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The Discipline of the Father and the Cross of Jesus

To be saved is to enter into union with the Crucified God. The discipline of the Father is not in first purpose chastisement for sin, but chastisement to bring us into the likeness of – into union with – His Crucified Son.

Salvation is the marriage of the soul to Christ. Shall she not then accompany her Beloved, her Divine Spouse, on His way to Calvary and to the Cross? Continue reading “The Discipline of the Father and the Cross of Jesus”

The Knowledge of the Living God

How can man know God? Can man know God, God the great I AM WHO I AM, eternal, immutable, incomparable, the One Who is Himself and Himself alone, defined only by His own being and by nothing else, to Whom nothing is like, infinite and exalted in majesty and glory? How can a finite creature know such a One? Even intellectual knowledge will be of little good, for He is unlike any of the things we know, so that all we can intellectually know of Him can be that He is not like His creation, and that He exists, but who He is or where, that is, how, to look for Him we can not know, only that nothing else is Him – who is not Him – and where or how we can not look for Him. [As for experiencing Him, seeing Him, how shall it be? Even were we sinless, is it even possible that our finite minds can even behold a little of the Glory of His Majesty, can even understand a little of what YHWH means? Continue reading “The Knowledge of the Living God”

All is Sacrifice and there is No Cost

“In view of God’s mercies, therefore, I urge you, present your bodies as living sacrifices to God, holy and acceptable, which is your reasonable act of worship.”

“In Him, let us, therefore, continually offer to God the sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that confess His Name.”

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like man who was ploughing in a field, and he came upon a buried treasure. In his joy, he buried the treasure, and went and sold all that he had, and bought the field. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant who was searching for fine pearls, and finding a pearl of great price, in his joy he went and sold all that he had and bought the pearl.”

“Whoever loses… for My sake… will not fail to receive a hundred times as much in this life, and in the age to come, eternal life.”

“What man, if he wishes to build a tower, will not first sit down, and calculate to see if he has enough to finish, lest he should lay the foundation, and be unable to finish, and all should mock him, saying, ‘He has started what he was not able to finish?’ Or what man, if he has an army coming against him, will not first sit down to see if he is able, with ten thousand men, to come against twenty thousand, and if he is not, will he not send for terms of peace? In the same way, you, if you do not give up all you possess, you cannot be My disciple.”

In Jesus, we ourselves are to be a sacrifice to God: a victim, consecrated to God and transformed in the Divine fire from Heaven. All we do, and all we experience, is also to be sacrifice: consecrated to God, and offered to Him in love and thanksgiving, in adoration and worship, in willingness and praise. Continue reading “All is Sacrifice and there is No Cost”

A Request for Obedience to Jesus’ Command of Baptism

Before Jesus ascended into heaven after His resurrection, He gave this command to His disciples, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all peoples, baptizing them for the remission of sins in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”

It could not be clearer. Baptism is a command of the Lord given to His Church, and it has to do with identification with Him and participation in His death, burial, and resurrection. “Do you not know that as many of you have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into His death? And, if you have been buried with Him through baptism into death, then, as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, you too shall walk in newness of life.” Baptism is also associated with receiving the Holy Spirit, with participation in the life of the Blessed Trinity. Continue reading “A Request for Obedience to Jesus’ Command of Baptism”

The Church: Participation in Heaven on Earth

I cannot stop thinking about what I can only term “The Liturgy of Heaven.”

Revelation forms the greater part of the imagery, of this thought of mine, but other passages of the Bible and some of my experiences with Nature contribute.

I see all the angels and saints arrayed around the Throne, in the midst of which is the Slain and Victorious Lamb, before which is the sea of glass intermingled with fire. It is not, to me, mere imagery I read in a book: it is full of life and meaning. Even the sea of glass intermingled with fire means to me something which I have begun to know but cannot utter. Continue reading “The Church: Participation in Heaven on Earth”

The Heavenly Priesthood: The Son in Creation and the Father in the Son

In the beginning was the Word, the Eternal Son, the High Priest of all creation. Being the Word through which the Father created and sustains everything, He is the fitting Priest, the fitting Mediator between God and Creation, through whom God reveals Himself to Creation, giving her being and life, and in whom she adores God and gives herself back to Him in glad worship and joyous sacrifice.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. He was like us in all ways, sin excepting, having been tempted in every manner just as we are, but without sin, and so He is able to be a fitting High Priest to His brethren, able to make those who have sinned to be without sin just as He is without sin.

