Communion With God Quotes

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Like when you sit in front of a fire in winter — you are just there in front of the fire. You don't have to be smart or anything. The fire warms you.
Desmond Tutu
what if the man could see Beauty Itself, pure, unalloyed, stripped of mortality, and all its pollution, stains, and vanities, unchanging, divine,...the man becoming in that communion, the friend of God, himself immortal;...would that be a life to disregard?
Plato (The Symposium)
Prayer does change things, all kinds of things. But the most important thing it changes is us. As we engage in this communion with God more deeply and come to know the One with whom we are speaking more intimately, that growing knowledge of God reveals to us all the more brilliantly who we are and our need to change in conformity to Him. Prayer changes us profoundly.
R.C. Sproul (The Prayer of the Lord)
To love is to be in communion with the other and to discover in that other the spark of God.
Paulo Coelho (By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept)
Don't tell anyone, but on the pagan day of the sun god Ra, I kneel at the foot of an ancient instrument of torture and consume ritualistic symbols of blood and flesh. ...And if any of you care to join me, come to the Harvard chapel on Sunday, kneel beneath the crucifix, and take Holy Communion.
Dan Brown (The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3))
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))
I will tell you why we have these extraordinary minds and souls, Miss Whittaker," he continued, as though he had not heard her. "We have them because there is a supreme intelligence in the universe, which wishes for communion with us. This supreme intelligence longs to be known. It calls out to us. It draws us close to its mystery, and grants us these remarkable minds, in order that we try to reach for it. It wants us to find it. It wants union with us, more than anything.
Elizabeth Gilbert (The Signature of All Things)
The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay on the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to him is not to believe that he loves you.
John Owen (Communion with God)
I believe that a godly home is a foretaste of heaven. Our homes, imperfect as they are, must be a haven from the chaos outside. They should be a reflection of our eternal home, where troubled souls find peace, weary hearts find rest, hungry bodies find refreshment, lonely pilgrims find communion, and wounded spirits find compassion.
Jani Ortlund
Suppose neutral angels were able to talk, Yahweh and Lucifer – God and Satan, to use their popular titles – into settling out of court. What would be the terms of the compromise? Specifically, how would they divide the assets of their early kingdom? Would God be satisfied the loaves and fishes and itty-bitty thimbles of Communion wine, while Satan to have the red-eye gravy, eighteen-ounce New York Stakes, and buckets of chilled champagne? Would God really accept twice-a-month lovemaking for procreative purposes and give Satan the all night, no-holds-barred, nasty “can’t-get-enough-of-you” hot-as-hell-fucks? Think about it. Would Satan get New Orleans, Bangkok, and the French Riviera and God get Salt Lake City? Satan get ice hockey, God get horseshoes? God get bingo, Satan get stud poker? Satan get LSD; God, Prozac? God get Neil Simon; Satan Oscar Wilde?
Tom Robbins
Prayer is the spontaneous response of the believing heart to God. Those truly transformed by Jesus Christ find themselves lost in wonder and joy of communion with Him. Prayer is as natural for the Christian as breathing
John F. MacArthur Jr.
God cannot honor anything, no matter its degree of sincerity, if it is contrary to His Word.
Leslie Ludy (Wrestling Prayer: A Passionate Communion with God)
marriage is foremost a vocation. Two people are called together to fulfill a mission that God has given them. Marriage is a spiritual reality. That is to say, a man and a woman come together for life, not just because they experience deep love for each other, but because they believe that God loves each of them with an infinite love and has called them to each other to be living witnesses of that love. To love is to embody God's infinite love in a faithful communion with another human being.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (Here and Now: Living in the Spirit)
If you don't pray often, you won't gain a love for praying. Prayer is work, and therefore it is not very appealing to our natural sensibilities. But the simple rule for prayer is this: Begin praying and your taste for prayer will increase. The more you pray, the more you will acquire the desire for prayer, the energy for prayer, and the sense of purpose in prayer.
Leslie Ludy (Wrestling Prayer: A Passionate Communion with God)
Depend upon it, my friends, if you get tired of the Word of God, and it becomes wearisome to you, you are out of communion with Him.
Dwight L. Moody (Pleasure And Profit In Bible Study And Anecdotes, Incidents And Illustrations)
Every day He humbles Himself just as He did when from from His heavenly throne into the Virgin's womb; every day He comes to us and lets us see Him in lowliness, when He descends from the bosom of the Father into the hands of the priest at the altar.
Francis of Assisi
Professor Langdon,' called a young man with curly hair in the back row, 'if Masonry is not a secret society, not a corporation, and not a religion, then what is it?' 'Well, if you were to ask a Mason, he would offer the following definition: Masonry is a system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.' 'Sounds to me like a euphemism for "freaky cult." ' 'Freaky, you say?' 'Hell yes!' the kid said, standing up. 'I heard what they do inside those secret buildings! Weird candlelight rituals with coffins, and nooses, and drinking wine out of skulls. Now that's freaky!' Langdon scanned the class. 'Does that sound freaky to anyone else?' 'Yes!' they all chimed in. Langdon feigned a sad sigh. 'Too bad. If that's too freaky for you, then I know you'll never want to join my cult.' Silence settled over the room. The student from the Women's Center looked uneasy. 'You're in a cult?' Langdon nodded and lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. 'Don't tell anyone, but on the pagan day of the sun god Ra, I kneel at the foot of an ancient instrument of torture and consume ritualistic symbols of blood and flesh.' The class looked horrified. Langdon shrugged. 'And if any of you care to join me, come to the Harvard chapel on Sunday, kneel beneath the crucifix, and take Holy Communion.' The classroom remained silent. Langdon winked. 'Open your minds, my friends. We all fear what we do not understand.
Dan Brown (The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3))
I hope I do not offend God by making my Communions in the frame of mind I have been describing. The command, after all, was Take, eat: not Take, understand.
C.S. Lewis (Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer)
Jesus was not revolutionary because he said we should love God and each other. Moses said that first. So did Buddha, Confucius, and countless other religious leaders we've never heard of. Madonna, Oprah, Dr. Phil, the Dali Lama, and probably a lot of Christian leaders will tell us that the point of religion is to get us to love each other. "God loves you" doesn't stir the world's opposition. However, start talking about God's absolute authority, holiness, ... Christ's substitutionary atonement, justification apart from works, the necessity of new birth, repentance, baptism, Communion, and the future judgment, and the mood in the room changes considerably.
Michael S. Horton (Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church)
Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks' wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church's inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of using and spending it are infinite. What would grace be if it were not cheap?... Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him. Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: "ye were bought at a price," and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship)
Make sure that when you touch the other person, all your five senses are working, because sex has a life of its own. The moment you begin, you’re no longer in control; it takes control of you. And whatever you bring to it, your fears, your desires, your sensibility will remain. That’s why people become impotent. When you have sex, take with you to bed only love and your senses, all five of them. Only then will you experience communion with God.
Paulo Coelho
The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with his death—we give over our lives to death. Thus it begins; the cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise god-fearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ. When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship)
Will I find spiritual communion with God sweet enough, and hope in his promises deep enough, not just to cope, but to flourish and rejoice in him?
John Piper (A Hunger for God)
The voice of the Spirit is as gentle as a zephyr, so gentle that unless you are living in perfect communion with God, you never hear it.
Oswald Chambers
Praying actualizes and deepens our communion with God. Our prayer can and should arise above all from our heart, from our needs, our hopes, our joys, our sufferings, from our shame over sin, and from our gratitude from the good. It can and should be a wholly personal prayer.
Benedict XVI (Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration)
I wish I could describe the feeling of being at sea, the anguish, frustration, and fear, the beauty that accompanies threatening spectacles, the spiritual communion with creatures in whose domain I sail. There is a magnificent intensity in life that comes when we are not in control but are only reacting, living, surviving. I am not a religious man per se. My own cosmology is convoluted and not in line with any particular church or philosphy. But for me, to go to sea is to glimpse the face of God. At sea i am reminded of my insignificance-- of all men's insignificance. It is a wonderful feeling to be so humbled.
Steve Callahan
Christians should put survival of the planet ahead of national security...Here is the mystery of our global responsibility: that we are in communion with Christ- and we are in communion with all people...The fact that the people of Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Russia, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia are our brothers and sisters is not obvious. People kill each other by the thousands and do not see themselves as brothers and sisters. If we want to be real peace-makers, national security cannot be our primary concern. Our primary concern should be survival of humanity, the survival of the planet, and the health of all people. Whether we are Russians, Iraqis, Ethiopians, or North Americans, we belong to the same human family that God loves. And we have to start taking some risks- not just individually, but risks of a more global quality, risks to let other people develop their own independence, risks to share our wealth with others and invite refugees to our country, risks to offer sanctuary- because we are people of God
Henri J.M. Nouwen
Soul grows in communion. Word by word, story by story, for better or worse, we build our world. From true conversation - speaking and listening - communication deepens into compassion and creates community.
Sam Keen (Hymns to an Unknown God: Awakening The Spirit In Everyday Life)
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)
Because the Christian God is not a lonely God, but rather a communion of three persons, faith leads human beings into the divine communion. One cannot, however, have a self-enclosed communion with the Triune God- a "foursome," as it were-- for the Christian God is not a private deity. Communion with this God is at once also communion with those others who have entrusted themselves in faith to the same God. Hence one and the same act of faith places a person into a new relationship both with God and with all others who stand in communion with God.
Miroslav Volf (After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity)
When I was very young and in the cave of Trophonius I forgot to laugh. Then, when I got older, when I opened my eyes and saw the real world, I began to laugh and I haven’t stopped since. I saw that the meaning of life was to get a livelihood, that the goal of life was to be a High Court judge, that the bright joy of love was to marry a well-off girl, that the blessing of friendship was to help each other out of a financial tight spot, that wisdom was what the majority said it was, that passion was to give a speech, that courage was to risk being fined 10 rix-dollars, that cordiality was to say ‘You’re welcome’ after a meal, and that the fear of God was to go to communion once a year. That’s what I saw. And I laughed.
Søren Kierkegaard (Either/Or: A Fragment of Life)
The nearer you approach to God, the less you reason and argue. When you attain Him, then all sounds—all reasoning and disputing—come to an end. Then you go into samadhi—sleep—, into communion with God in silence.
Ramakrishna
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
Prayer is communion with God.
Andrew Wommack (A Better Way to Pray: If Your Prayer Life Is Not Working, Consider Changing Directions)
Remember, you are held safe. You are loved. You are protected. You are in communion with God and with those whom God has sent you. What is of God will last. It belongs to the eternal life. Choose it, and it will be yours.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (The Inner Voice of Love)
If Christ has been given us, if we are called to his discipleship we are given all things, literally _all_ things. He will see to it that they are added unto us. If we follow Jesus and look only to His righteousness, we are in his hands and under the protection of Him and His Father. And if we are in communion with the Father, nought can harm us. God will help us in the hour of need, and He knows our needs.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship)
We mustn't claim to stand for our King but then deny Him by living a fleshly existence. Our King's Mighties don't shy away from the blazing searchlight of God's Word, but rather, willingly expose their souls and cry, 'Dear King, if there be anything that stands between You and me, if there be anything that shrouds Your glory, if there be anything that will weaken my sword in battle, purge it, slay it, utterly destroy it!
Eric Ludy (Wrestling Prayer: A Passionate Communion with God)
To care means first of all to empty our own cup and to allow the other to come close to us. It means to take away the many barriers which prevent us from entering into communion with the other. When we dare to care, then we discover that nothing human is foreign to us, but that all the hatred and love, cruelty and compassion, fear and joy can be found in our own hearts. When we dare to care, we have to confess that when others kill, I could have killed too. When others torture, I could have done the same. When others heal, I could have healed too. And when others give life, I could have done the same. Then we experience that we can be present to the soldier who kills, to the guard who pesters, to the young man who plays as if life has no end, and to the old man who stopped playing out of fear for death. By the honest recognition and confession of our human sameness, we can participate in the care of God who came, not to the powerful but powerless, not to be different but the same, not to take our pain away but to share it. Through this participation we can open our hearts to each other and form a new community.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life)
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)
Faith is the road, but communion with Jesus is the well from which the pilgrim drinks.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
And the flesh is that reprehensible preference for self that lurks within every one of our hearts. It is that base and selfish instinct to preserve our own interests at the expense of God's interests. It's devious, it's deceitful, it's self-indulgent. It's interested only in selfish comfort and will happily crucify Christ afresh to secure it. God also has another name for it- sin.
