Quotations for January, 2023
Sunday, January 1, 2023
Feast of the Naming & Circumcision of Jesus
Almighty and everlasting God, in whom we live and move, and have our being; glory be to Thee for my recovery from sickness, and the continuance of my life. Grant, O my God, that I may improve the year which I am now beginning, and all the days which Thou shalt add to my life, by serious repentance and diligent obedience; that, by the help of thy Holy Spirit, I may use the means of grace to my own salvation, and at last enjoy thy presence in eternal happiness, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
... Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), Prayers and Meditations, London: Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe, 1806, January 1, 1756, p. 18-19
(see the book; see also Jas. 4:8-10; Acts 17:28; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; 1 John 1:9; Rev. 2:5; more at Diligence, God, Jesus, Life, Obedience, Prayers, Repentance, Salvation, Sickness)
Monday, January 2, 2023
Feast of Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops, Teachers, 379 & 389
Commemoration of Seraphim, Monk of Sarov, Mystic, Staretz, 1833
The Lord also did not think that the teaching of his word alone was enough, but he wanted to give us an example of humility when, girded with a towel, he washed the feet of his disciples. Whose feet do you wash? Whom do you care for? To whom do you make yourself inferior and last of all, since you live alone?
... St. Basil the Great (330?-379), Little Asceticon, Question 3.9, concerning community
(see the book; see also John 13:3-5; Eze. 36:25; Matt. 19:30; 20:16; Mark 9:35; 10:31; Luke 13:30; 22:27; John 13:12-14; Eph. 5:25-27; Phil. 2:5-8; more at Disciple, Example, Humility, Jesus, Teach)
Tuesday, January 3, 2023
Commemoration of Gladys Aylward, Missionary in China, 1970
As Christians we must not minimize the need to give honest answers to honest questions. We should have an intellectual apologetic. The Bible commands it and Christ and Paul exemplify it. In the synagogue, in the marketplace, in homes and in almost every conceivable kind of situation, Jesus and Paul discussed Christianity. It is likewise the Christian’s task to be able to give an honest answer to an honest question and then to give it.
... Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984), The Mark of the Christian, Inter-Varsity Press, 1976, p. 16-17
(see the book; see also Acts 5:41-42; Ps. 119:46-47; Matt. 21:23; Mark 12:35; 14:49; Luke 6:6; 19:47; 20:1; 21:14-15,37; John 7:28-29; Acts 14:1; 17:1-3,17; 18:4; Col. 4:6; 2 Tim. 2:25; 1 Pet. 3:15; more at Apologetics, Christ, Commandment, Home, Jesus, Question, Task)
Wednesday, January 4, 2023
Those talents which God has bestowed upon us are not our own goods but the free gifts of God; and any persons who become proud of them show their ungratefulness.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. I , tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, III.vii.4, p. 622
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 4:7; Deut. 8:11-14; 1 Chr. 29:11-14; Pr. 2:6; Hos. 13:6; John 1:11,16; Jas. 1:17; more at Gifts, God, People, Pride, Thanksgiving)
Thursday, January 5, 2023
Our society today bears all the marks of a God-starved community. There is little real moral authority because no ultimate Authority is known or acknowledged.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), God Our Contemporary, New York: Macmillan, 1960, p. viii
(see the book; see also John 17:1-2; Prov. 29:18; Matt. 7:28-29; 9:4-8; 28:18-20; Mark 1:22; Luke 4:32; John 5:26-27; 10:17-18; 1 Thess. 4:2; Tit. 2:15; Jude 1:8; more at Community, Knowing God, Morality, Social, Worship)
Friday, January 6, 2023
The most excellent method which he had found of going to God, was that of doing our common business without any view of pleasing men, and (as far as we are capable) purely for the love of God.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, Fourth Conversation, p. 16
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 7:22; Gal. 1:10; Eph. 6:5-6; Col. 3:23-24; more at God, Love, Purity)
Saturday, January 7, 2023
God himself was not angry at all, or at a small act of eating a fruit, and so in anger turned man out of paradise, into a world cursed for that sin. But man freely and voluntarily chose, against the will and command of God, to be in the world in its cursed state, unblessed by paradise; for he chose to enter into a sensibility and feeling of its good and evil, which is directly choosing to be where paradise is not; for nothing that is in paradise, can be touched, or hurt by anything of the outward world. Therefore the first state of man was a state of such glory, and heavenly prerogatives... and his fall was a fall into or under the power of this outward world.
