The Artist’s Life [Excerpt]

Are you a born writer? Were you born on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action. Do it or don’t do it.

It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer or write as symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children. You hurt me. you hurt the planet. You shame the angels who watch over you and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God.

Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.

only your actions can answer

St Thomas Aquinas’ Prayer

One’s prayer life is often a great indicator of how their walk is. Shallow relationship with God is often a product of a lack of prayer. Intimacy with God is often a product of prayer. The quality of prayers (for a lack of a better terms) is indicative of where we are in our walk with God. If there is ever such a thing as a “profound prayers”, I’ve come across some from St. Thomas Aquinas. Such prayers could only be products of an intimate relationship with God. 

Below is one of Thomas Aquinas’ prayers that I echo.  Hope it impacts you, at least, as much as it impacted me.

O Lord my God, help me to be
obedient without reserve,
poor without servility,
chaste without compromise,
humble without pretense,
joyful without depravity,
serious without affectation,
active without frivolty,
submissive without bitterness,
truthful without duplicity,
fruitful in good works without presumption,
quick to revive my neighbor without haughtiness,
and quick to edify others by word and example without simulation.

Grant me, O Lord, an ever-watchful heart that no alien thought can lure away from You;
a noble heart that no base love can sully;
an upright heart that no perverse intention can lead astray;
an invincible heart that no distress can overcome;
an unfettered heart that no impetuous desires can enchain.

O Lord my God, also bestow upon me understanding to know You,
zeal to seek You,
wisdom to find You,
a life that is pleasing to You,
unshakable perseverance,
and a hope that will one day take hold of You.

May I do penance here below and patiently bear your chastisements.
May I also receive the benefits of your grace,
in order to taste your heavenly joys and contemplate your glory.
Amen.

Following Hard After God (An Excerpt)

I thought I’d share some of the excerpts from different places that have moved me and moved me hard… I hope this one also rattles, challenges and changes you the way it did with me…

O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing. I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory. I pray Thee that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “rise up, my love, my fair one and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wondered so long. In Jesus’ name. Amen – A. W. Tozer

I got this excerpt from A.W. Tozer in The Pursuit of God. Tozer opened each chapter with a prayer and the excerpt is a prayer opening the chapter, “Following Hard After God” You can download the book free here

Changing The World, God, You & Obstacles – An Excerpt

I thought I’d share an excerpt from one of my most recent readings. A practical book on changing the world, laden with challenge. If you want to change the world like me, I’d recommend you read it. The book is “Passions is Not Enough – 4 Elements To Change The World” by Greg Darley. The particular excerpt I’ll share is what I’ve been pondering:

There are eternal consequences that hang in the balance of your decisions that you may never know about… [Like James and John when they left their father with the fishing nets and followed Jesus] Are there nets in your life that you need to drop? Maybe it’s your college decision, your career path, or the family business. By doing this you show yourself and the world that you care more about pleasing God than anyone else. By doing so, you will change the world in greater ways than you ever thought possible. Now there’s one more person to convince that you can change the world. [You!]

I’m reflecting. How have I been an obstacle to myself? Also, very important – What nets do I need to drop? Perhaps it’s the fear of failure I need to readdress… maybe the voice of someone I respect greatly… or the net of entertaining mostly the thoughts of why it might not work…

What nets do you need to drop in order to fulfill the God-given dreams to change the world?

Prayer & Faith – An Excerpt

I’ve shared a couple of excerpts that have impacted me greatly, at different times… They’re also a glimpse into some of the books I’ve read in the past and highly recommend… Today’s excerpt is from a “classic” on prayer and faith:

“A dear friend of mine who was quite a lover of the chase, told me the following story: ‘Rising early one morning,’ he said, ‘I heard the baying of a score of deerhounds in pursuit of their quarry. Looking away to a broad, open field in front of me, I saw a young fawn making its way across, and giving signs, moreover, that its race was well-nigh run. Reaching the rails of the enclosure, it leaped over and crouched within ten feet from where I stood. A moment later two of the hounds came over, when the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my legs. I lifted the little thing to my breast, and, swinging round and round, fought off the dogs. I felt, just then, that all the dogs in the West could not, and should not capture that fawn after its weakness had appealed to my strength.’ So is it, when human helplessness appeals to Almighty God. Well do I remember when the hounds of sin were after my soul, until, at last, I ran into the arms of Almighty God.”

The excerpt is from A.C. Dixon in E.M. Bound’s book, The Necessity of Prayer… You can download The Necessity of Prayer here

.

.