Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I Shall Praise Him Here

This image of St. Peter in chains touches me on a couple of levels. 

First, the bars remind me of monastery grillwork.  St. Peter would not have thought of any such thing, of course, but I do.  I think of seeing all circumstances, even what Peter was enduring here, through the "grillwork of the will of God."  I'm reminded that "God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28)

Second, my mind goes to others who have been imprisoned for the sake of the Gospel.  In Acts 16, we read of Paul and Silas thrown into jail after having been given "many lashes."  Their feet were chained to a stake.  Surely they were miserable.  Surely if I had been in their position, I would have been complaining and grumbling and feeling sorry for myself.

But were Paul and Silas whining, shouting with anger, weeping, groaning?  No.  They were praying and singing hymns to God.  The other prisoners heard them.  There was an earthquake.  Everyone's chains fell off.  The jailer was converted to Christ...

I have long thought that a truly cloistered heart would be like the hearts of Paul and Silas in prison.  A cloistered heart is, ideally, one on whose lips are songs of praise.  There are prisoners all around us, gloomy, sad-faced persons locked in misery and anger and despair.  They must be shown the joy of freedom, the joy to be had in God.  The prisoners must hear us.  A radiant heart cloistered in Christ will sing to them, is meant to sing to them, is meant to witness to the One Who can unlock all our chains.  (taken from The Cloistered Heart)

"Praised be the Lord, I exclaim, and I am safe from my enemies."  (Psalm18:4) 

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