There are some days when the words just don’t come, and it seems impossible to write anything worthwhile that can begin to express the depth of the Christian life. It is on those days thankfully, that we turn to the storehouse of wisdom—the communion of saints who walk before us and alongside us, reminding us of the truth and urging us Home.
Will I never cease setting my heart on shadows and following a lie? (St. Augustine)
There is a passage that I love in the Confessions in which he asks “the earth itself, the winds that blow, and the whole air, and all that lives in it… ‘What is my God?’” Likewise he asks the sky, the moon and the stars: “What is my God?” None of these was God, he was told. He went on to speak to “all the things that are about me, all that can be admitted by the door of the senses.” They, too, he was told, were not God. Then at last he understood: their beauty was all the answer they could give, and the only answer he needed to hear. (Malcolm Muggeridge)
[He once told the fisherman at Hippo:] It will not be held against you that you are ignorant against your will, but that you neglect to seek out what it is that makes you ignorant; not that you cannot bring together your wounded limbs, but that you reject Him that would heal them. (St. Augustine)
The spirit of prayer, I think, may first be defined negatively as the rejection of a temptation; and the temptation would consist in being shut in on oneself in pride or despair, two things which are closely connected. Positively, however, is not the spirit of prayer seen to be primarily a receptive disposition towards everything which can detach me from myself and from my tendency to blind myself to my own failings? (Gabriel Marcel)
It’s all about Jesus.
What kind of contribution can and should Christians make to [the world]? Here, as in any case, Christians cannot bring anything other than what they have received: Christ. “For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night that he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said: ‘This is my body given for you, do this in remembrance of me’” (1 Cor. 11:23-24). He who gives and delivers himself as our bread belongs to all. Christians do not own Christ as a property, but as first recipients they must in turn hand on to others, at least to those who really want him (For people do not love God very much). Receiving the glory of Christ, that is the burden and test for all, not only for “Christianity” understood as the avant-garde of humanity’s proletariat; every one of us, without exception and in some manner or other, has had, must, or will have to explain himself or herself to Christ, whether believing in him or not. (Jean-Luc Marion)
Did you hear that sentence snuck into the last quote: “For people do not love God very much…” Please God, that that statement might wreck us. Is there anything sadder? If that doesn’t break our hearts, then who are we?