my aimlessness;
receive my compulsiveness;
let me be easy for a moment.

O LORD, release me from the fears and guilts which grip me so tightly;
from the expectations and opinions which I so tightly grip,
that I may be open to receiving,
to learn something refreshingly different.

O GOD, gather me to be with you as you are with me.

Forgive me for claiming so much for myself that I leave no room for gratitude;
for confusing exercises in self-importance with acceptance of self-worth;
for complaining so much of my burdens that I become a burden;
for competing against others so insidiously that I stifle celebrating them and receiving your blessing through their gifts.

O GOD, gather me to be with you as you are with me.

Keep me in touch with myself,
with my needs,
my anxieties,
my angers,
my pains,
my corruptions,
that I may claim them as my own rather than blame them on someone else.

O LORD, deepen my wounds into wisdom;
shape my weakness into compassion;
gentle my envy into enjoyment,
my fear into trust,
my guilt into honesty,
my accusing finger into tickling ones.

O GOD, gather me to be with you as you are with me.

by Ted Loder, Guerillas of Grace

 These two videos are powerful prayers of gratitude offered by Br. David Steindl Rast: the first one is accompanied by Gary Malkin's inspired music, looks towards the possibility of a world uniting in an overflow of gratitude. From www.gratefulness.org from my post here

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