Monday, April 23, 2018

The Moment

“It may be true that the story of the Ring [The Lord of the Rings] is less morally ambiguous than the average realistic novel, but that’s primarily because Tolkien wasn’t especially interested in the problem of knowing right from wrong. His concern was to explore the psychology of the moment when you know right from wrong but aren’t sure whether you have the courage and fortitude to do the right thing.”
~Alan Jacobs

Sunday, April 22, 2018

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need

My Shepherd will supply my need:
Jehovah is His Name;
In pastures fresh He makes me feed,
Beside the living stream.
He brings my wandering spirit back
When I forsake His ways,
And leads me, for His mercy's sake,
In paths of truth and grace.

When I walk through the shades of death
Thy presence is my stay;
One word of Thy supporting breath
Drives all my fears away.
Thy hand, in sight of all my foes,
Doth still my table spread;
My cup with blessings overflows,
Thine oil anoints my head.

The sure provisions of my God
Attend me all my days;
O may Thy house be my abode,
And all my work be praise.
There would I find a settled rest,
While others go and come;
No more a stranger, nor a guest,
But like a child at home.

Author: Isaac Watts (1719)
Tune: RESIGNATION (Southern Harmony)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Graves of God

O Graves of God,
Live stones of faith!
Spires of hope
That pierce the sullen skies,
Draw earthwards promised fire:
New life born of God!

Sin like a festering flower
Died in the death of God.
God/Man was raised by God:
All are raised in power!

I see the grave and Christ ascending,
The empty tomb and mercy pending;
And in the Blood of sacrifice
Resplendent the spires of Paradise!

~a Carthusian monk

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Power of the Aggressor

“Have you ever wondered, perhaps, why opinions which the majority of people quite naturally hold are, if anyone dares express them publicly, denounced as ‘controversial, ‘extremist’, ‘explosive’, ‘disgraceful’, and overwhelmed with a violence and venom quite unknown to debate on mere political issues? It is because the whole power of the aggressor depends upon preventing people from seeing what is happening and from saying what they see.”
~Enoch Powell

Thursday, April 19, 2018

As the snow continues to fall...

...I am thinking about the verse from this hymn during Eastertide:

Spring is in our hearts today;
Christ has burst his prison
And from three days’ sleep in death
As a sun has risen.
All the winter of our sins,
Long and dark, is flying
From his light, to whom we give
Song and praise undying.

(Partial re-post -- See here for full post)

~Music: Johann Horn & Text: St. John of Damascus (Trans. John Mason Neale)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Fairy Tales Are For Adults Too

“The value of fairy stories lies in the fact that they serve as a lens by which the heavenly can be seen on the earth, a lens by which the deepest and most important realities are grasped. They allow us to judge evil from the perspective of the good, and the imperfect from the perspective of perfection...”
~Joseph Pearce

“But I deal here with what ethic and philosophy come from being fed on fairy tales. If I were describing them in detail I could note many noble and healthy principles that arise from them. There is the chivalrous lesson of ‘Jack the Giant Killer’; that giants should be killed because they are gigantic. It is a manly mutiny against pride as such... There is the lesson of ‘Cinderella,’ which is the same as that of the Magnificat—exaltavit humiles. There is the great lesson of ‘Beauty and the Beast’; that a thing must be loved before it is loveable. There is the terrible allegory of the ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ which tells how the human creature was blessed with all birthday gifts, yet cursed with death; and how death also may perhaps be softened to a sleep. But I am not concerned with any of the separate statutes of elfland, but with the whole spirit of its law, which I learnt before I could speak, and shall retain when I cannot write. I am concerned with a certain way of looking at life, which was created in me by the fairy tales, but has since been meekly ratified by the mere facts.”
~G. K. Chesterton (from Orthodoxy)

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
~Albert Einstein (re-post)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Hope

“Whenever we base our hope on trust in the divine mystery, we feel deep down in our hearts: there is someone who is waiting for you, who is hoping for you, who believes in you. We are waited for as the prodigal son in the parable is waited for by his father. We are accepted and received, as a mother takes her children into her arms and comforts them. God is our last hope because we are God's first love.”
~Jürgen Moltmann

Monday, April 16, 2018

When I Love My God

“I do love light and melody and fragrance and food and embrace when I love my God—the light and the voice and the fragrance and the food and embrace in the soul, when that light shines upon my soul which no place can contain, that voice sounds which no time can take from me, I breathe that fragrance which no wind scatters, I eat the food which is not lessened by eating, and I lie in the embrace which satiety never comes to sunder.
. . . And I talked with You as friends talk . . .”
~St. Augustine (from Confessions)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

At The Lamb’s High Feast We Sing

At the Lamb’s high feast we sing,
Praise to our victorious king,
Who hath washed us in the tide
Flowing from his piercèd side;
Praise we Him, whose love divine
Gives His sacred blood for wine,
Gives His body for the feast,
Christ the victim, Christ the priest.

