Monthly Archives: March 2014

True Destiny

Mertin Quote Graphic

2 Comments

Filed under Devotional Quotes, Thomas Merton

To Give His Humanity Always

This is wonderfully good quote about the incarnation. The idea of Jesus giving himself entirely for each one of us.

Contemplative in the Mud

At Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon, Portugal

He could not satisfy his love by giving himself entirely to the human race by his Incarnation and by his Passion, dying for all people. He sought to find a way to give himself entirely to each one of us in particular; and so he instituted the sacrament of the altar in order to unite himself fully with each one of us: “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them” (Jn 6:56).
Saint Alphonsus Liguori

View original post

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

March 14 — Day 9

1 Corinthians 13:1, 11-13

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.


Campbell pic“When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.

When people get married because they think it’s a long-time love affair, they’ll be divorced very soon, because all love affairs end in disappointment. But marriage is a recognition of a spiritual identity.

—–Joseph Campbell

Prayer Starter — Lord help me to understand the meaning of love.

Enhanced by Zemanta

1 Comment

Filed under Devotional Quotes, Joseph Campbell, Lent, Lenten Prayer Guide

A Lenten Meditation

United Methodist Hymnal
Hymn 386: Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown
Charles Wesley

Come, O thou Traveler unknown,

Whom still I hold, but cannot see!

My company before is gone,

And I am left alone with Thee;

With Thee all night I mean to stay,

And wrestle till the break of day;

With Thee all night I mean to stay,

And wrestle till the break of day.

 

I need not tell Thee who I am,

My misery and sin declare;

Thyself hast called me by my name,

Look on Thy hands, and read it there;

But who, I ask Thee, who art Thou?

Tell me Thy name, and tell me now.

But who, I ask Thee, who art Thou?

Tell me Thy name, and tell me now.

 

‘Tis Love! ’tis Love! Thou diedst for me!
I hear Thy whisper in my heart;
The morning breaks, the shadows flee,
Pure, universal love Thou art;
To me, to all, Thy mercies move;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.
To me, to all, Thy mercies move;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.


By clicking on the picture below you can see an excellent “3 minute Retreat” video prepared by United Methodist Communications using this Wesleyan hymn as background. I hope it is as peaceful to you as it was to me.


Lenten Meditation

Enhanced by Zemanta

1 Comment

Filed under Lent, Meditation, Video

Suffering and Reward

The brother said to the old man, ’So, man does not advance towards any reward without bodily affliction?’ The old man said to him, ‘Truly it is written: “Looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross.” (Hebrews 12:2) David also said: “I will not give sleep to my eyes, nor slumber to my eyelids,” until I find a place for the Lord.’ (Psalm 13:2-4)

— Abba Cronius of the Desert

This saying deals with the concept of suffering as an integral part of the Christian walk. Suffering as a precursor to reward is a most difficult and jesus-on-the-cross1controversial concept. There are Christians that believe that without self-imposed suffering there is no reward. The main thrust of the monk’s words are that scripture leads us to believe that suffering and perseverance are an inbuilt part of our journeys. During this Lenten season we are all called to be aware that suffering is not punishment, but may well be God’s way of teaching us how to come closer to Him. After all, through Jesus, He suffered more than we can ever conceive.

Enhanced by Zemanta

1 Comment

Filed under Desert Fathers, suffering

Thin Places Part 1

Conceptually, I have known of “thin places” for a number of years but never really gave it a whole lot of thought. Thin places, like many other Celtic traditions, hold a certain mystical fascination for me. The Celts developed this sort of thinking long before the long arm of western Christianity invaded their world. Simply put, a thin place was and is just that, a physical location where the separation between the divine and the earth is thin. I believe we can expand that beyond the borders of Ireland and Scotland and say that we have all experienced thin places in our lives – those mystical, unexplainable touches with the divine that both test and strengthen our faith. Contemplative Franciscan Richard Rhor calls this place “the edge “, and suggests we should cultivate being there. “The edge is a holy place, or as the Celts called it, “a thin place” and you have to be taught how to live there. To take your position on the spiritual edge of things is to learn how to move safely in and out, back and forth, across and return.” So, how can we find a thin place in our world? Do we get on a plane and fly to Ireland, or can we just go around the block? Let’s do a little background first.

