“There’s an old rabbinical story about how the spot was chosen for God’s holy temple. Two brothers worked a common field and a common mill. Each night they divided whatever grain they had produced and each took his portion home. One brother was single and one was married with a large family. The single brother decided that his married brother, with all those kids, certainly needed more grain than he did, so at night he secretly crept over to his brother’s granary and gave him an extra portion. The married brother realized that his single brother didn’t have any children to care for him in his old age. Concerned about his brother’s future, he got up each night and secretly deposited some grain in his single brother’s granary. One night they met halfway between the two granaries, and each brother realized what the other was doing. They embraced, and as the story goes, God witnessed what happened and said, ‘This is a holy place — a place of love — and it is here that my temple shall be built.’ The holy place is that spot where God is made known to his people, ‘the place where human beings discover each other in love.’ Marriage can be that holy place. The site of a relationship that proclaims God’s love to this world… Notice what makes this story so moving, two individuals who had greater empathy for the difficulties the other faced rather than their own. Selfish marriage is the opposite: each partner feels their own pain more intensely and are either unaware or calloused in regards to their spouse’s pain.” Gary Thomas
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment…. If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” Brené Brown
“Above all, clothe yourselves with love”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- If you’re married, do you see your marriage as a “holy place…where God is made known?”
- If you’re married, you know how decidedly painful this process can be. Are you willing to submit to it?
- Imagine what your spouse can do for you if you are “seen, heard and valued” – if he or she responds to your vulnerability with “empathy and understanding.” Imagine what you can do for your spouse.
Abba, make yourself known in the dailyness and difficulties of our marriages.
For More: Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks 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. Thanks! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“This is what it means to seek God perfectly: to withdraw from illusion and pleasure, from worldly anxieties and desires, from the works that God does not want, from a glory that is only human display; to keep my mind free from confusion in order that my liberty may be always at the disposal of His will; to entertain silence in my heart and listen for the voice of God; …to love all men as myself; to rest in humility and to find peace in withdrawal from conflict and competition with other men; to turn aside from controversy and put away heavy loads of judgment and censorship and criticism and the whole burden of opinions that I have no obligation to carry; to have a will that is always ready to fold back within itself and draw all the powers of the soul down from the deepest center to rest in silent expectancy for the coming of God, poised in tranquil and effortless concentration upon the point of my dependence on Him; to gather all that I am, and have all that I can possibly suffer or do or be, and abandon them all to God in the resignation of a perfect love and blind faith and pure trust in God, to do His will.” Thomas Merton
“So like a fish going towards the sea, we [monks] must hurry to reach our cell*
for fear that if we delay outside we will lose our interior watchfulness.”
Anthony the Great
“Any trial whatever that comes to you can be conquered by silence.” Abbot Pastor
“Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.” Abbot Moses
*an ancient term for a quiet, private place to be with God
“But when you pray,
go into your room [and]
close the door”
Jesus, in Matthew 6:6
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- What two or three aspirations in Merton’s words resonate most with you? Can you form a prayer around them?
- The dessert fathers had a plan for escaping the grip of illusion, confusion and judgment, and for cultivating liberty, peace and “silent expectancy for the coming of God.” Do you have such a plan?
Abba, help me to abandon myself to you in the resignation of a perfect love.
For More: The Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton
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.”