Communion Sayings Quotes

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I also never would have imagined I'd quote back a church lesson, but when the rest of the crowd stood up to take communion, I found myself saying to Dimitri: "Don't you think that if God can supposedly forgive you, it's kind of egotistical for you not to forgive yourself?" "How long have you been waiting to use that line on me?" he asked. "Actually, it just came to me. Pretty good, huh? I bet you thought I wasn't paying attention." "You weren't. You never do. You were watching me.
Richelle Mead (Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, #5))
Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone, and the only one who seeks out another. His nature - if that word can be used in reference to man, who has ‘invented’ himself by saying ‘no’ to nature - consists in his longing to realize himself in another. Man is nostalgia and a search for communion. Therefore, when he is aware of himself he is aware of his lack of another, that is, of his solitude.
Octavio Paz (The Labyrinth of Solitude and Other Writings)
Professor Langdon,' called a young man with curly hair in the back row, 'if Masonry is not a secret society, not a corporation, and not a religion, then what is it?' 'Well, if you were to ask a Mason, he would offer the following definition: Masonry is a system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.' 'Sounds to me like a euphemism for "freaky cult." ' 'Freaky, you say?' 'Hell yes!' the kid said, standing up. 'I heard what they do inside those secret buildings! Weird candlelight rituals with coffins, and nooses, and drinking wine out of skulls. Now that's freaky!' Langdon scanned the class. 'Does that sound freaky to anyone else?' 'Yes!' they all chimed in. Langdon feigned a sad sigh. 'Too bad. If that's too freaky for you, then I know you'll never want to join my cult.' Silence settled over the room. The student from the Women's Center looked uneasy. 'You're in a cult?' Langdon nodded and lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. 'Don't tell anyone, but on the pagan day of the sun god Ra, I kneel at the foot of an ancient instrument of torture and consume ritualistic symbols of blood and flesh.' The class looked horrified. Langdon shrugged. 'And if any of you care to join me, come to the Harvard chapel on Sunday, kneel beneath the crucifix, and take Holy Communion.' The classroom remained silent. Langdon winked. 'Open your minds, my friends. We all fear what we do not understand.
Dan Brown (The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3))
When I was young, I forgot how to laugh in the cave of Trophonius; when I was older, I opened my eyes and beheld reality, at which I began to laugh, and since then, I have not stopped laughing. I saw that the meaning of life was to secure a livelihood, and that its goal was to attain a high position; that love’s rich dream was marriage with an heiress; that friendship’s blessing was help in financial difficulties; that wisdom was what the majority assumed it to be; that enthusiasm consisted in making a speech; that it was courage to risk the loss of ten dollars; that kindness consisted in saying, “You are welcome,” at the dinner table; that piety consisted in going to communion once a year. This I saw, and I laughed.
Søren Kierkegaard
The same thing happened to me that, according to legend, happened to Parmeniscus, who in the Trophonean cave lost the ability to laugh but acquired it again on the island of Delos upon seeing a shapeless block that was said to be the image of the goddess Leto. When I was very young, I forgot in the Trophonean cave how to laugh; when I became an adult, when I opened my eyes and saw actuality, then I started to laugh and have never stopped laughing since that time. I saw that the meaning of life was to make a living, its goal to be- come a councilor, that the rich delight oflove was to acquire a well-to-do girl, that the blessedness of friendship was to help each other in financial difficulties, that wisdom was whatever the majority assumed it to be, that enthusiasm was to give a speech, that courage was to risk being fined ten dollars, that cordiality was to say "May it do you good" after a meal, that piety was to go to communion once a year. This I saw, and I laughed.
Søren Kierkegaard (Either/Or: A Fragment of Life)
marriage is foremost a vocation. Two people are called together to fulfill a mission that God has given them. Marriage is a spiritual reality. That is to say, a man and a woman come together for life, not just because they experience deep love for each other, but because they believe that God loves each of them with an infinite love and has called them to each other to be living witnesses of that love. To love is to embody God's infinite love in a faithful communion with another human being.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (Here and Now: Living in the Spirit)
When I was very young and in the cave of Trophonius I forgot to laugh. Then, when I got older, when I opened my eyes and saw the real world, I began to laugh and I haven’t stopped since. I saw that the meaning of life was to get a livelihood, that the goal of life was to be a High Court judge, that the bright joy of love was to marry a well-off girl, that the blessing of friendship was to help each other out of a financial tight spot, that wisdom was what the majority said it was, that passion was to give a speech, that courage was to risk being fined 10 rix-dollars, that cordiality was to say ‘You’re welcome’ after a meal, and that the fear of God was to go to communion once a year. That’s what I saw. And I laughed.
Søren Kierkegaard (Either/Or: A Fragment of Life)
I think people believe empathy to be compassion, that compassion is an inner sense (a sense of the soul). But empathy is a sense, while compassion isn't a sense. Empathy is an affinity, a communion, a comprehension. They say that empathy is compassion, but I think that the two are independent of each other. You see, through empathy you will feel what another is feeling, including all those plans for manipulation and persuasion. You will feel everything, not just the parts that make you take compassion for the person, but also all the red flags! You see, empathy is a sense that works with the other senses such as foresight and intuition. So, we can feel compassion but we have to move with empathy.
C. JoyBell C.
He laughed. “What’s to say? Great paintings—people flock to see them, they draw crowds, they’re reproduced endlessly on coffee mugs and mouse pads and anything-you-like. And, I count myself in the following, you can have a lifetime of perfectly sincere museum-going where you traipse around enjoying everything and then go out and have some lunch. But—” crossing back to the table to sit again “—if a painting really works down in your heart and changes the way you see, and think, and feel, you don’t think, ‘oh, I love this picture because it’s universal.’ ‘I love this painting because it speaks to all mankind.’ That’s not the reason anyone loves a piece of art. It’s a secret whisper from an alleyway. Psst, you. Hey kid. Yes you.” Fingertip gliding over the faded-out photo—the conservator’s touch, a touch-without-touching, a communion wafer’s space between the surface and his forefinger.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
But if there was ever a time for us to go to extremes for our God, it is now. The truth of the gospel is being diluted, dumbed down, and trampled upon by the very ones entrusted to keep it sacred and whole. It may seem 'unnecessary' to get on your knees for multiple hours each and every day, but, may I remind you that unless someone rises up and says, 'Lord, I'm willing to travail,' there are lives, promises, and spiritual realities that will not be born into our day and age. Effectual, fervent prayer is how God changes this world and bestows upon it the beauty, grace and power that He purchased at the cross.
Leslie Ludy (Wrestling Prayer: A Passionate Communion with God)
When we speak of the Church as the Body of Christ we are saying that it is given such union with Christ that it becomes a communion filled and overflowing with the divine love.
Thomas F. Torrance
The best sex takes us somewhere. Somewhere warm and expansive, a paradise of lust and happiness. Sex is and can be and should be but only very rarely is an act of communion with something bigger than ourselves. Men fuck and women make love, people say, but we men make love when we fuck a woman we adore: it’s the same thing to us. We mean it sincerely. I had places inside me only Cathy could fill with her body, and I made her happy with my body more than I ever thought I could.
Deborah Smith (The Crossroads Cafe)
Dr. Urbino caught the parrot around the neck with a triumphant sigh: ça y est. But he released him immediately because the ladder slipped from under his feet and for an instant he was suspended in the air and then he realized that he had died without Communion, without time to repent of anything or to say goodbye to anyone, at seven minutes after four on Pentecost Sunday. Fermina Daza was in the kitchen tasting the soup for supper when she heard Digna Pardo's horrified shriek and the shouting of the servants and then of the entire neighborhood. She dropped the tasting spoon and tried to run despite the invincible weight of her age, screaming like a madwoman without knowing yet what had happened under the mango leaves, and her heart jumped inside her ribs when she saw her man lying on his back in the mud, dead to this life but still resisting death's final blow for one last minute so that she would have time to come to him. He recognized her despite the uproar, through his tears of unrepeatable sorrow at dying without her, and he looked for her for the last and final time with eyes more luminous, more grief-stricken, more grateful that she had ever seen them in the half century of a shared life, and he managed to say to her with his last breath: "Only God knows how much I loved you.
Gabriel García Márquez (Love in the Time of Cholera)
Religious despair is often a defense against boredom and the daily grind of existence. Lacking intensity in our lives, we say that we are distant from God and then seek to make that distance into an intense experience. It is among the most difficult spiritual ailments to heal, because it is usually wholly illusory. There are definitely times when we must suffer God’s absence, when we are called to enter the dark night of the soul in order to pass into some new understanding of God, some deeper communion with him and with all creation. But this is very rare, and for the most part our dark nights of the soul are, in a way this is more pathetic than tragic, wishful thinking. God is not absent. He is everywhere in the world we are too dispirited to love. To feel him — to find him — does not usually require that we renounce all worldly possessions and enter a monastery, or give our lives over to some cause of social justice, or create some sort of sacred art, or begin spontaneously speaking in tongues. All to often the task to which we are called is simply to show a kindness to the irritating person in the cubicle next to us, say, or to touch the face of a spouse from whom we ourselves have been long absent, letting grace wake love from our intense, self-enclosed sleep.
Christian Wiman (My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer)
When you come into the theater, you have to be willing to say, "We're all here to undergo a communion, to find out what is going on in this world." If you're not willing to say that, what you get is entertainment instead of art, and poor entertainment at that.
David Mamet (Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama)
To be in communion means to be with someone and to discover that we actually belong together. Communion means accepting people just as they are, with all their limits and inner pain, but also with their gifts and their beauty and their capacity to grow: to see the beauty inside of all the pain. To love someone is not first of all to do things for them, but to reveal to them their beauty and value, to say to them through our attitude: “You are beautiful. You are important. I trust you. You can trust
Jean Vanier (From Brokenness to Community)
Debarred from public worship, David was heartsick. Ease he did not seek, honour he did not covet, but the enjoyment of communion with God was an urgent need of his soul; he viewed it not merely as the sweetest of all luxuries, but as an absolute necessity, like water to a stag. Like the parched traveler in the wilderness, whose skin bottle is empty, and who finds the wells dry, he must drink or die – he must have his God or faint. His soul, his very self, his deepest life, was insatiable for a sense of the divine presence. . . . Give him his God and he is as content as the poor deer which at length slakes its thirst and is perfectly happy; but deny him his Lord, and his heart heaves, his bosom palpitates, his whole frame is convulsed, like one who gasps for breath, or pants with long running. Dear friend, dost thou know what this is, by personally having felt the same? It is a sweet bitterness. The next best thing to living in the light of the Lord’s love is to be unhappy till we have it, and to pant hourly after it – hourly, did I say? Thirst is a perpetual appetite, and not to be forgotten, and even thus continually is the heart’s longing after God. When it is as natural for us to long for God as for an animal to thirst, it is well with our souls, however painful our feelings
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
If thou dost continually draw thine impulse, thy life, the whole of thy being from the Holy Spirit, without whom thou canst do nothing; and if thou dost live in close communion with Christ, there will be no fear of thy having a dry heart. He who lives without prayer—he who lives with little prayer—he who seldom reads the Word—he who seldom looks up to heaven for a fresh influence from on high—he will be the man whose heart will become dry and barren; but he who calls in secret on his God—who spends much time in holy retirement—who delights to meditate on the words of the Most High—whose soul is given up to Christ—who delights in his fullness, rejoices in his all-sufficiency, prays for his second coming, and delights in the thought of his glorious advent—such a man, I say, must have an overflowing heart; and as his heart is, such will his life be. It will be a full life; it will be a life that will speak from the sepulcher, and wake the echoes of the future. "Keep thine heart with all diligence," and entreat the Holy Spirit to keep it full; for, otherwise, the issues of thy life will be feeble, shallow, and superficial; and thou mayest as well not have lived at all.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Not speaking and speaking are both human ways of being in the world, and there are kinds and grades of each. There is the dumb silence of slumber or apathy; the sober silence that goes with a solemn animal face; the fertile silence of awareness, pasturing the soul, whence emerge new thoughts; the alive silence of alert perception, ready to say, “This… this…”; the musical silence that accompanies absorbed activity; the silence of listening to another speak, catching the drift and helping him be clear; the noisy silence of resentment and self-recrimination, loud and subvocal speech but sullen to say it; baffled silence; the silence of peaceful accord with other persons or communion with the cosmos.
Paul Goodman
The power to veto or negate is the power of free will. Free will is “free won’t.”9 This connects neatly with information theory, which, as we will see, characterizes information as a reduction or ruling out of possibilities. To be informed that something is the case is to be informed that other things are not the case. Information says yes to some things by saying no to others. Free will is the power of no.
William A. Dembski (Being as Communion (Ashgate Science and Religion Series))
If the scandal of Jesus was that He was always touching the wrong people and inviting the wrong people to the table—how on earth can we think the Communion meal now is for the extra holy or the super spiritual? To say we need to be completely cleaned up before Communion is like saying we need to get well so we can take our medication.
Jonathan Martin (Prototype: What Happens When You Discover You're More Like Jesus Than You Think?)
Nothing can fill the gap left by someone we love, and we should not attempt to find anything. We must simply endure and hold out. That may sound very harsh at first, but at the same time it is a great comfort, because as the hole that he has left remains unfilled, so the connection with him remains. It is wrong to say: ‘God, fill the hole.’ God doesn’t fill it at all. Rather he leaves it unfilled, and in this way he helps us to maintain our true communion with our loved one, even though it is painful.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
And believe me when I say you will survive this, and that you must for all of us. You will survive because you always have and you always will.
Anne Rice (Blood Communion (The Vampire Chronicles, #13))
We must say of the universe that it is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects. 
Thomas Berry
To cherish secrets and to restrain emotions are psychic misdemeanours for which nature finally visits us with sickness—that is, when we do these things in private. But when they are done in communion with others they satisfy nature and may even count as useful virtues. It is only restraint practised in and for oneself that is unwholesome. It is as if man had an inalienable right to behold all that is dark, imperfect, stupid and guilty in his fellow-beings—for such of course are the things that we keep private to protect ourselves. It seems to be a sin in the eyes of nature to hide our insufficiency—just as much as to live entirely on our inferior side. There appears to be a conscience in mankind which severely punishes the man who does not somehow and at some time, at whatever cost to his pride, cease to defend and assert himself, and instead confess himself fallible and human. Until he can do this, an impenetrable wall shuts him out from the living experience of feeling himself a man among men. Here we find a key to the great significance of true, unstereotyped confession—a significance known in all the initiation and mystery cults of the ancient world, as is shown by a saying from the Greek mysteries: "Give up what thou hast, and then thou wilt receive.
C.G. Jung (Modern Man in Search of a Soul)
My father didn’t feel comfortable going up for communion, but when my mother went up, he watched closely. Was the priest really going to give her communion from the common cup? And if he did, was the next person really going to drink from that same cup? And would others drink too, knowing a black woman had sipped from that cup? He saw the priest offer her the cup, and she drank. Then the priest offered the cup to the next person at the rail, and that person drank. And then the next person, and the next, all down the rail. When my father told the story, he would always say: “That’s what brought me to the Episcopal Church. Any church in which black folks and white folks drink out of the same cup knows something about a gospel that I want to be a part of.
Michael Curry (Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus)
The interval of two notes could divide your heart and the tug of words against rhythm could mend it: I'd stumbled on the means to say whatever was true in this life. I only wanted the skill to do it.
Sam Thompson (Communion Town)
We have seen some gatekeeping or fencing-the-table language already beginning to rear its head in this context. One needed to be baptized to take the meal; one needed to repent to take the meal; one needed a bishop or his subordinate to serve the meal. This was to become especially problematic when the church began to suggest that grace was primarily, if not exclusively, available through the hands of the priest and by means of the sacrament. One wonders what Jesus, dining with sinners and tax collectors and then eating his modified Passover meal with disciples whom he knew were going to deny, desert, and betray him, would say about all this. There needs to be a balance between proper teaching so the sacrament is partaken of in a worthy manner and overly zealous policing of the table or clerical control of it.
Ben Witherington III (Making a Meal of It: Rethinking the Theology of the Lord's Supper)
Music, even at terrible moments, can make you accept so much more- accept your dark sides, or the things that happened to you. Maybe it's just because you see that we are not alone. And that's what the concert situation is about for me, when I'm sitting in the hall and also when I'm playing myself. It's about communication - I almost want to say 'communion'. As a player, you really don't interpret anymore. You listen, together, with the audience.
Christian Tetzlaff
We say we long for intimacy with God and others, and yet we structure our lives so that this becomes impossible. One might think we are avoiding intimacy, that maybe we really like our finely managed lives just the way they are.
