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Quotations 2016

March 9, 2016

Q04“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

“A religion that is small enough for our understanding would not be big enough for our needs.”

“this is what the past is for!  Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for a future that only He can see.” Corrie Ten Boom

A key notion in New Seeds of Contemplation is the contrast or distinction between the true self and the false self.’ Each one of us has a true and a false self. Many people never get to know the true self at all. They manage to spend an entire lifetime living out the agenda of the false self, which builds an inflated existence for itself on strictly worldly terms.’ Inside, there is a shy, hidden and unexplored region called the true self. The true self is a sanctuary in which God is always present, like a private chapel within ourselves where we can go to be closer to God than to our own breath. It is a great consolation to the monk or contemplative person that, even when we seem not to be praying at all, the truest part of ourselves is fused with God at every moment and everything else with which we busy ourselves is of secondary and finite importance. Deep within us there is a self that is true and real, a self that God creates, moment by moment, giving it love and grace. God calls to us ever so gently just to walk or sit in the realisation that God is there. A small and flickering candle of worship is eternally lit within us. The tiny space in which that inextinguishable candle is lit is the true self.

A saint is one who has managed to change the focus of attention, in a habitual way, from the false self—which never disappears, even in advanced sanctity—to the true self that is ever-present in perfect quiet and humility. Robert Doud

 `This true inner self must be drawn up like a jewel from the bottom of the sea, rescued from confusion. Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation, 38

 An oyster is soft, tender, and vulnerable. Without the sanctuary of its shell, it could not survive. But oysters must open their shells in order to ‘breathe’ water. Sometimes while an oyster is breathing, a grain of sand will enter its shell and become a part of its life from then on. Such grains of sand cause pain, but an oyster does not alter its soft nature because of this. It does not become hard and leathery in order not to feel. It continues to entrust itself to the ocean, to open and breathe in order to live. But it does respond. Slowly and patiently, the oyster wraps the grain of sand in thin translucent layers until, over time, it creates something of great value in the place where it was most vulnerable to its pain. A pearl might be thought of as an oyster’s response to its pain and suffering. But not every oyster can do this. Oysters that do are far more valuable to people than oysters that do not. Sand is a way of life for an oyster. If you are soft and tender and must live on the sandy floor of the ocean, learning to make pearls becomes a necessity if you are to survive and live well. Rachel Remen

To learn is also to accept that we are not in possession of all the truth. So we have to multiply encounters with persons of other beliefs and philosophies and opinions in order to see what we can do together to better the society in which we live. Roger met many different people: intellectuals, political leaders, artists, remembering always he was first a priest. Based on Roger Greenacre

 one thing I do (Philippians) Amy Carchichael was gifted enough to do many things but she concentrated on her work with children and turned down various offers.

Levi left everything and followed while the religious people complained. As I reinvent myself yet again I shouldn’t look over my shoulder at the church.

The real problem is not whether to do this rather than that, but what is the significance for us of what we are doing: whether it is merely in order to pass the time, or whether it is the expression of a vital need to keep on growing and developing our personality right to the end. Many people carefully avoid ever putting the ques­tion to themselves. Paul Tournier

Sin is our refusal to become who we truly are. Michael Mayne

“Life becomes simplified when dominated by a few concerns. Too many of us have too many irons in the fire.” Thomas R. Kelly

 always assume that a good book is more intelligent than its author. It can say things that the writer isn’t aware of.” Umberto Eco

Christ is a diamond, so perfectly cut, with multiple facets so bright.
Around Him stands all manner of men, each seeing one aspect of light,
Christ turns but a fraction, and the sparkling lights change;
New wonders the viewers perceive.
Each light somewhat different; specifically meant,
for the ones who the Spirit receive.
None has the right to say to another, the light that you see isn’t true.
The facet for him was cut for his purpose; yours was cut spec’ly for you.
But all viewers jointly, their own lights held true, make a composite brilliant reflection.
It’s the Body of Christ . . . The Diamond’s intent . . .
TO MIRROR ITS WONDROUS PERFECTION [Theophilocrates]

Rowan Williams said, about e countering the love of God. That it’s like being an egg shell in the Niagara Falls.

