hope

 

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

 

It would be a sin to place any limit upon our hope in God. We must love Him without measure. All sin is rooted in the failure of love. All sin is a withdrawal of love from God, in order to love something else. Sin sets boundaries to our hope, and locks our love in prison.

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

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Sin:
exchanging our greatest love
for something less,
hoping for less than what we have assurance of,
settling for even less than we hope for,
accepting a story of non-provision,
covetousness rewriting hope’s history
into a bleak tragedy
of love beyond our reach
just outside the bars
of the unlocked cell
we are dying in

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

Photo by chris panas on Unsplash

 

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 the soul that hopes in God already belongs to Him, and to belong to Him is the same as to possess Him, since He gives Himself completely to those who give themselves to Him.

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

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We began this series on Hope with Thomas Merton telling us that hope takes everything away from us so that, in the end, we may possess everything. Here he gives us the answer to that riddle:

Hope’s mission is to lead us to the only sure hope, that the God Jesus called ‘Father’ is our God, we are his people, and he takes joy in giving us all that can truly be called Life. Any hope less than this is a distraction, a diminishing of this sure hope, the anchor of our souls.

dw

Copyright © 2018, becomingflame.com

For all who are in that place of pausing to perceive where their Good Shepherd is leading them next: you are practicing hope now so you can help the rest of us when we come to that place again. Grace and peace to you…

In a world where there is so much drudgery, so much grief, so much emptiness and fear and pain, our gladness in our work is as much needed as we ourselves need to be glad. If we keep our eyes and ears open, our hearts open, we will find the place surely. The phone will ring and we will jump not so much out of our skin as into our skin. If we keep our lives open, the right place will find us.

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “The Calling of Voices”

 

Hope deprives us of everything that is not God, in order that all things may serve their true purpose as means to bring us to God.

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

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What is this hope that dashes all hopes,
yet is the only sure remedy for hopelessness?

An anchor that holds us, drowns us,
baptizes us clean, clean,
cleaner than we ever wanted to be
(but always wanted to be)
in water that is life itself
if we will only drown ourselves in it,
suck it in knowing it is the death of us,
us as beings with the right to choose,
for our own selves,
what we hope for,
even if what we hope for
would be the death of us.

dw

Copyright © 2018, becomingflame.com