Brother David Steindl-Rast writes¬† in “i am through you so i” about the contemplative life which he was drawn to as a teenager in Austria during World War II when his country was in the hands of the Nazi’s. Later he immigrated to the U. S. where he joined a Benedictine Monastery. His experience of pure joy in the face of death during the war was one of the circumstances which lead him to a monastery. “One approaches this Mystery by letting oneself down into the Great Silence.” p. 99 But he is not only a hermit, he travels the world teaching what he knows so well from experience.

 

Parker Palmer, now eighty, writes that “Age itself is no excuse to wade in the shallows. It’s a reason to dive deep and take creative risks.” And this: “You need only claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly possess all you have been and done…you are fierce with reality.” This is how we take our whole selves to God in love–through accepting and embracing all that we are, all that we did and all that was done to us. Listen to this fount of wisdom tell how it worked for him.

 

This is Brene Brown’s latest book, a jewel to be cherished. She is a sociologist and a management consultant who advocates acknowledging our own vulnerabilities as well as those of the ones we lead to bring out the best in a management team. She recommends this approach to include the whole person of those who sit at our table in order to engage the whole person in the work to be done. It’s a fine guide for a single human being or for an organization that is interested in maximizing the talents of the people who work for them.

Kent Annan moved to Haiti with his new wife with Beyond Borders which asks its volunteers to get to know the local people through living and working with them for six months before they start working for them. By the end of six months the volunteers are grounded in the reality of everyday life there and looking to the local people to participate in voicing the solutions and then working towards them. If you want to know what subsistence means in a 3rd world country, he describes how it takes two years to build a simple house, what the people subsist on and much more. It’s a complete picture of life in Haiti right now.