Sometimes reading the Bible does me more harm than good. I don’t say this to disparage the Bible. But, I think, insofar as a person may have been damaged by a certain type of spirituality—or in this case a certain way of reading the Bible—the firm application of said spirituality sometimes isn’t the best option.
So, I stop reading for a while.
I used to feel badly about this, but I don’t much anymore. I’ve found that God is perfectly willing to show me what I need to know through random books or a friend’s conversation or just the slow churning of my own mind. I’m not saying I stop attending church or run screaming from all references to the Bible, of course. But all truth is, after all, God’s truth. Even the Bible makes it clear that the primary issue is always one’s heart.
Anyway, these last few sabbaticals have been fantastic.
I’m reading a lot from a couple of American monks—Merton and Keating, to be exact (and Henri Nouwen… though he was a priest rather than a monk). Am fascinated by Centering Prayer. Am relieved and excited to find an expression of faith that isn’t overly-hampered by its allegiance to Western values. Mostly, though, I just feel nourished.
I know that we all tend to think whatever we happen to be feasting on MUST be exactly what everyone else needs too, so you may not find this Merton quote particularly interesting, but, for me, it’s incredible.
The eyes of the saint make all beauty holy and the hands of the saint consecrate everything they touch to the glory of God, and the saint is never offended by anything and judges no man’s sin because he does not know sin. He knows the mercy of God…
Be blessed, friends.