Amy was around all weekend, keeping me, for the most part, away from the computer. So, she’s gone away, again, and I’m back to my posting.
This time the reading is from Mark the Ascetic, and since they are short little texts, I’m gathering a few that stuck out to me in my reading today:
First of all, we know that GOd is the beginning, middle, and end of everything good; and it is impossible for us to have faith in anything good or to carry it into effect except in Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
This isn’t particularly a new revelation. But, I feel it worth quoting because it’s not uncommon for people to charge monastics with a form of works righteousness. First, God works. Always, first God works.
When reading the Holy Scriptures, he who is humble and engaged in spiritual work will apply everything to himself and not to someone else.
This has been an important, continual, reminder for me. It’s so easy, especially when mad at church and christian leaders, to read the challenges in Scripture and say, “Yeah! They should have done that.” It builds the ego and adds a bit of righteous justification. Only, no one is helped by that. The Spirit is speaking to me, not to them, in my own personal reading. I have to trust God’s ability to speak to others. Meanwhile, I cannot settle in my own deficiencies just because someone else has other deficiencies. Instead, I should say, “Yeah, I should do that.” Everyone wins.
If a man has some spiritual gift and feels compassion for those who do not have it, he preserves the gift because of his compassion. But a boastful man will lose it through succumbing to the temptation of boastfulness.
Boasting can take a lot of forms. Sometimes the worst are not through words, but through self-promotion and denigrating others. We alienate others who we do not want to shine as we want to shine. The spiritual gifts are, according to 1 Corinthians 14, for the edification of the body of Christ. We are to help others, not highlight ourselves. We are to build others up, not promote our own abilities. We are to participate with others in a shared journey towards maturity, not put on a show so everyone can see how talented or spiritual we are. God is watching, and the gifts he gives he can also take away.
At the times when you remember God, increase your prayers, so that when you forget Him, the Lord may remind you.