Thinking Out Loud ~ Why Saying Grace Before Eating Has Deep Meaning

Joseph Campbell speaks of the importance of ritual when sitting down to eat in Reflections on the Art of Living. He says, “Ritual introduces you to the meaning of what’s going on. Saying grace before meals lets you know that you’re about to eat something that was once alive. When eating a meal, realize what you were doing. Hunting peoples thank the animals for having giving itself. They feel gratitude. The main ritual of mature, hunting tribes, like those of the Americas, were addressed to the animal. On the northwest coast, the principal rites were when the first wave of salmon came in, and they were intended to than the salmon. The life of the animal that you’ve taken is given back when you recognize what you’ve done. And so, sitting down to eat, realize what you are doing: you are eating a life that has been given so that you might live. P. 90

Note: The ritual of grace before meals or some form of expression of gratitude for what we are about to eat seems to me to be important. We are not entitled to the food, it is all a gift. Something died to feed us whether it is an animal, fish, or plant. Human beings other than us worked so we could eat. There is a line of people who made our meal possible from the grocery to the farmer or rancher. Yes, a heartfelt THANK YOU for this food is a worthy ritual.

Thinking Out Loud ~ A Moment of Grace

Victor Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning describes incident shortly after his concentration camp was liberated. Although still living in the concentration camp, the prisoners were free to go wherever they wanted to go. Frankl found himself walking alone through the countryside. This is how he describes it. “I walked through the country past flowering meadows, for miles and miles toward the market town near the camp. Larks rose in the sky, and I could hear their joyous song. There was no one to be seen for miles around. There was nothing but the wide earth and sky in the lark’s jubilation, and the freedom of space. I stopped, looked around, and up to the sky; and then I went down on my knees. At that moment there was very little I knew of myself and of the world. I had, but one sentence in mind, always the same: I called to the Lord from my narrow prison, and He answered me in the freedom of space.”

Note: Have you ever had a spiritual experience similar to Frankl’s spontaneous experience of joy and gratitude? I have. When they’ve occurred to me, I have felt overwhelmed with the presence of God and felt the overwhelming desire to remain in that space forever. One cannot predict if and when they will occur, I call it a moment of grace.

Today’s Poem ~ Love’s Living Flame

Love’s Living Flame

St. John of the Cross

O Love’s living flame,
Tenderly you wound
My soul’s deepest center!
Since you no longer evade me,
Will you, please, at last conclude:
Rend the veil of this sweet encounter!

O cautery so tender!
O pampered wound!
O soft hand! O touch so delicately strange,
Tasting of eternal life
And canceling all debts!
Killing, death into life you change!

O lamps of fiery lure,
In whose shining transparence
The deep cavern of the senses,
Blind and obscure,
Warmth and light, with strange flares,
Gives with the lover’s caresses!

How tame and loving
Your memory rises in my breast,
Where secretly only you live,
And in your fragrant breathing,
Full of goodness and grace,
How delicately in love you make me feel!


COVID-19 Is a Bummer – It Can’t Stop Good Things From Happening

COVID-19 Is a Bummer – It Can’t Stop Good Things From Happening

Here are a few of the good things I witnessed or experienced today:

  • A neighbor stopped me as I was finishing my walk. She said she hadn’t seen me in a week and she was worried. Blessings on her. A good person. A good neighbor.
  • I don’t like to go to the store to often these days. I make due with with I have. Tonight I made pasta primavera with tofu. It was delicious. Grateful.
  • I wake up each day in a great mood and filled with hope. It’s a gift. It’s grace. Whatever it is, I didn’t earn it. Grateful.
  • We’re another day closer to a solution. Knowing we’re a day closer is enough to make me want to toss a party. One day I will toss one and it will be fun. Don’tgive up. Stay strong, keep practicing social distancing, and watch for soaring eagles. They’re a good sign.

The little things are priceless treasures to me. They brighten my day. I hope your day is filled to overflowing with the little things that make life worth living.

Grateful for all the above.

If you’d like to share the good things you’ve witnessed on my blog, Email me ( a short list (1 to 5 things.  I’ll post and attribute them to you in the way you choose to be acknowledged (e.g., anonymous, name, Word Press blog (etc.).

God Moves in a Mysterious Way ~ William Cowper

God Moves in a Mysterious Way

William Cowper

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs,
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

I Learned Valuable Lessons From Unavoidable Suffering

M Taught Me to Learn From Unavoidable Suffering

Here is an excerpt from Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again:

“Can you see what’s happening, Ray? You’re not stuck. A grateful heart heals, renews, and recreates. Remember what Saint Teresa of Ávila said: ‘All things are passing; God never changes, patience obtains all things.’ Don’t be afraid of suffering. It’s unavoidable. You can do nothing to make it go away. It has a life of its own. You did not purposely will this suffering upon yourself. It happened. It happened as it will happen to everyone. It is part of the human condition. We can push aside all thoughts of it to some remote canyon in Texas, but it waits patiently, knowing its time will come. Instead of suffering being a curse, think of your unavoidable suffering as a wonderful gift to help you become a more loving and compassionate person. If you’re willing, you will see the lessons it is teaching you.”

Ordering information for the paperback or ebook version of Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again may be found at

Excerpt From: Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again by Ray Calabrese. This material is protected by copyright

When Grieving Strikes, There is no Turning Back

Willie Nelson sang, “It’s not something you get over, but it’s something you get through.” His words clearly describe grieving. When grieving hits, it leaves a permanent scar. The wound heals, but the scar remains. It’s the way it is. Here is a an excerpt from Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again

“Grief hits like a lightning bolt. My world crashed on top of me after Babe’s death. I functioned, but I don’t remember anything I did. Tears flowed and flowed and flowed. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers couldn’t even turn my tears off. . . . I knew the meaning of grief. And, at the same time, I never knew grief in the way I now know it. Now I am learning, and I am learning the hard way—through experience.”

Ordering information for the paperback or ebook version of Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again may be found here.

Excerpt From: Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again by Ray Calabrese. This material is protected by copyright

Excerpt From

Dancing Alone

Raymond Calabrese

This material may be protected by copyright.

Love’s Reason ~ Poem by Henry Van Dyke


     For that thy face is fair I love thee not;
         Nor yet because the light of thy brown eyes
         Hath gleams of wonder and of glad surprise,
     Like woodland streams that cross a sunlit spot:
     Nor for thy beauty, born without a blot,
       Most perfect when it shines through no disguise
       Pure as the star of Eve in Paradise,—
     For all these outward things I love thee not:

     But for a something in thy form and face,
       Thy looks and ways, of primal harmony;
     A certain soothing charm, a vital grace
       That breathes of the eternal womanly,
     And makes me feel the warmth of Nature’s breast,
     When in her arms, and thine, I sink to rest.”

Excerpt From
Music, and Other Poems
Henry Van Dyke

“How Do I Love Thee” Poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How Do I love Thee

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

I love thee to the level of every day’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.

I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

Today’s Quote by Meister Eckhart on Inner Peace

“ Let God work in you, give the work to God, and have peace. Don’t worry if He works through your nature or above your nature, because both are His, nature and grace.”

― Meister Eckhart,

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights