"It was the apostles who asked Jesus: "Jesus, teach us how to pray" - because they saw Him so often pray and they knew that He was talking to His Father. What those hours of prayer must have been - we know only from that continual love of Jesus for His Father, "My Father!" And He taught His disciples a very simple way of talking to God Himself.
"Before Jesus came God was great in His majesty, great in His creation. And then when Jesus came He became one of us, because His Father loved the world so much that He gave His Son. And Jesus loved His Father and He wanted us to learn to pray by loving one another as the Father has loved Him.
"I love you," He kept on saying, "as the Father loved you, love Him." And His love was the cross, His love was the bread of life. And He wants us to pray with a clean heart, with a simple heart, with a humble heart. "Unless you become little children you cannot learn to pray, you cannot enter heaven, you cannot see God." To become a little child means to be one with the Father, to love the Father, to be at peace with the Father, our Father.
Prayer is nothing but that being in the family, being one with the Father in the Son to the Holy Spirit. The love of the Father for His Son - the Holy Spirit. And the love, our love for the Father, through Jesus, His Son, filled with the Holy Spirit, is our union with God, and the fruit of that union with God, the fruit of that prayer - what we call prayer. We have given that name but actually prayer is nothing but that oneness with Christ."
-excerpt from talk of Mother Theresa on June 8, 1980, Berlin
"Now if we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." (Romans 8:17)
"The age old dilemma of innocent suffering is the drama of one of the most beautiful books of Hebrew Scriptures, the story of Job. Here the just man, Job, is visited with dreadful afflictions, including tormenting sores all over his body. Job's "comforters" argue about the reason for his sufferings and one of the deepest questions of life is broached. Is the justice of God always exhibited in visible blessings for the good and punishment for the wicked? The death of Christ on the cross answered this question for believing Christians. Jesus' innocent suffering was redemptive, and all innocent suffering could be joined with this great redemptive act. Though sinless, Jesus' willing acceptance of death was for sinners. Remission of punishment due to sin was always possible. Forgiveness was always available through repentance."
-excerpt from Eileen Egan Such a Vision of the Street p 72
"Jesus made it clear to my conscience that He asked no compensation from me. He did not expect me to discharge my debts or pay back my penalties. He had already done that. He had paid up in full. He had covered the cost. He had forgiven me freely!
"Added to all this, He assured me it was all now behind us. None of it would be recalled. I was forgiven forever!
"My sins and my iniquities were not only forgiven - but they were forgotten!
"This encounter with Christ was, and still is, an enormous emancipation. I was literally set free from the despair of my wrong-doing which had enfolded me like a dark cloud of condemnation. For the first time I knew what it was "to walk in the light." I was in company with Christ who delivered me from the awful guilt of my sins which had hung over me like a guillotine. I knew what it mean to be acquitted completely of all the charges laid against me as an offender.
"You see, no man, no woman, other other human being had ever done this for me as a man. Always, there lurked in the background of my experience the acute awareness that though people professed to forgiver my faults, they never forgot them. So in a stultifying way I was still held to ransom. And to compound my plight there was no way ever to make amends for my wrongs, my folly, my ignorance.
"Christ, the Eternal, All-wise, All-knowing, All-understanding One, comprehends this human dilemma. In His generosity, in His greatness, in His grace, He intervenes and delivers from this dreadful bondage.
"There is a great mystery in all of this. It is beyond my full comprehension as a mere mortal. But through His impeccable life, laid down fully in self-sacrifice and self-giving for my sake and on my account, He forgave all my sins and all my wrongs. It matters not how or why they were committed."
-excerpt from Phillip Keller God Is My Delight p 114-115
"WHAT THEN DO I LOVE, WHEN I LOVE THEE?
I LOVE A CERTAIN LIGHT, AND A CERTAIN VOICE, A CERTAIN FRAGRANCE, A CERTAIN FOOD,
A CERTAIN EMBRACE WHEN I LOVE MY GOD; A LIGHT, VOICE, FRAGRANCE, FOOD, EMBRACE OF THE INNER MAN.
WHERE THAT SHINES UPON MY SOUL WHICH SPACE CANNOT CONTAIN…
THAT SOUNDS WHICH TIME CANNOT SWEEP AWAY, THAT IS FRAGRANT WHICH IS SCATTERED NOT BY THE BREEZE…
THAT TASTES SWEET WHICH WHEN FED UPON IS NOT DIMINISHED…
THAT, CLINGS CLOSE WHICH NO SATIETY DISPARTS…
THIS, IT IS THAT I LOVE WHEN I LOVE MY GOD!...”
