Communion Thoughts 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))
The secret of a full life is to live and relate to others as if they might not be there tomorrow, as if you might not be there tomorrow. It eliminates the vice of procrastination, the sin of postponement, failed communications, failed communions. This thought has made me more and more attentive to all encounters. meetings, introductions, which might contain the seed of depth that might be carelessly overlooked. This feeling has become a rarity, and rarer every day now that we have reached a hastier and more superficial rhythm, now that we believe we are in touch with a greater amount of people, more people, more countries. This is the illusion which might cheat us of being in touch deeply with the one breathing next to us. The dangerous time when mechanical voices, radios, telephones, take the place of human intimacies, and the concept of being in touch with millions brings a greater and greater poverty in intimacy and human vision.
Anaïs Nin (The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947)
The real secret of an unsatisfied life lies too often in an unsurrendered will.
James Hudson Taylor (Union And Communion or Thoughts on the Song of Solomon)
Gide and I have attained such perfect intellectual communion that I experience the appropriate labor pains for every thought he gives birth to!
Susan Sontag (Reborn: Journals and Notebooks, 1947-1963)
The solitary and thoughtful stroller finds a singular intoxication in this universal communion. The man who loves to lose himself in a crowd enjoys feverish delights that the egoist locked up in himself as in a box, and the slothful man like a mollusk in his shell, will be eternally deprived of. He adopts as his own all the occupations, all the joys and all the sorrows that chance offers.
Charles Baudelaire
The man who is unable to people his solitude is equally unable to be alone in a bustling crowd. The poet enjoys the incomparable privilege of being able to be himself or some one else, as he chooses. [...] The solitary and thoughtful stroller finds a singular intoxication in this universal communion. [...] What men call love is a very small, restricted, feeble thing compared with this ineffable orgy, this divine prostitution of the soul giving itself entire...to the unexpected as it comes along, the stranger as he passes.
Charles Baudelaire (Paris Spleen)
Conditioned to ecstasy, the poet is like a gorgeous unknown bird mired in the ashes of thought. If he succeeds in freeing himself, it is to make a sacrificial flight to the sun. His dreams of a regenerate world are but the reverberations of his own fevered pulse beats. He imagines the world will follow him, but in the blue he finds himself alone. Alone but surrounded by his creations; sustained, therefore, to meet the supreme sacrifice. The impossible has been achieved; the duologue of author with Author is consummated. And now forever through the ages the song expands, warming all hearts, penetrating all minds. At the periphery the world is dying away; at the center it glows like a live coal. In the great solar heart of the universe the golden birds are gathered in unison. There it is forever dawn, forever peace, harmony and communion. Man does not look to the sun in vain; he demands light and warmth not for the corpse which he will one day discard but for his inner being. His greatest desire is to burn with ecstasy, to commerge his little flame with the central fire of the universe. If he accords the angels wings so that they may come to him with messages of peace, harmony and radiance from worlds beyond, it is only to nourish his own dreams of flight, to sustain his own belief that he will one day reach beyond himself, and on wings of gold. One creation matches another; in essence they are all alike. The brotherhood of man consists not in thinking alike, nor in acting alike, but in aspiring to praise creation. The song of creation springs from the ruins of earthly endeavor. The outer man dies away in order to reveal the golden bird which is winging its way toward divinity.
Henry Miller (The Time of the Assassins: a Study of Rimbaud)
I’ve often thought of the forest as a living cathedral, but this might diminish what it truly is. If I have understood Koyukon teachings, the forest is not merely an expression or representation of sacredness, nor a place to invoke the sacred; the forest is sacredness itself. Nature is not merely created by God; nature is God. Whoever moves within the forest can partake directly of sacredness, experience sacredness with his entire body, breathe sacredness and contain it within himself, drink the sacred water as a living communion, bury his feet in sacredness, touch the living branch and feel the sacredness, open his eyes and witness the burning beauty of sacredness
Richard Nelson (The Island Within)
When God becomes man in Jesus of Nazareth, he not only enters into the finitude of man, but in his death on the cross also enters into the situation of man's godforsakenness. In Jesus he does not die the natural death of a finite being, but the violent death of the criminal on the cross, the death of complete abandonment by God. The suffering in the passion of Jesus is abandonment, rejection by God, his Father. God does not become a religion, so that man participates in him by corresponding religious thoughts and feelings. God does not become a law, so that man participates in him through obedience to a law. God does not become an ideal, so that man achieves community with him through constant striving. He humbles himself and takes upon himself the eternal death of the godless and the godforsaken, so that all the godless and the godforsaken can experience communion with him.
Jürgen Moltmann (The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology)
Writing, music, sculpting, painting, and prayer! These are the three things that are most closely related! Writers, musicians, sculptors, painters, and the faithful are the ones who make things out of nothing. Everybody else, they make things out of something, they have materials! But a written work can be done with nothing, it can begin in the soul! A musical piece begins with a harmony in the soul, a sculpture begins with a formless, useless piece of rock chiseled and formed and molded into the thing that was first conceived in the sculptor's heart! A painting can be carried inside the mind for a lifetime, before ever being put onto paper or canvass! And a prayer! A prayer is a thought, a remembrance, a whisper, a communion, that is from the soul going to what cannot be seen, yet it can move mountains! And so I believe that these five things are interrelated, these five kinds of people are kin.
C. JoyBell C.
Good when He gives, supremely good; Nor less when He denies: Afflictions, from His sovereign hand, Are blessings in disguise. [. . .] That useless thoughts spoil all: that the mischief began there; but that we ought to reject them, as soon as we perceived their impertinence to the matter in hand, or our salvation; and return to our communion with GOD.
Brother Lawrence
Two kisses in one kiss was all it took, a comfort, a warmth, perhaps temporary, perhaps false, but reassuring nonetheless, and mine, and theirs, ours, all three of us giggling, insane giggles and laughter with still more kisses on the way, and I remember a brief instant then, out of the blue, when I suddenly glimpsed my own father, a rare but oddly peaceful recollection, as if he actually approved of my play in the way he himself had always laughed and played, great updrafts of light, burning off distant plateaus of bistre & sage, throwing him up like an angel, high above the red earth, deep into the sparkling blank, the tender sky that never once let him down, preserving his attachment to youth, propriety and kindness, his plane almost, but never quite, outracing his whoops of joy, trailing him in his sudden turn to the wind, followed then by a near vertical climb up to the angles of the sun, and I was barely eight and still with him and yes, that was the thought that flickered madly through me, a brief instant of communion, possessing me with warmth and ageless ease, causing me to smile again and relax as if memory alone could lift the heart like the wind lifts a wing, and so I renewed my kisses with even greater enthusiasm, caressing and in turn devouring their dark lips, dark with wine and fleeting love, an ancient memory love had promised but finally never gave, until there were too many kisses to count or remember, and the memory of love proved not love at all and needed a replacement, which our bodies found, and then the giggles subsided, and the laughter dimmed, and darkness enfolded all of us and we gave away our childhood for nothing and we died and condoms littered the floor and Christina threw up in the sink and Amber chuckled a little and kissed me a little more, but in a way that told me it was time to leave.
Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves)
Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God.
J.I. Packer (Knowing God)
It may seem strange that one with whom I had held so little communion should have so engrossed my thoughts, but benefits conferred awaken love in some minds, as surely as benefits received in others.
George MacDonald (Phantastes)
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)
In scattering the seed, scattering your 'charity,' your kind deeds, you are giving away, in one form or antoher, part of your personality, and taking into yourself part of another; you are in mutual communion with one another, a little more attention and you will be rewarded with the knowledge of the most unexpected discoveries. You will come at last to look upon your work as a science; it will lay hold of all your life, and may fill up your whole life. On the other hand, all your thoughts, all the seeds scattered by you, perhaps forgotten by you, will grow up and take form. He who has received them from you will hand them on to another. And how can you tell what part you may have in the future determination of the destinies of humanity?
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (The Idiot)
I would celebrate the Holy Communion service in my pajamas if I thought it would help someone to find faith.
Nicholas Stacey
Beginning therapists must learn that there are times to sit in silence, sometimes in silent communion, sometimes simply while waiting for patients' thoughts to appear in a form that they may be expressed.
Irvin D. Yalom (The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients)
Barbara appraised her with critical eyes. ‘Oh my. Well, this is going to need some work.’ She went right to Carmen’s hips and pulled the unfinished seams open. ‘Yes, we’ll have to take this way out. I’m not sure I have enough fabric. I’ll check when I get back to my office.’ You are a horrible witch, Carmen thought. She knew she looked absolutely awful in the dress. She was part Bourbon Street whore and part Latina first-communion spectacle.
Ann Brashares (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Sisterhood, #1))
Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself. Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or bad, of every thought it judges worthy, and all the ideas of which it is ashamed. Hold onto nothing Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught, nor one belief you ever learned before from anything. Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God.
Helen Shucman
What is the greatest need of human beings? What is it they seek from me always? Intimacy. I listen with all my being, I am completely interested. I seek momentarily a full communion of eyes, feelings, thoughts.
Anaïs Nin (The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 6: 1955-1966)
That useless thoughts spoil all: that the mischief began there; but that we ought to reject them, as soon as we perceived their impertinence to the matter in hand, or our salvation; and return to our communion with GOD.
Brother Lawrence (The Practice of the Presence of God (Living Library))
The knowledge that she would never be loved in return acted upon her ideas as a tide acts upon cliffs. Her religious beliefs went first, for all she could ask of a god, or of immortality, was the gift of a place where daughters love their mothers; the other attributes of Heaven you could have for a song. Next she lost her belief in the sincerity of those about her. She secretly refused to believe that anyone (herself excepted) loved anyone. All families lived in a wasteful atmosphere of custom and kissed one another with secret indifference. She saw that the people of this world moved about in an armor of egotism, drunk with self-gazing, athirst for compliments, hearing little of what was said to them, unmoved by the accidents that befell their closest friends, in dread of all appeals that might interrupt their long communion with their own desires. These were the sons and daughters of Adam from Cathay to Peru. And when on the balcony her thoughts reached this turn, her mouth would contract with shame for she knew that she too sinned and that though her love for her daughter was vast enough to include all the colors of love, it was not without a shade of tyranny: she loved her daughter not for her daughter's sake, but for her own. She longed to free herself from this ignoble bond; but the passion was too fierce to cope with.
Thornton Wilder (The Bridge of San Luis Rey)
true love cannot be stationary; it must either decline or grow. Despite
James Hudson Taylor (Union And Communion or Thoughts on the Song of Solomon)
Damn it. I mean, darn it. I thought the church was on fire. I’m so sorry. How do you clean up holy water? Is it like communion? Do you have to lick it off the floor? Can I help you?
Debra Anastasia (Poughkeepsie (Poughkeepsie Brotherhood, #1))
Wonderful thought! that God should desire fellowship with us; and that He whose love once made Him the Man of Sorrows may now be made the Man of Joys by the loving devotion of human hearts.
James Hudson Taylor (Union And Communion or Thoughts on the Song of Solomon)
Creation is the result, but not the beginning of love. Redemption is the manifestation of God as love, and therefore points to a love of absolute necessity and eternity. God is love, not God became love... It is this love that we are planted by the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Adolph Saphir (The Hidden Life, Thoughts on Communion With God)
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
If I could have made the change sooner I daresay I should never have given a thought to the literary delights of Paris or London; for life in the country is the only state which has always completely satisfied me, and I had never been allowed to gratify it, even for a few weeks at a time. Now I was to know the joys of six or seven months a year among fields and woods of my own, and the childish ecstasy of that first spring outing at Mamaroneck swept away all restlessness in the deep joy of communion with the earth.
Edith Wharton
Journaling is the single most effective tool you may ever find for deeper intimacy with Father God and Jesus. It is a heart-to-heart method of communication with God. For you see, it is God’s desire to intimately commune with you and to have you intimately commune with Him. Journaling facilitates this heart-to-heart communion—it is simply listening to each other’s heart and writing it down. Journaling helps you hear God’s voice. God is speaking to you most of the time. Often you do not differentiate His voice from your own thoughts and therefore do not realize you are actually hearing God’s voice. If you can learn to clearly discern His voice speaking within you, you have found the font of intimacy—the heart of God speaking to you.
Linda Boone (Intimate Life Lessons; developing the intimacy with God you already have.)
May we all, while living down here, in the world, but not of it, find our home in the heavenly places to which we have been raised, and in which we are seated together with Christ. Sent into the world to witness for our Master, may we ever be strangers there, ready to confess Him the true object of our soul's devotion.
James Hudson Taylor (Union And Communion or Thoughts on the Song of Solomon)
As graduation loomed, I had a nagging sense that there was still far too much unresolved for me, that I wasn’t done studying. I applied for a master’s in English literature at Stanford and was accepted into the program. I had come to see language as an almost supernatural force, existing between people, bringing our brains, shielded in centimeter-thick skulls, into communion. A word meant something only between people, and life’s meaning, its virtue, had something to do with the depth of the relationships we form. It was the relational aspect of humans—i.e., “human relationality”—that undergirded meaning. Yet somehow, this process existed in brains and bodies, subject to their own physiologic imperatives, prone to breaking and failing. There must be a way, I thought, that the language of life as experienced—of passion, of hunger, of love—bore some relationship, however convoluted, to the language of neurons, digestive tracts, and heartbeats. At Stanford, I had the good
Paul Kalanithi (When Breath Becomes Air)
Separation never comes from His side. He is always ready for communion with a prepared heart, and in this happy communion the bride becomes ever fairer, and more like to her Lord. She is being progressively changed into His image, from one degree of glory to another, through the wondrous working of the Holy Spirit, until the Bridegroom can declare:— Thou art all fair, My love; And there is no spot on thee. And now she is fit for service, and to it the Bridegroom woos her; she will not now misrepresent Him:—
James Hudson Taylor (Union And Communion or Thoughts on the Song of Solomon)
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)
Long enshrined traditions around communion aside, there are always folks who fancy themselves bouncers to the heavenly banquet, charged with keeping the wrong people away from the table and out of the church. Evangelicalism in particular has seen a resurgence in border patrol Christianity in recent years, as alliances and coalitions formed around shared theological distinctives elevate secondary issues to primary ones and declare anyone who fails to conform to their strict set of beliefs and behaviors unfit for Christian fellowship. Committed to purifying the church of every errant thought, difference of opinion, or variation in practice, these self-appointed gatekeepers tie up heavy loads of legalistic rules and place them on weary people’s shoulders. They strain out the gnats in everyone else’s theology while swallowing their own camel-sized inconsistencies. They slam the door of the kingdom in people’s faces and tell them to come back when they are sober, back on their feet, Republican, Reformed, doubtless, submissive, straight.
Rachel Held Evans (Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church)
She would fain claim him fully, without giving up herself fully to him; but it can never be: while she retains her own name, she can never claim his. She may not promise to love and honour if she will not also promise to obey: and till her love reaches that point of surrender she must remain an unsatisfied lover—she cannot, as a satisfied bride, find rest in the home of her husband. While she retains her own will, and the control of her own possessions, she must be content to live on her own resources; she cannot claim his.
James Hudson Taylor (Union And Communion or Thoughts on the Song of Solomon)
Union with Christ, and abiding in Christ, what do they not secure? Peace, perfect peace; rest, constant rest; answers to all our prayers; victory over all our foes; pure, holy living; ever-increasing fruitfulness. All, all of these are the glad outcome of abiding in Christ.
James Hudson Taylor (Union And Communion or Thoughts on the Song of Solomon)
Seems I’d read somewhere, or heard it in a film, that the Jews believe each life is a universe, and if you take a life, well, then you are destroying a universe. And I thought, Yes, this is true of us, this is why we must love one another, because we are each an entire world.
Anne Rice (Blood Communion (The Vampire Chronicles, #13))
If you do your best in the search for personal freedom, in the search for self-love, you will discover that it’s just a matter of time before you find what you are looking for. It’s not about daydreaming or sitting for hours dreaming in meditation. You have to stand up and be a human. You have to honor the man or woman that you are. Respect your body, enjoy your body, love your body, feed, clean, and heal your body. Exercise and do what makes your body feel good. This is a puja to your body, and that is a communion between you and God. You don’t need to worship idols of the Virgin Mary, the Christ, or the Buddha. You can if you want to; if it feels good, do it. Your own body is a manifestation of God, and if you honor your body everything will change for you. When you practice giving love to every part of your body, you plant seeds of love in your mind, and when they grow, you will love, honor, and respect your body immensely. Every action then becomes a ritual in which you are honoring God. After that, the next step is honoring God with every thought, every emotion, every belief, even what is “right” or “wrong.” Every thought becomes a communion with God, and you will live a dream without judgments, victimization, and free of the need to gossip and abuse yourself.
Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom)
I open doors, I close doors,” he wrote. He loved no one, he loved everyone. He loved sex, he hated sex. Life is a lie, truth is a lie. His thoughts ended with a healing wound. “I stand naked when I draw. God holds my hand and we sing together.” His manifesto as an artist. I let the confessional aspects fall away, and I accepted those words as a communion wafer. He had cast the line that would seduce me, ultimately bind us together. I folded the letter and put it back in the envelope, not knowing what would happen next.
Patti Smith (Just Kids)
This is why most people do not stick with a contemplative discipline for very long; we have heard all sorts of talk about contemplation delivering inner peace but when we turn within to seek this peace, we meet inner chaos instead of peace. But at this point it is precisely the meeting of chaos that is salutary, not snorting lines of euphoric peace. The peace will indeed come, but it will be the fruit, not of pushing away distractions, but of meeting thoughts and feelings with stillness instead of commentary. This is the skill we must learn. The struggle with distractions is not characterized only by afflictive thoughts. Many sincerely devout people never enter the silent land because their attention is so riveted to devotions and words. If there is not a wordy stream of talking to God and asking God for this and that, they feel they are not praying. Obviously this characterizes any relationship to a certain extent. When we are first getting to know someone, the relationship is nurtured by talking. Only with time does the relationship mature in such a way that we can be silent with someone, that silence comes to be seen to be the deeper mode of communion. And so it is with God; our words give way to silence.
Martin Laird (Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation)
one who felt himself to occupy morally that vast middle space of Laodicean neutrality which lay between the Communion people of the parish and the drunken section,—that is, he went to church, but yawned privately by the time the congregation reached the Nicene creed, and thought of what there would be for dinner when he meant to be listening to the sermon.
Thomas Hardy (Far from the Madding Crowd: By Thomas Hardy- Illustrated And Unabridged (FREE AUDIOBOOK INCLUDED))
Let us never forget that what we are is more important than what we do; and
James Hudson Taylor (Union And Communion or Thoughts on the Song of Solomon)
And I thought, Yes, this is true of us, this is why we must love one another, because we are each an entire world.
Anne Rice (Blood Communion (The Vampire Chronicles, #13))
If the Holy Communion touched my teeth, I thought that was a mortal sin
Edna O'Brien (Saints and Sinners)
Eternity is to us as time, the age to come, the continuation, the manifestation, and perfection of our present and true existence.
Adolph Saphir (The Hidden Life, Thoughts on Communion With God)
But then I do not remember everything, as I once thought I did. There is something in us, even us, that will not allow for that, something that pushes the memory of suffering that is unbearable slowly away.
Anne Rice (Blood Communion (The Vampire Chronicles, #13))
To him who in the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language; for his gayer hours She has a voice of gladness, and a smile And eloquence of beauty, and she glides Into his darker musings, with a mild And healing sympathy, that steals away Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts Of the last bitter hour come like a blight Over thy spirit, and sad images Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall, And breathless darkness, and the narrow house, Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;— Go forth, under the open sky, and list To Nature’s teachings, while from all around— Earth and her waters, and the depths of air— Comes a still voice— Yet a few days, and thee The all-beholding sun shall see no more In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground, Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears, Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again, And, lost each human trace, surrendering up Thine individual being, shalt thou go To mix for ever with the elements, To be a brother to the insensible rock And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould. Yet not to thine eternal resting-place Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down With patriarchs of the infant world—with kings, The powerful of the earth—the wise, the good, Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past, All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun,—the vales Stretching in pensive quietness between; The venerable woods—rivers that move In majesty, and the complaining brooks That make the meadows green; and, poured round all, Old Ocean’s gray and melancholy waste,— Are but the solemn decorations all Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun, The planets, all the infinite host of heaven, Are shining on the sad abodes of death, Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread The globe are but a handful to the tribes That slumber in its bosom.—Take the wings Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness, Or lose thyself in the continuous woods Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound, Save his own dashings—yet the dead are there: And millions in those solitudes, since first The flight of years began, have laid them down In their last sleep—the dead reign there alone. So shalt thou rest, and what if thou withdraw In silence from the living, and no friend Take note of thy departure? All that breathe Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care Plod on, and each one as before will chase His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave Their mirth and their employments, and shall come And make their bed with thee. As the long train Of ages glide away, the sons of men, The youth in life’s green spring, and he who goes In the full strength of years, matron and maid, The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man— Shall one by one be gathered to thy side, By those, who in their turn shall follow them. So live, that when thy summons comes to join The innumerable caravan, which moves To that mysterious realm, where each shall take His chamber in the silent halls of death, Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night, Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave, Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
William Cullen Bryant (Thanatopsis)
There is no change in His love; He is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. To us He promises, "I will never leave thee, never fail thee, nor forsake thee"; and His earnest exhortation and command is, "Abide in Me, and I in you.
