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Mechtilde of Hackeborn (died 1299) heard these words from the Lord:
“I tell you the truth that I am very pleased when men trustingly expect great things from me. For everyone who believes that I will reward him after this life with more than he deserves, and who correspondingly gives praise and thanks to me in this life, will be so welcome to me thatI will reward him with far more than he could ever believe or boldly hope for, in fact, with endlessly more than he deserves. For it is impossible that someone should not attain what he has believed and hoped. . . . With confident hope you should believe that I will receive you, after your death, as a farther receives his dearest son. . . . I whom am faithfulness itself am incapable of misleading my friends through any sort of deceit.”
As quoted by Hans Urs von Balthasar in Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved?
Today I got up and dressed in black, and I went to class. We were reading Hebrews 11:8-22, a passage from the middle of the “by faith . . . ” litany. By faith, the passage goes, our ancestors obeyed God and gave up their land and their comfort and their rights. By faith, Abraham stayed in a foreign land and by faith Abraham died in a foreign land, and Abraham did not receive that which God promised him. Yet, Hebrews asserts, “from a distance, [Abraham and his wife and our ancestors] saw and welcomed” the promised things.
This is no blind faith. Abraham sees these promises far off; Abraham looks “forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” Abraham desires — images — “a better country,” “a heavenly one,” one which “God has prepared . . . for them.” And faith, the author writes, is the assurance of things hoped for, the being of things not seen. That “being,” hypostasis in the Greek, denotes not just an intellectual certainty but an actual, physical reality. Faith, Hebrews asserts, sees with great hope what will be and what is not yet.
No — we don’t flee. No — we don’t go. No — we don’t fear. No — we stay in the land, and we seek, and we greet with joy the coming promises.
Here’s the one thing, Kate said last night while we worried. We know Hillary couldn’t fix the world anyway. Now the church has to do the things we know we need to do. Now the church has the opportunity to demonstrate that Christ is the source of true care, reform, and love. We still have to do our job, and now salvation can’t be attributed to the party.
Now we know, my Facebook feed was repeating over and over this morning, that voting is not enough. Now we know that casting a ballot isn’t enough to change the world. Now we know better than ever that we vote with our time, money, words, and heart. Now we go, do, be.
That’s how I feel; it’s so a part of me, I can’t escape it. I cannot escape it; it’s just a reality. [ . . . ] If I could be something other than Christian, especially if it was something cooler than Christian, I would totally do that! I cannot escape that it feels like God rescued me through this particular symbol system, this one, even though I had problems with it in the way it was given to me in my upbringing. It’s a very recent idea in human history, that you can choose your own symbol system.
— Nadia Bolz-Weber on Fresh Air, 9/17/2015
“Now listen to me, please: On a winter day, when you were a lycée student, it was snowing, and you were lost in thought. You could hear God inside you, and you were trying to forget him. You could see that the world was one, but you thought that if you could close your eyes to this vision, you could be more unhappy and also more intelligent. And you were right. Only people who are very intelligent and very unhappy can write good poems. So you heroically undertook to endure the pains of faithlessness, just to be able to write good poems. But you didn’t realize then that when you lost that voice inside you, you’d end up all alone in an empty universe.”
Orhan Pamuk, Snow
Come, Lord Jesus.
I don’t have much to say. I’ll try to write more often.
Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York