Eric Ludy (Wrestling Prayer: A Passionate Communion with God)
The church is constituted as a new people who have been gathered from the nations to remind the world that we are in fact one people. Gathering, therefore, is an eschatological act as it is the foretaste of the unity of the communion of the saints.
Stanley Hauerwas (In Good Company: The Church as Polis)
Communion gives us warmth. Singleness gives us light. At immeasurable distance stands one single star at the zenith. This star is the God and goal of humanity. In this world one is Abraxas, creater and destroyer of one's world.
C.G. Jung (O Livro Vermelho - Liber Novus)
The love of God is like himself – equal, constant, not capable of augmentation or diminution; our love is like ourselves – unequal, increasing, waning, growing, declining. His, like the sun, always the same in its light, though a cloud may sometimes interpose; ours, as the moon, has its enlargements and straightenings.
John Owen (Communion with the Triune God)
Authentic faith leads us to treat others with unconditional seriousness and to a loving reverence for the mystery of the human personality. Authentic Christianity should lead to maturity, personality, and reality. It should fashion whole men and women living lives of love and communion. False, manhandled religion produces the opposite effect. Whenever religion shows contempt or disregards the rights of persons, even under the noblest pretexts, it draws us away from reality and God.
Brennan Manning (The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out)
Religious despair is often a defense against boredom and the daily grind of existence. Lacking intensity in our lives, we say that we are distant from God and then seek to make that distance into an intense experience. It is among the most difficult spiritual ailments to heal, because it is usually wholly illusory. There are definitely times when we must suffer God’s absence, when we are called to enter the dark night of the soul in order to pass into some new understanding of God, some deeper communion with him and with all creation. But this is very rare, and for the most part our dark nights of the soul are, in a way this is more pathetic than tragic, wishful thinking. God is not absent. He is everywhere in the world we are too dispirited to love. To feel him — to find him — does not usually require that we renounce all worldly possessions and enter a monastery, or give our lives over to some cause of social justice, or create some sort of sacred art, or begin spontaneously speaking in tongues. All to often the task to which we are called is simply to show a kindness to the irritating person in the cubicle next to us, say, or to touch the face of a spouse from whom we ourselves have been long absent, letting grace wake love from our intense, self-enclosed sleep.
Christian Wiman (My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer)
A temple, first of all, is a place of prayer; and prayer is communion with God. It is the 'infinite in man seeking the infinite in God.' Where they find each other, there is holy sanctuary--a temple.
B.H. Roberts
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)
But if there was ever a time for us to go to extremes for our God, it is now. The truth of the gospel is being diluted, dumbed down, and trampled upon by the very ones entrusted to keep it sacred and whole. It may seem 'unnecessary' to get on your knees for multiple hours each and every day, but, may I remind you that unless someone rises up and says, 'Lord, I'm willing to travail,' there are lives, promises, and spiritual realities that will not be born into our day and age. Effectual, fervent prayer is how God changes this world and bestows upon it the beauty, grace and power that He purchased at the cross.
Leslie Ludy (Wrestling Prayer: A Passionate Communion with God)
Would a soul continually eye His everlasting tenderness and compassion...[then] it could not bear an hour's absence from Him; whereas now, perhaps, it cannot watch with him one hour.
John Owen (Communion with the Triune God)
The person who waits upon moods in impoverished. If the painter only wanted to paint when in the mood for it, he would not get very far. In religion, as in art and science, along with the times of high excitement, there are times of sober work and practice. We must practice our communion with God, otherwise we will not find the right tone, the right word, the right language, when God surprises us with his presence.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Meditating on the Word)
Looking back over my own life I here declare without apology that it is the study of God's Word, year after year, close communion with Christ, and great books that have nourished my soul in wondrous ways. Such authors as Fenelon, Henry Drummond, F. B. Meyer, G. Campbell Morgan, Martyn Lloyd Jones, A. W. Tozer, Hannah Whitehall Smith Oswald Chambers, Andrew Murray and John Stott have each, with their own special insights, enriched my life beyond measure.
W. Phillip Keller (Strength of Soul: The Sacred Use of Time)
If our spiritually dead ones are to be raised, we must first get power with God. The reason we so often fail in moving our fellowmen is that we try to win them without first getting power with God. Jesus was in communion with His Father, and so He could be assured that His prayers were heard. We
Dwight L. Moody (Prevailing Prayer)
The absolute basic belief that every child of God must come to is that if he or she lives in obedience to God's Word and in joyous harmony with our Father, nothing can impinge on his life except by His permission. To live in close communion with Christ is to experience daily the calm assurance of God's complete care and management of every detail in our walk with Him. No matter if trials or turmoil come. No matter if there is trouble. No matter if there is pain or poverty. Each is for a supreme purpose understood best by my Father, but allowed to impact me for my ultimate benefit, and for His honor.
W. Phillip Keller (Strength of Soul: The Sacred Use of Time)
When people quit talking to God, they quit talking to one another. And people who quit talking to God soon get very lonely and depressed. They are actually lonely for God, hungering for communion with Him, yearning for His close love and nearness; but instead of recognizing these needs as spiritual, they blame their lack of fulfillment on their husbands or wives.
David Wilkerson (Have You Felt Like Giving Up Lately?)
The liturgy of the Eucharist is best understood as a journey or procession. It is the journey of the Church into the dimension of the Kingdom. We use the word 'dimension' because it seems the best way to indicate the manner of our sacramental entrance into the risen life of Christ. Color transparencies 'come alive' when viewed in three dimensions instead of two. The presence of the added dimension allows us to see much better the actual reality of what has been photographed. In very much the same way, though of course any analogy is condemned to fail, our entrance into the presence of Christ is an entrance into a fourth dimension which allows us to see the ultimate reality of life. It is not an escape from the world, rather it is the arrival at a vantage point from which we can see more deeply into the reality of the world.
Alexander Schmemann (For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy)
Ironically, it was the father's blessing that actually "financed" the prodigal son's trip away from the Father's face! and it was the son's new revelation of his poverty of heart that propelled him back into his Father's arms. Sometimes we use the very blessings that God gives us to finance our journey away from the centrality of Christ. It's very important that we return back to ground zero, to the ultimate eternal goal of abiding with the Father's in intimate communion. (pg. 243)
Tommy Tenney (The God Chasers: "My Soul Follows Hard After Thee")
Sin is a lonely thing, a worm wrapped around the soul, shielding it from love, from joy, from communion with fellow men and with God. The sense that I am alone, that none can hear me, none can understand, that no one answers my cries, it is a sickness over which, to borrow from Bernanos, “the vast tide of divine love, that sea of living, roaring flame which gave birth to all things, passes vainly.” Your job, it seems, would be to find a crack through which some sort of communication can be made, one soul to another.
Phil Klay (Redeployment)
Unlike 'other' religious belief systems in competition with Christianity, we have not been called to become 'absorbed' into the deity but rather brought into communion with God through union with Christ thereby maintaining our unique individuality and personal identity
R. Alan Woods (Apologia: A Collection of Christian Essays)
No unwelcome tasks become any the less unwelcome by putting them off till tomorrow. It is only when they are behind us and done, that we begin to find that there is a sweetness to be tasted afterwards, and that the remembrance of unwelcome duties unhesitatingly done is welcome and pleasant. Accomplished, they are full of blessing, and there is a smile on their faces as they leave us. Undone, they stand threatening and disturbing our tranquility, and hindering our communion with God. If there be lying before you any bit of work from which you shrink, go straight up to it, and do it at once. The only way to get rid of it is to do it.
Alexander MacLaren
He had never missed God or the hope of heaven, but he had dearly wanted confession to rest his mind, Communion to let him touch something beyond Father Krone's dry, shaky hand, and holy water to taste like starlight.
Peter S. Beagle (The Folk of the Air)
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 purpose of Lent is not to force on us a few formal obligations, but to ‘soften’ our heart so that it may open itself to the realities of the spirit, to experience the hidden ‘thirst and hunger’ for communion with God.
Alicia Britt Chole (40 Days of Decrease: A Different Kind of Hunger. A Different Kind of Fast.)
A prayerless soul is a Christless soul. Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus. It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honour of a Christian. If thou be a child of God, thou wilt seek thy Father's face, and live in thy Father's love. Pray that this year thou mayst be holy, humble, zealous, and patient; have closer communion with Christ,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Prayer is the natural outgushing of a soul in communion with Jesus. Just as the leaf and the fruit will come out of the vine-branch without any conscious effort on the part of the branch, but simply because of its living union with the stem, so prayer buds, and blossoms, and fruits out of souls abiding in Jesus.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Encouraged to Pray: Classic Sermons on Prayer)
The inner throne of man is both what the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of Lucifer are after. And when this throne is yielded to the Almighty God, a man enters upon the sacred path of greatness right then and there...The destiny of a human soul depends entirely on who sits upon the throne of that soul...when the flesh is removed from its position of power, the human soul is made ready to usher in the glory of its true and rightful King
Eric Ludy (Wrestling Prayer: A Passionate Communion with God)
It is this personal knowledge that is the basis of discipleship, and it involves more than reading the Bible, memorizing Scripture, and praying. It is intimately walking in communion with the Father through living, loving, and spending time with God.
Robby Gallaty (Growing Up: How to Be a Disciple Who Makes Disciples)
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)
All love tends to become like that which it loves. God loved man; therefore He became man. For nine months her own body was the natural Eucharist, in which God shared communion with human life, thus preparing for that greater Eucharist when human life would commune with the Divine. Mary’s joy was to form Christ in her own body; her joy now is to form Christ in our souls. In this Mystery, we pray to become pregnant with the Christ spirit, giving Him new lips with which He may speak of His Father, new hands with which He may feed the poor, and a new heart with which He may love everyone, even enemies.
Fulton J. Sheen
Dear God," she said. She was shuddering suddenly and the tears came back and she looked past me into the light overhead. "If I can't trust you, then there is no one." "I love you" I said. "I don't care about any of it, I swear. I love you." Holy Communion," she said. squeezing her eyes so the tears came out. Yes Holy Communion, my darling," I said.
Anne Rampling (Belinda)
If loving and communing with God isn’t your primary purpose in prayer, you’re missing out on what Christianity is all about!
Andrew Wommack (A Better Way to Pray: If Your Prayer Life Is Not Working, Consider Changing Directions)
Prayer is communion with God. It’s fellowship, relationship, and intimacy with Him.
Andrew Wommack (A Better Way to Pray: If Your Prayer Life Is Not Working, Consider Changing Directions)
Living things grow gradually, and communion with God, being the supreme of all living realities, likewise matures imperceptibly,
Thomas Dubay (Fire Within)
Believers obey Christ as the one whom our obedience is accepted by God. Believers know all their duties are weak, imperfect, and unable to abide in God's presence. Therefore they look to Christ as the one who bears the iniquity of their holy things, who adds incense to their prayers, gathers out all the weeds from their duties and makes them acceptable to God.
John Owen (Communion with God)
Many ask, "Shall we first acquire material success to fulfill our worldly obligations, and then seek God? Or should we have God first and then go after success?" By all means, God first. Never begin or end your day without communion with Him in deep meditation. We should remember that we could not perform any duties without the power borrowed from God. So it is to Him we owe our first allegiance. If you do your other duties but forget God, He doesn't like that at all. The ideal is to perform all duties with the sole desire to please God.
Paramahansa Yogananda (Journey to Self-Realization (Collected Talks and Essays, Vol 3))
Too much attention to a particular sin or sins, and/or too little attention to communion with God (two things that often occur in tandem) inevitably shrivel the soul of a Christian.
Donald S. Whitney (Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health (TrueColors))
There is joy in hell when a saint grows idle! There is gladness among devils when we cease to pray, when we become slack in faith and feeble in communion with God.”–1893, Sermon 2303
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Spurgeon Gems)
No soul ever fell away from God without giving up prayer. Prayer is that which establishes contact with Divine Power and opens the invisible resources of heaven. However dark the way, when we pray, temptation can never master us. The first step downward in the average soul is the giving up of the practice of prayer, the breaking of the circuit with divinity, and the proclamation of one’s owns self sufficiency.
