Daily Riches: The Prayer of Consent (Francis Fenelon and Thomas Keating)

“What God asks of us is a will which is no longer divided between Him and any creature. It is a will pliant in His hands which neither seeks nor rejects anything, which wants without reserve whatever He wants and which never wants under any pretext anything that He does not want. …Happy are those who give themselves to God! …placing our will entirely in the hands of God, we want only what God wants, and thus we find His consolation in faith and consequently hope in the midst of all suffering. …Happy are those who throw themselves with bowed heads into the arms of the ‘Father of mercies’ and the ‘God of all consolation’.” Francis Fenelon

“Contemplative prayer is a deepening of faith that moves beyond thoughts and concepts. One just listens to God, open and receptive to the divine presence in one’s inmost being as its source. One listens not with a view to hearing something, but with a view to becoming aware of the obstacles to one’s friendship with God. …In contemplative prayer the Spirit places us in a position where we are at rest and disinclined to fight. …Little by little, we enter into prayer without intentionality except to consent… and consent becomes surrender … and surrender becomes total receptivity… and, as the process continues, total receptivity becomes effortless, peaceful.… It is free and has nothing to attain, to get, or desire … So, no thinking, no reflection, no desire, no words, no thing … just receptivity and consent.” Thomas Keating

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”
1 Samuel 15:22

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you imagine being “pliant” in God’s hands, never wanting “anything that He does not want?”
  • Are you willing to listen in prayer “with a view to becoming aware of the obstacles to [your] friendship with God?” …becoming “disinclined to fight?”
  • Are you willing to enter into a kind of prayer permeated only by “receptivity and consent?” Imagine what that would look like.

Abba, draw me to you, so that I throw myself with a bowed head into your arms, surrendering to you – the God who loves me and desires only good for me – the God of all mercy and consolation.

For More: Devotional Classics by Richard Foster and James Bryan Smith

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: An Hour Well Employed (Allen Verhey, Pete Scazzero, and Francis de Sales)

“Prayer is focused attention to God.” Pete Scazzero

“In learning to pray, Christians learn …a practice – and the good intrinsic to that practice. They learn, that is, to attend to God, to look to God. And they learn that not just intellectually, not just as an idea. In learning to pray, they learn a human activity that engages their bodies as well as their minds, their affections and passions and loyalties as well as their rationality, and that focuses their lives and their common life upon God. To attend to God is not easy to learn – or painless. And given our inveterate attention to ourselves and to our own needs and wants, we frequently corrupt it. …In learning to pray, Christians learn to look to God and, after the blinding vision, to begin to look at all else in a new light. In prayer they do not attend to something beyond God that God – or  prayer – might be used in order to reach; they attend to God. That is the good intrinsic to prayer, the good ‘internal to that form of activity,’ simple attention to God.” Allen Verhey

“How to meditate? Bring yourself back to the point quite gently. And even if you do nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back a thousand times, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour would be very well employed.” Francis de Sales

“Lord, teach us to pray.”  Luke 11:1

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is your prayer aimed at “focused attention to God” or are you often easily distracted by your “inveterate attention” to yourself and your own needs and wants? If you’re easily distracted, can you forgive yourself, admitting you’re like everyone else?
  • When worries, fantasies, noises, sinful thoughts and the making of plans disrupt your attention to God, are you able to “bring yourself back to the point quite gently” – with no self recrimination, self-defense or further distraction?
  • Can you bring your heart back to attentiveness to God, even if in one session it’s “a thousand times?”

Abba, I’m encouraged that with each distraction, I have the opportunity to turn to you and attend to you again. I’m glad to do this over and over as long as I must, knowing you’re waiting for me there, eager for my return.

