Monday, October 31, 2005

Contemplation #61
From Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray (1828-1917).

As the Father hath loved me, I also have loved you: abide ye in my love – John 15:9.
Blessed Lord, enlighten our eyes to see properly the glory of this wondrous word. Open to our meditation the secret chamber of Your love, that our souls may enter in and find there their everlasting dwelling place . . . Lord Jesus Christ! Here I am. From now on, Your love will be the only home of my soul; in Your love alone will I abide.

Contemplation #62
Love divine, all loves excelling
Joy of heaven, to earth come down;
Fix in us thy humble dwelling;
All thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus thou art all compassion,
Pure, unbounded love thou art;
Visit us with thy salvation;
Enter every trembling heart.
- Charles Wesley

Contemplation #63
From St. Augustine.

Suppose brethren, a man should make a ring for his betrothed, and she should love the ring more wholeheartedly than he who made it for her? Certainly, let her love his gift: but, if she should say, “The ring is enough, I do not want to see his face again,” what would we say of her? The pledge is given her by the betrothed just that, in his pledge, he himself may be loved. God, then, has given you all these things. Love Him who made them.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Contemplation #58
From Autobiography of Madam Guyon by Jeanne Guyon (1648-1717).

O thou Source of Love! Thou dost indeed seem so jealous of the salvation Thou hast purchased, that Thou dost prefer the sinner to the righteous! . . . How full of self-love are the self-righteous, and how void of the love of God! They esteem and admire themselves in their works of righteousness, which they suppose to be a fountain of happiness. These works are no sooner exposed to the Sun of Righteousness, than they discover all to be so full of impurity and baseness, that it frets them to the heart. Meanwhile the poor sinner, Magdalene, is pardoned because she loves much, and her faith and love are accepted as righteousness.

Contemplation #59
“May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.” 2 Thess 3:5 (NASV)

Let us make this petition our way of seeking God today – looking for the Lord to move our inner affection from the love anything else to a single love of God characterized by the perseverance of Christ. Walking by the Spirit is abiding in the love of God, and we must allow God to show us this way.

Contemplation # 60
From The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis, book 2, chapter 8.

Jesus Christ must be loved alone with a special love for He alone, of all friends, is good and faithful. For Him and in Him you must love friends and foes alike, and pray to Him that all may know and love Him.
Never desire special praise or love, for that belongs to God alone Who has no equal. Never wish that anyone's affection be centered in you, nor let yourself be taken up with the love of anyone, but let Jesus be in you and in every good man. Be pure and free within, unentangled with any creature.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Contemplation #55
From Ignatius to the Ephesians written about 100 AD.

None of these things is hidden from you, if ye be perfect in your faith and love toward Jesus Christ, for these are the beginning and end of life – faith is the beginning and love is the end -- and the two being found in unity are God, while all things else follow in their train unto true nobility. No man professing faith sinneth, and no man possessing love hateth. The tree is manifest from its fruit; so they that profess to be Christ's shall be seen through their actions. For the Work is not a thing of profession now, but is seen then when one is found in the power of faith unto the end. (14:1-2).

Contemplation #56
From The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus written about 200 AD.

And loving Him thou wilt be an imitator of His goodness. And marvel not that a man can be an imitator of God. He can, if God willeth it. For happiness consisteth not in lordship over one's neighbours, nor in desiring to have more than weaker men, nor in possessing wealth and using force to inferiors; neither can any one imitate God in these matters; nay, these lie outside His greatness. But whosoever taketh upon himself the burden of his neighbour, whosoever desireth to benefit one that is worse off in that in which he himself is superior, whosoever by supplying to those that are in want possessions which he received from God becomes a God to those who receive them from him, he is an imitator of God. (10:4-6).

Contemplation #57
From The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians written about 110-140 AD.

For neither am I, nor is any other like unto me, able to follow the wisdom of the blessed and glorious Paul, who when he came among you taught face to face with the men of that day the word which concerneth truth carefully and surely; who also, when he was absent, wrote a letter unto you, into the which if ye look diligently, ye shall be able to be builded up unto the faith given to you, which is the mother of us all, while hope followeth after and love goeth before--love toward God and Christ and toward our neighbor. For if any man be occupied with these, he hath fulfilled the commandment of righteousness; for he that hath love is far from all sin. (3:2-3).

Monday, October 10, 2005

Contemplation #52
Like humility, love for God is a virtue that has no extreme. We should have no moderation in love, but pursue love with complete abandon and without reservation. If we err in loving God, it is always that our supposed love for God is only a version of our love for ourselves. Instead, let us love only God, and all others, including ourselves, for His sake. There is no room for anything in love for God except God. Let our love for God be jealous of any other affection.

Contemplation #53
Deep affection for ourselves is the most natural state for us. To love God, whose immediate presence is unseen, seems unreasonable. To love God more than oneself appears to be reckless. To love only God, and not oneself at all, looks like madness. And yet, this is Christian love – the love spoken of and promised by our faith. Do not expect to understand it, unless you have experienced it. If you have not experienced it, simply ask for God to give it and trust the Spirit to teach you this love.

Contemplation #54
Christian love for God ultimately resides in the will, and yet becomes more than intentional choice. As love defines the very nature of God so that there is no aspect of God that is not love, our love for God fills and consumes us, and ultimately defines all of who we are. This change begins in the will and its choices, but spreads to the mind and its thoughts, the heart and its desires, the body and its actions, and throughout all we are. The love that is the nature of God will by grace become our nature as well. This is the will of God for us in Christ through the Spirit.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Contemplation #49
God is love. To adore and love the One who is love comes naturally to those who no longer are consumed with the nature of our physical existence, but who seek the purity and beauty of our true life. If we struggle to love God, to feel real affection and longing for the One who is love, let us identify our selfish and worldly concerns that are distracting us. Shedding our obsession for the temporal will open us to the tender, sweet, and deep love for He who is All in all.

Contemplation #50
To love God is to be free. The chains of fear, guilt, shame, and self-criticism are loosed. We no longer live by oppressive obligations that create burdens none can bear and standards none can meet. The Word of God interpreted and practiced by love is joyful, every instruction a blessing, and each warning a message of care that reassures rather than terrifies. Through love we are emancipated from every tyranny created by the misguided religious systems of men, and we discover the goodness of God in ways that create an unreasonable love in us to mirror the incomprehensible love of God.

Contemplation #51
Our love for God should not be a worry for us, especially if we feel that we lack real love. It is more important that we are willing to love God than for us to be concerned over whether we do that well. If we are open to loving God, and honest with where we may feel we do not love God, God Himself will move us on the path to greater love. The love for God that we are moving toward is more than respect, appreciation, honor, obedience, trust, or any other form of esteem. We are being drawn into an adoration, longing, and eagerness for God that is the richest and deepest emotion. A consuming and powerful love for God expressed from our whole being is our goal, though if we seem to follow short we need only to continue to trust God.