Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Explanation of the Frontispiece

Blot out the entire world. The tablet of my thoughts
be wiped clean. Let nothing remain but Jesus Christ.
I will stand for nothing else. There shall be no thing
within remembrance's bounds but Him who is all.
Lust for knowledge may inspire many lovely things;
Jesus alone restores me, more than can vast knowledge.
However the world may lust for money, art, wisdom,
I want and know nothing but the strength of His cross.
May gall and vinegar's sponge blot out all vanity.
Let the crucified one alone stay in my mind.
How far Totality, when alone can outspread
and change everything we clearly see herein
I want this sum of all things alone in my mind.
~Catharina Regina von Greiffenberg

Monday, September 18, 2017

Imaginative Gridlock

“The second attribute of imaginatively gridlocked relationship systems is a continual search for new answers to old questions rather than an effort to reframe the questions themselves. In the search for the solution to any problem, questions are always more important than answers because the way one frames the question, or the problem, already predetermines the range of answers one can conceive in response.

The critical difference between what is now popularly called a paradigm shift and what might otherwise be simply an innovation involves precisely this change in focus from answer to question. For example, at some point in history someone realized that solid wheels could be made much lighter by cutting away pie-shaped slices and leaving only spokes. That was certainly a useful, facilitating innovation that produced a new answer to the question of how to overcome the cumbersomeness of wheels. But the paradigm shift of transportation that opened imaginative new ways of thinking was the wheel itself! Innovations are new answers to old questions; paradigm shifts reframe the question, change the information that is important, and generally eliminate previous dichotomies.”
~Edwin Friedman

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Our Father, We Have Wandered

Our Father, we have wandered
and hidden from your face,
in foolishness have squandered
your legacy of grace.
But now, in exile dwelling,
we rise with fear and shame,
as distant but compelling,
we hear you call our name.

And now at length discerning
the evil that we do,
behold us Lord, returning
with hope and trust to you.
In haste you come to meet us
and home rejoicing bring.
In gladness there to greet us
with calf and robe and ring.

O Lord of all the living,
both banished and restored,
compassionate, forgiving
and ever caring Lord,
grant now that our transgressing,
our faithlessness may cease.
Stretch out your hand in blessing
in pardon and in peace.

Text: Kevin Nichols (1981)
Tune: PASSION CHORALE 76.76D

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Peace In The Soul

“If you suffer some misfortune, then think: ‘The Lord sees my heart, and if it pleases Him, it will be well both for me and others.’ And thus your soul will always be at peace. But if someone murmurs, ‘This is bad, and that is bad,’ then he will never have peace in his soul, even though he fasts and prays a lot.”
~St. Silouan

Friday, September 15, 2017

Gift

Some ask the world
and are diminished
in the receiving
of it. You gave me

only this small pool
that the more I drink
from, the more overflows
me with sourceless light.

~R. S. Thomas

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Cross

“I see an infinite number of crucified persons in the world, but few who are crucified by the love of Jesus. Some are crucified by their self-love and inordinate love of the world. But happy are they who are crucified for the love of Jesus. Happy are they who live and die on the cross with Jesus.”
~St. John Eudes

Litany of the Cross

The cross is the hope of Christians
the cross is the resurrection of the dead
the cross is the way of the lost
the cross is the savior of the lost
the cross is the staff of the lame
the cross is the guide of the blind
the cross is the strength of the weak
the cross is the doctor of the sick
the cross is the aim of the priests
the cross is the hope of the hopeless
the cross is the freedom of the slaves
the cross is the power of the kings
the cross is the water of the seeds
the cross is the consolation of the bondsmen
the cross is the source of those who seek water
the cross is the cloth of the naked.
We thank you, Father, for the cross.

We should glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection, through whom we are saved and delivered.
~Galatians 6:14

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Luke 6:20-26

Then he lifted up his eyes towards his disciples, and said; Blessed are you who are poor; the kingdom of God is yours.
Blessed are you who are hungry now; you will have your fill. Blessed are you who weep now; you will laugh for joy.
Blessed are you, when men hate you and cast you off and revile you, when they reject your name as something evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.
When that day comes, rejoice and exult over it; for behold, a rich reward awaits you in heaven; their fathers treated the prophets no better.
But woe upon you who are rich; you have your comfort already.
Woe upon you who are filled full; you shall be hungry. Woe upon you who laugh now; you shall mourn and weep.
Woe upon you, when all men speak well of you; their fathers treated the false prophets no worse. (KNOX)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Psalm 90(89) Domine, refugium

Lord, thou hast been our refuge from generation to generation. Before the hills came to birth, before the whole frame of the world was engendered, from eternity to eternity, O God, thou art. And wilt thou bring man to dust again, that thou sayest, Return, children of Adam, to what you were? In thy sight, a thousand years are but as yesterday, that has come and gone, or as one of the night-watches. Swiftly thou bearest our lives away, as a waking dream, or the green grass that blooms fresh with the morning; night finds it faded and dead. Still thy anger takes toll of us, thy displeasure denies us rest, so jealous thy scrutiny of our wrong-doing, so clear our hidden sins shew in the light of thy presence. Day after day vanishes, and still thy anger lasts; swift as a breath our lives pass away. What is our span of days? Seventy years it lasts, eighty years, if lusty folk we be; for the more part, toil and frustration; years that vanish in a moment, and we are gone. Alas, that so few heed thy vengeance, measure thy anger by the reverence we owe thee! Teach us to count every passing day, till our hearts find wisdom.

Relent, Lord; must it be for ever? Be gracious to thy servants. For us thy timely mercies, for us abiding happiness and content; happiness that shall atone for the time when thou didst afflict us, for the long years of ill fortune. Let these eyes see thy purpose accomplished, to our own sons reveal thy glory; the favour of the Lord our God smile on us! Prosper our doings, Lord, prosper our doings yet. (KNOX)

Monday, September 11, 2017

I Have Decided

I have decided to find myself a home
in the mountains, somewhere high up
where one learns to live peacefully in
the cold and the silence. It’s said that
in such a place certain revelations may
be discovered. That what the spirit
reaches for may be eventually felt, if not
exactly understood. Slowly, no doubt. I’m
not talking about a vacation.

Of course, at the same time I mean to
stay exactly where I am.

Are you following me?

~Mary Oliver

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Lord Of All Hopefulness

Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
Whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy,
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
Your bliss in our hearts, Lord,
At the break of the day.

Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
Whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe,
Be there at our labours and give us, we pray,
Your strength in our hearts, Lord,
At the noon of the day.

Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
Your hands swift to welcome, Your arms to embrace.
Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
Your love in our hearts, Lord,
At the eve of the day.

Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
Whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,
Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
Your peace in our hearts, Lord,
At the end of the day.

~Author: Jan Struther (1931) & Tune: SLANE

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Originality

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”
~C. S. Lewis

Friday, September 8, 2017

Luke 5:1-11

While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God,
   he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret.
He saw two boats there alongside the lake;
   the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets.
Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon,
   he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore.
Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
   “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”
Simon said in reply,
   “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,
   but at your command I will lower the nets.”
When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish
   and their nets were tearing.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat
   to come to help them.
They came and filled both boats
   so that the boats were in danger of sinking.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
   “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him
   and all those with him,
   and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
   who were partners of Simon.
Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid;
   from now on you will be catching men.”
When they brought their boats to the shore,
   they left everything and followed him.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Prodigal

She floated before him like a summer cloud,
pink and white through his sweat and then lay down
squealing, by her sucklings, a teat for each mouth.
The husks caught in his throat. If he'd only known
the pigs would have it better than he, he never...
He, ripe offal, stuck in the world's latrine!
—so he told himself over and over and over
and over again. With tears came a keen

ache in his chest. Next day he started home.
He tried to stop his thoughts, lethally busy,
but at night yearned for the slops and warmth of the barn,
the hogs' contented grunting and homely stink. Alone,
he knew he'd failed beyond all hope of mercy.
He didn't even see his father till wrapped in his arms.

~Robert Siegel

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Good Reminders

“It is not what we do that matters, but what a sovereign God chooses to do through us. God doesn't want our success; He wants us. He doesn't demand our achievements; He demands our obedience. The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of paradox, where through the ugly defeat of a cross, a holy God is utterly glorified. Victory comes through defeat; healing through brokenness; finding self through losing self.”