James Hudson Taylor (Union And Communion or Thoughts on the Song of Solomon)
Back home, my favorite part of Mass was during communion, when I'd stand at the rail and hold a little gold platter under people's chins. The pretty girls would line up for communion (I confess to Almighty God). They'd kneel (and to you my brothers and sisters), cast their eyes demurely down (I have sinned through my own fault), and stick out their tongues (in my thoughts and in my words). Their tongues would shine, reflected in the gold platter, and since the wafer was dry, the girls would maybe lick their lips (and I ask Blessed Mary ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you my brothers and sisters) before they swallowed (to pray for me to the Lord our God). It was all I could do not to pass out.
Rob Sheffield (Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time)
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)
Grace thinks of Persephone and the pomegranate seeds. She took something for herself when Jes offered her that first cigarette, and again with her photographs at Holy Communion. And look at her: she's ended up staying so much longer than she ever thought she'd be allowed to.
Zan Romanoff (Grace and the Fever)
I wondered straightaway how he could sit at peace there, of an evening, with the row of heads staring down at him. There were no pictures, no flowers: only the heads of chamois. The concession to melody was the radiogram and the stack of records of classical music. Foolishly, I had asked, "Why only chamois?" He answered at once, "They fear Man." This might have led to an argument about animals in general, domestic, wild, and those which adapt themselves to the whims and vagaries of the human race; but instead he changed the subject abruptly, put on a Sibelius record, and presently made love to me, intently but without emotion. I was surprised but pleased. I thought, "We are suited to one another. There will be no demands. Each of us will be self-contained and not beholden to the other." All this came true, but something was amiss. There was a flaw - not only the nonappearance of children, but a division of the spirit. The communion of flesh which brought us together was in reality a chasm, and I despised the bridge we made. Perhaps he did as well. I had been endeavouring for ten years to build for my self a ledge of safety. ("The Chamois")
Daphne du Maurier (Echoes from the Macabre: Selected Stories)
In the parlor was a huge camera on wheels like the ones used in public parks, and the backdrop of a marine twilight, painted with homemade paints, and the walls papered with pictures of children at memorable moments: the first Communion, the bunny costume, the happy birthday. Year after year, during contemplative pauses on afternoons of chess, Dr. Urbino had seen the gradual covering over of the walls, and he had often thought with a shudder of sorrow that in the gallery of casual portraits lay the germ of the future of the city, governed and corrupted by those unknown children, where note even the ashes of his glory would remain.
Gabriel García Márquez (Love in the Time of Cholera)
We must live a twofold life—a life of thought and action, of silent prayer and earnest work. The strength received through communion with God, united with earnest effort in training the mind to thoughtfulness and caretaking, prepares one for daily duties and keeps the spirit in peace under all circumstances, however trying.
Ellen G. White (The Ministry of Healing)
Many have found the secret of which I speak and, without giving much thought to what is going on within them, constantly practice this habit of inwardly gazing upon God. They know that something inside their hearts sees God. Even when they are compelled to withdraw their conscious attention in order to engage in earthly affairs there is within them a secret communion always going on. Let their attention but be released for a moment from necessary business and it flies at once to God again. This has been the testimony of many Christians, so many that even as I state it thus I have a feeling that I am quoting, though from whom or from how many I cannot possibly know.
A.W. Tozer (The Pursuit of God)
We have, then, in this beautiful section, as we have seen, a picture of unbroken communion and its delightful issues. May our lives correspond! First, one with the King, then speaking of the King; the joy of communion leading to fellowship in service, to a being all for Jesus, ready for any experience that will fit for further service, surrendering all to Him, and willing to minister all for Him. There is no room for love of the world here, for union with Christ has filled the heart; there is nothing for the gratification of the world, for all has been sealed and is kept for the Master's use. Jesus, my life is Thine! And evermore shall be Hidden in Thee. For nothing can untwine Thy life from mine.
James Hudson Taylor (Union And Communion or Thoughts on the Song of Solomon)
books are the voices of the dead. They are a main instrument of communion with the vast human procession of the other world. They are the allies of the thought of man. They are in a certain sense at enmity with the world. Their work is, at least, in the two higher compartments of our threefold life. In a room well filled with them, no one has felt or can feel solitary. Second to none, as friends to the individual, they are first and foremost among the compages, the bonds and rivets of the race, onward from that time when they were first written on the tablets of Babylonia and Assyria, the rocks of Asia minor, and the monuments of Egypt, down to the diamond editions of Mr. Pickering and Mr. Frowde.
William Ewart Gladstone (On Books and the Housing of Them)
I had come to see language as an almost supernatural force, existing between people, bringing our brains, shielded in centimeter-thick skulls, into communion. A word meant something only between people, and life’s meaning, its virtue, had something to do with the depth of the relationships we form. It was the relational aspect of humans — i.e., “human relationality” — that undergirded meaning. Yet somehow, this process existed in brains and bodies, subject to their own physiologic imperatives, prone to breaking and failing. There must be a way, I thought, that the language of life as experienced — of passion, of hunger, of love — bore some relationship, however convoluted, to the language of neurons, digestive tracts, and heartbeats.
Paul Kalanithi (When Breath Becomes Air)
Suppose a man to be a true believer, and yet finds in himself a powerful indwelling sin, leading him captive to the law of it, consuming his heart with trouble, perplexing his thoughts, weakening his soul as to duties of communion with God, disquieting him as to peace, and perhaps defiling his conscience, and exposing him to hardening through the deceitfulness of sin,—what
John Owen (The Mortification of Sin (Vintage Puritan))
If you would have the distraction of your thoughts prevented, endeavor to raise your affections to God, and to engage them warmly in your duty. When the soul is intent upon any work, it gathers in its strength and bends all its thoughts to that work; and when it is deeply affected, it will pursue its object with intenseness, the affections will gain an ascendancy over the thoughts and guide them. But deadness causes distraction, and distraction increases deadness. Could you but regard your duties as the medium in which you might walk in communion with God in which your soul might be filled with those ravishing and matchless delights which his presence affords, you might have no inclination to neglect them. But if you would prevent the recurrence of distracting thoughts, if you would find your happiness in the performance of duty, you must not only be careful that you engage in what is your duty, but labor with patient and persevering exertion to interest your feelings in it. Why is your heart so inconstant, especially in secret duties; why are you ready to be gone, almost as soon as you are come into the presence of God, but because your affections are not engaged?
John Flavel (Keeping the Heart (Puritan Classics))
The consecration of all to our Master, far from lessening our power to impart, increases both our power and our joy in ministration. The five loaves and two fishes of the disciples, first given up to and blessed by the Lord, were abundant supply for the needy multitudes, and grew, in the act of distribution, into a store of which twelve hampers full of fragments remained when all were fully satisfied.
James Hudson Taylor (Union And Communion or Thoughts on the Song of Solomon)
When it was time for me to leave, I thanked Mrs. Odom, climbed on Lenny’s bike, and set off for home. As I pedaled up the road, I turned and glanced back at the Odoms’ house. I remembered that first day on the school bus when I had seen it and thought it was so sad-looking. Then I pictured all those boys in that little kitchen getting loved on by their mama and that house didn’t look one bit sad anymore.
Barbara O'Connor (Wish)
Thomas Goodwin Jr. wrote of his godly father: In all the violence of [his fever], he discoursed with that strength of faith and assurance of Christ’s love, with that holy admiration of free grace, with that joy in believing, and such thanksgivings and praises, as he extremely moved and affected all that heard him…. He rejoiced in the thoughts that he was dying, and going to have a full and uninterrupted communion with God. ‘I am going,’ said he, ‘to the three Persons, with whom I have had communion: they have taken me; I did not take them…. I could not have imagined I should ever have had such a measure of faith in this hour…. Christ cannot love me better than he doth; I think I cannot love Christ better than I do; I am swallowed up in God….’ With this assurance of faith, and fullness of joy, his soul left this world.89 
Thomas Goodwin (A Habitual Sight of Him: The Christ-Centered Piety of Thomas Goodwin (Profiles in Reformed Spirituality))
Lord, I come to you in meditation and prayer. I ask that you never turn from me. Never let me lack communion with you. Let my life be filled with all the beauty that abides in you and let these things guide me. If I have wronged you or your laws in anyway, even in 'thought', please forgive me. You know deep in my heart I want and I try to do good but I fall short. At times, I despise my flesh; I know what I have to do. I want to do it but I choose not to & I'm sorry.
Jose R. Coronado (The Land Flowing With Milk And Honey)
We stopped talking about Zampanô then. She paged her friend Christina who took less than twenty minutes to come over. There were no introductions. We just sat down on the floor and snorted lines of coke off a CD case, gulped down a bottle of wine and then used it to play spin the bottle. They kissed each other first, then they both kissed me, and then we forgot about the bottle, and I even managed to forget about Zampanô, about this, and about how much that attack in the tattoo shop had put me on edge. Two kisses in one kiss was all it took, a comfort, a warmth, perhaps temporary, perhaps false, but reassuring nonetheless, and mine, and theirs, ours, all three of us giggling, insane giggles and laughter with still more kisses on the way, and I remember a brief instant then, out of the blue, when I suddenly glimpsed my own father, a rare but oddly peaceful recollection, as if he actually approved of my play in the way he himself had always laughed and played, always laughing, surrendering to its ease, especially when he soared in great updrafts of light, burning off distant plateaus of bistre & sage, throwing him up like an angel, high above the red earth, deep into the sparkling blank, the tender sky that never once let him down, preserving his attachment to youth, propriety and kindness, his plane almost, but never quite, outracing his whoops of joy, trailing him in his sudden turn to the wind, followed then by a near vertical climb up to the angles of the sun, and I was barely eight and still with him and yes, that the thought that flickered madly through me, a brief instant of communion, possessing me with warmth and ageless ease, causing me to smile again and relax as if memory alone could lift the heart like the wind lifts a wing, and so I renewed my kisses with even greater enthusiasm, caressing and in turn devouring their dark lips, dark with wine and fleeting love, an ancient memory love had promised but finally never gave, until there were too many kisses to count or remember, and the memory of love proved not love at all and needed a replacement, which our bodies found, and then the giggles subsided, and the laughter dimmed, and darkness enfolded all of us and we gave away our childhood for nothing and we died and condoms littered the floor and Christina threw up in the sink and Amber chuckled a little and kissed me a little more, but in a way that told me it was time to leave.
Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves)
Now that I was sitting here holding my own flesh and blood with my heart about to explode from sheer joy, I felt nearer to knowing what it meant to be loved by God. The thought occupied my mind all summer - at every diaper change and every feeding, with every coo and smile and cry. So this is what it's like to really love someone else, to have the sum total of everything you are and love, living and breathing outside of you? It was my first, real taste of heaven, of communion with God, and in a way, its own baptism of sorts.
