Spiritual Musings


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The truth is that we shall only understand the balance of severity and confidence, of the strenuous and the relaxed, in the context of the common life.

Every believer must have an urgent concern for the relation of the neighbour to Christ, a desire and willingness to be the means by which Christ’s relation with the neighbour becomes actual and transforming. But that urgent concern arises from the sense in myself of the cost and grief involved in separation from life in God, the self- awareness of frailties and failures that I cannot overcome for and by myself. I have, by God’s grace, learned as a member of the Christian community what is the nature of God’s mercy, which does not leave me to overcome my sin by my own effort; so I have something to say to the fellow-sufferer who does not know where to look for hope.

And what I have to say depends utterly on my willingness not to let go of that awareness of myself that reminds me where I start each day – not as a finished saint but as a needy person still struggling to grow.

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8, The tomb of Bishop Lancelot Andrewes, who helped translate the Authorised Version of the Bible[1]

 

A prayer of Lancelot Andrewes

 

 

Guard Thou my soul,

Strengthen my body,

elevate my senses,

direct my course,

order my habits,

shape my character,

bless my actions,

fulfil my prayers,

inspire holy thoughts,

pardon the past,

correct the present,

prevent the future ……

 

AMEN

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compassion

 

A friend told me of visiting the Dalai Lama in India and asking him for a succinct definition of compassion. She prefaced her question by describing how heart-stricken she’d felt when, earlier that day, she’d seen a man in the street beating a mangy stray dog with a stick. “Compassion,” the Dalai Lama told her, “is when you feel as sorry for the man as you do for the dog.”

 

Marc Barasch

 

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There is a famous story that Gandhi  told of himself and the girl who was addicted to eating sweet foods.

The story goes that a troubled mother one day came to Gandhi along with her daughter and explained to Gandhi that her daughter was in the habit of eating far more sweet food than was good for her. Please, she asked, would Gandhi speak to the girl and persuade her to give up this harmful habit? Gandhi sat for a while in silence and then said, ‘Bring your daughter back in three weeks’ time, and then I will speak to her.’ The mother went away as she was told and came back after three weeks. This time Gandhi quietly took the daughter aside and in a few simple words pointed out to her the harmful effects of indulging in sweet food; he urged her to abandon the habit.

Thanking Gandhi for giving her daughter such good advice the mother then said to him in a puzzled voice, ‘Still, I would like to know, Gandhi, why you did not just say those words to my daughter three weeks ago when I first brought her to you?’

‘But’, explained Gandhi in reply, ‘Three weeks ago I myself was still addicted to eating sweet foods!’

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And so it is with the glory of God expressed in human creation. It is not only in the ardent lover, the faithful friend, the wise counsellor, the trusting child that we see God’s glory. There is glory also in the anger of the oppressed, the pain of the wounded and the loneliness of the despised. It is the glory of God that puts such as these first in the Kingdom of Heaven, and makes us all interdependent – as much as part of the delicate and complex structure of relationship as the plants and animals that need the trees in the forest to survive.

The Church that has lost its sense of injustice is in danger of losing its heart

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Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose.

There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.

 

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

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You see, only love can move across boundaries and across cultures. Love is a very real energy a spiritual life force that is much more powerful than ideas or mere thoughts. Love is endlessly alive, always flowing toward the lower place, and thus life-giving for all, like a great river and water itself.

When you die, you are precisely the capacity you have developed to give and to receive love. Your recognition of this is your own “final judgment” of yourself which means you become responsible for what you now see (not shamed or even rewarded, but just responsible).

If you have not received or will not give this gift of love to others, your soul remains tied to a small, earthly, empty world which is probably what we mean by hell. (God can only give love to those who want it.)

If you still need to grow in love and increase your capacity to trust Love, God makes room for immense growth surrounding the death experience itself, which is probably what we mean by purgatory. (Time is a mental construct of humans. Why would growth be limited to this part of our lives? God and the soul live in an eternal now.)

If you are already at home in love, you will easily and quicklv go to the home of love which is surely what we mean by heaven. There the growth never stops and the wonder never ceases. (If life is always change and growth, eternal life must be infinite possibility and growth!)

So by all means, every day, and in every way, we must choose to live in love—it is mostly a decision—and even be eager to learn the ever deeper ways of love—which is the unearned grace that follows from the decision!

Richard Rohr Eager to Love

 

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