Daily Riches: The Church of the Future (Joseph Ratzinger)

“The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes … she will lose many of her social privileges. …As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members…. It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek…. But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret. And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.” Joseph Ratzinger (These words are from 1969.)

“At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.
Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, ‘Are you also going to leave?’”
John 6:66,67

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • If the church shrinks through atrophy and persecution, so that only those who are truly committed to Christ remain, will you still be there?
  • Would you still be a Christian if it didn’t come with social privileges and power? …if it meant being part of  something “weak”–”a little flock of believers?”
  • Think of your church. Does it need to become “poor” before it can rich enough to be seen as “man’s home?”

For more: Faith and the Future by Joseph Ratzinger

________________________

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. I appreciate your interest! Please leave a comment or question. –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

 

Daily Riches: That’s Me … Losing My Ambition (The Order of Julian of Norwich)

“What matters is to make space for God by embracing His will. In Advent the most beautiful exemplar goes ahead of us: ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word.’ I am yours absolutely, do your will in me and through me. I turn over to you all my ambitions even of the most religious and spiritual kind. Do your will in darkness or in pain if necessary; I do not ask to understand. I commit myself to you completely. However Mary spent her days, we are told the only things that matter and those things—surrender, holding fast to God’s promises, expecting fulfillment—must be true of all who belong to Christ. The contemplative life has this Marian attitude or mode of being writ large into it. The dynamism of this perspective comes from living out of the hand of God, and not our own resources. Otherwise, it is not a dramatic way; faith keeps us in the here and now—in this moment and no other; in this situation and no other. Here is my Jesus, here in this moment, this duty, this set of circumstances. What a test of faith is the daily round of duties, the pressure of seeming trivialities, in the dull, wearying pain, lacking all glamour and grandeur. Especially when, as Mary in her lifetime, we are among those who fall below the radar of the worthwhile, where nobody notices, no stories or articles are written, no photos appear, and we ourselves seem utterly forgotten and swept along by events, The essentials for Mary were offering herself absolutely, hearing the word and living it in all its challenges, and the final consummation of perfect faith and surrender.”

“Mary responded, ‘I am the Lord’s servant.
May everything you have said about me come true.’”
Luke 1:38
.
Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • It’s common to make too much of Mary, and also to dismiss her. Instead, can you learn something valuable from Mary’s example?
  • Most of us “fall below the radar of the worthwhile” while wishing to be noticed or remembered. Can you offer yourself to God in the “daily round of duties … [and] seeming trivialities” and be unconcerned about the impact you’re making?
  • It’s “seeming trivialities” right? We never know what will matter in the end. Do you have a practice that “keeps you in the here and now?” … grounded? …above the circumstances? …unconcerned about your own “grandeur?”

Abba, teach me this Marian mode of being.

For More: the website of The Order of Julian of Norwich

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. Thanks for following and sharing my blog. I appreciate it! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: The Transfiguration of Ordinary Things (Thomas Merton, Philip Yancey and Kathleen Norris)

“Asceticism …is a way of surrendering to reduced circumstances in a manner that enhances the whole person.” Kathleen Norris

“Under [G. K. Chesterton’s] influence I too realized the need to become more ‘ordinary.’ I had conceived of faith as a tight-lipped, grim exercise of spiritual discipline, a blending of asceticism and rationalism in which joy leaked away. Chesterton restored to me a thirst for the exuberance that flows from a link to the God who dreamed up all the things that give me pleasure.” Philip Yancy

“Asceticism is utterly useless if it turns us into freaks. The cornerstone of all asceticism is humility, and Christian humility is first of all a matter of supernatural common sense. It teaches us to take ourselves as we are, instead of pretending (as pride would have us imagine) that we are something better than we are. Pride makes us artificial, humility makes us real. In II Thessalonians 3, work and supernatural acceptance of ordinary life are seen by the Apostle as a protection against the restless agitation of false mysticism. We are to work and live in simplicity, with more joy and greater security than others, because we do not look for any special fulfillment in this life. We are to live in peace among transient things. It is supreme humility to see that ordinary life, embraced by perfect faith, can be more saintly and more supernatural than a spectacular ascetical career. Such humility dares to be ordinary, and that is something beyond the reach of spiritual pride. Pride always longs to be unusual. Humility not so. Humility finds all its peace in hope, knowing that Christ must come again to elevate and transfigure ordinary things and fill them with his glory.” Thomas Merton

“clothe yourselves with humility”
1 Peter 5:5

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you willing to “surrender yourself to reduced circumstances” (choose to do without certain things) in order to enhance your life?
  • Are you able, at the same time, to experience “exuberance” for the things “God dreamed up” to bring you pleasure?
  • Is your desire to be noticed, exceptional, applauded – is that something God also wants for you? Will you “dare to be ordinary” if that’s what God wants? Can you even imagine why God would want such a thing?

