Below are photos from my recent trip to the Black Hills of western South Dakota with three quotes that I read during the trip. They speak to what religion is, not as what it is too often twisted or misconstrued to be. Religion, quite simply, is man’s communing with God.
Religious who are wholly consecrated to the service of God by their vows practice the virtue of religion in the highest degree, provided they fulfill their obligations “in spirit and in truth.” But even those who are not bound by vows should try in all their acts to have the intention of performing them for the glory, honor, and service of God; therefore, they should do them in such a way that they can be presented to Him as acts of homage, offering, and sacrifice. Thus the virtue of religion is not confined to the hours of prayer; it embraces our whole life, transforming it into one continual act of homage to God, in imitation of the life of Jesus and in union with it. (emphasis mine) – Divine Intimacy, #281 – Justice & Religion, page. 817.
It is a law of man’s nature, written into his very essence, and just as much a part of him as the desire to build houses and cultivate the land and marry and have children and read books and sing songs, that he should want to stand together with other men in order to acknowledge their common dependence on God, their Father and Creator. In fact, this desire is much more fundamental than any purely physical necessity. – Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain
“I searched the world over for God and found Him in my heart,” said Augustine. In the heart of the believer a still small voice speaks in clearest accents, bearing “witness with our spirits that we are the children of God.” Nothing on earth is so heavenly as that—so like “the voice of angels singing in the silence.” It is as clear as bells at eventime. It is assuring like the familiar voice of a friend beloved. The Holy Spirit speaking in the secret chambers of the heart is the climax of God’s revelation to us! – Leaves of Gold, page 108.
[All photos taken by this blog’s author. As always, click to enlarge them for better viewing.]