We’ve been so busy with these things we let ourselves think actually mattered, but they don’t. There’s no such thing as the right career, or morality, or destiny, or fate. There’s only life. And whether you honor it or ignore it. It’s ironic, but in trying to find God we’ve been ignoring life.
These early Saints were indeed homeless, but they were not hopeless. Their hearts were broken, but their spirits were strong. They had learned a profound and important lesson. They had learned that hope, with its attendant blessings of peace and joy, does not depend upon circumstance. They had discovered that the true source of hope is faith—faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His infinite Atonement, the one sure foundation upon which to build our lives.
The gifts of the Master are these: freedom, life, hope, new direction, transformation, and intimacy with God. If the cross was the end of the story, we would have no hope. But the cross isn't the end. Jesus didn't escape from death; he conquered it and opened the way to heaven for all who will dare to believe. The truth of this moment, if we let it sweep over us, is stunning. It means Jesus really is who he claimed to be, we are really as lost as he said we are, and he really is the only way for us to intimately and spiritually connect with God again.
Love releases us into the realm of divine imagination, where the soul is expanded and reminded of its unearthly cravings and needs. We think that when a lover inflates his loved one he is failing to acknowledge her flaws - "Love is blind." But it may be the other way around. Love allows a person to see the true angelic nature of another person, the halo, the aureole of divinity. Certainly from the perspective of ordinary life this is madness and illusion. But if we let loose our hold on our philosophies and psychologies of enlightenment and reason, we might learn to appreciate the perspective of eternity that enters life as madness, Plato's divine frenzy.
We must approach our meditation realizing that 'grace,' 'mercy,' and 'faith' are not permanent inalienable possessions which we gain by our efforts and retain as though by right, provided that we behave ourselves. They are CONSTANTLY RENEWED GIFTS. The life of grace in our hearts is renewed from moment to moment, directly and personally by God in his love for us.
Hence the aim of meditation, in the context of Christian faith, is not to arrive at an objective and apparently 'scientific' knowledge of God, but to come to know him through the realization that our very being is penetrated with his knowledge and love for us. Our knowledge of God is paradoxically a knowledge not of him as the object of our scrutiny, but of ourselves as utterly dependent on his saving and merciful knowledge of us. It is in proportion as we are known to him that we find our real being and identity in Christ. We know him and through ourselves in so far as his truth is the source of our being and his merciful love is the very heart of our life and existence. We have no other reason for being, except to be loved by him as our Creator and Redeemer, and to love him in return. There is no true knowledge of God that does not imply a profound grasp and an intimate personal acceptance of this profound relationship.
For many, the search for Jesus is initiated from experiencing an event in life so powerful, it awakens the dragons of faith; from pain so deep, it calls on the hidden fears of the soul in an effort to survive. For others it means a serious personal life survey that ultimately forces the confrontation with the futility, anesthetics, and despair in their lives.
I made sure to pay attention to everything I was doing. To be fully in the moment. Because that's all life is, really, a string of moments that you knot together and carry with you. Hopefully most of those moments are wonderful, but of course they won't all be. The trick is to recognize an important one when it happens. Even if you share the moment with someone else, it is still yours. Your string is different from anyone else's. It is something no one can ever take away from you. It will protect you and guide you, because it IS you. What you hold here, in your hand, in this box, this is my string."Until recently, I thought it was death that gave meaning to life--that having an endpoint is what spurred us on to embrace life while we had it. But I was wrong. It isn't death that gives meaning to life. Life gives meaning to life. The answer to the meaning of life is hidden right there inside the question. "What matters is holding tight to that string, and not letting anyone tell us our goals aren't big enough or our interests are silly. But the voices of others aren't the only ones we need to worry about. We tend to be our own worst critics. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: 'Most of the shadows in this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.' ... Wisdom is found in the least expected places. Always keep your eyes open. Don't block your own sunshine. Be filled with wonder.
Because Jesus was forsaken, we are forgiven. Because He was beaten, we are healed. Because He was thirsty, we're awash in the water of life. Because He died, we have an eternal home. No matter how deep our regrets, how searing our conscience, how messy our past, we start each day with a clean slate. All our failures are washed away in His blood.
What messes us up a lot in this life is setting our expectations way too high and then being ashamed when we fail. What is worse is when we allow other people to make us feel ashamed for failing. What is worse than that is hiding and lying about our failure. It’s ok to fail, especially when it’s a significant life change and you gotta stand up for that right in this life.
In religion our only hope is to live a life good enough to require God to bless us, so every instance of sin and repentance is therefore traumatic, unnatural and threatening. Only under great duress do religious people admit they have sinned, because their only hope is their moral goodness. In the gospel the knowledge of our acceptance in Christ makes it easier to admit that we are flawed, because we know we won't be cast off if we confess the true depths of our sinfulness. Our hope is in Christ's righteousness, not our own, so it is not as traumatic to admit our weaknesses and lapses.