Better than hoping for anything from the Lord, besides His love, let us place all our hope in His love itself. This hope is as sure as God Himself. It can never be confounded.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sentences on Hope

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It doesn’t matter what we do,
you and I,
as long as we are together.

No need for lavish blessings
or miraculous signs;
just You hovering near me will do.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

Photo by Sunyu on Unsplash

 

If I believe that He can love me, I must also believe that I can love Him. If I do not believe I can love Him, then I do not believe Him Who gave us the first commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and thy whole mind and all thy strength, and thy neighbor as thyself.”

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sentences on Hope

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The system of church doctrine I learned and lived under for too long told me I was incapable of loving God.  I’m beginning to believe, instead, that those who preach such doctrines are the ones incapable of loving God or of admitting that many people, in fact, do.  Their own systematic theology keeps them from the experience they need and long for.  My prayer: Lord, give us all the simple love and courage of Mary, sister of Martha, who chose “the good portion” – sitting at your feet, loving you with all her heart.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

So Oz brought a pair of tinner’s shears and cut a small, square hole in the left side of the Tin Woodman’s breast. Then, going to a chest of drawers, he took out a pretty heart, made entirely of silk and stuffed with sawdust.

“Isn’t it a beauty?” he asked.

“It is, indeed!” replied the Woodman, who was greatly pleased. “But is it a kind heart?”

Baum, L. Frank. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (AmazonClassics Edition) (pp. 108-109). Amazon Classics. Kindle Edition.

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“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness…”

Am I, a living, feeling human being, as concerned about the kindness of my heart as the Tin Woodman, hollow, feeling nothing, is about the kindness of his?

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his loving kindness endures forever.”

Lord, let us not forget your kindness to us or the kindness you ask us to show each other.

dw

To love someone is not first of all to do things for them, but to reveal to them their beauty and value, to say to them through our attitude: “You are beautiful. You are important. I trust you. You can trust yourself.” We all know well that we can do things for others and in the process crush them, making them feel that they are incapable of doing things by themselves. To love someone is to reveal to them their capacities for life, the light that is shining in them.

Vanier, Jean. From Brokenness to Community (p. 16). PAULIST PRESS New York and Mahwah, N.J.. Kindle Edition.

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I’m speechless
because I’m guilty,
swallowing hard at the extent of my collusion
with the deceiver within me,
the extent of my obstruction of the justice due you
to be the one who sees my desperate need,
who rescues me from my delusion
that you are the one who needs rescuing,
not me.

dw

 

I’m deeply challenged by Vanier’s perspective, both in the quote above and in this video.

Over my shoulder, a glance of the eye
Catches Cancer crabbing across the sky
Devouring time and a fetus named John;

Time two brothers might have played, gone to school,
Become men, raised families, and grown old,
Always together, apart sixteen months,
James, now asleep, and his hoped for brother;

A fetus once kicking, its fingers formed,
Its days twelve times seven, all dark,
Etched only in memory, a father’s worn face,
A doctor’s log, a mother’s heaving grief.

Summer, 1985
dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

Thinking of E and J…peace and healing to you…

 

We are all such escape artists, you and I. We don’t like to get too serious about things, especially about ourselves. When we are with other people, we are apt to talk about almost anything under the sun except for what really matters to us, except for our own lives, except for what is going on inside our own skins. We pass the time of day. We chatter. We hold each other at bay, keep our distance from each other even when God knows it is precisely each other that we desperately need.

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “A Room Called Remember”

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Escape artist maybe,
But a skill learned reluctantly and painfully
To recover from discovering – too many times –
What mattered to me was no matter at all,
Or an annoyance, or an affront.

Ok, well then, nice weather – right, moving on.

We escape to avoid the shame of experiencing that we aren’t worth attending to.
You know it; I know it; we’ve lived it, too often with each other.

Yes, we desperately need each other,
but in practice I make due with keeping what’s most important between myself and God.

And sometimes this blog.

dw

The name of the room is Remember — the room where with patience, with charity, with quietness of heart, we remember consciously to remember the lives we have lived…

So much has happened to us all over the years. So much has happened within us and through us. We are to take time to remember what we can about it and what we dare. That’s what entering the room means, I think. It means taking time to remember on purpose. It means not picking up a book for once or turning on the radio, but letting the mind journey gravely, deliberately, back through the years that have gone by but are not gone. It means a deeper, slower kind of remembering; it means remembering as a searching and finding. The room is there for all of us to enter if we choose to, and the process of entering it is not unlike the process of praying, because praying too is a slow, grave journey — a search to find the truth of our own lives at their deepest and dearest, a search to understand, to hear and be heard.

The room called Remember…is a room we can enter whenever we like so that the power of remembering becomes our own power…[it] is a room where all emotions are caught up in and transcended by an extraordinary sense of well-being. It is the room of all rooms where we feel at home and at peace.

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “A Room Called Remember”

This is from another of Buechner’s sermons that has captured my imagination and is still capturing my heart. I don’t enter this room often enough, but the times I do I am blessed, refreshed, and am often given a new perspective that allows me to heal.

I’m posting this today because it resonates with a short-but-moving sermon I heard this morning about the importance of remembering our journeys and God’s faithfulness all along the way.

Grace and peace to you…

dw