Fulton J. Sheen (Characters of the Passion: Lessons on Faith and Trust)
Belonging is for becoming . . . if for some reason it becomes stifling, then the person may have to take the risk of moving on, no matter how painful the separation may be. Community as such is never an end in itself. It is people and love and communion with God that are the goal. But, of course, a separation of this kind comes only after mature discernment and not just because being in community is painful or because there is a new leader we do not like!
Jean Vanier (Community And Growth)
In Jesus Christ there is no isolation of man from God or of God from man. Rather, in Him we encounter the history, the dialogue, in which God and man meet together and are together, the reality of the covenant MUTUALLY contracted, preserved, and fulfilled by them. Jesus Christ is in His one Person, as true GOD, MAN'S loyal partner, and as true MAN, GOD'S. He is the Lord humbled for communion with man and likewise the Servant exalted to communion with God.
Karl Barth (The Humanity of God)
Debarred from public worship, David was heartsick. Ease he did not seek, honour he did not covet, but the enjoyment of communion with God was an urgent need of his soul; he viewed it not merely as the sweetest of all luxuries, but as an absolute necessity, like water to a stag. Like the parched traveler in the wilderness, whose skin bottle is empty, and who finds the wells dry, he must drink or die – he must have his God or faint. His soul, his very self, his deepest life, was insatiable for a sense of the divine presence. . . . Give him his God and he is as content as the poor deer which at length slakes its thirst and is perfectly happy; but deny him his Lord, and his heart heaves, his bosom palpitates, his whole frame is convulsed, like one who gasps for breath, or pants with long running. Dear friend, dost thou know what this is, by personally having felt the same? It is a sweet bitterness. The next best thing to living in the light of the Lord’s love is to be unhappy till we have it, and to pant hourly after it – hourly, did I say? Thirst is a perpetual appetite, and not to be forgotten, and even thus continually is the heart’s longing after God. When it is as natural for us to long for God as for an animal to thirst, it is well with our souls, however painful our feelings
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
We deem it opportune to remind our children of their duty to take an active part in public life and to contribute toward the attainment of the common good of the entire human family as well as to that of their own political community. They should endeavor, therefore, in the light of their Christian faith and led by love, to insure that the various institutions—whether economic, social, cultural or political in purpose—should be such as not to create obstacles, but rather to facilitate or render less arduous man’s perfecting of himself in both the natural order and the supernatural.... Every believer in this world of ours must be a spark of light, a center of love, a vivifying leaven amidst his fellow men. And he will be this all the more perfectly, the more closely he lives in communion with God in the intimacy of his own soul
Pope John XXIII (Pacem in Terris: On Establishing Universal Peace)
Dr. Urbino caught the parrot around the neck with a triumphant sigh: ça y est. But he released him immediately because the ladder slipped from under his feet and for an instant he was suspended in the air and then he realized that he had died without Communion, without time to repent of anything or to say goodbye to anyone, at seven minutes after four on Pentecost Sunday. Fermina Daza was in the kitchen tasting the soup for supper when she heard Digna Pardo's horrified shriek and the shouting of the servants and then of the entire neighborhood. She dropped the tasting spoon and tried to run despite the invincible weight of her age, screaming like a madwoman without knowing yet what had happened under the mango leaves, and her heart jumped inside her ribs when she saw her man lying on his back in the mud, dead to this life but still resisting death's final blow for one last minute so that she would have time to come to him. He recognized her despite the uproar, through his tears of unrepeatable sorrow at dying without her, and he looked for her for the last and final time with eyes more luminous, more grief-stricken, more grateful that she had ever seen them in the half century of a shared life, and he managed to say to her with his last breath: "Only God knows how much I loved you.
Gabriel García Márquez (Love in the Time of Cholera)
And in the Incarnation the whole human race recovers the dignity of the image of God. Henceforth, any attack even on the least of men is an attack on Christ, who took the form of man, and in his own Person restored the image of God in all that bears a human form. Through fellowship and communion with the incarnate Lord, we recover our true humanity, and at the same time we are delivered from that individualism which is the consequence of sin, and retrieve our solidarity with the whole human race. By being partakers of Christ incarnate, we are partakers in the whole humanity which he bore. We now know that we have been taken up and borne in the humanity of Jesus, and therefore that new nature we now enjoy means that we too must bear the sins and sorrows of others. The incarnate Lord makes his followers the brothers of all mankind.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship)
[91] Why Should It Be Necessary? “But if God is so good as you represent Him, and if He knows all that we need, and better far than we do ourselves, why should it be necessary to ask Him for anything?” I answer, What if He knows Prayer to be the thing we need first and most? What if the main object in God’s idea of prayer be the supplying of our great, our endless need—the need of Himself?…Hunger may drive the runaway child home, and he may or may not be fed at once, but he needs his mother more than his dinner. Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other need: prayer is the beginning of that communion, and some need is the motive of that prayer
George MacDonald (An Anthology: 365 Readings)
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
So when we get really into communion with God, He lifts up His countenance upon us; and instead of our having gloomy looks, our faces will shine, because God has heard and answered our prayers. Jesus,
Dwight L. Moody (Prevailing Prayer)
That sort of alchemy, assigning a meaning---turning what some might view as the lowly act of foraging into a direct communion with God, for instance---is often the only sort of power a poor person has.
Sarah Smarsh (Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth)
Food is a gift of God given to all creatures for the purposes of life’s nurture, sharing, and celebration. When it is done in the name of God, eating is the earthly realization of God’s eternal communion-building love.
Norman Wirzba (Food and Faith)
God wants man to be His creature. Furthermore, He wants him to be His PARTNER. There is a causa Dei in the world. God wants light, not darkness. He wants cosmos, not chaos. He wants peace, not disorder. He wants man to administer and to receive justice rather than to inflict and to suffer injustice. He wants man to live according to the Spirit rather than according to the flesh. He wants man bound and pledged to Him rather than to any other authority. He wants man to live and not to die. Because He wills these things God is Lord, Shepherd, and Redeemer of man, who in His holiness and mercy meets His creature; who judges and forgives, rejects and receives, condemns and saves.
Karl Barth (The Humanity of God)
But the very ransomed children of God themselves: why do they know so little of that habitual conscious communion with God which the Scriptures seem to offer? The answer is our chronic unbelief. Faith enables our spiritual sense to function. Where faith is defective the result will be inward insensibility and numbness toward spiritual things.
A.W. Tozer (The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine)
[M]ake much of the written word, and pray to God to copy his Bible in your conscience, and write a new book of his doctrine in your hearts.
Samuel Rutherford (Fourteen Communion Sermons)
This was to be their place- outside of communion- forever. Maybe we call this the opposite of God.
Gregory J. Boyle (Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion)
  Man and woman were made “for each other”—not that God left them half-made and incomplete: he created them to be a communion of persons,
The Catholic Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church)
Hearing God cannot be a reliable and intelligible fact of life except when we see his speaking as one aspect of his presence with us, of his life in us. Only our communion with God provides the appropriate context for communications between us and him.
Dallas Willard (Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God)
As I watch my priest lay the communion table for the gathered believers, I remember why eating attentively is worth all the effort: The table is not only a place where we can become present to God. The table is also a place where He becomes present to us.
Lauren F. Winner
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
The Christian mystic therefore is one for whom God and Christ are not merely objects of belief, but living facts experimentally known first hand; and mysticism for him becomes, in so far as he responds to its demands, a life based on this conscious communion with God
Carl McColman (The Big Book of Christian Mysticism: The Essential Guide to Contemplative Spirituality)
In the Eucharist we can find all the dimensions of communion: God communicates himself to us, we enter into communion with him, the participants of the sacrament enter into communion with one another, and creation as a whole enters through man into communion with God. All this takes place in Christ and the Spirit, who brings the last days into history and offers to the world a foretaste of the Kingdom.
John D. Zizioulas (Communion and Otherness: Further Studies in Personhood and the Church)
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.
Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom)
Cramming the stories of Israel into a modern mold of history writing not only makes the Bible look like utter nonsense; it also obscures what the Bible models for us about our own spiritual journey. On that journey, what matters most is not simply where we’ve been—the triumphs or the tragedies—but where we are with God now in the moment. All great spiritual leaders will tell us that living in the moment is key to vibrant communion with God. The now is where God’s presence is found, where neither past memories nor the future with its idle speculations dominates.
Peter Enns (The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It)
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)
He wants in His freedom actually not to be without man but WITH him and in the same freedom not against him but FOR him, and that apart from or even counter to what man deserves. He wants in fact to be man's partner, his almighty and compassionate Saviour. He chooses to give man the benefit of His power, which encompasses not only the high and the distant but also the deep and the near, in order to maintain communion with him in the realm guaranteed by His deity. He determines to love him, to be his God, his Lord, his compassionate Preserver and Saviour to eternal life, and to desire his praise and service.
Karl Barth (The Humanity of God)
Oh, there are those who remain proud and fierce even in hell, in spite of their certain knowledge and contemplation of irrefutable truth; there are terrible ones, wholly in communion with Satan and his proud spirit. For them hell is voluntary and insatiable; they are sufferers by their own will. For they have cursed themselves by cursing God and life. They feed on their wicked pride, as if a hungry man in the desert were to start sucking his own blood from his body. But they are insatiable unto ages of ages, and reject forgiveness, and curse God who calls to them. They cannot look upon the living God without hatred, and demand that there be no God of life, that God destroy himself and all his creation. And they will burn eternally in the fire of their wrath, thirsting for death and nonexistence. But they will not find death...
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
There is a deep and natural craving in the human heart that can be satisfied nowhere except in God. Our being in this world is a test, a preparation for the deepest state of spiritual communion. But most of us, suppressing our deepest longings and disdaining God, seek satisfaction from this world. Such a path can lead only to despair.
Sundar Singh
Nothing can fill the gap left by someone we love, and we should not attempt to find anything. We must simply endure and hold out. That may sound very harsh at first, but at the same time it is a great comfort, because as the hole that he has left remains unfilled, so the connection with him remains. It is wrong to say: ‘God, fill the hole.’ God doesn’t fill it at all. Rather he leaves it unfilled, and in this way he helps us to maintain our true communion with our loved one, even though it is painful.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Community and cooperation . . . Communion is based on some common inner expression of love; it is the recognition of being one body, one people, called by God to be a source of love and peace. Its fulfilment is more in silence than in words, more in celebration than in work . . . When a community is just a place of work, it is in danger of dying.
Jean Vanier (Community And Growth)
I cannot explain exactly how we are able to receive the power to serve and to endure through communion with God, but I know it is a fact. Are you in danger of being crushed by a heavy and difficult trial? Then seek communion with Christ and you will receive strength and the power to be victorious, for God has promised, “I will strengthen you” (Isa. 41:10).
Lettie B. Cowman (Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings)
Every woman deserves a Man who not only responds to her words, but to her silence as well!
Ramana Pemmaraju
The use of means for the obtaining of peace is ours; the bestowing of it is God's prerogative.
John Owen (The Works of John Owen: The Mortification Of Sin, Catechisms, Of Justification by Faith, Pneumatologia, Of Communion with God the Father, Son and Holy ... (27 Books With Active Table of Contents))
Love is not created as a result of certain conditions. Certain conditions are created as a result of love.
Neale Donald Walsch (Communion with God)
So much as we see of the love of God, so much shall we delight in him, and no more.
John Owen (Communion with God)
No matter how outlandishly audacious your prayers might sound in your own ears, they are nothing in light of God's willingness and ability to answer.
Leslie Ludy (Wrestling Prayer: A Passionate Communion with God)
We never feel Christ to be a reality, until we feel Him to be a necessity.
Austin Phelps (The Still Hour or Communion With God)
You’re the only person I know who can take communion despite not believing in God and not commit blasphemy. The only person I know.
