DISCIPLINE: The Call To Discipleship (Part 1) by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

March 9, 2019

From The Cost of Discipleship And as he passed by he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the place of toll, and he saith unto him, “Follow me.”  And he arose and followed him. (Mark 2:14) The call goes forth, and is at once followed by the response of obedience.  The response of the disciples is an act of obedience, not a confession of faith in Jesus.  How could the call immediately evoke obedience?  The story is a stumbling-block for the natural reason, and it is no wonder that frantic attempts have been made to separate the two events.  By hook or by crook a bridge must be found between them.  Something must have happened in between, some psychological or historical event.  Thus we get the stupid question: Surely the [...]

DISCIPLINE: Costly Grace (Part 4) by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

March 2, 2019

From The Cost of Discipleship We Lutherans have gathered like eagles round the carcass of cheap grace, and there we have drunk of the poison which has killed the life of following Christ.  It is true, of course, that we have paid the doctrine of pure grace divine honors unparalleled in Christendom, in fact we have exalted that doctrine to the position of God himself.  Everywhere Luther’s formula has been repeated, but its truth perverted into self-deception.  So long as our church holds the correct doctrine of justification, there is no doubt whatever that she is a justified church!  So they said, thinking that we must vindicate our Lutheran heritage by making this grace available on the cheapest and easiest terms.  To be [...]

DISCIPLINE: Costly Grace (Part 3) by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

February 23, 2019

From The Cost of Discipleship At the end of a life spent in pursuit of knowledge Faust has to confess: I now do see that we can nothing know. That is the answer to a sum, it is the outcome of a long experience.  But as Kierkegaard observed, it is quite a different thing when a freshman comes up to the university and uses the same sentiment to justify his indolence.  As the answer to a sum it is perfectly true, but as the initial data it is a piece of self-deception.  For acquired knowledge cannot be divorced from the existence in which it is acquired.  The only man who has the right to say that he is justified by grace alone is the man who has left all to follow Christ.  Such a man knows that the call to discipleship is a gift of [...]

DISCIPLINE: Costly Grace (Part 2) by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

February 2, 2019

From The Cost of Discipleship When the Reformation came, the providence of God raised Martin Luther to restore the gospel of pure, costly grace.  Luther passed through the cloister; he was a monk and all this was part of the divine plan.  Luther had left all to follow Christ on the path of absolute obedience.  He had renounced the world in order to live the Christian life.  He had learnt obedience to Christ and to his church, because only he who is obedient can believe.  The call to the cloister demanded of Luther the complete surrender of his life.  But God shattered all his hopes.  He showed him through the scriptures that the following of Christ is not the achievement or merit of a select few, but the divine command to all [...]

DISCIPLINE: Costly Grace (Part 1) by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

January 19, 2019

From The Cost of Discipleship Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our church.  We are fighting today for costly grace. Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares.  The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices.  Grace is represented as the church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits.  Grace without price; grace without cost!  The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing.  Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of using and spending it are infinite.  What would [...]

DISCIPLINE: The Cost Of Discipleship, Introduction, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

January 12, 2019

From The Cost of Discipleship Revival of church life always brings in its train a richer understanding of the scriptures.  Behind all the slogans and catchwords of ecclesiastical controversy, necessary though they are, there arises a more determined quest for him who is the sole object of it all, for Jesus Christ himself.  What did Jesus mean to say to us?  What is his will for us today?  How can he help us to be good Christians in the modern world?  In the last resort, what we want to know is not, what would this or that man, or this or that church, have of us, but what Jesus Christ himself wants of us.  When we go to church and listen to the sermon, what we want to hear is his Word – and that not merely for selfish reasons, but [...]

PRAYER: Prayer For True Discipleship by Juan Luis Vives

November 19, 2018

O Lord, the author and persuader of peace, love, and goodwill, soften our hard and steely hearts, warm our frozen and icy hearts, that we may wish well to one another, and may be the true disciples of Jesus Christ.  And give us grace even now to begin to show forth that Heavenly life wherein there is no hatred, but peace and love on all hands, one toward another; through Jesus Christ our Lord. [...]

LENTEN MEDITATION: Discipleship And The Cross by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

March 9, 2017

From: Meditations On The Cross Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.  He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter.  “Out of my sight, Satan!” he said.  “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:31-34) Suffering and rejection are the summary expression [...]

LENTEN FIRE: Good Friday

March 29, 2013

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers  I wish I could weep like that Abba Joseph related that Abba Isaac said, “I was sitting with Abba Poeman one day and I saw him in ecstasy.  I was on terms of great freedom of speech with him so I prostrated myself before him and begged him, saying, ‘Tell me where you were.’ “He was forced to answer and he said, ‘My thought was with Saint Mary, the mother of God, as she wept by the cross of the savior.  I wish I could always weep like that.'” Carrying Christ’s cross Pachomius went with his brother to an island to cut rushes for mats.  And as he was keeping vigil alone, praying to be taught the whole will of God, (Romans [...]