Where the Paschal blood is poured,
Death’s dark angel sheathes his sword;
Israel’s hosts triumphant go
Through the wave that drowns the foe.
Praise we Christ, whose blood was shed,
Paschal victim, paschal bread;
With sincerity and love
Eat we manna from above.

Mighty victim from the sky,
Hell’s fierce powers beneath Thee lie;
Thou hast conquered in the fight,
Thou hast brought us life and light;
Now no more can death appall,
Now no more the grave enthrall;
Thou hast opened paradise,
And in Thee Thy saints shall rise.

Paschal triumph, Easter joy,
Only sin can this destroy;
From sin’s death do Thou set free
Souls reborn, O Lord, in Thee.
Hymns of glory and of praise,
Father, to Thee we raise;
Risen Lord, all praise to Thee,
Ever with the Spirit be.

~Words: Unknown author, probably 6th Century (Ad regias Agni dapes); translated from Latin to English by Robert Campbell & Music: Jacob Hintze

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Silence

“When silence is prolonged over a certain period of time, it takes on new meaning.”
~Yukio Mishima

Friday, April 13, 2018

And The Days Are Not Full Enough

And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
       Not shaking the grass

~Ezra Pound

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Gravity

“For Thou has made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee.”
~St. Augustine

“God is a looming presence. His very existence instilled in all human hearts (and, indeed, in the hearts of all His creatures, in the hearts of the angelic hosts quite as much as in Augustine) a restless yearning, a sense of being, somehow, forever out of place. This was a sense as universal as the law of gravity, as ancient persons understood that law: that is, not as a law of attraction, so much as a desire for completeness, as fierce and as unfailing as the homing instinct of a bird; a wish to come to rest in the source of one’s being. The heart fretted for God much as the flames of a fire flickered upwards, straining to rejoin the distant light of the stars, or a stone sank, with mute satisfaction, into the embrace of the earth. But why, in human beings, beings endowed with free will, did this take so long? This, and not the obvious facts of a career, had become, for Augustine, the true stuff of autobiography. The Confessions is not a book about what had happened in Augustine’s past. It is a book about why what should have happened took so long to happen.”
~Peter Brown

“Late have I loved Thee, O Beauty so ancient and so new; late have I loved Thee! For behold Thou wert within me, and I outside [but] . . . Thou didst touch me, and I burn for Thy peace.”
~St. Augustine

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Integrity

“If a man isn’t willing to take some risk for his opinions, either his opinions are no good or he’s no good.”
~Ezra Pound

“Evil draws its power from indecision and concern for what other people think.”
~Benedict XVI

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The World and Boredom

“The world is eaten up by boredom.... You can’t see it all at once. It is like dust. You go about and never notice, you breathe it in, you eat and drink it. It is sifted so fine, it doesn’t even grit on your teeth. But stand still for an instant and there it is, coating your face and hands. To shake off this drizzle of ashes you must be for ever on the go. And so people are always ‘on the go’.”
~Georges Bernanos

Monday, April 9, 2018

Art

“The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.”
~William Faulkner

Sunday, April 8, 2018

There’s A Wideness In God’s Mercy

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in His justice,
Which is more than liberty.

There is welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the good;
There is mercy with the Savior;
There is healing in His blood.

There is plentiful redemption
In the blood that has been shed;
There is joy for all the members
In the sorrows of the Head.

Souls of men! why will ye scatter
Like a crowd of frightened sheep?
Foolish hearts! why will ye wander
From a love so true and deep?

For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of our mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.

