Exerpt | A Sacred Primer

The Answer is Yes

When Leonard Bernstein concluded the lectures at Harvard that became his wonderful book, The Unanswered Question, his final statement was, “I’m no longer quite sure what the question is, but I do know that the answer is yes.”


That is our answer to the call from the heart for a deep, nurturing connection with the Holy Other. The yielding of this center of consent may be a silent, slow development. Transformation may be gradual and pass unnoticed. It may be a slow permeation of the Spiritus Creator that marks no place or time.

The secret is to be able to want one thing, to seek one thing, to organize the resources of your life around one single end; and, slowly, surely, over time, you become one with that end. Your inner landscape becomes shaped by the single, central emphasis of your life—to become more and more conscious of the Divine’s presence in your life and more and more able to give and to receive love.

Even though your progress is gradual and ongoing, you discover a wonderful thing—the confidence, peace, and certainty building in your life do not belong only to you. Because you create this sanctuary for God in your quiet time, you are able, amazingly enough, to allow others to borrow hope from you. You can become like a quarry from which people in pain and despair can take stones to start to build their lives anew. People can catch the atmosphere of hoping from you.

One way our lives—and the lives of others—change is by people opening new worlds to us that transform the quality of our consciousness. One thing people who spend time listening in quiet and speaking in prayer eventually come to experience for themselves and to be able to provide (on a good day!) for others, is a sense of poise and roominess. There are some people whose very presence—often as a result of many years of practicing a spiritual discipline—inspires a relaxation of inner tensions. To come in contact with them is to find your confidence restored by a general atmosphere of spaciousness and tranquility. This quality is a profound result of moments of grace called into life, not by themselves but by a quickening Presence. This is the gift you hope to be able to give others out of your time of daily quiet and prayer.

The Gift

And the gift to yourself?

There is an old story that resonates the value of practicing a spiritual discipline. The story goes like this:

A distinguished archaeologist spent several years working in the upper Amazon. He employed local men to help him with his work. Once the archeologist and his workers had to walk a considerable distance to reach a new site. The party made very good progress for the first few days; but on the third morning, when it was time to start, the workers just sat without moving, looking very solemn and making no preparation to leave. The chief among the workers explained to the archeologist the problem: “They can’t move any further until their souls have caught up to their bodies.”

That is what you are doing each day you practice daily sacred quiet time and prayer. You are living a commitment that is the very source of hope, peace, and serenity.

You are letting your soul catch up with your body.