Mankind was created, both man and woman, in the image of God – in the likeness of the Word Continue reading “The Heavenly Priesthood: The Son in Creation and the Father in the Son”

The Love That Bore the Cross For Me (When Every Step’s an Uphill Battle)

When every step’s an uphill battle

And every victory’s followed by a cliff to climb

When the foe stands atop every precipice

And I just want to collapse

I remember

The Love that bore the Cross for me

Stands with hands held out

The hands that caught me when I fell

Sustained me when I could do no more

And give me victories that I could never win Continue reading “The Love That Bore the Cross For Me (When Every Step’s an Uphill Battle)”

The Living Bread is Real: Real Justification and Life by the Real Death of Jesus

“Take, eat, this is My body, broken for you.”

“Take, all of you. This cup is My blood of the New Covenant, shed for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

“Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood will live because of Me, even as I live because of the living Father who sent Me, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

“Whoever comes to Me will never be hungry and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty.”

In the beginning was God the Word, the eternal Self-Revelation of the Father, His perfect Image, true God from true God. They made man and woman in Their image, after Their likeness. This, alone, is tremendous: think about it for a moment, until you stand over-awed by it: God Himself made a creature in His own likeness. It is overwhelming. But, this is only the beginning. This man and woman sin, choose lonely death over the Divine Life, by believing a lie over their Creator, the Truth. They choose to eat of the forbidden Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, of which their Creator had told them that if they eat of it they will surely die, instead of eating the fruit of the Tree of Life, which God had given to them along with all the other trees of the Garden. Continue reading “The Living Bread is Real: Real Justification and Life by the Real Death of Jesus”

Election is About You and God, Not Your Neighbor

“I will show mercy on whom I show mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. So, then, it depends not on him who runs nor on him who wills, but on God who shows mercy.”

“Who are you, a man, to argue back with God? Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, ‘Why did You make me thus?’”

Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me.” And, Peter followed him along the shore, but looking back he saw another disciple following, and he said to Jesus, “But, Lord, what of him?” and Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me.”

“And the disciple whom Jesus loved reclined with his head on the Lord’s breast.”

God is Personal, and He relates to us personally. I believe that Jesus’ response to Peter, “What is that to you? You follow me,” is applicable to far more than questions about the length of life and manner of death of other people. We know God personally; we know God as He relates to us, as He reveals Himself to us; we know God in His Son, Jesus Christ.

The Gospel of St. John bears witness to the fact that we stand alone before God. Throughout it, the author refers to himself, never by name, but as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” This is further accentuated when Jesus says, “What is that to you? You follow me.” This same Gospel also records these words, “I call My own by name, and they follow Me,” and the interaction between the Risen Lord and Mary of Magdala outside of the tomb, where He says, “Mary!” and instantly she recognizes Him and says, “Rabboni!” Continue reading “Election is About You and God, Not Your Neighbor”

The Reason: The Love of Jesus (It’s Not About Hell)

The Love of God is so good and the worthiness of Jesus is so great that no other motivation is required, or even desired, to come to Jesus or to tell others about Him.

No treasure compares to the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ. No happiness compares to the joy of knowing Jesus. No beauty is lovely beside Him. No goodness is desirable beside Him. He contains in Himself, He is Himself, the reason why His people love Him. We are in awe of the God who became Man, who walked among us, the Omnipotent, All-powerful One who shared our limitations, the Perfect One who shared our pains and sorrows, the Life that was nailed to a cross and hung to die for us, and who rose triumphant from the grave. Continue reading “The Reason: The Love of Jesus (It’s Not About Hell)”