Friday, December 14, 2018

John of the Cross: the Light

Friday, December 14, 2018
    Feast of John of the Cross, Mystic, Poet, Teacher, 1591
Meditation:
    The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
    —John 1:9 (NIV)
Quotation:
Never was fount so clear, undimm’d and bright;
From it alone, I know, proceeds all light
    Although ’tis night.
    ... St. John of the Cross (1542-1591), The Complete Works of Saint John of the Cross, v. II, Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1935, p. 454 (see the book)
    See also John 1:7-9; Isa. 9:2; John 8:12; 9:4-5; 2 Cor. 4:4,6
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You are my light.
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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Johnson: prayer concerning labor

Thursday, December 13, 2018
    Feast of Lucy, Martyr at Syracuse, 304
    Commemoration of Samuel Johnson, Writer, Moralist, 1784
Meditation:
    For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.
    —2 Thessalonians 3:7-8 (NIV)
Quotation:
    O God, Who hast ordained that whatever is to be desired, should be sought by labour, and Who, by Thy blessing, bringest honest labor to good effect; look with mercy upon my studies and endeavours. Grant me, O Lord, to design only what is lawful and right, and afford me calmness of mind, and steadiness of purpose, that I may so do Thy will in this short life, as to obtain happiness in the world to come, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
    ... Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), Prayers and Meditations, London: Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe, 1806, July 25, 1776, p. 124-125 (see the book)
    See also 2 Thess. 3:7-8; John 6:27; Rom. 16:12; Acts 18:1-3; 20:34; Eph. 4:28; 1 Thess. 4:11
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You give Your blessing to honest labor.
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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Hoskyns: cruelty and frankness

Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Meditation:
    For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.
    —1 Corinthians 8:10-13 (NIV)
Quotation:
    [The Church] sees that human life must be lived in the quite fearless recognition of this insecurity of relationship between one man and another.
    Now, once again may I ask you the question, Is the Church cruel when she points this out, and demands that men should see it and take account of it in all the arrangements of this life? Surely the cruelty lies with those who talk glibly about the brotherhood of man, and superficially about peace, and romantically about marriage, as though the disturbances in Church and state and family were introduced into human life by a few evil-minded men. This is the real cruelty. How will you face up later to your married life, to your administration of affairs, to your life in the Church, in fact to any real part of your lives, if you are taught to think that your “neighbour” will or ought to agree with you in all points, will accept your solutions of his problems, will in fact be a reflection of your image? Once we get this stuff and nonsense into our heads, we shall never be able to live with anyone or with any group of men. We shall sulk when we are crossed, or run away from the Other, for Other they are. We shall certainly remove ourselves from the Church when we find it full of friction and yet proclaiming the love of God.
    ... Sir Edwyn C. Hoskyns (1884-1937), Cambridge Sermons, London: SPCK, 1938, p. 110-111 (see the book)
    See also 1 Cor. 8:10-13; Pr. 2:3-6; Luke 11:13; Phil. 3:15; Jas. 1:5
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, teach me to love the brethren.
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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Francois de Sales: heresy

Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Meditation:
    From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
    —Matthew 4:17 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Whoever preaches with love preaches sufficiently against heresy, though he may never utter a controversial word.
    ... François de Sales (1567-1622), in The Spirit of S. Francis de Sales, Jean Pierre Camus, London: Rivingtons, 1880, p. 282 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 4:17; Mark 1:14; John 13:34
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, fill me with Your love for the lost.
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Monday, December 10, 2018

Merton: knowing God

Monday, December 10, 2018
    Commemoration of Thomas Merton, Monk, Spiritual Writer, 1968
Meditation:
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.
    —Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Our knowledge of God is paradoxically a knowledge not of him as the object of our scrutiny, but of ourselves as utterly dependent on his saving and merciful knowledge of us. It is in proportion, as we are known to him that we find our real being and identity in Christ. We know him in and through ourselves in so far as his truth is the source of our being and his merciful love is the very heart of our life and existence.
    ... Thomas Merton (1915-1968), The Climate of Monastic Prayer, Spencer, Mass.: Cistercian Publications, 1973, p. 113-114 (see the book)
    See also Ps. 139:23-24; Deut. 8:16; Zech. 13:9; Ps. 100:5; 117:2; 136:1-3; Acts 17:27-28; 1 Pet. 1:7
Quiet time reflection:
    In You, Lord, I have received the fullness of life.
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Sunday, December 09, 2018

Carmichael: "spiritual work"

Sunday, December 9, 2018
    Advent II
Meditation:
    When [Jesus] had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
    —John 13:12-15 (NIV)
Quotation:
    If by doing some work which the undiscerning consider “not spiritual work” I can best help others, and I inwardly rebel, thinking it is the spiritual for which I crave, when in truth it is the interesting and exciting, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
    ... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), If [1938], London: SPCK, 1961, p. 43 (see the book)
    See also John 13:12-15; Matt. 10:42; Mark 9:41; 2 Cor. 8:12; 1 Tim. 5:4; Jas. 1:26-27
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, grant that I may never refuse to do a needed service.
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Saturday, December 08, 2018

Harkness: A God like that

Saturday, December 8, 2018
Meditation:
    He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
    —Isaiah 53:7-8 (NIV)
Quotation:
I cannot think that God would be content
To view unmoved the toiling and the strain,
The groaning of the ages, sick and spent,
The whole creation travailing in pain.
The suffering God is no vast cosmic force,
That by some blind, unthinking, loveless power
Keeps stars and atoms swinging in their course,
And reckons naught of men in this grim hour.
Nor is the suffering God a fair ideal
Engendered in the questioning hearts of men,
A figment of the mind to help me steel
My soul to rude realities I ken.
God suffers with a love that cleanses dross;
A God like that, I see upon a cross.
    ... Georgia Harkness (1891-1974), included in The Questing Spirit, Halford E. Luccock & Frances Brentano, New York: Coward-McCann, 1947, p. 308 (see the book)
    See also Isa. 53:4-8; Rom. 5:6-8; 8:3-4; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 2:21-24; 3:18
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You alone are our Savior!
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