Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Take Up Your Cross

“...What does it mean: to take up your cross? It means the willing acceptance, at the hand of Providence, of every means of healing, bitter though it may be, that is offered.

Do great catastrophes fall on you? Be obedient to God's will, as Noah was.

Is sacrifice demanded of you? Give yourself into God's hands with the same faith as Abram had when he went to sacrifice his son.

Is your property ruined? Do your children die suddenly? Suffer it all with patience, cleaving to God in your heart, as Job did.

Do your friends forsake you, and you find yourself surrounded by enemies? Bear it all without grumbling, and with faith that God's help is at hand, as the apostles did.

Are you condemned to death for Christ? Be thankful to God for such an honor, like thousands of Christian martyrs. Nothing will be sought of you that has not been done before, but you will rather follow the example of many - apostles, saints, confessors and martyrs - who have done Christ's will. We must know, furthermore, that in seeking our crucifixion, The Lord is seeking the crucifixion of the old man, the man made up of evil habits and the service of sin. For, by this crucifixion, the old, animal-like man in us is put to death, and the new man, made in God's image and immortal, is raised to life.
~St. Nikolai Velimirovic

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Today again I meet a day, a well of mystery.

Like a drop of that river extends to
a spring of a valley and then to
the faraway blue sea, for this day
the past, the future, and the present are one.

So does my today extend to eternity,
and right now I am living the eternity.

So, starting from today, I should live
eternity, not after I die,
and should live a life that deserves eternity.

I should live the life of a poor heart.
I should live the life of an empty heart.

~Ku Sang (Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Excerpt from Little Gidding

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree

Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always--
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

~T. S. Eliot

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Lift High The Cross

Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim,
Till all the world adore His sacred Name.

Led on their way by this triumphant sign,
The hosts of God in conquering ranks combine.


Each newborn servant of the Crucified
Bears on the brow the seal of Him Who died.


O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree,
As Thou hast promised, draw the world to Thee.


This is the sign which Satan's legions fear
And angels veil their faces to revere.


So shall our song of triumph ever be:
Praise to the Crucified for victory.


~Words: George Kitchin & Music: Sydney Nicholson (re-post)

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Judging Reality

Interviewer: “Many atheists maintain that contemporary science -- specifically quantum mechanics and special relativity -- has refuted Scholastic metaphysical concepts like cause and effect. Is this the case?”

Dr. Edward Feser: “It is not the case, and the arguments for this claim tend to commit the same fallacy I just referred to, of assuming that if something is left out of the description of things that physics gives us, then it is not real. That is like a pencil artist saying that since he cannot capture color in the black and white artistic materials he has available to him, it follows that color is not real. Again, physics captures what is susceptible of capture via its mathematical mode of description. If something is real but not susceptible of capture via such methods, physics will not capture it. That merely reflects the method, though, not the reality the method is only partially describing. The trouble is that, as the historian of science E. A. Burtt once pointed out, advocates of scientism have fallaciously confused method with metaphysics. Instead of judging their method by reference to reality, they judge reality by reference to their method.”

Friday, March 16, 2018

Small hands

“The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet it is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: Small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.”
~J. R. R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring)

Thursday, March 15, 2018


“Watch, O Lord, 
with those who wake, 
or watch or weep tonight, 
and give your angels charge 
over those who sleep. 

Tend your sick ones, 
O Lord Jesus Christ; 
rest your weary ones; 
bless your dying ones; 
soothe your suffering ones; 
pity your afflicted ones; 
shield your joyous ones; 
and all for your love’s sake. 

