Before you head off into your weekend, here is a quick list of three things that I have read and been thinking about this week. Hopefully they will be as challenging and helpful to you as they have been for me. Have a great weekend!
If you cannot be detached from all you do and like to do, you cannot live a full spiritual life.Abbot John Eudes quoted by Henri Nouwen in the book The Genesee Diary
Until we are ready to place God at the very center of our lives, we will not discover the fullness of life promised by God in Jesus through the Spirit. Of course, without God’s help we are unable but without our desire God will not. God, the divine initiator, makes the invitation to lay down the temporal treasure so we may have hands to be given the eternal.
The word “detached” from this quote is what gives me pause. Isn’t being detached from something a bad thing? Doesn’t that say implicitly or explicitly that I don’t care?
Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things will be added to you.Matthew 6:33
Detachment is not a bad, but the best thing, when Christ is involved. Being detached from all you do and like to do so you can be fully attached to Christ through his Spirit is actually caring more for what you do and like to do. The posture of detachment then becomes an ultimate expression of love and care. I love you so much that I am focusing on Christ alone knowing that through him I can be more fully attentive, more fully compassionate, and more fully discerning, and more fully capable of helping.
God should be sought, but we cannot find God. We can only be found by him.Henri Nouwen from The Genesee Diary
This week I read a diary of Henri Nouwen’s 7-month stay with the Trappist monks in upstate New York. He left his teaching job for a season to “get closer to God.” What Nouwen finds is that meditation, personal and corporate prayer, spiritual reading, and manual labor do open a door but not to where he thought it would lead. He finds that God is unwilling to be compartmentalized in our expectations of God. In the end Nouwen realizes that it is his own willingness to be shaped by God’s expectations of him that makes all the difference.
23 Thus says the LORD: Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; 24 but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the LORD; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the LORD.Jeremiah 9:23–24 (NRSV)
These verses pair well with the quotes above. We can know and understand the Lord. That is comforting. Look for places where steadfast love, justice, and righteousness are found and you can be assured that God is there. Make the evidence for understanding arise from the character of God not from our successes in life as tempting as that might be.