Daily Riches: Unutterable, Restorative Holiness (Frederick Buechner)

“In Florida, in the winter, there is a walk that I take early in the morning before breakfast most days.  …I do not know any place lovelier on the face of this planet, especially at that early hour when there is nobody else around and everything is so fresh and still. The waterway drifts by like a broad river. The ponds reflect the sky. There are wonderful birds – snow-white egrets and ibis, boat-tail grackles black as soot – and long, unbroken vistas of green grass and trees. It is a sight worth traveling a thousand miles to see, and yet there is no telling how hard I have to struggle, right there in the midst of it, actually to see it. What I do instead is think about things I have been doing and things I have to do. I think about people I love and people I do not know how to love. I think about letters to write and things around the house to get fixed and old grievances and longings and regrets. I worry and dream about the future. That is to say, I get so lost in my own thoughts – and lost is just the word for it, as lost as you can get in a strange town where you don’t know the way – that I have to struggle to see where I am, almost to be where I am. Much of the time I might as well be walking in the dark or sitting at home with my eyes closed, those eyes that keep me from recognizing what is happening around me. But then every once in a while, by grace, I recognize at least some part of it. Every once in a while I recognize that I am walking in green pastures that call out to me to lie down in them, and beside still waters where my feet lead me. …I recognize that even in the valley of the shadow of my own tangled thoughts there is something holy and unutterable seek­ing to restore my soul.” Frederick Buechner

“He leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.”
Psalm 23:2,3

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you struggle with “seeing” the beauty that surrounds you?
  • Do you have a restorative place for your soul? Do you make time to go there?
  • Are you learning to be open to the one “seeking to restore your soul?”

Abba, slow me down. Unclutter my heart. Open my eyes.

For More: Secrets in the Dark by Frederick Buechner


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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

Daily Riches: Gradually Being Freed From Habitual Hardness of Heart (Thomas Merton)

“Even the capacity to recognize our condition before God is itself a grace. We cannot always attain it at will. To learn mediation does not, therefore, mean learning an artificial technique for infallibly producing ‘compunction’ and the ‘sense of our nothingness’ when ever we please. On the contrary, this would be the result of violence and would be inauthentic. Mediation implies the capacity to receive this grace whenever God wishes to grant it to us, and therefore a permanent disposition to humility, attention to reality, receptivity, pliability. To learn to meditate then means to gradually get free from habitual hardness of heart, torpor and grossness of mind, due to arrogance and non-acceptance of simple reality, or resistance to the concrete demands of God’s will.” Thomas Merton

“Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do
flows from it.”
Proverbs 4:23

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • In his grace, has God allowed you to “recognize your condition before God?” What has that meant for you?
  • Merton says we must have a “permanent disposition to humility, attention to reality, receptivity [and] pliability” to develop the “capacity to receive God’s grace when he wishes to grant it to us.” Can you pray slowly through this list, asking God to show you any areas in your life that need to change?
  • Are you developing practices like Sabbath, solitude and silence, or like meditation and wordless prayer so that God has more and more unhindered access to your heart? …so that your “capacity” to receive from him is increasing?
  • Are you taking risks with your heart, perhaps resisting “the concrete demands of God’s will” even though you know better?

Abba, by your grace, soften my heart to you, so that I may receive fuller, even more needed grace.

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.”

Daily Riches: A Dialogue of Love That Never Stops (Thomas Merton and Elizabeth of the Trinity)

“This is the real end of meditation – it teaches you how to become aware of the presence of God; and most of all it aims at bringing you to a state of almost constant loving attention to God, and dependence on Him. [It teaches] …a man how to work himself free of created things and temporal concerns, in which he finds only confusion and sorrow, and enter into a conscious and loving contact with God….” Thomas Merton

“I love to penetrate beyond the veil of the soul to this inner sanctuary where we live alone with God. He wants us entirely to himself, and is making there within us a cherished solitude. Listen to everything that is being sung … in his heart. It is Love, the infinite love that envelops us and desires to give us a share … in all his blessedness. The whole Blessed Trinity dwells in us, the whole of that mystery which will be our vision in heaven. Let it be our cloister. You tell me that your life is passed there. So is mine. I am ‘Elizabeth of the Trinity’ – Elizabeth disappearing, losing herself, allowing herself to be invaded by the Three. Let us live for love, always surrendered, immolating ourselves at every moment, by doing God’s will without searching for extraordinary things. Then let us make ourselves quite tiny, allowing ourselves to be carried, like a babe in it’s mother’s arms, by him who is our all…. In the morning let us wake in Love. All day long let us surrender ourselves to Love, by doing the will of God, under his gaze, with him, in him, for him alone…. And then, when evening comes, after a dialogue of love that has never stopped in our hearts, let us go to sleep still in love. And if we are aware of any faults, let us simply abandon them to Love, which is a consuming fire….” Elizabeth of the Trinity

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine….”
Song of Solomon 6:3

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you imagine giving “constant loving attention to God?  … living a day under (and aware of) his gaze?
  • What are you doing to become more aware of God’s presence in your day? …to become less aware of “temporal concerns?” … to be better at “attending” to him?
  • Can you simply abandon yourself and your faults to Love?

Abba, before I die, may I experience at least one day under your gaze, with you, in you alone, where a dialogue of love between us never stops.

For More: Voices of the Saints by Bert Bhezzi


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)