Cycle of Grace (13 January 2019)

Morning Encounter:

Read

“Stay joined to me, and I will stay joined to you. Just as a branch cannot produce fruit unless it stays joined to the vine, you cannot produce fruit unless you stay joined to me. I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. But you cannot do anything without me.”
(John 15. 4-5)

Reflect

Everything we have and everything we are is a gift from God, but there is one meaningful gift we can offer in return, the one thing God desires but will never take for himself: ourselves. The twelfth century writer Bernard of Clairvaux wrote that love grows as we love God first for our own sake, then more for his sake - but above and beyond this is the ability to receive in gratitude the gift of renewed life, then immediately offer it back in love. This creates a kind of cycle of grace: God gives, we give back, he gives in return - just as Jesus and his Father continually offered themselves to one another.

Respond

Find some time today to sit quietly in the Father’s presence. Don’t fill the silence with words, and don’t seek any new insights or messages. Just waste a few minutes with God, giving him the gift of your time without asking anything in return.

Midday Meditation:

“Each of us can come close to God, with the assurance that he will come close to us … Remember: he wants your fellowship, and he has done everything to make it a possibility. He has forgiven your sins at the cost of his own dear Son. He has given you his word and the priceless privilege of prayer and worship. He will come near to you if only you will come near to him.”
(Billy Graham)

Evening Reflection:

Father, I abandon myself into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you …
I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.
(Charles de Foucauld)

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