-excerpt from St Augustine Confessions x, 6
Acts 20:36 "In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, the He Himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” - Paul the Apostle
“Open your hearts to the love God instills in them. God loves you tenderly. What he gives you is not to be kept under lock and key, but to be shared. The more you save, the less you will be able to give. The less you have, the more you will know how to share.
Let us ask God, when it comes time to ask him for something, to help us to be generous."
- Mother Theresa, Calcutta, India
Jesus, help me to spread your fragrance wherever I am. Fill my heart with your spirit and you life. Penetrate my being and take such a hold of me that my life becomes a radiation of your own life. Give your light through me and remain in me in such a way that every soul I come in contact with can feel you presence in me. May people not see me, but see you in me. Remain in me, so that I shine with your light, and may others be illuminated by my light. All light will come from you, Oh Jesus. Not even the smallest ray of light will be mine. You will illuminate others through me. Place on my lips our greatest praise, illuminating other around me. May I preach you with actions more than words, with the example of my actions, with the visible light of the love that comes from you to my heart. Amen.
– Missionaries of Charity
42 “for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;
43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'
44 "Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'
45 "Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'
John 14:15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. “
9 "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.”
10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.”
21 "He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him."
23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
1 John 5
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
“Always be faithful in the little things, for in them our strength lies. To God nothing is little. He cannot make anything small: they are infinite. Practice fidelity in the least things, not for their own sake but for the sake of the great thing that is the will of God, and which I respect greatly.
Do not pursue spectacular deeds. We must deliberately renounce all desires to see the fruit of our labor, doing all we can as best as we can, leaving the rest in the hands of God. What matters is the gift of yourself, the degree of love that you put into each one of your actions.
Do not allow yourselves to be disheartened by any failure as long as you have done your best. Neither glory in your success, but refer all to God in deepest thankfulness.
If you are discouraged, it is a sign of pride because it shows you trust in your own powers. Never bother about people’s opinions. Be humble and you will never be disturbed. The Lord has willed me here where I am. He will offer a solution.
Our works of charity are nothing but the overflow of our love of God from within.
- Mother Theresa, Calcutta, India
If you are looking for the explanation of my life, then this is it: “the love of Christ constrains me." – Paul the Apostle
My secret is very simple: I pray. Through prayer I become one in love with Christ. I realize that praying to Him is loving Him.
In reality, there is only one true prayer, only one substantial prayer: Christ Himself. There is only one voice that rises above the face of the earth: the voice of Christ. Perfect prayer does not consist in many words, but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus.
Love to pray. Fell the need to pray often during the day. Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of Himself. Ask and seek and your heart will grow big enough to receive Him and keep Him as your own.
Our prayers should be burning words coming forth from the furnace of hearts filled with love. In your prayers, speak to God with great reverence and confidence. Do not drag behind or run ahead; do not shout or keep silent, but devoutly, with great sweetness, with natural simplicity, without any affectation, offer your praise to God with the whole of your heart and soul.
Just once, let the love of God take entire and absolute possession of your heart; let it become to your heart like a second nature; let your heart suffer nothing contrary to enter; let it apply itself continually to increase this love of God by seeking to please Him in all things and refusing Him nothing; let it accept as from His hand everything that happens to it; let it have a firm determination never to commit any fault deliberately and knowingly or, if it should fail, to be humbled and to rise up again at once – and such a heart will pray continually.
- Mother Theresa, Calcutta, India
“It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and he spent the whole night in prayer to God.” Luke 6:12
"Abiding in Jesus, you come into contact with His infinite love; its fire begins to burn within your heart; you see the beauty of love; you learn to look upon loving and serving and saving your fellow-men as the highest privilege a disciple of Jesus can have. Abiding in Christ, your heart learns to feel the wretchedness of the sinner still in darkness, and the fearfulness of the dishonor done to your God. With Christ you begin to bear the burden of souls, the burden of sins not your own. As you are most closely united to Him, somewhat of that passion for souls which urged Him to Calvary begins to breathe within you, and you are ready to follow His footsteps, to forsake the heaven of your own happiness, and devote your life to win the souls Christ has taught you to love. The very spirit of the Vine is love; the spirit of love streams into the branch that abides in Him.
