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CHRISTIANS MUST ALWAYS NOURISH in their hearts the fullness of joy. Try to do that, sisters and brothers. I have tried it many times, and in the most bitter situations, when slander and persecution are at their worst, I have united myself intimately with Christ as my friend, and I have tasted a sweetness that all the joys of earth cannot give. It is the joy of God’s intimacy, the profoundest joy the heart can experience, even when people don’t understand you.

Romero, Oscar. The Scandal of Redemption (Plough Spiritual Guides: Backpack Classics) (p. 35). Plough Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

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6 In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith— being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire— may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:6-9

Harper Bibles. NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Kindle Locations 87282-87287). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

 

All desires but one can fail. The only desire that is infallibly fulfilled is the desire to be loved by God. We cannot desire this efficaciously without at the same time desiring to love Him, and the desire to love Him is a desire that cannot fail. Merely by desiring to love Him, we are beginning to do that which we desire.

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

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You have made it simple,
so simple only a child,
or some childishness within us
we haven’t trampled in our trudge to adulthood,
has the precociousness and audacity to believe:
that the mere act of turning to You
guarantees a smile
beckoning us to come sit
and be blessed.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

 

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…