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Posted September 20, 2012

Book: The Cup of Our Life: A Guide to Spiritual Growth
Author: Joyce Rupp
Sorin Books, Notre Dame, IN. 2012. Pp. 168

An Excerpt from the introduction:

The cup has taught me many valuable lessons for my spiritual growth. I have learned that my life holds stale things that need to be discarded, and that sometimes my life feels as wounded as a broken cup. I have learned that I have flaws, chips, and stains, just as any well-used cup may have, but that these markings of a well-traveled life need not prevent me from being a valuable gift for others. I have learned that the contents of my life are meant to be constantly given and shared in a generous gesture of compassion, just as the main purpose of a cup is to have its contents given away. I have especially learned gratitude for all those moments when the unexpected has transformed my life into an abundant cup of blessings.

Notice the rim on a cup. It is circular, with no beginning or end, a symbol of wholeness. In the circle all is connected to form a oneness. The spiritual life is a journey toward becoming whole, a day-to-day movement of continually growing into the person we are meant to be. The cup's rim or circle daily reminds me of this longing for wholeness and connectedness.

This yearning for greater spiritual oneness with God is the foundation of The Cup Of Our Life. I hope that this six-week guide, which is centered around the many facets of a cup, will inspire you to grow in your relationship with God and will fill your cup of life to overflowing.

An Excerpt from the Book:

The Cup of Thanksgiving

For all of a sudden when I saw those lights, I said to myself . . . this is your life, this is your real life, and you are living it. Your life is not going to start later. This is it, it is now. It's funny how a person can be so busy that they forget this is it. This is my life. –Lee Smith

A long time ago, I heard Jean Houston tell a story about herself as a youth, going to hear a presentation by Helen Keller who was blind and deaf. Houston said that after Helen Keller finished speaking, she knew that she had to talk with her. She got up and presented her face to Helen Keller. Jean Houston described the experience this way: "She read my whole face and I blurted out: "Miss keller, why are you so happy?" and she laughed and laughed saying: "My child it is because I live each day as if it were my last and life, with all its moments, is so full of glory."

It is amazing, isn't it, how we can miss so much life? The key to gratitude is surprise. When we lose our sensitivity to wonder and awe, when we simply trudge or zoom through the days, we can so easily miss the daily gifts of life. When we awaken to what is within us and around us, when we savor, relish, and taste life fresh each day, our heart holds much more gratitude for our blessings.

Andrew Harvey writes in The Way of Passion that if we were really looking at this world, we would be moved a hundred times a day by the flowers at the side of the road, the people we meet, by all that brings us messages of our own goodness and the goodness of all things. To be grateful is to affirm goodness wherever we find it. The problems with being grateful is not the lack of countless blessings; the problem is with being inattentive and unaware of these blessings.

One practice that has helped to reawaken my gratitude when my thankfulness has grown lean is to take one of my five external senses each day and be attentive to it. One day I notice the sounds that I hear; another day I pay close attention to everything I see, etc. Doing this helps me move out of my tired approach to life. I restore my alertness to my daily gifts and begin again to see the universe as one vast blessing.

Are you living your life right now? Or, are you still waiting for it to happen?

Week 1: The cup of life

Week 2: The open cup

Week 3: The chipped cup

Week 4: The broken cup

Week 5: The cup of compassion

Week 6: The blessing cup

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