Mastering desire for the sake of others

‘There is a wholeness about the fully grown man which makes him concentrate on the present moment. He may have unsatisfied desires, but he always keeps them out of sight and manages to master them some way or other. And the more need he has of self-mastery, the more confidence he will inspire among his comrades, especially the younger ones, who are still on the road he has already travelled. Clinging too much to our desires easily prevents us from being what we ought to be and can be. Desires repeatedly mastered for the sake of present duty make us, conversely, all the richer. To be without desire is a mark of poverty. At the moment I am surrounded by people who cling to their desires, so much so that they haven’t any interest for others: they give up listening, and are incapable of loving their neighbour.’

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers From Prison, Letters to a Friend, March 19th 1944

Suffering and rejoicing

‘It is this suffering which burns and consumes evil with the flame of love and draws forth even from sin a great flowering of good. All human suffering, all pain, all infirmity contains within it a promise of salvation: a promise of joy. “I am now rejoicing in my suffering for your sake,” writes Saint Paul (Col 1:24).’

John Paul II, Memory and Identity

Sharing twice

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and coheirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” – Romans 8:17

“For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” – 2 Corinthians 1:5

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so somehow to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” – Philippians 3:10

“But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” – 1 Peter 4:13

This may take a lifetime to understand

‘To will to suffer is the secret of God’s life, is the peculiarly divine element in the love of God… We are to suffer and we must suffer – all of us – in this world of sin. But salvation should enable us to will to suffer, for through salvation we receive the mind of Christ.’

O. Hallesby ‘God’s Word for Today’ p 224

Jesus sinners doth receive

 

‘I, a sinner, come to Thee
With a penitent confession;
Savior, mercy show to me
Grant for all my sins remission.
Let these words my soul relieve:
Jesus sinners doth receive.

Oh, how blest it is to know;
Were as scarlet my transgression,
It shall be as white as snow
By Thy blood and bitter Passion:
For these words I now believe:
Jesus sinners doth receive.

Now my conscience is at peace,
From the Law I stand acquitted;
Christ hath purchased my release
And my every sin remitted.
Naught remains my soul to grieve,–
Jesus sinners doth receive.

Jesus sinners doth receive.
Also I have been forgiven;
And when I this earth must leave,
I shall find an open heaven.
Dying, still to Him I cleave–
Jesus sinners doth receive.’

LSB 609 (Stanzas 4-7)