Mark Galli (Chaos and Grace: Discovering the Liberating Work of the Holy Spirit)
They say stars have greatest influences when they are in conjunction with the sun; then sure the graces of a saint should never work more powerfully than in prayer, for then he is in the nearest conjunction and communion with God. That
William Gurnall (The Christian in Complete Armour: The Ultimate Book on Spiritual Warfare)
S., a clever and truthful man, once told me the story of how he ceased to believe. On a hunting expedition, when he was already twenty-six, he once, at the place where they put up for the night, knelt down in the evening to pray -- a habit retained from childhood. His elder brother, who was at the hunt with him, was lying on some hay and watching him. When S. had finished and was settling down for the night, his brother said to him: 'So you still do that?' They said nothing more to one another. But from that day S. ceased to say his prayers or go to church. And now he has not prayed, received communion, or gone to church, for thirty years. And this not because he knows his brother's convictions and has joined him in them, nor because he has decided anything in his own soul, but simply because the word spoken by his brother was like the push of a finger on a wall that was ready to fall by its own weight. The word only showed that where he thought there was faith, in reality there had long been an empty space, and that therefore the utterance of words and the making of signs of the cross and genuflections while praying were quite senseless actions. Becoming conscious of their senselessness he could not continue them.
Leo Tolstoy (A Confession)
I am just like you. My immediate response to most situations is with reactions of attachment, defensiveness, judgment, control, and analysis. I am better at calculating than contemplating. Let’s admit that we all start there. The False Self seems to have the “first gaze” at almost everything. The first gaze is seldom compassionate. It is too busy weighing and feeling itself: “How will this affect me?” or “How can I get back in control of this situation?” This leads us to an implosion, a self-preoccupation that cannot enter into communion with the other or the moment. In other words, we first feel our feelings before we can relate to the situation and emotion of the other. Only after God has taught us how to live “undefended,” can we immediately stand with and for the other, and in the present moment. It takes lots of practice. On my better days, when I am “open, undefended, and immediately present,” as Gerald May says, I can sometimes begin with a contemplative mind and heart. Often I can get there later and even end there, but it is usually a second gaze. The True Self seems to always be ridden and blinded by the defensive needs of the False Self. It is an hour-by-hour battle, at least for me. I can see why all spiritual traditions insist on daily prayer, in fact, morning, midday, evening, and before we go to bed, too! Otherwise, I can assume that I am back in the cruise control of small and personal self-interest, the pitiable and fragile “Richard self.
Richard Rohr (Radical Grace: Daily Meditations by Richard Rohr)
Rave emerged spontaneously, neither planned or designed. It was a genuine grass roots phenomenon, egalitarian and welcoming. Thousands danced in fields all through the night, out under the moon, in order to achieve a trance-like, ecstatic state. It was a form of communion and it was pagan as fuck. Needless to say, it couldn't last. The press and the government, appalled by such non-violent having-of-a-good-time, moved quickly to crush it. Ultimately, though, they weren't quick enough. Rave grew too big too quickly, and it attracted the attention of those who felt they could make money from such events. Once this happened and the superstar DJs and the superclubs arrived, the focus shifted from the raw crowd back to the event itself. Rave's spell was broken.
J.M.R. Higgs (KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money)
God, and she was changed. As commentator Matthew Henry eloquently described this scene, “Those who, through grace, are brought to experience the delights of communion with God will say that the one-half was not told them of the pleasures of Wisdom’s ways.”26
Liz Curtis Higgs (It's Good to Be Queen: Becoming as Bold, Gracious, and Wise as the Queen of Sheba)
A helpful image to express this sort of thing is a wheel with spokes centered on a single hub. The hub of the wheel is God; we the spokes. Out on the rim of the wheel the spokes are furthest from one another, but at the center, the hub, the spokes are most united to each other. They are a single meeting in the one hub. The image was used in the early church to say something important about that level of life at which we are one with each other and one with God. The more we journey towards the Center the closer we are both to God and to each other. The problem of feeling isolated from both God and others is overcome in the experience of the Center. This journey into God and the profound meeting of others in the inner ground of silence is a single movement. Exterior isolation is overcome in interior communion.
Martin Laird (Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation)
The discovery of this strange society was a curiously refreshing thing; to realize that there were ten new trades in the world was like looking at the first ship or the first plough. It made a man feel what he should feel, that he was still in the childhood of the world. That I should have come at last upon so singular a body was, I may say without vanity, not altogether singular, for I have a mania for belonging to as many societies as possible: I may be said to collect clubs, and I have accumulated a vast and fantastic variety of specimens ever since, in my audacious youth, I collected the Athenaeum. At some future day, perhaps, I may tell tales of some of the other bodies to which I have belonged. I will recount the doing's of the Dead Man's Shoes Society (that superficially immoral, but darkly justifiable communion); I will explain the curious origin of the Cat and Christian, the name of which has been so shamefully misinterpreted; and the world shall know at last why the Institute of Typewriters coalesced with the Red Tulip League. Of the Ten Teacups, of course I dare not say a word.
G.K. Chesterton (The Club of Queer Trades)
in the progress of God’s redemptive work, communication advances into communion, and communion into union. When the progression is complete we can truly say, “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20) and “For to me, living is Christ” (Phil 1:21).
Dallas Willard (Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God)
It is not too much to say that all real growth in the spiritual life–all victory over temptation, all confidence and peace in the presence of difficulties and dangers, all repose of spirit in times of great disappointment or loss, all habitual communion with God–depend upon the practice of secret prayer.
Unknown Christian (The Kneeling Christian)
It is not strange that a synoptic writer reports the saying: 'No man knoweth the Father but the Son.' The passage as it stands reported in Matthew may be colored by later theology, but there is a nucleus of absolute truth hidden in the saying. There is no other way to know God but this way of inner love-experience.
Rufus Matthew Jones (The Inner Life)
The biggest fear we have is not the fear of dying, but the fear to be alive, to be ourselves, to say what we feel, to ask for what we want, to say yes when we want to say yes, and no when we want to say no. To express what is in our hearts is to be truly alive. If we pretend to be what we are not, how can we be truly alive?
Miguel Ruiz (Prayers: A Communion with Our Creator)
The idea of Pope St. Pius X was the same when he granted a plenary indulgence at the hour of death to those who say at least after one Holy Communion the following prayer: "Eternal Father, from this day forward, I accept with a joyful and resigned heart the death it will please You to send me, with all its pains and sufferings.
Paul O'Sullivan (How to Avoid Purgatory)
I love you with my whole soul, and I will always love you,” he confided to me. “You are my life. I have hated you for that and love you now so much that you’ve been my instructor in loving. And believe me when I say you will survive this, and that you must for all of us. You will survive because you always have and you always will.
Anne Rice (Blood Communion (The Vampire Chronicles, #13))
When Peter says, “Baptism . . . now saves you,” he’s saying something similar to what we affirm when we say, “The gospel saves you.” The gospel is God’s promise. It’s the promise that the death and resurrection of Jesus have dealt with the problem of sin and judgment—if we put our faith in Jesus. Baptism is that promise in physical form.
Tim Chester (Truth We Can Touch: How Baptism and Communion Shape Our Lives)
We must be constantly aware of our responsibility in the Communion of Saints, without giving our honored predecessors the final say or making them an "alternatvie source," independent of scripture itself. When they speak with one voice, we should listen very carefully. They may be wrong. They sometimes are. But we ignore them at our peril.
N.T. Wright
He never wrote down his homilies. Never. It seemed like he did, but he didn’t. The most he ever took to the cathedral was an outline, a letter-sized sheet of paper with two or three ideas written down. It makes me laugh when someone who never knew Monseñor Romero says that other people used to write his sermons. If anyone wrote them, it was the Holy Spirit!226
Scott Wright (Oscar Romero and the Communion of Saints: A Biography)
The resurrection of the body - what do we really mean by this? ...Did not the mystics and sages of all times teach us that the positive meaning of death is precisely that it liberates us from the prison of the body, as they say, from this perennial dependency on the material, physical, and bodily life - finally rendering our souls light, weightless, free, spiritual? We [must] consider more profoundly the meaning of the body... We must consider the role of the body in our, in my, life. On the one hand, of course it is entirely clear that all of our bodies are transitory and impermanent. Biologists have calculated that all the cells that compose our bodies are replaced every seven years. Thus, physiologically, every seven years we have a new body. Therefore, at the end of my life the body that is laid in the grave or consumed by fire is no longer the same body as all the preceding ones, and in the final analysis each of our bodies is nothing other than our individual [being] in the world, as the form of my dependence on the world, on the one hand, and of my life and of my activity on the other. In essence, my body is my relationship to the world, to others; it is my life as communion and as mutual relationship. Without exception, everything in the body, in the human organism, is created for this relationship, for this communion, for this coming out of oneself. It is not an accident, of course, that love, the highest form of communion, finds its incarnation in the body; the body is that which sees, hears, feels, and thereby leads me out of the isolation of my *I*. But then, perhaps, we can say in response: the body is not the darkness of the soul, but rather the body is its freedom, for the body is the soul as love, the soul as communion, the soul as life, the soul as movement. And this is why, when the soul loses the body, when it is separated from the body, it loses life.
Alexander Schmemann (O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?)
Bring thy lust to the gospel, not for relief, but for further conviction of its guilt; look on Him whom thou hast pierced, and be in bitterness. Say to thy soul, “What have I done? What love, what mercy what blood, what grace have I despised and trampled on! Is this the return I make to the Father for his love, to the Son for his blood, to the Holy Ghost for his grace? Do I thus requite the Lord? Have I defiled the heart that Christ died to wash, that the blessed Spirit has chosen to dwell in? And can I keep myself out of the dust? What can I say to the dear Lord Jesus? How shall I hold up my head with any boldness before him? Do I account communion with him of so little value, that for this vile lust’s sake I have scarce left him any room in my heart? How shall I escape if I neglect so great a salvation? In the meantime, what shall I say to the Lord? Love, mercy, grace, goodness, peace, joy, consolation… I have despised them all and esteemed them as a thing of nought, that I might harbor a lust in my heart. Have I obtained a view of God’s fatherly countenance, that I might behold his face and provoke him to his face? Was my soul washed, that room might be made for new defilements? Shall I endeavor to disappoint the end of the death of Christ? Shall I daily grieve that Spirit whereby I am sealed to the day of redemption?” Entertain thy conscience daily with this treaty. See if it can stand before this aggravation of its guilt. If this make it not sink in some measure and melt, I fear thy case is dangerous.
John Owen
To understand a child we have to watch him at play, study him in his different moods; we cannot project upon him our own prejudices, hopes and fears, or mould him to fit the pattern of our desires. If we are constantly judging the child according to our personal likes and dislikes, we are bound to create barriers and hindrances in our relationship with him and in his relationships with the world. Unfortunately, most of us desire to shape the child in a way that is gratifying to our own vanities and idiosyncrasies; we find varying degrees of comfort and satisfaction in exclusive ownership and domination. Surely, this process is not relationship, but mere imposition, and it is therefore essential to understand the difficult and complex desire to dominate. It takes many subtle forms; and in its self-righteous aspect, it is very obstinate. The desire to "serve" with the unconscious longing to dominate is difficult to understand. Can there be love where there is possessiveness? Can we be in communion with those whom we seek to control? To dominate is to use another for self-gratification, and where there is the use of another there is no love. When there is love there is consideration, not only for the children but for every human being. Unless we are deeply touched by the problem, we will never find the right way of education. Mere technical training inevitably makes for ruthlessness, and to educate our children we must be sensitive to the whole movement of life. What we think, what we do, what we say matters infinitely, because it creates the environment, and the environment either helps or hinders the child. Obviously, then, those of us who are deeply interested in this problem will have to begin to understand ourselves and thereby help to transform society; we will make it our direct responsability to bring about a new approach to education. If we love our children, will we not find a way of putting an end to war? But if we are merely using the word "love" without substance, then the whole complex problem of human misery will remain. The way out of this problem lies through ourselves. We must begin to understand our relationship with our fellow men, with nature, with ideas and with things, for without that understanding there is no hope, there is no way out of conflict and suffering. The bringing up of a child requires intelligent observation and care. Experts and their knowledge can never replace the parents' love, but most parents corrupt that love by their own fears and ambitions, which condition and distort the outlook of the child. So few of us are concerned with love, but we are vastly taken up with the appearance of love. The present educational and social structure does not help the individual towards freedom and integration; and if the parents are at all in earnest and desire that the child shall grow to his fullest integral capacity, they must begin to alter the influence of the home and set about creating schools with the right kind of educators. The influence of the home and that of the school must not be in any way contradictory, so both parents and teachers must re-educate themselves. The contradiction which so often exists between the private life of the individual and his life as a member of the group creates an endless battle within himself and in his relationships. This conflict is encouraged and sustained through the wrong kind of education, and both governments and organized religions add to the confusion by their contradictory doctrines. The child is divided within himself from the very start, which results in personal and social disasters.
Jiddu Krishnamurti (Education and the Significance of Life)
Genesis 1 says that man was created in the image of God. In Genesis 2, he becomes the subject of a covenant with God. A person is meant to be a partner of God. He must discern and choose between right and wrong, life and death. Among all living creatures of the visible world, man alone has been chosen for communion with God. Every human person has a unique, exclusive, unrepeatable relationship with God himself.
Pope John Paul II (Theology of the Body in Simple Language)
gospel, and a cheap ministry, and a cheap membership, and a cheap communion of saints, etc. But when his obedience comes to be chargeable, when his obedience to divine commands may cost him his health, his strength, his liberty, his riches, his estate, his friends, his credit, his name, etc., then he retires, then he cries out, It is a hard saying, who can bear it? John 6:60. This is a hard commandment, who can obey it?
Thomas Brooks (The Works of Thomas Brooks)
I am glad, brothers and sisters, that our church is persecuted precisely for its preferential option for the poor and for trying to become incarnate on behalf of he poor. And I want to say to all the people, to rulers, to the rich and powerful: If you do not become poor, if you do not concern yourselves for the poverty of our people, as though they were your own family, you will not be able to save society.” —July 15, 1979
Scott Wright (Oscar Romero and the Communion of Saints: A Biography)
Such intimate communion between our own life and the novels we read may be why Proust argued: "In reality, every reader is, while he is reading, the reader of his own self. the writer's work is merely a kind of optical instrument which he offers to the reader to enable him to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have experienced in himself. And the recognition by the reader in his own self of what the book says is the proof of its veracity.
Alain de Botton (How Proust Can Change Your Life)
There is one story about letters. A perpetually cheerful Frog pays a visit to Toad but finds Toad glum, sitting on his front porch. "This is my sad time of day," says Toad, "when I wait for the mail to come." "Why is that?" says Frog. "No one has ever sent me a letter. My mailbox is always empty. That is why waiting for the mail is a sad time for me." Then Frog and Toad sit "on the porch, feeling sad together." Frog rescues the situation by running home, writing a letter to Toad, and sending it literally by snail mail. The little snail brings it four days later. Even though Toad saw Frog every day, he longed for the strangeness, the otherness of a letter, for something to come from out there and address him, "Dear Toad." Is that the thrill I feel finding a letter from you in my box? The address of a friend is made into a physical fact and every letter an artifact of the otherwise invisible communion of friendship.
Amy Alznauer (Love and Salt: A Spiritual Friendship Shared in Letters)
Then a priestess said, “Speak to us of Prayer.” And he answered, saying: You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance. For what is prayer but the expansion of your self into the living ether? And if it is for your comfort to pour your darkness into space, it is also for your delight to pour forth the dawning of your heart. And if you cannot but weep when your soul summons you to prayer, she should spur you again and yet again, though weeping, until you shall come laughing. When you pray you rise to meet in the air those who are praying at that very hour, and whom save in prayer you may not meet. Therefore let your visit to that temple invisible be for naught but ecstasy and sweet communion. For if you should enter the temple for no other purpose than asking you shall not receive: And if you should enter into it to humble yourself you shall not be lifted: Or even if you should enter into it to beg for the good of others you shall not be heard. It is enough that you enter the temple invisible. I cannot teach you how to pray in words. God listens not to your words save when He Himself utters them through your lips. And I cannot teach you the prayer of the seas and the forests and the mountains. But you who are born of the mountains and the forests and the seas can find their prayer in your heart, And if you but listen in the stillness of the night you shall hear them saying in silence: “Our God, who art our winged self, it is thy will in us that willeth. “It is thy desire in us that desireth. “It is thy urge in us that would turn our nights, which are thine, into days, which are thine also. “We cannot ask thee for aught, for thou knowest our needs before they are born in us: “Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all.
Kahlil Gibran (The Prophet)
As for the vice of lust - aside from what it means for spiritual persons to fall into this vice, since my intent is to treat of the imperfections that have to be purged by means of the dark night - spiritual persons have numerous imperfections, many of which can be called spiritual lust, not because the lust is spiritual but because it proceeds from spiritual things. It happens frequently that in a person's spiritual exercises themselves, without the person being able to avoid it, impure movements will be experienced in the sensory part of the soul, and even sometimes when the spirit is deep in prayer or when receiving the sacraments of Penance or the Eucharist. These impure feelings arise from any of three causes outside one's control. First, they often proceed from the pleasure human nature finds in spiritual exercises. Since both the spiritual and the sensory part of the soul receive gratification from that refreshment, each part experiences delight according to its own nature and properties. The spirit, the superior part of the soul, experiences renewal and satisfaction in God; and the sense, the lower part, feels sensory gratification and delight because it is ignorant of how to get anything else, and hence takes whatever is nearest, which is the impure sensory satisfaction. It may happen that while a soul is with God in deep spiritual prayer, it will conversely passively experience sensual rebellions, movements, and acts in the senses, not without its own great displeasure. This frequently happens at the time of Communion. Since the soul receives joy and gladness in this act of love - for the Lord grants the grace and gives himself for this reason - the sensory part also takes its share, as we said, according to its mode. Since, after all, these two parts form one individual, each one usually shares according to its mode in what the other receives. As the Philosopher says: Whatever is received, is received according to the mode of the receiver. Because in the initial stages of the spiritual life, and even more advanced ones, the sensory part of the soul is imperfect, God's spirit is frequently received in this sensory part with this same imperfection. Once the sensory part is reformed through the purgation of the dark night, it no longer has these infirmities. Then the spiritual part of the soul, rather than the sensory part, receives God's Spirit, and the soul thus receives everything according to the mode of the Spirit.
