In This Issue:
From the Director
When I encounter someone who is suffering, my instinctive inclination is to offer comfort and assurance. Thomas a Kempis does not handle it in that way. He offers the literary equivalent of a swift kick in the pants: "Jesus has always many who love His heavenly kingdom, but few who bear His cross. He has many who desire consolation, but few who care for trial. He finds many to share His table, but few to take part in His fasting. All desire to be happy with Him; few wish to suffer anything for Him."* "You complain about your suffering," he seems to say, "but remember Jesus' suffering for you. Will you not suffer for him?"
At a time when I was suffering, this take hit me like a slap in the face. It made me angry, but it was a needed antidote to my own self-centered and weak-faithed perspective. Thomas' Imitation of Christ was very helpful for me at that time. In fact, it was the reason I started the CCEL.
Featured VolunteerKevin Spalding
The CCEL has long depended on volunteers. Most of our volunteer hours are logged proofreading and installing books, but there are a variety of other tasks available at the CCEL, such as leading discussion groups, researching book information, and writing author biographies and book summaries. Kevin Spalding has been trail blazing new territory by recording audio books. He recently emailed us this update:
I started working out of town a few months back and got to know someone in the building who I had shared copies of my recordings with on an audio CD. That friend then shared them with someone else in the building who I didn't know. As the second person listened, he thought, "This sounds so familiar." Come to find out, he had already discovered the recordings I had done on the CCEL website last year! When I caught up with him he told me how much they had meant to him in his struggles when he first listened and then how blest he was to meet the narrator working in his same building! You may never know who your work reaches and touches. I never cease to be amazed at just how God works!By the way, the CCEL has recently added a new task to our list of volunteering opportunities. We are looking for a few volunteers to look up the Library of Congress Control Number for the books in our library. Find tasks at our Volunteer page or contact Ken Verhulst if you would be interested in helping us out with this or other volunteer tasks.
Learn more about volunteering for the CCEL
Featured HymnO God, Our Help in Ages Past by Isaac Watts
Considered one of the finest paraphrases written by Isaac Watts, "O God, Our Help in Ages Past" expresses a strong note of assurance, promise, and hope in the Lord as recorded in the first part of Psalm 90, even though the entire psalm has a recurring theme of lament. Watts wrote the paraphrase in nine stanzas around 1714 and first published the text in his Psalms of David (1719).... The first line, originally "Our God, our help ... ," was changed to "O God, our help ..." by John Wesley in his Collection of Psalms and Hymns (1738).
Featured ClassicThe Hexameron by Basil the Great (329-379)
The Hexameron is the title of nine homilies delivered by St. Basil on the cosmogony of the opening chapters of Genesis.... They are Lenten sermons, delivered at both the morning and evening services, and appear to have been listened to by working men. Some words in Homily 8 have confirmed the opinion that they were preached extempore, in accordance with what is believed to have been Basil's ordinary practice.... In earlier ages, it was the most celebrated and admired of Basil's works. ... "Whenever I take his Hexameron in hand," says Gregory of Nazianzus, "and quote its words, I am brought face to face with my Creator: I begin to understand the method of creation: I feel more awe than ever I did before, when I only looked at God's work with my eyes."
Anselm (1033-1109), from Devotions of Saint Anselm, Meditation 1:
Awake, my soul, awake! show your spirit, arouse your senses, shake off the sluggishness of that deadly heaviness that is upon you, begin to take care for your salvation. Let the idleness of vain imaginations be put to flight, let go of sloth, hold fast to diligence. Be instant in holy meditations, cleave to the good things which are of God: leaving that which is temporal, give heed to that which is eternal. Now in this godly employment of your mind, to what can you turn your thoughts more wholesomely and profitably than to the sweet contemplations of your Creator's immeasurable benefits toward you. Consider therefore the greatness and dignity that he bestowed upon you at the beginning of your creation; and judge for yourself with what love and reverence he ought to be worshipped.
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