Categories
attention light and darkness Scripture

Jesus, the light of the world

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12, NRSV Bible with Apocrypha

Jesus is all flame; he is the light of the world, the light of life for all people. Our desire to become all flame, as Abba Joseph puts it, is simply another way of saying we want to love Jesus so much we will follow him no matter what, just to be with him in his mission of truth, mercy, healing, provision, redemption, justice, and love.

I regret that I regularly and habitually focus on the ashes and not the light, as Thomas Merton writes; every time I do that, I forfeit an experience of the very best for something less than that. As Mary Oliver says, when I do that “there is something wrong, I know”.


  • What is  your response to Jesus’ claim to be “the light of the world”?
  • How do you manage in our culture that is designed and engineered to capture our attention in a million different ways?
  • What is your experience of “light” vs. “darkness” in your life?
  • Take a moment to write down what comes to your mind. Maybe share it with a loved one later.

Gracious God, in your mercy, enable us to follow Jesus more and more each day.

Grace and peace to you…

dw

Image – Rembrandt portrait of Jesus from wikiart.org

Categories
the real self

Thomas Merton – The First Responsibility

For it seems to me that the first responsibility of a [person] of faith is to make [their] faith really a part of [their] own life, not by rationalizing it but by living it.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

Jesus said we would know the reality of a person’s faith by how they live. Living our faith means we pay attention to his words and let our lives be transformed by them. It means we let him live in and through us; we follow where he leads.


  • Are we living our faith? Do we keep it contained in a comfortable space or do we let it loose in our lives?
  • What is God pointing out now to help us live our faith more fully?
  • Write down what comes to mind so you can go back to it over the coming days.

Grace and peace to you…

dw

Photo by Madi Robson on Unsplash
Categories
Other Writings the real self

Thomas Merton on the ‘real self’

I consider that the spiritual life is the life of [one’s] real self, the life of that interior self whose flame is so often allowed to be smothered under the ashes of anxiety and futile concern.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

In these few words Merton has spelled out the scope of this blog:

  • the ‘real self’ God made us to be;
  • how to find it;
  • and how to fan it aflame amid the ashes of our lives.

It boils down to what I have come to believe is the good news of the Gospel:

Following Jesus leads us from our fake selves to our real selves,

from living in our heads to living from our hearts,

from advancing our own agenda to receiving the gift of His,

from thirsting for the next transient thrill to drinking deeply of eternal life.


  • What do you think of the notion that each of us has a ‘real self’ that God loves and nurtures?
  • To what extent do you feel in touch with your real self?
  • What are the ashes in your life that hinder your real self from emerging and thriving?

I encourage you to consider writing out your answers, either in a journal or in the comments section (as others have done).

Grace and peace to you…

dw