For More: The Art of Loving God by Francis de Sales

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and God seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: “A Table Only For Two” Calvin Miller, Henri Nouwen, and Gail Morgan)

“Fellowship with Christ is a table only for two — set in the wilderness. Inwardness is not a gaudy party, but the meeting of lovers in the lonely desert of the human heart. There, where all life and fellowship can hold no more than two, we sit together and he speaks as much as we, and even when both of us say nothing there is our welded oneness. And suddenly we see we cannot be complete until his perfect presence joins with ours.” Calvin Miller

“The priest looked at her sharply. ‘You can offer idleness to God,’ he said. ‘Unemployment, idleness, whatever. To do nothing in someone’s presence is a greater compliment than being busy and preoccupied.'” Gail Morgan

“To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude. This requires not only courage but also a strong faith. As hard as it is to believe that the dry desolate desert can yield endless varieties of flowers, it is equally hard to imagine that our loneliness is hiding unknown beauty. The movement from loneliness to solitude, however, is the beginning of any spiritual life because it is the movement from the restless sense to the restful spirit, from the outward-reaching cravings to the inward-reaching search, from the fearful clinging to the fearless play.”  Henri Nouwen

“When Jesus is present, all is well, and nothing seems difficult;
but when Jesus is absent, everything is hard.”
Thomas a Kempis

“Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.”
Psalm 25:16

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Behind your outward religious life, is there a hidden, intimate spiritual life just between you and Christ – where you meet as if “at a table only for two?”
  • Are you working, when loneliness overcomes you, to embrace it as a divine guide into a potent solitude instead, where you are “alone” but “Jesus is present?”
  • Have you determined to keep your most intimate life with God a private matter between you and God, so as not to demean it or puff up yourself?

Abba, meet with me in the lonely desert of my human heart. Teach me how to be unbusy and unpreoccupied in your presence, attending to you in love.

For More:  The Table of Inwardness by Calvin Miller

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: The Difference Between Thinking and Praying (Donald McCullough, William O’Malley, and John Donne)

“I don’t understand why God loves me – or anyone else, for that matter. But does a minnow have to understand the ocean to swim in it? Does a goose have to understand his instinctive urges to fly south in winter before taking flight? Does a hawk understand the physics of hot air rising to soar atop the currents? Do I really need to understand the height and breadth and depth of God’s love to throw myself upon it? Authentic spirituality, it seems to me, does not depend on understanding everything about ourselves and God and then using that knowledge to hoist ourselves to a higher level of experience and achievement. …Authentic spirituality confidently assumes that God is up to something good, going ahead of us, calling us, embracing us, and it seeks simply to participate and delight in this.”  Donald McCullough

“Prayer begins with being connected to God. One way I find helpful to remind myself of the ever-present God is to say over and over again, ‘God, my great friend, … somehow you’re alive in me.’ At times, I am sure, you will need nothing more than that. But the essential difference between thinking and praying is the conscious ‘connection.’ The goal of these prayers is connecting with and resting in God, not trying to learn anything or to make ‘progress in the spiritual life.’  Remember, God will lead us as God will, and God’s faithfulness, goodness, and love for us are infinite.” William O’Malley

“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love
may … grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and know this love that surpasses knowledge….”
Ephesians 3:18,19

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are you striving to know more about God? What can you do to make sure learning more leads to loving more, growing more, and changing more – to new practices rather than just new convictions?
  • Are your prayers routinely characterized by “connecting with and resting in God”, even when they’re filled with petitions?
  • Do you assume “God is up to something good,” going ahead of you, calling you?
  • Do you experience God’s love mostly as fact or feeling? Does it “surpass knowledge?”

Abba, take me to you, imprison mee, for I
Except you enthrall mee, never shall be free,
Nor ever chast, except you ravish mee.
John Donne

For More: Daily Prayers for Busy People by William J. O’Malley

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Without Excuse or Defense Before God (Thomas Merton)

“ …we should let ourselves be brought naked and defenceless into the center of that dread where we stand alone before God in our nothingness, without explanation, without theories, completely dependent upon his providential care, in dire need of the gift of his grace, his mercy and the light of faith. …But when the time comes to enter the darkness in which we are naked and helpless and alone; in which we see the insufficiency of our greatest strength and the hollowness of our strongest virtues; in which we have nothing of our own to rely on, and nothing in our nature to support us, and nothing in the world to guide us or give us light – then we find out whether or not we live by faith.” Thomas Merton

“I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne;
 and the train of his robe filled the temple.
Above him were seraphim, each with six wings:
With two wings they covered their faces,
with two they covered their feet,
and with two they were flying.
And they were calling to one another:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.’
At the sound of their voices
the doorposts and thresholds shook
and the temple was filled with smoke.
‘Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined!
For I am a man of unclean lips,
and I live among a people of unclean lips,
and my eyes have seen the King,
the Lord Almighty.’”
 Isaiah 6:1-5

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you imagine being “brought naked and defenceless … before God?” …“standing alone before God in your nothingness?” …feeling “undone” in the presence of God?
  • Why would Merton suggest that we not resist this? (“we should let ourselves be brought…”)
  • Teresa of Avila prayed, “Let me not be afraid to linger here in your presence will all my humanity exposed. For you are God – you are not surprised by my frailties, my continuous failures.” Can you use these words as the basis for a prayer of your own?