Juan de la Cruz (Dark Night of the Soul)
Only “opinions” are allowed validity regarding Christian doctrine. No Christian fellowship should say that it certainly has the entire, complete truth. The Christian truth should be divided between the various communions. The one may have more, the other less of it. But no one should boast of possessing the entire, complete truth. Indeed, doubt regarding truth, the heathenish seeking after truth, is in vogue and desires to pass itself off as Christian activity. Even in associations that bear the name Lutheran there is mockery of “pure doctrine.
Matthew C. Harrison (At Home in the House of My Fathers: Presidential Sermons, Essays, Letters, and Addresses from the Missouri Synod's Great Era of Unity and Growth)
Men did care enough to struggle with our demands. And some cared enough to convert to feminist thinking and to change. But only a very, very few loved us – loved us all the way. And that meant respecting our sexual rights. To this day I believe that feminist debate about love and sexuality ended precisely because straight women did not want to face the reality that it was highly unlikely in patriarchal society that a majority of men would wholeheartedly embrace women’s right to say no in the bedroom. Since the vast majority of heterosexual women, even those involved in radical feminist movement, were not willing to say no when they did not want to perform sexually for the fear of upsetting or alienating their mate, no significant group of men ever had to rise to the occasion. While it became more acceptable to say no now and then, it was not acceptable to say no for any significant amount of time. An individual woman in a primary relationship with a man could not say no, because she feared there was always another woman in the background who could take her place, a woman who would never say no.
bell hooks (Communion: The Female Search for Love)
Nothing can make up for the absence of someone whom we love, and it would be wrong to try to find a substitute; we must simply hold out and see it through. That sounds very hard at first, but at the same time it is a great consolation, for the gap, as long as it remains unfilled, preserves the bonds between us. It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap; God does not fill it, but on the contrary, God keeps it empty and so helps us keep alive our former communion with each other, even at the cost of pain. . . . The dearer and richer our memories, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy. The beauties of the past are borne, not as a thorn in the flesh, but as a precious gift in themselves. We must take care not to wallow in our memories or to hand ourselves over to them, just as we do not gaze all the time at a valuable present, but only at special times, and apart from these keep it simply as a hidden treasure that is ours for certain. In this way the past gives us lasting joy and strength. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison
Anonymous (The NRSV Daily Bible: Read, Meditate, and Pray Through the Entire Bible in 365 Days)
At the time, the doors to the cathedral were kept locked because the federal government had ordered all gathering places to remain closed: theaters, movie houses, bars, and of course, churches. For a while, poor Father Pedro had defied the order, saying that nobody had the right to close the House of the Lord, much less refuse Communion to believers, even if fewer and fewer attended. Sick but soldiering on, he had died suddenly three days ago while reciting the Credo in the first mass of the day. The handful of churchgoers had run out without even crossing themselves.
Sofía Segovia (The Murmur of Bees)
Todd wrapped his arm around her. They stood together in silent awe, watching the sunset. All Christy could think of was how this was what she had always wanted, to be held in Todd's arms as well as in his heart. Just as the last golden drop of sun melted into the ocean, Christy closed her eyes and drew in a deep draught of the sea air. "Did you know," Todd said softly, "that the setting sun looks so huge from the island of Papua New Guinea that it almost looks like you're on another planet? I've seen pictures." Then, as had happened with her reflection in her cup of tea and in her disturbing dream, Christy heard those two piercing words, "Let go." She knew what she had to do. Turning to face Todd, she said, "Pictures aren't enough for you, Todd. You have to go." "I will. Someday. Lord willing," he said casually. "Don't you see, Todd? The Lord is willing. This is your 'someday.' Your opportunity to go on the mission field is now. You have to go." Their eyes locked in silent communion. "God has been telling me something, Todd. He's been telling me to let you go. I don't want to, but I need to obey Him." Todd paused. "Maybe I should tell them I can only go for the summer. That way I'll only be gone a few months. A few weeks, really. We'll be back together in the fall." Christy shook her head. "It can't be like that, Todd. You have to go for as long as God tells you to go. And as long as I've known you, God has been telling you to go. His mark is on your life, Todd. It's obvious. You need to obey Him." "Kilikina," Todd said, grasping Christy by the shoulders, "do you realize what you're saying? If I go, I may never come back." "I know." Christy's reply was barely a whisper. She reached for the bracelet on her right wrist and released the lock. Then taking Todd's hand, she placed the "Forever" bracelet in his palm and closed his fingers around it. "Todd," she whispered, forcing the words out, "the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and give you His peace. And may you always love Jesus more than anything else. Even more than me." Todd crumbled to the sand like a man who had been run through with a sword. Burying his face in his hands, he wept. Christy stood on wobbly legs. What have I done? Oh, Father God, why do I have to let him go? Slowly lowering her quivering body to the sand beside Todd, Christy cried until all she could taste was the salty tears on her lips. They drove the rest of the way home in silence. A thick mantle hung over them, entwining them even in their separation. To Christy it seemed like a bad dream. Someone else had let go of Todd. Not her! He wasn't really going to go. They pulled into Christy's driveway, and Todd turned off the motor. Without saying anything, he got out of Gus and came around to Christy's side to open the door for her. She stepped down and waited while he grabbed her luggage from the backseat. They walked to the front door. Todd stopped her under the trellis of wildly fragrant white jasmine. With tears in his eyes, he said in a hoarse voice, "I'm keeping this." He lifted his hand to reveal the "Forever" bracelet looped between his fingers. "If God ever brings us together again in this world, I'm putting this back on your wrist, and that time, my Kilikina, it will stay on forever." He stared at her through blurry eyes for a long minute, and then without a hug, a kiss, or even a good-bye, Todd turned to go. He walked away and never looked back.
Robin Jones Gunn (Sweet Dreams (Christy Miller, #11))
God showed to man that compliance with His dictates would ever mean eternal bliss and joy unspeakable and life and knowledge forevermore, but that ceasing to comply would mean loss of life with God and eternal death. That was in the world’s bright morning when the morning stars sang together and all creation leaped in joy, but the wild, wild desolation of sin, disobedience, pride, and selfish sinfulness entered and drove a great gulf between God’s children and Himself. But, as ever, love found a way. God came to us and for us, and we this day with chastened hearts, quivering lips, and glistening eyes, yet with love deep and strong in our hearts, say, afresh with deep adoration, God is love. If God exhibits such glorious love in His nature, what shall we say of the glories of the dispensation of His grace? That God would have walked this earth had sin never entered is very likely, yet sin did not refrain Him from graciously walking and revealing Himself in communion with men. No, still He came. But men were so blinded by sin that they saw Him not, they knew Him not, while He hewed a way back through the hard face of sin to the heavenly shores.
Oswald Chambers (The Love of God: An Intimate Look at the Father-Heart of God)
I have maintained that precisely because Christian faith regards the nothing from which the world came forth as absolute ‘non-being, creatureliness implies that death is a return to the nothingness of nonbeing… Problems essentially derive either from a belief, latent in many Christians, in the immortality of the soul, whereby death no longer constitutes a return to non-being since the soul, of it’s nature, lives eternally, or from a belief that God does not create mortal beings, and consequently that what is created cannot but live. With regard to the first belief, namely in the immorality of the soul, I have said enough above about the soul not being immortal by nature, since it is not eternal but created. Consequently, it too is subject to the destiny of creation if left to itself. We can certainly speak of an immortality of the soul that is not ‘natural’ by ‘by grace’, but this is possible only by means of a logical contradiction. The fact that the soul can be immortal *by grace* does not logically permit us to say that it *is* immortal, since the fact that is is created means that it is not immortal in its nature. In fact, it we accept that the soul can be immortal by grace, we implicitly accept that it is not so by nature. Indeed, immortality by grace is conceivable, as we shall, but why limit it to the soul? Immortality by grace, when and where it prevails, concerns the body and the material world in general just as much as the soul. To speak of immortality only with regard to the soul – and only for the soul – even by grace, is a distraction: it involved specially attributing to the soul qualities of immortality. But God does not want only souls to be saved – he wants also the salvation and survival of bodies and of the world as a whole.
John D. Zizioulas (Communion and Otherness: Further Studies in Personhood and the Church)
Now, I appeal to the consciences of those that persecute, torment, destroy, and kill other men upon pretence of religion, whether they do it out of friendship and kindness towards them or no? And I shall then indeed, and not until then, believe they do so, when I shall see those fiery zealots correcting, in the same manner, their friends and familiar acquaintance for the manifest sins they commit against the precepts of the Gospel; when I shall see them persecute with fire and sword the members of their own communion that are tainted with enormous vices and without amendment are in danger of eternal perdition; and when I shall see them thus express their love and desire of the salvation of their souls by the infliction of torments and exercise of all manner of cruelties. For if it be out of a principle of charity, as they pretend, and love to men's souls that they deprive them of their estates, maim them with corporal punishments, starve and torment them in noisome prisons, and in the end even take away their lives — I say, if all this be done merely to make men Christians and procure their salvation, why then do they suffer whoredom, fraud, malice, and such-like enormities, which… manifestly relish of heathenish corruption, to predominate so much and abound amongst their flocks and people?
John Locke (A Letter Concerning Toleration)
I was mildly curious but clueless, and my husband—to—be and his friends were too hung—over to be of much help. They were mostly “lapsed” Catholics like my husband, the products of parochial schools in the 1950s and Jesuit colleges in the 1960s. They seemed vastly bored by the proceedings and had not gone forward to receive communion. But I watched the ceremony intently from far back in the big stone church. And at one point, I gasped. “Look,” I said, tugging on David’s sleeve. “Look at that! The priest is cleaning up! He’s doing the dishes!” My husband shrugged; others in the pew looked at me and then at him, as if to say—Dave, your girlfriend has gone soft in the head.
Kathleen Norris (The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and "Women's Work")
The person is otherness in communion and communion in otherness. The person is an identity that emerges through relationship; it is an 'I' that can exist only as long as it relates to a 'thou' which affirms it's existence and it's otherness. If we isolate the 'I' from the 'thou' we lose not only it's otherness but also it's very being; it simply cannot be without the other. Personhood is freedom. In its anthropological significance, personhood is inconceivable without freedom; it is the freedom of being other. I hesitate to say 'different' instead of 'other', because 'different' can be understood in the sense of qualities (clever, beautiful, etc.), which is not what the person is about. Person implies not simply the freedom to have qualities, but mainly the freedom simply to be yourself. And yet because, as we have already observed, one person is no person, this freedom is not freedom *from* the other but freedom *for* the other. Freedom thus becomes identical with *love*. We can love only if we are persons, that is, if we allow the other to be truly other, and yet to be in communion with us. If we love the other not only in spite of his of her being different from us but *because* he or she is different from us, or rather *other* than ourselves, we live in freedom as love and in love as freedom . [In this way] personhood is creativity. Freedom is not *from* but *for* someone or something other than ourselves. This makes the person *ec-static*, that is, going outside and beyond the boundaries of the 'self'. But this *ecstasis* is not to be understood as a movement towards the unknown and the infinite [an arbitrary, abstract *othering* for the sake of itself]; it is a movement of *affirmation of the other*. This drive of personhood towards the affirmation of the other is so strong that it is not limited to the 'other' that already exists, but wants to affirm an 'other' which is [the product of] the totally free grace of the person. The person [out of totally free grace] wants to create its own 'other'. This is what happens in art; and it is only the person that can be an artist in the true sense, that is, a creator that brings about a totally other identity as an act of freedom and communion. The subject of otherness, then, is raised in its absolute ontological significance. Otherness is not secondary to unity; it is primary and constitutive of the very idea of being. Respect for otherness is a matter not [only] of ethics but of ontology: if otherness disappears, beings simply cease to be. There is simply no room for ontological totalitarianism. All communion must involve otherness as a primary and constitutive ingredient. It is this that makes freedom part of the notion of being. Freedom is not simply 'freedom of will'; it is the freedom to be other in an absolute ontological sense.
John D. Zizioulas (Being as Communion: Studies in Personhood and the Church)
Herein lies the delicious torture, the 'flowery combat' of intimacy—the lover who really turns you on deep in your sexual heart will also really frustrate you in more superficial moments. If you have a feminine essence, then your masculine lover's deep confidence and integrity will turn you on, except when bulldozing your feelings and nit-picking the content of everything you say in a moment of conflict. If you have a masculine essence, then your feminine lover's spontaneous laughter and fluid sexual responsiveness will turn you on, except during times of whacko hysteria and unpredictable shutdowns. In moments of deep communion, the masculine and feminine open as a singular gift—two facets of one jewel.
David Deida (Blue Truth: A Spiritual Guide to Life & Death and Love & Sex)
JESUS & THE WEATHER I don't think Jesus Who is Our Lord would have liked the weather in Limerick because it's always raining and the Shannon keeps the whole city damp. My father says the Shannon is a killer river because it killed my two brothers. When you look at pictures of Jesus He's always wandering around ancient Israel in a sheet. It never rains there and you never hear of anyone coughing or getting consumption or anything like that and no one has a job there because all they do is stand around and eat manna and shake their fists and go to crucifixions. Anytime Jesus got hungry all He had to do was go up the road to a fig tree or an orange tree and have His fill. If He wanted a pint He could wave His hand over a big glass and there was the pint. Or He could visit Mary Magdalene and her sister, Martha, and they'd give Him His dinner no questions asked and He'd get his feet washed and dried with Mary Magdalene's hair while Martha washed the dishes, which I don't think is fair. Why should she have to wash the dishes while her sister sits out there chatting away with Our Lord? It's a good thing Jesus decided to be born Jewish in that warm place because if he was born in Limerick he'd catch the consumption and be dead in a month and there wouldn't be any Catholic Church and there wouldn't be any Communion or Confirmation and we wouldn't have to learn the catechism and write compositions about Him. The End.
Frank McCourt (Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt, #1))
... the intercessor is not so much like a lamp in the electric circuit as a radio which is both a receiver and transmitter. The receiving aspect is often quite overlooked in the ministry of intercession. Communion with God should surely be a two-way traffic. We speak of prayer as our ‘coming to the mercy seat’, but when God first spoke about this to Moses He said nothing about it as a place where Moses would speak with Him, but rather as a place where He would speak with Moses (Exod. 2 5 : 22). In other words, the mercy seat was to be first a place of revelation, and then a place of intercession. This revelation may indeed be given to the intercessor as he prays, but it will often be necessary to tune in and hear what eaven is saying that he may know how to pray. To learn how to talk to God we must first learn how to listen to God.
Arthur Wallis (Pray in the Spirit: The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Ministry of Prayer)
The reference in 1 Corinthians 11:27 is to Christ’s actual body, which was crucified, as the reference to blood makes evident. Anaziõs has been translated 'in an unworthy manner,' and sometimes incorrectly thought to modify not the way of partaking but the character of the persons partaking. But Paul refers to those who are partaking in an unworthy manner, not those who in themselves are unworthy, which presumably Paul would see as including any and all believers. No one is worthy of partaking of the Lord’s Supper; it’s not a matter of personal worth. Paul is rather concerned with the abuse in the actions of the participants, or at least some of them. Paul says that those who partake in an unworthy manner, abusing the privilege, are liable or guilty in some sense of the body and blood of Jesus. They are, in addition, partaking without discerning or distinguishing 'the body.
Ben Witherington III (Making a Meal of It: Rethinking the Theology of the Lord's Supper)
If community is for growth of the personal consciousness and freedom, and not just for the collective consciousness, with the security it brings, there will be times when some people find themselves in conflict with their community . . . This happens particularly when someone is called to personal growth and is in a group which has become lukewarm, mediocre and closed in on itself. The loneliness and anguish felt by this person can lead to a more intimate and mystical union with God. The person no longer finding support from the group cries out to God, "Let those who thirst come to me and drink," says Jesus. Those who suffer in this way find a new strength and love in the heart of God. Their communion with the father deepens. The authenticity of their communion with God is shown as they continually try to love their brothers and sisters with greater fidelity, without judgment or condemnation.
