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Shards of Contemplation

"Job took a potsherd with which to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes." Job 2.8
"Christ is a shard of glass in your gut." Christian Wiman


"The fruit of the Spirit is ... self-control" (Gal. 5.22-23). The more the Spirit takes over my life, the more I am myself. Perfect love casts out choice.



God’s mercies are new every morning—even for God! And just so for us, for all things. The divine life is a delightfully surprising movement—without transition, fluctuation, or development—from fulness to fullness. Behold! I make all things new!” (Rev. 21.5).



The truth hurts, but only to reveal where we've harmed and been harmed.



The truth hurts. The beautiful wounds.



Maturity is the readiness to do for others what God has not done for us.




"Unless I wash you, you have no share with me" (Jn 13.8). If we can’t be served by God, we will not serve others. If we can’t be patient with God, we will not be patient with ourselves.



Patience with others and patience with ourselves means letting stones be stones—even when we want bread. Patience with God means trusting that the stones are bread: they nourish us because we do not eat them.



God has no past. Not even a past that goes on forever. God is God's own past. And we are included in it: The lamb is slain from foundation of the world” (Rev. 13.8).



God has no memory, no memories. God does not recall: God calls. God remembers—but only in the sense that God acts.



"We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (1 Jn 3.2). We become like God, but we do not assimilate to him. The more like God we become, the more we are truly ourselves.


What Job did not learn because he bowed too soon: the God of the whirlwind is a mask for the God of the burning bush, and the God of the burning bush is a mask for the God of the barren tree.



What Abraham did not learn because he allowed God to walk away: the God of fire and brimstone is a mask for the God of water, wine, and bread.



What Moses did not learn because he veiled his face: God's glory comes clearest as it fades—after the show is over, in the moments only nobodies see.



"From those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away" (Mt. 13.12).

God withholds no good thing from anyone. So, nothing—nothing but nothing—will be taken from us in the end.



Mary of Nazareth, in the beginning, says Yes to a Yes. Mary of Magdala, at the end, says Yes to a No. Between them, Mary of Bethany says Yes to Jesus’ experience of both the Yes and the No.



"He was called the friend of God" (Jam. 2.23). We can be friends with God only when we no longer want anything more from God than friendship.



The Eucharist fulfills desire—by not satisfying any of our cravings.



It is good when God prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies. It is better when God prepares us to make a table for our enemies.



Nothing is more sinful than what we've said about sin and done to those we regard as sinners.



Christ promises not the reversal of fortunes, not the exaltation of the weak over the strong, but the overturning of all orders of exception, advantage, gain, and worthiness. “The first shall be last, and the last, first” (Mt. 20.16).