Heart matters

‘The Heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind. The fiat of Mary [“Let it be to me according to your word”], the word of her heart, has changed the history of the world, because it brought the Saviour into the world—because, thanks to her ‘Yes’, God could become man in our world and remains so for all time. The Evil One has power in this world, as we see and experience continually; he has power because our freedom continually lets itself be led away from God. But since God himself took a human heart and has thus steered human freedom towards what is good, the freedom to choose evil no longer has the last word. From that time forth, the word that prevails is this: “In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33).’

Joseph Ratzinger

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Do you know what you are asking for?

‘Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

“We can,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”’

Mark 10: 35-45

This doesn’t come naturally

 

‘We do not live for ourselves alone in this mortal body, doing things only to serve ourselves, but we also live for all people on earth. In fact, we live only for others and not for ourselves. That is why we discipline our body, so that we can sincerely and freely serve others… Therefore, it is not possible for us ever to be idle in this life and not to serve our neighbours.’

WA 7:64 (The Freedom of a Christian, 1520); see LW 31: 364

Courage

‘David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.’ 1 Chronicles 28:20

‘Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.’ 1 Corinthians 15:58

Have this on your mind and lips

‘[God] solemnly commands in Deuteronomy 6:6-8 that we should always meditate on His precepts, sitting, walking, standing, lying down, and rising. We should have them before our eyes and in our hands as a constant mark and sign. Clearly He did not solemnly require and command this without a purpose. For he knows our danger and need, as well as the constant and furious assaults and temptations of devils. He wants to warn, equip, and preserve us against them, as with a good amor against their fiery darts [Ephesians 6:10-17] and with good medicine against their evil infection and temptation.’

Martin Luther, Large Catechism, Longer Preface

Food for thought on adoption and family

‘But Christians, at any rate, are called to recognize as kin, as their own flesh and blood, those with whom they do not share traceable genetic material. A history of relationship, commitment sustained over time, is what forms and sustains the bond of father and mother with their children.’

Gilbert C. Meilaender, Not by Nature but by Grace: Forming Families Through Adoption, p 11

The art of conversation; guarding and directing one’s tongue

‘It often fills me with shame here to see how readily men demean themselves just for a bit of gossip, how they prate incessantly about their own private affairs to people who don’t deserve it, and who hardly even listen. And the strangest thing about it is that they have no regard whatever for truth; all they want to do is to talk about themselves, whether what they say is true or not. The desire for a good conversation is a very different matter; there is something genuinely intellectual about that. Unfortunately there are few people here who are capable of carrying on a conversation beyond the range of immediate personal concern.’

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers From Prison, Letters to a Friend, February 13th 1944