Karl Ove Knausgård (Min kamp 2 (Min kamp #2))
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)
Christ took upon himself this human form of ours. He became Man even as we are men. In his humanity and his lowliness we recognize our own form. He has become like a man, so that men should be like him. And in the Incarnation the whole human race recovers the dignity of the image of God. Henceforth, any attack on the least of men is an attack on Christ, who took the form of man, and in his own Person restored the image of God in all that bears a human form. Through fellowship and communion with the incarnate Lord, we recover our true humanity, and at the same time we are delivered from that individualism which is the consequence of sin, and retrieve our solidarity with the whole human race. By being partakers of Christ incarnate, we are partakers in the whole humanity which he bore. We now know that we have been taken up and borne in the humanity of Jesus, and therefore that new nature we now enjoy means that we too must bear the sins and sorrows of others. The incarnate Lord makes his followers the brothers of all mankind. The “philanthropy” of God (Titus 3:4) revealed in the Incarnation is the ground of Christian love towards all on earth that bears the name of man. The form of Christ incarnate makes the Church into the Body of Christ. All the sorrows of mankind fall upon that form, and only through that form can they be borne.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship)
The blood: There's nothing like it, the sense of elation, the power. To think the life of a man is pouring into you. Think of communion, for God's sake. The hunger for blood takes people there.
Michael Schiefelbein (Vampire Vow (Vampires, #1))
What is Christianity? Christianity is that which brings a man or woman to a knowledge of God. Take our Lord’s own definition of eternal life: “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” That is Christianity—knowing God, not just believing a few things about God and living a nice little life. That is not Christianity. That is often nothing but morality or mere religion. The essence of this is entering into this realm into which you begin to know and have communion with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Experiencing the New Birth: Studies in John 3)
[The Lord's Supper teaches that] Rituals are good, and they are instituted and used by God to 'connect' his people with him. We learn through ritual that the church is not just made up of individuals, but is a corporate body. It is not just about personal salvation, but a group of people, the people of God, who are bound to one another and to the faithful through the generations. (page 263)
Peter Enns (Exodus (The NIV Application Commentary))
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)
To have God thus near is to enter the holy of holies—to breathe the fragrance of the heavenly air, to walk in Eden’s delightful gardens. Nothing but prayer can bring God and man into this happy communion.
E.M. Bounds (The Complete Collection of E. M. Bounds on Prayer)
I believe in Free Will, the Force Almighty by which we conduct ourselves as if we were the sons and daughters of a just and wise God, even if there is no such Supreme Being. And by free will, we can choose to do good on this earth, no matter that we all die, and do not know where we go when we die, or if a justice or explanation awaits us. I believe that we can, through our reason, know what good is, and in the communion of men and women, in which the forgiveness of wrongs will always be more significant than the avenging of them, and that in the beautiful natural world that surrounds us, we represent the best and the finest of beings, for we alone can see that natural beauty, appreciate it, learn from it, weep for it, and seek to conserve it and protect it. I believe finally that we are the only true moral force in the physical world, the makers of, ethics and moral ideas, and that we must be as good as the gods we created in the past to guide us. I believe that through our finest efforts, we will succeed finally in creating heaven on earth, and we do it every time that we love, every time that we embrace, every time that we commit to create rather than destroy, every time that we place life over death, and the natural over what is unnatural, insofar as we are able to define it. And I suppose I do believe in the final analysis that a peace of mind can be obtained in the face of the worst horrors and the worst losses. It can be obtained by faith in change and in will and in accident and by faith in ourselves, that we will do the right thing, more often than not, in the face of adversity. For ours is the power and the glory, because we are capable of visions and ideas which are ultimately stronger and more enduring than we are. That is my credo. That is my belief, for what it's worth, and it sustains me. And if I were to die right now, I wouldn't be afraid. Because I can't believe that horror or chaos awaits us. If any revelation awaits us at all, it must be as good as our ideals and our philosophy. For surely nature must embrace the visible and the invisible, and it couldn't fall short of us. The thing that makes the flowers open and the snowflakes fall must contain a wisdom and a final secret as intricate and beautiful as the blooming camellia or the clouds gathering above, so white and so pure in the blackness. If that isn't so, then we are in the grip of a staggering irony. And all the spooks of hell might as well dance. There could be a devil. People who burn other people to death are fine. There could be anything. But the world is simply to beautiful for that. At least it seems that way to me.
Anne Rice (The Witching Hour (Lives of the Mayfair Witches, #1))
Sweeping out of the inward positive reality, there is to be a positive manifestation externally. It is not just that we are dead to certain things, but we are to love God, we are to be alive to Him, we are to be in communion with Him, in this present moment in history. And we are to love men, to be alive to men as men, and to be in communication on a true personal level with men, in this present moment in history.
Francis A. Schaeffer (True Spirituality: How to Live for Jesus Moment by Moment)
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.)
One might think that those who feast most often on communion with God are least hungry. They turn often from the innocent pleasures of the world to linger more directly in the presence of God through the revelation of his Word. And there they eat the Bread of Heaven and drink the Living Water by meditation and faith. But, paradoxically, it is not so that they are the least hungry saints. The opposite is the case. The strongest, most mature Christians I have ever met are the hungriest for God. It might seem that those who eat most would be least hungry. But that’s not the way it works with an inexhaustible fountain, and an infinite feast, and a glorious Lord. When you take your stand on the finished work of God in Christ, and begin to drink at the River of Life and eat the Bread of Heaven, and know that you have found the end of all your longings,
John Piper (A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer)
There is the grievous fact of the loss of Eucharistic fragments because of Communion in the hand. No one can deny this. Fragments of the consecrated host fall to the floor and are subsequently crushed by feet. This is horrible! Our God is trampled on in our churches! No one can deny it. This is happening on a large scale. We cannot continue as if Jesus our God is not really present, as though the Eucharist is only bread. As I said before, the modern practice of Communion in the hand has nothing to do with the practice in the ancient Church.
Athanasius Schneider (Christus Vincit: Christ's Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age)
Consumerism is a restless spirit that is never content with any particular material thing. In this sense, consumerism has some affinities with Christian asceticism, which counsels a certain detachment from material things. The difference is that, in consumerism, detachment continually moves us from one product to another, whereas in Christian life, asceticism is a means to a greater attachment to God and to other people. We are consumers in the Eucharist, but in consuming the body of Christ we are transformed into the body of Christ, drawn into the divine life in communion with other people. We consume in the Eucharist, but we are thereby consumed by God.
William T. Cavanaugh (Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire)
If you have seen in silent prayer How the soul of the earth fashions crystals, If you have seen the flame in the growing seed And death in life and birth in decay, If you have found brothers in men and beasts, And if you recognized in the brother, the brother and God, Then you will celebrate at the table of the holy grail Communion with the messiah of love. You will search and you will find, just like God said, The way to the lost paradise.
Manfred Kyber
And morning came… It still comes. Our God is here, Emmanuel, among us, always coming towards us, always standing behind us, always standing up for us, always standing with us in solidarity in communion asking us to come with Him now as disciple, as follower, as believer, as a friend, as intimate beloved child of God, now and forever.
Megan McKenna (And Morning Came: Scriptures of the Resurrection)
of all things, the greatest, and most important, and most all-embracing, is this society in which human beings and God are associated together. From this are derived the generative forces to which not only my father and grandfather owe their origin, but also all beings that are born and grow on the earth, and especially rational beings, [5] since they alone are fitted by nature to enter into communion with the divine, being bound to God through reason.
Epictetus (Discourses, Fragments, Handbook)
Prayer is a meeting which nourishes our hearts. It is presence and communion. The secret of our being is in this kiss of God by which we know we are loved and forgiven. In our deepest selves, below the levels of action and understanding, there is a vulnerable heart, a child who loves but is afraid to love. Silent prayer nourishes this deep place.
Jean Vanier (Community And Growth)
We can’t afford to be complacent about God’s glory. The fact is that putting your Christian life on autopilot is the same thing as “walking in the flesh.” When we become unaware, when we take something so precious for granted, our prayers become tedious, witnessing becomes dry, jobs become lackluster, and relationships sag under the weight of selfishness. What’s worse, our communion with our Savior and best friend turns into a chore. The Lord Himself seems to lose vitality in our estimation; He becomes little more than a wooden icon in our hearts, a mere measuring rod for our behavior—someone who purchased our salvation once upon a time, someone in whom we believe in a general, distracted sort of way.
Joni Eareckson Tada (A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God's Sovereignty)
Since both the departed saints and we ourselves are in Christ, we share with them in the 'communion of saints.' They are still our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we celebrate the Eucharist they are there with us, along with the angels and archangels. Why then should we not pray for and with them? The reason the Reformers and their successors did their best to outlaw praying for the dead was because that had been so bound up with the notion of purgatory and the need to get people out of it as soon as possible. Once we rule out purgatory, I see no reason why we should not pray for and with the dead and every reason why we should - not that they will get out of purgatory but that they will be refreshed and filled with God's joy and peace. Love passes into prayer; we still love them; why not hold them, in that love, before God?
N.T. Wright (Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church)
The Church is a place where human beings have the conviction to patiently seek the truth together, in a shared life of charity, one that is both cosmopolitan and personal, both reasonable and religious, both philosophical and theological. This communion in the truth is made possible, however, only because people have first accepted to be apprenticed to revelation through a common effort of learning the truth from another (i.e., God), who is the author of truth, and from one another.
Thomas Joseph White (The Light of Christ: An Introduction to Catholicism)
I am just like you. My immediate response to most situations is with reactions of attachment, defensiveness, judgment, control, and analysis. I am better at calculating than contemplating. Let’s admit that we all start there. The False Self seems to have the “first gaze” at almost everything. The first gaze is seldom compassionate. It is too busy weighing and feeling itself: “How will this affect me?” or “How can I get back in control of this situation?” This leads us to an implosion, a self-preoccupation that cannot enter into communion with the other or the moment. In other words, we first feel our feelings before we can relate to the situation and emotion of the other. Only after God has taught us how to live “undefended,” can we immediately stand with and for the other, and in the present moment. It takes lots of practice. On my better days, when I am “open, undefended, and immediately present,” as Gerald May says, I can sometimes begin with a contemplative mind and heart. Often I can get there later and even end there, but it is usually a second gaze. The True Self seems to always be ridden and blinded by the defensive needs of the False Self. It is an hour-by-hour battle, at least for me. I can see why all spiritual traditions insist on daily prayer, in fact, morning, midday, evening, and before we go to bed, too! Otherwise, I can assume that I am back in the cruise control of small and personal self-interest, the pitiable and fragile “Richard self.
Richard Rohr (Radical Grace: Daily Meditations by Richard Rohr)
Transmogrification,” Langdon said. “The vestiges of pagan religion in Christian symbology are undeniable. Egyptian sun disks became the halos of Catholic saints. Pictograms of Isis nursing her miraculously conceived son Horus became the blueprint for our modern images of the Virgin Mary nursing Baby Jesus. And virtually all the elements of the Catholic ritual—the miter, the altar, the doxology, and communion, the act of “God-eating”—were taken directly from earlier pagan mystery religions.
Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon, #2))
I don't believe there is such a thing as unanswered prayer. There is misguided prayers, selfish prayers, and doubting prayers, but true prayer doesn't go unanswered - it is merely abandoned prematurely due to lack of persistence and faithful endurance.
Leslie Ludy (Wrestling Prayer: A Passionate Communion with God)
Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Faith will get me anything, take me anywhere in the kingdom of God; but without faith there can be no approach to God, no forgiveness, no deliverance, no salvation, no communion, no spiritual life at all. By
A.W. Tozer (The Pursuit of God)
The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them. It is God's love for us that He not only gives us His Word but also lends us His ear. So it is His work that we do for our brother and sister when we learn to listen to them.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community)
To make the State your god is to worship an idol, for the State is a man-made creation arising naturally out of tribal communion; but the soul, if such there be, is a god-made miracle and above all national or patriotic standards – the supreme and eternal reality.
Eden Phillpotts (Saurus (Classics of Science Fiction))
He had suffered many losses but still had an indomitable spirit. Years of deep and regular communion with God enabled him to live well with his significant limitations. He had learned to die daily to his false self, and as a result was amazingly gracious and openhearted, direct and wise. And he could laugh. He was someone I wanted to be around, so we began to meet a couple times a month. With me he minored in advice and double-majored in encouragement and perspective. At his stage in life he wasn’t trying to prove something. He just loved me.
Richard Plass (The Relational Soul: Moving from False Self to Deep Connection)
The most important criterion for discerning divine inspirations is the one that Jesus himself gives us in the Gospel: “A tree is known by its fruit.” An inspiration from God, if we follow it, will produce sound fruit: the fruits of peace, joy, charity, communion, and humility.
