“Souls who walk in the light sing the hymns of the light; those who walk in the shadows chant the hymns of darkness. Each must be allowed to sing through to end the words and melody which God has given him. Nothing must be changed in what He has composed. Every drop of distress, bitter as gall though it may be, must be allowed to flow, no matter what its effect on us. It was the same for Jeremiah and Ezekiel whose every utterance was broken by sighs and tears. They found consolation only in continuing in their laments. Had their tears been halted, we should have lost the loveliest passages in Scripture. The spirit which makes us suffer is the only one which can comfort us. These different waters flow from the same source. If God seems angry, we tremble; if he threatens us, we are terrified. But we can only let the divine project develop, for within itself it contains both the disease and its cure. So, beloved souls, weep and tremble. Remain in torment. Make no attempt to escape from these divinely inspired terrors. Receive in the depths of your hearts the little streams that flow from the sea of sorrow which filled the most holy soul of Jesus. Keep advancing and let your tears flow under the influence of grace. This same influence will finally dry your eyes. The clouds will drift away, the sun will shine again, spring will adorn you with its flowers, and then you will see, because of your abandonment [to divine providence], the full extent of what divine action is accomplishing. It is really useless to become agitated, for all that happens to us is like a dream. Shadowy images come and go, and dreams, passing through our sleeping mind, give us both pain and pleasure. Our soul is the plaything of these phantoms, but when we awaken we know at once that they have not really affected us. Their impression quickly fades and our waking life pays no heed to the perils or delights of sleep.”
Jean-Pierre De Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence, 101-02.
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“When the body is ill, the soul is badly affected. In the great majority of cases, in fact, our spiritual capacities behave according to our physical condition; illness lays us low and makes us different, almost unrecognizable from when we are well. If the strings of an instrument give a feeble or false sound because they are not taut enough, the artist has no way of displaying any particular talent: the defect in the strings defeats all skill. It is the same with the body. It can do a great deal of harm to the soul. So I ask you: take care that your body stays fit, safeguard it from illness of any sort.
I am not telling you either to let it waste away or to let it grow fat. Feed it with as much food as is necessary for it to become a ready instrument of the soul. If you stuff it with delicious dainties, the body is incapable of resisting the impulses that attack it and weaken it. A person may be very wise and yet, if he abandons himself without restraint to wine and the pleasures of the table, it is inevitable that he will feel the flames of inordinate desire blazing more fiercely within him. A body immersed in delights is a body that breeds lust of every kind.”
John Chrysostom Homily on the Epistle to the Hebrews 29, 31T
“Purity is not a long struggle against that which is impure or forbidden. Rather it is singleness of heart. Catch the great thought that from Him, the Father of Lights, comes every good and perfect gift, and therefore nothing outside God is worth having or craving.”
John Gaynor Banks, The Master and the Disciple.
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“. . . it is not seeking the Holy Spirit that we shall find him–that would be to revert to the worked-up psychological and spiritual ecstasies, common to both true and false prophets of all ages . . . . The narrow way to the secret of the Holy Spirit is quite different, and is found only by those who face the cross.”
F.E. Fison, The Blessing of the Holy Spirit, 215.
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“Set us on fire, burn us, make us new and transform us, that nothing besides thee may live in us. O wound very deeply our hearts with the dart of thy love. . . . O that we were sick of love . . . and by an heavenly excess may be transported into an heavenly love, that we may imbrace Christ, who is the Lord from heaven, with a love like himself. . . . Nor do we desire onely the pleasures of love, and the joys of thy union, but that we may become generative and fruitful, far be it from us to love thee like a harlot, and not like a wife: O let us desire union with thee, and to bring forth fruit unto thee.”
Isaac Ambrose (1604-1664), Media, 224.
“Self-deception is the act and state of actually holding a belief about or an image of oneself, or a vision of one’s situation in reality, while at the same time knowing that the belief, image, or vision is not true. In self-deception the person is simultaneously the victimizer and who lies and the victim who is lied to. The self-deceiver knows he is lying to himself and therefore knows the truth. At the same time, he believes his own lies and therefore does not know the truth.”
Daniel O. Via, Self-Deception and Wholeness in Paul and Matthew, 1.
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“Do all bodies [people] strive to become master over all space [as Nietzsche argued]? Is space actually a finite resource? Not so: there is a kind of being that delights in sharing space and a deeper, truer being that is able to create more than enough space–room for more being.
Is power primarily good for thrusting back opposition? Not so: there is a deeper, better power that actually creates the environments where many more beings could exist and thrive.
Are other beings basically a problem to be tolerated and ultimately solved by domination? Not so: the existence of ‘other bodies’ actually is the deepest desire of any true body or being.
Is any cooperation between bodies a temporary, expedient conspiracy that will end as soon as one of them can sieze all power? Not so: beings were always meant to work together to cultivate and create. The worst fate one could wish for would be to end up alone with one’s power, for then there would be no one left with whom one could tend and shape the world.
Is cooperation based only on being ‘sufficiently similar,’ those who have something to gain from one another? Not so: there is a power at work in the world that can actually reconcile those who seem most different from one another.
Is the result of cooperation the seizing of power? Not so: cooperation mysteriously creates more power than there was before, so that the more we work together the more power we discover is available to us. . . .
The power to love, and in loving, to create together, is the true power that hums at the heart of the world. The power to conspire, dominate, and eventually become a single, isolated, lonely god is lifeless and ultimately powerless.”
Andy Crouch, Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power, 51-52.
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“Who would worship a god who is passive when there is so much injustice? When the strong oppress the weak, self-interest reigns, abuse is tolerated, and the poor are neglected, there are plenty of reasons to be angry. The world is not the way it should be. As a result, God’s people rejoiced when he was angry (see Psalm 56; 59; 79). It meant that justice was on the way. It meant that the oppressors would soon know they were men and not gods, and their oppressive ways would come to an end. Those who are familiar with shame can’t fully rest until they know that God will bring perfect justice.”
Edward T. Welch, Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection, 321-22.
Artwork: © John Martin “The Great Day of his Wrath” (1853)
“There were also quite a few women watching from a distance, women who had followed Jesus from Galilee in order to serve him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the Zebedee brothers” (Matt. 27:55-56) (The Message).
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“Mary sees the Apostles flee, but she herself remains faithfully at the foot of the cross. Torn by wounds and disfigured with spittle though he was, she knew him as her son. Indeed his bleeding, battered body increased her love and adoration of him. The more viciously blasphemed, the more she venerated him. The life of faith is the untiring pursuit of God through all that disguises and disfigures him, and as it were, destroys and annihilates him. Look at Mary; from the stable to Cavalry she stayed close to that God who was despised, rejected persecuted. So it is with all faithful souls. They have to pass through a steady succession of veils and shadows and illusions which seek to hide the will of God, but they follow and love . . . [Him] even to death on the cross. They know they must leave the shadows and run after the divine sun which, from its rising to its setting and no matter how thick and dark the clouds hiding it, illumines, warms, and sets aglow the loyal hearts who bless, praise and contemplate it as it sweeps along its mysterious course. Let us, then, as faithful souls, happy and tireless, advance after the beloved as he moves with giant strides across the heavens. He sees all things. He walks above the smallest blades of grass and the cedar groves, and treads the grains of sand as well as the mountain peaks. Wherever we have trodden he has been, and if we constantly pursue him we shall find him no matter where we are.”
Jean-Pierre De Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence, 39-40.
“It is the nature of holiness to sanctify that which surrounds it.”
Leonid Ouspensky, “The Meaning and Content of the Icon,” in Theology of the Icon, 59.
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