Does your journaling read like this?

A couple of weeks ago I posted a review about an album I had received, Timeless Quaker Wisdom in Plainsong. Then this past Saturday morning I was looking over some books at home and saw Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism (edited by Bernard McGinn) (This link will take you to the book at Amazon.com and if purchased from that link will reward me with a few pennies.)

As I flipped through some of the pages I happened to stop at pages 360-361, which was an excerpt from George Fox’s Journal. I thought it a funny coincidence following up on the album pairing quotes from Quaker writers with plainsong.

And then my eyes fell to this –

“But as I had forsaken the priests, so I left the separate preachers also, and those esteemed the most experienced people, for I saw that there was none among them who could speak to my condition. When all my hopes in them and in all men were gone, so that I had nothing outwardly to help me, nor could I tell what to do, then oh, then, I heard a voice which said: “There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition”; and when I heard it, my heart did leap for joy.”

“Then the Lord let me see why there was none on earth who could speak to my condition, namely, that I might give him all glory …. that Jesus might have the preeminence, who enlightens, and gives grace, and faith and power. Then when God doth work, who shall hinder it? And this I knew experimentally.”

“My desire after the Lord grew stronger, and zeal in the pure knowledge of God, and of Christ alone, without the help of any man, book, or writing. For though I read the Scriptures that spoke of Christ and of God, yet I knew him not, but by revelation, as he who hath the key did open (Rev 3:7), and as the Father of Life drew me to his Son by his Spirit. Then the Lord gently led me along, and let me see his love, which was endless and eternal, surpassing all the knowledge that men have in the natural state, or can obtain from history or books, and that love let me see myself as I was without him.”

I remember reading something from Fox’s journal years ago and had a hard time understanding him but when I read these words the other day, they seemed so clear and sensible.

Is that, in part at least, what Fox is writing about? There comes a time when you hear The Spirit’s Voice and all else begins to fall in place from there.

Can you recall a time (or times) when you so clearly heard The Spirit’s Voice, it made “perfect” sense, and you had a clear vision of where to go from there?

Give it a moment or two or three (or more) and see what comes to mind.

May I interrupt your thoughts for a moment to offer you something from my experience.

I recall an early morning class in church history in which the professor always offered at the beginning of class a thought from a writer he considered worth hearing from.

That morning he read a couple of sentences from Thomas Merton. I think it was the first time I heard of Thomas Merton and I KNOW it was the first time I HEARD Thomas Merton. It was as though Merton spoke directly in my soul. It was truly a deeply spiritual moment. If I had not been so intimidated by the class, I might have shouted “AMEN!” I didn’t. But that day began my reading of Merton and began my finding some of the depths in his writing. I am sure I have missed more of the deep things he wrote about, than I have noticed, but I am thankful for what the professor offered that day.

What inbreaking of The Spirit can you recall today? Can you express thankfulness for those divine moments?

Charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}


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