salvation

 

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

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What is the truth? It is not the answer to any question that we know how to ask. Can there be a truth that saves, can there be salvation, for those who have learned of life not to believe in salvation? Only on the other side of pain…the pained embarrassment at the words Jesus Saves, which at its heart is a pained embarrassment at our own nakedness and incompleteness…pain that brought tears to the eyes…of hope betrayed…the pain of the good thief, which is the pain of surrender, the pain of acknowledging finally our utter helplessness to save ourselves.”

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “The Sign by the Highway”

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I think…there is…hope that, if not tomorrow or the next day, then some fine day, somehow, life will finally give us the present that, when we open it, will turn out to be the one we have waited for so long, the one that will fill the empty place, which is the peace that passeth all understanding, which is the truth, salvation, whatever we want to call it. But one by one, as we open the presents, no matter how rich and wondrous they are, we discover that not one of them by itself, nor even all of them taken together, is the one of our deepest desiring — that ultimately, although her face is beautiful and draws us to her, life by herself does not have that final present to give.

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “The Sign by the Highway”

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What every man looks for in life is his own salvation and the salvation of the [ones] he lives with. By salvation I mean first of all the full discovery of who he himself really is. Then I mean something of the fulfillment of his own God-given powers, in the love of others and of God. I mean also the discovery that he cannot find himself in himself alone, but that he must find himself in and through others.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

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