Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Christ's love

Romantic love is blind to everything except what is lovable and lovely, but Christ's love sees us with terrible clarity and sees us whole. Christ's love so wishes our joy that it is ruthless against everything in us that diminishes our joy. The worst sentence Love can pass is that we behold the suffering that Love has endured for our sake, and that is also our acquittal. The justice and mercy of the judge are ultimately one.

- Frederick Buechner, American theologian and writer

Letting God Speak

"Be silent, and know that I am God." That's a favorite line from the Scriptures. "Shut Up and Let Me Love You" would be the pop song. It's really what it means. If ever I needed to hear a comment, it might be that.

Bono in Conversation

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The true friend

The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing ... not healing, not curing ... that is a friend who cares.

- Henri J.M. Nouwen, from his book Out of Solitude

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mother Teresa on prayer

Pray - much and always.

For without prayer there is no faith,
without faith there is no love,
without love there is no gift of self,
without the gift of self there is not real help for people in distress.

Mother Teresa: source unknown.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The reality of Jesus

Jesus is real, and so, praise God, are we. Every single thing the resurrected Jesus does on earth he does through our bodies. You're fed, you're healed, you're forgiven, you're pronounced clean. You are loved ... Go and do likewise.

- Sarah Miles, from her book Jesus Freak

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

God's presence

For what we need to know, of course, is not just that God exists, not just that beyond the steely brightness of the stars there is a cosmic intelligence of some kind that keeps the whole show going, but that there is a God right here in the thick of our day-by-day lives who may not be writing messages about himself in the stars but in one way or another is trying to get messages through our blindness as we move around down here knee-deep in the fragrant muck and misery and marvel of the world. It is not objective proof of God's existence that we want but the experience of God's presence. That is the miracle we are really after, and that is also, I think, the miracle we really get.

Frederick Buechner
The Magnificent Defeat

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Members of Christ

If you are in class, recognize one another; if you are in the store, recognize one another; if you are in the housing estate, recognize one another; if you are in the parish, recognize one another: you are members of one another if you are members of Christ. This is the most revolutionary sentence that can be expressed: "you are members of one another." ... And this recognizing one another ... is witness to Christ. This is the first expression of our yearning for Christ.

- Luigi Giussani,
Italian Catholic priest and founder of the Communion and Liberation movement of the Catholic Church.

Traces Magazine, March 2005

Love and Christianity

Love is the acid test of Christian spirituality. If Christian conversion is authentic, we are in a process of becoming more loving. If we are not becoming more loving, something is seriously wrong.

David G. Benner
Surrender to Love

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The sacredness of life

Either life is always and in all circumstances sacred, or intrinsically of no account; it is inconceivable that it should be in some cases the one, and in some the other.

Malcolm Muggeridge
Something Beautiful for God

The True Self

True self, when violated, will always resist us, sometimes at great cost, holding our lives in check until we honor its truth.

- Parker Palmer, from his book, Let Your Life Speak

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Destroying the narratives

Violence tries to destroy the narratives that sustain people's identities and substitute narratives of its own. These might be called narratives of the lie, precisely because they are intended to negate the truth of a people's own narratives.

Robert J. Schreiter

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

P T Forsyth on Prayer

A prayer is also a promise. Every true prayer carries with it a vow. If it do not, it is not in earnest. It is not of a piece with life. Can we pray in earnest if we do not in the act commit ourselves to do our best to bring about the answer? Can we escape some kind of hypocrisy? This is especially so with intercession. What is the value of praying for the poor if all the rest of our time and interest is given only to becoming rich . . .

If we pray for our child that he may have God’s blessing, we are really promising that nothing shall be lacking on our part to be a divine blessing to him. And if we have no kind of religious relation to him (as plenty of Christian parents have none), our prayer is quite unreal, and its failure should not be a surprise.

To pray for God’s kingdom is also to engage ourselves to service and sacrifice for it. To begin our prayer with a petition for the hallowing of God’s name and to have no real and prime place for holiness in our life or faith is not sincere.

The prayer of the vindictive for forgiveness is mockery, like the prayer for daily bread from a wheat-cornerer. No such man could say the Lord’s Prayer but to his judgement.

What would happen to the Church if the Lord’s Prayer became a test for membership as thoroughly as the Creeds have been? The Lord’s Prayer is also a vow to the Lord. . .

Great worship of God is also a great engagement of ourselves, a great committal of our action. To begin the day with prayer is but a formality unless it go on in prayer, unless for the rest of it we pray in deed what we began in word. (“The Soul of Prayer,” p 27-28)

Sayers on Women and Jesus

Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man ... A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronised ... who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female ... Nobody could possibly guess from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything [inferior] about woman's nature.

- Dorothy L. Sayers, from her book, Are Women Human?

Exclusion and hatred

Some of the most brutal acts of exclusion depend on hatred, and if the common history of persons and communities does not contain enough reasons to hate, masters of exclusion will rewrite the histories and fabricate injuries in order to manufacture hatreds.

Miroslav Volf
Exclusion & Embrace

Friday, March 05, 2010

Anne Lamott

I do not at all understand the mystery of grace -- only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.

- Anne Lamott,
from her book, Traveling Mercies

Anne Lamott is the author of several novels and works of non-fiction, including one of the best books on writing, called Bird by Bird. She is also an acclaimed public speaker and teacher of writing. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, her non-fiction works are largely autobiographical, with strong doses of self-deprecating humour. Marked by their transparency, they cover such subjects as alcoholism, single motherhood, and Christianity.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Living and Dying

I want to keep my soul fertile for changes, so things keep getting born in me, so things keep dying when it's time for them to die. I want to keep walking away from the person I was a moment ago, because a mind was made to figure things out, not read the same page recurrently.

- Donald Miller, from his book, Through Painted Deserts

Artists and Control

We are afraid of that which we cannot control; so we continue to draw in the boundaries around us, to limit ourselves to what we can know and understand. Thus we lose our human calling, because we do not dare to be creators, co-creators with God. Artists have always been drawn to the wild, wide elements they cannot control or understand -- the sea, mountains, fire. To be an artist means to approach the light, and that means to let go of our control, to allow our whole selves to be placed with absolute faith in that which is greater than we are. The novel we sit down to write, and the one we end up writing may be very different, just as the Jesus we grasp and the Jesus who grasps us may also differ.

Madeleine L'Engle
Walking on Water

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

God is our rest

If we, as the people of God, are called to be a peculiar people, learning to rest will be an important way of distinguishing ourselves from the culture of incessant labor that surrounds us. We will then point our neighbors to the God who is our rest.

James K.A. Smith
"Working at Rest" from The Devil Reads Derrida