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Book of the Month: Schola Caritatis: Learning the Rhythms of God's Amazing Love

  Starting a new feature for the next several months called Book of the Month.  I will present one of my books and tell you a little of the ...

Monday, September 29, 2014


You will do well so to regulate your time that you may have every day a little leisure for reading, meditation, and prayer, to review your defects, to study your duties, and to hold communion with God.  You will be happy when a true love to Him shall make this duty easy.  When we love God, we do not ask what we shall say to Him.  We have no difficulty in conversing with a friend.  Our hearts are ever open to Him.  We do not think what we shall say to Him, but we say it without reflection.  We cannot be reserved.  Even when we have nothing to say to Him, we are satisfied with being with Him.  Oh how much better are we sustained by love than by fear!  Fear enslaves, constrains, and troubles us; but love persuades, consoles, animates us,; possesses our whole soul, and makes us desire goodness for its own sake.
                                                                                               ~Francois Fenelon

Fear and love.  The two great motivators.  One motivates by push: ought, should, guilt, shame.  And one motivates by pull: desire, longing, persuasion, affection.  In the words of Francois Fenelon, one enslaves, constrains, and troubles and one consoles, animates, and possesses.  Both have their place and time to do their particular work, I suppose.  But, in my experience, as far as true and lasting change is concerned, pull seems to produce the best fruit.  At least it has in me anyway.  Pull is that wooing of God, that way he draws us to himself.  It is a deep romancing, if you will.  Pull captures our hearts, and our imaginations, and totally transforms our lives.  It invites us into intimate union (always more intimate union) with God.  And it is this intimacy that changes everything.  When I am seized by the power of the Great Affection everything within me is affected.  My life is totally captured by a Love that makes me want to please my Beloved in all I do.  It is a love so big that it begins to purge me of all other (less wild) loves.  Instead of trying to change by grit and effort and determination (the American way), I am changed by simply being in love.  The romancing of a God who is crazy-in-love-with-me makes me fall more and more deeply in love with him in return.  Thomas Chalmers, a Scottish minister from the 1800's, called it The Expulsive Power of a Great Affection.  I like that.  It is only a larger, Greater Affection that can capture our hearts and turn us away from the a smaller, more trivial, affections that tend to consume, corrode, and occupy our lives.  When we take the entire burden of change upon ourselves, it is, indeed, much too heavy to bear.  It is both exhausting and overwhelming.  But when we surrender our hearts to the love of the One who invites us to "Come unto me, all you who are weary and heavy laden," and "take my yoke upon you," we discover that this way of love (pull) is actually the way to "find rest for our souls."  Because the burden of change is no longer solely upon us, but rather falls upon him.  Thus, the words, "You will be happy when a true love to Him shall make this duty easy."   Thanks be to God!

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