Justification by faith means that I have nothing else on which to depend except my receptivity to what I can never own or manage. And this very capacity to receive cannot be the result of effort. Faith is something given, not achieved. It is created by God’s word in Christ.
When I attempt to make myself virtuous, the me I can thus organize and discipline is no more the me of which I am aware. And it is precisely the equation of my total self with this one small part of it which is the root cause of all sin. This is the fundamental mistake often made in exhortation to repentance and amendment. They attempt to confirm me in my lack of faith by getting me to organize the self I know against the self I do not know.
No matter what the last hour may have been, it is past, and we live in this moment, to make it as fine as we can in thought and deed. Never let the sins or errors of the last hour poison this! “Snap out of it” instantly, and, lo, a new fresh page is turned. He who adopts the philosophy of instantaneous new beginnings has the secret of peace.
Forty-seven times in the Gospel of John, Jesus said He was under God’s orders, and that He never did anything, never said anything, until His Father gave the command. He was listening every moment of the day to His invisible companion and saying, “Yes.” This perfect obedience was what made Him one with His Father and what gave the Father perfect confidence in the Son. It is the reason the Father loves the Son so fondly.
…More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friends?
For so the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God…
To love anyone is to hope in him always. From the moment at which we begin to judge anyone, to limit our confidence in him, from the moment at which we identify (pigeonhole) him, and so reduce him to that, we cease to love him, and he ceases to be able to become better. We must dare to love in a world that does not know how to love.
-A French priest
One will not try what one does not sense the need for.