~Words: Frederick Faber & Music: Lizzie Tourjée (partial re-post)

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Our Task

“...left to ourselves we lapse into a kind of collusion with entrophy, acquiescing in the general belief that things may be getting worse but that there's nothing much we can do about them. And we are wrong. Our task in the present...is to live as resurrection people in between Easter and the final day, with our Christian life, corporate and individual, in both worship and mission, as a sign of the first and a foretaste of the second.”
~N. T. Wright

Friday, April 6, 2018

Psalm 114(113.1) In exitu Israel

(Alleluia.)
1 When Israel came out of Egypt, and the sons of Jacob heard no more a strange language,
2 the Lord took Juda for his sanctuary, Israel for his own dominion.
3 The seas fled at the sight they witnessed, backward flowed the stream of Jordan;
4 up leapt, like rams, the startled mountains, up leapt the hills, like yearling sheep.
5 What ailed you, seas, that you fled in terror, Jordan’s stream, what drove thee back?
6 Why did you leap up like rams, you mountains, leap up, you hills, like yearling sheep?
7 Let earth thrill at its Master’s presence; it is he that comes, the God of Jacob,
8 who turned the rock into pools of water, the flint-stone into a springing well. (KNOX)

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Image of Jesus

“When you suffer, you are being conformed to the image of Jesus. When you pray, you are being made holy in the image of Jesus. When you quietly serve a person in need, you are being shaped into the image of Jesus. When you generously give, your heart is being remade into the image of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.”
~Allen Hunt

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Food for Risen Bodies – II

On that final night, his meal was formal:
lamb with bitter leaves of endive, chervil,
bread with olive oil and jars of wine.
Now on Tiberias’ shores he grills
a carp and catfish breakfast on a charcoal fire.
This is not hunger, this is resurrection:
he eats because he can, and wants to
taste the scales, the moist flakes of the sea,
to rub the salt into his wounds.

~Michael Symmons Roberts

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

I AM The Resurrection

John 11.25: I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in
me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.

How can you be the final resurrection?
That resurrection hasn’t happened yet.
Our broken world is still bent on destruction,
No sun can rise before that sun has set.
Our faith looks back to father Abraham
And forward to the one who is to come
How can you speak as though he knew your name?
How can you say: before he was I am?

Begin in me and I will read your riddle
And teach you truths my Spirit will defend
I am the End who meets you in the middle,
The new Beginning hidden in the End.
I am the victory, the end of strife
I am the resurrection and the life.

~Malcolm Guite

Monday, April 2, 2018

Joy of God’s Ransomed People

I give you thanks, O Lord;
though you have been angry with me,
your anger has abated, and you have consoled me.

God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the Lord,
and he has been my savior.

With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation, and say on that day:
Give thanks to the Lord, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.

Sing praise to the Lord for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.

Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!

~Isaiah 12:1-6

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Come, Ye Faithful, Raise The Strain


(Image found here)
Come, ye faithful, raise the strain of triumphant gladness;
God hath brought forth Israel into joy from sadness;
Loosed from Pharaoh’s bitter yoke Jacob’s sons and daughters,
Led them with unmoistened foot through the Red Sea waters.

’Tis the spring of souls today; Christ has burst His prison,
And from three days’ sleep in death as a sun hath risen;
All the winter of our sins, long and dark, is flying
From His light, to Whom we give laud and praise undying.

Now the queen of seasons, bright with the day of splendor,
With the royal feast of feasts, comes its joy to render;
Comes to glad Jerusalem, who with true affection
Welcomes in unwearied strains Jesus’ resurrection.

Neither might the gates of death, nor the tomb’s dark portal,
Nor the watchers, nor the seal hold Thee as a mortal;
But today amidst the twelve Thou didst stand, bestowing
That Thy peace which evermore passeth human knowing.

“Alleluia!” now we cry to our King immortal,
Who, triumphant, burst the bars of the tomb’s dark portal;
“Alleluia!” with the Son, God the Father praising,
“Alleluia!” yet again to the Spirit raising.

~Words: John of Damascus (675-749) (Αισωμεν πάντες Λαοί); translated from Greek to English by John Neale, 1859 & Music: St. Kevin, Arthur Sullivan, 1872
   

Saturday, March 31, 2018

XIV - Jesus is laid in the tomb


(Jesus Laid in the Tomb by Michael O'Brien - found here)
Here at the centre everything is still
Before the stir and movement of our grief
Which bears it’s pain with rhythm, ritual,
Beautiful useless gestures of relief.
So they anoint the skin that cannot feel
Soothing his ruined flesh with tender care,
Kissing the wounds they know they cannot heal,
With incense scenting only empty air.
He blesses every love that weeps and grieves
And makes our grief the pangs of a new birth.
The love that’s poured in silence at old graves
Renewing flowers, tending the bare earth,
Is never lost. In him all love is found
And sown with him, a seed in the rich ground.