As you see fit Lord, I would be as unspectacular and ordinary as necessary for the revelation of your glory.

For More: No Man Is An Island 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 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: “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: Ministry and Contentment (Pete Scazzero, John Calvin)

“Looking over our shoulder to more ‘successful’ ministries is one of the most frequent sources of pain for leaders.  …We can learn a lot from the pattern of John the Baptist’s leadership as he responded to the news that he was losing people to the ‘new, big thing’ happening around him (John 3:26-30): (1) I am content. I am exactly where I am supposed to be. “A person can receive only what is given him from heaven.” Yes, God gives gifts and abilities that we want to steward well. But each place of service, employment, success, or failure (a lot of God’s closest servants seem to suffer martyrdom) is under God’s sovereignty. It is tempting to strive, manipulate, and anxiously toil to push doors open that God does not have for us. But we want to receive as a gift each task given to us by God regardless of the where it leads. … (2) I am second. “I am not the Messiah…I am a friend of the Bridegroom, who stands and hears him.” John’s self-knowledge enabled him to escape the deadly trap of envy. …May we never lose sight of the pure happiness found in listening to the lovely voice of Jesus in Scripture, as well as the privilege given to us to speak His words to the world. (3) I am disappearing. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John is happy to decrease, even to disappear. Are we? Calvin said it well: ‘Those who win the church over to themselves rather than to Christ faithlessly violate the marriage they ought to honor.’ You and I will disappear some day and God will continue to build his kingdom. May we too rejoice in that process whenever God opens doors for us to disappear.” Pete Scazzero

“A person can receive only what is given him from heaven.” John 3:27

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • If you live by the numbers, you’ll die by the numbers. Do you measure ministry success by numbers? Is your identity based on competition and out-doing others?
  • Many leaders are tempted “to strive, manipulate, and anxiously toil to push doors open” that God has closed. When doors close, what’s your response?
  • Your ego has a plan for you as a pastor – and it’s not “disappearing.” Are you aware of it? prepared to handle it?

Abba, give our leaders great contentment serving you.

For More: Open Secrets by Richard Lischer

_________________________________________________

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: Pimping Religion, Confronting Empire – Part II (Dan Clendenin)

“The church has a checkered history in its relationship to the state. Some have followed Amaziah [see Amos 7] and traded religious legitimation for security, power and privilege – the German Christian movement that supported Nazi ideology, the Dutch Reformed church that supported apartheid in South Africa, and Russian Orthodox priests who collaborated with the Soviet KGB. But there are also many inspirational examples. The Archbishop and martyr of San Salvador, Óscar Romero (d. 1980), wrote a letter to President Jimmy Carter that he could have sent to any number of our military or political leaders: ‘You say that you are Christian. If you are really Christian, please stop sending military aid to the military here, because they use it only to kill my people.’ Romero is only one of many brave saints who chose Amos over Amaziah. Consider the Confessing Church in Germany that opposed Hitler, nationalism, and anti-Semitism; the black pentecostal pastor Frank Chikane who in 1985 gathered more than 150 clergy from 20 denominations to draft the Kairos Document that protested South African apartheid; father Gleb Yakunin who insisted that the Russian Orthodox Church publicly repent of its ties to the Soviet regime; the culturally marginal and politically powerless Quakers who helped to abolish the British slave trade in the 19th century; and Morgan Tsvangirai who sought ‘divine intervention’ to end Robert Mugabe’s three decades of thugocracy in Zimbabwe. There’s the Jesuit priest Daniel Berrigan (b. 1921), who did time in prison for his civil disobedience against American policies on racism, nuclear proliferation, and Vietnam…. When asked by Nora Gallagher how many times he had been jailed for subverting caesar because of Jesus, Berrigan responded, “Not enough.” Dan Clendenin

“Righteousness and justice
are the foundation of your throne.”
Psalm 89:14

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • In the moment, it can be hard to know who is “on the right side of history.” God often uses outsiders – unexpected and despised voices – and we often embrace the biases and accept the rationalizations of our culture. Are you striving to know who speaks for God today?  …and who is being sinfully silent?
  • The Biblical pattern is for God to be against Empire since the absolute power of empires predictably leads to profound corruption. Do we need prophetic voices to speak against Empire today? If so, against what “Empire” and for what reasons?
  • Who is speaking out for God today? From where would you expect to find such voices – conservatives/liberals? …insiders/outsiders? …admired/despised? …obscure/prominent?

Abba, give us your eyes to see our world, and your loving heart to care for it.

For More: “Journey With Jesus” by Dan Clendenin

_________________________________________________

I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill

Daily Riches: Preparation for Ministry (James Martin, Brennan Manning and Tagore)

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy.

I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.”
Rabindranath Tagore

“Over the past twenty-two years as a Jesuit, I have worked in a variety of what you might call service-related positions. While a novice in Boston, beside the time at the homeless shelter, I worked in a hospital for the seriously ill. Also during my novitiate, I worked with Mother Teresa’s sisters in the slums of Kingston, Jamaica, in a hospice for the sick and dying. During philosophy studies in Chicago, I worked with gang members and at a community center helping unemployed men and women find jobs. After that came my two years in Kenya with refugees. …It would take me into some of the worst slums in the world and introduced me to some people who were certainly the poorest of the poor, and yet whose great faith astonished me. Later, during my theology studies in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I worked as a prison chaplain, spending time with men and women from poor backgrounds who had sometimes committed terrible crimes … and who were desperate for someone to talk to. And since ordination I continue to do service in the form of sacramental ministry like hearing confessions, presiding at funerals, and accompanying people in difficult times. These works all brought me joy.” James Martin

“A two-year leave of absence from the Franciscans took Brennan to Spain in the late sixties. He joined … an Order committed to an uncloistered, contemplative life among the poor – a lifestyle of days spent in manual labor and nights wrapped in silence and prayer. Among his many and varied assignments, Brennan became an aguador (water carrier), transporting water to rural villages via donkey and buckboard; a mason’s assistant, shoveling mud and straw in the blazing Spanish heat; a dishwasher in France; a voluntary prisoner in a Swiss jail, his identity as a priest known only to the warden; a solitary contemplative secluded in a remote cave for six months in the Zaragoza desert.” Brennan Manning

“I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived,
none is greater than John the Baptist.”
Matthew 11:11

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • My ministry preparation was almost entirely academic. Now that seems profoundly misguided and inadequate. What’s your experience?
  • Has your “book learning” been tested and enhanced by “street learning?”
  • Can you trust God to use you no matter what your journey has been?

Abba, use me.

For More: Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning

_________________________________________________

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

Daily Riches: Ministry and Contentment (Pete Scazzero, John Calvin)

“Looking over our shoulder to more ‘successful’ ministries is one of the most frequent sources of pain for leaders.  …We can learn a lot from the pattern of John the Baptist’s leadership as he responded to the news that he was losing people to the ‘new, big thing’ happening around him (John 3:26-30): (1) I am content. I am exactly where I am supposed to be. “A person can receive only what is given him from heaven.” Yes, God gives gifts and abilities that we want to steward well. But each place of service, employment, success, or failure (a lot of God’s closest servants seem to suffer martyrdom) is under God’s sovereignty. It is tempting to strive, manipulate, and anxiously toil to push doors open that God does not have for us. But we want to receive as a gift each task given to us by God regardless of the where it leads. … (2) I am second. “I am not the Messiah…I am a friend of the Bridegroom, who stands and hears him.” John’s self-knowledge enabled him to escape the deadly trap of envy. …May we never lose sight of the pure happiness found in listening to the lovely voice of Jesus in Scripture, as well as the privilege given to us to speak His words to the world. (3) I am disappearing. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John is happy to decrease, even to disappear. Are we? Calvin said it well: ‘Those who win the church over to themselves rather than to Christ faithlessly violate the marriage they ought to honor.’ You and I will disappear some day and God will continue to build his kingdom. May we too rejoice in that process whenever God opens doors for us to disappear.” Pete Scazzero

“A person can receive only what is given him from heaven.” John 3:27

Moving From Head to Heart

  • If you live by the numbers, you’ll die by the numbers. Do you measure ministry success by numbers? Is your identity based on competition and out doing others?
  • Many leaders are tempted “to strive, manipulate, and anxiously toil to push doors open” that God has closed. When that happens, what’s your response?
  • Your ego has a plan for you as a pastor – and it’s not “disappearing.” Are you aware of it? prepared to handle it?