Edie Wadsworth (All the Pretty Things: The Story of a Southern Girl Who Went Through Fire to Find Her Way Home)
In the Code of Canon Law, it states clearly: 'A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession.' I haven’t attended confession in well over a decade, and that’s less because of dogmatic conflict than it is because of moral cowardice. Deeper than that, maybe I don’t want to be forgiven. I want to be punished. Which may be just about the most selfish, egotistical thought I’ve ever had. I’m sick with self-love. Or self-loathing. After all, they’re both essentially the same thing.
Phillip Andrew Bennett Low (Indecision Now! A Libertarian Rage)
The intellectual life as portrayed in this film has four key features: It is a form of the inner life of a person, a place of retreat and reflection. As such it is withdrawn from the world, where “the world” is understood in its (originally Platonic, later Christian) sense as the locus of competition and struggle for wealth, power, prestige, and status. It is a source of dignity—made obvious in this case by the contrast to Renée’s low status as an unattractive working-class woman without children and past childbearing age. It opens space for communion: it allows for profound connection between human beings.
Zena Hitz (Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life)
Despite the differences in detail and in emphasis in Wesley's exposition of the two sacraments, there is an underlying unity in his sacramental theology. He regarded both sacraments as means whereby God could confer grace according to His promise, but yet insisted, that in order to prevent the means from being mistaken as ends, it was necessary for there to be an appropriation of the grace held out by the faith of the believer. Grace was not conferred IN SPITE OF MAN, but only with his co-operation. So human response was necessary for the efficacy of the sacraments, although man's actions were never thought of as meritorious works.
John R. Parris (John Wesley's Doctrine of the Sacraments)
If we are convinced that communion with Christ is our chief good, why is living in the light of his presence so difficult? Why are we so Christ-negligent? Why is it that our minds are so scattered when it comes to Christ? Newton once admitted, “I approach the throne of grace encumbered with a thousand distractions of thought, each of which seems to engage more of my attention than the business I have in hand.”53 This is the battle of the Christian life and where Newton turns particularly practical. The Christian life is bound up with clear thinking, and the enemies are the clouds, the shrouds, and the trifles of life that take our eyes off Christ.
Tony Reinke (Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ (Theologians on the Christian Life))
The intimate sense of self-awareness we experience bubbling up at each moment is rooted in the originating activity of the Universe. We are all of us arising together at the invisible center of the cosmos.” We once thought that we were no bigger than our physical bodies, but now we are discovering that we are deeply connected participants in the continuous co-arising of the entire Universe. Awakening to our larger identity as both unique and inseparably connected with a co- arising Universe transforms feelings of existential separation into experiences of subtle communion as bio-cosmic beings. We are far richer, deeper, more complex, and more alive than we ever thought''.
alexis karpouzos
There are few things, it may be feared, in which Christians come so far short of Christ's example, as they do in the matter of prayer. Our Master's strong crying and tears--His continuing all night in prayer to God--His frequent withdrawal to private places, to hold close communion with the Father, are things more talked of and admired than imitated. We live in an age of hurry, bustle, and so-called activity. Men are tempted continually to cut short their private devotions, and abridge their prayers. When this is the case, we need not wonder that the Church of Christ does little in proportion to its machinery. The Church must learn to copy its Head more closely. Its members must be more in their closets. "We have little," because little is asked. (James 4:2.)            
J.C. Ryle (Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: The Four Volume Set [Fully Formatted With Authorial Biography])
In this country faith is absolute and universal. The choice, if there is a choice, is made at birth. Everyone believes. For these people, God is a near neighbour. I thought of Sundays at home when I was a child, buttoned up in an uncomfortable tweed jacket and forced to go to Sunday communion. I remember mouthing the hymns without really singing, peering between my fingers at the rest of the congregation when I was supposed to be praying, twisting in my seat during the sermon, aching with impatience for the whole boring ritual to be over. I can’t remember when I last went to church. I must have been since Mary and I were married but I can’t remember when. I don’t know anyone who does go to church now. It’s extraordinary, isn’t it? I know I live amongst scientists and civil servants, and Mary’s friends are all bankers or economists, so perhaps we are not typical. You still see people coming out of church on Sunday morning, chatting on the steps, shaking hands with the vicar, as you drive past on your way to get the Sunday papers, relieved you are too old now to be told to go. But no one I know goes any more. We never talk about it. We never think about it. I cannot easily remember the words of the Lord’s Prayer. We have moved on from religion. Instead of going to church, which would never occur to us, Mary and I go to Tesco together on Sundays. At least, that is what we did when she still lived in London. We never have time to shop during the week and Saturdays are too busy. But on Sunday our local Tesco is just quiet enough to get round without being hit in the ankles all the time by other people’s shopping carts. We take our time wheeling the shopping cart around the vast cavern, goggling at the flatscreen TVs we cannot afford, occasionally tossing some minor luxury into the trolley that we can afford but not justify. I suppose shopping in Tesco on Sunday morning is in itself a sort of meditative experience: in some way a shared moment with the hundreds of other shoppers all wheeling their shopping carts, and a shared moment with Mary, come to that. Most of the people I see shopping on Sunday morning have that peaceful, dreamy expression on their faces that I know is on ours. That is our Sunday ritual. Now, I am in a different country, with a different woman by my side. But I feel as if I am in more than just a different country; I am in another world, a world where faith and prayer are instinctive and universal, where not to pray, not to be able to pray, is an affliction worse than blindness, where disconnection from God is worse than losing a limb.
Paul Torday (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen)
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)
Shorter prayers in which we make requests to God—the kind many of us are most familiar with—go undetected by a brain scan. This doesn’t mean they don’t work or they are not valuable. But it may encourage you toward deeper, longer prayer when you learn that twelve minutes of attentive and focused prayer every day for eight weeks changes the brain significantly enough to be measured in a brain scan.1 Not only that, but it strengthens areas of the brain involved in social interaction, increasing our sense of compassion and making us more sensitive to other people. It also reduces stress, bringing another measurable physical effect—lower blood pressure. Prayer in this deeper, more attentive way also strengthens the part of the brain that helps us override our emotional and irrational urges. Prayer that seeks communion with God actually makes us more thoughtful and rational, enhances our sense of peace and well-being, and makes us more compassionate and responsive to the needs of other people.
Rob Moll (What Your Body Knows About God: How We Are Designed to Connect, Serve and Thrive)
Forgiveness is the healing of the perception of separation. Correct perception of your brother is necessary, because minds have chosen to see themselves as separate. Spirit knows God completely. That is its miraculous power. The fact that each one has this power completely is a condition entirely alien to the world’s thinking. The world believes that if anyone has everything, there is nothing left. But God’s miracles are as total as His Thoughts because they are His Thoughts. As long as perception lasts prayer has a place. Since perception rests on lack, those who perceive have not totally accepted the Atonement and given themselves over to truth. Perception is based on a separated state, so that anyone who perceives at all needs healing. Communion, not prayer, is the natural state of those who know. God and His miracle are inseparable. How beautiful indeed are the Thoughts of God who live in His light! Your worth is beyond perception because it is beyond doubt. Do not perceive yourself in different lights. Know yourself in the One Light where the miracle that is you is perfectly clear.
Foundation for Inner Peace (A course in miracles: Text, Vol. 1)
The consecration of all to our Master, far from lessening our power to impart, increases both our power and our joy in ministration. The five loaves and two fishes of the disciples, first given up to and blessed by the Lord, were abundant supply for the needy multitudes, and grew, in the act of distribution, into a store of which twelve hampers full of fragments remained when all were fully satisfied. We have, then, in this beautiful section, as we have seen, a picture of unbroken communion and its delightful issues. May our lives correspond! First, one with the King, then speaking of the King; the joy of communion leading to fellowship in service, to a being all for Jesus, ready for any experience that will fit for further service, surrendering all to Him, and willing to minister all for Him. There is no room for love of the world here, for union with Christ has filled the heart; there is nothing for the gratification of the world, for all has been sealed and is kept for the Master's use. Jesus, my life is Thine! And evermore shall be Hidden in Thee. For nothing can untwine Thy life from mine.
James Hudson Taylor (Union And Communion or Thoughts on the Song of Solomon)
No one believed that the author was the Chinese who received the prize. At the end of the last century, fleeing the scourge of yellow fever that devastated Panama during the construction of the railroad between the two oceans, he had arrived with many others who stayed here until they died, living in Chinese, reproducing in Chinese, and looking so much alike that no one could tell one from the other. At first, there were no more than ten, some of them with their wives and children and edible dogs, but in a few years, four narrow streets in the slums along the port were overflowing with other unexpected Chinese, who came into the country without leaving a trace in the customs record....In the popular view, they were divided into two kinds: bad Chinese and good Chinese. The bad ones were the ones in the lugubrious restaurants along the water front where one was as likely to eat like a King as to die a sudden death at the table, sitting before a plate of rat meat with sunflowers, and which were thought to be nothing more than fronts for white slavery, and many other kinds of trafficking. The good ones were the Chinese in the laundries, heirs of a sacred knowledge, who returned one's shirts cleaner than new, with collars and cuffs like recently ironed communion wafers.
Gabriel García Márquez (Love in the Time of Cholera)
an unrestrained infatuation with ecstasy and other extraordinary phenomena developed. These experiences were thought of as something to be obtained at all costs. Among some noted but deceptive visionaries of the time was the stigmatic, María de Santo Domingo (1486-1524), known as the Beata of Piedrahita. Her monastery became a center of spirituality and high prayer; she herself wrote a book on prayer and contemplation. But soon the Master General of the Dominicans had to isolate her because of certain aberrations and prophetic revelations. No one in the order, with the exception of her confessor, was allowed to converse with her or administer the sacraments to her; nor was anyone allowed to speak about her prophecies, ecstasies, and raptures, except to the provincial. Another visionary, Magdalena de la Cruz, a Poor Clare with a reputation for holiness, severe fasts, and long vigils, also bearing the stigmata, let it be known that she no longer required any food except the consecrated Host in daily Communion. In an investigation by the Inquisition she confessed to being a secret devil worshiper. Inspired by two incubuses with whom she had made a pact, she became very skillful at all sorts of legerdemain. Through her success in fooling both bishops and kings, she brought the fear of being deceived to all of Spain.
