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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Kingdom of Heaven begins for us here below

The reign of God I will show you clearly that you must receive the whole Kingdom of Heaven here below if you also want to enter into it after your death. Listen to God speaking to you in parables: “To what shall I compare the reign of God? Listen well. It is like mustard seed which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and in truth, it became a large tree.” That seed is the Kingdom of Heaven, it is the grace of the divine Spirit, and the garden is the heart of each human being, where the one who has received the seed conceals the Spirit in the depths of his being, in his most inward parts, so that no one might see it. And he watches over it with all his care so that it might grow, so that it might become a tree that rises up towards heaven. So if you say, “It is not here below that all who have fervently desired the Kingdom will receive it, but after death,” you are overthrowing the words of our Savior God. And if you don’t take the seed, that mustard seed, as he said, if you don’t sow it in your garden, you will remain completely sterile. At what other moment will you receive the seed if not now? The Master says: “Here below, receive the deposit; here below, receive the seal. Light your lamp already here below. If you are sensible, I will become the pearl for you here below (Mt 13:45); here below, I am your wheat and like a mustard seed. Here below, I become leaven for you and I make your dough rise. Here below, I am for you like water and I become a soothing fire. Here below, I become your garment and your food and all your drink, if you desire this.” That is what the Master says. “Thus, if already here below, you acknowledge me as such, you will possess me there as well in an ineffable way, and I will become everything for you.”

-- Symeon the New Theologian (c.949-1022), Greek monk, saint of the Orthodox churches

From DailyGospel.Org for today's gospel commentary

Friday, October 27, 2017


"These two stages sum up the whole of the spiritual life: when we contemplate ourselves we are troubled, and our sadness saves us and brings us to contemplate God; that contemplation in turn gives us the consolation of the joy of the Holy Spirit. Contemplating ourselves brings fear and humility; contemplating God brings us hope and love."

- From a sermon by St Bernard of Clairvaux, on the stages of contemplation

Assuming that we see truthfully, we cannot help but note our imperfections, particularly in past decisions and actions we've taken. But we go further if we have faith, that God saves, and in Jesus Christ we have the grace to improve, and what disappoints us in ourselves will be overcome with patience, effort and contemplation. Jesus is the image of the Father but he is also our image, in our rebirth as children of God, so in him the two images meet. And so we can go from disappointment at what we have been to amazement at what we are becoming, particularly in the ways of Love: forgiveness, patience, kindness, courage, selflessness, humility, joy, perseverance. All these become ours as we become Christ through daily practice and contemplative prayer.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

God is Not Nice

Interesting title and theme for this book. Up there with "Reality Bites" (the expression), I think. Must get my hands on it. God is not nice perhaps but he is perfectly good.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

when anyone preaches to you without mentioning Jesus Christ

do not let the congregation of God be blasphemed because of the behaviour of a few foolish persons. For Woe to him who makes anyone blaspheme my name without a cause.   Be deaf therefore when anyone preaches to you without mentioning Jesus Christ, who was of the family of David, who was truly born of Mary, who truly ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, was truly crucified and died in the sight of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth; who was also truly raised from the dead, when his Father raised him up — just as his Father will raise us up, believers in Christ Jesus without whom we have no true life.

-- From St Ignatius of Antioch's letter to the Trallians

Friday, October 06, 2017

If God is no longer important...

.. the criteria for establishing what is important is displaced.

"In the consciousness of the people of today, the things of God and thus of the liturgy do not appear at all urgent. There is an urgency about every possible thing. But the matter of God does not seem to be urgent."

Perhaps it is a matter of perspective. God is the only foundational perspective, as he is the only firm foundation. What can happen to a building or some framework without a firm foundation?

Anything, of course.