... William Law (1686-1761), Christian Regeneration , in Works of Rev. William Law, v. V, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 21-22
(see the book; see also Rom. 5:12-21; Gen. 3:6-13; Eccl. 7:29; Hos. 6:7; 1 Cor. 15:22; more at Commandment, Evil, Fall, God, Goodness, Man, Paradise, World)
Sunday, January 8, 2023
27th anniversary of CQOD
Commemoration of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Pete Fleming, martyrs, Ecuador, 1956
Missionaries constantly face expendability. And people who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives. They forget that when their lives are spent and the bubble has burst they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.Some might say, isn’t it too great a price to pay? When missionaries consider themselves—their lives before God—they consider themselves expendable. And in our personal lives as Christians isn’t the same thing true? Isn’t the price small in the light of God’s infinite love?
... Nate Saint (1923-1956), quoted in Jungle Pilot: The Life and Witness of Nate Saint, Russell T. Hitt, Zondervan, 1974, p. 158
(see the book; see also Rev. 6:9-11; Ps. 96:10; Isa. 43:5-7; Matt. 10:16-23,34-39; 24:9; 28:19-20; Mark 13:9-13; 16:15; Luke 21:12-19; John 15:18-19; Acts 1:8; 9:15-16; 13:2-4,47; 21:30-31; 26:16-18; 1 Cor. 16:8-9; more at Everlasting, God, Infinite, Life, Love, Missionary, Truth, Year)
Monday, January 9, 2023
Nothing else but this seeing God in everything will make us loving and patient with those who annoy and trouble us. They will be to us then only the instruments for accomplishing His tender and wise purposes towards us, and we shall even find ourselves at last inwardly thanking them for the blessings they bring us.
... Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911), Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, London: F. E. Longley, 1876, p. 93
(see the book; see also Heb. 13:5-6; Gen. 15:1; Ps. 46:1-3; 54:4; 56:10-11; 121:2-8; 139:7-8; 118:7-9; Matt. 10:40-42; 18:3-5; 25:40; Mark 9:41; Rom. 8:31; 1 John 4:4; more at Blessing, God, Love, Patience, Purpose, Sight, Tender, Wisdom)
Tuesday, January 10, 2023
You have your season, and you have but your season; neither can you lie down in peace, until you have some persuasion that your work as well as your life is at an end.
... John Owen (1616-1683), Works of John Owen, v. VIII, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1851, Serm. VIII, p. 355
(see the book; see also Eccl. 3:1-11; Job 7:1; Ps. 1:1-3; Eccl. 9:10; 1 Cor. 15:47-48; more at Death & Resurrection, Life, Peace, Work)
Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Commemoration of Mary Slessor, Missionary in West Africa, 1915
Do not be troubled when you are dry, dull, unable to rouse yourself to any holy thoughts in prayer or communion—still less must you fancy that such prayers and communion are worthless. Self-love may pronounce them to be so, but God judges otherwise. He does not require us to have so absolute a control over our imagination as wholly to rule our thoughts. That is beyond our power, but it is within our power not to dwell upon distracting thoughts, to turn from them, to submit to spiritual advice. It is within our power to resist thoughts which militate against purity, faith or hope.
... Jean Nicolas Grou (1731-1803), The Hidden Life of the Soul, London: Rivingtons, 1870, p. 44
(see the book; see also Phil. 4:8-9; Ps. 5:1-3; 88:14; Luke 18:1-8; 1 Thess. 5:22; more at Communion, Dullness, God, Holiness, Judgment, Prayer, Submission, Thought, Trouble)
Thursday, January 12, 2023
Feast of Aelred of Hexham, Abbot of Rievaulx, 1167
Commemoration of Benedict Biscop, Abbot of Wearmouth, Scholar, 689
If we would judge aright of the truth of our sorrow for sin, we must not measure it so much by the degrees of sensible trouble and affliction, as by the rational effects of it, which are hatred of sin, and a fixed purpose and resolution against it for the future: for he is most truly sorry for his miscarriage, who looks upon what he hath done amiss with abhorrence and detestation of the thing, and wisheth he had not done it, and censures himself severely for it, and thereupon resolves not to do the like again.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. VII, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, p. 291
(see the book; see also Acts 3:19-20; Ps. 36:1-2; Luke 15:7,10; John 3:20-21; 2 Cor. 7:10-11; 2 Tim. 2:25-26; more at Affliction, Future, Hatred, Resolve, Sin, Sorrow, Trouble)
Friday, January 13, 2023
Feast of Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, Teacher, 367
Commemoration of Kentigern (Mungo), Missionary Bishop in Strathclyde & Cumbria, 603
The very question “Does prayer work?” puts us in the wrong frame of mind from the onset. “Work”: as if it were magic or a machine—something that functions automatically. Prayer is either a sheer illusion or a personal contact between embryonic, incomplete persons (ourselves) and the utterly concrete Person. Prayer in the sense of petition, asking for things, is a small part of it; confession and penitence are its threshold, adoration its sanctuary, the presence and vision and enjoyment of God its bread and wine. In it God shows Himself to us. That He answers prayer is a corollary—not necessarily the most important one—from that revelation. What He does is learned from what He is.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), “The Efficacy of Prayer” in The World’s Last Night , Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 8
