Have you ever read any of Brennan Manning’s books?
Right now, I dig into the furious longing of God on Saturday mornings.
So moved am I by his writing, that I almost enrolled in The Living School for Action and Contemplation. And someday, I still might.
For all that I seem to sorely lack right now, I sit in this loud place with my earbuds in and I listen to Alison Kraus & Robert Plant. For all that I sorely lack, I open the book and read, and I wait on each paragraph, because it’s like fresh, sticky manna to my puckered lips and hungry belly.
So here’s some of what I’ve read this morning, some of the words copied down into these pages that have brought holiness to me:
Until the love of God that knows no boundary, limit, or breaking point is internalized through personal decision; until the furious longing of God siezes the imagination; until the heart is conjoined to the mind through sheer grace, NOTHING HAPPENS.
The revolutionary thinking that God loves me as I am and not as I should be requires radical rethinking and profound emotional readjustment.
Remember that tally that you and I keep in our heads, that checklist that we tell ourselves depends upon our very breath, whether it’s pointed toward heaven or hell? Well, I come to this coffee bar and to my big cup of latte; I come to this journal and these books, and I ask God to help me be disciplined. I ask him to help me do this better and I try to keep the guilt at bay. Still, it weasels its way in.
And then this.
These words that bear down on me so hard, they give birth to quiet. Quiet rest, quiet voice, quiet heart, with Alison & Robert still singing.
And it doesn’t end there.
I say to you, Blessed is he who exposes himself to an existence never brought under mastery, who does not transcend, but rather abandons himself to my ever-transcending grace. Blessed are not the enlightened whose every question has been answered and who are delighted with their own sublime insight, the mature and ripe ones whose one remaining action is to fall from the tree. Blessed, rather, are the chased, the harassed who must daily stand before my enigmas and cannot solve them. Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who lack a spirit of cleverness. Woe to the rich, and woe to the doubly rich in spirit! Although nothing is impossible with God, it is difficult for the Spirit to move their fat hearts. The poor are willing and easy to direct. Like little puppies they do not take their eyes from their master’s hand to see if perhaps he may throw them a little morsel from his plate. So carefully do the poor follow my promptings that they listen to the wind (which blows where it pleases), even when it changes. From the sky they can read the weather and interpret the signs of the times. My grace is unpretentious, but the poor are satisfied with little gifts.
–Hans Urs Von Balthasar
May we find that we are not guilty, but dependent.
We’re not full, but abandoned and naked.
We are not shamed, but quieted.
I’ve taken plenty of selfies, pictures that show me how I want to be shown to my Facebook friends and readers. This picture was taken by Eliot, the way he wanted to see me in the shadow of our sunroom. This picture was taken by a 2-year old who saw beauty in the way his mama was sitting on the couch, the way she was crouched forward looking for something, it seems, in the air in front of her.
Friends, the view God has of us is not the view we have of us.
Let us be thankful for that.