Monday, August 29, 2005

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Contemplation #34
François Fénelon, from Letter 28 of Forty Spiritual Letters (1651 – 1715)
Please understand about love. I am not asking from you a love which is tender and emotional. All I ask is that your will should lean towards love, that you should make up your mind to love God, regardless of your feelings. And no matter what corrupt desires you should find in your heart, if you will make a decision to love God more than self and the whole world, he will be pleased.

Contemplation #35
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 RSV
“Choose life, that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving to him; for that means life to you.”

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
The reason for loving God is God himself and how he should be loved is to love him without limit

Contemplation #36
Madame Guyon (1648-1717)
I love my God, but with no love of mine
For I have none to give;
I love Thee, Lord, but all that love is Thine,
For by Thy life I live.
I am as nothing, and rejoice to be
Emptied and lost and swallowed up in Thee.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Contemplation #31
From The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis, book 2, chapter 6.
It is characteristic of a humble soul always to do good and to think little of itself. It is a mark of great purity and deep faith to look for no consolation in created things. The man who desires no justification from without has clearly entrusted himself to God: "For not he who commendeth himself is approved," says St. Paul, "but he whom God commendeth."[

Contemplation #32
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2
Some Questions for Contemplation:
What type of disgrace follows pride?
Why do the humble gain wisdom?
What wisdom have I gained through these meditations?

Through our 32 meditations on humility we have focused on where our journey must begin. Our move toward God is possible only in letting go of our inflated and stubborn pride, a type of self-love that leads to self-death. Now, let us move in our meditations to the adoration of God, the love of God which replaces our self-infatuation.

Contemplation #33
From The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis, book 2, chapter 7.
BLESSED is he who appreciates what it is to love Jesus and who despises himself for the sake of Jesus. Give up all other love for His, since He wishes to be loved alone above all things.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Contemplation #28
Humility and Peace
So much dissatisfaction in life can be traced to our unmet expectations. When we are not treated well, in the way we deserve, it causes us to be hurt and resentful. Often we become angry over how we are mistreated. There is no peace in life but only a much too long record of injustices suffered.

Humility necessitates that we be mindful of our lowliness and consider mistreatment to be our rightful lot. Anything good is an undeserved grace. In this way humility introduces peace into our lives, not through changing our circumstances or what we experience, but in helping us to be thankful for the underserved good we receive rather than resentful regarding the lack of what we think we are owed.

Contemplation #29
How do we become humble? It is only through the work of God in our lives – and this work is a breaking of our pride. Our stubbornness, willfulness, rebellious nature, and desire for self-direction are all the natural fruits of pride and these God will remove through breaking our pride.

How do you suppose you will become humble except by being humbled? This is the part we resist. Is there not another way? Can we not learn humility in a classroom? Is it learned only through humbling experiences? Yes, only in being brought low does God make us familiar with humility, and so we begin to experience an affinity with Christ. The humble savior, servant of all, is the One we meet in humbling circumstances.

Contemplation #30
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.” Proverbs 16:18-19.

Prayer: O Lord, teach us the way of humility so that we will see the wisdom of these words. May we so value humility that we would choose it in oppression rather than to share in wealth with those who are proud.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Contemplation #25
Humility and the Affairs of Others
Our human nature leads us to an inordinate interest in the lives of others. This curiosity is not the way we express love for our neighbors, but a prideful desire to know everyone else’s affairs, and often to assume we have the knowledge to evaluate their life, actions, and motives. This interest in the life of another is not godly, but prying, invasive, and ultimately hurtful both ourselves and others.

Humility teaches us to look only on our own sinfulness, to confess that to God, and to abstain from inquiry into the lives of others. When humility keeps us focused on our own desperate need for the forgiveness of grace, and strength of God’s power, and the reformation of our selves into the image of Jesus, we will then be prepared to love our neighbors while letting God be their Master.

Contemplation #26
Humility and Living in Harmony
When each considers others better than himself, each seeks to be the Christ-imitating servant of all others. What is it that often threatens our relationships? Is it not competition? Is it not how we seek the places of prominence and the satisfaction of our own desires? But this is not the humble way of Christ.

The body of Christ is a community that becomes what God intends through selflessness, and this cannot be manufactured by determination or instruction. Concern for others must be the genuine fruit of humility. No one will be able to live considering others more worthy than himself because he was told to do so. For secretly in his heart he will still think himself worthy, though he may try to outwardly act otherwise. Humility will lead to genuine and unforced service, and through that, to the community of the body of Christ.

Contemplation #27
Humility and Love
To love is to treat another as one would treat oneself. In doing this, one loses oneself. There is no longer a distinction between “self” and others when we love our neighbors as ourselves. To love as God is to die to love of oneself, because it means giving that same care and concern to all others.

What hope is there of embracing God’s love and expressing it to all others without having humility? The proud cannot love their neighbors as themselves, because they must be first. The proud can only love others less than themselves, for loving others as themselves is contrary to their pride. Only the humble can have the love of God. To be Christian is to be humble and to love.