Grateful living as a valid spiritual practice opens the door to what in the Christian tradition have been called the three “Divine Virtues.” They are good habits that have become second nature and connect us to the deepest reality of life, the divine spark within us. These three virtues — attitudes towards life, really — are faith, hope, and love. You find them in all religious traditions and spiritual paths.
The grateful person grows into these basic virtues, according to Br. David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk and the co-founder of Gratefulness.org. And why? In order to be grateful you have to entrust yourself to life. If you don’t trust life, you will always say, “Who knows, is that really a good gift? Maybe it is a trick with strings attached.” As long as you have this fearful attitude, you cannot really be grateful. Faith, rightly understood, is the opposite of fear. It is not, in the first place, believing in something. It is, fundamentally, entrusting yourself to life, like you entrust yourself to water in order to swim.
In this Online Retreat, drawn from Br. David’s talks on a cruise to Alaska in August 2011, we share film footage of the first of his three talks on the Divine Virtues. Here he speaks about faith — “Trusting in Life” — and views it from a myriad of angles: How does it work? When does it work? For whom does it work? Along the way, he covers topics like the relevance of peak experiences, which he assures us everyone has; what it means to bless and be blessed; how faith is like gravity; what is meant by “living forever”; and much more.
There are 12 emailed lessons for the retreat, each including a link to a video of Br. David’s teachings about faith, accompanied by written reflections and study questions for you to explore. The emails have been prepared by Patricia Campbell Carlson, formerly Executive Director of A Network for Grateful Living (ANG*L) and now Program Director at Spirituality & Practice, and Margaret Wakeley, now S&P’s Creative Director. Both accompanied Br. David on the Alaska cruise and have worked closely with him on Gratefulness.org.
Br. David’s talks on “Trusting in Life” fall into a perfect configuration of eleven segments. Midway through the course, to round out our 12 sessions together, you will have an opportunity to watch a supplemental video. In it, Br. David shares his reflections on mystical experiences with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner and artist, writer, performer and television host Bokara Legendre. Participants will share in the Practice Circle — an online forum open 24/7 — their insights, questions, and experiences with the exercises.
Join us as we explore how to entrust ourselves to life. We will also be offering Br. David’s teachings on the other two Divine Virtues, hope (Engaging Hope – 2020 in May) and love (Choosing to Love – 2020 in September). You can subscribe to them individually or in a subscription package.