shine through

Dear Jesus,

help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go.
Flood our souls with your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly
that our lives may only be a radiance of yours.

Shine through us, and be so in us,
that every soul we come in contact with
may feel your presence in our soul.

Let them look up and see no longer us but only Jesus!

Stay with us, and then we shall begin to shine
as you shine; so to shine as to be a light to others;
the light, O Jesus, will be all from you,
none of it will be ours;
it will be you, shining on others through us.

Let us thus praise you in the way you love best
by shining on those around us.

Let us preach you without preaching, not by words
but by our example, by the catching force,
the sympathetic influence of what we do,
the evident fullness of the love
our hearts bear to you.

Amen.

-Cardinal John Henry Newman

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the first movement of the dance

“Healing begins not where our pain is taken away, but where is can be shared and seen as part of a larger pain.  The first task of healing, therefore, is take our many problems and pains out of their isolation and place them at the center of the great battle against the evil one…As we create the space to mourn – whether through one-to-one relationships, small support groups, or communal celebrations – we free ourselves little by little from the grip of the evil one and come to discover in the midst of our grief that the same Spirit who calls us to mourn stirs us to make the first movement in our dance with God…

Let me describe…the movements of the dance.  Let me be your dance master for a while!

The first movement is forgiveness.  It’s a very difficult movement.  But, then, all beginnings are difficult, and there is so much forgiving to do.

We have to forgive our parents for not being able to give us unconditional love, our brothers and sisters for not giving us the support we dreamt about, our friends for not being there for us when we expected them.  We have to forgive our church and civil leaders for their ambitions and manipulations.  Beyond all that, we have to forgive all those who torture, kill, rape, destroy – who make this world such a dark place.

And we, ourselves, also have to beg for forgiveness.  The older we become, the more clearly we see that we, too, have wounded others deeply, and are part of a society of violence and destruction.  It is very difficult to forgive and to ask for forgiveness.  But, without this, we remain fettered to our past – unable to dance…

Forgiveness is the great spiritual weapon against the evil one.  As long as we remain victims of anger and resentment, the powers of darkness can continue to divide us and tempt us with endless power games.  But when we forgive those who have threatened our lives, the lose their power over us…Forgiveness enables us to take the first step of the dance. ”

-Henri Nouwen, The Duet of the Holy Spirit: When Mourning and Dancing are One

blunt the edge of truth

IF
I am content to heal a hurt slightly,
saying, “Peace, peace” where is no peace;
If I forget the poignant word “Let love be without dissimulation”
and blunt the edge of truth,
speaking not right things, but smooth things,
then I know nothing of Calvary Love.

-Amy Carmichael, If

spiritual lust

“Dejection stems from one of two sources— I have either satisfied a lust or I have not had it satisfied. In either case, dejection is the result. Lust means “I must have it at once.” Spiritual lust causes me to demand an answer from God, instead of seeking God Himself who gives the answer…Whenever we insist that God should give us an answer to prayer we are off track. The purpose of prayer is that we get ahold of God, not of the answer.”

-Oswald Chambers

i have seen you everywhere

Christ is the old person next door, the one who fell on her steps in the dark and needs a meal every evening for the next month and has no family to prepare it for her.  He can be found in the face of the sixteen-year-old who lives up the street, the one whose father is a crack dealer.

Christ is there in the tentative steps taken by that college student over there, the young girl who cannot find a friend.

He is there in the joy of the young couple down the street who are out every afternoon with the newborn in a stroller, just hoping that you will stop them and share in their joy.

My father used to say that when we get to heaven and see Jesus, our first thought is not going to be that we have never seen him before.  Instead, we will grin and say, “It’s you, it’s you.  I have seen you everywhere.”

-Robert Benson