prayer

prayer

There’s a common emotional vocabulary in the writings of Catholic women, a fierce devotion strangely coupled with a startling humility. This is ever-so-present in Flannery O'Connor's A Prayer Journal, recently published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

It's a wonderful book: unflinchingly honest, unfailingly wise, and immensely funny:

For Muslims, Ramadan is the holy month in which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) began to receive the first series of messages that would eventually become the Quran.

The Prophet was a family man and a business man. And yet he took time away from family and work to go on solitary retreats. He took a break from society, a kind of sabbatical from his routines, to reach for a deeper relationship with God, much like Jesus in the desert.

I wish I’d had a conversation about the universe with my dad, but that wasn’t the kind of relationship we had.

Our connection was rooted in the physical, in the doing not in the saying. My dad had that same kind of link with the natural world. He didn’t much talk about the beauty in things, didn’t call out the colors of a fiery sunset or the way the dew sparkled on a downy rhododendron bud, though I know he enjoyed these things. Instead, he’d gaze out at the world with a look not unlike a smile simply soaking up the moment.

My mother is one of those twice-a-year Jews, but, for some strange reason during a brief segment of my childhood, my sister and I went to bed each night with a prayer. A lavender elephant and a yellow giraffe that my mom and her best friend had painted on our bedroom walls floated above our heads as my sister and I chanted:

“Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

You might call Tami Simon a spiritual entrepreneur. She's built a successful multimedia publishing company with a mission to disseminate "spiritual wisdom" by diverse teachers and thinkers like Pema Chödrön and Eckhart Tolle, Daniel Goleman and Brené Brown. She offers compelling lessons on joining inner life with life in the workplace — and advice on spiritual practice with a mobile device.

From Kabbalah to comfort, curiosity to a prayer from the Prophet Muhammad. Our roundup of ideas and stories at On Being this week.

The word "selah" in the biblical Psalms helps one woman reflect and listen to the song before her — whether in verse or in place.

MOVIE REVIEW
The documentary Rites of Passage by Jeff Roy follows a 42-year-old practicing Muslim and Indian transgender to Bangkok for gender reassignment surgery and puts her Islamic faith and ethnic identity at the center of the journey.

by Emily Frost, guest contributor

Acknowledging a spiritual dimension may have more positive effects on physical and mental health than most people realize.

Contemplating“Contemplation” (photo: Kasia/Flickr cc by-nc-sa 2.0)

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