"The desire to be a blessing is but the beginning. As you undertake to work, you speedily become conscious of your own weakness and the difficulties in your way. Souls are not saved at your bidding. You are ready to be discouraged, and to relax your effort. But abiding in Christ, you receive new courage and strength for the work. Believing what Christ teaches, that it is He who through you will give His blessing to the world, you understand that you are but the feeble instrument through which the hidden power of Christ does its work, that His strength may be perfected and made glorious in your weakness."
-excerpt from Andrew Murray Abide in Christ Day 12
"Be therefore thankful for the least gift and you shall be ready to receive greater. Let the least be even as the greatest, yea, the most contemptible gift as of special value. If you consider the worth of the Giver, no gift will seem little, or of too small esteem. For that cannot be little which is given by the Most High God. Yea, if He should give punishment and stripes, it ought to be a matter of thankfulness because He does it always for our welfare, whatever He permits to happen to us.
"He who desires to keep the grace of God, let him be thankful for grace given, and patient for the taking away thereof. Let him pray that it may return; let him be cautious and humble, lest he lose it."
-excerpt from Thomas a Kempis Imitation of Christ Chapter 10 - Gratitude
"There is a ladder of praise and I believe that everyone without exception can begin to praise God right now in whatever situation he may find himself.
"For our praise to reach the perfection God wants for us, it needs to be free of any thoughts of reward. Praise is not another way of bargaining with the Lord. WE don't say, "Now we've praise You in the middle of this mess, so get us out of it!"
"Praising God with a pure heart means we must let God cleanse our hearts from impure motives and hidden desires. We have to experience the dying to self so that we can live again in Christ in newness of mind and spirit.
"Dying to self is a progressive journey, and I have to believe it is traveled only through praise.
"God is calling us to praise Him, and the highest form of praise is the one Paul exhorts us to give in Hebrews 13:15: "By Christ therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name."
"The sacrifice of praise is offered when all is darkness around us. It is offered of a heavy heart, unto God because He is God and Father and Lord.
"As we begin to praise Him, on whatever step of the ladder we may be, His Holy Spirit begins to fill our beings more and more.
"To continually praise Him means a steady decreasing of self and an increase of the presence of Christ within us until with Peter we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory."
-excerpt from Merlin Carothers' Prison to Praise pg 105-106
"We are so easily led to look at life as a great whole, and to neglect the little today, to forget that the single days do indeed make up the whole, and that the value of each single day depends on its influence on the whole. One day lost is a link broken in the chain, which it often takes more than another day to mend. One day lost influences the next, and makes its keeping more difficult. Yes, one day lost, may be the loss of what months or years of careful labor had secured. The experience of many a believer could confirm this.
"Believer! would you abide in Jesus, let it be day by day. You have already heard the message: Moment by moment; the lesson of day by day has something more to teach. Of the moments there are many where there is no direct exercise of the mind on your part; the abiding is in the deeper recesses of the heart, kept by the Father, to whom you entrusted yourself. But just this is the work that with each new day has to be renewed for the day - the distinct renewal of surrender and trust for the life of moment by moment. God has gathered up the moments and bound them up into a bundle, for the very purpose that we might take measure of them. As we look forward in the morning, or look back in the evening, and weigh the moments, we learn how to value and how to use them rightly."
-excerpt taken from Andrew Murray Abide in Christ, Day 14
"My God, I find you everywhere. Within me it is you who do all that I do of good. I have felt a thousand times that I could not by myself conquer my humor, nor overcome my habits, nor moderate my pride, nor follow my sense of right, nor continue to desire the good which I did at one time desire. It is you who gives this desire. It is you who keeps it pure. Without you I am only a reed blown by the least wind. You have given me courage, integrity, and all my noblest sentiments. You have made me a new heart which desires your righteousness, and which thirsts for your eternal truth. In giving it to me, you have taken away this heart of the old man, full of mud and corruption, jealous, vain, ambitious, restless, unjust, avid for pleasures. In what misery should I have remained had I never hoped to turn toward you, and to throw off the yoke of my tyrannous passions?
"But behold the miracle which wipes out all the rest! Who else but you could tear me away from myself, turn all my hatred and all my scorn upon myself! It is not I who have done this work, because it is not through self that we escape from self. Thus it had to be a support beyond, upon which I could lean outside of my own heart to condemn its wretchedness. This help had to be from without, because I could not find it in the self which I had to fight, but it also had to be intimate, to snatch the ego from the innermost folds of my heart. It is you, Lord, who carrying your light to the depths of my soul, impenetrable to all else, has shown me all the ugliness there."
