Tag Archives: Richard Foster

Frederick William Faber’s Joy in God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, May 27, 2017

joy in sand

Frederick William Faber’s Joy in God

Richard Foster chose to write about (and include excerpts from) both Faber and John Henry Newman. They both were ordained as Anglican clergymen, and both were influenced to turn to Roman Catholicism.

During the time of two tours of the European Continent in the 1840’s, Faber was drawn to Catholicism by its rites and devotions. He and Newman were received into the Catholic church. Increasingly devotional in nature, Faber founded a religious community the following year. Newman made Faber the superior of a London community. Faber oversaw the founding of many good works and outreaches, and became known as a spiritual leader, writer and confessor.

This excerpt comes from “The Creator and Creature.”

“This is, in fact, [man’s] true blessedness—to be ever more and more enclosed in the hand of God who made him. The Creator’s hand is the creature’s home.” [1] This pair of sentences is so representative of this excerpt. Faber delights to speak of the glories of the Creation, the wonders of the Creator, and our joy (the creatures’ joy, that is) in our living in this wondrous Creation.

So far as the creature is concerned, Faber explains that the creatures are full of fear, true. Yet, they are also made up of “…humility, of prayer, of repentance, and above all, of love…so much man, as a creature, conduct himself as such, and do those virtuous actions, which are chiefly virtues because they are becoming to him and adapted to his condition.” [2]

Faber’s view of humanity is hopeful and humble. (So interesting to me, personally, with a basically Reformed view of humanity.) Yet, this view of Faber’s jives with the Westminster Catechism’s first question: what is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. I suspect Faber would agree with that question and answer, in great part.

In his perception of humans as creatures, they love and obey and readily admit the sovereignty of God the Creator. As I am encouraged to meditate on the glories of the Creator God, I can also thank our Lord Jesus for His intercession for me and for His forgiveness of all my sins. Thank You, thank You, Jesus!

@chaplaineliza

 

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Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000, 354.

[2] Ibid, 355.

Meister Eckhart: Be of Service

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, April 7, 2017

serve one another, Mark 10

 

Meister Eckhart: Be of Service

We come to another medieval spiritual writer, Meister Eckhart. Yes, and much more than that. He entered the Dominican order, studied in Paris and Cologne, became Dominican prior at Erfurt, and soon started serving as Professor of Theology at Strasbourg. All the while, he also preached and served as spiritual director. Although he was brought up on charges by inquisitors in Cologne, some time later these charges were found to be largely fabricated and politically motivated—but, too late. Meister Eckhart had died while traveling to clear his name. [1]

This excerpt from one of Eckhart’s sermons features Martha and Mary. He lifts up Martha as mature and a person of depth. Interesting that she was more of the servant of the two sisters. “Now Martha says, ‘Lord, tell her to help me.’ Martha did not say this out of anger. She spoke rather out of a loving kindness because she was hard pressed. We must indeed call it a loving kindness or a lovable form of teasing.” [2]

Now, let’s look at Mary, sitting at our Lord’s feet. Eckhart’s words: “she yearned without knowing what it was she yearned after, and she desired without knowing what she desired!” [3] Ah, to be Mary, and to think “that she can already do what she wishes so long as she is only seated beneath your consolation.” [4]

Indeed, as our Lord Jesus says to Martha, only one thing is necessary: “I and you, embraced one by the eternal light—that is one thing.” [5] Yes, Jesus calls us to serve. And, yes, Jesus calls us to study, sit, and drink in the presence of the Lord. Both/and, not either/ or. As I reflect upon this interpretation of Martha and Mary, I tend to agree with Richard Foster. Yes, I appreciate Eckhart’s central point. Yes, “spirituality and service are inseparable twins.” [6]

Dear Lord, as I read this narrative again, I am also reminded of my tendency to swing to extremes on the pendulum. Help me—help all of us—to find a healthy balance. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

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Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 205.

[2] Ibid, 206.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid, 207.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid. 209.

God’s Instrument, Alan Paton

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, April 3, 2017

instrument of Your peace, round

God’s Instrument, Alan Paton

Ah, the breadth and depth of this brief excerpt! I can just imagine how deeply touched Alan Paton was by his stirring experience of the almighty God.