Jacques Philippe (In the School of the Holy Spirit)
Maintain a prayerful frame of heart in the intervals of duty. What reason can be assigned why our hearts are so dull, so careless, so wandering, when we hear or pray, but that there have been long intermissions in our communion with God? If that divine unction, that spiritual fervour, and those holy impressions, which we obtain from God while engaged in the performance of one duty, were preserved to enliven and engage us in the performance of another, they would be of incalculable service to keep our hearts serious and devout. For this purpose, frequent ejaculations between stated and solemn duties are of most excellent use: they not only preserve the mind in a composed and pious frame, but they connect one stated duty, as it were, with another, and keep the attention of the soul alive to all its interests and obligations.
John Flavel (Keeping the Heart (Puritan Classics))
At the heart of God is the desire to give and to forgive. Because of this, he set into motion the entire redemptive process that culminated in the cross and was confirmed in the resurrection. The usual notion of what Jesus did on the cross was something like this: people were so bad and so mean and God was so angry with them that he could not forgive them unless somebody big enough took the rap for the whole lot of them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Love, not anger, brought Jesus to the cross. Golgotha came as a result of God’s great desire to forgive, not his reluctance. Jesus knew that by his vicarious suffering he could actually absorb all the evil of humanity and so heal it, forgive it, redeem it. This is why Jesus refused the customary painkiller when it was offered him. He wanted to be completely alert for this greatest work of redemption. In a deep and mysterious way he was preparing to take on the collective sin of the human race. Since Jesus lives in the eternal now, this work was not just for those around him, but he took in all the violence, all the fear, all the sin of all the past, all the present, and all the future. This was his highest and most holy work, the work that makes confession and the forgiveness of sins possible…Some seem to think that when Jesus shouted “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” it was a moment of weakness (Mark 15:34). Not at all. This was his moment of greatest triumph. Jesus, who had walked in constant communion with the Father, now became so totally identified with humankind that he was the actual embodiment of sin. As Paul writes, “he made him to be sin who knew no sin (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus succeeded in taking into himself all of the dark powers of this present evil age and defeated every one of them by the light of his presence. He accomplished such a total identification with the sin of the race that he experienced the abandonment of God. Only in that way could he redeem sin. It was indeed his moment of greatest triumph. Having accomplished this greatest of all his works, Jesus then took refreshment. “It is finished,” he announced. That is, this great work of redemption was completed. He could feel the last dregs of the misery of humankind flow through him and into the care of the Father. The last twinges of evil, hostility, anger, and fear drained out of him, and he was able to turn again into the light of God’s presence. “It is finished.” The task is complete. Soon after, he was free to give up his spirit to the father. …Without the cross the Discipline of confession would be only psychologically therapeutic. But it is so much more. It involves and objective change in our relationship with God and a subjective change in us. It is a means of healing and transforming the inner spirit.
Richard J. Foster (Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth)
The world as man’s food is not something “material” and limited to material functions, thus different from, and opposed to, the specifically “spiritual” functions by which man is related to God. All that exists is God’s gift to man, and it all exists to make God known to man, to make man’s life communion with God. It is divine love made food, made life for man. God blesses everything He creates, and, in biblical language, this means that He makes all creation the sign and means of His presence and wisdom, love and revelation: “O taste and see that the Lord is good.
Alexander Schmemann (For the Life of the World)
It's only when we understand [Jesus'] presence in the church as being the fulfillment of God's promise in Zephaniah 3:17 to "quiet you with his love" and "rejoice over you with singing" that a crucial aspect of our salvation comes into perspective. Jesus didn't coldly settle accounts for us. He doesn't bark us into improving ourselves. He united us to himself in the glorious communion he has enjoyed for eternity with his heavenly Father. He resides within us to heal the broken places and refresh cauterized hearts. He sings us into a new mode of existence.... When, as Paul does, we imagine Jesus singing nations into submission to his rule, our hearts come joyfully under the sway of a love that is infinite and powerful.
Reggie M. Kidd (With One Voice: Discovering Christ's Song in Our Worship)
God is not grieved that indwelling sin remains in us, as a father does not lament the weak muscles of his infant. But God is grieved (like any father) when the child he loves willfully disobeys him. In response to our willful sins, God is pained, and he will often choose, for a time, to send into our lives dark clouds that hide his face and “suspend his influence” in our communion with him (Psalm 51; Eph. 4:30). Our justification remains untouched. But the lack of our experienced communion with him and the drought of our joys and affections are intended to expose our weaknesses.
Tony Reinke (Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ (Theologians on the Christian Life))
Langdon feigned a sad sigh. "Too bad. If that's too freaky for you, then I know you'll never want to join my cult." Silence settled over the room. The student from the Women's Center looked uneasy. "You're in a cult?" Langdon nodded and lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. "Don't tell anyone, but on the pagan day of the sun god Ra, I kneel at the foot of an ancient instrument of torture and consume ritualistic symbols of blood and flesh." The class looked horrified. Langdon shrugged. "And if any of you care to join me, come to the Harvard chapel on Sunday, kneel beneath the crucifix, and take Holy Communion." The classroom remained silent. Langdon winked. "Open your minds, my friends. We all fear what we do not understand.
Dan Brown (The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3))
All social intercourse between human beings is a response of personality to personality, grading upward from the most casual brush between man and man to the fullest, most intimate communion of which the human soul is capable. Religion, so far as it is genuine, is in essence the response of created personalities to the Creating Personality, God. "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
A.W. Tozer (The Pursuit of God)
Very occasionally, a simplified form of communion and of adult baptism for new members of the church would be enacted but no Separatist was ever married in church, because there is no hint of a marriage ceremony in scripture and the primitive church had not considered marriage a sacrament before AD 537.
Adam Nicolson (God's Secretaries : The Making of the King James Bible)
God gave humanity many healing tools, and they exist far beyond circumstances. Some of them are traditionally spiritual: prayer, communion, sanctuary, Scripture. The sacraments have always brought us back home to God. But so many others are tactile, physical, of soil and earth, flesh and blood. Some are covert operators of grace, unlikely sources of joy, like a beautiful piece of art, a song, a perfectly told story around a dinner table, a pool party with friends and margaritas. These also count, they matter, they are to be consumed and enjoyed with gusto, despite suffering, even in the midst of suffering. God gives us both Good News and good times, and neither cancels out the other. What a wonderful world, what a wonderful life, what a wonderful God.
Jen Hatmaker (Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life)
God's high freedom in Jesus Christ is His freedom for LOVE. The divine capacity which operates and exhibits itself in that superiority and subordination is manifestly also God's capacity to bend downwards, to attach Himself to another and this other to Himself, to be together with him. This takes place in that irreversible sequence, but in it is completely real. In that sequence there arises and continues in Jesus Christ the highest communion of God with man. God's deity is thus no prison in which He can exist only in and for Himself. It is rather His freedom to be in and for Himself but also with and for us, to assert but also to sacrifice Himself, to be wholly exalted but also completely humble, not only almighty but also almighty mercy, not only Lord but also servant, not only judge but also Himself the judged, not only man's eternal king but also his brother in time. And all that without in the slightest forfeiting His deity! All that, rather, in the highest proof and proclamation of His deity! He who DOES and manifestly CAN do all that, He and no other is the living God.
Karl Barth (The Humanity of God)
When God has become a business, though, it is very hard for people to get the confidence to realize that God is really a personal God, a God who touches us as individuals, a God who is as close to us as we choose to see. We have learned well the remoteness of a God who lived for so long behind communion rails and altar steps and seminary doors and chancery desks that the experience of God, however strong, has always been more private secret than public expectation.
Joan D. Chittister (Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today)
When a man fighteth against his sin only with arguments from the issue or the punishment due unto it, this is a sign that sin hath taken great possession of the will, and that in the heart there is a superfluity of naughtiness. Such a man as opposes nothing to the seduction of sin and lust in his heart but fear of shame among men or hell from God, is sufficiently resolved to do the sin if there were no punishment attending it; which, what it differs from living in the practice of sin, I know not. Those who are Christ’s, and are acted in their obedience upon gospel principles, have the death of Christ, the love of God, the detestable nature of sin, the preciousness of communion with God, a deep-grounded abhorrency of sin as sin, to oppose to any seduction of sin, to all the workings, strivings, fightings of lust in their hearts. So did Joseph. “How shall I do this great evil,” saith he, “and sin against the Lord ?” my good and gracious God.
John Owen (The Mortification of Sin (Vintage Puritan))
Every man and woman who has received the truth should live in such a manner before the Lord as to have the light of the Holy Spirit constantly beaming upon their minds. They should be in close communion through that Holy Spirit, with their God, so that if they had to stand alone in the midst of a gainsaying world they should be living witness to the truth of the Gospel and the power of God manifested in these days...having the consciousness that God was directing them in all their ways.
George Q. Cannon (Gospel Truth; Discourses And Writings Of President George Q. Cannon)
God formed us for His pleasure, and so formed us that we as well as He can in divine communion enjoy the sweet and mysterious mingling of kindred personalities. He meant us to see Him and live with Him and draw our life from His smile. But we have been guilty of that "foul revolt" of which Milton speaks when describing the rebellion of Satan and his hosts. We have broken with God. We have ceased to obey Him or love Him and in guilt and fear have fled as far as possible from His Presence.
A.W. Tozer (The Pursuit of God)
This insistence on a degree of faith in the communicant is also illustrative of Wesley's belief in the necessity for the co-operation of an active faith in man with the gift of God's grace to make the sacrament effective, which is congruent with his whole theology of salvation, with it's blending of the objective and the subjective.
John R. Parris (John Wesley's Doctrine of the Sacraments)
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)
Consider how textbooks treat Native religions as a unitary whole. ... "These Native Americans ... believed that nature was filled with spirits. Each form of life, such as plants and animals, had a spirit. Earth and air held spirits too. People were never alone. They shared their lives with the spirits of nature." ... Stated flatly like this, the beliefs seem like make-believe, not the sophisticated theology of a higher civilization. Let us try a similarly succinct summary of the beliefs of many Christians today: "These Americans believed that one great male god ruled the world. Sometimes they divided him into three parts, which they called father, son, and holy ghost. They ate crackers and wine or grape juice, believing that they were eating the son's body and drinking his blood. If they believed strongly enough, they would live on forever after they died." Textbooks never describe Christianity this way. It's offensive. Believers would immediately argue that such a depiction fails to convey the symbolic meaning or the spiritual satisfaction of communion.
James W. Loewen
Bring thy lust to the gospel, not for relief, but for further conviction of its guilt; look on Him whom thou hast pierced, and be in bitterness. Say to thy soul, “What have I done? What love, what mercy what blood, what grace have I despised and trampled on! Is this the return I make to the Father for his love, to the Son for his blood, to the Holy Ghost for his grace? Do I thus requite the Lord? Have I defiled the heart that Christ died to wash, that the blessed Spirit has chosen to dwell in? And can I keep myself out of the dust? What can I say to the dear Lord Jesus? How shall I hold up my head with any boldness before him? Do I account communion with him of so little value, that for this vile lust’s sake I have scarce left him any room in my heart? How shall I escape if I neglect so great a salvation? In the meantime, what shall I say to the Lord? Love, mercy, grace, goodness, peace, joy, consolation… I have despised them all and esteemed them as a thing of nought, that I might harbor a lust in my heart. Have I obtained a view of God’s fatherly countenance, that I might behold his face and provoke him to his face? Was my soul washed, that room might be made for new defilements? Shall I endeavor to disappoint the end of the death of Christ? Shall I daily grieve that Spirit whereby I am sealed to the day of redemption?” Entertain thy conscience daily with this treaty. See if it can stand before this aggravation of its guilt. If this make it not sink in some measure and melt, I fear thy case is dangerous.
John Owen
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 only defense against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness. Unless we become vitally connected with God, we can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin. We may leave off many bad habits, for the time we may part company with Satan; but without a vital connection with God, through the surrender of ourselves to Him moment by moment, we shall be overcome. Without a personal acquaintance with Christ, and a continual communion, we are at the mercy of the enemy, and shall do his bidding in the end.
