From My Reading

Brother Lawrence was a mustard seed man, a simple cook who trained for years to hold God in his mind until it became routine, second nature, a holy habit — the mature tree. We can learn to live in his shade, under the strong branches of his life-with-God. Let us lean into his practice, for God is not very far, nor do we have to shout very loud. For in the words of Lawrence himself, “He is nearer to us than we think” (Jon Bailey, blog post, December 10, 2017).

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“In The Divine Conspiracy Dallas Willard gives contemporary expression to these ‘unblessed and unblessable – the physically repulsive, the bald, the fat, and the old, the flunk-outs and drop-outs and burned outs. The broke and the broken. The drug heads and the divorced. The HIV-positive and herpes-ridden. The brain-damaged, the incurable ill. The barren and the pregnant too-many-times or the wrong time. The overemployed, the underemployed, the unemployed. The unemployable. The swindled, the shoved aside, the replaced . . . ‘ (pp. 123-124). Ask yourself: How can I make the kingdom of God available to individuals who are humanly hopeless? Then as you go about your days, learn to take time to point out the natural beauty of every human being”  (Richard Foster commenting on the Sermon on The Mount in the Renovare Weekly Digest for October 20, 20170.   

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“In the garden of Gethsemane, with his betrayers and accusers massing at the gates, he [Jesus] struggled and anguished but remained true to his course. Do not hoard, do not cling—not even to life itself. Let it go, let it be—“Not my will but yours be done, [Father]. Into your hands, I commend my spirit” [Luke 22:42, 23:46]. Thus he came and thus he went, giving himself fully into life and death, losing himself, squandering himself. . . . It was not love stored up but love utterly poured out that opened the gates to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Over and over, Jesus lays this path before us. There is nothing to be renounced or resisted. Everything can be embraced, but the catch is to cling to nothing. You let it go. You go through life like a knife goes through a done cake, picking up nothing, clinging to nothing, sticking to nothing.  And . . . you can then throw yourself out, pour yourself out, being able to give it all back, even giving back life itself. That’s the kenotic path in a nutshell. Very, very simple. It only costs everything” (Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind—a New Perspective on Christ and His Message).

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“To meditate upon the Scripture—a key aspect of lectio divina—involves more than simply reading it. Meditatio is a slow, paced, leisurely gnawing on the Scripture, a reading that breaks through the bone and sucks out the marrow, Christ himself. Meditatio is a Christological munching, an eschatological feeding because the food offered to us is grown and harvested in the fields of the age to come, assimilating Jesus, as Peterson puts it, metabolizing him in a concrete, earthy fashion so that he becomes what we are and in so doing changes us into himself” (Chris Hall in the Renovare Weekly Digest for October 18, 2017).

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