Jean Vanier (Community And Growth)
Listen to what I say, then believe what your heart tells you is true. For it is in your heart where your wisdom lies, and in your heart where your truth dwells, and in your own heart where God resides in most intimate communion with you. I ask only one thing. What is that? Please do not confuse what is in your heart with what is in your mind. What is in your mind has been put there by others. What is in your heart is what you carry with you of me. Yet you can close your heart to me, and many have. And many also have closed their minds. And please, do not tell others that unless THEY believe what is in YOUR mind, I am going to condemn them. And finally, whatever you do, do not condemn them yourself, on my behalf. We keep doing that. We don’t seem to know how to stop. And we’re putting ourselves through sheer hell. Yet now here is the Good News: Humanity need not go through hell in order to get to heaven.
Neale Donald Walsch (Home with God: In a Life That Never Ends)
Light. Light at the end. Light at the end of the tunnel. Heavenly. Afterlife. God. Goddess. Angels made of… Impossible to discern. Tender. Swimming pool with father, in the morning of childhood, in the heart of lightness, in the heart of childhoodness, in the soul of It All. Light inside a black, grey, white tunnel. Very long. Endless dark, endless light. Black all around and light inside, pure, clad in tiles, unfettered, virgineal. Water. Swimming in the light made of drops, teardrops, water. Lightning over the water made of yellow, white, brilliant flashes. Smelling incense from an abandoned church in the wild, lost in the wild, suddenly found only to be inexorably lost again, out of my sight for eternity, only to be found forever by wild, ancient and kindred spirits, that is to say, snakes, trees, ants, bees, ghosts in the wind. Seven crosses flying around a holy chalice with a communion wafer floating on top of it.
Alexandre Alphonse (Ostinato, by Eluvium)
A Farewell For a while I shall still be leaving, Looking back at you as you slip away Into the magic islands of the mind. But for a while now all alive, believing That in a single poignant hour We did say all that we could ever say In a great flowing out of radiant power. It was like seeing and then going blind. After a while we shall be cut in two Between real islands where you live And a far shore where I’ll no longer keep The haunting image of your eyes, and you, As pupils widen, widen to deep black And I am able neither to love or grieve Between fulfillment and heartbreak. The time will come when I can go to sleep. But for a while still, centered at last, Contemplate a brief amazing union, Then watch you leave and then let you go. I must not go back to the murderous past Nor force a passage through to some safe landing, But float upon this moment of communion Entranced, astonished by pure understanding— Passionate love dissolved like summer snow.
May Sarton (Collected Poems: 1930-1993)
What, then, of the priest's iconic representation of Christ at the altar? If there is no specifically masculine or feminine charism or ontology, the significance of the priest's maleness fades away. What matters—as patristic Christology recognized centuries ago with its dictum, 'That which is not assumed [by the Son of God in the incarnation] is not healed'—is that Christ became human, assuming and thereby healing the nature common to men and women. Although biologically a man, Christ assumed human nature in such a way as to include both men and women in his salvific work. And that means, in turn, that to refuse to allow a woman to preside at the Eucharist may be to say much more than opponents of women's ordination realize—namely, 'that women are not adequate icons of Christ.' The result, notes [Sarah] Hinlicky Wilson near the end of her book, is nothing less than 'to leave both their humanity and their salvation in doubt.' If women can't reflect the human nature of Christ at the altar, how then can they trust Christ's human nature to save them at all?
Wesley Hill
I wiped the blade against my jeans and walked into the bar. It was mid-afternoon, very hot and still. The bar was deserted. I ordered a whisky. The barman looked at the blood and asked: ‘God?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘S’pose it’s time someone finished that hypocritical little punk, always bragging about his old man’s power…’ He smiled crookedly, insinuatingly, a slight nausea shuddered through me. I replied weakly: ‘It was kind of sick, he didn’t fight back or anything, just kept trying to touch me and shit, like one of those dogs that try to fuck your leg. Something in me snapped, the whingeing had ground me down too low. I really hated that sanctimonious little creep.’ ‘So you snuffed him?’ ‘Yeah, I’ve killed him, knifed the life out of him, once I started I got frenzied, it was an ecstasy, I never knew I could hate so much.’ I felt very calm, slightly light-headed. The whisky tasted good, vaporizing in my throat. We were silent for a few moments. The barman looked at me levelly, the edge of his eyes twitching slightly with anxiety: There’ll be trouble though, don’tcha think?’ ‘I don’t give a shit, the threats are all used up, I just don’t give a shit.’ ‘You know what they say about his old man? Ruthless bastard they say. Cruel…’ ‘I just hope I’ve hurt him, if he even exists.’ ‘Woulden wanna cross him merself,’ he muttered. I wanted to say ‘yeah, well that’s where we differ’, but the energy for it wasn’t there. The fan rotated languidly, casting spidery shadows across the room. We sat in silence a little longer. The barman broke first: ‘So God’s dead?’ ‘If that’s who he was. That fucking kid lied all the time. I just hope it’s true this time.’ The barman worked at one of his teeth with his tongue, uneasily: ‘It’s kindova big crime though, isn’t it? You know how it is, when one of the cops goes down and everything’s dropped ’til they find the guy who did it. I mean, you’re not just breaking a law, your breaking LAW.’ I scraped my finger along my jeans, and suspended it over the bar, so that a thick clot of blood fell down into my whisky, and dissolved. I smiled: ‘Maybe it’s a big crime,’ I mused vaguely ‘but maybe it’s nothing at all…’ ‘…and we have killed him’ writes Nietzsche, but—destituted of community—I crave a little time with him on my own. In perfect communion I lick the dagger foamed with God’s blood.
Nick Land (The Thirst for Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism (An Essay in Atheistic Religion))
1. I WON'T SHAM Why pretend all is well, yet in hurt When inside I’m dying for your affection? Why should l flout you? When my heart yearns for communion? 'l don't care' cries the broken hearted When inside the heart cries for love When the very reason they are crying Is them they are pretending to slur 'l never loved you' cries the divorced When their heart bleeds for love, just one act of love The one that brought them together at first The very reason they even got married 'l hate you' cries the frustrated When fulfillment is all they long for The reality of which is still a fallacy to them If only they could hold on just a little longer 'That's a dry joke’ cries the scowling When laughter is what they long for In as much as they pretend to frown Merriment is still so true in their hearts But, l hate to say goodbye, when all l want is to be with you I hate to walk away, when l could have gone with you You'd make me sad by waving goodbye When all that's true is for you and me to be together I hate to shout at you, when l can just speak tenderly l hate to hang you down on the phone, When l could have said a little more to make you blissful I hate to say goodnight when l'm not heavy-eyed myself All that's real to me is l abhor to be a dummy But hold on my love, l WON'T SHAM....
There is a scene I love where a brother and sister meet after many years and little communication. They meet in an arranged café in mid-afternoon. The light is dying and the city outside rumbles softly in the complacent time before rush hour. The café is unexceptional and quiet. She comes first, sits at the far end, a table facing the door, nervous in her buttoned raincoat. The waiter is an older man. He leaves her be. The brother enters late with the look but not the words of apology. He kisses her cheek. They sit and the old man brings them teas they do not want, two pots, strong for him weak for her. It is long ago since they said each other’s names aloud, and saying them now has the extraordinary shyness of encounter I imagine on the Last Day. At first there is the full array of human awkwardness. But here is the thing: almost in an instant their old selves are immediately present. The years and the changes are nothing. They need few words. They recognise each other in each other, and even in silence the familiarity is powerfully consoling, because despite time and difference there remains that deep-river current, that kind of maybe communion that only exists within people joined in the word family. So now what washes up between them, foam-white and fortifying and quite unexpectedly, is love. I cannot remember what book it is in. But it’s in this one now.
The priest instantly replied without any sign of fear: “I will answer in the words of the holy Apostles, who said, when it was inquired of them before the Jewish Council whether they had violated the law by preaching in the name of Christ, ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.’ (Acts 5:29). For this reason, therefore, in spite of your unjust prohibition, I said Mass to the honor of God and of His blessed Mother.” The judges, greatly infuriated by this bold reply, condemned the pious priest to have his tongue torn out in the presence of all the people. The priest suffered this cruel sentence with the utmost patience; he went straight to the church, his mouth yet bleeding, and kneeling humbly before the altar at which he had said Mass, poured out his complaint to the Mother of God. Being unable any longer to speak with his tongue, he raised his heart to her with all the more fervor, entreating her that his tongue might be restored to him. So urgent was his supplication that the Blessed Mother of God appeared to him and with her own hand replaced his tongue in his mouth, saying that it was given back to him for the sake of the honor he had paid to God the Lord and to her by saying Mass, and exhorting him diligently to make use of it in that manner for the future. After returning heartfelt thanks to his benefactress, the priest returned to the assembled people and showed them that his tongue had been given back to him, thus putting to confusion the obstinate heretics and all who had displayed hostility to the Holy Mass.
Martin Von Cochem (The Incredible Catholic Mass (with Supplemental Reading: Novena of Holy Communions) [Illustrated])
Whatever men please to think or say, the Romish doctrine of the real presence if pursued to its legitimate consequences obscures every leading doctrine of the gospel and damages and interferes with the whole system of Christ's truth. Grant for a moment that the Lord's Supper is a sacrifice and not a Sacrament, grant that every time the words of consecration are used the natural body and blood of Christ are present on the communion table under the forms of bread and wine, grant that everyone who eats that consecrated bread and drinks that consecrated wine does really eat and drink the natural body and blood of Christ, grant for a moment these things and then see what momentous consequences result from these premises. You spoil the blessed doctrine of Christ's finished work when He died on the cross. A sacrifice that needs to be repeated is not a perfect or complete thing. You spoil the priestly office of Christ. If there are priests that can offer an acceptable sacrifice to God besides Him, the great High Priest is robbed of His glory. You spoil the scriptural doctrine of the Christian ministry. You exalt sinful men into the position of mediators between God and man. You give to the sacramental elements of bread and wine an honor and veneration they were never meant to receive. You produce an idolatry to be abhorred by faithful Christians. Last but not least, you overthrow the true doctrine of Christ's human nature. If the body born of the Virgin Mary can be in more places than one at the same time, it is not a body like our own and Jesus was not the last Adam in the truth of our nature.
J.C. Ryle
If we are taught by God in affliction we are blessed. When God teaches, he applies his instruction to the heart. He commands light to shine out of darkness (2 Corinthians 4:6). The Holy Spirit brings divine truths in such a clear and convincing light that the soul sits down fully satisfied. The soul both sweetly and freely acquiesces in the revealed truths. When God teaches, the soul experiences truth as David (Psalm 119:71). Some only know notionally, but David knew by experience; he became more acquainted with the Word. He knew it more, loved it better, and was more transformed in the nature of it. Thus, Paul, “I know who I have believed” (2 Timothy 1:12) – “I have experienced his faithfulness and his all-sufficiency; I can trust my all with him. I am sure he will keep it safe to that day.” Those taught of God in affliction can speak experimentally, in one degree or another. They can speak of their communion with God (Psalm 23:4). The sweet singer of Israel had comfortable presence. Those taught of God can say: “As we have heard, so we have seen. I have experienced this word upon mine heart, and can set my seal that God is true.” God’s teaching is a powerful teaching. It conveys strength as well as light. Truth only understood needs to be put into action and practice. God’s teachings are sweet to the taste. David rolled them as sugar under his tongue, and received more sweetness than Samson from his honeycomb. Luther said he would not live in paradise without the Word, but with the Word he could live in hell itself. Teaching is sweet because it is suitable to the renewed man (Jeremiah 15:16).
Thomas Case
If a negative mind comes to a rose, to a garden, many roses may be there, but he will count only the thorns. The first thing for the negative mind is the thorns; that is significant. Flowers are just illusory; only thorns are real. He will count, and, of course, for each flower a thousand thorns exist. And once he has counted a thousand thorns he cannot believe in one flower. He will say this one flower is just illusory. How can such a beautiful flower exist with such ugly thorns, violent thorns? It is impossible, it is unbelievable. And even if it exists, it means nothing now. One thousand thorns have been counted, and the flower disappears. A positive mind will start with the rose, with the flower. And once you are in a communion with the rose, once you know the beauty, the life, the unearthly flowering, thorns disappear. And one who has known the rose in its beauty, in its highest possibility, one who has looked deep into it, for him now even thorns will not look like thorns. The eyes filled with the rose are different now. Now the thorns will look just like a protection for this flower. They will not be enemies; they will look just like part of the happening of flowers. Now this mind will know that this flower happens and these thorns are needed, they protect. Because of these thorns this flower could happen. This positive mind will feel grateful even to thorns. And if this approach deepens, a moment comes when thorns become flowers. With the first approach the flower disappears – or the flower even becomes a thorn. Only with a positive mind can you get the state of a non-tense mind. With a negative mind you will remain tense, with so many miseries all around. Such a negative, inventive mind goes on revealing miseries and miseries and hells and hells. In
Osho (The Book of Secrets: 112 Meditations to Discover the Mystery Within)
—I cannot, at this place, avoid a sigh. There are days when I am visited by a feeling blacker than the blackest melancholy—contempt of man. Let me leave no doubt as to what I despise, whom I despise: it is the man of today, the man with whom I am unhappily contemporaneous. The man of today—I am suffocated by his foul breath!… Toward the past, like all who understand, I am full of tolerance, which is to say, generous self-control: with gloomy caution I pass through whole millenniums of this madhouse of a world, call it “Christianity,” “Christian faith” or the “Christian church,” as you will—I take care not to hold mankind responsible for its lunacies. But my feeling changes and breaks out irresistibly the moment I enter modern times, our times. Our age knows better… . What was formerly merely sickly now becomes indecent—it is indecent to be a Christian today. And here my disgust begins.—I look about me: not a word survives of what was once called “truth”; we can no longer bear to hear a priest pronounce the word. Even a man who makes the most modest pretensions to integrity must know that a theologian, a priest, a pope of today not only errs when he speaks, but actually lies—and that he no longer escapes blame for his lie through “innocence” or “ignorance.” The priest knows, as every one knows, that there is no longer any “God,” or any “sinner,” or any “Saviour”—that “free will” and the “moral order of the world” are lies—: serious reflection, the profound self-conquest of the spirit, allow no man to pretend that he does not know it… . All the ideas of the church are now recognized for what they are—as the worst counterfeits in existence, invented to debase nature and all natural values; the priest himself is seen as he actually is—as the most dangerous form of parasite, as the venomous spider of creation… . We know, our conscience now knows—just what the real value of all those sinister inventions of priest and church has been and what ends they have served, with their debasement of humanity to a state of self-pollution, the very sight of which excites loathing,—the concepts “the other world,” “the last judgment,” “the immortality of the soul,” the “soul” itself: they are all merely so many instruments of torture, systems of cruelty, whereby the priest becomes master and remains master… . Every one knows this, but nevertheless things remain as before. What has become of the last trace of decent feeling, of self-respect, when our statesmen, otherwise an unconventional class of men and thoroughly anti-Christian in their acts, now call themselves Christians and go to the communion-table?… A prince at the head of his armies, magnificent as the expression of the egoism and arrogance of his people—and yet acknowledging, without any shame, that he is a Christian!… Whom, then, does Christianity deny? what does it call “the world”? To be a soldier, to be a judge, to be a patriot; to defend one’s self; to be careful of one’s honour; to desire one’s own advantage; to be proud … every act of everyday, every instinct, every valuation that shows itself in a deed, is now anti-Christian: what a monster of falsehood the modern man must be to call himself nevertheless, and without shame, a Christian!—
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Antichrist)
1st. It untunes and unframes the heart itself, by entangling its affections. It diverts the heart from the spiritual frame that is required for vigorous communion with God; it lays hold on the affections, rendering its object beloved and desirable, so expelling the love of the Father, 1 John. ii. 15, iii 17; so that the soul cannot say uprightly and truly to God, “Thou art my portion,” having something else that it loves. Fear, desire, hope, which are the choice affections of the soul, that should be full of God, will be one way or other entangled with it. 2dly. It fills the thoughts with contrivances about it. Thoughts are the great purveyors of the soul to bring in provision to satisfy its affections; and if sin remain unmortified in the heart, they must ever and anon be making provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. They must glaze, adorn, and dress the objects of the flesh, and bring them home to give satisfaction; and this they are able to do, in the service of a defiled imagination, beyond all expression. 3dly. It breaks out and actually hinders duty. The ambitious man must be studying, and the worldling must be working or contriving, and the sensual, vain person providing himself for vanity, when they should be engaged in the worship of God.
John Owen (The Mortification of Sin (Vintage Puritan))
How many different ways there are of knowing a person—and even so there are all these different ways of knowing Christ; so that you may keep on all your lifetime, still wishing to get into another room, and another room, nearer and nearer to the great secret, still panting to "know him." Good Rutherford says, "I urge upon you a nearer communion with Christ, and a growing communion. There are curtains to be drawn by, in Christ, that we never shut, and new foldings in love with him. I despair that ever I shall shall win to the far end of that love; there are so many plies in it. Therefore, dig deep, and set by as much time in the day for him as you can, he will be won by labor.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
There is one story about letters. A perpetually cheerful Frog pays a visit to Toad but finds Toad glum, sitting on his front porch. "This is my sad time of day," says Toad, "when I wait for the mail to come." "Why is that?" says Frog. "No one has ever sent me a letter. My mailbox is always empty. That is why waiting for the mail is a sad time for me." Then Frog and Toad sit "on the porch, feeling sad together." Frog rescues the situation by running home, writing a letter to Toad, and sending it literally by snail mail. The little snail brings it four days later. Even though Toad saw Frog every day, he longed for the strangeness, the otherness of a letter, for something to come from out there and address him, "Dear Toad." Is that the thrill I feel finding a letter from you in my box? The address of a friend is made into a physical fact and every letter an artifact of the otherwise invisible communion of friendship.