Ellen G. White (The Desire of Ages (Conflict of the Ages Series))
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))
We are not to restrict God's presence in the world to a limited range of “pious” objects and situations, while labelling everything else as “secular”; but we are to see all things as essentially sacred, as a gift from God and a means of communion with him. It does not, however, follow that we are to accept the fallen world on its own terms. This is the unhappy mistake of much “secular Christianity” in the contemporary west. All things are indeed sacred in their true being, according to their innermost essence; but our relationship to God's creation has been distorted by sin, original and personal, and we shall not rediscover this intrinsic sacredness unless our heart is purified. Without self-denial, without ascetic discipline, we cannot affirm the true beauty of the world. That is why there can be no genuine contemplation without repentance.
Kallistos Ware (The Orthodox Way)
I looked up and saw myself in a most palpable vision ascending the altar steps, opening the tiny sacrosanct tabernacle, reaching with monstrous hands for the consecrated ciborium, and taking the Body of Christ and strewing Its white wafers all over the carpet; and walking then on the sacred wafers, walking up and down before the altar, giving Holy Communion to the dust. I rose up now in the pew and stood there staring at this vision. I knew full well the meaning of it. “God did not live in this church; these statues gave an image to nothingness, I was the supernatural in this cathedral. I was the only supermortal thing that stood conscious under this roof!
Anne Rice (Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1))
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)
Mystical experience needs some form of dogma in order not to dissipate into moments of spiritual intensity that are merely personal, and dogma needs regular infusions of unknowingness to keep from calcifying into the predictable, pontificating, and anti-intellectual services so common in mainstream American churches. So what does all this mean practically? It means that congregations must be conscious of the persistent and ineradicable loneliness that makes a person seek communion, with other people and with God, in the first place. It means that conservative churches that are infused with the bouncy brand of American optimism one finds in sales pitches are selling shit. It means that liberal churches that go months without mentioning the name of Jesus, much less the dying Christ, have no more spiritual purpose or significance than a local union hall. It means that we -- those of us who call ourselves Christians -- need a revolution in the way we worship. This could mean many different things -- poetry as liturgy, focused and extended silences, learning from other religious traditions and rituals (this seems crucial), incorporating apophatic language. But one thing it means for sure: we must be conscious of language as language, must call into question every word we use until we refine or remake a language that is fit for our particular religious doubts and despairs -- and of course (and most of all!) our joys.
Christian Wiman (My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer)
The light-minded and coarse of soul enjoy nothing spiritually. Even pious souls that lack recollection will never experience spiritual joys. Frivolity of spirit is the greatest obstacle to the reign of God in the soul. If you wish to taste the sweetness of God and enjoy his presence, you must lead a life of recollection and prayer. Even so, your meditations will never yield true happiness if they are not based on Communion, but will only leave you with the sense of perpetual sacrifice.
Peter Julian Eymard (How to Get More Out of Holy Communion)
The Church is not a society for escape-corporately or individually-from this world to taste of the mystical bliss of eternity. Communion is not a 'mystical experience': we drink of the chalice of Christ, and He gave Himself for the life of the world. The bread on the paten and the wine in the chalice are to remind us of the incarnation of the Son of God, of the cross and death. And thus it is the very joy of the Kingdom that makes us remember the world and pray for it. It is the very communion with the Holy Spirit that enables us to love the world with the love of Christ. The Eucharist is the sacrament of unity and the moment of truth: here we see the world in Christ, as it really is, and not from our particular and therefore limited and partial points of view. Intercession begins here, in the glory of the messianic banquet, and this is the only true beginning of the Church's mission. It is when, 'having put aside all earthly care,' we seem to have left this world, that we, in fact, recover it in all its reality.
Alexander Schmemann (For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy)
But if God is so good as you represent Him, and if He knows all that we need, and better far than we do ourselves, why should it be necessary to ask Him for anything?” I answer, What if He knows Prayer to be the thing we need first and most? What if the main object in God’s idea of prayer be the supplying of our great, our endless need—the need of Himself?…Hunger may drive the runaway child home, and he may or may not be fed at once, but he needs his mother more than his dinner. Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other need: prayer is the beginning of that communion, and some need is the motive of that prayer…. So begins a communion, a taking with God, a coming-to-one with Him, which is the sole end of prayer, yea, of existence itself in its infinite phases. We must ask that we may receive: but that we should receive what we ask in respect of our lower needs, is not God’s end in making us pray, for He could give us everything without that: to bring His child to his knee, God withholds that man may ask.
George MacDonald (An Anthology: 365 Readings)
There is no pain - just travel. On her knees, she stays still as a supplicant ready for communion. It is very quiet. All of a sudden there is no hurry. There will be time for everything. For the breezes that blow and for the rainwater drying in the gutters, for Maury to find a place of safety in the world, for Malcolm to come back from the dead and ask her about birds and jets. For the big things too, things like beauty and vengeance and honor and righteousness and the grace of God and the slow spilling of the earth from day to night and back to day again. It is spread out before her, compressed into one single moment. She will be able to see it all -- if she can keep her sleepy eyes open. It's like a dream where she is. Like a dream where you find yourself underwater and you are panicked for a moment until you realize you no longer need to breathe, and you can stay under the surface forever. She feels her body falling sideways to the ground. It happens slow - and she expects a crash that never comes because her mind is jumping and it doesn't know which way is up anymore, like the moon above her and the fish below her and her in between floating, like on the surface of the river, floating between sea and sky, the world all skin, all meniscus, and she a part of it too. Moses Todd told her if you lean over the rail at Niagara Falls it takes your breath away, like turning yourself inside out -- and Lee the hunter told her that one time people used to stuff themselves in barrels and ride over the edge. And she is there too, floating out over the edge of the falls, the roar of the water so deafening it's like hearing nothing at all, like pillows in your ears, and the water exactly the temperature of your skin, like you are falling and the water is falling, and the water is just more of you, like everything is just more of you, just different configurations of the things that make you up. She is there, and she's sailing out and down over the falls, down and down, and it takes a long time because the falls are one of God's great mysteries and so high they are higher than any building, and so she is held there, spinning in the air, her eyes closed because she's spinning on the inside too, down and down. She wonders if she will ever hit the bottom, wonders will the splash ever come. Maybe not - because God is a slick god, and he knows things about infinities. Infinities are warm places that never end. And they aren't about good and evil, they're just peaceful-like and calm, and they're where all travelers go eventually, and they are round everywhere you look because you can't have any edges in infinities. And also they make forever seem like an okay thing.
Alden Bell (The Reapers are the Angels (Reapers, #1))
A helpful image to express this sort of thing is a wheel with spokes centered on a single hub. The hub of the wheel is God; we the spokes. Out on the rim of the wheel the spokes are furthest from one another, but at the center, the hub, the spokes are most united to each other. They are a single meeting in the one hub. The image was used in the early church to say something important about that level of life at which we are one with each other and one with God. The more we journey towards the Center the closer we are both to God and to each other. The problem of feeling isolated from both God and others is overcome in the experience of the Center. This journey into God and the profound meeting of others in the inner ground of silence is a single movement. Exterior isolation is overcome in interior communion.
Martin Laird (Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation)
Nothing can make up for the absence of someone whom we love, and it would be wrong to try to find a substitute; we must simply hold out and see it through. That sounds very hard at first, but at the same time it is a great consolation, for the gap, as long as it remains unfilled, preserves the bonds between us. It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap; God does not fill it, but on the contrary, God keeps it empty and so helps us keep alive our former communion with each other, even at the cost of pain. . . . The dearer and richer our memories, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy. The beauties of the past are borne, not as a thorn in the flesh, but as a precious gift in themselves. We must take care not to wallow in our memories or to hand ourselves over to them, just as we do not gaze all the time at a valuable present, but only at special times, and apart from these keep it simply as a hidden treasure that is ours for certain. In this way the past gives us lasting joy and strength. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison
Anonymous (The NRSV Daily Bible: Read, Meditate, and Pray Through the Entire Bible in 365 Days)
The power of God has not in the least bit been diminished over the past 2000 years. Our Lord still sits on His great throne and His train still fills the temple. He still walks on the wings of the wind, He still rides on the backs of the mighty cherubim, and He still is the Triumphant Champion from Calvary. All hell still bends to His will, and sin and death have lost their hold on all who rest in the shadow of His presence. And the God who calmed storms, raised up dead men to life, and multiplied fishes and loaves to feed thousands is the same God we have today.
Eric Ludy (Wrestling Prayer: A Passionate Communion with God)
If God be for us, who can be against us?" - that does not mean that faith in God will bring us everything that we desire. What it does mean is that if we possess God, then we can meet with equanimity the loss of all besides. Has it never dawned upon us that God is valuable for His own sake, that just as personal communion is the highest thing that we know on earth, so personal communication with God is the sublimest height of all? If we value God for His own sake, then the loss of other things will draw us all the closer to Him; we shall then have recourse to Him in time of trouble as to the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. I do not mean that the Christian need expect always to be poor and sick and lonely and to seek his comfort only in a mystic experience with His God. This universe is God's world; its blessings are showered upon His creatures even now; and in His own good time, when the period of its groaning and travailing is over, He will fashion it as a habitation of glory. But what I do mean is that if here and now we have the one inestimable gift of God's presence and favour, then all the rest can wait till God's good time.
J. Gresham Machen (What is Faith?)
God showed to man that compliance with His dictates would ever mean eternal bliss and joy unspeakable and life and knowledge forevermore, but that ceasing to comply would mean loss of life with God and eternal death. That was in the world’s bright morning when the morning stars sang together and all creation leaped in joy, but the wild, wild desolation of sin, disobedience, pride, and selfish sinfulness entered and drove a great gulf between God’s children and Himself. But, as ever, love found a way. God came to us and for us, and we this day with chastened hearts, quivering lips, and glistening eyes, yet with love deep and strong in our hearts, say, afresh with deep adoration, God is love. If God exhibits such glorious love in His nature, what shall we say of the glories of the dispensation of His grace? That God would have walked this earth had sin never entered is very likely, yet sin did not refrain Him from graciously walking and revealing Himself in communion with men. No, still He came. But men were so blinded by sin that they saw Him not, they knew Him not, while He hewed a way back through the hard face of sin to the heavenly shores.
Oswald Chambers (The Love of God: An Intimate Look at the Father-Heart of God)
Be still,25 and know that I am God, saith the Scripture. Excuse thyself from talking many idle words: neither backbite, nor lend a willing ear to backbiters; but rather be prompt to prayer. Shew in ascetic exercise that thy heart is nerved.26 Cleanse thy vessel, that thou mayest receive grace more abundantly. For though remission of sins is given equally to all, the communion of the Holy Ghost is bestowed in proportion to each man’s faith. If thou hast laboured little, thou receivest little; but if thou hast wrought much, the reward is great. Thou art running for thyself, see to thine own interest.
Cyril of Jerusalem (The Catechetical Lectures of St. Cyril of Jerusalem)
As long as that statue [of Liberty] stands, the tradition of immigrant hospitality and justice it symbolises will continue to haunt us. Will we whose ancestors respected no boundaries seek to erect impermeable borders? Will the descendants of Ellis Island bar the 'golden door', even as our economic and military policies around the globe continue to create 'tempest-tossed' populations? Or will we listen…to the voice of Christ speaking through the immigrant poor: 'Listen! I stand at the door knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and we will share communion' (Rev. 3:20).
Ched Myers (Our God Is Undocumented: Biblical Faith and Immigrant Justice)
Catherine had to treat the church hierarchy carefully. She had always exercised a rational flexibility in matters of religious dogma and policy. Brought up in an atmosphere of strict Lutheranism, she had as a child expressed enough skepticism about religion to worry her deeply conventional father. As a fourteen-year-old in Russia, she had been required to change her religion to Orthodoxy. In public, she scrupulously observed all forms of this faith, attending church services, observing religious holidays, and making pilgrimages. Throughout her reign, she never underestimated the importance of religion. She knew that the name of the autocrat and the power of the throne were embodied in the daily prayers of the faithful, and that the views of the clergy and the piety of the masses were a power to be reckoned with. She understood that the sovereign, whatever his or her private views of religion, must find a way to make this work. When Voltaire was asked how he, who denied God, could take Holy Communion, he replied that he “breakfasted according to the custom of the country.” Having observed the disastrous effect of her husband’s contemptuous public rejection of the Orthodox Church, Catherine chose to emulate Voltaire.
Robert K. Massie (Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman)
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)
At the heart of Galatians 2 is not an abstract individualized salvation, but a common meal. Paul does not want the Galatians to wait until they have agreed on all doctrinal arguments before they can sit down and eat together. Not to eat together is already to get the answer wrong. The whole point of his argument is that all those who belong to Christ belong at the same table with one another. The relevance of this today should be obvious. The differences between us, as twentieth-century Christians, all too often reflect cultural, philosophical and tribal divides, rather than anything that should keep us apart from full and glad eucharistic fellowship. I believe the church should recognize, as a matter of biblical and Christian obedience, that it is time to put the horse back before the cart, and that we are far, far more likely to reach doctrinal agreement between our different churches if we do so within the context of that common meal which belongs equally to us all because it is the meal of the Lord whom we all worship. Intercommunion, in other words, is not something we should regard as the prize to be gained at the end of the ecumenical road; it is the very paving of the road itself. If we wonder why we haven't been travelling very fast down the road of late, maybe it's because, without the proper paving, we've got stuck in the mud.
N.T. Wright (For All God's Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church)
But it’s not unprocessed grain and grape that we find on the Communion table, it’s bread and wine. Grain and grape come from God’s good earth, but bread and wine are the result of human industry. Bread and wine come about through a cooperation of the human and the divine. And herein lies a beautiful mystery. If grain and grape made bread and wine can communicate the body and blood of Christ, this has enormous implications for all legitimate human labor and industry. The mystery of the Eucharist does nothing less than make all human labor sacred. For there to be the holy sacrament of Communion there must be grain and grape, wheat fields and vineyards, bakers and winemakers. Human labor becomes a sacrament, a farmer planting wheat, a vintner tending vines, a miller grinding wheat, a winemaker crushing grapes, a woman baking bread, a man making wine, a trucker hauling bread, a grocer selling wine. Who knows what bread or what wine might end up on the Communion table as the body and blood of Christ. This is where we discover the holy mystery that all labor necessary for human flourishing is sacred. A farmer plowing his field, a worker in a bakery, a trucker hauling goods, a grocer selling wares—all are engaged in work that is just as sacred as the priest or pastor serving Communion on Sunday. The Eucharist pulls back the curtain to reveal a sacramental world.
Brian Zahnd (Water To Wine: Some of My Story)
Mystic The air is a mill of hooks - Questions without answer, Glittering and drunk as flies Whose kiss stings unbearably In the fetid wombs of black air under pines in summer. I remember The dead smell of sun on wood cabins, The stiffness of sails, the long salt winding sheets. Once one has seen God, what is the remedy? Once one has been seized up Without a part left over, Not a toe, not a finger, and used, Used utterly, in the sun’s conflagrations, the stains That lengthen from ancient cathedrals What is the remedy? The pill of the Communion tablet, The walking beside still water? Memory? Or picking up the bright pieces of Christ in the faces of rodents, The tame flower- nibblers, the ones Whose hopes are so low they are comfortable - The humpback in his small, washed cottage Under the spokes of the clematis. Is there no great love, only tenderness? Does the sea Remember the walker upon it? Meaning leaks from the molecules. The chimneys of the city breathe, the window sweats, The children leap in their cots. The sun blooms, it is a geranium. The heart has not stopped.
Sylvia Plath (The Collected Poems)
Let the Christian world forget or depart from this true gospel salvation; let anything else be trusted but the cross of Christ and the Spirit of Christ; and then, though churches and preachers and prayers and sacraments are everywhere in plenty, nothing can come of them but a Christian kingdom of pagan vices, along with a mouth-professed belief in the Apostles’ Creed and the communion of saints. To this sad truth all Christendom both at home and abroad bears full witness. Who need be told that no corruption or depravity of human nature, no kind of pride, wrath, envy, malice, and self-love; no sort of hypocrisy, falseness, cursing, gossip, perjury, and cheating; no wantonness of lust in every kind of debauchery, foolish jesting, and worldly entertainment, is any less common all over Christendom, both popish and Protestant, than towns and villages. What vanity, then, to count progress in terms of numbers of new and lofty cathedrals, chapels, sanctuaries, mission stations, and multiplied new membership lists, when there is no change in this undeniable departure of men’s hearts from the living God. Yea, let the whole world be converted to Christianity of this kind, and let every citizen be a member of some Protestant or Catholic church and mouth the creed every Lord’s day; and no more would have been accomplished toward bringing the kingdom of God among men than if they had all joined this or that philosophical society or social fraternity.
William Law (The Power of the Spirit)
I remember the sad case of a very godly man whom I knew who had two daughters who were the most excellent women. They had reached middle life when I met them. They lived, in a sense, for the things of God, and yet neither of them had ever become a member of a Christian church, or ever taken communion at the Lord's Table. As regards their life and conduct, you could not think of better people, and yet they had never become members of the church and they had never partaken of the bread and the wine. Why? They said they did not feel they were good enough. What was the matter with them? They were looking at themselves instead of at the finished, perfect work of Christ. You look at yourself and, of course, you will miserable, for within there is blackness and darkness. The best saint when he looks at himself becomes unhappy; he sees things that should not be there, and if you and I spend our whole time looking at ourselves we shall remain in misery, and we shall lose the joy. Self-examination is all right, but introspection is bad. Let us draw the distinction between these two things. We can examine ourselves in the light of Scripture, and if we do that we shall be driven to Christ. But with introspection a man looks at himself and continues to do so, and refuses to be happy until he gets rid of the imperfections that are still there. Oh, the tragedy that we should spend our lives looking at ourselves instead of looking at Him who can set us free!
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Out of the Depths)
Jesus breaks what we bring to Him. All too often we come to the table with our best manners and a pose of impenetrable self-sufficiency. We're all surface, all role - polished and poised performers in the game of life. But Jesus is after what is within, and He exposes the insides - our inadequacies. At the table we're not permitted to be self-enclosed. We're not permitted to remain self-sufficient. We are taken into the crucifixion. We dramatize it as we eat the common food. The breaking of our pride and self-approval opens us up to new life, to new action. Everything on the table represents some kind of exchange of life, some sacrifice to our Host. If we come crusted over, hardened within ourselves in lies and poses, He breaks through and brings new life. 'A broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise' (Psalm 51:17). We discover this breaking first in Jesus. Jesus was broken, His blood poured out. And now we discover it in ourselves. Then Jesus gives back what we brought to Him, who we are. But it is no longer what we brought. Who we are, this self that we offer to Him at the table, is changed into what God gives, what we sing of as Amazing Grace. [Living the Resurrection]
Eugene H. Peterson
Like the Church the individual Christian will not be able to escape the deep ambiguities of this-wordly existence whether in its cultural, social, political or other aspects, and he too will inevitably be a mixture of good and evil, with a compromised life, so that he can only live eschatologically in the judgment and mercy of God, putting off the old man and putting on Christ anew each day, always aware that even when he has done all that it is his duty to do he remains an unprofitable servant, but summoned to look away from himself to Christ, remembering that he is dead through the cross of Christ but alive and risen in Him. His true being is hid with Christ in God. The whole focus of his vision and the whole perspective of his life in Christ’s name will be directed to the unveiling of that reality of his new being at the parousia, but meantime he lives day by day out of the Word and Sacraments. As one baptized into Christ he is told by God’s Word that his sins are already forgiven and forgotten by God, that he has been justified once for all, and that he does not belong to himself but to Christ who loved him and gave Himself for him. As one summoned to the Holy Table he is commanded by the Word of God to live only in such a way that he feeds upon Christ, not in such a way that he feeds upon his own activities or lives out of his own capital of alleged spirituality. He lives from week to week, by drawing his life and strength from the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper, nourished by the body and blood of Christ, and in the strength of that communion he must live and work until Christ comes again. As often as he partakes of the Eucharist he partakes of the self-consecration of Jesus Christ who sanctified Himself for our sakes that we might be sanctified in reality and be presented to the Father as those whom He has redeemed and perfected (or consecrated) together with Himself in one. Here He is called to lift up his heart to the ascended Lord, and to look forward to the day when the full reality of his new being in Christ will be unveiled, making Scripture and Sacrament no longer necessary.
Thomas F. Torrance (Space, Time, And Resurrection)
There is much in our Lord's pantry that will satisfy his children, and much wine in his cellar that will quench all their thirst. Hunger for him until he fills you. He is pleased with the importunity of hungry souls. If he delays, do not go away, but fall a-swoon at his feet. Every day we may see some new thing in Christ. His love has neither brim nor bottom. How blessed are we to enjoy this invaluable treasure, the love of Christ; or rather allow ourselves to be mastered and subdued in his love, so that Christ is our all, and all other things are nothing. O that we might be ready for the time our Lord's wind and tide call for us! There are infinite plies in his love that the saint will never be able to unfold. I urge upon you a nearer and growing communion with Christ. There are curtains to be drawn back in Christ that we have never seen. There are new foldings of love in him. Dig deep, sweat, labour, and take pains for him, and set by as much time in the day for him as you can; he will be won with labour. Live on Christ's love. Christ's love is so kingly, that it will not wait until tomorrow, it must have a throne all alone in your soul. It is our folly to divide our narrow and little love. It is best to give it all to Christ. Lay no more on the earthly, than it can carry. Lay your soul and your weights upon God; make him your only and best-beloved. Your errand in this life is to make sure an eternity of glory for your soul, and to match your soul with Christ. Your love, if it could be more than all the love of angels in one, would be Christ's due. Look up to him and love him. O, love and live! My counsel is, that you come out and leave the multitude, and let Christ have your company. Let those who love this present world have it, but Christ is a more worthy and noble portion; blessed are those who have him.
Samuel Rutherford
The Church is not simply an institution. She is a 'mode of existence,' *a way of being*. The mystery of the Church is deeply bound to the being of man, to the being of the world and to the very being of God. Ecclesial being is bound to the very being of God. From the fact that a human being is a member of the Church, he becomes [participates as/in] an 'image of God', he exists as God Himself exists, takes on God's *way of being*. This way of being is not a moral attainment, something that man *accomplishes*. It is a way of *relationship* with the world, with other people and with God, as an event of *communion*, and that is why it cannot be realized as the achievement of an *individual*, but only as an *ecclesial* fact. However, for the Church to present this way of existence, she must herself be an image of the way in which God exists. Her entire structure, her ministries etc. must express this way of existence.
John D. Zizioulas (Being as Communion: Studies in Personhood and the Church)
Then a priestess said, “Speak to us of Prayer.” And he answered, saying: You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance. For what is prayer but the expansion of your self into the living ether? And if it is for your comfort to pour your darkness into space, it is also for your delight to pour forth the dawning of your heart. And if you cannot but weep when your soul summons you to prayer, she should spur you again and yet again, though weeping, until you shall come laughing. When you pray you rise to meet in the air those who are praying at that very hour, and whom save in prayer you may not meet. Therefore let your visit to that temple invisible be for naught but ecstasy and sweet communion. For if you should enter the temple for no other purpose than asking you shall not receive: And if you should enter into it to humble yourself you shall not be lifted: Or even if you should enter into it to beg for the good of others you shall not be heard. It is enough that you enter the temple invisible. I cannot teach you how to pray in words. God listens not to your words save when He Himself utters them through your lips. And I cannot teach you the prayer of the seas and the forests and the mountains. But you who are born of the mountains and the forests and the seas can find their prayer in your heart, And if you but listen in the stillness of the night you shall hear them saying in silence: “Our God, who art our winged self, it is thy will in us that willeth. “It is thy desire in us that desireth. “It is thy urge in us that would turn our nights, which are thine, into days, which are thine also. “We cannot ask thee for aught, for thou knowest our needs before they are born in us: “Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all.
Kahlil Gibran (The Prophet)
There was no heat in these buildings, partly because the earliest meetinghouses also served as powder magazines, and fires threatened to blow the entire congregation to smithereens. They were bitter cold in winter. Many tales were told of frozen communion bread, frostbitten fingers, baptisms performed with chunks of ice and entire congregations with chattering teeth that sounded like a field of crickets. It was a point of honor for the minister never to shorten a service merely because his audience was frozen. But sometimes the entire congregation would begin to stamp its feet to restore circulation until the biblical rebuke came crashing down upon them: “STAND STILL and consider the wonderous work of God.” Later generations built “nooning houses” or “sab-baday houses” near the church where the congregation could thaw out after the morning sermon and prepare for the long afternoon sermon to come. But unheated meetings remained a regional folkway for two hundred years.