(see the book; see also Eph. 3:20-21; Ps. 106:1; 139:7-10; Matt. 6:9-13; Rom. 14:11; Eph. 2:18; Phil. 4:6; Col. 4:2; Jas. 4:8-10; 1 John 1:9; Rev. 4:9-11; more at Confession, God, Penitence, Praise, Prayer, Question, Revelation, Vision)
Saturday, January 14, 2023
Commemoration of Richard Meux Benson, Founder of the Society of St John the Evangelist, 1915
The first principle of differentiation was laid down by Paul, when dealing with the problems of the spiritual phenomena that had arisen at Corinth... In the confusion of spiritual phenomena, ... it was possible that evil spirits, as well as the Holy Spirit, inspired some of the manifestations. One in particular Paul singles out as being in obvious contradiction to the work of the Spirit of God: “No man speaking in the Spirit of God saith, Jesus is anathema (cursed be Jesus).” On the other hand, “No man can say, Jesus is Lord, but in the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3). It is difficult to conceive the state of mind of a member of a Christian congregation who would curse the name of Jesus. Yet it is evident that at Corinth, people gave way to such uncontrollable frenzy, that either in folly, or in momentary reversion to Judaism or heathenism, they cursed the name in whose honour they had met... But the spirit that inspired disloyalty to Jesus Christ could not be the Holy Spirit, for in Paul’s experience and theology, the two beings were, if not identical, at least in perfect harmony of principle and action. This, then, was Paul’s first criterion for deciding which spiritual phenomena could be approved by Christians as the work of the Holy Spirit. They must be loyal to Jesus Christ as Lord of life, and as the object of faith and love for every believer. [Continued tomorrow]
... Thomas Rees (1869-1926), The Holy Spirit in Thought and Experience, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1915, p. 87-88
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 12:3; Matt. 16:16-17; Mark 9:39-40; John 15:26; 1 John 4:1-3; ; more at Betrayal, Congregation, Faith, Holy Spirit, Inspiration, Jesus, Love, Loyalty)
Sunday, January 15, 2023
[Continued from yesterday]Another criterion was loyalty to the community of Christ both as gathered congregation and as organised church. The pride of spiritual gifts had led the Corinthians to jealousy and strife. They had divided into factions owning the leadership, one of Paul, another of Apollos, another of Cephas, and another of Christ. But such factions, the apostle tells them, were not characteristics of the “spiritual,” but of the carnal. To divide the Church was to destroy the temple of God, where the Holy Spirit dwelt among them (I Cor. 3:1, 3, 16). And the very gifts about which they quarrelled should have been a power to unite them, for they all proceeded from one and the same Spirit, from one and the same Lord, from one and the same God, who worketh all in all (I Cor. 12:4 ff). The Spirit was indeed the principle of unity in the Church, “for in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body” (I Cor. 12:13). Therefore to divide the Church was to drive away the Spirit... The tests of spiritual phenomena in the life of the community, and the proofs that they were of the Holy Spirit, were unity, order, and edification. [Continued tomorrow]
... Thomas Rees (1869-1926), The Holy Spirit in Thought and Experience, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1915, p. 88-89
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 12:4-13; 3:1-6,16; Eph. 2:18,22; 4:3-6; more at Baptism, Body of Christ, Christ, Church, Community, Congregation, Holy Spirit, Loyalty, Spirit, Strife, Unity)
Monday, January 16, 2023
[Continued from yesterday]The sovereign antidote against strife and confusion, the supreme principle of unity and service in the Church, was also the greatest gift of the Spirit, and the perfect and abiding proof of its presence, namely, love. This introduces a third criterion of the Spirit, and on the wider stage of the moral life. It is loyalty to the moral ideal of Christ. “If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk” (Gal. 5:25). Where the Spirit dwells, it produces a new, a higher, a unique type of moral life. For Paul, the Christian life was not the normal and natural product of human activity (Rom. 8:18), but a gracious divine gift, received by the descent of the Spirit into the human heart, for “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance” (Gal. 5:22-23). And there is yet one higher manifestation of the Spirit, the participation in the divine sonship of Jesus Christ. “And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Gal. 4:6). Where sonship is, there the Spirit is. On the other hand, “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). Where the Spirit leads, there sonship is... The possession of the Spirit and participation in Christ’s sonship are but two aspects of the same experience. Here, the phenomenon, if it may be so called, bears its own credentials. Sonship is a self-evident work of the Spirit. But the evidence is available only for its owner. In order that the Spirit of adoption may attest itself to others, it must issue in the life according to the Spirit, by walking in the Spirit and bearing the fruit of the Spirit.