~Malcolm Guite
 

Friday, March 30, 2018

XII - Jesus dies on the cross


(Picture found here)
The dark nails pierce him and the sky turns black
We watch him as he labours to draw breath
He takes our breath away to give it back,
Return it to it’s birth through his slow death.
We hear him struggle breathing through the pain
Who once breathed out his spirit on the deep,
Who formed us when he mixed the dust with rain
And drew us into consciousness from sleep.
His spirit and his life he breathes in all
Mantles his world in his one atmosphere
And now he comes to breathe beneath the pall
Of our pollutions, draw our injured air
To cleanse it and renew. His final breath
Breathes us, and bears us through the gates of death.

~Malcolm Guite
 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

X - Jesus is stripped of His garments


(Picture taken by me)
You can’t go on, you go on anyway
He goes with you, his cradle to your grave.
Now is the time to loosen, cast away
The useless weight of everything but love
For he began his letting go before,
Before the worlds for which he dies were made,
Emptied himself, became one of the poor,
To make you rich in him and unafraid.
See as they strip the robe from off his back
They strip away your own defences too
Now you could lose it all and never lack
Now you can see what naked Love can do
Let go these bonds beneath whose weight you bow
His stripping strips you both for action now

~Malcolm Guite
 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

III - Jesus falls the first time


(Picture found here)
He made the stones that pave the roads of Zion
And well he knows the path we make him tread
He met the devil as a roaring lion
And still refused to turn these stones to bread,
Choosing instead, as Love will always choose,
This darker path into the heart of pain.
And now he falls upon the stones that bruise
The flesh, that break and scrape the tender skin.
He and the earth he made were never closer,
Divinity and dust come face to face.
We flinch back from his via dolorosa,
He sets his face like flint and takes our place,
Staggers beneath the black weight of us all
And falls with us that he might break our fall.

~Malcolm Guite
   

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

II - Jesus is given his cross


(Picture found here)
He gives himself again with all his gifts
And now we give him something in return.
He gave the earth that bears, the air that lifts,
Water to cleanse and cool, fire to burn,
And from these elements he forged the iron,
From strands of life he wove the growing wood,
He made the stones that pave the roads of Zion
He saw it all and saw that it is good.
We took his iron to edge an axe’s blade,
We took the axe and laid it to the tree,
We made a cross of all that he has made,
And laid it on the one who made us free.
Now he receives again and lifts on high
The gifts he gave and we have turned awry.

~Malcolm Guite
  

Monday, March 26, 2018

I - Jesus is condemned to death


(Picture found here)
The very air that Pilate breathes, the voice
With which he speaks in judgment, all his powers
Of perception and discrimination, choice,
Decision, all his years, his days and hours,
His consciousness of self, his every sense,
Are given by this prisoner, freely given.
The man who stands there making no defence,
Is God. His hands are tied, His heart is open.
And he bears Pilate’s heart in his and feels
That crushing weight of wasted life. He lifts
It up in silent love. He lifts and heals.
He gives himself again with all his gifts
Into our hands. As Pilate turns away
A door swings open. This is judgment day.

~Malcolm Guite
  

Sunday, March 25, 2018

All Glory, Laud and Honor

Refrain:
All glory, laud and honor,
To Thee, Redeemer, King,
To Whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.

Thou art the King of Israel,
Thou David’s royal Son,
Who in the Lord’s Name comest,
The King and Blessèd One.

Refrain

The company of angels
Are praising Thee on High,
And mortal men and all things
Created make reply.

Refrain

The people of the Hebrews
With palms before Thee went;
Our prayer and praise and anthems
Before Thee we present.

Refrain

To Thee, before Thy passion,
They sang their hymns of praise;
To Thee, now high exalted,
Our melody we raise.

Refrain

Thou didst accept their praises;
Accept the prayers we bring,
Who in all good delightest,
Thou good and gracious King.

Refrain

~Words: Theodulph of Orleans, circa 820 (Gloria, laus, et honor); translated from Latin to English by John M. Neale, 1851 & Music: Melchior Teschner; William H. Monk wrote the harmony in 1861.