Great interview by Isabella and a friend of two very unlikely nuns in Cambridge. Loved this quote from one of the nuns:
You give God a blank cheque and let Him fill it in.” Gemma agreed, “Ultimately, the essential never changes: falling in love with God; being in love with God; staying in love with God.”
No matter how right we are in what we believe about God, no matter how accurately we phrase our belief or how magnificently and persuasively we preach or write or declare it, if love does not shape the way we speak and act, we falsify the creed, we confess a lie. Believing without loving is what gives religion a bad name. Believing without loving destroys lives. Believing without loving turns the best of creeds into a weapon of oppression. A community that believes but does not love or marginalises love, regardless of its belief system or doctrinal orthodoxy or ‘vision statement’, soon, very soon, becomes a ‘synagogue of Satan’ (Rev 2:9)
Eugene Peterson, Christ Plays in Then Thousand Places
If you find that there is something that you need, come to one of the brothers and he will tell you how to get along without it.
Benedictine guest master to monastery guests. Quoted by Eugene Peterson in his book Practise Resurrection.
I just loved this quote. So true in so many cases. Reminded me of our time in Kenya.
When at eighteen, I made up my mind to go into moral and religious training, the great soul and mind who took me in hand – a noble Dominican – warned me – ‘You want to grow in virtue, to serve God, to love Christ? Well, you will grow in and attain these things if you will make them a slow and sure, an utterly real, mountain step-plod and ascent, willing to have to camp for weeks or months in spiritual desolation, darkness and emptiness at different stages in your march and growth. All demand for constant light…. all attempt at eliminating or minimizing the cross and trial, is so much soft folly and puerile trifling’.
Friedrich von Hugel, quoted by Eugene Peterson in his book Practise Resurrection
Her full nature…. spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependant on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.
George Eliot, Middlemarch about Dorothea
I was listening to Radio 4 this morning and heard the Libyan poet Khaled Mattawa reading his poem Now That We Have Tasted Hope and found it very moving, especially with the cost of what is going on in Libya coupled with the desire for freedom.
Now That We Have Tasted Hope
Now that we have tasted hope
Now that we have come out of hiding,
Why would we live again in the tombs we’d made out of our souls?
Since I am coming to that holy room, Where, with thy choir of saints for evermore, I shall be made thy music; as I come I tune the instrument at the door, And what I must do then, think now before.
John Donne, Hymn to God my God, in my Sickness
To lift up the hands in prayer gives God glory, but a man with a dungfork in his hand, a woman with a sloppail, gives him glory too. He is so great that all things give him glory if you mean that they should. So then, my bretheren, live
Gerard Manley Hopkins (Hat tip Isabella)