Teresa of Ávila (The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Ávila, Vol. 1)
I'm sorry this trip has been so difficult." "It could be worse.We could be enduring Father Morrell's celebration of the Eucharist." Bronwyn's jaw dropped and she turned in his arms to see if Ranulf was serious. He was. Ranulf framed her face in his hands and placed a soft kiss on her lips. He then stepped aside and pulled his tunic over his head. Seeing her still stunned, sea blue eyes follow his movements, he said, "Don't look at me that way. The aggravating priest confronted me when you were packing, telling me that I was damning all of our souls by taking you away on such an auspicious day." Bronwyn bit her bottom lip to keep from laughing. "Father Morrell's just concerned. He believes that all should be given Holy Communion at least once a year and-" "He has chosen the last Sunday of the Twelfthtide to be that day. I understand. But just as I told him, I've missed so many of what he considers critical celebrations in my lifetime, another won't matter. And since you've attended almost every one, forgoing one or two this year is just as trivial." Bronwyn took a deep breath, exhaled, and followed his lead, freeing the restraints of her bliaut. "I've married a heathen." Helping her pull the thick material over her head, Ranulf agreed, "I think that is exactly what Father Morrell concluded as well." Free from the bulky winter garment, Bronwyn felt a surge of arousal and twisted around to kiss him full on the lips. "Then maybe I'll just have to reform you." "Sounds tempting," Ranulf murmured against her lips, "but what if it is I who corrupt you?" he asked as he slowly edged her shift up over her hips, breast, and then head. Bronwyn smiled and twined her arms around his neck.She felt no awkwardness for her lack of clothing.She had nothing to hide from this man.He thought her perfect. "You've already tried." "And it's working.Just who is seducing whom, angel?" "Oh,I am definitely seducing you, my lord." Tomorrow she would ask him about his reasons for their impromptu journey south. She suddenly had other plans.
Michele Sinclair (The Christmas Knight)
Communication is creation. These two are one and the same. Therefore, if you would create well, ask only: What am I committed to communicating? What will my creations express? What will my creations convey to others? For what I seek to convey reveals what I believe is the truth of my Self to the world. Therefore beloved friends, as we begin to focus on, to refine, to deepen, to mature in The Way of the Heart, it is wise to begin at the beginning. The beginning of this pathway is simply this: You are as God has created you to be. You are an infinite focus of consciousness. Your very sense of existence is nothing more than a feedback loop or feedback mechanism, so that you can witness the effects of the choices you are making in the very deep, deep depth of your mind that rests right alongside the Mind of God. Therefore, in each moment of your existence, which includes this bodily incarnation, you are literally allowing through deliberate choice—though perhaps unconscious—to bring forth a vibration of thought or a vibration of creation. And to commune-i-cate it to the world in an attempt to experience communion with all of life—with a friend, with a parent, with a child, with a beloved, with the clouds that pass through the sky or with the Earth itself. Each gesture, each thought, the way that the body breathes, all of these things are going on constantly, and they are communicating or revealing the effect of what you have allowed to make a home in your mind.
Shanti Christo Foundation (The Way of Mastery ~ Part One: The Way of the Heart (The Way of Mastery))
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))
Thomas Goodwin Jr. wrote of his godly father: In all the violence of [his fever], he discoursed with that strength of faith and assurance of Christ’s love, with that holy admiration of free grace, with that joy in believing, and such thanksgivings and praises, as he extremely moved and affected all that heard him…. He rejoiced in the thoughts that he was dying, and going to have a full and uninterrupted communion with God. ‘I am going,’ said he, ‘to the three Persons, with whom I have had communion: they have taken me; I did not take them…. I could not have imagined I should ever have had such a measure of faith in this hour…. Christ cannot love me better than he doth; I think I cannot love Christ better than I do; I am swallowed up in God….’ With this assurance of faith, and fullness of joy,
Thomas Goodwin (A Habitual Sight of Him: The Christ-Centered Piety of Thomas Goodwin (Profiles in Reformed Spirituality))
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)
The Corinthians are identified as “Those who were made holy” and who were “called out as saints [i.e., holy ones]” (1:2). They were getting drunk at Holy Communion and shouting insults at each other. One of them was sleeping with his mother-in-law. The prophets (preachers) were all talking at once in their worship services and some of the women were chatting and not listening to anyone. They had split into factions, and some thought that polished language was more important than historical realities like the cross. Others denied the resurrection. Yet Paul called them “saints.” Remarkable! Clearly, for Paul, “a saint” meant a person who had received the Holy Spirit and not a person who had reached some undefined stratospheric level of piety. The troublesome Corinthians were saints!
Kenneth E. Bailey (Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes: Cultural Studies in 1 Corinthians)
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)
life in the Spirit that is denoted by the term “deeper life” is far wider and richer than mere victory over sin, however vital that victory may be. It also includes the thought of the indwelling of Christ, acute God-consciousness, rapturous worship, separation from the world, the joyous surrender of everything to God, internal union with the Trinity, the practice of the presence of God, the communion of saints and prayer without ceasing.
A.W. Tozer (Tozer on the Holy Spirit: A 365-Day Devotional)
When, in Being and Time,Heidegger insists that death is the onlyevent which cannot be taken over by another subject for me—an-other cannot die for me, in my place—the obvious counterexampleis Christ himself: did he not, in the extreme gesture of interpassiv-ity, take over for us the ultimate passive experience of dying? Christdies so that we are given a chance to live forever....The problemhere is not only that, obviously, we don’tlive forever (the answer tothis is that it is the Holy Spirit, the community of believers, whichlives forever), but the subjective status of Christ: when he was dyingon the Cross, did he know about his Resurrection-to-come? If he didthen it was all a game, the supreme divine comedy, since Christ knewhis suffering was just a spectacle with a guaranteed good outcome—in short, Christ was faking despair in his “Father, why hast thou for-saken me?” If he didn’t, then in what precise sense was Christ (also)divine? Did God the Father limit the scope of knowledge of Christ’smind to that of a common human consciousness, so that Christ ac-tually thought he was dying abandoned by his father? Was Christ, ineffect, occupying the position of the son in the wonderful joke aboutthe rabbi who turns in despair to God, asking Him what he shoulddo with his bad son, who has deeply disappointed him; God calmlyanswers: “Do the same as I did: write a new testament!”What is crucial here is the radical ambiguity of the term “the faithof Jesus Christ,” which can be read as subjective or objectivegenitive: it can be either “the faith ofChrist” or “the faith / of us, be-lievers / inChrist.” Either we are redeemed because of Christ’s purefaith, or we are redeemed by our faith in Christ, if and insofar as webelieve in him. Perhaps there is a way to read the two meanings to-gether: what we are called to believe in is not Christ’s divinity as suchbut, rather, his faith, his sinless purity. What Christianity proposes isthe figure of Christ as our subject supposed to believe:in our ordinary lives,we never truly believe, but we can at least have the consolation thatthere is One who truly believes (the function of what Lacan, in hisseminar Encore,called y’a de l’un).The final twist here, however, is thaton the Cross, Christ himself has to suspend his belief momentarily.So maybe, at a deeper level, Christ is, rather, our (believers’) subject supposed NOTto believe: it is not our belief we transpose onto others, but,rather, our disbelief itself. Instead of doubting, mocking, and ques-tioning things while believing through the Other, we can also trans-pose onto the Other the nagging doubt, thus regaining the abilityto believe. (And is there not, in exactly the same way, also the func-tion of the subject supposed not to know? Ta ke little children who are sup-posed not to know the “facts of life,” and whose blessed ignorancewe, knowing adults, are supposed to protect by shielding them frombrutal reality; or the wife who is supposed not to know about herhusband’s secret affair, and willingly plays this role even if she re-ally knows all about it, like the young wife in The Age of Innocence;or, inacademia, the role we assume when we ask someone: “OK, I’ll pre-tend I don’t know anything about this topic—try to explain it to mefrom scratch!”) And, perhaps, the true communion with Christ, thetrue imitatio Christi,is to participate in Christ’s doubt and disbelief.There are two main interpretations of how Christ’s death dealswith sin: sacrificial and participatory.4In the first one, we humansare guilty of sin, the consequence of which is death; however, Godpresented Christ, the sinless one, as a sacrifice to die in our place—through the shedding of his blood, we may be forgiven and freedfrom condemnation. In the second one, human beings lived “inAdam,” in the sphere of sinful humanity, under the reign of sin anddeath. Christ became a human being, sharing the fate of those “inAdam” to the end (dying on the Cross), but...
ZIZEK
He articulates and justifies the resentment dammed up in the souls of the frustrated. He kindles the vision of a breathtaking future so as to justify the sacrifice of a transitory present. He stages the world of make-believe so indispensable for the realization of self-sacrifice and united action. He evokes the enthusiasm of communion—the sense of liberation from a petty and meaningless individual existence.
Eric Hoffer (The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements)
To him the thought committed to the immortality of print, crystallised to its shapeliest form, polished to its best luster, is one which demands and repays lingering communion. If books are worth reading at all, they should be allowed to speak their full meaning; they should be hearkened to with deference.
Agnes Castle and Egerton Castle
Exceptional intelligence, noble character and originality seem neither indispensable nor perhaps desirable. The main requirements seem to be: audacity and a joy in defiance; an iron will; a fanatical conviction that he is in possession of the one and only truth; faith in his destiny and luck; a capacity for passionate hatred; contempt for the present; a cunning estimate of human nature; a delight in symbols (spectacles and ceremonials); unbounded brazenness which finds expression in a disregard of consistency and fairness; a recognition that the innermost craving of a following is for communion and that there can never be too much of it; a capacity for winning and holding the utmost loyalty of a group of able lieutenants. This last faculty is one of the most essential and elusive. The uncanny powers of a leader manifest themselves not so much in the hold he has on the masses as in his ability to dominate and almost bewitch a small group of able men. These men must be fearless, proud, intelligent and capable of organizing and running large-scale undertakings, and yet they must submit wholly to the will of the leader, draw their inspiration and driving force from him, and glory in this submission.
Eric Hoffer (The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements)
The old and the new. For the “old man,” everything is old: he has seen everything or thinks he has. He has lost hope in anything new. What pleases him is the “old” he clings to, fearing to lose it, but he is certainly not happy with it. And so he keeps himself “old” and cannot change: he is not open to any newness. His life is stagnant and futile. And yet there may be much movement—but change that leads to no change. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. For the “new man” everything is new. Even the old is transfigured in the Holy Spirit and is always new. There is nothing to cling to, there is nothing to be hoped for in what is already past—it is nothing. The new man is he who can find reality where it cannot be seen by the eyes of the flesh—where it is not yet—where it comes into being the moment he sees it. And would not be (at least for him) if he did not see it. The new man lives in a world that is always being created, and renewed. He lives in this realm of renewal and creation. He lives in life. The old man lives without life. He lives in death, and clings to what has died precisely because he clings to it. And yet he is crazy for change, as if struggling with the bonds of death. His struggle is miserable, and cannot be a substitute for life. Thought of these things after Communion today, when I suddenly realized that I had, and for how long, deeply lost hope of “anything new.” How foolish, when in fact the newness is there all the time.
