The Cloister Walk Quotes

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The Cloister Walk The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris
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The Cloister Walk Quotes Showing 1-21 of 21
“I wonder if children don't begin to reject both poetry and religion for similar reasons, because the way both are taught takes the life out of them.”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
“Only Christ could have brought us all together, in this place, doing such absurd but necessary things.”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
“Poets are immersed in process, and I mean process not as an amorphous blur but as a discipline. The hard work of writing has taught me that in matters of the heart, such as writing, or faith, there is no right or wrong way to do it, but only the way of your life. Just paying attention will teach you what bears fruit and what doesn't. But it will be necessary to revise--to doodle, scratch out, erase, even make a mess of things--in order to make it come out right.”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
“Anyone who listens to the world, anyone who seeks the sacred in the ordinary events of life, has “problems about how to believe.”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
“if the scriptures don’t sometimes pierce us like a sword, we’re not paying close enough attention.”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
“Cities remind us that the desire to escape from the problems of other people by fleeing to a suburb, small town, or a monastery, for that matter, is an unholy thing, and ultimately self-defeating. We can no more escape from other people than we can escape from ourselves.”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
“Any life lived attentively is disillusioning as it forces us to know us as we are.”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
“One difficulty that people seeking to modernize hymnals and the language of worship inevitably run into is that contemporaries are never the best judges of what works and what doesn’t. This is something all poets know; that language is a living thing, beyond our control, and it simply takes time for the trendy to reveal itself, to become so obviously dated that it falls by the way, and for the truly innovative to take hold.”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
“The tragedy of sin is that it diverts gifts. The person who has a genuine capacity for loving becomes promiscuous, maybe sexually, or maybe by becoming frivolous and fickle, afraid to make a commitment to anyone or anything. The person with a gift for passionate intensity squanders it in angry tirades and, given power, becomes a demagogue.”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
“Monastic people have long known--and I've experienced it in a small way myself--that the communal reciting, chanting, and singing of the psalms brings a unique sense of wholeness and order to their day, and even establishes the rhythm of their lives.”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
“To eat in a monastery refectory is an exercise in humility; daily, one is reminded to put communal necessity before individual preference. While consumer culture speaks only to preferences, treating even whims as needs to be granted (and the sooner the better), monastics sense that this pandering to delusions of self-importance weakens the true self, and diminishes our ability to distinguish desires from needs. It's a price they're not willing to pay.”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
“Anger, [Evagrius] wrote, is given to us by God to help us confront true evil. We err when we use it casually, against other people, to gratify our own desires for power or control.”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
“As I listened to the Book of Revelation over several weeks I found in it a healing vision, a journey through the heart of pain and despair, and into hope. And I was consistently reminded of how subtly this vision works on us. It asserts that the evils of this world are not incurable, that injustice does not have the last word. And that can be terrifying or consoling, depending on your point of view, your place within the world.”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
“The darkness is still with us, O Lord. You are still hidden and the world which you have made does not want to know you or receive you . . . You are still the hidden child in a world grown old . . . You are still obscured by the veils of this world’s history, you are still destined not to be acknowledged in the scandal of your death on the cross . . . But I, O hidden Lord of all things, boldly affirm my faith in you. In confessing you, I take my stand with you . . . If I make this avowal of faith, it must pierce the depths of my heart like a sword, I must bend my knee before you, saying, I must alter my life. I have still to become a Christian. —Karl Rahner, PRAYERS FOR MEDITATION”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
“I could suddenly grasp that not ever having to think about what to wear was freedom, that a drastic stripping down to essentials in one's dress might also be a drastic enrichment of one's ability to focus on more important things.”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
tags: habit, nun
“Who can be good, if not made so by loving? —St. Augustine”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
“In our culture, time can seem like an enemy....But the monastic perspective welcomes time as a gift from God and seeks to put it to good use rather than allowing us to be used up by it.....Liturgical time is essentially poetic time, oriented toward process rather than productivity, willing to wait attentively in stillness, rather than always pushing to get the job done,”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
“...and she came to the monk wearing cosmetics, much gold jewelry, and an elaborate silk dress. The monk admonished her gently; 'By supposing your body to require [all this],' he said,'you condemn the Creator for deficiency.' It is a remark that might be interpreted as misogyny, but in the context of the story--the monk pleads that he is only a man with the same nature as hers, and has no special access to God--it is clear that the monk believes the woman to be made in the image of God, good as she is, without unnecessary adornment.”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
“Listening to Jeremiah is one hell of a way to get your blood going in the morning; it puts caffeine to shame.”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
“A prophet’s task is to reveal the fault lines hidden beneath the comfortable surface of the worlds we invent for ourselves, the national myths as well as the little lies and delusions of control and security that get us through the day. And Jeremiah does this better than anyone.”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
“Exile, like memory, may be a place of hope and delusion. But there are rules of light there and principles of darkness. . . . The expatriate is in search of a country, the exile in search of a self. —Eavan Boland, OBJECT LESSONS”
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk