Monday, July 19, 2021

Bonhoeffer: patience in meditation

Monday, July 19, 2021
    Feast of Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, & his sister Macrina, Teachers, c.394 & c.379
    Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.
    —1 Corinthians 14:1 (NIV)
    Above all, it is not necessary that we should have any unexpected, extraordinary experiences in meditation. This can happen, but if it does not, it is not a sign that the meditation period has been useless. Not only at the beginning, but repeatedly, there will be times when we feel a great spiritual dryness and apathy, an aversion, even an inability to meditate. We dare not be balked by such experiences. Above all, we must not allow them to keep us from adhering to our meditation period with great patience and fidelity.
    It is, therefore, not good for us to take too seriously the many untoward experiences we have with ourselves in meditation. It is here that our old vanity and our illicit claims upon God may creep in by a pious detour, as if it were our right to have nothing but elevating and fruitful experiences, and as if the discovery of our own inner poverty were quite beneath our dignity. With that attitude, we shall make no progress.
    ... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together [1954], tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 88 (see the book)
    See also 1 Cor. 14:1-6; Ps. 94:11; 119:15-16; Pr. 30:8; Matt. 6:6-8; Col. 2:8
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, I am content with whatever You ordain.
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