“I must confess to you in all honesty that for me God is and has always been absolute mystery. I do not understand what God is; no one can. We have intimations, inklings; we make faltering, inadequate attempts to put mystery into words. But there is no word for it, no sentence for it” (Karl Rahner in Letter)
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
“Spirituality is about finding freedom. Most of us didn’t grow up thinking of religion as a path of freedom. We were taught a set of prescriptions, dos and don’ts, musts, oughts, and shoulds—against which we pushed back, like children always do. Yes, some amount of structure is important, as I tried to say in my book Falling Upward. But that’s just first-level growth, and far too much religion stays right there, “milk instead of meat,” as Paul puts it (1 Corinthians 3:2).
Meaty spirituality must first of all teach us freedom from the self, from my own self as a reference point for everything or anything. This is the necessary Copernican Revolution wherein we change reference points. Copernicus discovered that Earth is not the center of the universe. Now we have to discover that we are not the center of any universe either. We are not finally a meaningful reference point. Although we do have to start with self at the center to build a necessary “ego structure,” we then must move beyond it. The big and full world does not circle around me or you. Yet so many refuse to undergo this foundational enlightenment” (Richard Rohr in Daily Meditation for August 29).
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
“Christ says, ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours'” (C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity).
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
“We cannot by direct effort make ourselves into the kind of people who can live fully alive to God. Only God can accomplish this in us… . We do not, for example, become humble merely by trying to become humble. Action on our own would make us all the more proud of our humility. No, we instead train with Spiritual Disciplines appropriate to our need. . . By an act of the will we choose to take up disciplines of the spiritual life that we can do. These disciplines are all actions of body, mind, and spirit that are within our power to do. Then the grace of God steps in, takes this simple offering of ourselves, and creates out of it the kind of person who embodies the goodness of God” (Richard Foster in Celebration of Discipline).
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
“There comes a tipping point in any relationship that determines what kind it will be, whether it will be a simple acquaintance or a radical commitment. Will we stay as long as we enjoy ourselves, or will we have the courage to embrace whatever comes, to love even the parts we hate? It’s time to decide: Will we be his [Jesus’] casual friend, or will we be closer-than-family, bonded more deeply than blood? We can hang out in the crowd, listen to his teachings, applaud his healings, or we can check the depth of our own commitment. We can count the cost, open our hands and hearts, and pick up our cross. Or not. The choice is ours” (Kayla McClurg in Season and Scripture: Luke, Ordinary Time C)