Thomas Merton (A Year with Thomas Merton: Daily Meditations from His Journals)
Gran is alone, too. I don’t know why I never thought of it before. I think of the last five years, and Gran and Bob living in the same house all that time. I can’t decide if it’s nice or just really sad. “Why don’t you move to America? You could live at our house! I’m sure Mom and Dad wouldn’t mind.” Gran nods. “They’ve offered. Problem is, I love it here.” She raises her arms and kind of waves at the trees. “I love the place and I love the people.” So maybe it’s not sad that Gran lives alone. Maybe it’s a choice.
Wendy Mass
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)
Imagine considering every moment as a potential time of communion with God. By the time your life is over, you will have spent six months at stoplights, eight months opening junk mail, a year and a half looking for lost stuff (double that number in my case), and a whopping five years standing in various lines.7Why don’t you give these moments to God? By giving God your whispering thoughts, the common becomes uncommon. Simple phrases such as “Thank you, Father,” “Be sovereign in this hour, O Lord,” “You are my resting place, Jesus” can turn a commute into a pilgrimage. You needn’t leave your office or kneel in your kitchen. Just pray where you are. Let the kitchen become a cathedral or the classroom a chapel. Give God your whispering thoughts.
Max Lucado (Just Like Jesus: A Heart Like His (The Bestseller Collection Book 2))
This incident well illustrates that worship, as understood by Zen masters, is a pure act of thanksgiving, or the opening of the grateful heart; in other words, the disclosing of Enlightened Consciousness. We are living the very life of Buddha, enjoying His blessing, and holding communion with Him through speech, thought, and action.
Kaiten Nukariya (The Religion of the Samurai A Study of Zen Philosophy and Discipline in China and Japan)
It is shameful to abandon this divine communion to occupy our minds with trivial matters. We should feed and nourish our souls with high thoughts of God, which yield us great joy in devotion to Him.
Marshall Davis (The Practice of the Presence of God In Modern English)
You, the rich of the earth – I thought to myself with tears – where is the power of your gold-stuffed coffers before the simple radiance of a prayer? What is the greatness of your palaces of splendor and jewels when compared to one single minute of the soul’s reverence in communion with God’s Paternity in the majesty of Heaven?
Francisco Cândido Xavier (Action and Reaction)
St. Augustine imagines standing on tiptoes, trying to catch a glimpse of a God who is unbound by time and space, who knows all, is all-powerful, and is entirely unbearably good. We can’t imagine such a God. All our thoughts are bounded by time, space, weakness, our own sinfulness. But we can just brush up against the underside of such thoughts as we reach reach reach . . . and then we trip over the crucified slave who is washing our feet.
Jason Byassee (Surprised by Jesus Again: Reading the Bible in Communion with the Saints)
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)
God, on Christian lights, isn’t just high, lofty, far away, distant, unsullied with us. God, in Christian thought, is Jewish. Human. Not just great and holy but little and lowly. ... God becomes our neighbour. ... If it takes a neighbour’s desire to set ours alight, then the one living and true God will become that flesh-and-blood neighbour.
Jason Byassee (Surprised by Jesus Again: Reading the Bible in Communion with the Saints)
I had come to see language as an almost supernatural force, existing between people, bringing our brains, shielded in centimeter-thick skulls, into communion. A word meant something only between people, and life’s meaning, its virtue, had something to do with the depth of the relationships we form. It was the relational aspect of humans—i.e., “human relationality”—that undergirded meaning. Yet somehow, this process existed in brains and bodies, subject to their own physiologic imperatives, prone to breaking and failing. There must be a way, I thought, that the language of life as experienced—of passion, of hunger, of love—bore some relationship, however convoluted, to the language of neurons, digestive tracts, and heartbeats.
Paul Kalanithi (When Breath Becomes Air)
to free the terms “sacramental” and “eucharistic” from the connotations they have acquired in the long history of technical theology, where they are applied almost exclusively within the framework of “natural” versus. “supernatural,” and “sacred” versus “profane,” that is, within the same opposition between religion and life which makes life ultimately unredeemable and religiously meaningless. In our perspective, however, the “original” sin is not primarily that man has “disobeyed” God; the sin is that he ceased to be hungry for Him and for Him alone, ceased to see his whole life depending on the whole world as a sacrament of communion with God. The sin was not that man neglected his religious duties. The sin was that he thought of God in terms of religion, i.e., opposing Him to life. The only real fall of man is his non-eucharistic life in a noneucharistic world. The fall is not that he preferred world to God, distorted the balance between the spiritual and material, but that he made the world material, whereas he was to have transformed it into “life in God,” filled with meaning and spirit.
Alexander Schmemann (For the Life of the World)
That cobra-patting Thai monk once stayed several months at our monastery in Australia. We were building our main hall and had several other building projects waiting for approval at our local council’s offices. The mayor of the local council came for a visit to see what we were doing. The mayor was certainly the most influential man in the district. He had grown up in the area and was a successful farmer. He was also a neighbor. He came in a nice suit, befitting his position as mayor. The jacket was unbuttoned, revealing a very large, Australian-size stomach, which strained at the shirt buttons and bulged over the top of his best trousers. The Thai monk, who could speak no English, saw the mayor’s stomach. Before I could stop him, he went over to the mayor and started patting it. “Oh no!” I thought. “You can’t go patting a Lord Mayor on the stomach like that. Our building plans will never be approved now. We’re done! Our monastery is finished.” The more that Thai monk, with a gentle grin, patted and rubbed the mayor’s big stomach, the more the mayor began to smile and giggle. In a few seconds, the dignified mayor was gurgling like a baby. He obviously loved every minute of having his stomach rubbed and patted by this extraordinary Thai monk. All our building plans were approved. And the mayor became one of our best friends and helpers. The most essential part of caring is where we’re coming from.
Ajahn Brahm (Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung?: Inspiring Stories for Welcoming Life's Difficulties)
Christ was an Aryan, and St. Paul used his doctrine to mobilise the criminal underworld and thus organise a proto-Bolshevism. This intrusion upon the world marks the end of a long reign, that of the clear Graeco-Latin genius. What is this God who takes pleasure only in seeing men grovel before Him? Try to picture to yourselves the meaning of the following, quite simple story. God creates the conditions for sin. Later on He succeeds, with the help of the Devil, in causing man to sin. Then He employs a virgin to bring into the world a son who, by His death, will redeem humanity! I can imagine people being enthusiastic about the paradise of Mahomet, but as for the insipid paradise of the Christians ! In your lifetime, you used to hear the music of Richard Wagner. After your death, it will be nothing but hallelujahs, the waving of palms, children of an age for the feeding-bottle, and hoary old men. The man of the isles pays homage to the forces of nature. But Christianity is an invention of sick brains : one could imagine nothing more senseless, nor any more indecent way of turning the idea of the Godhead into a mockery. A negro with his tabus is crushingly superior to the human being who seriously believes in Transubstantiation. I begin to lose all respect for humanity when I think that some people on our side, Ministers or generals, are capable of believing that we cannot triumph without the blessing of the Church. Such a notion is excusable in little children who have learnt nothing else. For thirty years the Germans tore each other to pieces simply in order to know whether or not they should take Communion in both kinds. There's nothing lower than religious notions like that. From that point of view, one can envy the Japanese. They have a religion which is very simple and brings them into contact with nature. They've succeeded even in taking Christianity and turning it into a religion that's less shocking to the intellect. By what would you have me replace the Christians' picture of the Beyond? What comes naturally to mankind is the sense of eternity and that sense is at the bottom of every man. The soul and the mind migrate, just as the body returns to nature. Thus life is eternally reborn from life. As for the "why?" of all that, I feel no need to rack my brains on the subject. The soul is unplumbable. If there is a God, at the same time as He gives man life He gives him intelligence. By regulating my life according to the understanding that is granted me, I may be mistaken, but I act in good faith. The concrete image of the Beyond that religion forces on me does not stand up to examination. Think of those who look down from on high upon what happens on earth: what a martyrdom for them, to see human beings indefatigably repeating the same gestures, and inevitably the same errors ! In my view, H. S. Chamberlain was mistaken in regarding Christianity as a reality upon the spiritual level. Man judges everything in relation to himself. What is bigger than himself is big, what is smaller is small. Only one thing is certain, that one is part of the spectacle. Everyone finds his own rôle. Joy exists for everybody. I dream of a state of affairs in which every man would know that he lives and dies for the preservation of the species. It's our duty to encourage that idea : let the man who distinguishes himself in the service of the species be thought worthy of the highest honours.
Adolf Hitler (Hitler's Table Talk, 1941-1944)
Anyone familiar with party systems has seen the disgust one party member is apt to show toward another whom he may really know nothing about other than that he is one of "the enemies." He cannot afford to know much about the person, for then he risks finding some redeeming feature in his enemy, and this is unacceptable. Any redemption for the enemy is a failure for propaganda which seeks separation between individuals; communion is defeat.
Daniel Schwindt (The Case Against the Modern World: A Crash Course in Traditionalist Thought)
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)
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)
O my Brothers! love your Country. Our Country is our home, the home which God has given us, placing therein a numerous family which we love and are loved by, and with which we have a more intimate and quicker communion of feeling and thought than with others; a family which by its concentration upon a given spot, and by the homogeneous nature of its elements, is destined for a special kind of activity.
Giuseppe Mazzini (The Duties Of Man And Other Essays)
Abiding in Christ and seeking to fill our hearts with His Word results in the conforming of our thoughts and our affections, our attitudes and our actions, to Christ as Lord of all.
Murray G. Brett (Growing Up in Grace: The Use of Means for Communion with God)
So the one command, the one exhortation, that we are given in Hebrews 10:19-22 is to draw near to God. The great aim of this writer is that we get near God, that we have fellowship with him, that we not settle for a Christian life at a distance from God, that God not be a distant thought, but a near and present reality, that we experience what the old Puritans called communion with God. This drawing near is not a physical act. It's not building a tower of Babel, by your achievements, to get to heaven. It's not necessarily going to a church building. Or walking to an altar at the front. It is an invisible act of the heart. You can do it while standing absolutely still, or while lying in a hospital bed, or while sitting in a pew listening to a sermon. Drawing near is not moving from one place to another. It is a directing of the heart into the presence of God who is as distant as the holy of holies in heaven, and yet as near as the door of faith. He is commanding us to come. To approach him. To draw near to him. let us draw near to God sermon
John Piper
He handed her her pills and the cup; her hands trembled; he had to support the saucer and he thought, inappropriately, of a priest offering communion.
Robert Galbraith (The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1))
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)
An Egyptian monk, after fifteen years of complete solitude, received a packet of letters from his family and friends. He did not open them, he flung them into the fire in order to escape the assault of memory. We cannot sustain communion with ourself and our thoughts if we allow ghosts to appear, to prevail. The desert signifies not so much a new life as the death of the past: at last we have escaped our own history. In society, no less than in the Thebaid, the letters we write, and those we receive, testify to the fact that we are in chains, that we have broken none of the bonds, that we are merely slaves and deserve to be so.