~St. Augustine

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Psalm 103(102) Benedic, anima mea

1 (Of David.)
Bless the Lord, my soul, unite, all my powers, to bless that holy name.
2 Bless the Lord, my soul, remembering all he has done for thee,
3 how he pardons all thy sins, heals all thy mortal ills,
4 rescues thy life from deadly peril, crowns thee with the blessings of his mercy;
5 how he contents all thy desire for good, restores thy youth, as the eagle’s plumage is restored.
6 The Lord’s acts are acts of justice, every wronged soul he offers redress.
7 The Lord, who told Moses his secrets, who shewed the sons of Israel his power!
8 How pitying and gracious the Lord is, how patient, how rich in mercy!
9 He will not always be finding fault, his frown does not last for ever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve, does not exact the penalty of our wrong-doing.
11 High as heaven above the earth towers his mercy for the men that fear him;
12 far as the east is from the west, he clears away our guilt from us.
13 For his own worshippers, the Lord has a father’s pity;
14 does he not know the stuff of which we are made, can he forget that we are only dust?
15 Man’s life is like the grass, he blooms and dies like a flower in the fields;
16 once the hot wind has passed over, it has gone, forgotten by the place where it grew.
17 But the Lord’s worshippers know no beginning or end of his mercy; he will keep faith with their children’s children,
18 do they but hold fast by his covenant, and live mindful of his law.
19 The Lord has set up his throne in heaven, rules with universal sway.
20 Bless the Lord, all you angels of his; angels of sovereign strength, that carry out his commandment, attentive to the word he utters;
21 bless the Lord, all you hosts of his, the servants that perform his will;
22 bless the Lord, all you creatures of his, in every corner of his dominion; and thou, my soul, bless the Lord. (KNOX)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Humility and Pride

“The ability to see anything clearly, [St. Thomas Aquinas] tells us, is connected to the presence or absence of humility. If we have humility, our eyes are opened to the presence of wonder. It is wonder that enables us to contemplate the reality of things so that we can orient ourselves in relation to others, in the light of reality. Such contemplation leads to the gift of dilatatio, the dilation of the soul so that it is open to the reception of the fullness of reality, recognizing its place within it. On the other hand, the presence of pride, which should be properly understood as the absence of humility, closes the eyes to wonder, blinding us to any possible contemplation of the real, contracting the soul so that it gollumizes itself into a shriveled self-centered parody of what it is meant to be and called to be.”
~Joseph Pearce

Monday, March 12, 2018


Let us not overlook, he says looking out over
us from the lectern like a shepherd
with a crook of words bent on folding
us back into our pen, or penning
us back to our fold, the stupidity
and defenselessness of sheep.
We bleat: in this analogy, who
are we? He proceeds. Goats, you
see, can handle themselves. Horns
and hoofs, cranial helmets they ram
full tilt into posts, or other goats. But sheep
mind you, sheep have no homing device,
which is why stories begin with a lost one;
they’re even known to head toward danger
—oh look, a wolf! Let’s check it out!— in dumb
allegiance to the interesting, which I find
interesting, and think: how to amend
our sheepish ways? But he, to drive
home both the point and oh ye,
sighs it’s beyond you; beyond me.

~Mischa Willett

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Draw unto us O Lord (Attende Domine)

R. Draw unto us O Lord, grant us Thy mercy, for we have sinned before Thee.

Crying, we raise our eyes to Thee, Sovereign King, Redeemer of all. Listen, Christ, to the pleas of the supplicant sinners. R.

Thou art at the Right Hand of God the Father, the Keystone, the Way of salvation and Gate of Heaven, cleanse the stains of our sins. R.

O God, we beseech Thy majesty to hear our groans; to forgive our sins. R.

We confess to Thee our consented sins; we declare our hidden sins with contrite heart; in Thy mercy, O Redeemer, forgive them. R.

Thou wert captured, being innocent; brought about without resistance, condemned by impious men with false witnesses. O Christ keep safe those whom Thou hast redeemed. R.

~Gregorian Chant

Saturday, March 10, 2018

To Choose a Tree

“A man went into the forest to choose a tree from which to make roof-beams. And he saw two trees, one beside the other. One was smooth and tall, but had rotted away inside, and the other was rough on the outside and ugly, but its core was healthy. The man sighed, and said to himself: ‘What use is this tree to me if it is rotten inside and useless for beams? The other it is rough and ugly, is at least healthy on the inside and so, if I put a bit more effort into it, I can use it for roof-beams for my house.’ And, without thinking any more about it, he chose that tree.

