Compassion for Yourselves

I saw this quotation from St. Teresa of Avila today and I thought that it was fantastic.

“Oh, souls set free by the blood of Christ! Learn to understand yourselves. Have compassion for yourselves.”

This seems to be a helpful substitute, in my opinion, for the phrase that we use and/or hear “I need to forgive myself.”

From a Christian perspective, in my opinion, we can trust in God’s forgiveness towards us instead of seeking to forgive ourselves. Our best day of forgiving ourselves is faintly affective in comparison to God’s ability and desire to forgive.

When I hear people say, “I just need to forgive myself,” I can hear what they are saying and find that it works in an appropriate way. This whole thing is probably semantics.

I guess for my own life and for those that’d seek counsel from me, I’ll use this neat phrase from St. Teresa: “Have compassion for yourself.”


Rohr, Sermon on the Mount

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I’m reading through the “Richard Rohr Corpus” or at least as many of Rohr’s books that I can get. This is a subtle hint for Christmas presents.

Rohr’s second book, Jesus’ Plan for a New World, interacts with Jesus’ teachings in the Sermon on the Mount. It has been an incredible book, one that I wished everyone would read but most will be uninterested to do so. Rohr is a prophet, not in a bizarre, ecstatic way, but in a disarming and deconstructive type of way. There are atom bomb-type thoughts on every page. Readers be encouraged; readers beware, this book will spook you.

He had a bullet-point summary of the gospel (or at least its ramifications) in the first half of the book. I wanted to capture it here so I can have it tucked away,

My point here is that the gospel is not primarily a set of facts but a way of seeing and a way of being in the world because of God. Jesus speaks to the heart, saying (1) God is on your side; (2) God can be trusted; (3) the universe is safe and benevolent; (4) trust yourselves, one another and God; (5) there is no reason to be afraid; (6) it’s all headed toward something good! He does this primarily by touch, relationship, healing and parables. (66)


Helping and Not Marginalizing (Quotation)

This quotation was in Common Prayer this morning. It spoke to me; it might speak to someone else (especially those who have to have people to help!).

Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche communities, has written,

“To love someone is not first of all to do things for them, but to reveal to them their beauty and value, to say to them through our attitude: ‘You are beautiful. You are important. I trust you. You can trust yourself.’ We all know well that we can do things for others and in the process crush them, making them feel that they are incapable of doing things by themselves. To love someone is to reveal to them their capacities for life, the light that is shining in them.”


Rohr and the Teachings of Jesus

“It might be a little cynical, but you could almost figure out what Jesus said by looking at our history and naming the opposite of what we did! We keep worshipping the messenger, keeping Jesus up on statues and images, so we can avoid what Jesus said. Its the best smokescreen in the world! We keep saying, ‘We love Jesus.’ The more we talk about Jesus, the less we’ll do what he said. That’s the way the ego fools itself. And in this case, it’s the way culture, nations and even the churches have fooled themselves.”

- Richard Rohr & John Feister, Jesus’ Plan for a New World, 31.


Walking Out of Worry, Day 14 Conclusion

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We are wrapping up the 14-Day journey Walking Out of Worry. If you have missed the chance to join us, you can always download the guide here and use it for your personal enrichment.

One of the most robust categories in the NT is hope. We meditated on hope a few days ago, but it seems important to continue to think about it. Hope is a “gap” word, allowing the people to God to do more than manage the time between now and the arrival of God’s new world.

The Christian life is a rehearsal of God’s new world. We get the chance to engage in the life that we will experience in full in the new age to come. When the current world barely resembles that new age to come, we can get discouraged and hopeless, instead of hopeful.

Paul’s answer to such a dissonance is contentment. He says in Philippians 4:8-9:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice. And the God of people will be with you.

Our aim is to participate in the activity of God around us. God’s kingdom is not in trouble; our participation in such a life is satisfying and will give us so much meaning.

May you and I not allow worry to have the last word, but trust in the good God that holds us together and does all things well.


Walking out of Worry, Day 12

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For Day 12 of Walking Out of Worry, we gathered as a church community to share communion and to bring our requests to God. Ultimately, we were able to practice a way to give our worries to a loving God and to see how our community is stitched together with prayer and encouragement. It was a great evening together.


Walking out of Worry, Day 11

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We are on Day 11 of the walking out of worry journey. If you’d like to finish the last few days with us or if you want to keep a guide for a future season of life, you can download it here.

Reminder: a Communion Service associated with our journey will be hosted at GracePoint Church on Thursday November 6th, 6:30pm. All are welcome.

Today’s post is centered, again, on the topic of prayer and worry.

Prayer is a category with a wide bandwidth within the Christian tradition. As I see it there are two main “operating softwares” for how people have believed prayer works within Christianity.

First, prayer is the means by which all that God had planned from before the foundation of the world is “uncovered” by the believer and/or praying community. Prayer is not creating anything, but allowing what is “unseen” to be witnessed in material reality. This is a shorthand (perhaps reductionist) way of talking about theological topics of providence/sovereignty.

Next, prayer is the evidence of God’s dynamic relationship to the world. God moves through the prayers of people and creates outcomes within the situation. John Wesley was even bold enough (and perhaps exaggerated a bit) when he said, “God does nothing but through believing prayer.” This is a shorthand way of talking about a tradition called open/relational theology.

In either scenario, God is directly involved in the prayers of the people of God, whether as One whose divine intentions from the beginning are being made known or the One who actively participates through the yearnings of God’s people.

With this in mind, I share one of my favorite Martin Luther quotations, for it deals with prayer and worry:

“Pray and let God worry.”

That is a fantastic idea and gets to the heart of our need for prayer when we are anxious. As we pray, we hand over to God the things that only God can do, and we are free to then see what it is we need to do as we allow God to take care of what only God can do.

So, today let’s be reminded of the big worry that we named on Day 1 and give that worry over to God in prayer and let God worry about it. I pray that freedom would fill our hearts today because of it.

 


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