Christ, our Light

Quotations for March, 1996

Thursday, March 14, 1996

It is to be acknowledged that many passages in the Bible are abstruse, and not to be easy to be understood. Yet we are not to omit reading the abstruser texts, which have any appearance of relating to us; but should follow the example of the Blessed Virgin, who understood not several of our Saviour’s sayings, but kept them all in her heart. Were we only to learn humility thus, it would be enough; but we shall come by degrees to apprehend far more than we expected, if we diligently compare spiritual things with spiritual, darker expressions with clearer, that are like or opposite to them; for contraries illustrate one another.
... George D’Oyly (1778-1846) & Richard Mant (1776-1848), Holy Bible According to the Authorized Version, Introduction to, London: SPCK, 1839, p. 18 (see the book; see also Luke 2:48-51; Matt. 13:11-13; Luke 2:19; 1 Tim. 4:13-15; 2 Pet. 3:15-16; more at Bible, Diligence, Heart, Humility, Savior, Spiritual life)

Friday, March 15, 1996

If we would only give, just once, the same amount of reflection to what we want to get out of life, that we give to the question of what to do with two weeks’ vacation, we would be startled at our false standards and the aimless procession of our busy days.
... Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1879-1958) (see the book; see also Luke 8:8; Matt. 3:8; 7:16-20; John 15:1-2; more at Attitudes, Life, Question, Thought)

Saturday, March 16, 1996

It is important that those who read this book should not try to take an indecent advantage of Catholic self-criticism. When we are willing to bring some honest criticism to our own positions, the lumbering Institution will become a Movement again, and we shall rediscover the Pilgrim Church.
... Howard Williams (more at Church, Criticism, Pilgrim)

Sunday, March 17, 1996
Feast of Patrick, Bishop of Armagh, Missionary, Patron of Ireland, c.460

Without realizing what was happening, most of us gradually came to take for granted the premises underlying this philosophy of optimism. We proceeded to live these propositions, though we would not have stated them as blandly as I set them forth here:
Man is inherently good.
Individual man can carve out his own salvation with the help of education and society through progressively better government.
Reality and values worth searching for lie in the material world that science is steadily teaching us to analyze, catalogue, and measure. While we would not deny the existence of inner values, we relegate them to second place.
The purpose of life is happiness, [which] we define in terms of enjoyable activity, friends, and the accumulation of material objects.
The pain and evil of life—such as ignorance, poverty, selfishness, hatred, greed, lust for power—are caused by factors in the external world; therefore, the cure lies in the reforming of human institutions and the bettering of environmental conditions.
As science and technology remove poverty and lift from us the burden of physical existence, we shall automatically become finer persons, seeing for ourselves the value of living the Golden Rule.
In time, the rest of the world will appreciate the demonstration that the American way of life is best. They will then seek for themselves the good life of freedom and prosperity. This will be the greatest impetus toward an end of global conflict.
The way to get along with people is to beware of religious dictums and dogma. The ideal is to be a nice person and to live by the Creed of Tolerance. Thus we offend few people. We live and let live. This is the American Way.
... Catherine Marshall (1914-1983), Beyond Our Selves, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961, p. 5-6 (see the book; see also 1 John 4:5-6; Luke 6:32; John 17:14-16; Rom. 3:10,23; 1 John 5:19; more at Education, Goodness, Greed, Happiness, Hatred, Ignorance, Man, Optimism, Philosophy, Poverty, Power, Purpose, Science, Sin, Social, World)

Monday, March 18, 1996

[At the Garden of Olives Monastery]
“Why are you all so quiet all the time?” I say, still whispering at him in this hoarse voice.
“We are teachers and workers,” he says, “not talkers.”
“Workers, O.K.,” I say, “but how can a teacher be quiet all the time and teach anybody anything?”
“Christ was the best,” he says, thinking of something. “He lived thirty-three years. Thirty years he kept quiet; three years he talked. Ten to one for keeping quiet.”
... Franc Smith, Harry Vernon at Prep, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1959, p. 134 (see the book; see also Luke 2:51-52; Isa. 53:7; Matt. 13:34; 27:14; John 2:4; more at Christ, Jesus, Silence, Teach, Work)

Tuesday, March 19, 1996
Feast of Joseph of Nazareth

The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility. You may remember, when I was talking about sexual morality, I warned you that the centre of Christian morals did not lie there. Well, now we have come to the centre. According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Christian Behavior, London: Geoffrey Bles, Macmillan, 1943, p. 42 (see the book; see also Prov. 16:18; Luke 11:39-52; 1 Cor. 3:18; more at Devil, Evil, Humility, Morality, Pride, Sin)

