NOTE: I am spending my days and nights in the hospital with my husband who is extremely ill. For now my words are deep inside, so I share with you the words of others who have deepened my spiritual journey lately.
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“There is no “after” after death. Words like after and before belong to our mortal life, our life in time and space. Death frees us from the boundaries of chronology and brings us into God’s “time,” which is timeless. Speculations about the afterlife, therefore, are little more than just that: speculations. Beyond death there is no “first” and “later,” no “here” and “there,” no “past,” “present,” or “future.” God is all in all. The end of time, the resurrection of the body, and the glorious coming again of Jesus are no longer separated by time for those who are no longer in time. (Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey).
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“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members, a heart of grace, and a soul generated by love” (Corretta Scott King).
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“Putting on the mind of Christ” is a direct reference to St. Paul’s powerful injunction in Philippians 2:5: “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” The words call us up short as to what we are actually supposed to be doing on this path: not just admiring Jesus, but acquiring his consciousness” (Richard Rohr, Daily Meditation, January 14, 2019).
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“The simple image of Jesus, God’s gift to us, being wrapped up in cloths comforts me with the powerful truth: He understands the bindings on my mind and soul as only someone who has a shared experience can. . . . .
Psalm 91:3 says, “Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare.’ It’s such a vivid picture of rescue, being released from a bird catcher’s trap. But notice what verse 4 says about how God does that: “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.” God becomes the bird himself, stepping into the trap set for us and saving us from the inside. He joins us where we are caught, subjecting himself to the confinement of being human. This is the heart of the gospel. And it was right there in the manger.
Even better, the manger isn’t the only time we find God in furoshiki [swaddling]. At the end of his earthly life, Jesus, our gift, was laid in the tomb carefully and lovingly wrapped in strips of cloth. However, this time around the story ends with the image of the cloths being left behind in the tomb, set aside by the risen Christ. The gift is now fully ours, the wrappings discarded. He broke the power of the bindings that had held him in a death gripped and emerged into complete and total freedom . . . . I look forward to the day we will leave behind all that currently binds” (Jeff Peabody, in CT, December, 2018).
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“Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out” (Vaclav Havel).