hope

 

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

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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

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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

 

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”

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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

 

Those who abandon everything in order to seek God know well that He is the God of the poor…the supreme expression of His justice is to forgive those whom no one else would ever have forgiven. That is why He is, above all, the God of those who can hope where there is no hope. The penitent thief who died with Christ was able to see God where the doctors of the law had just proved impossible Jesus’s claim to divinity.

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

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Perhaps,
in our darkest hour,
the difference between
hope and despair
is our willingness
to recognize
the God of love
hanging on the cross
beside ours.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

 

The Passing

I am the firstborn in my family:
if I had been an Egyptian,
it would have been me.

How would the passing, even the prospect, feel?
Were they afraid?
scoffing?
wondering?
hoping, maybe? some?

What would it be
to be swept up in the arms of Israel’s god,
the god of our slaves,
those stronger than we,
those whom we feared?

Why did Pharaoh destroy us for these
to whom we happily gave our treasures?
“Let them go!” we said; “set them free!”

But he would not and so came the destruction
of our land,
our crops,
our livestock,
our water.

What would it be to pass into,
to be swept up in the arms,
the strong arms,
of Israel’s God?

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

Photo by IV Horton on Unsplash

 

 

The devil believes in God but he has no God. The Lord is not his God…the damned have confirmed themselves in the belief that they cannot hope in God.

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

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I spent many years believing in God, but not hoping in him. Oh, doctrinally, yes, of course I “hoped” in God: it was the right thing to do. Doctrinally correct, and I could site chapter and verse to back it up. But there is an imposter for hope that is grim and cynical and never really expects, never really hopes, that any good will come. God is not really good, doesn’t really love me – all that is beyond hope.

Believe me, I’ve been there, and am so grateful I’m not there now. Over many years, gradually letting my grip loosen about being “right”, I find I am wrong and loved – both. It’s no longer up to me earning something; it’s about coming to know that God cherishes me and will lead me like a parent leads a little child. And hope awakens, softness awakens, love awakens. It’s not a buried treasure I will never find; it’s right there in my hand if I want to grasp it, the hand of God reaching for mine.

Grace and peace and hope to you…

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

Upon our hope, therefore, depends the liberty of the whole universe. Because our hope is the pledge of a new heaven and a new earth, in which all things will be what they were meant to be.

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

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If my hope

Is the toe hold

The universe needs

To stay on the face

Of liberty;

Though barely a seam,

May it remain

As steadfast

As the One

Who made it

The anchor

Of my soul.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com