So will God choose between two men for His house, and will choose not the one who appears outwardly righteous, but the one whose heart is filled with God’s healthy righteousness.”
~St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Friday, March 9, 2018


“When a man is conceived, when a human nature comes into being as an individual, concrete, subsisting thing, a life, a person, then God’s image is minted into the world. A free, vital, self-moving entity, a spirit informing flesh, a complex of energies ready to be set into fruitful motion begins to flame with love, without which no spirit can exist.”
~Thomas Merton

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Daily Interruptions

“We are to consider our daily interruptions as the will of God. If the will of God is that you should accept this or that interruption, and you accept them with gladness, then a day which might seem tempestuous is really filled with a plan and peace and order; for where the will of God is there is God’s presence and God’s peace, and where that will is obeyed there is a pattern of harmony. In his will is your peace.”
~Michael Ramsey

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Joy Points To Something Beyond

“It was valuable only as a pointer to something other and outer. While that other was in doubt, the pointer naturally loomed large in my thoughts. When we are lost in the woods the sight of a signpost is a great matter. He who first sees it cries, ‘Look!’ The whole party gathers round and stares. But when we have found the road and are passing signposts every few miles, we shall not stop and stare.”
~C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Ways to Holiness

“With God in sight at all times, one faces the reversals and misfortunes of life with new eyes. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ, neither cancers, nor death, nor hurricanes, nor earthquakes, nor betrayals in the community.

In fact, these ‘bad’ things can become good things, or if not good, then blessings, if they lead us to plumb further the depths of God’s love. This new vision defines more clearly what it is to be in this temporal world by letting us see that it is no longer an end in itself, but the gateway, and the only one at that, to God and his heavenly kingdom.”
~Francis Kline

Monday, March 5, 2018

Singing of the Source of Holy Church

Before the firmament was ever formed,
                        or any foundation laid,
high there hovered the Judge of the World,
                        prepared for the last days!
This single Man from his five wounds
                        poured every drop of blood;
a myriad nations gave their hearts
                        to the wonder of the Cross!
The heavenly gates now have a ladder
                        leading to their peace;
demonic spirits lack any art
                        to insinuate deception.
Take up the burden joyfully
                        fall in behind Jesus,
look up with reverence towards the top of that mountain,
                        follow His every step.

~Wu Li

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Behold The Savior Of Mankind

Behold the Savior of mankind
Nailed to the shameful tree!
How vast the love that Him inclined
To bleed and die for thee!

Though far unequal our low praise
To Thy vast sufferings prove,
O Lamb of God, thus all our days,
Thus will we grieve and love.

Hark, how He groans, while nature shakes,
And earth’s strong pillars bend;
The temple’s veil in sunder breaks,
The solid marbles rend.

“’Tis done!” The precious ransom’s paid,
“Receive My soul,” He cries!
See where He bows His sacred head!
He bows His head, and dies!

But soon He’ll break death’s envious chain,
And in full glory shine:
O Lamb of God! was ever pain,
Was ever love, like Thine?

Thy loss our ruin did repair;
Death by death is slain;
Thou wilt at length exalt us where
Thou dost in glory reign.

~Words: Samuel Wesley, Sr. & Music: Hugh Wilson

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Meditating on Christ

“...Yet, if it be so, that the Son of God came down from heaven, put aside His glory, and submitted to be despised, cruelly treated, and put to death by His own creatures,—by those whom He had made, and whom He had preserved up to that day, and was then upholding in life and being,—is it reasonable that so great an event should not move us? Does it not stand to reason that we must be in a very irreligious state of mind, unless we have some little gratitude, some little sympathy, some little love, some little awe, some little self-reproach, some little self-abasement, some little repentance, some little desire of amendment, in consequence of what He has done and suffered for us? . . . Why then, O my brethren is it not so? why are things with us as they are? Alas! I sorrowfully foretell that time will go on, and Passion-tide, Good Friday, and Easter-Day will pass by, and the weeks after it, and many of you will be just what you were—not at all nearer heaven, not at all nearer Christ in your hearts and lives, not impressed lastingly or savingly with the thought of His mercies and your own sins and demerits.

