Jesus

 

If I do not hope in His love for me, I will never really know Christ. I hear of Him by faith. But I do not achieve the contact that knows Him, and thereby knows the Father in Him, until my faith in Him is completed by hope and charity: hope that grasps His love for me and charity that pays Him the return of love I owe.

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

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Faith without hope
is light without sight
warmth too far away to feel
music that can’t be heard
over the dry, drafty doctrine
that being correct is a higher calling
than simply being loved.

dw

p.s. I’ve written about this before with similar sentiment. I wish I had learned this lesson much earlier in my life.

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

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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

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.

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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

 

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

 

 

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

 

Freedom is perfect when no other love can impede our desire to love God.

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

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From John’s gospel, Chapter 8:

31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

Harper Bibles. NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Kindle Locations 79992-79998). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Grace and peace and freedom to you…

dw