Abba, give our leaders great contentment serving you.

For More: Open Secrets by Richard Lischer

_________________________________________________

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: When the Sacred Becomes Vulgar (F. W. Robertson, Thomas Merton, Bernard of Clairvaux and Brennan Manning) *

“There are transfiguration moments, bridal hours of the soul; and not easily forgiven are those who would utter the secrets of its high intercourse with their Lord. There is a certain spiritual indelicacy in persons that cannot perceive that not everything which is a matter of experience and knowledge is therefore a subject for conversation. You cannot discuss such subjects without vulgarising them.” F. W. Robertson

“All speech is impertinent, it destroys the simplicity of that nothingness before God by making it seems as if it had been ‘something.’” Thomas Merton

“… they are readier to speak than to listen, eager to teach that which they do not know.” Bernard of Clairvaux

“Do the truth quietly without display.” Brennan Manning

“The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk
but of power.”
1 Corinthians 4:20

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • James insists that a man must “keep a tight reign on his tongue” (James 1:26), and that seems particularly difficult in this area where the ego cries out for attention and admiration. Do you find yourself sharing your intimate experience with the Lord as a “matter of conversation?” If so, take some time to consider your motivations.
  • After a conversation, are you sometimes convicted that you were “eager to teach that which you do not know?” If so, again, what does this say about you?
  • Merton says that talking about the “simplicity” of something wonderful between us and God “destroys” it. That’s what’s at stake here – what Robertson calls a “vulgarising.” It’s not hard to see this shortcoming in ourselves and others. That makes this a good time to remember how patient and understanding God is with us in our weaknesses.

Jesus’ family were confused by him because he acted “in secret”, and that made no sense for someone who “wants to become a public figure.” (John 7:3-8) Abba, break my ego-driven want “to become a public figure”, and teach me not to take those rare and precious moments of intimacy between us, and vulgarize them in self-promotion.

__________

For More: Dancing in the Water of Life 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 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 Constant Purification of Motives (Richard Rohr) *

“Jesus tells us to give alms, and fast, and pray secretly…. These are the three religious disciplines honored by most historical religions. Whenever you perform a religious action publicly, it enhances your image as a good, moral person and has a strong social payoff. Jesus’ constant emphasis is on interior religiosity, on purifying motivation and intention. He tells us to clean the inside of the dish instead of being so preoccupied with cleaning the outside, with looking good (Matthew 23:25-26). The purifying of our intention and motivation is the basic way that we unite our inner and our outer worlds. (Please read that twice!) All through the spiritual journey, we should be asking ourselves, ‘Why am I doing this? Am I really doing this for God, for truth, or for others? Or am I doing it for hidden reasons?’ The spiritual journey could be seen as a constant purification of motive until I can finally say, ‘I have no other reason to do anything except love of God and love of neighbor. And I don’t even need people to know this.'” Richard Rohr

” … and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:18

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are you “preoccupied with looking good” at church? If so, why? Are you as good as you look? Do you feel free to be transparent?
  • Do you ask, “Why am I doing this?” Are you aware of your ego’s need for a “strong social payoff?” of your “hidden reasons?” Becoming aware is the first step to uniting your inner and outer worlds.
  • Sometimes I think, “I hope someone will share this about me at my funeral.” I don’t mind if it’s a secret until then – after all, I want to be (and be known!) as a modest person. I don’t feel the need to advertise what few things might make me look good … but, I do want credit, even if I’m dead! Is it just me, or can you relate?

Abba, I admit I want credit. I admit I want to be admired. I admit that, even though your approval should be everything, I seem to need more. Help me to focus less on what others think of me and more on what others need from me.