But it is a particularization of my responsibility also, in a world too vast and a lifetime too short for me to carry all respon­sibilities. My cosmic love, or the Divine Lover loving within me, cannot accomplish its full intent, which is universal saviourhood, within the limits of three score years and ten. But the Loving Presence does not burden us equally with all things, but consid­erately puts upon each of us just a few central tasks, as emphatic responsibilities. For each of us these special undertakings are our share in the joyous burdens of love.

Thus the state of having a concern has a foreground and a background. In the foreground is the special task, uniquely illumi­nated, toward which we feel a special yearning and care….. We cannot die on every cross, nor are we expected to….; I wish I might emphasize how a life becomes simplified then dominated by faithfulness to a few concerns. Too many of us have too many irons in the fire. We get distracted by the intelectual claim to our interest in a thousand and one good things, land before we know it we are pulled and hauled breathlessly along by an over-burdened program of good committees and good undertakings. I am persuaded that this fevered life of church workers is not wholesome. Undertakings get plastered on from the outside because we can’t turn down a friend. Acceptance of service on a weighty committee should really depend upon an answering imperative within us, not merely upon a rational cal­culation of the factors involved. The concern-oriented life is or­dered and organized from within. And we learn to say No as well as Yes by attending to the guidance of inner responsibility. Thomas Kelly

“You want to know God? First know yourself.” Evagrius

To our most bitter opponents we say:

We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering

by our capacity to endure suffering.

We shall meet your physical force with soul force.

Do to us what you will,

and we shall continue to love you ..

Throw us in jail, and we shall still love you.

Send your hooded perpetrators of violence

into our community at the midnight hour

and beat us and leave us half dead,

and we shall still love you.

But be assured that we will wear you down

by our capacity to suffer.

One day we shall win freedom,

but not only for ourselves.

We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience

that we shall win you in the process,

and our victory will be a double victory. MARTIN LUTHER KING (1929-1968)

 

“Be kind to those you meet, for everyone is fighting a great battle.” Philo

If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part yourself. What isn’t part ourselves doesn’t disturb us. Hermann Hesse

Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity. an ancient homily on Holy Saturday

Every time someone dies, a library is burned. Anders Sandberg

Humility means remembering our human limitations. It is about learning that saying no is equally as important as saying yes. In the third movement of oratio, furthermore, we are listen­ing for an invitation or call, although it doesn’t always mean we listen for something more to add to our already full plates. Identifying what we are not called to do is essential to discover­ing what we are being summoned to do. Sometimes oratio will lead us to simplify our lives, to let go of what is no longer nec­essary or what distracts us from our heart’s deep desires. After all, we live in a world with so many good and worthy opportu­nities in which to invest our precious energy that we can feel pulled in many directions. Humility reminds us that we are not asked to be all things to all people, but to nurture our unique gifts and to recognize that self-care is good stewardship of those gifts. Humility demands truth-telling and radical self-honesty; it is about celebrating the gifts we have been uniquely given in service of others, as well as recognizing our limitations and vulnerability.

Michael Casey offers a keen reminder that “a much more creative way of dealing with difficult texts is to take our negative reaction as an indication that there may be an issue beneath the surface with which we must deal.” Similar to ….paying attention to our energetic response to a text—those places in our reading often the ones that make squirm, or the ideas with which we wrestle,  that bear the greatest fruit in terms of revealing our own hidden places of resistance and fear. Christine Painter

 “God’s first language is silence. Everything else is a translation.” Thomas Keating

