Day 27 – freedom?

Today is an important day. But, as is now traditional, it will pass in solitude and quiet. I did my usual things this morning: feed the cat, pray, and meditate. I had to get some items ready for church tomorrow. But before that I did another Covid test – still negative.

I have been thinking a lot of freedom. Freedom is a necessity for love. With out free choice there is no love for the other. So freedom, in what ever form it comes, is about the ability to chose another. Or, freedom to love.

I think the modern idea is the opposite: freedom from responsibility. There is a sense that freedom is the human right to “do what you want” and thereby making it right. When I cannot do what I want, I am no longer free – I am enslaved. Freedom does not, however, remove the consequences, nor the responsibility for my actions.

I am not sure I have a real understanding of freedom yet. I think there is a sense in which the anchorite life, especially in the anchorite guidance literature, is all about being free for Jesus. Removing the temporal to focus on the eternal. The anchorite of old knows they are on the threshold but their focus is on the eternal Word. So it is freedom to be present now with Jesus.

Anyway, what would I know!

… living sacrifice

So last night at Evening Prayer, the reading was from Romans 12. Every time I read that text, or hear it read, I think I should reflect on it more. Especially I was struck by verse 2 – don’t copy (as the NLT translates) the world. I think if there is a text that is foundational to my understanding of anchoritic life, it must be Romans 12:1-2:

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2

When I have time (how ironic is that!) I will look up the Greek words used for “sacrifice” and “acceptable”.

As I was reading a book about the Heart of Jesus, I was struck by a quote from Mary of the Divine Heart:

I began to understand that without the spirit of sacrifice, the love of the Heart of Jesus is merely an illusion.

Mary of the Divine Heart

Ok, right! Starting to get it, I think. And at the end of Mass today (as always), I said this prayer:

Father, we offer ourselves to you as a living sacrifice through Jesus Christ our Lord. Send us out in the power of your Spirit to live and work to your praise and glory.

APBA, 144

So love for Jesus and the spirit of sacrifice – of love that surrenders all for the other – are intimately connected. So now I need to be honest and ask: what about me? Do I live the life of sacrifice? Do I live a life of love for Jesus? Where am I failing?

So one last quote from Kierkegaard:

No, the test in which this woman is tried is: to love her Savior more than her sin.

Discourses at the Communion on Fridays

Heart of Jesus, I trust in you!

Day 9

I thought I would sit down and write a little before the day gets ahead of me.

It has been a hard start: I could not get the words out for Morning Pray, found no peace during meditation, and was very distracted during the streamed Mass. I have had two days of being with people so maybe it is a “people hangover”?

I was hoping to sit down today with my friends Soren, Julian, and Thomas. (And of course, with my friend Jesus.) But at the moment my mind is racing and my heart is all over the place.

So I am fighting the urge to eat for comfort, or to simply watch TV for the rest of the day. Please pray for me today and especially tomorrow.

Heart of Jesus, have mercy.

being me?

Today, in Australia, is a public holiday for the Queen’s Birthday. So in honour of Her Royal Majesty, I have been watching the UK version of Humans. It is based on Swedish series called Real Humans.

In short, AI (called “synths” in the show) becoming conscious – feeling, thinking, and living in freedom. They embody various human traits – caring, agression, “philosopher”, etc. I like the way the UK does TV!

While the consciousness theme is fascinating, I have been struck by a question repeated throughout the series: “what is it like to be you?”. Of course, there is no answer because there is no point of reference. The question illustrates Existential Loneliness – only I know what it is like to be me. And the quote on my email signature comes to mind:

The formula that describes the state of the self when despair is completely rooted out is this: in relating itself to itself and in willing to be itself, the self rests transparently in the power that established it.


I feel like a large part of modern life is all about avoiding the question or escaping into “false answers”. (Doesn’t Merton write about that in No Man is An Island?) So the most important question in my life, who am I?, has to be faced alone before God. I can try to give an answer to others. But there is absolutely no need to justifiy myself to others – my beliefs or my actions. There is only One to whom I must answer – “the power that established me”. In the end I have to answer to my Creator by being “me”. I have to hold in tension the various aspects of my life – freedom and necessaity are at the top of my life at the moment.

So may the Heart of Jesus have mercy on you today!