-excerpt taken from Fenelon's essay "Knowing God"Christian Perfection (Colorado Heritage Series)
"What a comfort to think that everything is your work, within me as without! You are always with me when I do wrong. You are within me, reproaching me for the wrong which I am doing, stirring in me regret for the good which I am abandoning and showing me the outstretched arms of compassion. When I do well, it is you who does inspire me with the desire to do so, who does create the good in me and through me. It is you who loves the good and hates the evil in my heart, who does suffer, pray, edify my neighbor, and give the alms. I do all these things, but is by you. You make me to do them. You place them in me. These good works, which are your gifts, become my works, but they are always your works, and they cease to be good works when I consider them mine, and when your gift, which makes it possible, escapes my sight.
"Thus I am overjoyed to think so, you are working ceaselessly in the depths of my heart. You work there invisibly, like a workman who labors in the mines in the bowels of the earth. You do all things, and the world sees you not. It attributes nothing to you. I myself erred seeking you by vain efforts far from me. I was gathering together in my mind all the wonders of nature, to form some picture of your greatness. I was going to ask for you among all your creatures. I did not dream of finding you are the bottom of my own heart, where you cease not to be. No, my God, we do not need to dig in the depths of the earth. We do not need to cross the seas. We do not need to fly up to the heavens, as your holy oracles said, in order to find you. You are nearer to us that we are to ourselves."
-excerpt taken from Fenelon's essay "Knowing God" Christian Perfection (Colorado Heritage Series)
"O my God, it is not to know you to think of you as outside of us, as an all powerful Being who gives laws to all nature, and who has made all that we see. This is to only know a part of what you are. It is to ignore what is most wonderful and most touching for your thinking creatures. What transports me and melts me is that you are the God of my heart. You do there whatever it pleases you. When I am good, it is you who so makes me. Not only do you turn my heart as it please you, but even more, you give me a heart like unto your own. It is you who loves yourself in me. It is you who does animate my heart, as my soul animates my body. You are more present and closer to me that I am to myself. This "I" to which I am so sensitive and which I have so loved, should be a stranger to me in comparison to you. It is you who has given it to me. Without you it would be nothing. That is why you wish that I love you more than I love myself."
-excerpt taken from Fenelon's essay "Knowing God" Christian Perfection (Colorado Heritage Series)
"The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." (Hebrews 1:3)
"We must realize that God, who has made us from nothing, remakes us still, so to speak, every instant. Because we existed yesterday it does not follow that we are to exist still to-day. We would cease to be, and we would fall back completely into the nothingness from which we came, if the same all-powerful hand which drew us out of it, did not stop us from plunging back into it. We are nothing by ourselves. We only exist because God causes us to exist, and only for the time which it please him. He has only to withdraw the hand which carries us, to drown us in the abyss of our nothingness, as a stone, which we hold in the air, falls of its own weight as soon as we no longer hold it. Thus we have life and being only as the gift of God."
-excerpt taken from Fenelon's essay "Knowing God" Christian Perfection (Colorado Heritage Series)
"Humility is the virtue by which a man recognizes his own unworthiness because he really knows himself. This description fits those who have resolved to make the climb and who go from strength to strength, that is, from step to step, until they reach the highest peak of humility, on which, standing as though in Zion, that is, at a vantage point, they see the truth.
"Just as Christ is the fulfillment of the law (Rm 10:4), so the end result of humility is the knowledge of the truth. For he makes himself known to the humble. "He gives grace," therefore "to the humble" (1 Pt 5:5).
-excerpt taken from Bernard of Clairvaux On Humility and Pride, I,2; II,5
"Our Lord shows us both the difficulty of the way and the reward of the labor. "I am the way, the truth and the life." The way, he says, is humility, which leads to the truth. The first is labor; the second is the reward for the labor. But you ask, how do I know that he is speaking of humility when he says only, "I am the way"? Listen to this clearer statement, "Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart" (Mt 11: 29). He offers himself as an example of humility, a model of gentleness. If you imitate him you will not walk in darkness; you will have the light of life (Jn 8:12). What is the light of life but truth, which enlightens every man who comes into this world (Jn 1:9), showing him where true life lies (1 Tim 6: 19)? that is why when he said, "I am the way, the truth," he added, "and the life," which, he says " I give." "For this is eternal life," he says, "to know that you are the true God and to know him whom you have sent, Jesus Christ" (Jn 17: 3). Or it is as though you were to say, "I reflect on the way; that is humility. I desire the reward, which is truth. But what if the way is so difficult that I cannot reach the desired reward?" He replies, "I am the life," that is, food for the journey. (Dt 15:14).