Silence is painful, but in silence things take form, and we must wait and watch. In us, in our secret depth, lies the knowing element which sees and hears that which we do not see nor hear. All our perceptions, all the things we have done, all that we are today, dwelt once in that knowing, silent depth, that treasure chamber in the soul. And we are more than we think. We are more than we know. That which is more than we think and know is always seeking and adding to itself while we are doing—or think we are doing nothing. But to be conscious of what is going on in our depth is to help it along. When subconsciousness becomes consciousness, the seeds in our winter-clad selves turn to flowers, and the silent life in us sings with all its might. Kahlil Gibran

changing your mind is proof that you’ve got one. Roger Scruton

 the beginning of spiritual maturity, which comes after the awkward age of religious busyness for the Kingdom of God – yet how many are caught, and arrested in development, with this adolescent development of the soul’s growth. The maker of this simplified life is radiant joy. It lives in the Fellowship of the Transfigured Face. Thomas Kelly

 The favorite answer, or the Anglo-Saxon answer, to those whose interest is in the transcendent mysteries is, “Why stand ye gazing up into heaven while a hungry world surrounds you?” ……while we glibly refute those who stand gazing into the Great Beyond, too many of us have failed gaze into heaven more than a minute or two at a time because we have to hustle out to the garage and get the car in order to attend a special meeting on Christ an the Political situation, a very important meeting cause… Thomas Kelly

This decidedness in a Christian is not to be confused with the decidedness of the bigot, or the man with a one-string gospel. It is not a decidedness about a par­ticular doctrine. Such “decided” Christians are plenti­ful, but they are not the answer to the world’s need. True decidedness is not of doctrine, but of life orienta­tion. It is a commitment of life, thoroughly, wholly, in every department and without reserve, to the Inner Guide. It is not a tense and reluctant decidedness, an hysterical assertiveness. It is a joyful and quiet dis­placement of life from its old center in the self, and a glad and irrevocable replacement of the whole of life in a new and divine Center. It is a life lived out from an all-embracing center of motivation, which in glad readiness wills to do the will of the Father, so far as that will can be discerned. It is a life of integration, of peace, of final coordination of all one’s powers, within a singleness of commitment.  Thomas Kelly

 Each man’s life involves the life of all men, each tale is but the fragment of a tale. Stephen Vizinczey

Into this world, this demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room for Him at all, Christ has come uninvited.  But because he cannot be at home in it, because He is out of place in it, and yet He must be in it, His place is with those others for whom there is no room.  His place is with those who do not belong, who are rejected . . . With those for whom there is no room, Christ is present in this world.  He is mysteriously present in those for whom there seems to be nothing but the world at its worst. Thomas Merton

Unless the Spirit be present to the mind of the hearer, the word of the teacher is vain. Gregory the Great

‘They all laugh at me because I’m different – I laugh at them because they’re all the same.’ Kurt Cobain

The religions start from mysticism. There is no other way to start a religion. But, I compare this to a volcano that gushes forth …and then …the magma flows down the sides of the mountain and cools off. And when it reaches the bottom, it’s just rocks. You’d never guess that there was fire in it. So after a couple of hundred years, or two thousand years or more, what was once alive is dead rock. Doctrine becomes doctrinaire. Morals become moralistic. Ritual becomes ritualistic. What do we do with it? We have to push through this crust and go to the fire that’s within it. David Stendlrast

 Whate’er thou lovest, man,

That to become thou must:

God, if thou lovest God,

Dust if thou lovest dust”.  The Gita

 Rainer Rilke suggested that real love does not consist in ‘merging’ but means ‘that two solitudes protect and border and salute each other ‘

Appropriate sexual body-language is a sacrament of Real Presence — both the true and unashamed presence of one person to another and, within that and cementing that self-disclosure, the Real Presence of the indwelling God. ‘This is my body — my life — given for you.’ ‘And they recognised him in the breaking of the bread.’ And we may recognise God too, in the breaking open of bodies, the breaking open of self, for each other.  Philip Sheldrake

 ‘God is not so much interested in making us religious, as in making us alive’. John Taylor

Mystics are always followed by miscreants. Hindu speaker

Unless the Spirit be present to the mind of the hearer, the word of the teacher is vain. Gregory the Great

 

