10 July 2014

Some Good News For a Lazy Summer Afternoon

This is the good news for the day.

Your emptiness may be filled, your fears and hatreds extinguished, your yearnings satisfied, your loneliness banished, your tears dried, your weariness relieved.

This is no vain request, this is no solicitation, this is no new fashion or fad, no popular philosophy among many.

It is the most real thing that you may have, the only substantial and lasting part of an otherwise contingent and passing reality, here today and gone tomorrow.  As the planets grow cold and the stars burn out, nothing else remains.  That is true value.

This is the truth that has been hidden from those who think themselves learned and wise, lost in their frenzy of pride and fear. It is hidden from those whose love has grown cold and hearts become hard because of the increase in wickedness and the prevalence of greed.

It is given freely to those who would be His, gentle and humble in heart. Those on the way who stumble along and fall now and then, following His call as best they can, like little children.

The real substance and purpose of life cannot be apprehended by our minds alone. But we can see what is missing, and feel its loss.  And in this God calls to us, and denies no one who answers with an open heart. We forge our own chains, well hardened by anger and pride, and grow familiar with them. In serving none but ourselves, we vainly think ourselves free in our willfulness. We make our own hell and firmly lock the door to it, from the inside.

You have been called.  Find your calling in His will, and a willingness to serve.

“We are slow to master the great truth that even now Christ is, as it were, walking among us, and by His hand, or eye, or voice, bidding us to follow Him. We do not understand that His call is a thing that takes place now. We think it took place in the Apostles' days, but we do not believe in it; we do not look for it in our own case.

There is an inward world, which none see but those who belong to it.

God beholds you. He calls you by your name. He sees you and understands you as He made you. He knows what is in you, all your peculiar feelings and thoughts, your dispositions and likings, your strengths and your weaknesses. He views you in your day of rejoicing and in your day of sorrow. He sympathizes in your hopes and your temptations. He interests Himself in all your anxieties and remembrances, all the risings and fallings of your spirit.

He encompasses you round and bears you in His arms. He notes your very countenance, whether smiling or in tears. He looks tenderly upon you. He hears your voice, the beating of your heart, and your very breathing. You do not love yourself better than He loves you.

You cannot shrink from pain more than He dislikes your bearing it; and if He puts it on you, it is as you would put it on yourself, if you would be wise, for a greater good afterwards.

God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission -- I may never know it in this life but I shall be told it in the next.

I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught.

I shall do good, I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.

Therefore I will trust Him. Whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him.

He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about.

He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me -- still He knows what He is about.

Let us feel what we really are--sinners attempting great things. Let us simply obey God's will, whatever may come. He can turn all things to our eternal good. Easter day is preceded by the forty days of Lent, to show us that they only who sow in tears shall reap in joy.

Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather that it shall never have had a beginning.

May the Lord support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done.

Then in His mercy may He give us safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at last.”

John Henry Newman