God's love is not only greater than we think; God's love is greater than we can think.
A Blessing of Solitude
May you recognize in your life the presence, power, and light of your soul.
May you realize that you are never alone, that your soul in its brightness and belonging connects you intimately with the rhythm of the universe.
May you have respect for your own individuality and difference.
May you realize that the shape of your soul is unique, that you have a special destiny here, that behind the facade of your life there is something beautiful, good, and eternal happening.
May you learn to see yourself with the same delight, pride, and expectation with which God sees you in every moment.
John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
Bede Griffiths interviewed by Sam Keen in 1990
Bede Griffiths, a graduate of Oxford, lifelong friend of C.S. Lewis, Benedictine monk, and Christian Yogi who spent over 35 years in India, speaks in this interview with Sam Keen about the expansive love of God, the modern recovery of the mystical tradition, and his delight in the genuine spiritual hunger and searching he found in America.
How does God deal with those who reject God?
Is it not true that Christ draws near with love to those who turn away from him? … So it is that our divine Master instructs with benevolence those who set themselves against the divine teaching. For the ignorant need to be instructed, not punished. You do not strike a blind man; you take him by the hand.
Dionysius the Areopagite, Letter 8 (5th-6th Century)
God is more than just
Do not say that God is just… He is before all things good and kind. He is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked (Luke 6:35). How can you call God just when you read the parable of the laborers in the vineyard and their wages? (Matthew 20:13). Likewise, how can you call God just when you read the parable of the prodigal son… Where is God’s justice? Here, in the fact that we were sinners and Christ died for us …
O the wonder of the grace of our Creator! O the unfathomable goodness with which he has invested the existence of us sinners in order to create it afresh! … Anyone who has offended and blasphemed him he raises up again … Sin is to fail to understand the grace of the resurrection. Where is the hell that could afflict us? Where is the damnation that could make us afraid to the extent of overwhelming the joy of God’s love?
In place of what sinners justly deserve, he gives them resurrection.
Isaac of Nineveh (7th century), Ascetic Traditions, 60
“A Wisdom Way of Knowing”: listening and seeing with the heart
“Listen carefully, my child, to my instructions and attend to them with the ear of your heart. This is advice from one who loves you; welcome it and faithfully put it into practice.”
Prologue, The Rule of St. Benedict
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince
Deep within us all
Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center, a speaking Voice, to which we may continuously return. Eternity is at our hearts, pressing upon our time-torn lives, warming us with intimations of an astounding destiny, calling us home unto Itself. Yielding to these persuasions, gladly committing ourselves in body and soul, utterly and completely, to the Light Within, is the beginning of true life. It is a dynamic center, a creative Life that presses to birth within us. It is a Light Within which illumines the face of God and casts new shadows and new glories upon the face of men. It is a seed stirring to life if we do not choke it. It is the Shekinah of the soul, the Presence in the midst. Here is the Slumbering Christ, stirring to be awakened, to become the soul we clothe in earthly form and action. And He is within us all.”
Thomas Kelly, A Testament of Devotion
Kabir (1440 - 1518)
“I Would Be Glad” by Kabir
You are sitting in a wagon being drawn by a horse whose reins you hold. There are two inside of you who can steer. Though most never hand the reins to Me so they go from place to place the best they can, though rarely happy. And rarely does their whole body laugh feeling God's poke in the ribs. If you feel tired, dear, my shoulder is soft, I'd be glad to steer a while.
from Love Poems from God by Daniel Ladinsky (London: Penguin Compass, 2002) p. 224
Someone is waiting for you
Whenever we base our hope on trust in the divine mystery, we feel deep down in our hearts: there is someone who is waiting for you, who is hoping for you, who believes in you. We are waited for as the prodigal son in the parable is waited for by his father. We are accepted and received, as a mother takes her children into her arms and comforts them. God is our last hope because we are God’s first love.
Jurgen Moltmann, The Source of Life
Some people say they don’t pray
“I don’t pray,” people say to me.
And I say back, “Neither do I. I just breathe God in and hope somehow to learn how to breathe God out, as well.”
Joan Chittister, Called To Question: A Spiritual Memoir
Discover what you already have
“In prayer we discover what we already have. You start from where you are and you deepen what you already have, and you realize you are already there. We already have everything but we don’t know it and don’t experience it. Everything has been given to us in Christ. All we need is to experience what we already possess.”
A constant presence
“You were within me, Lord, but I was outside myself.”
St. Augustine, Confessions
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
Blaise Pascal (17th century mathematician and philosopher)
“Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.”
Abba Moses (4th century Desert Father)
“When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Jesus (Matthew 6:6)
Attempts to express the inexpressible
“Theology is a form of poetry, an attempt to express the inexpressible, and you cannot read a sonnet by Shakespeare in the chatter and tumult of a party. These truths are elusive and resist easy conceptualization. You have to open yourself to a sacred text with a quiet receptive mind. Gradually, I found that without the distraction of constant conversation, the words on the page began to speak directly to my inner self.”
Karen Armstrong, Introduction to A Time to Keep Silence, by Patrick Leigh Fermor
Rumi (1207 - 1273)
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Rumi, Translated by Coleman Barks