“But all at once I realized that it was not my success God had used to enable me to help those in this prison, or in hundreds of others just like it. My life of success was not what made this morning so glorious – all my achievements meant nothing in God's economy.
“No, the real legacy of my life was my biggest failure – that I was an ex-convict. My greatest humiliation – being sent to prison – was the beginning of God's greatest use of my life; He chose the one thing in which I could not glory for His glory.”
~Charles Colson

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Interesting...

“In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is ... in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”
~Theodore Dalrymple

Monday, September 4, 2017

Valiant

"Deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised."
~J. R. R. Tolkien (Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings)

Sunday, September 3, 2017

O God Beyond All Praising

O God beyond all praising,
we worship you today
and sing the love amazing
that songs cannot repay;
for we can only wonder
at every gift you send,
at blessings without number
and mercies without end:
we lift our hearts before you
and wait upon your word,
we honor and adore you,
our great and mighty Lord.

Then hear, O gracious Savior,
accept the love we bring,
that we who know your favor
may serve you as our king;
and whether our tomorrows
be filled with good or ill,
we'II triumph through our sorrows
and rise to bless you still:
to marvel at your beauty
and glory in your ways,
and make a joyful duty
our sacrifice of praise.

~Words: Michael Perry & Music: Gustav Holst (re-post)

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Guard Against

“There is, however, a ridiculousness we should guard against: talking ingratiatingly about Christianity. I wonder if a man handing another man an extremely sharp, polished, two-edged instrument would hand it over with the air, gestures, and expression of one delivering a bouquet of flowers? Would not this be madness? What does one do, then? Convinced of the excellence of the dangerous instrument, one recommends it unreservedly, to be sure, but in such a way that in a certain sense one warns against it. So it is with Christianity. If what is needed is to be done, we should not hesitate, aware of the highest responsibility, to preach in Christian sermons—yes, precisely in Christian sermons—AGAINST Christianity. For we know full well where disaster strikes these days—namely, that by foolish and ingratiating Sunday-talk Christianity has been deceptively transformed into an illusion and we have even been tricked into the fancy that we, just as we are, are Christians. Yet if a man thought he was holding a flower in his hand, a flower which he somewhat idly, somewhat thoughtlessly delighted to look at—and then someone, truly discerning, shouted to him ‘You poor man, don’t you realise you are holding a very sharp, polished two-edged sword!’—I wonder if he would not become terrified for a moment! [ . . . ]

Christianity can be recommended only when at every point the danger is incessantly made clear—how Christianity according to merely human conceptions is foolishness and offence. But by making this clear and evident, a warning is issued. Christianity is that earnest. That which stands in need of the favour of man curries favour with them, but Christianity is so sure of itself and knows with such earnestness and exactness that it is men who stand in need of it, that for this very reason it does not recommend itself directly but first alerts them, as Christ recommended Himself to the apostles by once predicting to them that for his sake they would be hated—yes, that whoever put them to death would think he did God a service.”
~Søren Kierkegaard

Friday, September 1, 2017

Reminiscing

“How naturally a common meal serves for a symbol of fraternity; how easily a scratch party of guests get on together if you take them out for a picnic in the open air! Just imagine what it must have meant, later on, if one of those five thousand met, by accident, one of the others; what fellowship must have been imposed on them by their common store of reminiscences! ‘Yes, don’t you remember, I was sitting about seven or eight off you, and Peter — or John, or James, or Judas — came round with the crust which looked as if it could never satisfy more than two; we both seemed to be in starvation corner, didn’t we? And then when he got to the end of the row the crust was still there.’”
~Georges Chevrot

Thursday, August 31, 2017

He Knows What He Is About

“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.

He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work.

I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.

Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.”
~John Henry Newman (re-post)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Quotes from St. Augustine

“People look upon [the Church] and say, ‘She is about to die. Soon her very name will disappear. There will be no more Christians; they have had their day.’ While they are thus speaking, I see these very people die themselves, day by day, but the Church lives on.”