Abba, it’s dreadfully painful to have all my humanity exposed before anyone, including you. It’s in your presence though, that I am exposed yet safe. In spite of my all my humanity, may I linger before you today, presenting myself for healing – and may I do this without any attempt to lessen the pain by offering up explanations or excuses.

__________

For More: Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton

_________________________________________________

The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek God, and as he seeks you. My goal is to provide you with something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. Thanks for following and sharing my blog! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: “Go to God”… But How?

In the Judeo-Christian tradition both heart (Proverbs 4:23) and mind (Romans 12:2) play a critical place in the spiritual life, but true religion can be defined (James 1:27) and measured (Mt. 25:31ff.) without mentioning these things, because as important as correct thinking (doctrine, theology) and proper feeling (affections, passions) are, they pale in significance to proper behavior (lifestyle, practices). Both change of heart and mind are penultimate to change of behavior. Life-change is always the ultimate end in view, always the goal. (James 2:20) Unfortunately, in the churches, the call to character or Christian living is often where the story ends. We’re reminded, motivated, inspired, informed and challenged – but often left to ourselves to figure out how to make it work. Yes, be more patient, loving, compassionate. Yes, be a person of prayer, joy, grace, peace. But how? The ancient answer is new again – practice traditional spiritual disciplines. By them we make space for God to enter our equation. We position ourselves to receive from God and hear from God. By practicing spiritual disciplines we train ourselves to be able to do by the grace of God, what we cannot consistently do now: “the right thing in the right way at the right time for the right reason.” Since the learning-curve of the Christian life extends over a lifetime, we need to return repeatedly to these core practices – just as you would repeatedly work through the “twelve steps” in A.A. or N.A. It’s rare that you hear many of these core practices emphasized in church (e.g., the need to slow down, the need for silence and solitude), and some typical practices might just be off the radar of your particular faith tradition – and for that reason not ever mentioned (contemplative prayer, fixed-time prayer, keeping of a sabbath). We look to God to change us, but merely looking is not enough. Nor is it enough merely to learn more, or try harder. The practice of spiritual disciplines transcends eras of Christian history, continents, cultures and denominations. Christians of influence in the Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant traditions all testify to its value. As you join me in thoughtfully interacting with the “riches” of this blog, my prayer is that we will all succeed at actually living more the kind of life that Jesus lived. That’s what God wants for us – and what our world needs from us!

 “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” 1 Timothy 4:7

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you settled for merely more information or inspiration? Is your solution to try harder?
  • What you’re doing to be more like Jesus – is it working?
  • Are you actually training yourself to do “the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, for the right reason?”
Abba, keep me moving along the journey of transformation.
.
For More: The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg
_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less (with today being a rare exception). I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Knowing and Not Knowing (Richard Rohr, Tobin Hart and Eugene Ionesco)

“Over-explanation separates us from astonishment.” Eugene Ionesco

“We need transformed people today, and not just people with answers. I do not want my too many words to separate you from astonishment or to provide you with a substitute for your own inner experience. We all need, forever, what Jesus described as ‘the beginner’s mind’ of a curious child. A beginner’s mind … is the best path for spiritual wisdom. Tobin Hart writes: ‘Instead of grasping for certainty, wisdom rides the question, lives the question…. When the quest for certainty and control is pushed to the background, the possibility of wonder returns. Wonder provides a gateway to wise insight.’ Incorporating negative and self-critical thinking is essential to true prophetic understanding. At the same time, we must also trust that we are held irrevocably in the mystery of God’s love, without fully understanding it. Alongside all our knowing, accompanying every bit of our knowing, must be the humble ‘knowing that we do not know.’ That’s why the great tradition of prayer is balanced by both kataphatic knowing, through images and words, and apophatic knowing, through silence, images, and beyond words. Apophatic knowing is the empty space around the words, allowing God to fill in all the gaps in an ‘unspeakable’ way. Strangely enough, this unknowing is a new kind of understanding. We have a word for it: faith, a kind of knowing that doesn’t need to know and yet doesn’t dismiss knowledge either; a kind of knowing that doesn’t need to hold everything itself because, at a deeper level, it knows it is being held.” Richard Rohr

