Monday, September 26, 2005

Contemplation #46
From Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945).

When God was merciful, when He revealed Jesus Christ to us as our Brother, when He won our hearts by His love, this was the beginning of our instruction in divine love . . . What God did to us, we then owed to others. The more we received, the more we were able to give; and the more meager our brotherly love, the less were we living by God’s mercy and love. Thus God Himself taught us to meet one another as God has met us in Christ.

Contemplation #47
From Practicing His Presence by Brother Lawrence (1611-1691).

The whole substance of religion is simply faith, hope and love. By practicing these we become united to the will of God. Everything else is immaterial and is simply a means of arriving at our end – to be swallowed up in our unity to the will of God through faith and love.

Contemplation #48
From Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ by Jeanne Guyon (1647-1717).

Do you know what God’s will is? His will is that his children love Him. Therefore, when you pray, “Lord, Your will be done,” you are actually asking the Lord to allow you to love Him. So begin to love him! And as you do, beseech Him to give you His love.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Contemplation #43
From Letter 30 of Forty Spiritual Letters by François Fénelon (1651-1715).

God is, at the same time, the Truth and the Love. We can only know the truth in proportion as we love - when we love it, we understand it well. If we do not love Love, we do not know Love. He who loves much, and remains humble and lowly in his ignorance, is the well-beloved one of the Truth; he knows what philosophers not only are ignorant of, but do not desire to know.

Contemplation #44
From Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray (1828-1917).

"As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: abide ye in my love."--John 15:9.
Blessed Lord, enlighten our eyes to see aright the glory of this wondrous word. Open to our meditation the secret chamber of THY LOVE, that our souls may enter in, and find there their everlasting dwelling-place. How else shall we know aught of a love that passeth knowledge?

O Infinite Love! Love with which the Father loved the Son! Love with which the Son loves us! I can trust thee, I do trust thee. O keep me abiding in Thyself.

Contemplation #45
Spiritual maxim attributed to Pere La Combe, spiritual director of Madame Guyon.

To take and receive all things not in ourselves, but in God, is the true and excellent way of dying to ourselves and living only to God. They who understand the practice of this, are beginning to live purely; but, outside of this, nature is always mingled with grace, and we rest in self instead of permitting ourselves no repose, except in the Supreme Good, who should be the center of every movement of the heart, as He is the final end of all the measures of love.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Contemplation #40
From My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers (1874-1917).

The springs of love are in God, not in us. It is absurd to look for the love of God in our hearts naturally, it is only there when it has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. If we try to prove to God how much we love Him, it is a sure sign that we do not love Him. The evidence of our love for Him is the absolute spontaneity of our love, it comes naturally.

Contemplation #41
From The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis (1379-1471), book 3, chapter 27.

The voice of Christ: MY CHILD, you should give all for all, and in no way belong to yourself. You must know that self-love is more harmful to you than anything else in the world. In proportion to the love and affection you have for a thing, it will cling to you more or less. If your love is pure, simple, and well ordered, you will not be a slave to anything.

Contemplation #42
From The Sacrament of the Present Moment by Jean-Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751).

As soon as their heart is willing, souls come under the influence of divine action, whose power over them depends on the extent to which they have surrendered themselves. Love is the way to this surrender. Love always prevails, is never denied. How can it be since it only asks for love in return for love? May not love long for what it gives? Divine action cares only for a willing heart and takes no account of any other faculty. Should it find a heart that is good, innocent, honest, simple, submissive, obedient and respectful, that is all it looks for. It takes possession of that heart, controls all its faculties and everything turns out so well for souls that they find themselves blessed in all things.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Contemplation #37
From The Sacrament of the Present Moment by Jean-Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751)

The doctrine of perfect love comes to us through God’s action alone and not through our own efforts. God instructs the heart, not through ideas but through suffering and adversity. To know this is to understand that God is our only good. To achieve it it is necessary to be indifferent to all material blessings, and to arrive at this point one must be deprived of them all. Thus it is only through continual affliction, misfortune and a long succession of mortifications of very kind to our feelings and affections that we are established in perfect love.

Contemplation #38
Four degrees of love from On Loving God by Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)

Love is one of the four natural affections, which it is needless to name since everyone knows them. And because love is natural, it is only right to love the Author of nature first of all. Hence comes the first and great commandment, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.’ But nature is so frail and weak that necessity compels her to love herself first; and this is carnal love, wherewith man loves himself first and selfishly, as it is written, ‘That was not first which is spiritual but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual’ (I Cor. 15.46) . . . So then in the beginning man loves God, not for God’s sake, but for his own.

But when tribulations, recurring again and again, constrain him to turn to God for unfailing help, would not even a heart as hard as iron, as cold as marble, be softened by the goodness of such a Savior, so that he would love God not altogether selfishly, but because He is God? . . . Thereupon His goodness once realized draws us to love Him unselfishly, yet more than our own needs impel us to love Him selfishly.

Contemplation #39
Four degrees of love from On Loving God by Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)

Whosoever praises God for His essential goodness, and not merely because of the benefits He has bestowed, does really love God for God’s sake, and not selfishly. The third degree of love, we have now seen, is to love God on His own account, solely because He is God.

How blessed is he who reaches the fourth degree of love, wherein one loves himself only in God! In Him should all our affections center, so that in all things we should seek only to do His will, not to please ourselves. And real happiness will come, not in gratifying our desires or in gaining transient pleasures, but in accomplishing God’s will for us: even as we pray every day: ‘Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven’ (Matt. 6.10). O chaste and holy love! O sweet and gracious affection! O pure and cleansed purpose, thoroughly washed and purged from any admixture of selfishness, and sweetened by contact with the divine will! To reach this state is to become godlike.