“It is generally safe to say that noise and turmoil in the interior life are signs that proceed from our own emotion or from some spirit that is anything but holy. The inspirations of the Holy Ghost are quiet, for God speaks in the silent depths of the spirit. His voice brings peace. It does not arouse excitement, but allays it because excitement belongs to uncertainty. The voice of God is certitude. If he moves us to action, we go forward with peaceful strength. More often than not his inspirations teach us to sit still. They show us the emptiness and confusion of projects we thought we had undertaken for his glory. He saves us from the impulses that would throw us into wild competition with other men. He delivers us from ambition. The Holy Spirit is most easily recognized where he inspires obedience and humility. No one really knows Him who has not tasted the tranquillity that comes from the renunciation of our own will, our own pleasure, our own interests, without glory, without notice, without approval, for the interests of some other person. The inspirations of the Spirit of God are not grandiose. They are simple. They move us to see God in works that are difficult without being spectacular.” Thomas Merton
“you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” John 14:17
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Are you aware of the seemingly universal tendancy to look for the Holy Spirit in what is “grandiose” and “spectacular?” What might be missed doing that?
- Are you accustomed to the Holy Spirit telling you to “sit still?” Are you able to identify the dark side of “ambition?”
- Do you minister and make sacrifices for others even when it will certainly be “without glory, without notice, without approval?”
- How do you protect yourself from “noise and turmoil in the interior life?”
“Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move;
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art;
And make me love Thee as I ought to love.”
For More: The Ascent to Truth 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 in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! Please leave a comment or question. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”
In his autobiography Thomas Merton tells about joining the parents of young black students performing a play at Friendship House, a gospel outpost in Harlem started in the late thirties by Baroness Catherine de Hueck:
“It was an experience that nearly tore me to pieces. All the parents of the children were there, sitting on benches, literally choked with emotion at the fact that their children should be acting in a play: but that was not the thing. For, as I say, they knew that the play was nothing…. They were not taken in by that. Underneath it was something deep and wonderful and positive and true and overwhelming: their gratitude for even so small a sign of love as this, that someone should at least make some kind of a gesture that said: ‘This sort of thing can’t make anybody happy, but it is a way of saying, “I wish you were happy.” …If the Baroness had tried to face the tremendous paradox of Harlem with no other weapons than these, I think Friendship House would have closed down in three days. But the secret of her success and of her survival in the teeth of this gigantic problem was that she depended not on these frail human methods, not on theatricals, or meetings, or speeches, or conferences, but on God, Christ, the Holy Ghost. According to the plan of her vocation, the Baroness herself had come to Harlem, and had started to live there for God, and God had brought her quickly into contact with the others who were … the saints He had sent to sanctify and purify, not Harlem, but New York.” Thomas Merton
The King will reply, “Truly I tell you,
whatever you did for one of the least
of these brothers and sisters of mine,
you did for me.”
Jesus in Matthew 25:40
Moving From Head to Heart
- How often does some small gesture of yours convey “I wish you were happy.” to some person in need? Does that seem like a small thing to do in the face of gigantic problems? Can you imagine it being “overwhelming” in power?
- Where you live, do you try to “live there for God” as Catherine de Hueck and others did in Harlem?
- Is what you’re attempting for God too big to accomplish by “human methods?” Have you fallen into the trap of reducing ministry to what seems reasonable or attainable?
Abba, unleash the power of divine love through me and your sent saints.
For More: The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. Thanks for following/sharing. – Bill