“It is impossible to give thanks and simultaneously feel fear.”
-Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
“[The] dinner party is a true proclamation of the abundance of being–a rebuke to the thrifty little idolatries by which we lose sight of the lavish hand that made us. It is precisely because no one needs soup, fish, meat, salad, cheese, and dessert at one meal that we so badly need to sit down to them from time to time. It was largesse that made us all; we were not created to fast forever. The unnecessary is the the taproot of our being and the last key to the door of delight. Enter here, therefore, as a sovereign remedy for the narrowness of our minds and the stinginess of our souls, the formal dinner…the true convivium–the long Session that brings us nearly home.”
-Robert Farrar Capon The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“What will our final perspective be on all these hours? The hours of work, the hours of wealth, the idle hours, the hours of failure and self-doubt? Who stands up and divests themselves of this body of work? Who lets go of all these accomplishments, these so-called failures? Do we look back on the wealth acquired from the acquisition, the poems published and admired, the house built and sold, the land farmed and productive, or do we see the drama of the acquisition, the beauty in the act of writing itself, the happiness the house can contain, the love of the land and the sky that nourished it?…
It is the hidden in our work that always holds the treasure. A life dedicated to the goodness in work is a life making visible all the rich invisible seams of existence hidden from others. Good work is a grateful surprise.”
“Thanks be to Thee, Jesu Christ,
For the many gifts Thou has bestowed on me,
Each day and night, each sea and land,
Each weather fair, each calm, each wild.
I am giving Thee worship with my whole life,
I am giving Thee assent with my whole power,
I am giving Thee praise with my whole tongue,
I am giving Thee honour with my whole utterance.
I am giving Thee reverence with my whole understanding,
I am giving Thee offering with my whole thought,
I am giving Thee praise with my whole fervour,
I am giving Thee humility in the blood of the Lamb.
I am giving Thee love with my whole devotion,
I am giving Thee kneeling with my whole desire,
I am giving Thee love with my whole heart,
I am giving Thee affection with my whole sense;
I am giving Thee existence with my whole mind,
I am giving Thee my soul, O God of all gods.”
“You have survived the winter because you are, and were, and always will be very much loved,” said the sun. “For that small place deep within you that remained unfrozen and open to mystery, that is where I have made my dwelling. And long, long before you felt my warmth surrounding you, you were bing freed and formed from within in ways so deep and profound that you could not possibly know what was happening.”
-Mary Fahy, The Tree that Survived the Winter
Give thanks to the Lord for he is good,
for his love has no end.
Let the sons of Israel say:
‘His love has no end.’
Let the sons of Aaron say:
‘His love has not end.’
–Psalm 118, as translated in The Benedictine Handbook
by Brooks Haxton
So will I compass thine altar, O Lord: That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving. (Psalm 26)
Thine altar is to me this bathtub
where my four-year-old twin
girls tip back their heads.
They close their eyes.
I read their faces from above,
in trust and fear, in holiness,
heads tipped until the waterline
has touched their hairlines, cautious.
Look: their hair flows underwater
like the scrolls unfurled in heaven.
from Uproar: Antiphonies to Psalms by Brooks Haxton