Amy Andrews
I have learned how blessed to my own soul is communion with Him, but who would have supposed that my communion was blessed to Christ! Yet it is. For this He still “thirsts.” Grace enables us to offer that which refreshes Him.
Arthur W. Pink (The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross)
But if people really mean to tell us that here in this world a believer can attain to entire freedom from sin, live for years in unbroken and uninterrupted communion with God, and for months at a time not even have one sinful thought, I must honestly say that such an opinion appears to me very unscriptural.
J.C. Ryle (Holiness [Annotated, Updated]: For the Will of God Is Your Sanctification – Hebrews 6:1)
For the world says: 'You have needs, therefore satisfy them, for you have the same rights as the noblest and richest men. Do not be afraid to satisfy them, but even increase them'--this is the current teaching of the world. And in this they see freedom. But what comes of this right to increase one's needs? For the rich, isolation and spiritual suicide; for the poor, envy and murder, for they have been given rights, but have not yet been shown any way of satisfying their needs. We are assured that the world is becoming more and more united, is being formed into brotherly communion, by the shortening of distances, by the transmitting of thoughts through the air. Alas, do not believe in such a union of people. Taking freedom to mean the increase and prompt satisfaction of needs, they distort their own nature, for they generate many meaningless and foolish desires, habits, and the most absurd fancies in themselves. They live only for mutual envy, for pleasure-seeking and self-display.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
As I have mentioned how the people were brought into a condition to despair of life and abandon themselves, so this very thing had a strange effect among us for three or four weeks; that is, it made them bold and venturous, they were no more shy of one another, or restrained within doors, but went anywhere and everywhere, and began to converse. One would say to another, “I do not ask how you are, or say how I am; it is certain we shall all go; so ’tis no matter who is sick or who is sound;” and so they ran desperately into any place or any company. As it brought the people into publick company, so it was surprizing how it brought them to crowd into the churches. They enquired no more into who, they sat near to or far from, what offensive smells they met with, or what condition the people seemed to be in, but looking upon themselves all as so many dead corpses, they came to the churches without the least caution, and crowded together, as if their lives were of no consequence compared to the work which they came about there. Indeed, the zeal which they shewed in coming, and the earnestness and affection they shewed in their attention to what they heard, made it manifest what a value people would all put upon the worship of God if they thought every day they attended at the church that it would be their last. Nor was it without other strange effects, for it took away all manner of prejudice or of scruple about the person who they found in the pulpit when they came to the churches. It cannot be doubted but that many of the ministers of the parish churches were cut off, among others, in so common and dreadful a calamity; and others had courage enough to stand it, but removed into the country as they found means for escape. As then some parish churches were quite vacant and forsaken, the people made no scruple of desiring such Dissenters as had been a few years before deprived of their livings by virtue of the Act of Parliament called the Act of Uniformity to preach in the churches; nor did the church ministers in that case make any difficulty of accepting their assistance; so that many of those who they called silenced ministers had their mouths opened on the occasion and preached publickly to the people. Here we may observe, and I hope it will not be amiss to take notice of it, that a near view of death would soon reconcile men of good principles one to another, and that it is chiefly owing to our easy situation in life and our putting these things far from us that our breaches are fomented, ill blood continued, prejudices, breach of charity and of Christian union so much kept and far carried on among us as it is. Another plague year would reconcile all these differences; a close conversing with death, or with diseases that threaten death, would off the gall from our tempers, remove the animosities among us, and bring us to see with differing eyes than those which we looked on things with before. As the people who had been used to join with the Church were reconciled at this time with the admitting the Dissenters to preach to them, so the Dissenters, who with an uncommon prejudice had broken off from the communion of the Church of England, were now content to come to their parish churches, and to conform to the worship which they did not approve of before; but as the terror of the infection abated, those things all returned again to their less desirable channel, and to the course they were in before.
Daniel Defoe (A Journal of the Plague Year)
No one has been 'worthy' to receive communion, no one has been prepared for it. At this point all merits, all righteousness, all devotions disappear and dissolve. Life comes again to us as a Gift, a free and divine gift...Everything is free, nothing is due and yet all is given. And, therefore, the greatest humility and obedience is to accept the gift, to say yes - in joy and gratitude.
Alexander Schmemann
In the Kingdom of God what is common to all is life in God. This is not the common character which a concept expresses, but is love, a living bond which unites the believers; it is this feeling of unity of life, a feeling in which all oppositions, as pure enmities, and also rights, as unifications of still subsisting oppositions, are annulled. “A new command give I unto you,” says Jesus [John xiii. 34], “that ye love one another; thereby shall men know that ye are my disciples.” This friendship of soul, described in the language of reflection as an essence, as spirit, is the divine spirit, is God who rules the communion. Is there an idea more beautiful than that of a nation of men related to one another by love? Is there one more uplifting than that of belonging to a whole which as a whole, as one, is the spirit of God whose sons the individual members are? Was there still to be an incompleteness in this idea, as incompleteness which would give a fate power over it? Or would this fate be the nemesis raging against a too beautiful endeavor, against an overleaping of nature?
Nature has decreed that there are certain things in life which shall act as hoops of steel, grappling the souls of the elect together. Golf is one of these; a mutual love of horseflesh another; but the greatest of all is bees. Between two beekeepers there can be no strife. Not even a tepid hostility can mar their perfect communion. The petty enmities which life raises to be barriers between man and man and between man and woman vanish once it is revealed to them that they are linked by this great bond. Envy, malice, hatred and all uncharitableness disappear, and they look into each other's eyes and say "My brother!
P.G. Wodehouse (Uneasy Money)
It occurred to me that so often in life, as we move around the stage set of this world, we feel as if we are trying to create a sense of truth about what we do. We use rituals and dates, and we imbue events with significance, all as part of our desperate attempt to make life feel real. But perhaps the only real is our private communion with a personal sense of meaning?
Guy Mankowski
The Holy Spirit does not intervene a posteriori within the framework of Christology, as a help in overcoming the distance between an objectively existing Christ and ourselves; he is the one who gives birth to Christ and to the whole activity of salvation, by anointing Him and making him Χριστὸς (Luke 4.13). If it is truly possible to confess Christ as the truth, this is only because of the Holy Spirit (I For. 12.3). And as a careful study of I Cor. 12 shows, for St. Paul the body of Christ is literally composed of the charismata of the Spirit (charisma = membership of the body). So we can say without risk of exaggeration that Christ exists only pneumatologically, whether in His distinct personal particularity or in His capacity as the body of the Church and the recapitulation of all things.
John D. Zizioulas (Being as Communion: Studies in Personhood and the Church)
If it’s ever within your power to do so, she considered saying aloud to Brian (but didn’t), you have to bear witness to your dead. You simply have to. You have to step into the energy field of whatever remains of their spirit, their soul, their essence and let it pass through your body. And in the passing, maybe a wisp of it adheres to you, grafts itself to your cells. And in this communion, the dead continue to live. Or strive to. Instead,
Dennis Lehane (Since We Fell)
when the Greeks, having arrested the slaves of Christian catechumens, then used force against them, in order to learn from them some secret thing [practised] among Christians, these slaves, having nothing to say that would meet the wishes of their tormentors, except that they had heard from their masters that the divine communion was the body and blood of Christ, and imagining that it was actually flesh and blood, gave their inquisitors answer to that effect. Then
The Church Fathers (The Complete Ante-Nicene & Nicene and Post-Nicene Church Fathers Collection)
Oh might I be shown the way to devote my life more completely to the service of God and the Gospel. I keep praying for it and I think I shall be heard, I say it in all humility. Humanly speaking, one would say it cannot happen, but when I think seriously about it and penetrate under the surface of what is impossible to man, then my soul is in communion with God, for it is possible to Him, who speaks and it is done; who commands and it stands fast. Oh! Theo, Theo boy, if I might only succeed in this, if that heavy depression because everything I undertook failed, that torrent of reproaches which I have heard and felt, if it might be taken from me, and if there might be given to me both the opportunity and the strength needed to come to full development and to persevere in that course for which my father and I would thank the Lord so fervently.
Vincent van Gogh
In my experience, those who make the most theatrical display of demanding 'proof' of God are also those least willing to undertake the specific kinds of mental and spiritual discipline that all the great religious traditions say are required to find God. If one is left unsatisfied by the logical arguments for belief in God, and instead insists upon some 'experimental' or 'empirical' demonstration, then one ought to be willing to attempt the sort of investigations necessary to achieve any sort of real certainty regarding a reality that is nothing less than the infinite coincidence of absolute being, consciousness, and bliss. In short, one must pray: not fitfully, not simply in the manner of a suppliant seeking aid or of a penitent seeking absolution but also according to the disciplines of infused contemplation, with real constancy of will and a patient openness to grace, suffering states of both dereliction and ecstasy with the equanimity of faith, hoping but not presuming, so as to find whether the spiritual journey, when followed in earnest, can disclose its own truthfulness and conduct one into communion with a dimension of reality beyond the ontological indigence of the physical. No one is obliged to make such an effort; but, unless one does, any demands one might make for evidence of the reality of God can safely be dismissed as disingenuous, and any arguments against belief in God that one might have the temerity to make to others can safely be ignored as vacuous.
David Bentley Hart (The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss)
Let me say, concerning the wine of communion with Christ, that it is never so sweet to a man as when he treads the grapes out himself—‘My meditation of him shall be sweet’ ” (Psa 104:34).–1895,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Spurgeon Gems)
Without this intimate connection between man and the other natures about him neither he nor Middle-garth could exist. The myths tell us, if properly read, that man has created a habitable well-ordered world in the midst of chaos, and that to live and thrive he must for ever uphold his communion with every single soul and so constantly recreate the fixed order of the world. Primitive man never thought of pointing triumphantly to an eternal order of things; he had the sense of security, but only because he knew how the regularity of the world was brought about, and thus could say how it should be maintained.
Vilhelm Grønbech (The Culture of the Teutons: Volumes 1 and 2)
April 13 MORNING “A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me.” — Song of Solomon 1:13 MYRRH may well be chosen as the type of Jesus on account of its preciousness, its perfume, its pleasantness, its healing, preserving, disinfecting qualities, and its connection with sacrifice. But why is He compared to “a bundle of myrrh”? First, for plenty. He is not a drop of it, He is a casket full. He is not a sprig or flower of it, but a whole bundle. There is enough in Christ for all my necessities; let me not be slow to avail myself of Him. Our well-beloved is compared to a “bundle” again, for variety: for there is in Christ not only the one thing needful, but in “Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,” everything needful is in Him. Take Jesus in His different characters, and you will see a marvellous variety — Prophet, Priest, King, Husband, Friend, Shepherd. Consider Him in His life, death, resurrection, ascension, second advent; view Him in His virtue, gentleness, courage, self-denial, love, faithfulness, truth, righteousness — everywhere He is a bundle of preciousness. He is a “bundle of myrrh” for preservation — not loose myrrh tied up, myrrh to be stored in a casket. We must value Him as our best treasure; we must prize His words and His ordinances; and we must keep our thoughts of Him and knowledge of Him as under lock and key, lest the devil should steal anything from us. Moreover, Jesus is a “bundle of myrrh” for speciality. The emblem suggests the idea of distinguishing, discriminating grace. From before the foundation of the world, He was set apart for His people; and He gives forth His perfume only to those who understand how to enter into communion with Him, to have close dealings with Him. Oh! blessed people whom the Lord hath admitted into His secrets, and for whom He sets Himself apart. Oh! choice and happy who are thus made to say, “A bundle of myrrh is my wellbeloved unto me.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Morning and Evening-Classic KJV Edition)
M.F.K. Fisher says it well: There is a communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk. It’s like religion. If you have a glass of water and a crust of bread with someone and you really share it, it is much more than just bread and water. I really believe that. Breaking bread is a simile for sharing bread ... you cannot swallow if you are angry or hateful. You choke a bit ... it’s all very betraying, how we eat.
Simon Carey Holt (Eating Heaven: Spirituality at the Table)
When the psalmist saw the transgression of the wicked his heart told him how it could be. ”There is no fear of God before his eyes,” he explained, and in so saying revealed to us the psychology of sin. When men no longer fear God, they transgress His laws without hesitation. The fear of consequences is not deterrent when the fear of God is gone. In olden days men of faith were said to ”walk in the fear of God” and to ”serve the Lord with fear.” However intimate their communion with God, however bold their prayers, at the base of their religious life was the conception of God as awesome and dreadful. This idea of God transcendent rims through the whole Bible and gives color and tone to the character of the saints. This fear of God was more than a natural apprehension of danger; it was a nonrational dread, an acute feeling of personal insufficiency in the presence of God the Almighty. Wherever God appeared to men in Bible times the results were the same - an overwhelming sense of terror and dismay, a wrenching sensation of sinfulness and guilt. When God spoke, Abram stretched himself upon the ground to listen. When Moses saw the Lord in the burning bush, he hid his face in fear to look upon God. Isalah’s vision of God wrung from him the cry, ”Woe is me!” and the confession, ”I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips.” Daniel’s encounter with God was probably the most dreadful and wonderful of them all. The prophet lifted up his eyes and saw One whose ”body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.” ”I Daniel alone saw the vision” he afterwards wrote, ”for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.” These experiences show that a vision of the divine transcendence soon ends all controversy between the man and his God. The fight goes out of the man and he is ready with the conquered Saul to ask meekly, ”Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”  Conversely, the self-assurance of modern Christians, the basic levity present in so many of our religious gatherings, the shocking disrespect shown for the Person of God, are evidence enough of deep blindness of heart.  Many call themselves by the name of Christ, talk much about God, and pray to Him sometimes, but evidently do not know who He is. ”The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,” but this healing fear is today hardly found among Christian men.
A.W. Tozer (The Knowledge of the Holy (Annotated))
In fact, this moment is the only place where you can meet God. This is why one of the greatest books of spiritual advice ever written was given the inspired title The Sacrament of the Present Moment. A sacrament, according to church tradition, is a “means of grace.” It is an ordinary object—the water used in baptism, the cup of communion—that somehow becomes the vessel of the extraordinary, of the divine. The writer of that book, a spiritual director named Jean Pierre de Caussade, says that each moment of our lives can be a sacrament, a vehicle for God’s love and power. “The present moment holds infinite riches beyond your wildest dreams, but you will only enjoy them to the extent of your faith and love. . . . To discover God in the smallest and most ordinary things, as well as in the greatest, is to possess a rare and sublime faith.” This can be the greatest moment of your life because this moment is the place where you can meet God. In the same way that every lungful of
John Ortberg Jr. (God Is Closer Than You Think: If God Is Always With Us, Why Is He So Hard to Find?)
For those that are near you are far, you say, and this shews that distance begins to grow round you. And when your nearness is far, then your distance is already among the stars and very great; be glad of your growing, into which you can take no one else with you, and be good to those that remain behind, and be self-possessed and quiet with them and do not torment them with your doubts and do not frighten them with your confidence or joy, which they could not comprehend. Seek some unpretending and honest communion with them, which you are under no necessity to alter when you yourself become more and more different; love life in a strange guise in them, and make allowance for those aging people who fear the solitude in which you trust.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
That this signified not a parallel co-existence of the ecclesial with the biological hypostasis but a transcendence of the latter by the former is apparent from the harshness of sayings like those which demand of Christians the abandonment - even the "hatred" - of their own relations. These sayings do not signify a simple denial. They conceal an affirmation: the Christian through baptism stands over against the world, he exists as a relationship with the world, as a person, in a manner free from the relationships created by his biological identity. This means that henceforth he can love not because the laws of biology oblige him to do so - something which inevitably colors the love of one's one relations - but unconstrained by natural laws. As an ecclesial hypostasis man thus proves that what is valid for God can also be valid for man: the nature does not determine the person; the person enables nature to exist; freedom is identified with the being of man. The result of this freedom of the person from nature, of the hypostasis from biology is that in the Church man transcends exclusivism.
John D. Zizoulas
To pray,” he continued, “is so beautiful. It means looking to heaven and to our heart. We know that we have a good Father who is God.” Looking to heaven and to our heart. This brief definition of the meaning of prayer sums up the mind of the new pope, which moves from the most sublime things—heaven, the eternal, the absolute, the true, the good, the beautiful—to the most simple, down-to-earth things—the things in the human heart. The first is the realm that transcends all that we do, the realm that is not yet here but that we long for, hope for. The second is the realm of our most intimate privacy, the core of our being, the source of our identity, and of our hopes. And for Pope Francis, prayer connects these two realms. The furthest out, and the furthest in. And to pray, to bring about this “communion” between what is furthest out and furthest in, is radiant, he tells us. It is an aesthetic judgment. To pray, he is telling us, before it is good, or true, or effective, or powerful, is “beautiful.” And he says this because he knows the human heart, the human soul, is made to be drawn toward the beautiful, as a sunflower turns toward the sun, following it from dawn until dusk.