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly,
but then we will see face to face.
Now I know only in part;
then I will know fully,
even as I have been fully known.”
1 Corinthians 13:12

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you on a “quest for certainty?” Can you relax and let God “fill in all the gaps” where mystery or paradox prevails?
  • Does “over-explanation” (“too many words”) interfere with your “inner experience” of God? Has extensive doctrinal explanation led to “transformation” for you?
  • Are you willing to admit mystery? Are you committed to living humbly as one who can “know only in part?”

Abba, don’t let me spoil my relationship with you by too much certainty or too many words.

For More: “A Story Bigger Than My Own” by Debie Thomas

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: The Need for Action that Proceeds From Contemplation (Rowan Williams, Evelyn Underhill, Richard Rohr, and Thomas Merton)

“Contemplation is very far from being just one kind of thing that Christians do: it is the key to prayer, liturgy, art and ethics, the key to the essence of a renewed humanity that is capable of seeing the world and other subjects in the world with freedom – freedom from self-oriented, acquisitive habits and the distorted understanding that comes from them. To put it boldly, contemplation is the only ultimate answer to the unreal and insane world that our financial systems and our advertising culture and our chaotic and unexamined emotions encourage us to inhabit. To learn contemplative practice is to learn what we need so as to live truthfully and honestly and lovingly. It is a deeply revolutionary matter.” Rowan Williams

“For [mystics,] contemplation and action are not opposites, but two interdependent forms of a life that is one – a life that rushes out to a passionate communion with the true and beautiful, only that it may draw from this direct experience of Reality a new intensity wherewith to handle the world of things; and remake it, or at least some little bit of it, ‘nearer to the heart’s desire.'”  Evelyn Underhill

“The opposite of contemplation is not action, it is reaction. We must wait for pure action, which always proceeds from a contemplative silence.” Richard Rohr

“Do you think the way to sanctity is to lock yourself up with prayers and your books and the meditations that please and interest your mind, to protect yourself with many walls, against people you consider stupid? …in the refusal of activities and works which are necessary for the good of others but which happen to bore and distract you? …by winding yourself up in a cocoon of spiritual and aesthetic pleasures, instead of renouncing all your tastes and desires and ambitions and satisfactions for the love of Christ, Who will not even live within you if you cannot find Him in other people? Far from being essentially opposed to each other, interior contemplation and external activity are two aspects of the same love of God.” Thomas Merton

“I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.”
Psalm 63:2

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is much of what you do “pure action” that “proceeds from a contemplative silence”, or are you typically just reacting?
  • Do you have a practice to help you escape the insidious influence of our “unreal and insane world?” If not by contemplation, then how?
  • Do you believe in contemplation? Do you “practice daily” what you believe?

God of Reality, may I commune with you before attempting to “handle the world of things.”

For More: New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton

_________________________________________________

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: That Extremely Soothing Media Narrative (David Foster Wallace, David Lipsky, Seán Dunne and Jerry Stittser)

“We were making jokes about Love Boat and Baywatch and these really, really commercial, really reductive shows that we so love to sneer at [and] are also tremendously compelling because the predictability in popular art, the really formulaic stuff, is so profoundly soothing. It gives you a sense of order, that everything’s going to be alright. That this is a narrative that will take care of you and won’t in any way challenge you. It’s like being wrapped in a shammy blanket and nestled against a big generous [breast].” (Wallace) “He goes on to say that despite the comforts of popular culture, serious art eventually will out. …he seemed to swing precipitously between two poles.” (Gladstone) “…[on the other hand media like] NPR will require something of you. It will require that you engage …that you think about your opinion, it will require you to change your opinion. Whereas the other stuff, it allows you to relax. And what he was saying is, you have to do both.” (Lipsky) – David Lipsky discussing his interviews of David Foster Wallace with Brooke Gladstone

