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PLUCK OUT THE EYE (Part I)

AND IF YOUR HAND CAUSES YOU TO SIN, CUT IT OFF, IT IS BETTER TO ENTER LIFE MAIMED THAN WITH TWO HANDS TO GO TO HELL . . . AND IF YOUR EYE CAUSES YOU TO SIN, PLUCK IT OUT; IT IS BETTER FOR YOU TO ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD WITH ONE EYE THAN WITH TWO EYES TO BE THROWN INTO HELL. —MARK 9:43ff. When you deal with blind people it dawns on you

Making Our Lives Available to Others

Making Our Lives Available to Others One of the arguments we often use for not writing is this: “I have nothing original to say. Whatever I might say, someone else has already said it, and better than I will ever be able to.” This, however, is not a good argument for not writing. Each human being is unique and original, and nobody has lived what we have lived. Furthermore, what we have lived, we have

JUDGE NOT

JUDGE NOT, THAT YOU BE NOT JUDGED. –MATTHEW 7:1 It is a sobering thought that the finest act of love you can perform is not an act of service but an act of contemplation, of seeing. When you serve people you help, support, comfort, alleviate pain. When you see them in their inner beauty and goodness you transform and create. Think of some of the people you like and are drawn to you. Now attempt

THE MOUNTAIN OF PRAYER (Part II)

AND AFTER HE HAD DISMISSED THE CROWDS, HE WENT UP ON THE MOUNTAIN BY HIMSELF TO PRAY. —MATTHEW 14:23 It is only in this aloneness, this utter solitude, that dependence and desire will die, and the capacity to love is born. For one no longer sees others as means to satisfy one’s addiction. Only someone who has attempted this knows the terror of the process. It is like inviting yourself to die. It is like

THE MOUNTAIN OF PRAYER (Part I)

AND AFTER HE HAD DISMISSED THE CROWDS, HE WENT UP ON THE MOUNTAIN BY HIMSELF TO PRAY. —MATTHEW 14:23 Has it ever occurred to you that you can only love when you are alone? What does it mean to love? It means to see a person, a thing, a situation, as it really is and not as you imagine it to be, and to give it the response it deserves. You cannot love what you

Who do you say that I am?

Jesus practically begs for a profession of faith from his disciples, even after they’ve witnessed His miracles and heard His profound teaching. Jesus put this question to them: “Who do you say that I am?” Don’t give me your theologies. Who is the Jesus you know? That’s the only Jesus that can really touch you and liberate you. Finally, Peter responds: “You are the Christ!” (Mark 8:29). “And Jesus gave him strict orders not to

BE AWAKE

BLESSED ARE THOSE SERVANTS WHOM THE MASTER FINDS AWAKE WHEN HE COMES. —LUKE 12:37 Everywhere in the world people are in search of love, for everyone is convinced that love alone can save the world, love alone can make life meaningful and worth living. But how very few understand what love really is, and how it arises in the human heart. It is so frequently equated with good feelings toward others, with benevolence or nonviolence

God Always Entices through Love

God always entices us through love. Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change, is the experience of love. It is that inherent experience of love that becomes the engine of change. If the mystics say that one way, they say it a thousand ways. But because most of

Staying by Oneself (Part II)

The inner attitude with which monks are supposed to sit in their cells is described by another elder in a drastic image: “When you dwell in the desert as a hesychast [a person who practices quietistic meditation], don’t imagine that you are doing something great. Instead, think of yourself as a dog that has been driven away from the crowd and tied up because he bites and bothers people.” The monks do not remain sitting

From Blaming to Forgiving

From Blaming to Forgiving  Our most painful suffering often comes from those who love us and those we love. The relationships between husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters, teachers and students, pastors and parishioners—these are where our deepest wounds occur. Even late in life, yes, even after those who wounded us have long since died, we might still need help to sort out what happened in these relationships.  The great temptation is