The question of why evil exists is not a theological question, for it assumes that it is possible to go behind the existence forced upon us as sinners. If we could answer it then we would not be sinners. We could make something else responsible...The theological question does not arise about the origin of evil but about the real overcoming of evil on the Cross; it ask for the forgiveness of guilt, for the reconciliation of the fallen world
Still more pathetic is the total collapse of moral fanaticism. Fanatics think that their single-minded principles qualify them to do battle with the powers of evil; but like a bull they rush at the red cloak instead of the person who is holding it; he exhausts himself and is beaten. He gets entangled in non-essentials and falls into the trap set by cleverer people.
The Psalter is the prayer book of Jesus Christ in the truest sense of the word. He prayed the Psalter and now it has become his prayer for all time...we understand how the Psalter can be prayer to God and yet God's own Word, precisely because here we encounter the praying Christ...because those who pray the psalms are joining in with the prayer of Jesus Christ, their prayer reaches the ears of God. Christ has become their intercessor...
Disciples will not be weakened by suffering, worn down, and embittered until they are broken. Instead, they bear suffering, by the power of him who supports them. The disciples bear the suffering laid on them only by the power of him who bears all suffering on the cross. As bearers of suffering, they stand in communion with the Crucified.
Nothing can fill the gap when we are away from those we love, and it would be wrong to try to find anything.....It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap; he does not fill it, but keeps it empty so that our communion with another may be kept alive, even at the cost of pain.
If any want to become my followers," Jesus says. Following him is not something that is self-evident, even among the disciples. No one can be forced, no one can be expected to follow him. ... "If any want to follow me, they must deny themselves ... and take up their cross.
No one has yet believed in God and the kingdom of heaven, no one has heard about his realm of the resurrected, and not been homesick from that hour, waiting and looking forward joyfully to being released from bodily existenceDeath is hell and night and cold, if it is not transformed by our faith. But that is just what is so marvelous, that we can transform death.
If there is no element of asceticism in our lives, if we give free rein to the desires of the flesh (taking care of course to keep within the limits of what seems permissible to the world), we shall find it hard to train for the service of Christ. When the flesh is satisfied it is hard to pray with cheerfulness or to devote oneself to a life of service which calls for much self-renunciation.
Judgement is the forbidden objectivization of the other person which destroys single-minded love. I am not forbidden to have my own thoughts about the other person, to realize his shortcomings, but only to the extent that it offers to me an occasion for forgiveness and unconditional love, as Jesus proves to me.
The love for our enemies takes us along the way of the cross and into fellowship with the Crucified. The more we are driven along this road, the more certain is the victory of love over the enemy's hatred. For then it is not the disciple's own love, but the love of Jesus Christ alone, who for the sake of his enemies went to the cross and prayed for them as he hung there.
It is not that God's help and presence must still be proved in our life; rather God's presence and help have been demonstrated for us in the life of Jesus Christ. It is in fact more important for us to know what God did to Israel, in God's Son Jesus Christ, than to discover what God intends for us today. The fact that Jesus Christ died is more important than the fact that I will die. And the fact that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead is the sole ground of my hope that I, too, will be raised... Read more »
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.' Not only do the followers of Jesus renounce their rights, they renounce their own righteousness too. They get no praise for their achievements or sacrifices. They cannot have righteousness except by hungering and thirsting for it (this applies equally to their own righteousness and to the righteousness of God on Earth), always they look forward to the future righteousness of God, but they cannot establish it for themselves. Those who follow Jesus grow hungry and thirsty on the way.
How wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge. . . . We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don't know; God wants us to realize his presence, not in unsolved problems but in those that are solved. . . . God is no stop-gap; he must be recognized as the center of life, not when we are at the end of our resources.
Oh, give our frightened souls the sure salvation for which, O Lord, You taught us to prepare. And when this cup You give is filled to brimming with bitter suffering, hard to understand, we take it thankfully and without trembling, out of so good and so beloved a hand. Yet when again in this same world You give us the joy we had, the brightness of Your Sun, we shall remember all the days we lived through, and our whole life shall then be Yours alone.