Broken Things

Originally posted on Barnstorming:

broken

God uses broken things.
It takes broken soil to produce a crop,
broken clouds to give rain,
broken grain to give bread,
broken bread to give strength.
It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume.
~Vance Havner

And I might add:
a snail wandering into sidewalk foot traffic,
crushed, cracked and dying, clinging to the pavement,
its broken shell a gift of metaphor
of our own leaking brokenness.

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When your enemy falls into your hands

Very apt advice always:

“When your enemy falls into your hands, do not consider how you can pay him back and let him feel the sharp edge of your tongue before sending him packing; consider rather how you can heal him and restore him to a better frame of mind.  Continue to make every effort both by word and deed until your gentleness has overcome his aggressiveness.  Nothing has more power than gentleness.  As someone has said: A soft word will break bones.  And what is harder than bone?  Well then, even if someone is as hard and inflexible as that, he will be conquered if you treat him gently.  There is another saying: A soft answer turns away wrath.  It is obvious, therefore, that whether your enemy continues to rage or whether he is reconciled depends much more on you than on him.  For it rests with us, not with those who are angry, either to destroy their anger or enflame it.”  (John Chrysostom)

As a general rule

A quick method of discerning what to do with those agitating, discouraging thoughts:

“As a general rule, you ought to regard as coming from the enemy any thought which agitates you, throws you into perplexity, which diminishes your confidence and narrows up your heart.  The best thing in such cases is just to put the matter that perplexes you out of your mind, saying to yourself, ‘When I have the opportunity I shall ask the solution of this difficult from some priest,’ and then go on in peace as you were before.” (Dom Marmion)

I’m sure Dom Marmion would allow the substitution of “a wise person” for “some priest,” someone who is spiritually mature and whose discernment you trust.

Remember Amy Carmichael’s wonderful advice as well:

“The reason why singing is such a splendid shield against the fiery darts of the devil is that it greatly helps us to forget him, and he cannot endure being forgotten.  He likes us to be occupied with him, what he is doing (our temptations), with his victories (our falls), with anything but our glorious Lord.  So sing.  Never be afraid of singing too much.  We are much more likely to sing too little.”

The little idol

For those of us who are self-assured, this from André Louf will hit home–hard, but in a hopeful way.

God’s purpose is to crush our idols.  There is in us a self-assurance to which we cling to the point of despair but with which God cannot do anything.  He wants to take that assurance from us.  This causes us so much pain, and our disappointment with God is so intense that we are strongly inclined to curse him, that we even begin to doubt his existence, or that in some way we want to get even with him.  None of this is too serious.  For even int he most embittered curse we still voice something of our faith and in every blasphemy the true image of God is still present, if only in a hidden and perverse fashion.  It is God himself who takes us into his hands, God who–we think–attacks us because he wants to remove that which is dearest to us and to which we are unknowingly attached, heart and soul–the little idol which we have carried with us for years and which we adore as the true God.

We cannot escape this. . . . In quiet confidence and humble self-surrender we try to accept this reality.  And as we wait for it with an almost indiscernible but nevertheless a deep joy, God gradually opens our eyes.  His look makes us free to look back.  Till now we had known him only from hearsay; soon, very soon, we will have seen him with our eyes.

To glory in emptiness

“There is a space formed by the particular shape of our life.  It is meant for God himself to indwell.  This must be felt as a lack . . . and it comes about through daily circumstances.  It may be caused by the cavern of a lonely heart, the ache of a lost one, the yearning that comes from ‘not yet being home.’ In truth we are to glory in this emptiness–for it is the price we pay for such an immense dignity.  To wait in courage for God to fill our particular emptiness is one of the most profound of love’s acts.”  (Ed Conlin)

“broken prayer”

Guest blogger: Mary Anne Morgan.  Love her blog.

broken prayer

all rights reserved Mary Anne Morgan

all rights reserved Mary Anne Morgan

To me, this is what freedom looks like. This leaf, done with gathering its own glory is the perfect window in which to view the true glory. When I found this fragile beauty in my yard last week I immediately bent down to pick it up. It held within its tender frame the similar magnetic powers of a newborn child, with vulnerability it’s greatest strength. This paradox sends me swooning and I want to be like this leaf.

Let me be like this Father. Let there be nothing in me to hold on to offense when the enemy of my soul slings it unreservedly in my direction. Let hurt pass right through me so that it never grows into bitterness and resentment, thus rotting my bones.  Let there be nothing in me that insults and injustice can stick to, only you who fills the broken spaces.

Yes Father fill the broken spaces.

You can read the rest here.

 

Away to Iowa

Our Sisters who are making final vows in September are leaving this Saturday for a week long retreat at Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey in Dubuque.  I’ve posted these photos before, but they’re always such a pleasure to view.

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