Thin Places GraphicA thin place is any place of transition: a doorway, a gate, the sea shore, these are all places where very little movement will take you from one place to another. My grandfather had a practice of going “visiting” the neighbors where he would always stand on the porch on the outside of the doorway and never go into the house. In spite of that, everyone would say that that Frank had come over to their house that day. The thin places of spirituality are the same way, we are present in both worlds.

Thin Places in the Bible

I will narrow the list down a little by picking three.

The first is the thin place of God in the Exodus from Egypt. “For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, before the eyes of all the house of Israel at each stage of their journey.” (Exodus 40:38 NRSV) Perhaps this is the most graphic of all thin places in the Bible because it had a very graphic signpost of God’s nearness. God traveled with them and they saw it, they knew and were blessed by experiencing the thin place.

The second is the thin place of any miracle. I’ll pick the Hebrew Scripture story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were local officials of the occupation government of King Nebuchadnezzar. The king had statue of himself built and decreed all subjects to offer worship to it. These men refused saying that they could only worship the true God, Yahweh. He ordered them burned in an especially hot furnace, but they did not perish in the flames. “Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up quickly. He said to his counselors, “Was it not three men that we threw bound into the fire?” They answered the king, “True, O king.” He replied, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the middle of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the fourth has the appearance of a god.”(Daniel 3:24-25 NRSV) Not only were they saved from the execution but God was walking with them in the fire. Not only Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego but all those present around the furnace were standing on holy ground – a thin place.

I chose for the third reference the thinnest place that ever existed, the hill of Golgotha. Many would say that this was a place of the melding of heaven and earth. The place where Jesus, God in the flesh, died for the salvation of all. Picture the scene: “It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.” (Luke 23:44-46 NRSV)There were so many ways that this scene had become a thin place that I could spend pages talking about it, but instead I just want to say the veil between the celestial and the earthly was extraordinarily thin.

Next installment: Relishing your thin places.

4 Comments

Filed under Celtic Spirituality, Mystery, Mystics, Thin Places

Passions and Control

A man who gives way to his passions is like a man who is shot at by an enemy, catches the arrow in his hands, and then plunges it into his own heart. A man who is resisting his passions is like a man who is shot at by an enemy, and although the arrow hits him, it does not seriously wound him because he is wearing a breastplate. But the man who is uprooting his passions is like a man who is shot at by an enemy, but who strikes the arrow and shatters it or turns it back into his enemy’s heart.

——— Abba Dorotheos

Feedom from sinThe food for thought from the Abba is the various ways we handle the passions of life. He gives us three scenarios: surrender, self-willed resistance or spiritual release. The first two can have very dire consequences which can do great harm to us. The third allows us to experience the freedom of deliverance, and not just deliverance, but victory. As we travel on the contemplative path, we can achieve great comfort in knowing that we don’t have to fight the fight alone. God’s spirit will allow us to uproot our passions and become resistant to the tricks of the world

Enhanced by Zemanta

2 Comments

Filed under Desert Fathers, Dorotheos of Gaza, Passions

Lenten Prayer Guide Day 5-10

The new Prayer Guide has been posted. Click on image to the left.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lenten Prayer Guide

Peacemakers

 

March 8 — Day 4

Philippians 4:7-9

Jacob's Ladder7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

There were two old men who dwelt together for many years and who never quarreled. Then one said to the other: “Let us pick a quarrel with each other like other men do.” “I do not know how quarrels arise,” answered his companion. So the other said to him: “Look, I will put a brick down here between us and I will say ‘This is mine.’ Then you can say ‘No it is not, it is mine.’ Then we will be able to have a quarrel.” So they placed the brick between them and the first one said: “This is mine.” His companion answered him: “This is not so, for it is mine.” To this, the first one said: “If it is so and the brick is yours, then take it and go your way.” And so they were not able to have a quarrel.

—-Sayings of the Desert

Prayer Starter — Lord help me to be a peacemaker above all else.