But why is this? why do you so little understand the Gospel of your salvation? why are your eyes so dim, and your ears so hard of hearing? why have you so little faith? so little of heaven in your hearts? For this one reason, my brethren, if I must express my meaning in one word, because you so little meditate. You do not meditate, and therefore you are not impressed.

What is meditating on Christ? it is simply this, thinking habitually and constantly of Him and of His deeds and sufferings. It is to have Him before our minds as One whom we may contemplate, worship, and address when we rise up, when we lie down, when we eat and drink, when we are at home and abroad, when we are working, or walking, or at rest, when we are alone, and again when we are in company; this is meditating. And by this, and nothing short of this, will our hearts come to feel as they ought. We have stony hearts, hearts as hard as the highways; the history of Christ makes no impression on them. . . . we must have tender, sensitive, living hearts; our hearts must be broken, must be broken up like ground, and dug, and watered, and tended, and cultivated, till they become as gardens, gardens of Eden, acceptable to our God, gardens in which the Lord God may walk and dwell; filled, not with briars and thorns, but with all sweet-smelling and useful plants, with heavenly trees and flowers. The dry and barren waste must burst forth into springs of living water...

...Now, then, as if by way of specimen, I will say a few words upon the voluntary self-abasement of Christ, to suggest to you thoughts, which you ought, indeed, to bear about you at all times, but especially at this most holy season of the year; thoughts which will in their poor measure (please God) prepare you for seeing Christ in heaven, and, in the meanwhile, will prepare you for seeing Him in His Easter Festival. Easter-Day comes but once a year; it is short, like other days. O that we may make much of it, that we may make the most of it, that we may enjoy it! O that it may not pass over like other days, and leave us no fragrance after it to remind us of it!

...Soon after this His sufferings began; and both in soul and in body was this Holy and Blessed Saviour, the Son of God, and Lord of life, given over to the malice of the great enemy of God and man. Job was given over to Satan in the Old Testament, but within prescribed limits; first, the Evil One was not allowed to touch his person, and afterwards, though his person, yet not his life. But Satan had power to triumph, or what he thought was triumphing, over the life of Christ, who confesses to His persecutors, ‘This is your hour, and the power of darkness.’ [Luke xxii. 53.] His head was crowned and torn with thorns, and bruised with staves; His face was defiled with spitting; His shoulders were weighed down with the heavy cross; His back was rent and gashed with scourges; His hands and feet gored through with nails; His side, by way of contumely, wounded with the spear; His mouth parched with intolerable thirst; and His soul so bedarkened, that He cried out, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ [Matt. xxvii. 46.] And thus He hung upon the Cross for six hours, His whole body one wound, exposed almost naked to the eyes of men, ‘despising the shame,’ [Heb. xii. 2.] and railed at, taunted, and cursed by all who saw Him. Surely to Him alone, in their fulness, apply the Prophet’s words; ‘Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto My sorrow which is done unto Me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted Me in the day of His fierce anger.’ [Lam. i. 12.]

