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Saturday, April 23, 2011


With a little breathing room in my life I am unpacking some of my stuff from my trip earlier this month to Italy. Here is a brief quote I read during my first full day there ~ we were in Naples:
I came to the monastery to learn to live in the presence of God, to taste him here and now, but there is so much "ego-climbing" going on within me. I have so many ideas I want to write about, so many books I want to read, so many skills I want to learn... that I do not SEE that God is all around me and that I am always trying to see what is ahead, overlooking him who is so close. (Genesee Diary, Henri Nouwen)
Then I saw this reference from the 6th century monastic Rule of St. Benedict, chapter 4:
Your hope of fulfillment should be centered in God alone. When you see any good in yourself, then, don't take it to be your very own, but acknowledge it as a gift from God.
Reading all of this today, the day before Easter, I am reminded...
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. (Hebrews 12:1-4, New Living Translation)
Indeed, those "cloud of witnesses" are the faithful believers who have gone before us. Help me run the race and live the daily life, Lord, knowing it is not about "success" and accomplishment in this life. It is simply about you.

I am so driven, and really, nothing in me will be able to stop that impulse. But certainly the Spirit can re-direct ~ re-focus ~ my intensity more appropriately on the eternal, and less on the temporary gains that could be made here. Come Lord Jesus.

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