Three Turns of Thought. Of Bitterness. Of Oppression and Confession.

  1. Bitterness of soul arises from words, seeming too sharp for speech, that ferment in the mute dark. Would speech be the uncorking that releases thoughts to the open air and sweetens their effect? What if they are indeed poison—a cure for the speaker to pour yet new bitterness for the hearer to drink? Is there no one who can drink this cup to the dregs and still live?
  2. In “getting things off the chest,” one lays burdens on others. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ teaches that one must not seek healing at the expense of another, for one already has healing at the expense of this man who endured all burdens beyond death. Has he been crucified in vain? Has he overcome death without effect? One must confess without oppressing—that is, confess to this Wonderful Counselor who can bear and has already borne all burdens.
  3. Bitterness of soul arises in the absence of confession. The Father unwounded hears and in the wounding of his Son heals.
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A Criticism. Of a Maxim Misattributed to Francis of Assisi.

Francis of Assisi never wrote the following maxim, attributed to him since the late twentieth century:

Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words.

The maxim’s implication is contrary to Francis’s work as a writer. It also flies in the face of the whole ministry of Jesus, who—before, during, and after the great deed of the crucifixion—preached with words, which are “spirit and life.”

Two Reflections on the Repetition of a Word. Of the Gospel or Good News.

  1. A good word that I spoke has been repeated to me, and it seems as if I had never said it, as if I have heard it now newly, freshly. This upbuilding word is the message of Christ’s blood covering our sins. And I am built up today. How humbling, too, to be made aware that this good word, even when I spoke it years ago, was not of me but for me! – There nothing in my best words that is mine; there is nothing about which I can boast, except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. Good news that I spoke years ago has rebounded to me. But why am I amazed that this good news is still good and still new? My sluggish heart prays, “Dissipe le sommeil d’une âme languissante qui la conduit à l’oubli de tes lois!”

Two Related, Horrifying Maxims. Of Falling Away. Of Impossibility.

In the case of those who have once been illumined, have tasted the heavenly gift, have shared in the Holy Spirit, have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away—it is impossible to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

—Hebrews 6.4-6

It is impossible to love a second time what we truly stopped loving.

—La Rochefoucauld, Maxim 286