Monday, July 30, 2018
God’s plan is fulfilled not just through the obedience of inspired men, but also through their errors, yes, their sins...I say this in order to reassure many who have despaired to the point of believing that their life is henceforth lost because at some given moment an error in judgment has misdirected their course. None can step outside God’s plan. At every moment, no matter what the accumulated ruins may be, there is a plan of God to be found.
-Paul Tournier, The Seasons of Life
Sunday, July 29, 2018
God is not a statue in a temple, though He calls for worship. Neither is He a philosophy or a theology, though he calls for these to reflect Him and carry His truths. God sees, God hears, God relates, God acts. God is a person. Those who would know God must know Him in this way.
Saturday, July 28, 2018
Fourteen years ago my marriage with Lily hit bottom—not quite the rocks, but bottom. At the time I was leading an overnight retreat for ten participants at a small convent. Sister Lucia, who was the guest mistress in charge of the tiny retreat house where we were staying, was eighty-seven if she was a day. That night, after dinner and after I had been lecturing all day, several of the retreatants pulled out bottles of whiskey. Because I’d had a couple of drinks under my belt, because I was in a good deal of emotional pain at the time, and because she had such a kindly old face, I found myself sitting at Sister Lucia’s feet telling her that I was felling badly since I had failed at my marriage.
Sister Lucia beamed. “Oh, that’s just wonderful,” she exclaimed.
“Lord, Scotty,” I thought, “get a couple of drinks in you and you go shooting your mouth off simply because this little nun’s got a kindly old face when the reason it’s so kindly is probably because she’s got no brain left behind it.” I spoke to her again, more loudly now, the way one does to the senile. “No, no, you didn’t understand me. I was telling you I’ve failed at my marriage.”
Again Lucia beamed. “Oh, I’m so glad for you,” she answered.
By this time I was becoming seriously annoyed. I practically shouted at her, “No, no, you haven’t heard what I’ve been saying. Probably you’ve got a hearing problem. You’re quite entitled to have a hearing problem at your age, my dear. But, anyway, you haven’t understood anything that I’ve said, so let’s just drop the subject.”
“I’ve heard and understood you perfectly, young man,” Sister Lucia responded, looking at me keenly. “You’ve been telling me that you have failed at your marriage, and I’m so glad for you. Do you know how terrible it would be never to fail? Oh, that would be dreadful!”
I recollected certain people I’d known who felt they had never failed and thought of just how insufferable they were, and I began to think that maybe she did have some gray matter left behind those intelligent eyes. It also occurred to me it was perhaps no accident that both Sister Lucia and I were attempting to follow a Lord of Failure, a man executed at an early age in the standard manner of the day as a petty provincial political criminal, spat upon by his enemies and betrayed by his friends.
It is also, I think, no accident that my marriage with Lily began to considerably improve along about that time. For what happened after I’d concluded I’d failed at my marriage was that, on a certain level, I gave up trying to make it work. And that meant I gave up trying to change Lily. It was also around that same time that Lily decided she too had failed at the marriage, and also stopped trying to make it work and trying to change me. Furthermore, I suspect it is no accident that since that time, both she and I seem to have done a good deal of changing.
Monday, July 23, 2018
Friday, July 20, 2018
Let us be very sincere in our dealings with each other and have the courage to accept each other as we are. Do not be surprised at or become preoccupied with each other's failure; rather see and find the good in each other, for each one of us is created in the image of God. Jesus has said it beautifully: "I am the vine, you are the branches." The life-giving sap that flows from the vine through each of the branches is the same.
-Teresa of Calcutta
Thursday, July 19, 2018
“if you abide in me, so shall you bear much fruit” - Jesus
The meaning of the revolution in our life that comes through surrender to Christ is not at all that of limitations set upon us. It is, on the contrary, the enlarging of our life.
- Paul Tournier, The Seasons of Life
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
In youth we are called from dependency to independence, in middle age to interdependence; and in old age, ultimately, back to dependency again. But to make this final transition, we must be willing and able to give up control. A sixty-five-year-old woman came to see me for depression precipitated by detached retinas, which had rendered her ninety percent blind. She was filled with rage at her condition and at the ophthalmologist who had failed to save her from it. By our second session the underlying theme had become clear. “I just hate it,” she said, “when they have to take my arm to usher me into the pew or help me down the church steps.” And shortly thereafter, “I’m just plain bored stuck at home so much. Lots of people offer to drive me wherever I want to go, but I can’t ask them to assist me all the time.”
Fortunately for us both, she was a religious person. “It is clear to me,” I said, “that in your life you managed to become a remarkably independent woman, and it is quite natural for you to have taken a great deal of pride in your independence. But, you know, it’s a journey from here to heaven, and I suspect we can get there only when we travel lightly. I’m not sure you can make it carrying around all that pride. I can’t fault you for thinking of your blindness as a curse. It is conceivable to me, however, that you might think of it as a blessing given to you to help you strip away all your pride in your independence. Considering your health otherwise, you’ve probably got another good fifteen years left. It’s up to you whether you want to live those years under a curse or under a blessing.”
She made the right choice, and her depression quickly lifted. But a great many do not make the right choice and fight the calling to give up control to the bitter end.
-M Scott Peck, A World Waiting to be Born