Emil M. Cioran (The Trouble with Being Born)
Now I have no doubt that, more often than not, a moral drawn from history lies in the eye of the beholder. But the more I read about the imperial church—the power plays, the petty jealousies, the various political intrigues—the less inclined I was to place any confidence at all in its pronouncements. In this, I suppose, my reaction was typically Protestant. Unlike some of my Roman Catholic friends, I had inherited a bias against official church pronouncements anyway; and as I saw it, the imperial church’s obsession with power and control inevitably bred, first, an obsessive fear of heresy, then, the persecution of heretics, and finally, a tendency to regard every deviation from the most rigid orthodoxy as heretical. Whereas the early church had sought to achieve unity through positive confessions of faith (“I believe in God the Father Almighty”), the imperial church sought to achieve it through the condemnation of error (“Let them be anathema”) and the persecution of those thought to be in error. And neither the moral character of the one thought to be in error nor the circumstances surrounding the fall into “error” seemed to matter one whit to an emperor such as Justinian, as his condemnation of Theodore of Mopsuestia illustrates. For though Theodore—“the ablest exegete and theologian of the Antiochian school” 27 had been dead for more than a century, though he had died in full communion with the church, and though Pope Vigilius had argued that no one can lawfully “judge anew anything concerning the persons of the dead,” 28 such was Justinian’s arrogance that he insisted upon condemning, not merely the bishop’s writings, but also the good bishop himself. And so, the Fifth General Council de­clared: “We, therefore, anathematize . . . the impious Theodore of Mopsuestia with his execrable writings.
Thomas Talbott (The Inescapable Love of God)
The insight into the true order of values is not easy to achieve. It is difficult for anyone to prevail in the struggle against the fear, which does not serve an old Goethean advice. In the ideal communion which Goethe draws up in his wandering years, the quaint rule is that their members must never speak of past or future, but only of the present present. Most people sacrifice the day to the day. They are not satisfied with the task of considering and solving the problems they are now posing, but in anxious thoughts they draw down on the burden of coming times. Although we can never take the second step before we have done the first, we always consider the fiftieth or the hundredth. But Johannes Muller's theorem is one of the fundamental principles of life: "Do what is present, and wait, what will." Very many have a strange position on the past, present and future. The past transfigures them, they despair of the future, and the present they fail to miss, by their memories and fears. But the present is the only real thing that does not seize it, never reaches life. That is why we should consciously enjoy every tolerable hour without letting it darken future clouds.
Ludwig Reiners in : Norbert Kutschki, Gedanken für den Alltag - Übersetzung: TheWolfmyinnerSoul /Arv
The sharpening of the steel was less about the cutting edge of the blade than it was about the cutting edge of the soul and psyche; it was an ancient communion with every man who ever faced battle and death, and who stood with his comrades, but stood alone, with his own thoughts and his own fears, waiting for the signal to meet the enemy, and to meet himself.
Nelson DeMille (The Lion (John Corey, #5))
There is the great and glorious fact, that God has indeed spoken; that He who made the heart has had first entrance to it; that He has spoken first; that, as in a palimpsest, deep, deep below all the writing of doubt and unbelief is the writing of God, and shall remain there, either in an eternity of blessedness or anguish. When
Adolph Saphir (The Hidden Life: Thoughts on Communion with God)
In reading Scripture, we feel in the presence of Him unto whose eyes all things are naked and open.
Adolph Saphir (The Hidden Life: Thoughts on Communion with God)
Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God (Luke 6:20). I'm learning what it means to descend, which is so revolutionary it often leaves me gasping. I have been trying to ascend my entire life. Up, up, next level, a notch higher, the top is better, top of the food chain, all for God's work and glory, of course. The pursuit of ascension is crippling and has stunted my faith more than any other evil I've battled. It has saddled me with so much to defend, and it doesn't deliver. I need more and more of what doesn't work. I'm insatiable, and ironically, the more I accumulate, the less I enjoy any of it. Instead of satisfaction, it produces toxic fear in me; I'm always one slip away from losing it all. Consequently, my love for others is tainted because they unwittingly become articles for consumption. How is this person making me feel better? How is she making me stronger? How is he contributing to my agenda? What can this group do for me? I am an addict, addicted to the ascent and thus positioning myself above people who can propel my upward momentum and below those who are also longing for a higher rank and might pull me up with them. It feels desperate and frantic, and I'm so done being enslaved to the elusive top rung. When Jesus told us to 'take the lowest place' (Luke 14:10), it was more than just a strategy for social justice. It was even more than wooing us to the bottom for communion, since that is where He is always found. The path of descent becomes our own liberation. We are freed from the exhausting stance of defense. We are no longer compelled to be right and are thus relieved from the burden of maintaining some reputation. We are released from the idols of greed, control, and status. The pressure to protect the house of cards is alleviated when we take the lowest place. The ascent is so ingrained in my thought patterns that it has been physically painful to experience reformation at the bottom. The compulsion to defend myself against misrepresentation nearly put me in the grave recently. I was tormented with chaotic inner dialogues, and there were days I was so plagued with protecting my rung that I couldn't get out of bed. With every step lower, the stripping-away process was more excruciating. I had no idea how tightly I clung to reputation and approval or how selfishly I behaved to maintain it. Getting to the top requires someone else to be on the bottom; being right means someone else must be wrong. It is the nature of the beast.
Jen Hatmaker (Interrupted: An Adventure in Relearning the Essentials of Faith)
Terrible things could have happened to any one of us. We never will know what might have happened to us when we were drunk. We usually thought: “That couldn’t happen to me.” But any one of us could have killed somebody or have been killed ourselves, if we were drunk enough. But fear of these things never kept us from drinking. Do I believe that in A.A. we have something more effective than fear? Meditation for the Day I must keep calm and unmoved in the vicissitudes of life. I must go back into the silence of communion with God to recover this calm when it is lost even for one moment. I will accomplish more by this calmness than by all the activities of a long day. At all cost I will keep calm. I can solve nothing when I am agitated. I should keep away from things that are upsetting emotionally. I should run on an even keel and not get tipped over by emotional upsets. I should seek for things that are calm and good and true and stick to those things. Prayer for the Day I pray that I may not argue nor contend, but merely state calmly what I believe to be true. I pray that I may keep myself in that state of calmness that comes from faith in God’s purpose for the world. APRIL
Anonymous (Twenty Four Hours A Day: Meditations)
Not long after I first learned that I was sick, in the dim time of travel, multiple doctors, and endless tests, when it seemed that I might be in danger of dying very soon, I began to meet every Friday afternoon with the pastor at the church just around the corner from where my wife and I lived. I think that he, like anyone whose faith is healthy, actively craved instances in which that faith might be tested. So we argued for an hour every Friday, though that verb is completely wrong for the complex, respectful, difficult interactions we had. Nothing was ever settled. In fact my friend—for we became close friends—seemed to me mulishly orthodox at times, just as I seemed to him, I know, either boneheadedly literal when I focused on scripture or woozily mystical when I didn’t. And yet those hours and the time afterward, when, strangely enough, I didn’t so much think about all that we had discussed as feel myself freed from such thoughts, are among the happiest hours of my life. Grief was not suspended or banished, but entered and answered. Answered not by theology, and not by my own attempts to imaginatively circumvent theology, but by the depth and integrity and essential innocence of the communion occurring between two people. *
Christian Wiman (My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer)
Many have found the secret of which I speak and, without giving much thought to what is going on within them, constantly practice this habit of inwardly gazing upon God. They know that something inside their hearts sees God. Even when they are compelled to withdraw their conscious attention in order to engage in earthly affairs there is within them a secret communion always going on. Let their attention but be released for a moment from necessary business and it flies at once to God again. This has been the testimony of many Christians, so many that even as I state it thus I have a feeling that I am quoting, though from whom or from how many I cannot possibly know. I do not want to leave the impression that the ordinary means of grace have no value. They most assuredly have. Private prayer should be practiced by every Christian. Long periods of Bible meditation will purify our gaze and direct it; church attendance will enlarge our outlook and increase our love for others. Service and work and activity; all are good and should be engaged in by every Christian. But at the bottom of all these things, giving meaning to them, will be the inward habit of beholding God. A new set of eyes (so to speak) will develop within us enabling us to be looking at God while our outward eyes are seeing the scenes of this passing world.
A.W. Tozer (The Pursuit of God)
It is this kind of consciousness, exacerbated to an extreme, which has made inevitable the so called "death of God." Cartesian thought began with an attempt to reach God as object by starting from the thinking self. But when God becomes object, he sooner or later "dies," because God as object is ultimately unthinkable. God as object is not only a mere abstract concept, but one which contains so many internal contradictions that it becomes entirely nonnegotiable except when it is hardened into an idol that is maintained in existence by a sheer act of will. For a long time man continued to be capable of this willfulness: but now the effort has become exhausting and many Christians have realised it to be futile. Relaxing the effort, they have let go the "God-object" which their fathers and grandfathers still hoped to manipulate for their own ends. Their weariness has accounted for the element of resentment which made this a conscious "murder" of the deity. Liberated from the strain of willfully maintaining an object-God in existence, the Cartesian consciousness remains none the less imprisoned in itself. Hence the need to break out of itself and to meet "the other" in "encounter," "openness," "fellowship," "communion".
Thomas Merton (Zen and the Birds of Appetite)
Our aim in studying the Godhead must be to know God himself better. Our concern must be to enlarge our acquaintance, not simply with the doctrine of God’s attributes, but with the living God whose attributes they are. As he is the subject of our study, and our helper in it, so he must himself be the end of it. We must seek, in studying God, to be led to God. It was for this purpose that revelation was given, and it is to this use that we must put it. Meditating on the Truth How are we to do this? How can we turn our knowledge about God into knowledge of God? The rule for doing this is simple but demanding. It is that we turn each truth that we learn about God into matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer and praise to God. We have some idea, perhaps, what prayer is, but what is meditation? Well may we ask, for meditation is a lost art today, and Christian people suffer grievously from their ignorance of the practice. Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God. Its purpose is to clear one’s mental and spiritual vision of God, and to let his truth make its full and proper impact on one’s mind and heart. It is a matter of talking to oneself about God and oneself; it is, indeed, often a matter of arguing with oneself, reasoning oneself out of moods of doubt and unbelief into a clear apprehension of God’s power and grace.