2 Comments

Filed under Desert Mothers, Devotional Quotes, Devotional reading, Lent, Peace, Prayer

4 Things Jesus Never Said

This is a reprint of an article by Michael Hidalgo in the current issue of Relevant Magazine. I hope you can gain some insight from it. Irvin


Here are a few things I hear frequently hear that we may need to rethink …

If You Had More Faith God Would Answer Your Prayer.

There was a man who had a son who suffered from convulsions, and was unable to speak. The father brought his son to Jesus for healing and said, “If you can do anything … help!” Jesus replied to the father, “If you can? Everything is possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23).

The father then said to Jesus, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

What happens next is interesting. Jesus does not say, “I’m sorry, I’d love to help you out, but you need more faith before I can do anything” – not at all. Rather, he heals the boy in the midst of the father’s struggle to believe.

In fact, if we read through the Bible we see God at work in the lives of people in the midst of their doubt and unbelief. We see this with Sarah in Genesis 18, the people of Israel in Exodus 14, Naaman in 2 Kings 5, and Zechariah in Luke 1—to name a few.

We cannot forget the Bible is the story of God’s work, renewal, faithfulness and redemption in the midst of the unfaithfulness of humanity. He does not demand we believe and trust so he can work. He works, and invites us to believe and trust.

Doubting Is Dangerous.

Did Jesus say “Stop Doubting?” Yes. Is there more to the story? Yes.

Of all the disciples, the only one who was has an enduring nickname is Thomas, a.k.a. “Doubting Thomas.” We have traditionally thrown him under the bus for doubting Jesus rose from the dead, and condescendingly shake our heads at his resistance to believe.

But let’s not forget, he is not the only one who did not believe. When the disciples first hear of Jesus’ resurrection from the women who went to Jesus’ tomb, “they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense” (Luke 24:11).

All the disciples doubted, but Thomas was the only one with the courage to admit he needed proof. He said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). And when Jesus finally encountered Thomas, he did not rebuke him. Rather he gave Thomas what he needed. He invited Thomas to touch his wounds, and only then did Jesus tell him he could stop doubting.

The beauty of this is Thomas had an encounter with Jesus none of the other disciples did. He is the only one who touched the wounds of Jesus, because he had the faith to doubt. Nowhere does Jesus condemn doubt; rather he meets people right where they are in it.

Here is How You Can Get To Heaven.

What’s remarkable about Jesus is how little he talked about what happens to us when we die. He was far more concerned with what happens to us while we live here and now. I say this, because Jesus commented very little on heaven as a place somewhere out there we can go when we die.

However, Jesus talked nonstop about our life here and now. Make no mistake Jesus proclaimed the gospel, and the good news about the Kingdom of God (or the Kingdom of Heaven). But his desire was to see this Kingdom come to earth. By comparison we speak about the gospel being how we can leave earth to get to heaven and have eternal life after we die.

Which raises a question: Why does our gospel get us ready to die while the gospel of Jesus gets us ready to live?

Perhaps we should listen closely to the words of Jesus, and move from being consumed with where we will go when we die to being consumed with how we live here and now. How would that change, not only us, but also our world?

There Will Always Be Poor People Among You. Period.

I have a t-shirt that has the words “End Poverty” on the back. Several times when I have worn the shirt I’ve had people say dismissively, “Jesus said, ‘The poor you will have with you always …’” True, he did say that. But that is not all he said.

According to the gospel of Mark Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want” (Mark 14:7). Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 15 where God told his people, “There need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you … he will richly bless you” (Deuteronomy 15:4). God told his people there is no good reason for poverty to exist.

But God seemed to know how we operate, so he said, “If anyone is poor among your people in any of the towns … be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need …” And “There will always be poor people in the land … be openhanded toward those of your people who are poor and needy in your land” (Deuteronomy 15:7-11).

If anything, Jesus’ quote about the poor is a challenge to be generous, lending freely and openhanded toward them.

Jesus certainly had a lot to say; it’s no wonder he is often misquoted. However, when we take the time to truly hear what he has to say to us we will be both comforted and challenged by his words. And when we truly hear him, we will have much more to rethink.

1 Comment

Filed under Bible, Doubt, Jesus