To those who go astray and do not know the road, he says, "I am the way," To those who hesitate to believe, he says, "I am the truth." To those who are already climbing, he says, "I am the life."
The fruit of knowledge of truth is humility. Listen to another text. "I praise you, Father of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things" (which surely means the secrets of truth), "from the knowing and prudent" (that is, the proud), "and revealed them to the little ones" (that is, the humble) (Mt 11:25). And here it is clear that truth, which is hidden from the proud, is revealed to the humble (Jas 4:6)
-excerpt taken from Bernard of Clairvaux On Humility and Pride, I,1
"It is the consistency of Jesus' character, the utter integrity of His conduct toward me, the total reliability of His commitments to me that reveal His love and arouse my loyalty. To truly love is to really care. The opposite of love is not hate. It is not to care. In Christ we finally find the One who not only really loves but also really cares. Nor does His caring fluctuate. It is not fickle like our human love. It flows from Him to us in a steady stream of endless self-giving, self-sacrifice, selflessness that has no parallel upon the planet. This profound, powerful, perpetual outpouring of His life in His love is what saves us and sustains us and sets us apart for His purposes....
It is His outpoured life that sweeps away my sins, my stains, my selfishness, my sinister ego. It is the clear, pure stream of His life that alone satisfies the yearning, burning thirst of my soul. It is the powerful penetration of His supreme, supernatural life and love that can displace my inner despair with His buoyant love - my spiritual inner death with His potent, new life. This is what it means to pass from death unto life. This is the meaning of genuine regeneration. This is to be born anew from above. This is recreation in Christ."
-excerpt taken from Phillip Keller's God Is My Delight, pg157-8
"The highest purpose of a man or woman's soul is to be transformed into the spiritual likeness of Christ....And by transformation, I do not mean a mere momentary change in appearance, but a change in the soul's substance. This takes more than merely thinking or meditating on God, though it's true that even this ordinary joining of the soul to Him brings great benefit.
I have been talking about something greater - that is, opening our innermost selves to the fire of God's presence: We must allow access to the deepest places inside, where our true will and desires dwell. It is there that He wants to kindle us with the fervency of His love. This is how - with our whole being, mind, and might - we can begin to issue out to those around us the living flames of love. So, the soul has its first taste of the sweetness of glory."
-excerpt taken from St. John of the Cross' Living Flame of Love stanza 1
"After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He is risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."
"If it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
"But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not included God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all."
Meditation from Paul's letter to the Corinthians 15: 12ff
John 19: 28
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said, I thirst.
What is happening Oh my soul? Something is coming. It feels like the wind of a terrible breeze. From far off, the wind begins to blow. Blowing in circles, like a whirlwind, it lifts small feelings of abandonment, rejection, pain, shame, and guilt. There are my feelings amongst them. The air is becoming darker. The whirlwind develops speed in its rotations. The circle is widening. The feelings of abandonment and rejection fill the air. Humanity’s pain of abandonment and rejection sweeps in from all parts of the earth, from all ages past, present, and into the far future. My own emotions swirl and are caught in the whirlwind, being ever added to those of others. All together, they turn the air black as death and hide the sun; the light vanishes. The whirlwind swirls and swirls around Jesus.
Not seeing Jesus on the cross, his words fainting reach my soul and always they are the words of “I receive, I receive, I receive, I receive. Oh, the pain! Where did it all come from? I love the people. Oh, the pain they bear. It is heavy to my soul. It is coming into every muscle. Oh, the hurt. It is coming into my heart. My heart is breaking with pain.”
And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?
“Where are you Father? My soul is breaking. The darkness is death. It is crushing me. My spirit sees you Father, sees my love conquering even darkness, sees the people standing around the wedding table, and sees the people rejoicing in Zion. Father, my spirit consumes all the darkness, all the pain, all the abandonment, all the rejection, all the shame, all the guilt. Receive, Oh My Soul, till you drink it all. Consume it all in love. People give me all and receive my love, my joy, my peace. Exchange your pain. Receive my love. Exchange your abandonment. Receive my acceptance”
The mighty inrush of the whirlwind focuses as a giant funnel into his body, soul, and spirit. Jesus is receiving it all. His exhausted heart beating so rapidly, can he live? The last bit is received. “It is finished,” he quietly speaks and rests.
Then said Jesus, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they do.”