How little are our sorrows to these! how little is our pain, our hardships, our persecutions, compared with those which Christ voluntarily undertook for us! If He, the sinless, underwent these, what wonder is it that we sinners should endure, if it so be, the hundredth part of them? How base and miserable are we, for understanding them so little, for being so little impressed by them! Alas! if we felt them as we ought, of course they would be to us, at seasons such as that now coming, far worse than what the death of a friend is, or his painful illness. We should not be able at such times to take pleasure in this world; we should lose our enjoyment of things of earth; we should lose our appetite, and be sick at heart, and only as a matter of duty eat, and drink, and go about our work. The Holy Season on which we shall soon enter would be a week of mourning, as when a dead body is in a house. We cannot, indeed, thus feel, merely because we wish and ought so to feel. We cannot force ourselves into so feeling. I do not exhort this man or that so to feel, since it is not in his power. We cannot work ourselves up into such feelings; or, if we can, it is better we should not, because it is a working up, which is bad. Deep feeling is but the natural or necessary attendant on a holy heart. But though we cannot at our will thus feel, and at once, we can go the way thus to feel. We can grow in grace till we thus feel. And, meanwhile, we can observe such an outward abstinence from the innocent pleasures and comforts of life, as may prepare us for thus feeling; such an abstinence as we should spontaneously observe if we did thus feel. We may meditate upon Christ’s sufferings; and by this meditation we shall gradually, as time goes on, be brought to these deep feelings. We may pray God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, to make us feel; to give us the spirit of gratitude, love, reverence, self-abasement, godly fear, repentance, holiness, and lively faith.”
~John Henry Newman

Friday, March 2, 2018

Exactly What We Need

“God is there in these moments of rest and can give us in a single instant exactly what we need. Then the rest of the day can take its course, under the same effort and strain, perhaps, but in peace. And when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed: just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands and leave it with Him. Then you will be able to rest in Him — really rest — and start the next day as a new life.”
~St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Thursday, March 1, 2018


“In truth, there are only two kinds of people; those who accept dogma and know it, and those who accept dogma and don't know it.”
~G. K. Chesterton

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

God Always Gives...

“It is certain that God always gives what is necessary to those souls who fear Him. The gifts He bestows on them are not always the most apparent to the senses, nor the most agreeable, nor the most sought after, but the most necessary and solid; all the more so, usually, in being less felt and more mortifying to self-love; for that which helps us most powerfully to live to God is what best enables us to die to self.”
~Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Purity of Intent

“Divine goodness is incarnated in the person who opens his heart to it; it radiates from him. The will that advances in virtue, the soul that progresses in sanctity is a dynamic force that stirs also the recipient of good, disarms and encourages him. Through the God-reflecting act of a fellow creature, God and his holy will become apparent, and the receiver of good in his turn recalls his own potentialities for good, feels himself summoned by God. But isn’t it dangerous to execute God’s will with the desire to resemble ‘the salt of the earth,’ the ‘city set on a mountain,’ ‘the light of the world’? Precisely; hence the warning: ‘Do not give to dogs what is holy, neither throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet and turn and rend you’ (Matt. 7:6). ‘What is holy’ is the flesh from the sacrificial altar. When the sacred rites are over, beware of flinging the remains to dogs! Neither should he who has ‘pearls’ cast them before swine, those half wild herds like the ones we encounter in the incident at Gerasa, who (enraged to discover that they are not edible) only trample upon them and furiously turn on him who has flung them.

These parables clearly warn against indiscriminately presenting the mystery of divine life to the crowd. One must never allow it to be profaned, must avoid goading the general sense of earthliness until it becomes a hungry, disappointed beast that turns upon one in fury. A warning to be prudent, for men are as they are; the Lord is no idealist. But the admonition goes deeper. This more perfect justice must, above all, be selfless. The Lord warns us also to guard against ourselves, against the deeply rooted human traits of vanity, complacency and egoism.

‘Therefore when thou givest alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do . . . that they may be honored by men. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But when thou givest alms, do not let thy left hand know what thy right hand is doing, so that thy alms may be given in secret . . .’ (Matt. 6:2–4).

...We have it again in the words: ‘And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, who disfigure their faces in order to appear to men as fasting. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But thou, when thou dost fast, anoint thy head and wash thy face, so that thou mayest not be seen fasting by men, but by thy Father, who is in secret; and thy Father, who sees in secret, will reward thee’ (Matt. 6:16–18).

...‘Again, when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites, who love to pray standing in the synagogues and at the street corners . . . go into thy room, and closing thy door, pray to thy Father in secret; and thy Father, who sees in secret, will reward thee’ (Matt. 6:5–6).