FURSA IN LENT: Day Twenty-Eight by Paul Wallis

March 16, 2013

From Be Thou My Breastplate Let the work of the church of God be in these hands.  (Fursa’s Breastplate) Fursa does not say “on these lips.”  How often Christians have seen themselves as heralds of God’s kingdom only, announcing its presence, rather than as workers of God’s kingdom bringing it into our world by God-given works.  The Apostle Paul reminds us “The kingdom of God is not a matter of words.”  What then is this work for our hands? Hands speak of helping others; helping the least in order to help Christ.  This is Jesus’s call in Matthew 25.  Hands speak also of hospitality and healing.  Saint Luke the Physician shows us in his Gospel (the tenth chapter) that it is when we have [...]

FURSA IN LENT: Day Twenty-Seven by Paul Wallis

March 15, 2013

From Be Thou My Breastplate,  Let the work of the church of God be in these hands.  (Fursa’s Breastplate) The Apostle Paul wrote, “He who desires to be an elder desires a noble thing.”  Perhaps it is for that kind of nobility that Fursa directs  us to pray.  Fursa was certainly an elder; a leader in the church of  his day.  Perhaps the phrase invokes the idea of Fursa’s special contributions as evangelist, monk, and pioneer of Christian communities in the England, Ireland, and France of the Dark Ages.  Perhaps the “work of the church of God” referred to the holy service of those who perform the liturgical functions of priest, deacon, acolyte, thurifer, Gospel-bearer in the community’s act [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Twelfth Station — Jesus Dies On The Cross, by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin

March 9, 2013

From The Journey to Peace Near the cross of Jesus there stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene. Seeing his mother there with the disciple whom he loved, Jesus said to his mother, “Woman, there is your son.”  In turn he said to the disciple, “there is your mother.”  From that hour onward, the disciple took her into his care.  After that, Jesus realizing that everything was not finished, said to fulfill the Scripture, “I am thirsty.”  There was ajar there, full of common wine.  They stuck a sponge soaked in this wine on some hyssop and raised it to his lips.  When Jesus took the wine, he said, “Now it is finished.”  Then he bowed his [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Tenth Station — Jesus Is Stripped Of His Garments, by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin

March 9, 2013

From The Journey to Peace After the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took his garments and divided them four ways, one for each soldier. There was also his tunic, but this tunic was woven in one piece from top to bottom and had no seam.  They said to each other, “We should not tear it.  Let us throw dice to see who gets it.”  (The purpose of this was to have the Scripture fulfilled: “They divided my garments among them; for my clothing they cast lots.”)  And this was what the soldiers did. (John 19:23-24) Faith and Goodness Triumph Over Evil A friend of mine brought back a book of photographs that he bought at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.  Its title is The Holocaust, and it was published by the Martyrs and Heroes [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Sixth Station — Veronica Wipes The Face Of Jesus, by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin

February 23, 2013

From The Journey to Peace Come.  You have my father’s blessing! Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me. I was ill and you comforted me, In prison and you came to visit me. (Matthew 25:34-36) God’s Love Moves Us into Courageous and Creative Service My friends, the greatest romance we will ever experience is God’s passionate love.  The greatest adventure is the journey into his kingdom.  The greatest achievement is to live as a faith-filled brother or sister of Jesus, the savior.  The greatest challenge is to carry on Jesus’s mission and ministry, incarnating his [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Fourth Station — Jesus Meets His Mother, by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin

February 23, 2013

From The Journey to Peace Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “this child is destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be opposed – and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword – so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare. (Luke 2:34-35) Mary is a Woman of Strength and Courage One cannot really understand our Christian faith unless one accepts and appreciates the Incarnation.  The pivotal point of our faith is the fact that God redeemed us by becoming one of us.  God’s son, Jesus, took his flesh from the Virgin Mary, and he redeemed us through his humanity: It was through his Passion, death, and resurrection that he reconciled us with his father.  As Paul told the [...]

FURSA IN LENT: Day Eight by Paul Wallis

February 21, 2013

From Be Thou My Breastplate May the coming of the Holy Spirit be on this head.  (Fursa’s Breastplate) When the Holy Spirit of God wished to speak to the prophet Ezekiel, he said, “Son of man, stand up, I want to talk with you.” When suddenly perceiving the closeness of God, the natural human tendency is to fall to the ground.  On the island of Patmos, John the Beloved fell at the Lord’s feet as though dead, but Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid, John, I want you to write for me.” On Lake Galilee Simon Peter fell to his knees before Jesus, but the savior said, “Don’t be afraid.  I am sending you to catch men for me.” To Ezekiel God wishes to speak man-to-man, head-to-head.  In [...]