Seeking my Love
I will head for the mountains and for watersides,
I will not gather flowers, nor fear wild beasts;
I will go beyond strong men and frontiers.
——Canticle of John of the Cross Stanza 3
At this point John determines that in spite of the darkness he feels, he will continue his search. Not a person among us has not felt a sense of spiritual abandonment from time to time. We all have those times when we lose our way and feel all alone – cut off from God. Quickly we discover that others – intercessors – are not enough to find Him. We must seek, seek restlessly and fervently, for that precious relationship that we have lost. We climb the mountain of virtue to get a closer look at His nature. Like John, we have no time to waste gathering the gratifications of life, and no fear of the evil one that can deter us from our task. In our quest for God we must go beyond our strength and vision and seek to see life though His eyes. Then, and only then, will we find that which we seek.
- From John of the Cross (supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com)
A brother went to find Abba Serapion. According to his custom, the old man invited him to say a prayer. But the other, calling himself a sinner and unworthy of the monastic habit, did not obey. Next Abba Serapion wanted to wash his feet, but using the same words again, the visitor prevented him. Then Abba Serapion made him eat and he began to eat with him. Then he admonished him saying, ‘My son, if you want to make progress stay in your cell and pay attention to yourself and your manual work; going out is not so profitable for you as remaining at home.’ When he heard these words the visitor was offended and his expressions changed so much that the old man could not but notice it. So he said to him, ‘Up to now you have called yourself a sinner and accused yourself of being unworthy to live, but when I admonished you lovingly, you were extremely put out. If you want to be humble, learn to bear generously what others unfairly inflict upon you and do not harbor empty words in your heart.’ Hearing this, the brother asked the old man’s forgiveness and went away greatly edified.
——Abba Serapion of the Desert
The greatest measure of true humility is how we react to honest and loving criticism. None of us truly wants to be criticized. The wise Abba was giving the brother some very simple advice about work and prayer and the necessity of stability of life. This advice, lovingly given, was very disturbing to the brother. His reaction, as strong as it was, is not the main lesson of the saying. Serapion is telling us that in order to live of life of humility and service we must learn to bare undeserved criticism. For it is in the manner in which we handle the harshness of our enemy that our true Christian fiber is displayed. We live in a time that people seem to have nothing better to do than to find fault with everyone. Today’s culture demands destruction of all those who disagree or threaten our position. The advice of the Abba is to listen to the criticism of the loving people that our Lord has sent our way, and in that, we find the strength to face the unfairness that the world will bring to our lives.
Augustine of Hippo
“Love, and do what you will. If you keep silence, do it out of love. If you cry out, do it out of love. If you refrain from punishing, do it out of love.”
― Augustine of Hippo
Augustine speaks of silence as a form of love. I propose that in our silence , we show the ultimate love to others. Our world is a place of “getting it straight,” but Augustine tells us that is not always the answer. Jesus says, “Turn the other cheek,” and by doing so we have expressed true Christianity. The challenge is to know when to speak and when to refrain from speaking. The twenty-first century world tells us that every doubt must be addressed, every question must be answered, every offense must be rectified, but that is not always so. Might we hear the word of the great Church Father, and know that silence is, at times, pure love. Think about it.
- Augustine of Hippo (farrightandproud.wordpress.com)
One person armed with the Gospel of peace can change the world. Telemachus did. Who was Telemachus? He was a monk who lived in the 5th century, and his story is a story of courage. He felt God saying to him, “Go to Rome.” Since he was in a cloistered monastery, he put his possessions in a sack and set out for Rome. When he arrived in the city, people were thronging in the streets. He asked why all the excitement and discovered it was the day the gladiators would be fighting in the coliseum, the day of the games, the circus. He thought to himself, “Four centuries after Christ and they are still killing each other, for enjoyment?” When Telemachus ran to the coliseum and heard the gladiators saying, “Hail to Caesar, we die for Caesar” and he thought, “this isn’t right.” Jumping over the railing he went out into the middle of the field, got between two gladiators, and tried to stop them. The crowd became enraged and stoned the peacemaker to death.
Perhaps this is a legend, or perhaps it is history. I do not claim that I can verify this story, but I will say that the truth within speaks loudly to each of us. All too often, we sit idly by and allow so much evil to go on around us. The moral of this story is very simple: when you see injustice or wrong doing, do something. Just imagine for a moment what the world we be like if we took upon ourselves the spirit of Telemachus. The hungry would be fed, the unloved would be loved, the neglected would be treated with regard, and all this would be done by Christians and not the government. Utopia, you say. Maybe, but do something today.
- Obedience to Change History (k2association.wordpress.com)
As Americans we tend to get the idea that we can do anything. It is sort of a vision of invincibility. After all we took the lead in WWII, put the first man on the moon, saw the Soviet Union fall, led the cyber age and have the strongest economy in the world. With all those things on our side what can be against us?
The world seems to be filled with hate for the USA. Our utter disbelief and horror as we have endured one shock after another. The time has come for us to take stock of ourselves, to look deeply into our beings and to find the root of our strength. Long ago the Psalmist said: –
A hostile world! I call to God, I cry to God to help me. From his place he hears my call: my cry brings me right into his presence—a private audience (the Message) Psalm 18:6
We now find ourselves in a situation where all our ready answers are failing to fill the bill. The only answer for us is to renew that great faith that is within us. It is God’s will to bring good to us all. God created everyone with great potential. He created us in his own image. -“to be a little lower than God.” -He will hear our cry in our darkest times and give us a private audience. The time has come to request that audience.
God calls on us individually to come to the realization that He is waiting to hear from us. If we all call upon the God of grace and peace to guide us in these strange times we will wake up to a radically changed world. . A world that is no longer at the daily mercy of terrorist but in the loving arms of the creator of us all. A creator that is capable of bringing love to the heart of hatred that drives the people who rob us of the peace that Jesus came into this world to give us.