Wednesday, March 20, 1996
Feast of Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 687

The Church is her true self only when she exists for humanity. As a fresh start, she should give away all her endowments to the poor and needy. The clergy should live solely on the free-will offerings of their congregations, or possibly engage in some secular calling.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Letters and Papers from Prison, London: Macmillan, 1962, p. 239 (see the book; see also Matt. 5:40-42; 19:21; 25:34-40; 2 Cor. 4:5; 8:1-15; 9:6-9; more at Church, Giving, Minister, Poverty)

Thursday, March 21, 1996

Let me love Thee so that the honour, riches, and pleasures of the world may seem unworthy even of hatred—may not even be encumbrances.
... Coventry Patmore (1823-1896), The Rod, the Root, and the Flower [1895], London: G. Bell and Sons, 1907, p. 222 (see the book; see also Phil. 3:7-8; Matt. 6:19-21; 19:27-29; Acts 20:24; Rom. 8:18; 11:33; Col. 2:2-3; 2 Tim. 4:6; more at Honor, Knowing God, Love, Pleasure, Wealth, World)

Friday, March 22, 1996

We are building many splendid churches in this country, but we are not providing leaders to run them. I would rather have a wooden church with a splendid parson, than a splendid church with a wooden parson.
... Samuel Smith Drury (1878-1938), included in Leaves of Gold, Evan S. Coslett & Clyde Francis Lytle, ed. [1948], Honesdale, Pa.: Coslett Publishing Company, 1938, p. 62 (see the book; see also Num. 12:3; Prov. 3:34; Mark 10:43-44; Phil. 4:12; more at Builder, Church, Leader, Preacher)

Saturday, March 23, 1996

This coherence of the Bible itself, and of the Bible and the Church, is a coherence and a unity set in opposition to the world existing beyond its borders, and outside its influence, so that there comes into being a tension between the world as it actually is and the Church, in so far as the Church rests upon the Biblical revelation of God.
But this tension is not something which concerns the Church and the world as though they are things which exist outside us and apart from us, which we can consider and observe and discuss and have theories about. The tension between the Church and the world exists within us and is the very fibre of our being, and neither the one nor the other is superficial or trivial. For we are, all of us, of the earth, earthy, and we are also baptized members of Christ and His Church. It is precisely because we belong to two worlds that our lives consist in insecurity—that we are, in fact, a drama, the final act of which, the judgment of reward or punishment, heaven or hell, is hidden from us.
... Sir Edwyn C. Hoskyns (1884-1937), We are the Pharisees, London: SPCK, 1960, p. 96-97 (see the book; see also John 15:19; Acts 10:39-41; Gal. 4:3; 1 John 4:4-6; more at Baptism, Bible, Church, Earth, Judgment, Revelation, Unity)

Sunday, March 24, 1996
Feast of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, Martyr, 1980
Commemoration of Paul Couturier, Priest, Ecumenist, 1953

Clear shining from God must be at the bottom of deep labouring with God. What is the reason that so many in our days set their hands to the plough, and looked back again?—begin to serve Providence in great things, but cannot finish?—give over in the heat of the day? They never had any such revelation of the mind of God upon their spirits, such a discovery of His excellencies, as might serve for a bottom of such undertakings.
... John Owen (1616-1683), Works of John Owen, v. VIII, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1851, Serm. II, p. 90 (see the book; see also Luke 9:62; Amos 3:7; Hab. 3:1-9; John 12:35; Rev. 16:10; more at Authenticity, Beginning, God, Providence, Revelation, Service)

Monday, March 25, 1996
Feast of the Annunciation of our Lord to the Virgin Mary

The fall was simply this, that some creature, that is, something which is not God, took His place with man; and man, trusting the creature more than God, walked in its light or darkness rather than in fellowship with God. Righteousness comes back when man by faith is brought to walk with God again, and to give Him His true place by acting or being acted upon in all things according to His will. Anything therefore not of faith is sin. And all such sin is bondage. Self-will is bondage, for ... self-will or independence of God means dependence on a creature; and we cannot be dependent on a creature, be it what it may, without more or less becoming subject to it. What has not been given up for money, or for some creature’s love? But who has ever thus served the creature more than the Creator without awaking at last to feel he is a bondman? I say nothing of the worse bondage which comes from our self-will, in the indulgence of our own thoughts, or passions, or affections. Even the very energies of faith, while, as yet unchastened, it acts from self, ... may only bring forth more bondage... Who but God can set men free? And He sets them free as they walk with Him. All independence of Him is only darkness.
... Andrew Jukes (1815-1901), The New Man and the Eternal Life, London: Longmans, Green, 1881, p. 121 (see the book; see also Rom. 14:23; Gen. 3:1-7; Gal. 4:3-9; 1 John 3:4; more at Action, Darkness, Faith, Fall, God, Man, Righteousness, Sin, Trust)

