For all that has been, thanks

Suffragan Bishop in Europe David Hamid, blogging at Eurobishop, reviews a new book co-authored by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Sister Joan Chittister:

Rowan Williams and Joan Chittister, Growing in Gratitude

For%20all%20that%20has%20been%20thanks.jpgArchbishop Rowan’s new book, written in partnership with the American Benedictine writer Joan Chittister, looks at what it means to use the word ‘alleluia,’ a word that is often used in Christian worship, but the meaning of which is rarely considered. Drawing on the use of the word in the Old and New Testaments and in the liturgical tradition of the Orthodox Church, the book suggests that using the word summons us to see the whole of life ‘as one long Alleluia moment.’ That is to says, it calls us to discover the richness and manifestations of God even when they are hidden from us and to learn to give thanks even for those aspects of life for which we are not normally grateful. The book also seeks to provide practical answers to the question of how we develop this way of viewing the word so that we can say, in the famous words of Dag Hammerskold, ‘For all that has been, thanks…for all that shall be, yes.’ This book will be helpful to many people as an important exploration of what it means to live a thankful Christian life.

April 4, Chittister was interviewed by Liane Hansen about the book on Weekend Edition Sunday.

HANSEN: There are various essays written by both you and Archbishop Rowan Williams. It’s a procedural question: how did you collaborate? Who decided, like, that you would write on conflict, and he would write on sinners?

Sister CHITTISTER: We sat down in his office, and I said to him, after a bit of preliminary conversation, Archbishop, what are you most interested in at the present moment in the spiritual life? And he paused that quiet way he has, and he looked at me, and he said, well, he said, I like alleluia.

So I said, all right. So we decided that I would go on looking at these opposite dimensions of life and that he would look at what he knows are major issues for people.

HANSEN: It is interesting the juxtaposition of two things. I mean, I’ll take two that you wrote about: faith and doubt. You know, faith being is kind of hard to define, perhaps, it’s a belief in a mystery.

Sister CHITTISTER: Yeah.

HANSEN: Why is doubt worthy of an alleluia?

Sister CHITTISTER: Oh, doubt is a wonderful thing, and it’s what people fear most and what people castigate themselves about most. Doubt is that moment in the faith life when we put down everybody else’s answers and begin to find our own. We look at everything we’ve been told is holy, is true, and we test it.

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