Monday, February 25, 2013

The Benefits of Solitude


To go in search of solitude, even for a short time, will make a difference. It is so important in spiritual growth.  You can throw out all other  kinds of discipline as long as you 'stay in you cell' (stay with yourself).  ...The ancient wisdom is to stay in your cell and it will teach you everything ... The hermit living in the desert is free from a threefold strife: the strifes of eyes, ears and tongues.  One strife alone remains, the strife of the heart... In solitude it is the heart which comes to the top, with its innate discord;  sold to sin (Rom 7:14), but already indwelt by God and the prayer of the Holy Spirit But it is sin which in solitary prayer comes first to the surface.  Daunting, overwhelming....Solitude sets me off from everything and takes me back to my own nothingness... Every superficial prop, every distraction, has gone... A person stands naked and defenseless before God, that is to say, in that poverty and weakness which are his only asset,  Before solitude brings me to the encounter with God, it shows me my own limitations and insignificance... I uncover in myself sin and frailty... The effect of solitude gives release from many false ideas and illusions.  It teaches how to be an ordinary human being , frail and in need of help... It is in the struggle with sin and evil that God intervenes  to strengthen the solitary... and here one begins to find one's true heart... This solitude is by turns wilderness and paradise, the tomb of sin and the womb of the new world, the Passover of Jesus.
                                                        Andre Louf  Teach Us To Pray

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Time is Always Right

  Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
    They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
    “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
    The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
    It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord.
    It is good for a man to bear
The yoke in his youth.
    Let him sit alone and keep silent,
Because God has laid it on him;
    Let him put his mouth in the dust—
There may yet be hope.
                         Lamentations 3.22-29 The Holy Bible, New King James Version

New Every Morning by John Keble

New every morning is the love
Our wakening and uprising prove;
Through sleep and darkness safely brought,
Restored to life and power and thought.

New mercies, each returning day,
Hover around us while we pray;
New perils past, new sins forgiven,
New thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.

If, on our daily course, our mind
Be set to hallow all we find,
New treasures still, of countless price,
God will provide for sacrifice.

Old friends, old scenes, will lovelier be,
As more of heaven in each we see;
Some softening gleam of love and prayer
Shall dawn on every cross and care.

We need not bid, for cloistered cell,
Our neighbor and our words farewell,
Nor strive to find ourselves too high
For sinful man beneath the sky.

The trivial round, the common task,
Will furnish all we ought to ask;
Room to deny ourselves, a road
To bring us daily nearer God.

Seek we no more; content with these,
Let present rapture, comfort, ease—
As heaven shall bid them, come and go:
The secret this of rest below.

Only, O Lord, in Thy dear love,
Fit us for perfect rest above,
And help us, this and every day,
To live more nearly as we pray.

Have a blessed NEW day!   Brian+

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lent is a Work of Love: Forgiveness and Repentance

Forgiveness and repentance: this is the joyful work of our Lenten journey.  Just before the Lenten Season The Collect for Quinquagesima reminds us of "the most excellent gift of charity (love):

O LORD, who hast taught us that all our
doings without charity are nothing worth:
Send thy Holy Spirit, and pour into our hearts
that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond
of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever
liveth is counted dead before thee. Grant
this for thine only Son Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.

We must never lose this 'goal set before us,' this goal of love, during the Lenten call to repentance and forgiveness.  

And it is WORK!!

Only by confronting our bitterness and resentment, and finding forgiveness for those who have hurt us, can we be free from the rage that binds us in despair. Repentance is not about beating ourselves up for our errors and feeling guilty; that is a sin in and of itself! Guilt keeps us entombed in self-pity. All sin is some form of self-centeredness, selfishness. Repentance is the transformation of our minds and hearts as we turn away from our sin, and turn to God, and to one another. Repentance means to forgive. Forgiveness does not mean to justify someone’s sin against us. When we resent and hold a grudge, we objectify the person who hurt us according to their action, and erect a barrier between us and them. And, we continue to beat ourselves up with their sin. To forgive means to overcome that barrier, and see that there is a person who, just like us, is hurt and broken, and to overlook the sin and embrace him or her in love. When we live in a state of repentance and reconciliation, we live in a communion of love, and overcome all the barriers that prevented us from fulfilling our own personhood.    Metropolitan Jonah of Washington

I suppose that one might say Forgiveness and Repentance is love for it is directed towards the Lord and neighbour.  Our love without it, is worth little if even nothing.

Have a great work day! and have a blessed love directed Lent,

Pray for me, Lord have mercy,  Brian

Thanks to Salt of the Earth for the quote.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Repentance Never Ends

“People have lost the feeling that they need to repent,” he said, and it grieved him. They commit sin and their conscience doesn’t bother them. There’s never-ending work to be done on ourselves. Repentance never ends, just like a wood carving someone can work on his whole life, with a magnifying glass. If a person doesn’t start working on himself, the devil will find work for him to do, and he’ll concern himself with other people’s lives. We have to acquire spiritual sensitivity. A Christian has to be able to see the passions that he has inside him, to repent for them and not to forget about them. People have put a lid on their conscience, and they end up in a state where they’ve got nothing and they’re never happy. When something happens, we don’t need to beat ourselves up over it – but let’s deal with it. When I’d see one of my sins, I’d be happy, because a wound had been revealed so I could treat it.

~Elder Paisios of Mt. Athos 

Thanks to Christ in Our Midst

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Prayer to start a Bible Study

Illumine our hearts, O Master who lovest mankind, with the pure light of Thy divine knowledge.  Open the eyes of our mind to the understanding of thy Gospel teachings.  Implant also in us the fear of Thy blessed commandments, that trampling down all carnal desires, we may enter upon a spiritual manner of living, both thinking and doing such things as are well-pleasing unto Thee.  For Thou art the illumination of our souls and bodies, O Christ our God, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, together with Thy Father, who is from everlasting, and Thine all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.  Amen