With His mission accomplished and the dark blackness continuing to swirl around him, Satan waits, laughing, taunting, and claims victory. But the penalty of sin is gone, swallowed up, consumed in total love. As Jesus feels his heart melting in pain, consuming in love every sin, every bad decision, and in total acceptance of all people, he turns his spirit to the Father and yields himself over to death.
-excerpt taken from a meditation on the cross
"Is it possible for the believer always to abide in Jesus? Is a life of unbroken fellowship with the Son of God indeed attainable here in this earthly life? Truly not, if the abiding is our work, to be done in our strength. But the things that are impossible with men are possible with God. If the Lord Himself will keep the soul night and day, yea, will watch and water it every moment, then surely the uninterrupted communion with Jesus becomes a blessed possibility to those who can trust God to mean and to do what He says. Then surely the abiding of the branch of the vine day and night, summer and winter, in a never-ceasing life-fellowship, is nothing less than the simple but certain promise of your abiding in your Lord."
-excerpt from Andrew Murray's Abiding in Christ, day 13
"My Father, I have sometimes blamed you when circumstances are hard, when I have felt wounded by other people . . . until I have felt bruised and empty.
"Correct my spirit with your truth—that you are always at your work, in every situation, even those that hurt. And your greatest work is to free me from things that will always fail me in the end . . . so I can know your higher love that is endless. . . ."
-Living Flame of Love: Stanza 1 from David Hazard's You Set My Spirit Free, pg 35
"The password of the early Christians was joy, so let us still serve the Lord with joy. Joy is love, joy is prayer, joy is strength. God loves a person who gives joyfully, and if you give joyfully you always give more. A joyful heart is the result of a heart burning with love.
"Works of love are always works of joy. We don't need to look for happiness: if we have love for others we'll be given it. It is the gift of God."
-excerpt from Mother Theresa's Meditations from a Simple Path, pg 65
"In becoming partakers of the union with Christ, there is a work God does and a work we have to do. God does His work by moving us to do our work. The work of God is hidden and silent; what we do is something distinct and tangible. Conversion and faith, prayer and obedience, are conscious acts of which we can give a clear account; while the spiritual quickening and strengthening that come from above are secret and beyond the reach of human sight. And so it comes that when the believer tries to say, "I am in Christ Jesus," he looks more to the work he did, than to that wondrous secret work of God by which he was united to Christ. Nor can it well be otherwise at the commencement of the Christian course. "I know that I have believed," is a valid testimony,. But it is of great consequence that the mind should be led to see that at the back of our turning, and believing, and accepting of Christ, there was God's almighty power doing its work - inspiring our will, taking possession of us, and carrying out its own purpose of love in planting us into Christ Jesus. As the believer enters into this, the divine side of the work of salvation, he will learn to praise and to worship with new exultation, and to rejoice more than ever in the divineness of that salvation he has been made partaker of. At each step he reviews, the song will come, "This is the Lord's doing" - Divine Omnipotence working out what Eternal Love had devised. "Of God I am in Christ Jesus."
-excerpt taken from Andrew Murray's Abide In Christ, day 6
"Abide in Jesus as your wisdom and expect from Him most confidently whatever teaching you may need for a life to the glory of the Father. In all that concerns your spiritual life, abide in Jesus as your wisdom. The life you have in Christ is a thing of infinite sacredness, far too high and holy for you to know how to act it out. It is He alone who can guide you, as by a secret spiritual instinct, to know what is becoming your dignity as a child of God, what will help and what will hinder your inner life, and specially your abiding in Him. Do not think of it as a mystery or a difficulty you must solve. Whatever questions come up as to the possibility of abiding perfectly and uninterruptedly in Him, and of really obtaining all the blessing that comes from it, always remember: He knows, all is perfectly clear to Him, and He is my wisdom. Just as much as you need to know and are capable of apprehending, will be communicated, if you only trust Him. Never think of the riches of wisdom and knowledge hid in Jesus as treasures without a key, or of your way as a path without a light. Jesus your wisdom is guiding you in the right way, even when you do not see it."
-excerpt taken from Andrew Murray's Abide In Christ, day 7
"God prepares a series of happenings which detaches us little by little from creatures, and which at last tears us away from ourselves. This operation is painful, but it is our corruption which makes it necessary, and that is the cause of the pain we bear. If this flesh were healthy, the surgeon would not make any incision. He only cuts in proportion to the depth of the wound, and the area of the infection. If the operation causes us so much pain, it is because the infection is bad. Is it cruelty in the surgeon to cut to the quick? No, on the contrary, it is affection. It is skill. He would thus treat his only son.