“The guesthouse had no television or radio. There seemed little to do except go to bed, yet I felt eager for distraction. I began to wonder exactly what I was doing in such a place [the monastery at Mount Melleray]. I was unable to sleep and lay awake listening to the fountain, bemused at myself for the absurdity of my attraction towards silence and my inability to practice it. I wanted to be distracted from the questions that rose in me like troublesome yeast.”  Seán Dunne

“Many people form addictions after they experience loss…. So they watch television every moment they can…. In so doing, they hold suffering at a distance. …They dodge pain rather than confront it. But their unwillingness to face pain comes at a price. Ultimately it diminishes the capacity of their souls to grow bigger in response to pain…. In the end denial leads to a greater loss.”  Jerry Stittser

“Blessed are those who mourn
for they shall be comforted.”
Matthew 5:4

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Does your media consumption have a soothing effect on you? …preventing you from having to examine or change your opinions?
  • Is your media a “big shammy blanket” wrapping you in comfort so you can “dodge pain?” …distracting you from “questions that rise in you like troublesome yeast?”
  • How can you face pain in your life rather than avoiding it?

God of all comfort, comfort us.

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. Thanks!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Brokenness and Prayer (John Cassian, Dan Clendenin, Thomas Merton, Peter Traben Haas and Jonathan Martin)

“In prayer we seek what John Cassian (360–430) called ‘integrity of heart’ or ‘integral wholeness.’ But when you’re honest before God, that can feel far off. Here’s Cassian’s self-diagnosis in his Institutes and Conferences – lethargy, sleeplessness, unsettling dreams, impulsive urges, self-justification, seething emotions, sexual fantasies, pious pretense that masked as virtue, self-deception, clerical ambition and the desire to dominate, crushing despair, confusion, wild mood swings, flattery, and the dreaded ‘noonday demon’ of acedia (“a wearied or anxious heart” that suggests close parallels to clinical depression). Cassian further admits that ‘there are many things that lie hidden in my conscience which are known and manifest to God, even though they may be unknown and obscure to me.’ And this is a monk who had devoted his entire life to prayer!” Daniel Clendenin

“I get so tired of beholding my brokenness. But the deeper I go into the depths of it, the deeper I experience my belovedness too.” Jonathan Martin

“The man who does not permit his spirit to be beaten down and upset by dryness and helplessness, but who lets God lead him peacefully through the wilderness, and desires no other support or guidance than that of pure faith and trust in God alone, will be brought to the Promised Land.” Thomas Merton

“I belong to my beloved,
    and his desire is for me.”

Song of Songs 7:10

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • I can never help but smile reading Cassian’s list – it’s so familiar at points. Are you in touch with your “dryness and helplessness” like Cassian, Martin and Merton are?
  • Do you keep seeking God in prayer even when overwhelmed by your brokenness? …when you’re “beaten down?”
  • Have you attempted to let the experience of brokenness move you into a deeper experience of belovedness?

Beloved Silence: Thank you for listening to my confessions and failures. Under the shadow of your light, my darkness is no more. Amen. (Peter Traben Haas)

For More: Centering Prayers by Peter Traben Haas

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. Thanks!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: The Invisible Companionship of God (Thomas Merton and Edward Hays)

“When bed-ridden with some illness, fearful over some approaching event, or directly confronted by some trouble, you have to descend quickly to those roots of your soul to cause that deep fount of joy in your roots to bubble up to the surface. This holy descent takes but a few profoundly trust-filled moments. Once you feel you’ve reached your deepest depths, come to a quiet rest among the tangled roots of your being and inhale deeply the abundant, fertile power of the Divine Presence. Then ascent as quickly as you descended to joyously face in a new way whatever threatens your peace. Do so with confidence for if God is with you, in you, and intimately one with you, who or what can be against you? If you wish to live joyously regardless of circumstances, develop the habit of frequent descents to be nourished by that abiding holy communion with God. To be frequently in a day in consecrated constant communion requires only going into yourself. Those who practice these daily frequent descents and ascents can smile with the singular joy of which the Master promised “…no one can take from you.'” Edward Hays

