It’s a gift to joyfully recognize and accept our own smallness and ordinariness. Then you are free with nothing to live up to, nothing to prove, and nothing to protect. Such freedom is my best description of Christian maturity, because once you know that your “I” is great and one with God, you can, ironically, be quite content with a small and ordinary “I.”
No grandstanding is henceforth necessary. Any question of your own importance or dignity has already been resolved from the inside out—once and for all. Such salvation is experienced now in small tastes, whetting our appetite for eternity.
– Richard Rohr
Today Franciscans around the world celebrate the Feast of the Stigmata, remembering the wounds of Christ imprinted on the body of St. Francis. The event is symbolic of Francis’s life. He suffered greatly and was profoundly misunderstood but his unwavering commitment to a God of unconditional love marked his life. Saints are not made in stain-glass windows. They are forged in the fires of rejection, displacement, perseverance and darkness because God is being born within. To live in Christ is to bear the weight of the world in evolution.
– Ilia Delio
“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake.” – AA Big Book
the way out
the day I wanted to die,
tried, and failed
I had failed at success
and succeeded in failure
today and every day
I am grateful for life
(… Some speak of the future
My love she speaks softly
She knows there’s no success like failure
And that failure’s no success at all…)
– Bob Dylan, Love Minus Zero/No Limit
(photo: Greene, ME – January 2019)
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
– Luke 15:3-7
When you accept what you have, you see all you have received is more than enough and you are overwhelmed. I desire other things because I fear to be content with what I have, I fear it is inglorious. in the last few days I have seen what matters is to be humble enough to admit I am content with just this. Leave the rest to God.
– Thomas Merton, journal entry, September 7, 1958
The greatest gift of centered and surrendered people is that they know themselves as part of a larger history, a larger Self. Their life is not about them! They are just one lovely instance of a Much Larger and More Wonderful Life, the very life of God.
Holy people are in one sense profoundly conservative, knowing that they only stand on the shoulders of their ancestors and will be shoulders for the generations to come. They are only a part of the Eternal Mystery of God unfolding in time, and yet they are a part!
Yet these same people are often quite liberal and reforming because they have no private agendas or self-interest to protect. They are unattached to any superior self-image or inferior self-image or any career or promotion. Such freedom! It is all about God for them, and they are just along for the ride. Such seeming contradictions held inside of the same person usually make it into a very wild ride. Contemplatives are often the most daring and wonderful combination of radical traditionalists and go-for-broke progressives at the very same time.
– Richard Rohr
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
– Col 3:12-14