__________

For More: Francis: Subverting the Honor/Shame System [CD] by Richard Rohr

_________________________________________________

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 Perils of Success (Paul Pearsall, Henri Nouwen, Mark Nepo, John de Graaf) *

“Everyone said I was doing really well, but something inside me was telling me my success was putting my soul in danger.” Henri Nouwen

“Sweet success is being able to pay full and undivided attention to what matters most in life… experienced as a fulfilled and calm spirit that doesn’t compare itself to the happiness and success of others. It is characterized by an unhurried daily life led without the burden of the drive for victory over others or to get more status and ‘stuff.’ It is being able to regularly share with those we love a persistent sense of glee in the simple pleasures that derive from being alive and well at this moment in time. …Put simply, toxic success is constant distraction caused by pressure to do and have more; sweet success is attending fully to the now with the confident contentment that enough is finally enough. Overcoming toxic success syndrome is not a matter of giving up the good life, it is a matter of getting it back by freeing ourselves from the short-term illusion that so many of us now call ‘success.’ It is recovering from the social virus author John de Graaf calls ‘affluenza … a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.'” Paul Pearsall

“… care for your soul as if it were the whole world.” Mark Nepo

“This is what the Lord says:
‘Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”
Jeremiah 6:16

Moving From The Head to The Heart

  •  Reread the first half of Pearsall’s definition of “sweet success.” What Pearsall as a psychoneuroimmunologist recommends, Jesus lived. This is the kind of life Jesus wants for you.
  • Do you feel like your soul could be “in danger?” Are you walking “where the good way is?”
  • Are you caring for your soul “as if it were the whole world?” How, specifically?

Abba, deliver me from the illusions and pathologies of my day. Help me to find rest for my soul as I walk in the ancient paths.

__________

For More: Toxic Success by Paul Pearsall

_________________________________________________

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: The Constant Purification of Motive (Richard Rohr and Thomas Keating) *

“Whenever you perform a religious action publicly, it enhances your image as a good, moral person and has a strong social payoff. Jesus’ constant emphasis is on interior religiosity, on purifying motivation and intention. He tells us to clean the inside of the dish instead of being so preoccupied with cleaning the outside, with looking good (Matthew 23:25-26). The purifying of our intention and motivation is the basic way that we unite our inner and our outer worlds. (Please read that twice!) All through the spiritual journey, we should be asking ourselves, “Why am I doing this? Am I really doing this for God, for truth, or for others? Or am I doing it for hidden reasons?” The spiritual journey could be seen as a constant purification of motive until I can finally say, “I have no other reason to do anything except love of God and love of neighbor.” Richard Rohr

“In the Near East, centuries ago successive cultures built new cities on top of the last ones. … The ruins of these ancient cities built one on top of the other are called “tells.” The spiritual journey is like an archaeological dig through the various stages of our lives, from where we are now back through the midlife crisis, adult life, adolescence, puberty, early childhood, infancy. What happens if we allow that archaeological dig to continue? We feel that we are getting worse. But we are really not getting worse; we are just finding out how bad off we always were. That is an enormous grace. … What happens when we get to the bottom of the pile of our emotional debris? We are in divine union. There is no other obstacle.” Thomas Keating

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness
in front of others
to be seen by them.”
Jesus in Matthew 6:6

Moving From Head to Heart

  • “Am I really doing this for God, for truth, or for others? Or am I doing it for hidden reasons?” Do you regularly ask yourself these questions?
  • Have you experienced the “enormous grace” or sifting through your “pile of emotional debris?”
  • What practice can you adopt to help you focus on “interior” religion?

Abba, may all that I do be only for love.

__________

For More: The Human Condition by Thomas Keating

_________________________________________________

In these “Daily Riches”  my goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in 400 words or less. Thanks for your interest. When you find it useful, please share!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

 

Daily Riches: Marriage and Spiritual Formation (Eugene Peterson and Jean-Pierre de Caussade) *

“There is something deeply flawed in me that separates me from the God who wills my salvation; that ‘something’ seems to be located in and around my will. …The relation of God’s will and my will … is the question. The way we answer it shapes our humanity in every dimension. …a few years into marriage, I was surprised to find myself at the center of what has turned out to be the richest experience yet in my will and God’s will. I had supposed when I entered marriage that it was mostly about sexuality, domesticity, companionship, and children. The surprise was that I was in a graduate school for spirituality–prayer and God–with daily assignments and frequent exams in matters of the will.” Eugene Peterson

“Everything helps me to God.” Jean-Pierre de Caussade

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do
I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.
Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  Matthew 26:39b

