Saturday, January 4

CS Lewis on BEING A RELUCTANT CONVERT

You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing: the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words compelle intrare, compel them to come in, have been so abused by wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.
(Surprised by Joy)

Saturday, December 7

Alice Meynell on CHRIST IN THE UNIVERSE

        With this ambiguous earth
        His dealings have been told us. These abide:
        The signal to a maid, the human birth,
        The lesson, and the young Man crucified.
        
        But not a star of all
        The innumerable host of stars has heard
        How He administered this terrestrial ball.
        Our race have kept their Lord’s entrusted Word.
        
        Of His earth-visiting feet
        None knows the secret, cherished, perilous,
        The terrible, shamefast, frightened, whispered, sweet,
        Heart-shattering secret of His way with us.
        
        No planet knows that this
        Our wayside planet, carrying land and wave,
        Love and life multiplied, and pain and bliss,
        Bears, as chief treasure, one forsaken grave.
        
        Nor, in our little day,
        May His devices with the heavens be guessed,
        His pilgrimage to thread the Milky Way
        Or His bestowals there be manifest.
        
        But in the eternities,
        Doubtless we shall compare together, hear
        A million alien Gospels, in what guise
        He trod the Pleiades, the Lyre, the Bear.
        
        O, be prepared, my soul!
        To read the inconceivable, to scan
        The myriad forms of God those stars unroll
        When, in our turn, we show to them a Man.

Wednesday, April 10

George William Russell on THE STARS

Even as a bird sprays many-coloured fires, 
The plumes of paradise, the dying light 
Rays through the fevered air in misty spires 
That vanish in the heights. 

These myriad eyes that look on me are mine; 
Wandering beneath them I have found again 
The ancient ample moment, the divine, 
The God-root within men. 

For this, for this the lights innumerable 
As symbols shine that we the true light win: 
For every star and every deep they fill 
Are stars and deeps within.

Thursday, January 17

King David on ALL MY DELIGHT

Thou art my God, my goods are nothing unto thee. All my delight is upon the saints, that are in the earth: and upon such as excel in virtue. But they that run after another god: shall have great trouble. Their drink-offerings of blood will I not offer: neither make mention of their names within my lips. The Lord himself is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup: thou shalt maintain my lot. The lot is fallen unto me in a fair ground: yea, I have a goodly heritage. I will thank the Lord for giving me warning: my reins also chasten me in the night-season. I have set God always before me: for he is on my right hand, therefore I shall not fall. Wherefore my heart was glad, and my glory rejoiced: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For why? thou shalt not leave my soul in hell: neither shalt thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption. Thou shalt shew me the path of life; in thy presence is the fulness of joy: and at thy right hand there is pleasure for evermore.
(BCP Psalter)

Wednesday, January 16

Amy Carmichael on FADING HOPES

The thoughts of the son ran thus: ‘My hopes painted beautiful pictures, but they are fading one by one.’ His Father said: ‘Destroy all those pictures. To watch them slowly fading is weakening to the soul. Dare then to destroy them. You can if you will. I will give you other pictures instead of those your hopes painted.

Tuesday, July 24

George MacDonald on THE UNFOLDING WORDS OF THE MASTER

It is to the man who is trying to live, to the man who is obedient to the word of the Master, that the word of the Master unfolds itself. When we understand the outside of things, we think we have them: the Lord puts his things in subdefined, suggestive shapes, yielding no satisfactory meaning to the mere intellect, but unfolding themselves to the conscience and heart, to the man himself, in the process of life- effort. According as the new creation, that of reality, advances in him, the man becomes able to understand the words, the symbols, the parables of the Lord. For life, that is, action, is alone the human condition into which the light of the Living can penetrate; life alone can assimilate life, can change food into growth.
(Unspoken Sermons)

Thursday, July 19

M. Scott Peck on BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT

When he gave his one full sermon, the first words out of Jesus' mouth, the first of the Beatitudes, were "Blessed are the poor in spirit." We can debate what he meant by this, but we can be quite sure that he did not mean an administration that regards itself as the world's policeman, that pretends to have all the answers, and seeks to maintain an image of both infallibility and invincibility.
(The Different Drum)