... Thomas Rees (1869-1926), The Holy Spirit in Thought and Experience, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1915, p. 89
(see the book; see also Rom. 8:13-19; John 13:34; Rom. 7:14; Gal. 4:6; 5:22-25; Phil. 1:9-11; 2:14-16; Col. 1:10-12; 1 John 4:21; more at Christ, Experience, Holy Spirit, Love, Loyalty, Morality, Spirit)
Tuesday, January 17, 2023
Feast of Antony of Egypt, Abbot, 356
Commemoration of Charles Gore, Bishop, Teacher, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, 1932
Whatever particular object we may want to pray for, we have never prayed for it aright till we have prayed for it in the words and spirit of the Lord’s Prayer. That, I repeat, is not one prayer among many. It covers all legitimate Christian praying, and indeed the saying of it affords the best test whether our wants of the moment can become a prayer offered ‘in the name of Christ.’
... Charles Gore (1853-1932), The Sermon on the Mount , London: John Murray, 1905, p. 132
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:9-13; 21:22; Mark 11:24; John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23-26; 1 John 3:21-22; 5:14; more at Christ, God, Offering, Prayer)
Wednesday, January 18, 2023
Feast of the Confession of Saint Peter the Apostle
Commemoration of Amy Carmichael, Founder of the Dohnavur Fellowship, 1951
If I am afraid to speak the truth, lest I lose affection, or lest the one concerned should say, “You do not understand,” or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness; if I put my own good name before the other’s highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love.If I am content to heal a hurt slightly, saying Peace, peace, where there is no peace; if I forget the poignant words, “Let love be without dissimulation” [Rom. 12:9] and blunt the edge of truth, speaking not right things but smooth things, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), If , London: SPCK, 1961, p. 24-25
(see the book; see also Eph. 4:14-16; Ps. 55:21; Rom. 12:9-18; 1 Tim. 1:5; Jas. 2:15-16; 1 Pet. 1:22; more at Affection, Calvary, Goodness, Kindness, Love, Peace, Truth, Weakness)
Thursday, January 19, 2023
Commemoration of Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, 1095
I never know how to worship until I know how to love.
... Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), Royal Truths, Edinburgh: Alexander Strahan and Co., 1862, p. 19
(see the book; see also Mark 12:33; Deut. 6:5; 10:12-13; 30:6; more at Knowledge, Love, Worship)
Friday, January 20, 2023
Commemoration of Richard Rolle of Hampole, Writer, Hermit, Mystic, 1349
God truly is of infinite greatness, better than we can think; of unreckoned sweetness; inconceivable of all natures wrought; and can never be comprehended by us as He is in Himself in eternity.
... Richard Rolle (1290?-1349), from The Mending of Life, in Fire of Love , tr. Richard Misyn, VI.
(see the book; see also Jer. 10:6; Deut. 32:3; Job 37:5; Ps. 145:3; 150:2; Eccl. 3:11; Isa. 40:28; Rom. 11:33; Eph. 1:18-19; more at Eternity, God, Goodness, Greatness, Infinite)
Saturday, January 21, 2023
Feast of Agnes, Child Martyr at Rome, 304
God is our true Friend, who always gives us the counsel and comfort we need. Our danger lies in resisting Him; so it is essential that we acquire the habit of hearkening to His voice, of keeping silence within, and listening so as to lose nothing of what He says to us. We know well enough how to keep outward silence, and to hush our spoken words, but we know little of interior silence. It consists in hushing our idle, restless, wandering imagination, in quieting the promptings of our worldly minds, and in suppressing the crowd of unprofitable thoughts which excite and disturb the soul.