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • You don’t have to attend seminary for training in the life of faith. If you’re married, that is your “graduate school for spirituality.” Do you think about marriage that way?
  • Marriage is 24/7/365, so disappointing behavior, annoying habits and character flaws are obvious. Our divine “assignment” is loving without restraint, forgiving with abandon, returning good for evil–and other terribly difficult things. Are you accepting these “daily assignments?” What are the specifics of what this looks like in your home?
  • “Everything helps me to God.” You don’t have to be married. God will use something–life with a spouse, alone, with children, with parents, in a church, in a workplace–as your “school for spirituality.” Look around. Married or not, how is God working to shape you at the very heart of who you are in whatever school you’re in?

__________

For More:  The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson, and my
Downward Mobility at Home

_________________________________________________

The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: “Slow Jesus” (Pete Scazzero and Barbara Brown Taylor) *

“Jesus moved slowly, not striving or rushing. He patiently waited through his adolescent and young adult years to reveal himself as the Messiah. Even then, he did not rush to be recognized. He waited patiently for his Father’s timing during his short ministry. Why is it then that we hate ‘slow’ when God appears to delight in it?” Peter Scazzero

“Jesus walked a lot…. This gave him time to see things. If he had been moving more quickly–even to reach more people–these things might have become a blur to him. Because he was moving slowly, they came into focus for him, just as he came into focus for them. …While many of his present-day admirers pay close attention to what he said and did, they pay less attention to the pace at which he did it.” Barbara Brown Taylor

“…Jesus’ brothers said to him, ‘You ought to leave here and go to Judea,
so that your disciples may see the miracles you do.
No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret.
Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.’
… Jesus told them, ‘I am not yet going up to this Feast,
because for me the right time has not yet come.'”
John 7:3-8

Moving From Head to Heart

  • “No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret.” Jesus clearly knew of his divine identity and mission from his youth, but he kept it “secret” most of his life! What kind of plan was that?
  • Dallas Willard famously remarked that the best word to characterize Jesus was “relaxed.” He ministered under a microscope and the shadow of his violent death. No-one really understood him. The power brokers of his day eventually all turned on him. It was in this context that he was “relaxed.” What does that reveal about him?
  • And yet, as his followers, we seem to “hate slow.” We don’t relax. Do you hate slow? Can you relax? What do your answers reveal about you?

LORD, grant me the grace to do one thing at a time today, without rushing or hurrying. Help me to savor the sacred in all I do, be it large or small. By the Holy Spirit within me, empower me to pause today as I move from one activity to the next. In Jesus’ name. (Scazzero)

__________

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day by Pete Scazzero

_________________________________________________

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

Daily Riches: Our Need to Impress (James M. Campbell and Ruth Haley Barton) *

“For fourteen years he had kept silent about it.” James Campbell

“…  I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven [and] this man … heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. … I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations.”  2 Corinthians 12:1-7a

“We might commit ourselves to pondering the things that take place during solitude in our heart, as Mary did, at least for a time, rather than sharing them too quickly or using them immediately as tools for ministry. This a way of keeping some things precious and sacred… [like] we protect the privacy of our interactions with intimate friends.” Ruth Haley Barton

In a “supassingly great” manner, the apostle Paul was transported to heaven where he saw powerful “visions” and heard “inexpressible [secret] things.” In all his days of ministry, he never tried to use this to enhance his reputation, and he refuses to do so now. (:5) Even here, he refers to himself only indirectly as “a man in Christ.” This comes up now only because the Corinthian church was immaturely infatuated with the “superapostles” in their midst (:11). Paul’s experience put him in a special class. No one else had such credentials! Even so, “For fourteen years [Paul] had kept silent about it.”

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Could you keep silent about something so impressive for fourteen years? Paul did. What does this says about him?
  • Are you quick to share things that make you look good? a substantial prayer life, some “power encounter”, a long fast, an experiment with monastery life, years of keeping the Sabbath or centering prayer, etc.? How often do we hear about such exploits in a sermon, an article, in a blog, or through social media? What do you think this says about us?
  • When you share something “precious and sacred”, it changes it. What is gained instead, by keeping something sacred a secret?

Abba, deliver me from my need to impress or be thought well of. Let your approval suffice for me.

__________

For More: Paul the Mystic by James M. Campbell

_________________________________________________

The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)