salvation confession

 image / Lawrence OP / flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
 
I don’t remember Who – or what – put the question, I don’t know when it was put.  I don’t even remember answering.  But at some moment I did answer Yes to Someone – or Something – and from that hour I was certain that existence is meaningful and that, therefore, my life, in self surrender, had a goal.
 
From that moment I had known what it means “not to look back,” and ” to take no thought of the morrow.” 
 
Led by Ariedne’s thread of my answer through the labyrinth of Life, I came to a time and place where I realized that the Way leads to a triumph which is a catastrophe, and to a catastrophe which as triumph, that the price for committing one’s life would be reproach, and that the only elevation possible to man lies in the depths of humiliation.  After that, the word “courage” lost its meaning, since nothing could be taken from me.
 
As I continued along the Way, I learned, step by step, word by word, that behind every saying in the Gospels stands one man and one man’s experience.  Also behind the prayer that the cup might pass from him and his promise to drink it.  Also  behind each of the words from the Cross.
 
Dag Hammarskjöld, 1905 – 1961, Swedish diplomat, UN Secretary General
 
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Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. 
No one comes to the Father except through me.”
 
 

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restoring worship

image / Lawrence OP / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
 
O God, be Thou exalted over my possessions.
Nothing of earth’s treasures shall seem dear to me, 
    if only You are glorified in my life.
Be Thou exalted over my friendships.
I am determined that You shall be above all,
    though I must stand deserted and alone in the midst of the earth.
Be Thou exalted above my comforts.
Though it means the loss of bodily comforts 
    and the carrying of heavy crosses,
    I shall keep my vow made this day before You.
Be Thou exalted over my reputation.
Make me ambitious to please You 
    even if as a result I must sink into obscurity
    and my name be forgotten as a dream.
Rise, O Lord, into Your proper place of honor,
    above my ambitions, above my likes and dislikes, 
    above my family, my health and even my life itself.
Let me decrease that You may increase;
    let me sink that You may rise above.
Ride forth upon me as You rode into Jerusalem 
    mounted on the humble little beast, a colt, the foul of a donkey,
    and let me hear the children cry to You, “Hosanna in the highest.”
 
A. W. Tozer, 1897 – 1963,  American pastor, author and spiritual mentor
The Pursuit of God, slightly modernized
 
______________________
 
 
He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.
He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. 
We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, 
    but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else.

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to listen to others

image / Thomas Hawk / flickr
 
Lord Jesus, 
    you were ever ready to listen to those who cried out to you.
You gave us ears to hear:
    help us to hear.
May we listen to all we meet, 
    and to those who come to us in trouble.
Remind us daily that there is a time for silence and a time for speaking,
    and show us when to speak and when to hold our peace.
Never let us miss a cry for help, 
    because we are too busy talking about ourselves.
Make us ready to listen to others, 
    because we listen each day in silence to you,
O Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
 
Michael Counsell, 1935-2015, retired Anglican priest
 
________________________________
 
 
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. 
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 
    not looking to your own interests 
    but each of you to the interests of the others.
 

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prayer about back surgery

image / James Tissot / Wikimedia Commons
 
Lord Jesus, some of my friends have had back surgery 
    and others are soon to have it.
They are hoping for complete healing.
They are like the Paralyzed Man who was brought to Jesus.
 
But things aren’t going as we had hoped
    and we are concerned about their wellbeing.
Lord, they know you and have received your salvation;
    they have enjoyed a transformed life because of their new birth.
They know and believe that you alone have the authority to forgive sins,
    and that it is not harder for you to heal the body than it is to save the soul.
 
Jesus, we want to be like those four companions 
        who brought the Paralyzed Man to you,
    offering up our prayers on the altar of our hearts 
        just as they lowered the man through the hole in the roof
            placing everything at your feet.
 
Lord Jesus, we ask you to demonstrate your authority again;
    we beg you to speak the word of healing upon the bodies of our friends,
  and as they “take up their mats and walk”
    we will all joyously proclaim your amazing grace!
 
EM
 
__________________________
 
 
Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

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Our Good Shepherd

image / Hans Schäufelein 15th century / Metropolitan Museum of Art
 
Show me, O Lord, your mercy, and delight my heart with it.
Let me find you whom I so longingly seek.
See, here is the man whom the robbers seized, mishandled,
    and left half dead on the road to Jericho.
O kind hearted Samaritan, come to my aid!
I am the sheep who wandered into the wilderness – seek after me,
    and bring me home again to your fold.
Do with me what you will, that I may stay by you all the days of my life,
    and praise you with all those who are with you in heaven for all eternity.
 

