Low self-esteem causes me to believe that I have so little worth that my response does not matter. With repentance, however, I understand that being worth so much to God is why my response is so important. Repentance is remedial work to mend our minds and hearts, which get bent by sin.
We tend to be preoccupied by our problems when we have a heightened sense of vulnerability and a diminished sense of power. Today, see each problem as an invitation to prayer.
The goal of prayer is to live all of my life and speak all of my words in the joyful awareness of the presence of God. Prayer becomes real when we grasp the reality and goodness of God's constant presence with 'the real me.' Jesus lived his everyday life in conscious awareness of his Father.
To love someone is to desire and work toward their becoming the best version of themselves. The one person in all the universe who can do this perfectly for you is God.
God is so immense that if he were 'too visible,' people would give forced compliance without expressing their heart. So God made it possible, in enormous love, for us to live as if he were not there.
If you want to do the work of God, pay attention to people. Notice them. Especially the people nobody else notices.
When we live in the love of God, we begin to pay attention to people the way God pays attention to us.
Every day you and I walk through God's shop. Every day we brush up against objects of incalculable worth to Him. People. Every one of them carries a price tag, if only we could see it.
If we are serious about loving God, we must begin with people, all people. And especially we must learn to love those that the world generally discards.
So it goes for those of us who live in a cul-de-sac, where babies are brought home from the hospital and watched over, where hearts stop and feet slip, where we wonder if there is a hidden road that leads somewhere. We believe and we doubt. Believing and doubting share the same inevitability, but they are not equal. They cannot lay the same claim on our allegiance. They do not share the same power. If there are places beyond the cul-de-sac, doubt cannot take us there.
If you can't do great things, Mother Teresa used to say, do little things with great love. If you can't do them with great love, do them with a little love. If you can't do them with a little love, do them anyway. Love grows when people serve.
Never worry alone. When anxiety grabs my mind, it is self-perpetuating. Worrisome thoughts reproduce faster than rabbits, so one of the most powerful ways to stop the spiral of worry is simply to disclose my worry to a friend... The simple act of reassurance from another human being [becomes] a tool of the Spirit to cast out fear -- because peace and fear are both contagious.
Jesus' life as a foot-washing servant would eventually lead to the adoption of humility as a widely admired virtue.
As much as we complain about it, though, there's part of us that is drawn to a hurried life. It makes us feel important. It keeps the adrenaline pumping. It means I don't have to look too closely at my heart or life. It keeps us from feeling our loneliness.
Normally, if someone's legacy will outlast their life, it's apparent when they die. On the day when Alexander the Great, or Caesar Augustus, or Napoleon, or Socrates, or Muhammad died, their reputations were immense. When Jesus died, his tiny, failed movement appeared clearly at an end.
Prudence is not hesitation, procrastination, or moderation. It is not driving in the middle of the road. It is not the way of ambivalence, indecision, or safety.
Amusement is a way of boredom-avoidance through external stimulation that fails to exercise our minds. It's mere diversion.
'Amusement' is appealing because we don't have to think; it spares us the fear and anxiety that might otherwise prey on our thoughts.
From ancient times, the core idea of the soul is the soul is the capacity to integrate different functions into a single being or into a single person. The soul is what holds us all together: what connects our will and our minds and our bodies and connects us to God.
Sin is, somehow, at the root of all human misery. Sin is what keeps us from God and from life. It is in the face of every battered woman, the cry of every neglected child, the despair of every addict, the death of every victim of every war.