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Jesus was truly free. His freedom was rooted in his spiritual awareness that he was the Beloved Child of God. He knew in the depth of his being that he belonged to God before he was born, that he was sent into the world to proclaim God’s love, and that he would return to God after his mission was fulfilled. This knowledge gave him the freedom to speak and act without having to please the world and the power to respond to people’s pains with the healing love of God.

That’s why the Gospels say: “Everyone in the crowd was trying to touch him because power came out of him that cured them all” (Luke 6:19).

emphasis mine

What makes us cling to life even when it is time to “move on”? Is it our unfinished business? Sometimes we cling to life because we have not yet been able to say: “I forgive you, and I ask for your forgiveness.” When we have forgiven those who have hurt us and asked forgiveness from those we have hurt, a new freedom emerges. It is the freedom to move on.

When Jesus was dying he prayed for those who had nailed him to the cross: “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). That prayer set him free to say, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46).

Emphasis mine

Faith alone can give us the light to see that God’s will is to be found in our everyday life. Without this light, we cannot see to make the right decisions. …We stumble and fall constantly even when we are most enlightened. But when we are in true spiritual darkness, we do not even know that we have fallen. To keep ourselves spiritually alive we must constantly renew our faith.

The spiritual life is, then, first of all a matter of keeping awake. We must not lose our sensitivity to spiritual inspirations.

Thomas Merton. Thoughts in Solitude. (New York: Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, 1956). p 38-39.

emphasis mine

Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.” – Danny Kaye

A visionary is one who can find his way by moonlight and [can] see the dawn before the rest of the world.” – Oscar Wilde

“Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.” – Andre Gide

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” – Thomas Merton

All the way to heaven is heaven.” – St. Catherine

emphasis mine

I have a poem, “Candle,” in the new issue of Wild Goose Poetry Review, along with poems by Pris Campbell, Harry Calhoun, Terri Kirby Erickson and reviews on books by Jessie Carty, Robert Abbate, and Malaika Albrecht et al.

After firmly holding the cups of our lives and lifting them up as signs of hope for others, we have to drink them. Drinking our cups means fully appropriating and interiorizing what each of has acknowledged as our life, with all its unique sorrows and joys.

How do we drink our cups? We drink them as we listen in silence to the truth of our lives, as we speak in trust with friends about ways we want to grow, and as we act in deeds of service. Drinking our cups is following freely and courageously God’s call and staying faithfully on the path that is ours. Thus our life cups become the cups of salvation. When we have emptied them to the bottom, God will fill them with “water” for eternal life.

“Why can we not be content with an ordinary, secret, personal happiness that does not need to be explained or justified? We feel guilty if we are not happy in some publically approved way, if we do not imagine that we are meeting some standard of happiness that is recognized by all. God gives us the gift and the capacity to make our own happiness out of our own situation. And it is not hard to be happy, simply by accepting what is within reach, and making of it what we can.

Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (New York: Image). p. 56.

Emphasis mine

When the mother of James and John asks Jesus to give her sons a special place in his Kingdom, Jesus responds, “Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” (Matthew 20:22). “Can we drink the cup?” is the most challenging and radical question we can ask ourselves. The cup is the cup of life, full of sorrows and joys. Can we hold our cups and claim them as our own? Can we lift our cups to offer blessings to others, and can we drink our cups to the bottom as cups that bring us salvation?

Keeping this question alive in us is one of the most demanding spiritual exercises we can practice.

File:Red rose.jpg

As fearful people we are inclined to develop a mind-set that makes us say: “There’s not enough food for everyone, so I better be sure I save enough for myself in case of emergency,” or “There’s not enough knowledge for everyone to enjoy; so I’d better keep my knowledge to myself, so no one else will use it” or “There’s not enough love to give to everybody, so I’d better keep my friends for myself to prevent others from taking them away from me.” This is a scarcity mentality. It involves hoarding whatever we have, fearful that we won’t have enough to survive. The tragedy, however, is that what you cling to ends up rotting in your hands.

emphasis mine

Does it also involve believing God chose some people over others?

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