Summer Sundays – Glad to Just Be

At the beginning of the year, I came across a blog post asking what readers thought God was saying to them, in as few words as possible. ‘Just be‘ is what came to mind when I prayed. I have tried to let go of worry and stress and anxiety and live up to these words ever since. Paradoxically, rather than leading to carefree abandon, ‘just be’ has actually involved becoming more and more disciplined.

 

Discipline

Origin: From Middle English… via Old French from Latin disciplina ‘instruction, knowledge’, from discipulus (see disciple).’

 

Disciple, noun

‘A personal follower of Christ during his life, especially one of the twelve Apostles.

A follower or pupil of a teacher, leader, or philosopher.

Origin: Old English, from Latin discipulus ‘learner’, from discere ‘learn’…

Source: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com

 

Discipline. Hmm. It’s not what you think.

 

This Christ discipline, I am learning, is a quiet discipline. It is not made of ‘should’ or ‘ought’, or layer upon layer of soul-crushing guilt. Surrender is emotional and physical as well as spiritual (this came as a surprise to me!). It is not until we surrender our life, soul and body that we realise how far we are from surrender. Another paradox.

 

Last night the girls and I took it in turns to read from ‘Heaven for Kids’ and then from ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’. Those of us not reading were absorbed in crafting. I was finishing off a crocheted dance bag for Chip (she has recently taken up ballet) and the girls were making birthday cards for a relative. In the loving quiet, which so resembled the place that surrender has created, we all had a space. We shared. It was peaceful, restful – and I was so, so thankful.

Stripped of Everything to be One with Jesus

 

 

As I grow (and I don’t mean the inevitable horizontal growth of approaching middle age), as I grow and mature in Christ I see how faith itself changes. This is strange because it is somewhat of a surprise, as no one talks about it – or very few talk about it.

Maybe it doesn’t happen to everybody? I don’t know. What I do know is that at first, when I am newly ‘awake’, my faith is focused on God, but it is still in the context of ‘me’. As I grow, it becomes ‘me’ – and more myself than ever before – in the context of God. The element of struggle is still there, but it is also not there. Another paradox.

 

 

I think God must like paradoxes. They are like a witty way of revealing Himself, because you have to be ‘in’ on the ‘joke’, only it’s not a joke (although I definitely think God has a sense of humour and my faith is very much shaped by my humour) it’s more like being ‘in’ on a wonderful surprise, like the surprise party the father holds for the prodigal son.

 

Contemplative in the Mud

In a word, those who truly love Jesus Christ lose all affection for worldly goods, and seek to strip themselves of everything, to be one with Jesus Christ alone. All their desires point to Jesus; they are always thinking of Jesus and sighing for him; and in every place, at every time, on every occasion, they seek only to please Jesus.
Saint Alphonsus Liguori summarizing the doctrine of Saint John of the Cross

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