“The man who fears to be alone will never be anything but lonely, no matter how much he may surround himself with people. But the man who learns, in solitude and recollection, to be at peace with his own loneliness, and to prefer its reality to the illusion of merely natural companionship, comes to know the invisible companionship of God. Such a one is alone with God in all places, and he alone truly enjoys the companionship of other men, because he loves them in God in Whom their presence is not tiresome, and because of Whom his own love for them can never know satiety.” Thomas Merton

“I have stilled and quieted my soul.”
Psalm 131:2

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you have a way to “come to a quiet rest among the tangled roots of your being?” …to experience the “invisible companionship of God?”
  • This was the practice of King David and of Jesus. Does it seem too mystical to you?
  • Are you developing “the habit of frequent descents to be nourished by that abiding holy communion with God?” …to be “alone with God in all places?”

Abba, help me replace old life-draining habits with new life-giving habits.

For More: No Man Is An Island by Thomas Merton

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. Thanks!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: All Faced Calmly … In Good Time – On Silence (Thomas Keating, Soren Kiekegaard, John Fox, Parker Palmer, Melodia and Mother Teresa)

“Silence is God’s first language;

everything else is a poor translation.
In order to hear that language,
we must learn to be still and to rest in God.”
Thomas Keating

“Prayer is not hearing yourself talk,
but being silent,
staying silent
and waiting until you hear God.”
Soren Kiekegaard

“Stillness is where you meet with the essence of things…. In stillness we can begin to let go of external voices, stereotypes, and clichés that crowd out original, personal and internal voices. Those discordant outer voices fade away in stillness. Stillness is a place of rooting oneself in a much larger field of being.” John Fox

”But deep down, we know that when we step back, breathe, allow our agitation to settle, and simply start paying attention, we often see new possibilities in situations that once seemed intractable. The wisdom traditions, religious and secular, have always claimed that only in this contemplative state are we able to touch the truth, whether truth be understood as the fruit of mental acuity or of mystical experience.” Parker Palmer

“With silence, problems appear in a less somber light, in their real dimensions, and seem wholly tractable. Daily worries lose their force, until they appear banal. Hurrying makes no sense. To where am I running, you ask yourself, and why am I running so? Anguish does not exist here any more. All is in its place and will be faced calmly, in good time.”  Melodia

“In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. …Souls of prayer are souls of great silence. Silence gives us a new outlook on every-thing.” Mother Teresa

“If only you could be silent! That’s the wisest thing you could do.” Job 13:5

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you learned “to be still and rest in God” as the “wisest thing you could do?
  • Does practicing contemplation have a significant place in your life? If not, how instead will you “root yourself in a much larger field of being?”
  • Have you experienced everything falling into place in silence – to be “faced calmly in good time?” Have you experienced being given a “new outlook on every-thing” in silence? Have you given silence a genuine try?

Abba, help me to make the space and time for necessary, life-giving silence.

For More: Invitation to Love by Thomas Keating

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

Daily Riches: The Mystics and Prayer (Abraham Heschel, Macrina Wiederkehr, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Emily Dickenson, Soren Kierkegaard, and David Benner)

“Our need of Him is but an echo of His need of us.” Abraham Heschel

“I strain toward God; God strains toward me.
I ache for God; God aches for me.
Prayer is mutual yearning,
mutual straining,
mutual aching.”
Macrina Wiederkehr

“Closer is he than breathing
and nearer than hands and feet.”
Alfred Lord Tennyson

“The soul should always stand ajar.”
Emily Dickenson

“Always be in a state of expectancy, and see that you leave room for God to come in as he likes.” Oswald Chambers

“Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace. If you refuse to be hurried and pressed, if you stay your soul on God, nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace.” Amy Carmichael

“Just as in earthly life lovers long for the moment when they are able to breathe forth their love for each other, to let their souls blend in a soft whisper, so the mystic longs for the moment when in prayer he can, as it were, creep into God.”  Soren Kierkegaard

“Just imagine how different your life would be if moment by moment you were constantly open to God. Think of how much your experience of yourself, others and the world would change if you were continuously attuned to the loving presence of God and allowed the life of God to flow into and through you with each breath. …It holds the possibility of helping us move from occasional acts of praying to a life of prayer.” David Benner

“For in him we live and move and exist.
As some of your own poets have said,
‘We are his offspring.’”
Acts 17:28
St. Paul, quoting Epimenides and Aratus

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you imagine a God who “needs” you? …who “aches for you?” (Heschel is an expert in the Hebrew prophets where these ideas recur.)
  • Can you imagine a God who is “closer than your hands and feet?” …in whom you “live and move and exist?”
  • Can the mystic’s aspiration to “creep into God” motivate you to deeper intimacy – to keep your “soul ajar?” … in “a state of expectancy?” …to “leave room for God to come as he likes?” …to “allow his life to flow through you with each breath?”