The Rev. Alan Paton was a white South African Anglican clergyman who was also an outspoken opponent of apartheid. He had several spiritual mentors (including Dag Hammarskjöld), but his compassionate heart belonged with St. Francis of Assisi and the familiar prayer attributed to him.

“So majestic is [St. Francis’s] conception that one dare no longer be sorry for oneself. This world ceases to be one’s enemy and becomes the place where one lives and works and serves.” [1] This is preamble, of sorts. This becomes the foundation on which the rest of the excerpt depends. “But in his prayer, [Francis] asks nothing for himself, or perhaps he asks everything, and that is that his whole life, all his gifts, his physical strength, shall be an instrument in God’s hand.” [2]

The example of Moses is brought to our attention. Yes, despite adverse conditions, Moses was chosen as God’s spokesman to Pharaoh. He was also directed to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt and around the Sinai region. “The [biblical passage] is full of reassurances to us, some of them startling…. Things might be dark but [believers] are to be the light of the world.” [3]

Yes, the present world may—indeed—be dark. The group at my area cluster meeting sometimes is in tears concerning the situation of our present world.

“To those who have lost their way, let me restore it to them. To those who are aimless, let me bring purpose….let me teach them that they are the children of God and can be used as His instruments in the never-ending work of healing and redemption.” [4] Such a heartfelt, humble prayer! Such a marvelous feeling of joining together in peace and brotherhood. Dear Lord, may it be so, we pray.

@chaplaineliza

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Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 191.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 193.

[4] Ibid.

Richard of St. Victor Submits

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, April 3, 2017

submission, flower.jpg

Richard of St. Victor Submits

Fascinating reading today. I had never heard of this spiritual writer before, who set down the distinctive markers of medieval spirituality. As he went about this writing, Richard of St. Victor had an ease of speaking of intimate relations.

“See to it that the very time He begins to knock at the door is not the first time that you begin to want to throw out the crowds of those who make noise.” [1] Ah! How often am I distracted by outer noises, much less inner thoughts, wanderings and other distractions! Lord, You know how much difficulty I have had (for years!) with prayer and meditation.

Then, there is the plain statement “How often must one repeat ‘Wait and wait again, a moment here and a moment there.” [2] It is a rather ambiguous statement. Yet, this can refer to the Lover, to Christ waiting outside, knocking, patiently standing outside the door. He could break down the door. He could. As we reflect on that word picture, ‘Wait, and wait again’ can also refer to the beloved. How often do I lose patience with God? (Far oftener than I care to admit to myself, much less to all the rest of the world.)

Yes, this practice of waiting is a way for me to practice the spiritual gift of submission. Waiting quietly in line, sitting silently with a smile, walking slowly in connection with

I am reminded of other mystical, medieval literature I have read, especially in these phrases: “He is heard by a showing; seen by contemplation; kissed warmly by devotion, drawn close for the infusion of His sweetness.” [3] Ah. To be loved wholly, fully, without strings or hang-ups or any other distraction: that would be heavenly. Wait! I already am loved that way. Thank You, God!

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 185.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

Submission and Thomas Kelly

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, April 1, 2017

testament of devotion - Thomas Kelly

Submission and Thomas Kelly

I had never heard of Thomas Kelly before I read this excerpt. Born into a Quaker family in Ohio, he sounded like a fascinating person, wrapped in a difficult series of circumstances. He understood that he was excellent at educating people, and performed this task in any number of settings (besides being professor at several institutions of higher learning.)

However, it is his repeated difficulties that interest me, and how he managed to deal with them, live with them, and even surmount several.

When speaking of submission? I suspect I can see why Thomas Kelly might be content to submit to God. “Like Saint Augustine one asks not for greater certainty of God but only for more steadfastness in Him. There, beyond, in Him is the true Center, and we are reduced, as it were, to nothing, for He is all…” [1]

Ah. Talk about feeling very, very small compared to the magnificence, the awesomeness, the divinity, the immenseness of God. I can see where he is going with this thought.

Further along the path to submission and obedience, Kelly has this to say: “Once having the vision, the second step to holy obedience is this: Begin where you are. Obey now. Use what little obedience you are capable of, even if it be like a grain of mustard seed. Begin where you are. Live this present moment, this present hour as you now sit in your seats, in utter, utter submission and openness toward Him.”