J.I. Packer (Knowing God)
She was always cheerful—until she turned eighty and started going blind. She had a great deal of religious faith, and everyone assumed that she would adjust and find meaning in her loss—meaning and then acceptance and then joy—and we all wanted this because, let’s face it, it’s so inspiring and such a relief when people find a way to bear the unbearable, when you can organize things in such a way that a tiny miracle appears to have taken place and that love has once again turned out to be bigger than fear and death and blindness. But this woman would have none of it. She went into a deep depression and eventually left the church. The elders took communion to her in the afternoon on the first Sunday of the month—homemade bread and grape juice for the sacrament, and some bread to toast later—but she wouldn’t be a part of our community anymore. It must have been too annoying for everyone to be trying to manipulate her into being a better sport than she was capable of being. I always thought that was heroic of her, that it spoke of such integrity to refuse to pretend that you’re doing well just to help other people deal with the fact that sometimes we face an impossible loss.
Anne Lamott (Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith)
He expressed his own thoughts and teachings thus: “the holy universal Christian Church is a fellowship of the saints and a brotherhood of many pious and believing men who with one accord honour one Lord, one God, one faith and one baptism.” It is, he said, “the assembly of all Christian men on earth wherever they may be in the whole circle of the world”; or again, “a separated communion of a number of men that believe in Christ”, and explained,—“there are two churches, which in fact cover each other, the general and the local church,… the local church is a part of the general Church which includes all men who show that they are Christians.” As to community of goods, he said it consists in our always helping those brethren who are in need, for what we have is not our own but is entrusted to us as stewards for God. He considered that on account of sin the power of the sword had been committed to earthly Governments, and that therefore it was to be submitted to in the fear of God. Such gatherings were frequently held in Basle, where Hubmeyer and his friends zealously searched the Holy Scriptures and considered the questions brought before them. Basle was a great centre of spiritual activity. The printers were not afraid to issue books branded as heretical, and from their presses such works as those of Marsiglio of Padua and of John Wycliff went out into the world.
E.H. Broadbent (The Pilgrim Church)
On those days when I have thought of giving up on church entirely,” writes Nora Gallagher, “I have tried to figure out what I would do about Communion.”43
Rachel Held Evans (Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church)
Martha asked me if I thought Communion could be received through the womb. I had to admit it was a new question for me (while thinking to myself that it would make a great question for ordination exams). She said she'd received Communion the previous Sunday in church and took some comfort in believing that the symbols of Christ's body and blood had made their way to baby Sarah Louise, even before she was born. That's important, she said, because little Sarah would need all the signs of grace she could get before the measuring took over.
M. Craig Barnes (When God Interrupts: Finding New Life Through Unwanted Change)
How are we to do this? How can we turn our knowledge about God into knowledge of God? The rule for doing this is simple but demanding. It is that we turn each truth that we learn about God into matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer and praise to God. We have some idea, perhaps, what prayer is, but what is meditation? Well may we ask, for meditation is a lost art today, and Christian people suffer grievously from their ignorance of the practice. Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God.
J.I. Packer (Knowing God)
[T]here was a prophetic medieval Italian abbot, Joachim of Floris, who in the early thirteenth century foresaw the dissolution of the Christian Church and dawn of a terminal period of earthly spiritual life, when the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit, would speak directly to the human heart without ecclesiastical mediation. His view, like that of Frobenius, was of a sequence of historic stages, of which our own was to be the last; and of these he counted four. The first was, of course, that immediately following the Fall of Man, before the opening of the main story, after which there was to unfold the whole great drama of Redemption, each stage under the inspiration of one Person of the Trinity. The first was to be of the Father, the Laws of Moses and the People of Israel; the second of the Son, the New Testament and the Church; and now finally (and here, of course, the teachings of this clergyman went apart from the others of his communion), a third age, which he believed was about to commence, of the Holy Spirit, that was to be of saints in meditation, when the Church, become superfluous, would in time dissolve. It was thought by not a few in Joachim’s day that Saint Francis of Assisi might represent the opening of the coming age of direct, pentecostal spirituality. But as I look about today and observe what is happening to our churches in this time of perhaps the greatest access of mystically toned religious zeal our civilization has known since the close of the Middle Ages, I am inclined to think that the years foreseen by the good Father Joachim of Floris must have been our own. For there is no divinely ordained authority any more that we have to recognize. There is no anointed messenger of God’s law. In our world today all civil law is conventional. No divine authority is claimed for it: no Sinai; no Mount of Olives. Our laws are enacted and altered by human determination, and within their secular jurisdiction each of us is free to seek his own destiny, his own truth, to quest for this or for that and to find it through his own doing. The mythologies, religions, philosophies, and modes of thought that came into being six thousand years ago and out of which all the monumental cultures both of the Occident and of the Orient - of Europe, the Near and Middle East, the Far East, even early America - derived their truths and lives, are dissolving from around us, and we are left, each on his own to follow the star and spirit of his own life.
Joseph Campbell (Myths to Live By)
That in his trouble of mind, he had consulted nobody, but knowing only by the light of faith that GOD was present, he contented himself with directing all his actions to Him, i.e., doing them with a desire to please Him, let what would come of it. That useless thoughts spoil all: that the mischief began there; but that we ought to reject them, as soon as we perceived their impertinence to the matter in hand, or our salvation; and return to our communion with GOD.
Brother Lawrence (The Practice of the Presence of 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)
My friend Peter Schneider, the great novelistic chronicler of Berlin life, once researched and wrote a true story about a wartime episode. It involved the sheltering of those Berlin Jews who had violated the Nazi race laws by marrying Aryans. Some hundreds of these people were saved, in an informal arrangement whereby some thousands of ordinary Berliners provided a bed for the night here, a ration book there. Peter thought that the publication of this account would be well-received; there is always a market for stories about decent Germans. Instead the reaction was a surly one. It took him some time to realise that by describing the brave and generous but low-level and unheroic conduct of so many citizens, he had undermined the moral alibi of many thousands more, whose long-standing excuse for their own inaction had been that, under such terror, no gesture of resistance had been possible. This depressing discovery need not blind us to the true moral, which is that everybody can do something, and that the role of dissident is not, and should not be, a claim of membership in a communion of saints. In other words, the more fallible the mammal, the truer the example.
Christopher Hitchens (Letters to a Young Contrarian)
The very act of praise releases the power of God into a set of circumstances and enables God to change them if this is His design. Very often it is our attitudes that hinder the solution of a problem. God is sovereign and could certainly cut across our wrong thought patterns and attitudes. But His perfect plan is to bring each of us into fellowship and communion with Him, and
Merlin R. Carothers (Prison To Praise)
Thought he must be a lunatic—or too fond of the Communion wine or some such thing.
Carrie Anne Noble (The Mermaid's Sister)
Intellectual life is a way to recover one's real value when it is denied recognition by the power plays and careless judgments of social life. That is why it is a source of dignity. In ordinary social life, knowledge is exchanged for money or for power, for approval or for a sense of belonging, to mark out superiority in status or to achieve a feeling of importance. These are our common currencies, our ways of advancing ourselves or diminishing others. But since a human being is more than his or her social uses, other, more fundamental ways of relating are possible. These forms of communion can consist in the joyful friendship of bookworms or the gritty pursuit of the truth about something together with people one would otherwise find unbearable.
Zena Hitz (Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life)
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)
A realm that is beautiful and spiritual, sustaining and transforming- we take for granted those attitudes toward the wild, but they were all but unknown in the West before the Deists and Romantics. Instead the wild was generally seen as loathsome and hideous, fearsome and threatening, desolate and evil and devilish. Hence, romantic and deist thought represents a transformation in our relationship to the natural world so profound it is difficult now to imagine it. Alexander von Humboldt was an international superstar, and his hugely influential science dispensed with God or the divine and proposed that romantic awe in the face of sublime wilderness derives from our “communion with nature” as a magisterial presence, “a unity in diversity of phenomena; a harmony, blending together all created things, one great whole animated by the breath of life.” Humboldt’s revolutionary ideas…were transformative for Thoreau, and for Walt Whitman, who kept Humboldt’s books on his desk as he wrong “Song of Myself.
David Hinton (The Wilds of Poetry: Adventures in Mind and Landscape)
Try to fancy poor Jesus, for example, coming to life again (actually, not doctrinally), and learning that he was the founder, the teacher, the exemplar, the very God of Christendom; fancy him searching for some trait of his own life and ruling principles in the lives and ruling principles of the millions who call themselves Christians; fancy him in spiritual communion with the Pope, the cardinals, the bishops (though their lackeys would never admit him to the presence of any of these), the most prominent ministers of the various Christian sects. He would find himself an outcast in his nominal kingdom, denounced and reviled as a madman, an idiot, an impostor; the moral and intellectual life of Christendom would be as alien and bewildering to him as its steamboats and railways and telegraphs. Paul and the other early apostles, the ancient heathenisms of Greece and Rome, of the East and the West, old philosophies and older superstitions, national characteristics, physical and other circumstances, the growth of science, the ever-varying conditions of life and modes of thought; everything, in brief, affecting the character of the converts, has affected the religion. By the time a doctrine gets embodied in a Church or other institution, its original spirit has nearly vanished. Its progress may be well compared to the course of a great river, rivers being remarkably convenient things for all such analogies. Some remotest mountain–rill or rocky well–spring has the honour of being termed its source; and the name of this tiny trickling is borne triumphant down a thousand broadening leagues to the sea. The rill is soon joined by others, each very like itself. As it flows onward, ever descending (for this is the universal law), it is joined by streamlets and rivers more and more unlike itself, they having flowed through unlike soils and regions; and more than one may be greater than itself, as the Missouri is greater than the Mississippi; and its own original waters are more and more modified by the new and various districts they traverse. As it proceeds, growing deeper and wider, villages and towns arise on its banks, and it receives copious tribute not merely of natural streams, but likewise of sewage and the pestilent refuse abominations of manifold factories and wharves. When it is become a mighty river, crowded with ships and bordered by some wealthy and populous capital, it may be a mere open cloaca maxima; and at any rate it must be as dissimilar in the quality of its waters as in their quantity and surroundings from the pure rill of the mountain solitudes, from the pure brook of the woodland shadows and pastoral peace. The waters actually from the fountain-head are but an insignificant drop in the vast and composite volumes of the thick bronze or yellow flood which finally disembogues through fat flat lowlands, in several devious channels with broad stretches of marsh and lagoon, into the immense purifying laboratory of the untainted salt sea. The remote rill-source is Christ or Mohammed, the mighty river is the Christian or Mohammedan Church; the sea in all cases is the encompassing ocean of death and oblivion, which makes life possible by preserving the earth from putrefaction.
James Thomson
Apparently deciding what it was easier to define primitive baptistry than closed communion, Miss Maudie said: 'Foot-washers believe anything that's pleasure is a sin. Did you know some of 'em came out of the woods one Saturday and passed by this place and told me me and my flowers were going to hell?' Your flowers, too?' Yes ma'am, They'd burn right with me. They thought I spent too much time in God's outdoors and not enough time inside the house reading the Bible.
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)