...In these teachings of Christ one often repeated word gives us pause: reward. Contemporary ethics have declared: The motive of recompense belongs to a lower moral plane than that to which we have progressed. The superior modern has no use for it.

Obviously, the claim is not void of truth. If I perform an act in order to reach some particular goal, I am necessarily somehow bound to the connecting link between its means and its end. If though, I do it simply because it is right, I am not even conscious of means or end, but only of its ethical sense, the fulfillment of duty. In the first instance I am bound by practical necessity; in the second I am also bound, but differently, in conscience, freedom. I can attain the end without freedom, but the sense never. There is something rich, magnanimous, kingly in freedom of this kind which considers itself degraded by the mere thought of ‘payment.’ The purely moral value has majesty. When I do something good, that good bears its own sense within it; it needs no further justification. Indeed, any additional motive would only lessen its intrinsic worth. The purity of the act is threatened by thought of ‘reward.’ I do not want to do a thing for reward; I prefer to do it for its own sake, which for me is sufficient. We cannot but agree. Yet Jesus speaks of reward—repeatedly and at decisive moments.

At this point we realize how much depends upon our own personal acceptance of Holy Scripture as the word of God. If I see in the Bible only a profound religious text, I most likely resort to my own discernment and interpret it myself. In so doing I am almost bound to conclude that the idea of virtue for the sake of reward is a remnant of the old, still unpurified morality, and that on this point Jesus’ ethics have since been surpassed.

If, however, I accept a priori every word of the New Testament as the word of God, then, seeing how much emphasis Jesus places on reward, particularly here where he is proclaiming the very essence of Christian behavior, I conclude that the idea of reward must be profounder than most moderns suspect, and that underlying these teachings’ ethical intent there must be a subtler motivation that completely escapes the attention. And there is. As we understand it, what the New Testament says is this: At the root of your ‘pure ethics’ lurks the possibility of a monstrous pride that is particularly difficult to unmask. To desire good for its own intrinsic dignity, and so purely that the pleasure of goodness is the sole and entirely satisfying motive behind our virtue—this is something of which God alone is capable. Only God can perform good in the pure freedom of self-expression; only he finds fulfillment rather than self-denial in majestic magnanimity. Yet modern man has assumed this prerogative for himself. He places the moral attitude and the divine attitude on a par. He has so determined the moral attitude that the ego behind it can only be God, tacitly taking it for granted that human ego, indeed all ego, actually is God. Here lies the moral pride of the age, at once as terrible as it is tenacious.

Jesus’ idea of reward is a warning-call to humility. He says: You man—with all your possibilities of perceiving and desiring good—you are nevertheless creature! With all your possibilities of free choice, you remain creature! Anselm of Canterbury wrote of this moral danger. The almost illimitable possibilities of free choice tempt man to omnipotence without God, to feel himself God’s equal. It can be overcome by reminding ourselves that even in the practice of virtue we are subject to God’s judgment. The fruit of the good deed (of the moral decision and the effort spent on performing it) does not follow autonomously, but is God-given as ‘reward.’

But we must go still deeper.

The idea of reward can be undignified, but only when coupled with a false conception of God. The God of whom Jesus speaks is he who urges me to love him by enabling me to love with his divine power. It is from him that I receive both the love necessary for my act and its ‘reward’: his esteem, itself love. As genuine love grows it begins to say: I love God because he is God. I love him because he is worthy to be who he is. I wish my act to affirm him to whom the multitudes of the angels cry: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and divinity and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing’ (Apoc. 5:12).

And suddenly all thought of reward has vanished. No, it is still present in the humility of the beginning, but vanished as a direct motive, and that to which autonomous virtue aspired but could not attain unaided is accomplished: pure good for its own holy sake. Never has purity of intent been more exalted than in the bearing of the saints, who completely overlooked themselves in their burning desire to be possessed by God for God’s sake. Only by not aspiring to that purity which is his alone, were they able to avoid running amuck in delusion and pride.”
~Romano Guardini

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Divine Humility

“You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words ‘compelle intrare,’ compel them to come in, have been so abused be wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.”
~C. S. Lewis (from Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

More Ancient Than The Primal World

More ancient than the primal world
And older than the morning star,
Before the first things took their shape,
Creator of them all, you are.

