Gratitude for the World

Our theme for this issue is gratitude, exploring it through the lens of Fr. Adrian van Kaam’s formative spirituality. Our contributors this month invite you to consider the gift of our world and how our individual and collective experiences and reflections can engender profound gratitude, which leads us to joyful recognition and union with God’s grace all around us.


Edward Kocher, Ph.D.

To acknowledge and express gratitude for the wonderful life improvements that have occurred over the centuries provides us a humbling reminder of our Creator’s call for us to “learn to live graciously together on this unique, beautiful, blue planet.” To that end, I suggest that we take one more look at the village scene to the left, take a deep breath, and feel deep gratitude for our everyday blessings.

Be a Lake


A story of a Hindu master and his disciple, origin unknown, offered by Buddhist contemplative, Ando…

Like Flowers

Carolyn Heil

This poem, offering a contemplation of our “wondrous time on earth”, first appeared in PROSETRY on July 18, 2023.

Rough Places Plain

Kirk Wareham

This, then, is something that I have observed over the years. In many cases, nature is astonishingly quick and efficient at reclaiming a piece of herself that has been abused in some manner. Patiently she applies her healing balm to the rough places, blunting the sharp corners, softening the angles, smoothing the lines.

Observing this healing process, the words of Handel’s great choral work, Messiah, come to mind: “The crooked places shall be made straight, and the rough places plain” (Isa. 40:4).

What I Lost When I Stopped Crying

Rev. Benjamin Perry

There was no pivotal moment when I stopped crying. I can’t remember any traumatic incident in which I wept openly, was gruesomely mocked, and swore off tears. Yet by my early 20s, as surely as if I had cauterized my tear ducts, I hadn’t wept in years.

If I wrote this about any other crucial biological process, such as pooping or sneezing, that statement would be remarkable; at the very least you’d suggest that I consult a doctor. But not crying is oddly normative—no matter how much it hurts us when we stop.

On Gazing Above and Perceiving Below

Sr. Deborah Lockwood

As I stood there in the cold, indeed frigid, evening, I let myself be enveloped in the wonder and awe of this night display of God’s splendor. I learned later that this spectacle had a name, dubbed Hale-Bopp, C/1995 01 to be exact, a comet which came four thousand years ago, was with us now, and would not reappear for another 4000 years or so!

Harp Tree

Sr. Chris Koellhoeffer

When there simply are no words, when the notes die in our throats, may we remember that the Holy One never ceases singing for us. May we remember that our longing to find meaning in the place of exquisite pain and fragile dreams has not gone unnoticed. May we remember that the communion of all the holy ones is here for us. Carrying us. Standing with us under the harp tree. Holding us in tenderness and prayer.

On Contemplation

Cindy Neely

There was a deep-felt sense of aloneness that I felt to the core of my being. I wanted to be connected, to be known, to be fully accepted for myself, but I knew that would require more than the face I put on each day that said, “I am fine.”

A reflection on the drive home after an Almost Heaven Retreat…

Rev. Dr. Rindy Trouteaud

The mountains hold our secrets. As I snake my way through the mountains of West Virginia, my car windows open in celebration of spring, the whispers of generations waft through my car. They linger momentarily, searching for a receptive heart to fill with their stories before being swept up in the warm air dancing over the earth’s majestic tectonic offering of granite and coal.  I watch the ridge of bare-bone trees hugging the mountaintop sway under the weight of human emotions as these stories – some as brief as a desperate prayer – shinny up their spines before being released heavenward.

Transfiguration Sunday

Rev. Dr. Kristin Adkins Whitesides

Transfiguration Sunday, a turning point from the season of Epiphany to the season of Lent, a season of repentance, is characterized by light and revelation. Listen as Rev. Dr. Kristin Adkins Whitesides, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Winchester, Virginia, preaches from Matthew 17:1-9. She explores the mystical event of the Transfiguration and what it means for the disciples and for us.

How Dreadful Is This Place

Thomas Traherne

Yet further, you never enjoyed the world aright, till you so love the beauty of enjoying it that you are covetous and earnest to persuade others to enjoy it.