"God treats us in the same way. He never makes trouble for us except in spite of himself, so to speak. His father's heart does not try to desolate us. But he cuts to the quick to cure the ulcer of our heart. He has to take from us what we love too dearly, what we love in the wrong way and without discretion, what we love to the prejudice of his love."
-excerpt taken from Fenelon's essay "Value and Use of Crosses" Christian Perfection (Colorado Heritage Series)
"Nothing is of more importance to man than his state, nothing more fearful than eternity. It is unnatural that there should be people who are indifferent to the loss of their life and careless of the peril of eternity of unhappiness. They react very differently to everything else. They are afraid of the least things that they anticipate and feel. The same person who spends nights and days in a rage, in the agony of despair over the loss of some status or imaginary affront to his reputation, is the same person who knows he will lose everything by death and shows neither concern nor emotion at the prospect. It is extraordinary to see in the same heart and at the same time this concern for the most trivial matters, and yet lack of concern for the greatest. It is an incomprehensible spell, a supernatural carelessness that points to evidence of an all-powerful force as its cause."
-excerpt from Blaise Pascal's Penses (139)
"The Will of God is expressed in a certain covenant into which God has entered with man and consists of two parts.
"1. The one, He declares it to be His pleasure to receive adoration from man, and at the same time prescribes the mode of performing that worship; for it is His will to be worshipped from obedience, and not at the option or discretion of man.
2. The other, God promises that He will abundantly compensate man for the worship which he performs; requiring not only adoration for the benefits already conferred upon man, as a trial of his gratitude; but likewise that He may communicate to man infinitely greater things to the consummation of his happiness."
-excerpt taken from Arminius' Oration 2: The Object of Theology (50)
"We cannot aspire to God in earnest until we have begun to be displeased with ourselves. For what man is not disposed to rest in himself? Who, in fact, does not thus rest, so long as he is unknown to himself; that is, so long as he is contented with his own endowments, and unconscious or unmindful of his misery? Every person, therefore on coming to the knowledge of himself, is not only urged to seek God, but is also led as by the hand to find him.
"On the other hand, it is evident that man never attains to a true-self knowledge until he have previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself. For (such is our innate pride) we always seem to ourselves just, upright, wise, and holy, until we are convinced, by clear evidence, of our injustice, vileness, folly, and impurity. Convinced, however, we are not, if we look to ourselves only, and not to the Lord also - He being the standard by the application of which this conviction can be produced. For, since we are all naturally prone to hypocrisy, any empty semblance of righteousness is quite enough to satisfy us instead of righteousness itself....But should we once begin to raise our thoughts to God, and reflect what kind of Being he is, and how absolute the perfection of that righteousness, wisdom, and virtue, to which, as a standard we are bound to be conformed, what formerly delighted us by its false show of righteousness will become polluted with the greatest iniquity."
-excerpt taken from John Calvin's Institutes (1,1,1&2)
"He who knows truth, knows the unchangeable light, and he who knows it knows eternity. Love knows it, O eternal truth, and true love, and beloved eternity! You are my God, and I sigh for you day and night!
"When first I knew you, you took me up, so that I might see that there was something to see, but that I was not yet one able to see it. You beat back my feeble sight, sending down your beams most powerfully upon me, and I trembled with love and awe. I found myself to be far from you in a region of unlikeness, as though I heard your voice from on high: "I am the food of grown men. Grow, and you shall feed upon me. You will not change me into yourself, as you change food into your flesh, but you will be changed into me." I knew that "you have corrected man for iniquity, and you have made my soul to waste away like a spider," and I said, "Is truth nothing, because it is diffused neither through finite nor through infinite space?" From afar you cried to me, " I am who am." I heard, as one hears in his heart; there was no further place for doubt, for it would be easier for me to doubt that I live than that there is no truth, which is "clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made."
-excerpt from St. Augustine's City of God (7, 10, 16)
"I marveled that now I loved you, and not a phantom in your stead. Yet I was not steadfast in enjoyment of my God: I was borne up to you by your beauty, but soon I was borne down from you by my own weight, and with groaning, I plunged into the midst of those lower things. This weight was carnal custom. Still there remained within me remembrance of you: I did not doubt in any way that there was one to cleave to, nor did I doubt that I was not yet one who would cleave to him. "For the corruptible body is a load upon the soul, and the earthly habitation presses down upon the mind that muses upon many things." Yet I was most certain that your "invisible things, from the foundation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made," your "eternal power also, and divinity."
