Thursday, September 11, 2014

Marcus Loane: When all human strength turns into weakness

I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of feedback from yesterday’s post on Archbishop Marcus Loane. So, I will share with you over the next few days the handful of quotations I have from his writings. They are rich fare. Today’s is from his 1968 book, The hope of glory: an exposition of the eighth chapter in the ‘Epistle to the Romans.’

We know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.  (Romans 8:22-27)

Archbishop Loane writes:

“St Paul strove to pile one reason for confidence on another: as hope sustains the sons of God, so the Spirit helps them in their weakness. He does not remove the cause of groaning, but He does support them in their travail. He is ready to help like an unseen friend who stands by their side and takes their hand into his own firm clasp . . . The deep inward longing of a man’s heart may be hard to define in words, and he may be keenly aware of the lack of coherent utterance. If the world of nature groans in travail, can the children of God escape from its manifold suffering? No, they cannot; but the Spirit Himself will draw near to impart strength to their soul even when they falter so much that they do not know how to pray. It is in such an hour of felt weakness that the Holy Spirit draws near to act for us in grace: but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (R.V). There are crises in life when all human strength turns into weakness; it is then that, left to ourselves, we find that we do not even know how to pray. But the Holy Spirit is the divine source and spring of intercession in our inmost being and He moves in the soul in such a way that His mysterious groaning mingles with ours.” 


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