Robert Moynihan (Pray for Me: The Life and Spiritual Vision of Pope Francis, First Pope from the Americas)
No less reassuring is what Cardinal Hosius says: “Although in Holy Mass we do not crucify Christ afresh, yet we make ourselves partakers in His death as much as if this were the case. In the Sacrifice of the Cross His death was with shedding of blood; in the Sacrifice of the Mass His death is bloodless and mystical, yet it produces the same fruit as the Sacrifice of Blood, just as if the latter were now being carried on.
Martin Von Cochem (The Incredible Catholic Mass (with Supplemental Reading: Novena of Holy Communions) [Illustrated])
The point of the Bible isn't to learn what it says. The point of going to church isn't to be more religious. The point of both is to be made into nothing but love of God and neighbor.
Jason Byassee (Surprised by Jesus Again: Reading the Bible in Communion with the Saints)
Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone, and the only one who seeks out another. His nature – if that word can be used in reference to man, who has 'invented' himself by saying 'no' to nature – consists in his longing to realize himself in another. Man is nostalgia and a search for communion. Therefore, when he is aware of himself he is aware of his lack of another, that is, of his solitude.
Octavio Paz (The Labyrinth of Solitude and Other Writings)
God hears prayer. This simplest view of prayer is taken throughout Scripture. It dwells not on the reflex influence of prayer on our heart and life, although it abundantly shows the connection between prayer as an act, and prayer as a state. It rather fixes with great definiteness the objective or real purpose of prayer, to obtain blessings, gifts, deliverances, from God. "Ask, and it shall be given you,"4 Jesus says to us. "Ask what I shall give thee,"5 Jehovah said to Solomon. "Call upon Me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee."6 "If any man lack wisdom, let him ask . . . and it shall be given him."7
Adolph Saphir (The Hidden Life: Thoughts on Communion with God)
We hope and we say that community is meant for carrying burdens together, but unfortunately it’s not always that simple or easy. Often our communion with the Father is the only relationship capable of bearing the weight of what’s on our hearts.
Jess Connolly (Always Enough, Never Too Much: 100 Devotions to Quit Comparing, Stop Hiding, and Start Living Wild and Free)
You stupid brahmin! You have left the Vedas, but now you are worshipping Buddha’s sayings, the Dhammapada. So what is the point? You have changed your books, you have changed your philosophy, but you remain all the time the same stupid man.” Saraha was shocked. Nobody had talked to him that way; only an uncultured woman can talk that way. And the way she laughed was so uncivilized, so primitive – but still, something was very much alive. He was feeling pulled; she was a great magnet and he was nothing but a piece of iron. Then she said, “You think you are a Buddhist?” He must have been in the robe of the Buddhist monk, the yellow robe. She laughed again and she said, “Buddha’s meaning can only be known through actions, not through words and not through books. Is not enough, enough for you? Are you not yet fed up with all this? Do not waste any more time in that futile search. Come and follow me!” And something happened, something like a communion. He had never felt like that before. In that moment the spiritual significance of what she was doing dawned upon Saraha. Neither looking to the left, nor looking to the right had he seen her – just looking in the middle. For the first time he understood what Buddha means by being in the middle: avoid the excess.
Osho (The Tantra Experience: Evolution through Love)
Those who became ordained were not presented with Moses or Miriam as our models, so that we could imagine ourselves as flawed human beings still willing to lead people through the wilderness. We were not presented with Peter or Mary Magdalene as our models, so that we could imagine ourselves as imperfect disciples still able to serve at our Lord's right hand. Instead, we were called to fill in for Jesus at the communion table, standing where he once stood and saying what he once said. We were called to preach his gospel and feed his sheep. We were, in other words, presented with Jesus himself as our model, so that most of us could only imagine ourselves disappointing everyone in our lives from God on down.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith)
I was also led into a state of great dissatisfaction with my own want of stability in faith and love, To be candid and tell the truth, I must say, to the praise of God's grace, He did not suffer me to backslide to anything like the extent to which manifestly many Christians did backslide. But I often felt myself weak in the presence of temptation, and needed frequently to hold days of fasting and prayer, and to spend much time in overhauling my own religious life, in order to retain that communion with God, and that hold upon the Divine truth, that would enable me efficiently to labor for the promotion of revivals of religion.
Charles Grandison Finney (The Works of Charles Finney, Vol 1 (15-in-1) Power From on High, Lectures on Revivals of Religion, Autobiography of Charles Finney, Revival Fire, Holiness of Christians, Systematic Theology)
Ode to the Beloved’s Hips" Bells are they—shaped on the eighth day—silvered percussion in the morning—are the morning. Swing switch sway. Hold the day away a little longer, a little slower, a little easy. Call to me— I wanna rock, I-I wanna rock, I-I wanna rock right now—so to them I come—struck-dumb chime-blind, tolling with a throat full of Hosanna. How many hours bowed against this Infinity of Blessed Trinity? Communion of Pelvis, Sacrum, Femur. My mouth—terrible angel, ever-lasting novena, ecstatic devourer. O, the places I have laid them, knelt and scooped the amber—fast honey—from their openness— Ah Muzen Cab’s hidden Temple of Tulúm—licked smooth the sticky of her hip—heat-thrummed ossa coxae. Lambent slave to ilium and ischium—I never tire to shake this wild hive, split with thumb the sweet- dripped comb—hot hexagonal hole—dark diamond— to its nectar-dervished queen. Meanad tongue— come-drunk hum-tranced honey-puller—for her hips, I am—strummed-song and succubus. They are the sign: hip. And the cosign: a great book— the body’s Bible opened up to its Good News Gospel. Alleluias, Ave Marías, madre mías, ay yay yays, Ay Dios míos, and hip-hip-hooray. Cult of Coccyx. Culto de cadera. Oracle of Orgasm. Rorschach’s riddle: What do I see? Hips: Innominate bone. Wish bone. Orpheus bone. Transubstantiation bone—hips of bread, wine-whet thighs. Say the word and healed I shall be: Bone butterfly. Bone wings. Bone Ferris wheel. Bone basin bone throne bone lamp. Apparition in the bone grotto—6th mystery— slick rosary bead—Déme la gracia of a decade in this garden of carmine flower. Exile me to the enormous orchard of Alcinous—spiced fruit, laden-tree—Imparadise me. Because, God, I am guilty. I am sin-frenzied and full of teeth for pear upon apple upon fig. More than all that are your hips. They are a city. They are Kingdom— Troy, the hollowed horse, an army of desire— thirty soldiers in the belly, two in the mouth. Beloved, your hips are the war. At night your legs, love, are boulevards leading me beggared and hungry to your candy house, your baroque mansion. Even when I am late and the tables have been cleared, in the kitchen of your hips, let me eat cake. O, constellation of pelvic glide—every curve, a luster, a star. More infinite still, your hips are kosmic, are universe—galactic carousel of burning comets and Big Big Bangs. Millennium Falcon, let me be your Solo. O, hot planet, let me circumambulate. O, spiral galaxy, I am coming for your dark matter. Along las calles de tus muslos I wander— follow the parade of pulse like a drum line— descend into your Plaza del Toros— hands throbbing Miura bulls, dark Isleros. Your arched hips—ay, mi torera. Down the long corridor, your wet walls lead me like a traje de luces—all glitter, glowed. I am the animal born to rush your rich red muletas—each breath, each sigh, each groan, a hooked horn of want. My mouth at your inner thigh—here I must enter you—mi pobre Manolete—press and part you like a wound— make the crowd pounding in the grandstand of your iliac crest rise up in you and cheer.
Natalie Díaz
People ask me: Why do you write about food? Why don't you write about the struggle for power and security, and about love, the way others do? They ask it accusingly, as if I were somehow gross, unfaithful to the honour of my craft. The easiest answer is to say that, like most other humans, I am hungry. But there is more than that. It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straighly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it...and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied...and it is all one. I tell about myself and how I ate bread on a lasting hillside, or drank red wine in a room now blown to bits, and it happens without my willing it that I am telling too about the people with me then, and their other deeper needs for love and happiness. There is food in the bowl, and more often than not, because of what honesty I have, there is nourishment in the heart, to feed the wilder, more insistent hungers. We must eat. If, in the face of that dread fact, we can find other nourishment, and tolerance and compassion for it, we'll be no less full of human dignity. There is communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk. And that is my answer, when people ask me: Why do you write about hunger, and not wars or love?
M.F.K. Fisher (The Gastronomical Me)
Not everyone - to say the least - seeks communion, dialogue with God; most of those who turn towards the heavens in prayer do so from desire or from fear, and those who do so from fear are in search of forgiveness. We are told that God does not greatly care about the motive so long as people do turn to Him and thereby establish the essential link. This is brought out in an astonishing hadith which might have been considered doubtful had it not been recorded by one of the most highly respected of mutahadithun: ‘By Him in whose hand is my soul, had you not sinned Allah would have removed you and brought a people who sin, then ask for Allah’s forgiveness and are forgiven.’ According to a hadith qudsi, ‘Allah has said: O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you what you have done and I shall not care. O son of Adam, though your sins reached the clouds in the sky, if you were then to ask for My forgiveness I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins almost as great as the earth [itself] and then face Me, ascribing to Me to “partner”, I would bring you forgiveness in like measure.
Charles Le Gai Eaton (Islam and the Destiny of Man)
Nietzsche is one of the philosophers with the most potential in the whole world, not only in the West, not only in Germany. His insights are significant for everybody. But he was misunderstood by all his contemporaries. That's the usual fate of every genius. It is almost routine, not an exception but a rule, that the genius is bound to be misunderstood by his contemporaries, for the simple reason that he is far ahead of his time. So there is always a revival after the death of a genius. It may take one hundred years, two hundred years, but a genius always has a revival. It is unfortunate that by the time people start understanding him, he is no more. And he suffers the misunderstandings all around him his whole life. He lives almost alone, with no communication with his contemporaries; and by the time he is being understood, he is no more. He never comes to know the people who will understand him. So it was absolutely certain that Nietzsche would have a great revival, and his words and his insights would be echoed all over the world — not only in the world of philosophy, but in the world of religion, morality, aesthetics. Whatever he touched, he always brought something absolutely new to it. Thousands of years people have understood a thing in a certain way. When a person like Nietzsche turns all the tables — which centuries have founded — and alone, single-handedly, fights against the whole past, it is a very difficult situation. He naturally gets very frustrated. It is bound to bring him insanity — the misunderstanding of the people. Everybody misunderstands him. In the world full of millions of people, there is not a single person with whom he can have a heart-to-heart contact, communion. He is in a desert — it drives him mad. That's what happened with Nietzsche. He lived a life of immense frustration, because he was giving great insights to the world; and in return — only condemnation. He was bringing new light — and not a single friendly response. Even his friends were not friendly about his philosophical approaches. That finally drove Nietzsche to madness; he died a madman. But Western philosophy, Western religion both have missed the quality of meditation. And that creates a new thing. When a man like Nietzsche goes mad, the enemies, who are all around — the people who misunderstood him and drove him mad - take advantage of the situation of his being mad. They start saying that it is his philosophy which is basically wrong, that has driven him mad. His madness becomes a proof that he is a wrong man — that he is not only mad today, he has always been mad. Whatever he has said is insane. So it becomes a more solid ground on which to refute the person completely, to erase him completely — and that's what happened with Nietzsche. But a revival was certain. You cannot continue to misunderstand something which has even a little bit of truth in it — and Nietzsche has tremendous insights. If they can all be understood, it will help the Western mind to change many things.
The church in Corinth had become quite carnal. Paul encouraged them to stay in communion with God and to judge themselves accordingly. Because they hadn't assume their responsibilities, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:30-32 "For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world." God does not punish us out of condemnation. He disciplines us so we may share in His holiness. As Hebrews 12:10-11 says, "For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Neil T. Anderson (Living Free in Christ)
To-morrow the rediscovery of romantic love, The photographing of ravens; all the fun under Liberty's masterful shadow; To-morrow the hour of the pageant-master and the musician, The beautiful roar of the chorus under the dome; To-morrow the exchanging of tips on the breeding of terriers, The eager election of chairmen By the sudden forest of hands. But to-day the struggle, To-morrow for the young poets exploding like bombs, The walks by the lake, the weeks of perfect communion; To-morrow the bicycle races Through the suburbs on summer evenings. But to-day the struggle. To-day the deliberate increase in the chances of death, The conscious acceptance of guilt in the necessary murder; To-day the expending of powers On the flat ephemeral pamphlet and the boring meeting, Today the makeshift consolations: the shared cigarette, The cards in the candlelit barn, and the scraping concert, The masculine jokes; to-day the Fumbled and unsatisfactory embrace before hurting. The stars are dead. The animals will not look. We are left alone with our day, and the time is short, and History to the defeated May say alas but cannot help or pardon.
W.H. Auden (Collected Shorter Poems, 1927-1957)
Not all things speak with a human tongue-an ability to speak the Languages of Creation. Communion in the body of silence-the voice of the Land is in our language. Coyote prayer says: 'Take it. I give it to you.
Lisa King (Dark Queens and Their Quarry: Poems: Boneshadows of Motherskin: 2017-2019 & Hot Rod Butterfly: 2000-2014)
The real fun is working up hatred between those who say 'mass' and those who say 'holy communion' when neither party could possibly state the difference between, say, Hooker's doctrine and Thomas Aquinas', in any form which would hold water for five minutes. And all the purely indifferent things—candles and clothes and what not—are an admirable ground for our activities. We have quite removed from men's minds what that pestilent fellow Paul used to teach about food and other unessentials—namely, that the human without scruples should always give in to the human with scruples. You would think they could not fail to see the application. You would expect to find the 'low' churchman genuflecting and crossing himself lest the weak conscience of his 'high' brother should be moved to irreverence, and the 'high' one refraining from these exercises lest he should betray his 'low' brother into idolatry. And so it would have been but for our ceaseless labour. Without that, the variety of usage within the Church of England might have become a positive hotbed of charity and humility.
C.S. Lewis
I asked my daughter how many kids would come to her birthday party if all we offered was cake. No games, no entertainment. They could come to the house to spend time with her and bring gifts to celebrate her, but we wouldn’t have anything else for them. She thought for a minute and said, “Maybe just a couple.” Then I asked her how many would come if I rented out Dave & Buster’s and let them have unlimited tokens, food, and prizes. She laughed and said confidently that the whole school would show up. So let’s say that for her birthday party I rent out the arcade and her whole school comes. They’re all going nuts, having the time of their lives. Imagine if I pulled her aside during the party, put my arm around her, and said, “Look at all the people who came to be with you!” Would she actually believe those people were there because they love her and want to spend time with her? Or would my comment actually be insulting? Isn’t this basically what we do with God? We have learned that we can fill church buildings if we bring in the right speaker or band. Make things exciting enough and people will come. We say, “God, look how many people are coming because they love being with You!” But do we really think God is fooled by this? Do we think God is pleased? He knows how many would show up if it was just Him. He knows there might be only a few if all we offered was Communion or prayer.
Francis Chan (Letters to the Church)
There was no point where this Entity started or ended. I could not say it was standing over there or it came from that direction. It was everywhere at once. The communication taking place was instant, complete and silent. No words, no symbols or sounds. Yet any misunderstanding was impossible. This was a communion, not a conversation.
Alfred Stefan Guart (Beyond the Sphere: Encounters with the Divine)
In describing the moral life in terms of its goal, that is, teleologically, Gregory shows himself very much the Greek philosopher. But Christian ethics was also formed by a distinctively theological understanding derived from Scriptures. The saying from the Sermon on the Mount, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matt. 5:48), presents the moral life as oriented not to the "supreme good" but to God. God is the highest good, "the source of our bliss ... and the goal of our striving," as Augustine said, and it is only in communion with God that human lives are brought to fulfillment.
Robert L. Wilken (The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God)
When we read the Bible christologically, we are not smuggling Jesus in -- we are discovering him there, to our and others' delight. To say otherwise is to fail to read Paul or Luke well. It's to miss that all creation hollers praise. It is to leave the world ungraced, uncharged by the grandeur of God, with no witness to the One who creates and redeems it in Christ.
Jason Byassee (Surprised by Jesus Again: Reading the Bible in Communion with the Saints)
the wafer in prayer to God, Jesus, Mary and the saints and declares it to have physically changed into human flesh and blood he makes an idol out of it. Even in the case of consubstantiation, which says it does not physically change but God is spiritually present in the wafer, it is still an idol. The idea of God entering the communion bread came about from a Gnostic heretic named Marcus in the first century. Marcus taught that when he blessed the cup of wine, the Holy Spirit would enter the cup and anyone who drank from it would be filled with the Holy Spirit. In this case, the transmuted communion would impart the Holy Spirit. Today the idea is that the transmuted communion will impart a grace that forgives some sins. About transubstantiation, ancient church father Irenaeus said clearly:   “Pretending to consecrate cups mixed with wine, he contrives to give them a purple and reddish colour, so that Charis [the Holy Spirit], should be thought to drop her own blood into that cup through means of his invocation… the church has never taught such a thing… all who follow such a demonic teaching are crack-brained.” Irenaeus Against Heresies 1.13
Ken Johnson (Ancient Prophecies Revealed)
If I had questioned Harris further—“What do you mean when you say sex doesn't have to mean anything? Do people engage in it for no reason at all? Does it just happen, like a gurgle in the stomach, a can rattling down the street, or a screen door blowing shut in the breeze?”—perhaps he would have conceded that sex does have trivial meanings: a little pleasure, a little fun, a little relief from boredom and desire. This wouldn't be much of a concession. Sex would mean something, but only in the way that eating a peanut means something, chewing on an ice cube means something, scratching an itch means something. There would be no more call to rhapsodize about the touch of a man and a woman than to compose sonnets about the communion of a picnicker with his mayonnaise.