‘They all laugh at me because I’m different – I laugh at them because they’re all the same.’ Kurt Cobain

 

The religions start from mysticism. There is no other way to start a religion. But, I compare this to a volcano that gushes forth …and then …the magma flows down the sides of the mountain and cools off. And when it reaches the bottom, it’s just rocks. You’d never guess that there was fire in it. So after a couple of hundred years, or two thousand years or more, what was once alive is dead rock. Doctrine becomes doctrinaire. Morals become moralistic. Ritual becomes ritualistic. What do we do with it? We have to push through this crust and go to the fire that’s within it. David Stendlrast

 

Whate’er thou lovest, man,

That to become thou must:

God, if thou lovest God,

Dust if thou lovest dust”.  The Gita

 

Rainer Rilke suggested that real love does not consist in ‘merging’ but means ‘that two solitudes protect and border and salute each other ‘

 

Appropriate sexual body-language is a sacrament of Real Presence — both the true and unashamed presence of one person to another and, within that and cementing that self-disclosure, the Real Presence of the indwelling God. ‘This is my body — my life — given for you.’ ‘And they recognised him in the breaking of the bread.’ And we may recognise God too, in the breaking open of bodies, the breaking open of self, for each other.  Philip Sheldrake

 

‘God is not so much interested in making us religious, as in making us alive’. John Taylor

 

Mystics are always followed by miscreants. Hindu speaker

 

Writing of patriotism and the ‘bulldog spirit’ in 1940, George Orwell observed that the bulldog is “an animal noted for its obstinacy, ugliness and stupidity”. He also reflected – in words which were probably even less popular then then they are now – that the English shared “an unconscious patriotism and an inability to think logically”.

 

“Our wounds are our glory,” Julian of Norwich

 

Archbishop Oscar Romero Prayer: A Step Along The Way: It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificententerprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the masterbuilder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

 

Muhammad – if we were perfect, God would create some people who sin so that he could have a relationship with them.

 

‘Prayer was never meant to be magic . . . it’s an act of love.’

 

Beloved community is formed not by the eradica­tion of difference but by its affirmation. – bel hooks

 

The management guru Charles Handy tells the story of Luke, a young Afro-Caribbean man who, twelve months earlier, had been down and out and living in London. He had no job, no home, no money and no hope. There seemed to him to be little point in living.

Yet by the time Handy met him, Luke’s life was trans­formed; there was no trace of his down-and-out past, no sign of defeatism or depression. He was enrolled in a college and was upbeat, charming, interesting in his views (they met at a conference on the future of work) and fully engaged with life.

`What happened?’ Handy asked.

`Well, when things were at their worst,’ Luke explained, `I rang my dad and told him how I felt. All he said was, “Think about this: when you get to heaven you will meet the man you might have been.” Then he put the phone down. That was all I needed. I went away, thought about it, and applied to the college.”‘

 

Don’t try to change the world — be true to yourself Before entering the public arena, Jesus spent forty days in the desert deciding who he was and who he wanted to be in the world. He didn’t do things simply to please others, or to fulfil some ambition to be the saviour of the world: he was simply true to his deepest and best instincts. If you are true to yourself, you will change the world, because the world around you will change.

 

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living some­one else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. — Steve Jobs

 

‘My deepest vocation is to be a witness to the glimpses of God I have been allowed to catch’. Henri Nouwen

 

‘the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes’. Marcel Proust

 

AN ADEQUATE Christian theology of gender has its own version of a middle ground, but this ground is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, not Adam and Eve, is the revealed image of God. Christians believe that Jesus founded, and invites everyone into, a new realm, variously called a new Kingdom, a new creation, a new body, even a new or renewed hu­manity (all in Colossians). Adrian Thatcher

 

sin is of course not directly willed by God but nothing that happens, happens outside the knowledge and tolerance of God. Secondly, our sin does not prevent God’s good­ness from working and bringing from it some compensating good. Julian writes, “Were I to do nothing but sin my sin would still not prevent his goodness from working.” Julian of  Norwich

 

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