Your image is the Lord of Life,
Your Son from all eternity;
All that must perish he restores,
In him all reconciled will be.

Transfigured Christ, believed and loved,
In you our only hope has been;
Grant us, in your unfathomed love,
Those things no eye has ever seen.

O Father, Son and Spirit blest,
With hearts transfigured by your grace,
May we your matchless splendor praise
And see the glory of your face.

Tune: Angel’s Song L.M.
Music: Orlando Gibbons, 1623
Text: Stanbrook Abbey

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Desert

“Great things begin in the desert, in silence, in poverty, in abandonment. Look at Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, and Jesus himself. The desert is where God leads us in order to speak to us in a heart-to-heart conversation (cf. Hos 2:16-23). But the desert is not only the place where men can experience the physical test of hunger, thirst, and total destitution. It is also the land of temptation, where Satan’s power is manifested. The devil often leads us there to hold out to us the prospect of all the world’s splendors and to persuade us that we would be wrong to give them up. By going into the desert, Jesus exposed himself to Satan’s seductive power and firmly opposed it, thus prolonging the event of his baptism and his Incarnation. He is not content to descend into the deep waters of the Jordan. Christ descends also to the very depths of human misery, to the regions of broken hearts and ruined relationships, to the most depraved carnal dictatorships and the desolate places of a world marred by sin. The desert teaches us to fight against evil and all our evil inclinations so as to regain our dignity as children of God. It is impossible to enter into the mystery of God without entering into the solitude and silence of our interior desert.”
~Robert Cardinal Sarah

Friday, February 23, 2018

Psalm 27:4-9

4 One request I have ever made of the Lord, let me claim it still, to dwell in the Lord’s house my whole life long, resting content in the Lord’s goodness, gazing at his temple.
5 In his royal tent he hides me, in the inmost recess of his royal tent, safe from peril.
6 On a rock fastness he lifts me high up; my head rises high above the enemies that encompass me. I will make an offering of triumphant music in this tabernacle of his, singing and praising the Lord.
7 Listen to my voice, Lord, when I cry to thee; hear and spare.
8 True to my heart’s promise, I have eyes only for thee; I long, Lord, for thy presence.
9 Do not hide thy face, do not turn away from thy servant in anger, but give me still thy aid; do not forsake me, do not neglect me, O God, my defender. (KNOX)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Endless, Unfailing Mercy of God

“The man who is not afraid to admit everything that he sees to be wrong with himself, and yet recognizes that he may be the object of God’s love precisely because of his shortcomings, can be sincere. His sincerity is based on confidence, not in his illusions about himself, but in the endless, unfailing mercy of God.”
~Thomas Merton

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

O Merciful Creator, Hear!

O merciful Creator, hear!
To us in pity bow thine ear:
Accept the tearful prayer we raise
In this our fast of forty days.

Our hearts are open, Lord, to Thee:
Thou know well our infirmity;
Pour out on all who seek Thy face
Abundance of Thy pardoning grace.

Our sins are many, this we know;
Spare us, good Lord, Thy mercy show;
And for the honor of Thy name
Our fainting souls to life reclaim.

Give self-control to us that springs
From discipline of outward things,
That fasting inward, secretly,
The soul may purely dwell with Thee.

We pray Thee, Holy Trinity,
One God, unchanging Unity,
That we from this our abstinence
May reap the fruits of penitence. Amen.

Tune: Jesus Dulcis Memoria L.M.
Music: Gregorian, Mode I
Text: Audi benigne Conditor, attributed to Saint Gregory the Great, 540-604
Translation: T. A. Lacey, 1853-1931, and others, alt.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

We Wear the Mask

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

~Paul Dunbar