I found myself praying, praying with thanksgiving, praying with open eyes, while I watched the workers on the beach, the sunset, and listened to the sound of the waves and the scream of snowy gulls. “BUT,” I REASONED with myself, “I am praying because I am happy, not because I am unhappy. I did not turn to God in unhappiness, in grief, in despair – to get consolation, to get something from him.” And encouraged that I was praying because I wanted to thank him, I went on praying. No matter how dull the day, how long the walk seemed, if I felt sluggish at the beginning of the walk, the words I had been saying insinuated themselves into my heart before I had finished, so that on the trip back I neither prayed nor thought but was filled with exultation.

Day, Dorothy. The Reckless Way of Love: Notes on Following Jesus (Plough Spiritual Guides: Backpack Classics) (p. 51). Plough Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

cropped-david-monje-2199131.jpg

God, do I have to pray in order to have life?

I am the way, the truth, and the life…but you are free to continue to seek another, if you like. Tell me, how is that going for you?

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

 

So in the room called Remember it is possible to find peace – the peace that comes from looking back and remembering to remember that though most of the time we failed to see it, we were never really alone.

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

cropped-david-monje-2199131.jpg

The voice didn’t say
You are utterly alone:
I would have heard the lie for what it was.

No, it said
You will always feel this alone;
You will always be misunderstood;
You will never have what you are longing for.
All is dark and there is no remedy.

And so, I felt that alone,
that misunderstood;
I felt the aching longing,
the hopelessness.
I felt the desolation of that voice.
I felt it as long as I listened,
many years.

“Show us a sign,” the people said.
“What sign shall I give to a people who don’t listen?” he said,
“There are signs all around you.
Wake up, pay attention, and see.
I am at hand, right here with you.”

The children could see –
the mouths of babes proclaimed it,
and still do.

What woke me from the desolating dream?
Grace, I’m sure;
the nearness of children;
the weariness of being weary;
giving up on giving up;
becoming aware the voice was just a voice;

Reaching out to touch the hem of His garment –
if I just touch it, I will be healed.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

Hope seeks not only God in Himself, not only the means to reach Him, but it seeks, finally and beyond all else, God’s glory revealed in ourselves. This will be the final manifestation of His infinite mercy, and this is what we pray for when we say “Thy Kingdom come.”

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

cropped-david-monje-2199131.jpg

Ask for Me, and receive
that I have received you.
Seek Me, and find
that I have found you.
Knock and enter, knowing
that I knock and wait to enter.

You already have what you truly hope for:
the Giver of Life
asking, seeking, knocking
to give you Life.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

The very essence of hope is freely to expect all the graces necessary for salvation as free gifts from God.

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

cropped-david-monje-2199131.jpg

Freely to expect –
when was the last time
I was free to expect
anything at all
when some sort of pain
or payment wasn’t expected,
quid pro quo,
in return?
We learn,
young enough,
we better shape up
or shut up
or figure out how not to be
– yes, not to be –
too much of a bother,
so we can fit in
be accepted
be liked
be safe
at least for the moment.
But we can’t keep it up.
Can’t keep in line enough.
Can’t be good enough
to earn all the graces necessary
for acceptance
for being safe.
Can’t be good enough for hope.

We are the ones God saves.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

Only the man who has had to face despair is really convinced that he needs mercy. Those who do not want mercy never seek it. It is better to find God on the threshold of despair than to risk our lives in a complacency that has never felt the need of forgiveness.

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

cropped-david-monje-2199131.jpg

From one kind of sublime to, well, a something different…

I just happened to hear Andy Grammer’s Wish You Pain this morning.

Thomas Merton and Andy Grammer in the same post???

Get over it 🙂

dw

p.s. my better half took me to an Andy Grammer concert a couple of weeks back. I have to admit I’m a snob when it comes to musical style…and I found Andy’s positive message so spot on…well, who needs to be a snob anyway?

Grace and peace to you…

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

Then at last we see what hope is and where it comes from, hope as the driving power and outermost edge of faith. Hope stands up to its knees in the past and keeps its eyes on the future…shall is the verb of hope.

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

cropped-david-monje-2199131.jpg

Sometimes it’s not just the knees.
Sometimes the past is waist deep
or swirling about the neck.
Sometimes hope is desperate,
sucking in great, choking drafts of history,
over it’s head, swept along
in rapids intent on burying it,
knocking it out on some jag of rock.

Hope knows, though;
it knows the past has
to settle out
to a stretch where strokes count,
where there is footing,
where there is a landing,
and a choice to get out
and take a path.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

We have the greatest weapons in the world, greater than any hydrogen or atom bomb, and they are the weapons of poverty and prayer, fasting and alms, the reckless spending of ourselves in God’s service and for his poor. Without poverty we will not have learned love, and love, at the end, is the measure by which we shall be judged.

Day, Dorothy. The Reckless Way of Love: Notes on Following Jesus (Plough Spiritual Guides: Backpack Classics) (p. 63). Plough Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

cropped-david-monje-2199131.jpg
More powerful than power itself is the choice to set it aside.

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?”

Harper Bibles. NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Kindle Locations 76005-76007). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com