... François Fénelon (1651-1715), Selections from Fénelon, ed. Mary Wilder Tileston, Boston: Roberts Bros., 1879, p. 107
(see the book; see also Matt. 12:36-37; 1 Kings 19:11-13; Ps. 85:8; Jer. 23:29; Luke 11:28; Rom. 8:6-7; 10:17; 1 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 4:12; Jas. 1:18; more at Counsel, Friend, God, Imagination, Knowing God, Restless, Silence, Thought, Worldly)
Sunday, January 22, 2023
When one takes theology or creed as the center of Christianity, it naturally follows that there must inevitably be a division of Christians into denominations and sects.
... Kokichi Kurosaki (1886-1970), One Body in Christ, Kobe, Japan: Eternal Life Press, 1954, ch. 3
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 11:18; Isa. 29:13; Matt. 12:25; John 5:39-40; 17:20-23; Rom. 16:17; 1 Cor. 1:10-13; 12:22-26; 2 Cor. 10:5; Col. 2:8,22; 1 Tim. 1:3-4; 6:20-21; 2 Tim. 2:16; more at Creed, Discord, Dispute, Theology)
Monday, January 23, 2023
Commemoration of Phillips Brooks, Bishop of Massachusetts, spiritual writer, 1893
So [it is] when the priority of existence is seen to rest in a Person, and the background of life is God. Then every new arrival instantly reports itself to Him, and is described in terms of its relationship to Him. Every activity of ours answers to some previous activity of His. Do we hope? It is because we have caught the sound of some promise of His. Do we fear? It is because we have had some glimpse of the dreadfulness of getting out of harmony with Him. Are we curious and inquiring? It is that we may learn some of His truth. Do we resist evil? We are fighting His enemies. Do we help need? We are relieving His children. Do we love Him? It is an answer of gratitude for His love to us. Do we live? It is a projection and extension of His being. Do we die? It is the going home of our immortal souls to Him.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), The Light of the World, and Other Sermons, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1904, p. 45
(see the book; see also 1 Thess. 5:9-10; John 3:16; 15:16; Rom. 14:7-8; 2 Cor. 5:14-15; Gal. 2:19-20; Eph. 2:3-5; 1 John 4:10,19; more at Death, Enemy, Fear, Fight, Harmony, Immortality, Life, Promise)
Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Feast of François de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, Teacher, 1622
I recommend to you holy simplicity. Look close before you, and do not look at those dangers which you see afar off. You fancy they are armies; they are only trees in the distance, and whilst you are gazing at them you may make some false steps.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), Practical Piety, Louisville: Webb & Levering, 1853, p. 53
(see the book; see also Tit. 2:6-8; Matt. 6:25,34; John 14:27; 16:33; Rom. 12:9; 2 Cor. 1:12; 11:3; 1 Tim. 1:5; more at Danger, Faith, Holiness, Simplicity)
Wednesday, January 25, 2023
Feast of the Conversion of Paul
When God would make His name known to mankind, He could find no better word than “I AM”... “I am that I am,” says God, “I change not.” Everyone and everything else measures from that fixed point.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 94
(see the book; see also Ex. 3:14; Mal. 3:6; John 8:58; Heb. 13:8; Rev. 1:8; 4:8; more at God, Knowing God, Man)
Thursday, January 26, 2023
Feast of Timothy and Titus, Companions of Paul
Commemoration of Dorothy Kerin, Founder of the Burrswood Healing Community, 1963
Perfection does not consist in the knowledge of God’s order, but in submission to it. The order of God, the good pleasure of God, the will of God, the action of God, grace—all these are one and the same thing in this life... Perfection is nothing else than the faithful cooperation of the soul with the work of God. This ultimate purpose of our life grows and increases in our souls secretly and without our knowledge.
... Jean-Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751), Abandonment to Divine Providence, I.i.4
(see the book; see also Eph. 5:17; Matt. 5:48; 12:50; Rom. 12:1-2; Phil. 3:12; Jas. 1:22; 1 Pet. 1:15-16; more at Cooperation, Faith, God, Knowledge, Life, Perfection, Purpose, Will of God)
Friday, January 27, 2023
Like summer seas that lave with silent tides a lonely shore, like whispering winds that stir the tops of forest trees, like a still small voice that calls us in the watches of the night, like a child’s hand that feels about a fast-closed door; gentle, unnoticed, and oft in vain; so is Thy coming unto us, O God.Like ships storm-driven into port, like starving souls that seek the bread they once despised, like wanderers begging refuge from the whelming night, like prodigals that seek the father’s home when all is spent; yet welcomed at the open door, arms outstretched and kisses for our shame; so is our coming unto Thee, O God.Like flowers uplifted to the sun, like trees that bend before the storm, like sleeping seas that mirror cloudless skies, like a harp to the hand, like an echo to a cry, like a song to the heart; for all our stubbornness, our failure and our sin; so would we have been to Thee, O God.Amen.