“But my sin was this, that I looked for pleasure, beauty, and truth not in Him but in myself and His other creatures, and the search led me instead to pain, confusion, and error.”

“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek Him the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest human achievement.”

~St. Augustine (A.D. 354-430)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Our Obligation

“Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.”
~St. Thomas Aquinas

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Summer Day


(Picture found here)
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

~Mary Oliver
  

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken

Jesus, I my cross have taken, all to leave and follow Thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken, Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition, all I’ve sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition! God and Heaven are still mine own.

Let the world despise and leave me, they have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me; Thou art not, like them, untrue.
And while Thou shalt smile upon me, God of wisdom, love and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me, show Thy face and all is bright.

Go, then, earthly fame and treasure! Come, disaster, scorn and pain!
In Thy service, pain is pleasure; with Thy favor, loss is gain.
I have called Thee, “Abba, Father”; I have set my heart on Thee:
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather, all must work for good to me.

Man may trouble and distress me, ’twill but drive me to Thy breast.
Life with trials hard may press me; heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me while Thy love is left to me;
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me, were that joy unmixed with Thee.

Take, my soul, thy full salvation; rise o’er sin, and fear, and care;
Joy to find in every station something still to do or bear:
Think what Spirit dwells within thee; what a Father’s smile is thine;
What a Savior died to win thee, child of heaven, shouldst thou repine?

Haste then on from grace to glory, armed by faith, and winged by prayer,
Heaven’s eternal day’s before thee, God’s own hand shall guide thee there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission, swift shall pass thy pilgrim days;
Hope soon change to glad fruition, faith to sight, and prayer to praise.

~Words: Henry Lyte & Music: Rowland Prichard 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Be Still and Wait

"In the noise and rush of life, as you have intervals, step home within yourselves and be still. Wait upon God, and feel His good presence; this will carry you evenly through your day's business."
~William Penn

Friday, August 25, 2017

Weaving and Building

“If we weave by day and undo at night, nothing gets woven. If we build by day and destroy by night, nothing is ever built. If we pray to God and do evil before Him, nothing is woven, and a house for our soul is not built.”
~St. Nicholas of Serbia

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Who Put It There?

“[Ronald] Knox was engaged in a theological discussion with scientist John Scott Haldane. ‘In a universe containing millions of planets,’ reasoned Haldane, ‘is it not inevitable that life should appear on at least one of them?’ ‘Sir,’ replied Knox, ‘if Scotland Yard found a body in your cabin trunk, would you tell them: ‘There are millions of trunks in the world; surely one of them must contain a body? I think they would still want to know who put it there.’”

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

As Sun Declines And Shadows Fall

As sun declines and shadows fall,
The sea and hills will fade from sight;
Its fiery orb bids us farewell
But promises tomorrow’s light.

And this, O God, creator wise,
You regulate in wondrous way
The laws of this great universe
At which we marvel night and day.

While darkness rides across the sky,
And stars their silent watches keep,
Your children leave their constant toil,
Regaining strength by peaceful sleep.

Made rich in hope, kept strong in faith,
May we be blest throughout the night,
By Christ, the Word, who timeless reigns,
True splendor of the Father’s light.

He is the sun that never sets,
No dusk can make his lustre die,
The kind Protector of the earth,
The joys of all the saints on high.

O Father, Son and Spirit blest
Grant us at last that light to see,
And full of joy your praises sing,
Bathed in your love eternally. Amen.

Tune: Illsey L.M.
Music: John Bishop, 1665-1737
Text: Sol, ecce, lentus occidens, Anselmo Lentini, O.S.B., 1901-1989
Translation: the Benedictines of Saint Cecilia’s Abbey

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Understand Two Thoughts

“Understand two thoughts, and fear them. One says, ‘You are a saint,’ the other, ‘You won’t be saved.’ Both of these thoughts are from the enemy, and there is no truth in them. But think this way: I am a great sinner, but the Lord is merciful. He loves people very much, and He will forgive my sins.”
~St. Silouan

Monday, August 21, 2017

Little Things

Little drops of water,
          Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
          And the pleasant land.
Little deeds of kindness,
          Little words of love,
Make our earth an Eden,
          Like the heaven above.

~Julia Carney