Wow. Double wow. Those two quotes alone can convince me to have a different view of submission (and obedience, which goes hand in hand with submission). Dear Lord, help me to rein in my stubbornness. I know that You are the only one I can fully trust and submit and obey. Help me be more open and steadfast, Lord. Thank You.
@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

 

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 178.

Meditation, by Thomas More

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, March 1, 2017

man-praying-silhouette

Meditation, by Thomas More

Today is Ash Wednesday. Yes, I have ashes on my forehead. Today is also the beginning of Lent, and I was trying to decide what I am going to do for a Lenten discipline for the past number of days. Nothing seemed right. Nothing—until—I rediscovered this book over the weekend.

I absolutely love Richard Foster, and I greatly appreciate Renovare. So, what is not to like about this edited book of selected readings on the Spiritual Disciplines? That’s what I thought. Nothing, indeed.

I read the first reading, by Thomas More. Richard Foster set up the reading wonderfully, which was entitled “A Godly Meditation.” [1] The words just kept flowing out of his pen (and of Thomas More’s pen, too), and line after line went straight to my heart.

I was also touched to find out that the sentence I most appreciated was the same one that Richard Foster remarked upon.  For one line in particular: “To think my most enemies my best friends.”

God, if only I could behave toward all people I meet in such a way. I know, I realize I might run into people who believe very differently from me. And—the best part is, according to Thomas More, to consider these people (who believe very differently, again) with the utmost respect, even kindness. Read this, please. Warms my heart.

I love other countries, I appreciate people’s organization. Dear Lord, help me to find bits of this poem in other places and give me a new appreciation of Thomas More.  Lord, in all of our understanding, please send me new insights about Thomas More. Please, God.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er.

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 6

When Fasting—In Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 15, 2015

fasting - empty plate

When Fasting—In Prayer

Fasting. Renunciation. Doing without. Skipping a meal—or two, or three.

Fasting may not be considered “popular” or trendy in certain circles today. Maybe, just maybe, believers in God could consider fasting, again. And perhaps, you or your friends already fast. And pray. If so, wonderful!

For some people, fasting is one among many spiritual disciplines. Even if you have never fasted yourself, you probably have some familiarity with the idea of it. The idea of doing without, abstaining from food, even from drink, is centuries old. For example, “giving up” or abstaining from something as part of a Lenten discipline.

Some years ago, I did, indeed, fast. On a fairly regular basis, I ate no food for some amount of time. Usually a twenty-four hour period of time. But a number of times, I went without food for two days, and even three days, several times. When I was in the middle of this practice, I often felt the benefit. At times, I felt a clarity, a freedom in prayer and communication with God.

But then, I felt this clarity and freedom at other times when I was not fasting, as well. Note: there is no sure-fire formula, no seven-easy-steps for having a deep, significant encounter with God every single time!

 Now is the time for a necessary caution. If anyone has any issues with eating, or with your health, be careful. Perhaps even ask your doctor or another health professional about fasting and whether it might possibly be hazardous for you. Be prudent and cautious, please. Be wise, not foolhardy. I care about you and whether what I suggest—fasting—may be damaging or hurtful. If so, don’t do it! There are many other ways to come close to God.

For many throughout the world, fasting is a proven aid to prayer. As our helpful prayer guide Rev. Howell says, “Fasting is giving up something good in itself, something I have and love, but which I do without for a time for the sake of God. When we satisfy every desire, and as often as possible, then our deeper desire for God comes to be masked over, desensitized.” [1]

Fasting usually is in reference to food (primarily) and drink (secondarily). But fasting can also be from other things, too. What about a silent retreat—fasting from speaking? Or fasting from media—no screens, for a period of time? You could be creative in choosing something to fast from. God loves it when we use the creativity God installed within each of us.

I don’t do food fasts very often now, because of health reasons. Yet, I know that this is a valid, beneficial, centuries-old practice. Praise God, I can find a way to focus in on spiritual things and develop my daily spiritual walk with my God, my Higher Power. So, help me, God.

For more information and a good, basic introduction, I suggest the chapter on fasting from Richard Foster’s classic book on spiritual disciplines, A Celebration of Discipline.

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[1] James C. Howell, The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray, Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN: 2003), 53.