... William Edwin Orchard (1877-1955), The Temple: a book of prayers, 3rd ed., New York, E. P. Dutton, 1918, p. 149
(see the book; see also Ps. 57:8-10; 1 Kings 19:11-12; Ps. 4:1-4; Matt. 8:24-27; Luke 12:27; 15:21-24; John 6:32-35; Rev. 3:20; more at Bread, Failure, Flower, God, Prayers, Refuge, Sea, Silence, Sin, Tree)
Saturday, January 28, 2023
Feast of Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Teacher of the Faith, 1274
No man tends to do a thing by his desire and endeavour unless it be previously known to him. Wherefore since man is directed by divine providence to a higher good than human frailty can attain in the present life, ... it was necessary for his mind to be bidden to something higher than those things to which our reason can reach in the present life, so that he might learn to aspire, and by his endeavours to tend to something surpassing the whole state of the present life. And this is especially competent to the Christian religion, which alone promises goods spiritual and eternal: for which reason it proposes many things surpassing the thought of man.
... Thomas Aquinas (1225?-1274), Summa Contra Gentiles , Burns, Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., 1923, I.v, p. 9-10
(see the book; see also Isa. 65:1; Matt. 6:33; 7:7; Luke 11:9; 12:31; Rom. 10:20; 11:33; 1 Cor. 12:31; Phil. 4:8; more at Aspiration, Endeavor, Everlasting, Goodness, Man, Mind, Promise, Reason, Religion)
Sunday, January 29, 2023
Prayer means turning to Reality, taking our part, however humble, tentative and half-understood, in the continual conversation, the communion, of our spirits with the Eternal Spirit; the acknowledgment of our entire dependence, which is yet the partly free dependence of the child. For Prayer is really our whole life toward God: our longing for Him, our “incurable God-sickness,” as Barth calls it, our whole drive towards Him. It is the humble correspondence of the human spirit with the Sum of all Perfection, the Fountain of Life. No narrower definition than this is truly satisfactory, or covers all the ground.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Spiritual Life, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1937, reprinted, Morehouse Publishing, 1985, p. 61
(see the book; see also Ps. 84:1-2; 42:1-2; 62:7; 63:1-2; 143:6; Isa. 26:8-9; Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 4:16; Phil. 2:17; Heb. 13:15; more at Child, Communion, Dependence, Holy Spirit, Humility, Perfection, Prayer)
Monday, January 30, 2023
Commemoration of Lesslie Newbigin, Bishop, Missionary, Teacher, 1998
The idea that one can or could at any time separate out by some process of distillation a pure gospel unadulterated by any cultural accretions is an illusion. It is, in fact, an abandonment of the gospel, for the gospel is about the word made flesh. Every statement of the gospel in words is conditioned by the culture of which these words are a part, and every style of life that claims to embody the truth of the gospel is a culturally conditioned style of life. There can never be a culture-free gospel. Yet the gospel, which is from beginning to end embodied in culturally conditioned forms, calls into question all cultures including the one in which it was originally embodied.
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), Foolishness to the Greeks: the Gospel and Western culture, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1986, p. 4
(see the book; see also Acts 14:11-17, 27-28; 2:4-11; 26:13-14; more at Culture, Gospel, Illusions, Life, Question)
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Commemoration of John Bosco, Priest, Founder of the Salesian Teaching Order, 1888
This generation abhors mystery, and demands that the deepest truths of the highest subject, which is religion, shall be so broken down into mincemeat that the “man in the street” can understand them in the intervals of reading the newspaper. There are only too many of us who are disposed to grasp at the most superficial interpretation of Christian truth, and lazily to rest ourselves in that.
... Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910), The Holy of Holies, London: Alexander & Shepheard, 1890, p. 363
(see the book; see also Luke 8:10; Ps. 1:2; 42:7; 1 Cor. 2:7-10; Eph. 3:2-5; Col. 1:25-27; 2:2-3; 1 Tim. 3:8-9,16; 1 Pet. 1:10-12; more at Complacency, Man, Religion, Truth, Understanding)
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