Your actions will be clear

The state of spacious heart openness is known in spiritual traditions as surrender. Not what you usually think about when you hear the word “surrender,” is it? We usually equate the word with capitulation and consider it a sign of weakness. But surrender, spiritually understood, has nothing to do with outer capitulation, with rolling over and playing dead. It has to do with keeping the right alignment inwardly that allows you to stay in the flow of your deeper sustaining wisdom—to “feel the force,” in those legendary words from the first Star Wars movie. In that state of openness you then decide what you’re going to do about the outer situation. whatever you do, whether you acquiesce or vigorously resist, your actions will be clear. 

Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Jesus via The Mercy Blog

Irenaeus Did Not Teach Self-Fulfillment

A subjective quest for emotional fulfillment subverts Christian worship by focusing on how worship makes a person feel, and by encouraging worship schemes that arise from individual self-expression rather than the lived history of the people of God down through the ages. “Man fully alive” is at the heart of that most baneful of cultural deviations, the circus act known as “the contemporary worship service.”

~ Patrick Henry Reardon, “The Man Alive” (Touchstone Archives).

The center of all there is

‎How necessary it is – both for the lives of individuals and for the serene and peaceful coexistence of all people – to see God as the center of all there is and the center of our personal lives.

~Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus Address, Munich, Germany, 10Sep06 via St. Francis of Assisi – Poverello (Facebook Page)

To drink to the chalice of my Lord

No, no I never expected that there is a short-cut that bypasses the drudgery of human experience. I don’t want one, I want to drink to the chalice of my Lord. In my case (and isn’t this the common, ordinary state?) how non-glamorous, how ignoble this chalice! What does it amount to me with me? A sense of inner fragility and faintness which taps, knocks at the wall of my body too. I seem unable to face up to any pressure. I feel faced with an immense ‘trial’ utterly beyond myself, and yet when I look, where is the trial? What have I to suffer compared to so many people? I have good health, am surrounded with love, have everything I need, and yet life itself seems more than I can bear—the unutterable loneliness and emptiness, the mystery and obscurity. Yesterday, I heard of a poor woman enduring humiliating helplessness for ten years, and now, faced with new symptoms, her splendid spirit is breaking and she can take no more. Just one of millions similarly suffering from seemingly unbearable afflictions. And what relation has my life to hers? By comparison I have nothing to suffer. It is my hope that this ‘suffering’ of mine which is nameless, which really has no right to be called suffering, this inner ‘dissolution’ should be a way through which Jesus comes to others in grief and pain. I feel overwhelmed with everything: with the beauty of the world, with its terrible pain, with its evil and ugliness, the devilish brutality of man to man–with the word of God so mighty and so obscure. I could weep my eyes out with–I don’t know what! Oh, how fragile I am, without achievement; no human victory, no human beauty, only that which is he, who experienced in all its raw bitterness the human condition.

~Carmelite Ruth Burrows quoting a friend named Petra in Guidelines for Mystical Prayer via Heather King’s fantastic blog Shirt of Flame.

Unbelievable as it may seem

To be forgiven when we know we don’t “deserve” to be forgiven is radically transformative in a way violence can never be. To be forgiven does another kind of violence: to our whole tit-for-tat notion of crime and punishment. To be forgiven makes us realize that, unbelievable as it may seem, God needs us for something. We have a mission.