J. Budziszewski (On the Meaning of Sex)
Who Is God? God is a loving father who cares for us. God is good. He is spirit. He sees all and knows all. He is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. God is the creator of the heavens and the earth. He expresses Himself through our highest actions of love. Finally, to realize who God is, to fully experience His presence, to truly know Him, you must be still. God is found in stillness. To know God is to stop and be still. Listen to the spirit within you. Communion with God happens internally. You will never meet God in the hustle and bustle of life. Learn to be silent. It is here that you will find God. Who is God? In His own words, God says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
Tanya Guerrier (How to Hear the Voice of God)
bring us back again into right and eternal relationship with Himself. This required that our sins be disposed of satisfactorily, that a full reconciliation be effected and the way opened for us to return again into conscious communion with God and to live again in the Presence as before. Then by His prevenient working within us He moves us to return. This first comes to our notice when our restless hearts feel a yearning for the Presence of God and we say within ourselves, "I will arise and go to my Father." That is the first step, and as the Chinese sage Lao-tze has said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step.
A.W. Tozer (The Pursuit of God)
After David had confessed to Nathan that he had " sinned against the Lord," 6 the prophet consoled him by saying: " The Lord hath taken away thy sin, thou shalt not die." 7 But Nathan did not promise David remission of temporal punishment. On the contrary, he continued: " Nevertheless, because thou hast given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, ... the child that is born to thee shall surely die." 8 St. Paul mentions weakness, disease, and death among the evil effects of unworthy communion. " Therefore many among you are weak and sickly, and not a few are fallen asleep." 9 He evidently regards sickness and death as temporal punishments for irreverence shown to the Holy Eucharist; for among the afflicted Corinthians many returned to their senses in consequence of such chastise ments. 10 b) The teaching of Tradition on this subject may be gathered partly from the writings of the Fathers and partly from the penitential discipline of the ancient Church. a) Calvin admits that practically all the Fathers held the Catholic doctrine of satisfaction. 11 In view of this admission a few select texts will suffice for our purpose. St. Basil says: " If thy sin is great and grievous, thou
Joseph Pohle (The sacraments: A Dogmatic Treatise, Vol. 3)
Lady Jenny, your turn.” She passed her sketch pad over to him, feeling a pang of sympathy for accused criminals as they stood in the dock. And yet, she’d asked for this. Gotten together all of her courage to ask for this one moment of artistic communion. “Well,” Mr. Harrison said, “isn’t he a handsome fellow? What do you think, ladies?” “You look like a papa,” Fleur observed. “Though our papa doesn’t sketch. He reads stories.” “And hates his ledgers,” Amanda added. “Is my hair that long in back?” “Yes,” Jenny said, because she’d drawn not only Elijah Harrison’s hands, but all of him, looking relaxed, elegant, and handsome, with Amanda crouched at his side, fascinated with what he created on the page. “I look…” He regarded the sketch in silence, while Jenny heard a coach-and-four rumbling toward her vulnerable heart. “I look… a bit tired, slightly rumpled, but quite at home. You are very quick, Lady Genevieve, and quite good.” Quite good. Like saying a baby was adorable, a young gentleman well-mannered. “The pose was simple,” Jenny said, “the lighting uncomplicated, and the subject…” “Yes?” He was one of those men built in perfect proportion. Antoine had spent an entire class wielding a tailor’s measure on Mr. Harrison’s body, comparing his proportions to the Apollo Belvedere, and scoffing at the “mistakes” inherent in Michelangelo’s David. Jenny wanted to snatch her drawing from his hand. “The subject is conducive to a pleasing image.” He passed the sketch pad back, but Jenny had the sense that in some way, some not entirely artistic way, she’d displeased him. The disappointment was survivable. Her art had been displeasing men since she’d first neglected her Bible verses to sketch her brothers. “You
Grace Burrowes (Lady Jenny's Christmas Portrait (The Duke's Daughters, #5; Windham, #8))
Some who desire to be teachers of the Word, but who understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm, insist upon “naked” faith as the only way to know spiritual things. By this they mean a conviction of the trustworthiness of the Word of God (a conviction, it may be noted, which the devils share with them). But the man who has been taught even slightly by the Spirit of Truth will rebel at this perversion. His language will be, “I have heard Him and observed Him. What have I to do any more with idols?” For he cannot love a God who is no more than a deduction from a text. He will crave to know God with a vital awareness that goes beyond words and to live in the intimacy of personal communion. To seek our divinity merely in books and writings is to seek the living among the dead; we do but in vain many times seek God in these, where His truth too often is not so much enshrined as entombed. He is best discerned by an intellectual touch of Him. We must see with our eyes, and hear with our ears, and our hands must handle of the Word of Life. Nothing can take the place of the touch of God in the
A.W. Tozer (God's Pursuit of Man: Tozer's Profound Prequel to The Pursuit of God)
I may tell tales of some of the other bodies to which I have belonged. I will recount the doings of the Dead Man’s Shoes Society (that superficially immoral, but darkly justifiable communion); I will explain the curious origin of the Cat and Christian, the name of which has been so shamefully misinterpreted; and the world shall know at last why the Institute of Typewriters coalesced with the Red Tulip League. Of the Ten Teacups, of course I dare not say a word.
G.K. Chesterton (The Club of Queer Trades)
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I wish to live in deeper communion with you during this Advent season. I humbly ask for the grace to place my relationship with you at my center so that you may touch and permeate all I say and do. In seeing me, may people truly see you at work in me and give you praise. May
The Daughters of St. Paul (Advent Christmas Grace)
God is apprehended and known not so much through study and understanding, as by love and interior communion with Him. Love itself is knowledge, say the masters of the spiritual life. He who has not sought God in his heart, will not come to know Him through books. Further, the more one dies to himself by detachment from sin and all creatures, the more will he love and know God, since God will manifest Himself to a holy heart free from every sin
Austin Chadwell (The Carmelite Directory of the Spiritual Life)
To this day I believe that feminist debate about love and sexuality ended precisely because straight women did not want to face the reality that it was highly unlikely in patriarchal society that a majority of men would whole-heartedly embrace women’s right to say no in the bedroom.
bell hooks (Communion: The Female Search for Love)
Very different from Origen was Cyprian,[10] bishop of Carthage, born about 200. He freely uses the term “the Catholic Church” and sees no salvation outside of it, so that in his time the “Old Catholic Church” was already formed, that is, the Church which, before the time of Constantine, claimed the name “Catholic” and excluded all who did not conform to it. Writing of Novatian and those who sympathised with him in their efforts to bring about greater purity in the churches, Cyprian denounces “the wickedness of an unlawful ordination made in opposition to the Catholic Church”; says that those who approved Novatian could not have communion with that Church because they endeavoured “to cut and tear the one body of the Catholic Church”, having committed the impiety of forsaking their Mother, and must return to the Church, seeing that they have acted “contrary to Catholic unity”.
E.H. Broadbent (The Pilgrim Church)
I was coming down Seventh Avenue one morning. It must have been in December or January. I had just come from the little church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and from Communion, and was going to get some breakfast at a lunch wagon near Loew's Sheridan Theater. I don't know what I was thinking of, but as I walked along I nearly bumped into Mark who was on his way to the subway, going to Columbia for his morning classes. 'Where are you going?' he said. The question surprised me, as there did not seem to be any reason to ask where I was going, and all I could answer was: 'To breakfast.' Later on, Mark referred again to the meeting and said: 'What made you look so happy, on the street, there?' So that was what had impressed him, and that was why he had asked me where I was going. It was not where I was going that made me happy, but where I was coming from. Yet, as I say, this surprised me too, because I had not really paid any attention to the fact that I was happy - which indeed I was.
Thomas Merton (The Seven Storey Mountain)
Structurally, then, errors of love are similar to errors in general. Emotionally, however, they are in a league of their own: astounding, enduring, miserable, incomprehensible. True, certain other large-scale errors can rival or even dwarf them; we’ve gotten a taste of that in recent chapters. But relatively few of us will undergo, for example, the traumatic and total abandonment of a deeply held religious belief, or the wrongful identification of an assailant. By contrast, the vast majority of us will get our hearts seriously broken, quite possibly more than once. And when we do, we will experience not one but two kinds of wrongness about love. The first is a specific error about a specific person—the loss of faith in a relationship, whether it ended because our partner left us or because we grew disillusioned. But, as I’ve suggested, we will also find that we were wrong about love in a more general way: that we embraced an account of it that is manifestly implausible. The specific error might be the one that breaks our heart, but the general one noticeably compounds the heartache. A lover who is part of our very soul can’t be wrong for us, nor can we be wrong about her. A love that is eternal cannot end. And yet it does, and there we are—mired in a misery made all the more extreme by virtue of being unthinkable. We can’t do much about the specific error—the one in which we turn out to be wrong about (or wronged by) someone we once deeply loved. (In fact, this is a good example of a kind of error we can’t eliminate and shouldn’t want to.) But what about the general error? Why do we embrace a narrative of love that makes the demise of our relationships that much more shocking, humiliating, and painful? There are, after all, less romantic and more realistic narratives of love available to us: the cool biochemical one, say, where the only heroes are hormones; the implacable evolutionary one, where the communion of souls is supplanted by the transmission of genes; or just a slightly more world-weary one, where love is rewarding and worth it, but nonetheless unpredictable and possibly impermanent—Shakespeare’s wandering bark rather than his fixèd mark. Any of these would, at the very least, help brace us for the blow of love’s end. But at what price? Let go of the romantic notion of love, and we also relinquish the protection it purports to offer us against loneliness and despair. Love can’t bridge the gap between us and the world if it is, itself, evidence of that gap—just another fallible human theory, about ourselves, about the people we love, about the intimate “us” of a relationship. Whatever the cost, then, we must think of love as wholly removed from the earthly, imperfect realm of theory-making. Like the love of Aristophanes’ conjoined couples before they angered the gods, like the love of Adam and Eve before they were exiled from the Garden of Eden, we want our own love to predate and transcend the gap between us and the world.
Kathryn Schulz (Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error)
So the “continual thirst for fresh communications from the Fountain of life”—Christ himself—is at the heart of Christian life.44 “The hidden life of a Christian, as it consists in communion with God by Jesus Christ,” Newton says, is “a continual dependence on him for hourly supplies of wisdom, strength, and comfort.”45 The Christian life flows from hourly communion with Christ because “the more you know him, the better you will trust him; the more you trust him, the better you will love him; the more you love him, the better you will serve him.”46 But how
Tony Reinke (Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ (Theologians on the Christian Life))
Matthew Henry says that to walk with God is “to set God always before us, and to act as those that are always under his eye. It is to live a life of communion with God both in ordinances and providences. It is to make God’s word our rule and his glory our end in all our actions.”5
Jerry Bridges (True Community: The Biblical Practice of Koinonia)
says. ‘Heaven was made for the likes of us,’ he says; ‘just for poor working folks like us, that have been sober and godly and kept our Communions regular.’ That’s the best way, ain’t it, Miss Dorothy—poor in this life and rich in the next? Not like some of them rich folks as all their motor-cars and their beautiful houses won’t save from the worm that dieth not and the fire that’s not quenched. Such a beautiful text, that is. Do you think you could say a little prayer with me, Miss Dorothy? I been looking forward all the morning to a little prayer.” Mrs.
George Orwell (A Clergyman's Daughter)
Every experienced pastor knows that what the penitent heart says about itself is much more consequential than well-made truthful sentences that shout from the outside of the inner voice of conscience. No element of confession is more crucial than the discipline of listening. The attentive listener is a chosen agent of divine reconciliation. When the moment for keen listening is offered, take it as an inestimable gift.
Thomas C. Oden (Corrective Love: The Power of Communion Discipline)
April 14 Inspired Invincibility Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me. Matthew 11:29 “Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth.” How petty our complaining is! Our Lord begins to bring us into the place where we can have communion with Him, and we groan and say—“Oh Lord, let me be like other people!” Jesus is asking us to take one end of the yoke—“My yoke is easy, get alongside Me and we will pull together.” Are you identified with the Lord Jesus like that? If so, you will thank God for the pressure of His hand. “To them that have no might He increaseth strength.” God comes and takes us out of our sentimentality, and our complaining turns into a psalm of praise. The only way to know the strength of God is to take the yoke of Jesus upon us and learn of Him. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Where do the saints get their joy from? If we did not know some saints, we would say—“Oh, he, or she, has nothing to bear.” Lift the veil. The fact that the peace and the light and the joy of God are there is proof that the burden is there too. The burden God places squeezes the grapes and out comes the wine; most of us see the wine only. No power on earth or in hell can conquer the Spirit of God in a human spirit, it is an inner unconquerableness. If you have the whine in you, kick it out ruthlessly. It is a positive crime to be weak in God’s strength.
Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest)
April 7 Why Are We Not Told Plainly? He charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. Mark 9:9 Say nothing until the Son of man is risen in you—until the life of the risen Christ so dominates you that you understand what the historic Christ taught. When you get to the right state on the inside, the word which Jesus has spoken is so plain that you are amazed you did not see it before. You could not understand it before, you were not in the place in disposition where it could be borne. Our Lord does not hide these things; they are unbearable until we get into a fit condition of spiritual life. “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” There must be communion with His risen life before a particular word can be borne by us. Do we know anything about the impartation of the risen life of Jesus? The evidence that we do is that His word is becoming interpretable to us. God cannot reveal anything to us if we have not His Spirit. An obstinate outlook will effectually hinder God from revealing anything to us. If we have made up our minds about a doctrine, the light of God will come no more to us on that line, we cannot get it. This obtuse stage will end immediately His resurrection life has its way with us. “Tell no man. . . .”—so many do tell what they saw on the mount of transfiguration. They have had the vision and they testify to it, but the life does not tally with it, the Son of man is not yet risen in them. I wonder when He is going to be formed in you and in me?
Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest)
If a man says, “I have had such-and-such spiritual communications, I am a great man,” he has never had any communion with Jesus at all; for “God hath respect unto the lowly: but the proud He knoweth afar off.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Morning and Evening-Classic KJV Edition)
1. You might be the type of person who is always on the go, running from one thing to the next— maybe even pushing things off that bring rest and healing in order to keep up. What are the things in your life right now that consume so much of your time? Do you feel guilty when you take time for yourself? 2. Today’s reading says that you can “accomplish more in less time, after you have given yourself to [God] in rich communion.” How do you think that taking time to “align yourself with [His] perspective” in time spent with God might make you more productive? Is there ever a time when you are so busy doing God’s work that you miss the opportunity to spend time working with God in quiet prayer and reflection? 3. God promises in Psalm 32:8 that He “will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you” (NASB). Take a moment today to slow down and spend a few minutes in prayer. See if this makes your day more productive or possibly even changes the priorities filling your life up with busyness.
Sarah Young (Jesus Calling Book Club Discussion Guide for Women (Jesus Calling®))
John Calvin argues that Jesus’ gifts for his people are not experienced by so many of them. That enjoyment, he says, can happen only through “communion with Christ” and “the secret energy of the Holy Spirit, by which we come to enjoy all his benefits.”277 Later he adds: “For the Word of God is not received by faith as if it flits about in the top of the brain, but when it takes root in the depth of the heart.”278 We must not settle for an informed mind without an engaged heart.
Timothy J. Keller (Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)
if your life is not characterized by joy, you may need to ask God, “Did I grieve the Holy Spirit? Is there something I did that needs to be fixed so You can restore my full communion with You?” And it isn’t just your communion with God that needs to be restored. It’s your whole perception of life. When David says, “Let the bones you have crushed rejoice,” it is not referring to God literally crushing David’s bones. The word “crushed” speaks to an emotional and spiritual feeling. When you’re in a state of sadness, it’s impossible for you to hear any joy or see any good around you. But if your emotions are healed, your perception of life immediately changes! You hear joy again. You see hope again!
Jack Hilligoss (Untouchables: Honest Conversations About Subjects We Would Rather Not Discuss)
Galeano emphasized the import of nature in the European “conquest/invasion” of Latin America and the subsequent and ongoing colonial project. And he “located” the divorce of nature and people’s communion within—and as fundamental to—the venture of Western civilization.1 The growing recognition, particularly in the “Souths” of the world today, that Western civilization is in crisis, and the propositions coming from Abya-Yala (the name, originally from the Cuna language, that indigenous peoples collectively give to the Americas today) for radically distinct life-models and visions interlaced with and in nature, give Galeano’s words pragmatic substance. Galeano’s words also, in a sense, establish the importance of location and place; that is to say, of the place and location from which we think the world, and act, struggle, and live in and with it.
