‘Almost’ … a big word for me

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“Almost.  It’s a big word for me.  I feel it everywhere.  Almost home.  Almost happy.  Almost changed.  Almost, but not quite.  Not yet.  Soon, maybe.”

~ Joan Bauer, Almost Home

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Suffering, a reality of the human condition

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“Suffering is the reality of the human condition and the beginning of true spiritual life.”

~Fr. Seraphim Rose

(art: Save Me From My Demons, by J. Kirk Richards)

Asking for a miracle…

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A contemporary of the Russian novelist, Dostoyevksy, whose name was Turgeniev, wrote that, “whatever a man prays for he prays for a miracle.  Every prayer,” he said, “reduces itself to this: ‘Great God, grant that twice two not be four.'”

~ Harold J. Sala
Touching God
52 Guidelines for Personal Prayer

Most widely spread vice on earth…

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“Lust is an inordinate desire of unlawful pleasures. It is a vice most widely spread in the world; one that is most violent in its attacks, most insatiable in its cravings. Hence St. Augustine says that the severest warfare which a Christian has to maintain is that in defense of chastity, for such combats are frequent, and victories rare.”

~ Venerable Louis of Granada,
The Sinner’s Guide, Chapter 32

Seeing Categories Instead of Individuals…

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The problem with labels is that they avoid complexity and ignore reality. As Christians, we’re guilty of labeling others too often, and we even do it when we read the Bible.
For example, we think of Bible characters as either good or bad. King David, Moses, and the disciples were good, while the Pharisees, Judas, and others were bad.
In reality, everyone had both their good AND bad moments.. Moses doubted and was violent, David killed a man just so he could sleep with his wife, and the disciples were far from perfect—Peter even chopped a guy’s ear off with his sword (the list could go on).
Contrarily, The Pharisees weren’t all bad, and Judas participated in Jesus’s ministry doing many good things before betraying Him.
This is probably why Jesus warns against judging others, because we rarely see—or understand—the whole picture of someone’s life.

— via SJ Mattson

Everyday opportunities for gratitude…

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Every day we are given opportunities for acquiring a grateful heart. Whatever comes our way, whether it be good or bad, are occasions for being grateful. When we realize that even difficulties and hardships are allowed by God for our salvation, we are more likely to received whatever comes, with a grateful heart. Whatever life places before us, all is an opportunity to give thanks to God.

The difficulties we face are opportunities to embrace with a trusting heart, that which God has allowed. Our willingness to please God governs our response, and in turn nurtures a humble heart, and a humble heart opens the doors to a peace that passes all understanding, and the Gates of Paradise are opened wide to us.

+ Abbot Tryphon

Even our weakness can’t thwart God

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“There is nothing impossible unto those who believe; lively and unshaken faith can accomplish great miracles in the twinkling of an eye. Besides, even without our sincere and firm faith, miracles are accomplished, such as the miracles of the sacraments; for God’s Mystery is always accomplished, even though we were incredulous or unbelieving at the time of its celebration. “Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?” (Rom. 3:3). Our wickedness shall not overpower the unspeakable goodness and mercy of God; our dullness shall not overpower God’s wisdom, nor our infirmity God’s omnipotence.“

+ St John of Kronstadt