Tuesday, March 26, 1996
Feast of Harriet Monsell of Clewer, Religious, 1883

The New Jerusalem, when it comes, will probably be found so far to resemble the old as to stone its prophets freely.
... Samuel Butler (1835-1902), The Note-books of Samuel Butler, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1917, p. 175 (see the book; more at Humor, Prophet)

Wednesday, March 27, 1996

What use is it to us to hear it said of a man that he has thrown off the yoke, that he does not believe there is a God to watch over his actions, that he reckons himself the sole master of his behavior, and that he does not intend to give an account of it to anyone but himself? Does he think that in that way he will have straightway persuaded us to have complete confidence in him, to look to him for consolation, for advice, and for help, in the vicissitudes of life? Do such men think that they have delighted us by telling us that they hold our souls to be nothing but a little wind and smoke—and by saying it in conceited and complacent tones? Is that a thing to say blithely? Is it not rather a thing to say sadly—as if it were the saddest thing in the world?
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées (Thoughts) [1660], P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, #194, p. 74 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 4:3-6; Ps. 14:1; Matt. 11:15; Heb. 6:4-6; more at Apologetics, Darkness, God, Sadness, Self-righteousness, Unbelief)

Thursday, March 28, 1996

No one can deny that the New Testament has variety as well as unity. It is the variety which gives interest to the unity... What is it in which these people, differing as widely as they do, are vitally and fundamentally at one, so that through all their differences they form a brotherhood and are conscious of an indissoluable spiritual bond? There can be no doubt that that which unites them is a common relation to Christ—a common faith in Him, involving religious convictions about Him.
... James Denney (1856-1917), Jesus and the Gospel: Christianity justified in the mind of Christ, New York: Hodder & Stoughton, 1908, p. 11 (see the book; see also John 14:11; Eze. 37:22; Zech. 14:9; John 10:16; 17:20-23; Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 1:10; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 4:3-6; Col. 3:14; more at Bible, Christ, Conviction, Faith, Spiritual life, Unity)

Friday, March 29, 1996
Commemoration of Jack Winslow, Missionary, Evangelist, 1974

Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. He will only do harm to himself and to the community. Alone you stood before God when He called you; alone you had to answer that call; alone you had to struggle and pray; and alone you will die and give an account to God. You cannot escape from yourself; for God has singled you out. If you refuse to be alone, you are rejecting Christ’s call to you, and you can have no part in the community of those who are called... Let him who is not in community beware of being alone. Into the community you were called—the call was not meant for you alone; in the community of the called you bear your cross, you struggle, you pray. You are not alone even in death, and on the Last Day you will be only one member of the great congregation of Jesus Christ. If you scorn the fellowship of the brethren, you reject the call of Jesus Christ.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together [1954], tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 82 (see the book; see also Matt. 14:22-27; John 18:20; Acts 1:13-14; 2:1; Rom. 9:24-25; Heb. 3:13; 10:24-25; more at Bearing, Being alone, Call, Christ, Church, Community, Congregation, Cross, Fellowship, Jesus)

Saturday, March 30, 1996

Too many of us have a Christian vocabulary rather than a Christian experience. We think we are doing our duty when we’re only talking about it.
... Charles F. Banning (see also Luke 17:7-10; Matt. 7:21-22; 9:13; Rom. 12:2; Heb. 5:8-9; 5:14; more at Authenticity, Duty, Experience, Thought)

Sunday, March 31, 1996
Palm Sunday
Commemoration of John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631

You rob, and spoil, and eat his people as bread, by extortion, and bribery, and deceitful weights and measures, and deluding oaths in buying and selling, and then come hither, and so make God your receiver, and his house a den of thieves. His house is sanctum sanctorum, the holiest of holies, and you make it only sanctuarium; it should be a place sanctified by your devotions, and you make it only a sanctuary to privilege malefactors, a place that may redeem you from the ill opinion of men, who must in charity be bound to think well of you, because they see you here.
... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. III, London: John W. Parker, 1839, Sermon LXVIII, p. 217 (see the book; see also Ps. 47:2; 65:5; 69:9; 97:2; Isa. 56:6-7; Jer. 7:11; Matt. 21:12-13; John 2:13-17; more at Church, Evil, Holiness, Sanctuary, Sin)


Christ, our Light

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