St Jerome, c.347-420, translator of the Latin Vulgate

Seasons of Devotion

 
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I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
 

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Compassionate heart of Jesus

The Crucifixion 1360’s / Metropolitan Museum of Art / Public Domain
 
Compassionate heart of Jesus, have mercy on me.
Even before I offended you, my Redeemer, I did not deserve
    the great graces you have given me.
You created me, gave me so many inspirations 
    and all totally undeserved on my part.
But having offended you, not only did I not deserve your favors,
    I certainly deserved to be abandoned by you for all eternity.
But you, in your great mercy, have waited for me
    and preserved my life even when I was at enmity with you.
Your mercy allowed me to see my misery and you called me to conversion;
    you gave me sorrow for my sins and a desire to love you.
Now, I hope that, with your grace,
    I am in your friendship once again.
 
Alphonsus Liquori, 1696-1787, Italian Catholic bishop and theologian
 
____________________
 
 
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

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preparing to be bearers of reconciliation

image / Nick Thompson / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
 
 
O Risen Christ,
    you breathe your Holy Spirit upon us
    like a gentle breeze
    and tell us: ” Peace be yours.”
Opening ourselves to your peace,
    letting it penetrate the harsh and rocky ground
        of our hearts,
    means preparing ourselves to be bearers 
    of reconciliation wherever you may place us.
But you know that at times we are at a loss.
So come and lead us to wait in silence,
    to let a ray of hope shine through in our world.
 
Brother Roger, 1915 – 2005, Swiss monastic, founded the Taizé Community
 
_______________________
 
 
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

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you ascended into the heavens

Rabula Gospels / 6th Century Dsmdgold / Wikimedia Commons
 
To complete your seamless robe, 
    and so to complete our faith,
you ascended through the air into the heavens,
    before the very eyes of the apostles.
In this way you showed that you are Lord of all,
    and are the fulfillment of all creation.
Thus from that moment every human and every living creature
    should bow at your name.
And, in the eyes of faith,
    we can see that all creation proclaims your greatness.
 
Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153, French abbot and Cistercian mystic
 
_________________________
 
 
After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him.  As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.  “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

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Risen Lord, we come to you

At the Throne of Grace / Lawrence OP / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 
 
Risen Lord, we come to confess our sins.
Our hearts are full of impatience, frustration,
    and sometimes even bitterness with one another.
We find it hard to be accepting.
 
    Break the seals, Lord, roll away the stone,
    rip open the protective bandages.
    Breathe the breath of life into our cold, dead hearts.
 
Risen Lord, we come to petition you.
Our minds are so often full of doubt
    and we are shy about sharing 
    the good news of your resurrection.
 
    Break the seals, Lord, roll away the stone,
    rip open the protective bandages.
    Breathe the breath of life into our cold, dead hearts.
 
Risen Lord, we come to adore you.
We desire to know you as living Lord
    and to experience your vitality within us.
 
    Break the seals, Lord, roll away the stone,
    rip open the protective bandages.
    Breathe the breath of life into our cold, dead hearts.
 
Risen Lord, we come to worship you.  
The world waits for your coming through us.
We want to be filled with joy
    and to have the freedom to be your true disciples.
 
As we come, we thank you that you do break the seals, Lord,
    you roll away the stone and rip open the protective bandages.
You breathe the breath of life into our cold, dead hearts,
    and by your resurrection we are made new.
 
prayer from New Zealand
 
__________________
 
 
With great power the apostles were giving testimony 
    to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, 
    and great grace was on all of them.
 

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But I confess that you are God

image / Lawrence OP / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
 
With all my heart I worship you, O hidden God.
You who hide yourself behind the things of your creation.
My heart submits to you, and so does my mind.
Compared with contemplating you, all else is nothing.
I cannot touch you, taste you, see you.
All senses are cheated of you – except the ear.
Your Son has spoken, and I believe.
Nothing has truth beyond the word I hear.
On the cross your divinity was hidden,
And now on earth you humanity is hidden,
But I acknowledge you and cry to you.
I do not gaze, like Thomas, on your wounds,
But I confess that you are God.
Give me a stronger faith, a surer hope,
And a deeper love for you, my Lord.
You gave us a memorial of your dying
In the living Bread that gives life to men.
As I eat your bread, may you live in me.
And may I always turn to you for strength.
O Christ, who gave your heart for all men,
Cleanse my sin in your blood which was spilt.
A single drop of it would save the world,
Cleansing every man from his foul guilt.
A veil is over your face, I cannot see you.
I cry to you to show me yourself,
To let me see you face to face.
With that vision my soul will be at peace.
 
Thomas Aquinas, 1225 – 1274, Roman Catholic philosopher and theologian
 
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Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

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