David Hackett Fischer (Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a cultural history))
As for the vice of lust - aside from what it means for spiritual persons to fall into this vice, since my intent is to treat of the imperfections that have to be purged by means of the dark night - spiritual persons have numerous imperfections, many of which can be called spiritual lust, not because the lust is spiritual but because it proceeds from spiritual things. It happens frequently that in a person's spiritual exercises themselves, without the person being able to avoid it, impure movements will be experienced in the sensory part of the soul, and even sometimes when the spirit is deep in prayer or when receiving the sacraments of Penance or the Eucharist. These impure feelings arise from any of three causes outside one's control. First, they often proceed from the pleasure human nature finds in spiritual exercises. Since both the spiritual and the sensory part of the soul receive gratification from that refreshment, each part experiences delight according to its own nature and properties. The spirit, the superior part of the soul, experiences renewal and satisfaction in God; and the sense, the lower part, feels sensory gratification and delight because it is ignorant of how to get anything else, and hence takes whatever is nearest, which is the impure sensory satisfaction. It may happen that while a soul is with God in deep spiritual prayer, it will conversely passively experience sensual rebellions, movements, and acts in the senses, not without its own great displeasure. This frequently happens at the time of Communion. Since the soul receives joy and gladness in this act of love - for the Lord grants the grace and gives himself for this reason - the sensory part also takes its share, as we said, according to its mode. Since, after all, these two parts form one individual, each one usually shares according to its mode in what the other receives. As the Philosopher says: Whatever is received, is received according to the mode of the receiver. Because in the initial stages of the spiritual life, and even more advanced ones, the sensory part of the soul is imperfect, God's spirit is frequently received in this sensory part with this same imperfection. Once the sensory part is reformed through the purgation of the dark night, it no longer has these infirmities. Then the spiritual part of the soul, rather than the sensory part, receives God's Spirit, and the soul thus receives everything according to the mode of the Spirit.
Juan de la Cruz (Dark Night of the Soul)
The prayers we weave into the matching of the socks, the working of our hands, the toiling of the hours, they survive fire. It’s the things unseen that survive fire. Love. Relationship. Worship. Prayer. Communion. All Things Unseen—and Centered in Christ. It doesn’t matter so much what we leave unaccomplished—but that our priority was things unseen. Again, today, that’s always the call: slay the idol of the seen. Slay the idol of focusing on only what can be seen, lauded, noticed. Today, a thousand times again today, I will preach His truth to this soul prone to wander, that wants nothing more than the gracious smile of our Father: “Unseen. Things Unseen. Invest in Things Unseen. The Unexpected Priority is always Things Unseen. ” “Pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret . . .” (Matt. 6:6 NIV). “For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). It’s the things unseen that are the most important things. Though the seen product of the baskets may have gone up in a flame of smoke, it
Jon Bloom (Things Not Seen: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Trusting God's Promises)
Todd wrapped his arm around her. They stood together in silent awe, watching the sunset. All Christy could think of was how this was what she had always wanted, to be held in Todd's arms as well as in his heart. Just as the last golden drop of sun melted into the ocean, Christy closed her eyes and drew in a deep draught of the sea air. "Did you know," Todd said softly, "that the setting sun looks so huge from the island of Papua New Guinea that it almost looks like you're on another planet? I've seen pictures." Then, as had happened with her reflection in her cup of tea and in her disturbing dream, Christy heard those two piercing words, "Let go." She knew what she had to do. Turning to face Todd, she said, "Pictures aren't enough for you, Todd. You have to go." "I will. Someday. Lord willing," he said casually. "Don't you see, Todd? The Lord is willing. This is your 'someday.' Your opportunity to go on the mission field is now. You have to go." Their eyes locked in silent communion. "God has been telling me something, Todd. He's been telling me to let you go. I don't want to, but I need to obey Him." Todd paused. "Maybe I should tell them I can only go for the summer. That way I'll only be gone a few months. A few weeks, really. We'll be back together in the fall." Christy shook her head. "It can't be like that, Todd. You have to go for as long as God tells you to go. And as long as I've known you, God has been telling you to go. His mark is on your life, Todd. It's obvious. You need to obey Him." "Kilikina," Todd said, grasping Christy by the shoulders, "do you realize what you're saying? If I go, I may never come back." "I know." Christy's reply was barely a whisper. She reached for the bracelet on her right wrist and released the lock. Then taking Todd's hand, she placed the "Forever" bracelet in his palm and closed his fingers around it. "Todd," she whispered, forcing the words out, "the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and give you His peace. And may you always love Jesus more than anything else. Even more than me." Todd crumbled to the sand like a man who had been run through with a sword. Burying his face in his hands, he wept. Christy stood on wobbly legs. What have I done? Oh, Father God, why do I have to let him go? Slowly lowering her quivering body to the sand beside Todd, Christy cried until all she could taste was the salty tears on her lips. They drove the rest of the way home in silence. A thick mantle hung over them, entwining them even in their separation. To Christy it seemed like a bad dream. Someone else had let go of Todd. Not her! He wasn't really going to go. They pulled into Christy's driveway, and Todd turned off the motor. Without saying anything, he got out of Gus and came around to Christy's side to open the door for her. She stepped down and waited while he grabbed her luggage from the backseat. They walked to the front door. Todd stopped her under the trellis of wildly fragrant white jasmine. With tears in his eyes, he said in a hoarse voice, "I'm keeping this." He lifted his hand to reveal the "Forever" bracelet looped between his fingers. "If God ever brings us together again in this world, I'm putting this back on your wrist, and that time, my Kilikina, it will stay on forever." He stared at her through blurry eyes for a long minute, and then without a hug, a kiss, or even a good-bye, Todd turned to go. He walked away and never looked back.
Robin Jones Gunn (Sweet Dreams (Christy Miller, #11))
I have maintained that precisely because Christian faith regards the nothing from which the world came forth as absolute ‘non-being, creatureliness implies that death is a return to the nothingness of nonbeing… Problems essentially derive either from a belief, latent in many Christians, in the immortality of the soul, whereby death no longer constitutes a return to non-being since the soul, of it’s nature, lives eternally, or from a belief that God does not create mortal beings, and consequently that what is created cannot but live. With regard to the first belief, namely in the immorality of the soul, I have said enough above about the soul not being immortal by nature, since it is not eternal but created. Consequently, it too is subject to the destiny of creation if left to itself. We can certainly speak of an immortality of the soul that is not ‘natural’ by ‘by grace’, but this is possible only by means of a logical contradiction. The fact that the soul can be immortal *by grace* does not logically permit us to say that it *is* immortal, since the fact that is is created means that it is not immortal in its nature. In fact, it we accept that the soul can be immortal by grace, we implicitly accept that it is not so by nature. Indeed, immortality by grace is conceivable, as we shall, but why limit it to the soul? Immortality by grace, when and where it prevails, concerns the body and the material world in general just as much as the soul. To speak of immortality only with regard to the soul – and only for the soul – even by grace, is a distraction: it involved specially attributing to the soul qualities of immortality. But God does not want only souls to be saved – he wants also the salvation and survival of bodies and of the world as a whole.
John D. Zizioulas (Communion and Otherness: Further Studies in Personhood and the Church)
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)
Because,' he said, 'I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you, especially when you are near me, as now; it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situation in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous channel, and two hundred miles or so of land, come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapped; and the nI've a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly. As for you, you'd forget me.' 'That I never would, sir; you know -,' impossible to proceed. [...] The vehemence of emotion, stirred by grief and love within me, was claiming mastery, and struggling for full sway and asserting a right to predominate - to overcome, to live, rise, and reign at last; yes, and to speak. 'I grieve to leave Thornfield; I love Thornfield; I love it, because I have lived in it a full and delightful life, momentarily at least. I have not been trampled on. I have not been petrified. I have not been buried with inferior minds, and excluded from every glimpse of communion with what is bright, and energetic, and high. I have talked, face to face, with what I reverence; with what I delight in, with an origin, a vigorous, and expanded mind. I have known you, Mr. Rochester; and it strikes me with terror and anguish to feel I absolutely must be torn from you forever. I see the necessity of departure; and it is like looking on the necessity of death.' 'Where do you see the necessity?' he asked, suddenly. 'Where? You, sir, have placed it before me.' 'In what shape?' 'In the shape of Miss Ingram; a noble and beautiful woman, your bride.' 'My bride! What bride? I have no bride!' 'But you will have.' 'Yes; I will! I will!' He set his teeth. 'Then I must go; you have said it yourself.' 'No; you must stay! I swear it, and the oath shall be kept.' 'I tell you I must go!' I retorted, roused to something like passion. 'Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? Do you think I am an automation? a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! I have as much soul as you, and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty, and much wealth, I should have made it hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh; it is my spirit that addresses your spirits; just as if both had passed through the grace, and we stood at God's feel, equal - as we are!' 'As we are!' repeated Mr. Rochester - 'so,' he added, including me in his arms, gathering me to his breast, pressing his lips on my lips; 'so, Jane!' 'Yes, so, sir,' I rejoined; 'and yet not so; for you are a married man, or as good as a married man, and we'd to one inferior to you - to one with whom you have no sympathy - whom I do not believe you truly love; for I have seen and heard you sneer at her. I would scorn such a union; therefore I am better than you - let me go!' 'Where, Jane? to Ireland?' 'Yes - to Ireland. I have spoke my mind, and can go anywhere now.' 'Jane, be still; don't struggle so, like a wild, frantic bird that is tending its own plumage in its desperation.' 'I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being, with an independent will; which I now exert to leave you.' Another effort set me at liberty, and I stood erect before him. 'And your will shall decide your destiny,' he said; 'I offer you my hand, my heart, and a share of all my possessions.' 'You play a farce, which I merely taught at.' 'I ask you to pass through life at my side - to be my second self, and best earthly companion.' [...] 'Do you doubt me, Jane?' 'Entirely.' 'You have no faith in me?' 'Not a whit.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
I wiped the blade against my jeans and walked into the bar. It was mid-afternoon, very hot and still. The bar was deserted. I ordered a whisky. The barman looked at the blood and asked: ‘God?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘S’pose it’s time someone finished that hypocritical little punk, always bragging about his old man’s power…’ He smiled crookedly, insinuatingly, a slight nausea shuddered through me. I replied weakly: ‘It was kind of sick, he didn’t fight back or anything, just kept trying to touch me and shit, like one of those dogs that try to fuck your leg. Something in me snapped, the whingeing had ground me down too low. I really hated that sanctimonious little creep.’ ‘So you snuffed him?’ ‘Yeah, I’ve killed him, knifed the life out of him, once I started I got frenzied, it was an ecstasy, I never knew I could hate so much.’ I felt very calm, slightly light-headed. The whisky tasted good, vaporizing in my throat. We were silent for a few moments. The barman looked at me levelly, the edge of his eyes twitching slightly with anxiety: There’ll be trouble though, don’tcha think?’ ‘I don’t give a shit, the threats are all used up, I just don’t give a shit.’ ‘You know what they say about his old man? Ruthless bastard they say. Cruel…’ ‘I just hope I’ve hurt him, if he even exists.’ ‘Woulden wanna cross him merself,’ he muttered. I wanted to say ‘yeah, well that’s where we differ’, but the energy for it wasn’t there. The fan rotated languidly, casting spidery shadows across the room. We sat in silence a little longer. The barman broke first: ‘So God’s dead?’ ‘If that’s who he was. That fucking kid lied all the time. I just hope it’s true this time.’ The barman worked at one of his teeth with his tongue, uneasily: ‘It’s kindova big crime though, isn’t it? You know how it is, when one of the cops goes down and everything’s dropped ’til they find the guy who did it. I mean, you’re not just breaking a law, your breaking LAW.’ I scraped my finger along my jeans, and suspended it over the bar, so that a thick clot of blood fell down into my whisky, and dissolved. I smiled: ‘Maybe it’s a big crime,’ I mused vaguely ‘but maybe it’s nothing at all…’ ‘…and we have killed him’ writes Nietzsche, but—destituted of community—I crave a little time with him on my own. In perfect communion I lick the dagger foamed with God’s blood.
Nick Land (The Thirst for Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism (An Essay in Atheistic Religion))