-excerpt taken from St. Augustine's City of God (7, 17, 23)
"I should like to persuade spiritual persons that the road leading to God does not entail a multiplicity of considerations, methods, manners, and experiences - though in their own way these may be a requirement for beginners - but demands only the one thing necessary: true self-denial, exterior and interior, through surrender of self both to the suffering for Christ and to annihilation in all things. In the exercise of this self-denial everything else, and even more, is discovered and accomplished. If one fails in this exercise, the root and sum total of all the virtues, the other methods would amount to no more than going around in circles without getting anywhere, even were one to enjoy considerations and communications as lofty as those of the angels."
-excerpt from St. John of the Cross The Ascent of Mount Carmel (2,7,8)
Just as a lover is wearied and depressed when on a long-for-day his opportunity is frustrated, so is the soul wearied and tired by all its appetites and their fulfillment, because the fulfillment only causes more hunger and emptiness. An appetite, as they say, is like a fire that blazes up when wood is thrown on it, but necessarily dies out when the wood is consumed.
In regard to the appetites, things are even worse. The fire dwindles as the wood is consumed, but the intensity of the appetite does not diminish when the appetite is satisfied, even though the object is gone. Instead of waning like the fire after the wood is burned, the appetite faints with fatigue because its hunger has increased and its food diminished. Isaiah refers to this: "He will turn to the right and be hungry, and eat toward the left and not be filled." When those who do not mortify their appetites turn to the right, they of course see the abundance of the sweet spirit that is the lot of those who are at the right hand of God but is not granted to them. When they eat at the left (satisfy their appetite with some creature), they of course grow discontented because, in turning from what alone satisfies, they feed on what augments their hunger. It is clear, then, that the appetites weary and fatigue a person.
-excerpt from St. John of the Cross The Ascent of Mount Carmel (1,7,6&7)
All men should know that they are indispensably obliged to love God, but they have to learn in what way they should love Him. We must love God because He is our Creator, and because we have nothing which does not come from His liberal hand. All that is in us is no less His gift to us who have nothing, since we are nothing by ourselves. Not only we have from God all that is in us, but all that surrounds us comes from him, and has been formed by Him. We should love Him also, because He has loved us, but with a tender love, like a father who pities his children, because he knows the mud and clay from which they have been made. He has sought us in our own ways, which are those of sin. He has run like a shepherd who exhausts himself to find his strayed lamb. He is not content to look for us, but after having found us He has take us and our weakness upon Himself by taking human form. It is said that He has been obedient unto death on the cross, and that the measure of his obedience has been the measure of His love for us.
-excerpt taken from Fenelon's essay "Fidelity in Little Things" Christian Perfection (Colorado Heritage Series)
"Unless the grain of wheat, falling into the ground, dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit."
By the Wheat we understand our Lord Jesus Christ, Who by His death has brought forth much fruit for all men, if they are but willing, not only to reign with Him, but also, and in the first place, desire to follow Him in a dying life. For this may be called a dying life, when a man for the love of God refuses to gratify his senses and take his natural pleasure, and follow his own will; and as many lusts as he dies to, so many deaths does he offer to God, and so many fruits of life will he receive in return. For in what measure a man dies to himself, and grows out of himself, in the same measure does God, Who is our Life, enter into him.
-excerpt taken from John Tauler's Sermon IV, circa 1344 AD
"It is not through the proud action of our reason, but through its humble submission that we can really know ourselves. Such foundations solidly established on the inviolable authority of true religion enable us to understand that there are two fundamental truths of faith. One is that man in the state of his original creation, or in the state of grace, is exalted above the whole of nature, made like unto God, and sharing in his divinity. The other is that in his state of fallenness and sin, man has forfeited this first state and has become like the animals. Both these propositions are equally sound and certain."
-excerpt taken from Penses by Blaise Pascal #97
"It is not a question of knowing much, of having great talent, nor even of doing great things. We only need to have a heart and to desire the good. Outer works are the fruits and the inseparable consequences by which we recognize true devotion. But true devotion, the source of these works, is all in the depths of the heart. There are some virtues which are for some conditions, and not for others. Some are suitable at one time, and some at another, but the good intention is for all times and all places. To want all that God wants, always to want it, for all occasions and without reservations, this is the kingdom of God which is all within. It is thus that his kingdom comes, since his will is done on earth as it is in heaven. It is thus that we only want what his supreme will instills in our own."
-excerpt taken from Fenelon's essay "Conformity to God's Will" Christian Perfection (Colorado Heritage Series)