Abba, satisfy my longing for deeper intimacy with you.

For More: A Tree Full of Angels by Macrina Wiederkehr

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

Daily Riches: Delighting With the God Who Delights in You (James Martin, C. S. Lewis and Anthony de Mello)

“To please God … to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness … to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son – it seems impossible … but so it is.” C. S. Lewis

We may pour out our grief to God, or come with our requests. “But there is more to a relationship than that. Praying solely in this way would be like having a friendship whose only purpose was to enable you to ask for things. So besides lamenting to God and asking God for things, there is another way of being with God – and that is joyfully. …St. Ignatius encourages people to imagine themselves alongside Jesus. It’s different than imagining yourself with God, who is often imagined more as a ‘presence.’ Imagining yourself with Jesus means something more specific. …This may mean something as simple as sitting joyfully with [Jesus] in prayer and imagining [Jesus] sitting joyfully with you. …laugh with the God who smiles when seeing you, rejoices over your very existence, and takes delight in you, all the days of your life. …In his book Armchair Mystic, Mark Thibodeaux, a Jesuit spiritual writer, distinguishes between four stages of prayer. The first is talking at God (which includes petitionary prayer, that is, asking for help). The second is talking to God (which includes expressing your feelings and emotions, frustrations and hopes to God). The third is listening to God (a more contemplative way of reflecting on what is going on in your daily life as well as being attentive to the inner movements of your soul during prayer). The final way is being with God (this is closer to ‘centering prayer,’ a prayer of presence). …One of my favorite suggestions for a meditation is Anthony deMello’s statement: ‘Look at God looking at you … and smiling.’ DeMellos’ image is essentially an invitation into a prayer of joy and contentment, into what you might call private, one-on-one time with a smiling God, into seeing the world the way that God does.” James Martin

“you are … God’s special possession”
1 Peter 2:9

 Moving From Head to Heart

  • “Do you think of Jesus as “smiling?” …smiling at you?
  • …rejoicing in you, like an artist in her work? like a mother in her son?
  • Are you able to simply “be with God?” …focusing on being “present” to him?

Abba, let me taste more of your love.

For More: Armchair Mystic by Mark Thibodeaux

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Religion and Established Privilege (Thomas Merton)

“Of course, it is true that religion on a superficial level, religion that is untrue to itself and to God, easily comes to serve as the ‘opium of the people.’ And this takes place whenever religion and prayer invoke the name of God for reasons and ends that have nothing to do with him. When religion becomes a mere artificial facade to justify a social or economic system – when religion hands over its rites and language completely to the political propagandists, and when prayer becomes the vehicle for a purely secular ideological program, then religion does tend to become an opiate. It deadens the spirit enough to permit the substitution of a superficial fiction and mythology for this truth of life. And this brings about the alienation of the believer, so that his religious zeal becomes political fanaticism. His faith in God, while preserving its traditional formulas, becomes in fact faith in his own nation, class or race. His ethic ceases to be the law of God and of love, and becomes the law that might-makes-right: established privilege justifies everything. God is the status quo.” Thomas Merton

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is –
his good, pleasing and perfect will. “
Romans 12:1, 2

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Does your religious experience “deaden the spirit” rather than invigorating it? Does it squelch individuality and produce conformity? Does it discourage imagination and curiosity?
  • Does it tend to prop up some unjust “social [or] economic system? Does it support the “status quo” as a way that is out of step with the Bible’s insistence upon justice?
  • Has your faith in God become “in fact faith in your own nation, class or race?”
  • Has your religious ethic somehow become something other than the “law …of love?”
  • Are you comfortable with your answers to these questions? If not, what can change?

Abba, help me to speak to the status quo instead of being shaped by it. Strengthen me to question established, unjust privilege and work to undo it. Work in me your earth-changing “law of love.”

For More: Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”