Federico Luisetti (The Anomie of the Earth: Philosophy, Politics, and Autonomy in Europe and the Americas)
Since our reasoning brain is a gift from God, there is undoubtedly a legitimate place for scholarly research into Biblical origins. But, while we are not to reject this research wholesale, we cannot as Orthodox accept it in its entirety. Always we need to keep in view that the Bible is not just a collection of historical documents, but it is the book of the Church, containing God's word. And so we do not read the Bible as isolated individuals, interpreting it solely by the light of our private understanding, or in terms of current theories about source, form or redaction criticism. We read it as members of the Church, in communion with all the other members throughout the ages. The final criterion for our interpretation of Scripture is the mind of the Church. And this means keeping constantly in view how the meaning of Scripture is explained and applied in Holy Tradition: that is to say, how the Bible is understood by the Fathers and the saints, and how it is used in liturgical worship.
Kallistos Ware (The Orthodox Way)
One of the most striking things John Calvin says about prayer is that it is the main way we receive everything there is for us in Christ: “It remains for us to seek in him, and in prayers to ask of him, what we have learned to be in him.”253 Think about it. We cannot receive Christ and believe on his name (John 1:12–13) except through prayer. Martin Luther wrote that “all of life is repentance” and that is how we grow in grace. But that again is prayer. Our “chief end,” says the Westminster Shorter Catechism, is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” All these things are, at their essence, prayer. At the end of time, history will culminate in a great banquet (Rev 19:9), but, as we have seen, we can eat with Jesus now. How? Through prayer. Commentators understand that Jesus’ invitation to “hear his voice” and “open the door” so he can “come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Rev 3:20) is an invitation to fellowship and communion with him through prayer. Prayer—though it is often draining, even an agony—is in the long term the greatest source of power that is possible.
Timothy J. Keller (Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)
April 28 MORNING “Remember the word unto Thy servant, upon which Thou hast caused me to hope.” — Psalm 119:49 WHATEVER your especial need may be, you may readily find some promise in the Bible suited to it. Are you faint and feeble because your way is rough and you are weary? Here is the promise — “He giveth power to the faint.” When you read such a promise, take it back to the great Promiser, and ask Him to fulfil His own word. Are you seeking after Christ, and thirsting for closer communion with Him? This promise shines like a star upon you — “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Take that promise to the throne continually; do not plead anything else, but go to God over and over again with this — “Lord, Thou hast said it, do as Thou hast said.” Are you distressed because of sin, and burdened with the heavy load of your iniquities? Listen to these words — “I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions, and will no more remember thy sins.” You have no merit of your own to plead why He should pardon you, but plead His written engagements and He will perform them. Are you afraid lest you should not be able to hold on to the end, lest, after having thought yourself a child of God, you should prove a castaway? If that is your state, take this word of grace to the throne and plead it: “The mountains may depart, and the hills may be removed, but the covenant of My love shall not depart from thee.” If you have lost the sweet sense of the Saviour’s presence, and are seeking Him with a sorrowful heart, remember the promises: “Return unto Me, and I will return unto you;” “For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee.” Banquet your faith upon God’s own word, and whatever your fears or wants, repair to the Bank of Faith with your Father’s note of hand, saying, “Remember the word unto Thy servant, upon which Thou hast caused me to hope.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Morning and Evening-Classic KJV Edition)
The ritual performance of Eucharist, and the communal memory on which it rests, in large measure generated the profound theological insights that unfolded in the first few centuries of Christian traditions. Early Christian worship orbited around a remarkable insight: God makes God’s own self vulnerable to the ecstasies and foibles of bodily human intimacy. “Take, eat,” Jesus says; “this is my body given for you” (Matthew 26:26). He says this with no guarantee whatsoever that this offering will be received well if at all. Notably, God initiates this moment of self-giving, and not in response to any request from God’s creatures but instead from God’s own desire for intimacy and union with us and indeed the rest of God’s creation. The audacity of Christian faith shimmers most vividly there, in a liturgical act routinely performed weekly by the vast majority of worldwide Christians and sometimes daily. Perhaps the rite’s repetition has blunted our collective awareness of the extravagance of that ostensibly simple act. Gathering to share a meal of bread and wine offers a profound declaration at the core of Christian faith: the meaning of human life and of the whole creation derives from the hope for communion. This is first and foremost God’s desire, which is only then the hope of God’s creatures. More audaciously still, this desire and this hope for communion constitutes the one story of the cosmos, of God’s own creation, to which Christian faith bears witness and in which Christians participate every time we celebrate the Eucharist. One further step remains to bring this theological audacity more fully into view: we can refresh our Christian witness to this profound story by turning to human sexual intimacy as a poignant instance of divine desire. Christians might readily imagine turning there when we experience such intimacy as ecstatically fulfilling; but we can also reflect on sexual intimacy, and perhaps especially so, when it leaves residual disappointment or even trauma in its wake. In all its delicate rhythms and relational frustrations, this bodily signpost in spiritual practice can stimulate Christian witness to the One Story—the deep desire and abiding hope for divine communion.
Jay Emerson Emerson (Divine Communion: A Eucharistic Theology of Sexual Intimacy)
The ritual performance of Eucharist, and the communal memory on which it rests, in large measure generated the profound theological insights that unfolded in the first few centuries of Christian traditions. Early Christian worship orbited around a remarkable insight: God makes God’s own self vulnerable to the ecstasies and foibles of bodily human intimacy. “Take, eat,” Jesus says; “this is my body given for you” (Matthew 26:26). He says this with no guarantee whatsoever that this offering will be received well if at all. Notably, God initiates this moment of self-giving, and not in response to any request from God’s creatures but instead from God’s own desire for intimacy and union with us and indeed the rest of God’s creation. The audacity of Christian faith shimmers most vividly there, in a liturgical act routinely performed weekly by the vast majority of worldwide Christians and sometimes daily. Perhaps the rite’s repetition has blunted our collective awareness of the extravagance of that ostensibly simple act. Gathering to share a meal of bread and wine offers a profound declaration at the core of Christian faith: the meaning of human life and of the whole creation derives from the hope for communion. This is first and foremost God’s desire, which is only then the hope of God’s creatures. More audaciously still, this desire and this hope for communion constitutes the one story of the cosmos, of God’s own creation, to which Christian faith bears witness and in which Christians participate every time we celebrate the Eucharist. One further step remains to bring this theological audacity more fully into view: we can refresh our Christian witness to this profound story by turning to human sexual intimacy as a poignant instance of divine desire. Christians might readily imagine turning there when we experience such intimacy as ecstatically fulfilling; but we can also reflect on sexual intimacy, and perhaps especially so, when it leaves residual disappointment or even trauma in its wake. In all its delicate rhythms and relational frustrations, this bodily signpost in spiritual practice can stimulate Christian witness to the One Story—the deep desire and abiding hope for divine communion.7
Jay Emerson Emerson (Divine Communion: A Eucharistic Theology of Sexual Intimacy)
Open Communion is also a false openness. Dressed up as a nice way to welcome outsiders, open Communion says that anyone can commune regardless of belief or confession. Atheist, agnostic, and any other confession are welcomed. This dilutes the Gospel into an unrecognizable soupy mess. Open
A. Trevor Sutton (Being Lutheran)
When we place hand on heart to say the pledge of allegiance, what sort of act is this? What sort of allegiance are we giving to what sort of political body? What sort of solidarity do we feel when, especially after some great national sacrifice (soldiers coming home from war, or an event like 9/11), we see the flag hung on every porch, every storefront window, and every suit lapel? Is the flag like a sacrament of our national communion with one another? Why do we make theological claims on our national currency? Why does trusting God become a recipe for trust in our currency markets? What claims about human beings and human community are being made in such small acts?
C.C. Pecknold (Christianity and Politics: A Brief Guide to the History (Cascade Companions Book 12))
Roman authorities killed many early Christians because they would not say “Caesar is Lord” (whether this meant “king” or “God” to the Romans does not matter). They could not say “Caesar was Lord” because that was simply not true within the new language for politics they had been given in a communion that professed that “Jesus was Lord” to “the glory of God the Father.”[6] They were all certainly willing, as their Lord had told them, to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s,”[7] but none of the early Christian martyrs took Christ’s words to mean that they could render the kind of allegiance to Caesar that was being asked of them, nor could they separate themselves from the communion of love they enjoyed in Christ’s body.
C.C. Pecknold (Christianity and Politics: A Brief Guide to the History (Cascade Companions Book 12))
Why is it that we say we see something distinctive in these lives and not, say, in a politician hoping for our vote, or a lawyer doing her job, or even a soldier risking his life for the sake of his country? Because the scientists and philosophers are to this extent right, that people generally act on the basis of rational self-interest. Consciously or otherwise, we seek to hand on our genes to the next generation. Individually and as groups, tribes, nations and civilisations, we are engaged in a Darwinian struggle to survive. All this we know, and though the terminology may change from age to age, people have known it for a very long time indeed. But here and there we see acts, personalities, lives, that seem to come from somewhere else, that breathe a larger air. They chime with the story we read in chapter 1, about a God who creates in love, who has faith in us, who summons us to greatness and forgives us when, as from time to time we must, we fall, the God whose creativity consists in self-effacement, in making space for the otherness that is us. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the physical laws, Darwinian or otherwise, governing biology, and everything to do with the making of meaning out of the communion of souls linked in loyalty and love. Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin see such flowerings of the spirit as ‘spandrels’, decorative motifs that have nothing to do with the weight-bearing architecture of life.15 Like most people, I see them as the redemption of life from mere existence to the fellowship of the divine. As Isaiah Berlin said, there are people tone deaf to the spirit. There is no reason to expect everyone to believe in God or the soul or the music of the universe as it sings the improbability of its existence. God is the distant voice we hear and seek to amplify in our systems of meaning, each particular to a culture, a civilisation, a faith. God is the One within the many; the unity at the core of our diversity; the call that leads us to journey beyond the self and its strivings, to enter into otherness and be enlarged by it, to seek to be a vehicle through which blessing flows outwards to the world, to give thanks for the miracle of being and the radiance that shines wherever two lives touch in affirmation, forgiveness and love.
Jonathan Sacks (The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning)
January 26 Look Again and Consecrate If God so clothe the grass of the field, . . . shall He not much more clothe you? Matthew 6:30 A simple statement of Jesus is always a puzzle to us if we are not simple. How are we going to be simple with the simplicity of Jesus? By receiving His Spirit, recognising and relying on Him, obeying Him as He brings the word of God, and life will become amazingly simple. “Consider,” says Jesus, “how much more your Father Who clothes the grass of the field will clothe you, if you keep your relationship right with Him.” Every time we have gone back in spiritual communion it has been because we have impertinently known better than Jesus Christ. We have allowed the cares of the world to come in, and have forgotten the “much more” of our Heavenly Father. “Behold the fowls of the air”—their one aim is to obey the principle of life that is in them and God looks after them. Jesus says that if you are rightly related to Him and obey this Spirit that is in you, God will look after your “feathers.” “Consider the lilies of the field”—they grow where they are put. Many of us refuse to grow where we are put, consequently we take root nowhere. Jesus says that if we obey the life God has given us, He will look after all the other things. Has Jesus Christ told us a lie? If we are not experiencing the “much more,” it is because we are not obeying the life God has given us, we are taken up with confusing considerations. How much time have we taken up worrying God with questions when we should have been absolutely free to concentrate on His work? Consecration means the continual separating of myself to one particular thing. We cannot consecrate once and for all. Am I continually separating myself to consider God every day of my life?
Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest)
The verb "cleanse" is in the present continual tense, referring to an ongoing activity. It is worth pondering whether our author is saying that cleansing happens in the course of body life, in the context of our communing with one another. Clearly, he does not see it as a purely private matter between the individual and Jesus: it is "we" who have communion and are cleansed by the blood.
Ben Witherington III (Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians, Volume 1: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Titus, 1-2 Timothy and 1-3 John (Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians Series))
Yes, they think you are warm because you look nice; they think you are happy. But happiness is not so easy to find, is it? It’s very difficult to find. It’s like money. It comes only once. If you are lucky, it comes once, and the worst part is there’s nothing you can do. You can hope, you can search, anger, prayers. Nothing. How frightening to be without it, to wait for happiness, to be patient, to be ready, to have your face upturned and luminous like girls at communion. Yes, you are saying to yourself, me, me, I am ready.
James Salter (Light Years)
Smiling, Hearba offered her palms to the woman in greeting. “I thank you,” she said, when the greeting was completed, “for your kindness in coming to help us find our way about in this huge nid-place on this long day, which has left us quite exhausted. But perhaps you should quickly show us where we are to eat and sleep, as the night rains will soon begin and you will be unable to reach your own nid-place.” “You do not understand,” Ciela said. “My nid-place is here. I am assigned. You will find that with your special duties and responsibilities as the parents of a Chosen, you will have little time for such tasks as nid-weaving and food preparation.” “Valdo?” Hearba said questioningly, clearly asking him to intervene, and Raamo easily pensed her distress at the thought of sharing their nid-place with a stranger. But when Valdo responded by offering his thanks to Ciela, Hearba tried again. “We have always cared for our own—” she was saying when Ciela interrupted. “You have never had the care of so large a nid-place,” Ciela said, “nor the many responsibilities of a Chosen family. I think you will find that you need my help.” “Who is it that sends—” Hearba began haltingly, and then paused, troubled that the stranger might find her thoughtless and ungrateful. “By whom was I assigned?” Ciela asked. “By the Ol-zhaan. There is a helper assigned by the Ol-zhaan to the family of every Chosen, as I have been assigned to you.” Hearba bowed her head to signify her acceptance of the wisdom of the Ol-zhaan, the holy leaders of Green-sky. In the days that followed, Raamo remained with his family in the new nid-place. Just as before, his father and mother went daily to work as harvester and embroiderer, and Pomma returned to her classes at the Garden. But there were many differences. The D’ok family members were now persons of honor, and as such they found many differences in old familiar situations and relationships. People with whom they had long worked and played—friends with whom they had, only a few weeks before, danced and sung in the grund-halls, beloved friends with whom, in their Youth Hall days, they had once daily practiced rituals of close communion, even those with whom, as infants, they had once played Five-Pense—all these now stepped aside to let them pass and even asked them for advice in important matters—as if they had suddenly become authorities on everything from the nesting habits of trencher birds to the best way to cure an infant of fits of tearfulness.
Zilpha Keatley Snyder (Below the Root)
Prayer is the peculiarity of all real Christians now. They pray, for they tell God their wants, their feelings, their desires, and their fears; and they mean what they say. The nominal Christian may repeat prayers, and good prayers too, but he goes no further. Prayer is the turning point in a man’s soul. Our ministry is unprofitable, and our labor is vain, until you are brought to your knees. Until then, we have no hope for you. Prayer is one great secret of spiritual prosperity. When there is much private communion with God, your soul will grow like the grass after rain. When there is little, all will be at a standstill, and you will barely keep your soul alive. Show me a growing Christian, a going-forward Christian, a strong Christian, and a flourishing Christian, and I am sure he is one that speaks often with his Lord. He asks much, and he has much. He tells Jesus everything, so he always knows how to act. Prayer is the mightiest engine God has placed in our hands. It is the best weapon to use in every difficulty and the surest remedy in every trouble. Prayer is the key that unlocks the treasury of promises and the hand that draws forth grace and help in time of need. It is the silver trumpet that God commands us to sound in our time of need, and it is the cry He has promised always to attend to, even as a loving mother attends to the voice of her child. Prayer is the simplest means that man can use in coming to God. It is within reach of all – the sick, the aged, the infirm, the paralytic, the blind, the poor, and the unlearned. All can pray. It avails you nothing to plead lack of memory, lack of learning, lack of books, or lack of scholarship in this matter. As long as you have a tongue to tell your soul’s state, you may and ought to pray. Those words, ye have not, because ye ask not (James 4:2), will be a fearful condemnation to many in the day of judgment.
J.C. Ryle (The Duties of Parents: Parenting Your Children God's Way)
I hope I am also teaching them to know the world as a neighborhood of nonhuman residents, to know that, as ecotheologian Thomas Berry has written, “we must say of the universe that it is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.
Robin Wall Kimmerer (Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants)
i'm looking for the face i had before the world was made. I was the primordial flaring forth, the gravitational waves, the whirling galaxies, and the exploding supernovas that would become stars and planets. I was the steaming planet Earth, the bacteria awash in the sea, and the early eukaryotes and multicellular animals. I exploded in the Cambrian explosion, stumbled onto land, walked with dinosaurs, saw trees and flowers appear, walked upright in Africa, and walked on the moon. I felt the embrace of gravity. I was one with all that had been and all that was to be. I experienced subjective mystical communion with the evolutionary, emergent universe. I was the universe. We know not where the journey leads, nor whether a final destination is even a meaningful concept. The attraction is the inherent thrill of participating in a grand creative endeavor for which participation is its own reward