Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Holy Trinity

“...St. Augustine of Hippo spent over 30 years working on his treatise De Trinitate [about the Holy Trinity], endeavoring to conceive an intelligible explanation for the mystery of the Trinity.

He was walking by the seashore one day contemplating and trying to understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity when he saw a small boy running back and forth from the water to a spot on the seashore. The boy was using a sea shell to carry the water from the ocean and place it into a small hole in the sand.

The Bishop of Hippo approached him and asked, ‘My boy, what are doing?’

‘I am trying to bring all the sea into this hole,’ the boy replied with a sweet smile.

‘But that is impossible, my dear child, the hole cannot contain all that water’ said Augustine.

The boy paused in his work, stood up, looked into the eyes of the Saint, and replied, ‘It is no more impossible than what you are trying to do – comprehend the immensity of the mystery of the Holy Trinity with your small intelligence.’

The Saint was absorbed by such a keen response from that child, and turned his eyes from him for a short while. When he glanced down to ask him something else, the boy had vanished.

Some say that it was an Angel sent by God to teach Augustine a lesson...”
~Marian Horvat

“If you understood him, it would not be God”
~St. Augustine

Saturday, May 26, 2018

On Fear


(Picture found here)
Do not be afraid.
No path is unknown;

others have walked
there before you.

And even the pathless
path is not unknown—

for you yourself
are on it. Walk there.

~Robert Hudson
 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Wait For The Weather


(Picture found here)
It's good to plough when the earth is soft
     And the furrows smoothly go;
When the tilth is fine and the weather fair,
     It is good to sow.

So when the earth is baked to brick
     And wind is dry and sun is bright,
It's better to bide at home and wait,
     And put your harness right.

It's better to wait your time, and make
     Good order for when you start.
Then all day long, when the time is right,
     Plough with a thankful heart.

~Philip Britts
   

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Mercy

“Ever let mercy outweigh all else in you. Let our compassion be a mirror where we may see in ourselves that likeness and that true image which belong to the Divine nature and Divine essence. A heart hard and unmerciful will never be pure.”
~St. Isaac the Syrian

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

It's a mess...

“[O]ur politics are a mess because our political culture is a mess, and that’s because our public moral culture is a mess.”
~George Weigel

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Speaking to God

“Acquire the habit of speaking to God as if you were alone with God. Speak with familiarity and confidence as to your dearest and most loving friend. Speak of your life, your plans, your troubles, your joys, your fears. In return, God will speak to you—not that you will hear audible words in your ears, but words that you will clearly understand in your heart.”
~St. Alphonsus Liguori

Monday, May 21, 2018

On Prayer 3


(Picture found here)
People come to me
and say, ”Father, how

is it possible that prayer
changes anything?”

and I say to them, “Listen—
the whole world is shifted

from its orbit by a wren
lighting on a branch.”

~Robert Hudson
 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Litany of the Holy Spirit

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Father all-powerful, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Eternal Son of the Father, Redeemer of the world, save us.
Spirit of the Father and the Son, boundless life of both, sanctify us.
Holy Trinity, hear us.

Holy Spirit, Who proceedest from the Father and the Son, enter our hearts.
Holy Spirit, Who art equal to the Father and the Son, enter our hearts.

Promise of God the Father, have mercy on us.
Ray of heavenly light, have mercy on us.
Author of all good, have mercy on us.
Source of heavenly water, have mercy on us.
Consuming fire, have mercy on us.
Ardent charity, have mercy on us.
Spiritual unction, have mercy on us.
Spirit of love and truth, have mercy on us.
Spirit of wisdom and understanding, have mercy on us.
Spirit of counsel and fortitude, have mercy on us.
Spirit of knowledge and piety, have mercy on us.
Spirit of the fear of the Lord, have mercy on us.
Spirit of grace and prayer, have mercy on us.
Spirit of peace and meekness, have mercy on us.
Spirit of modesty and innocence, have mercy on us.
Holy Spirit, the Comforter, have mercy on us.
Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, have mercy on us.
Holy Spirit, Who governest the Church, have mercy on us.
Gift of God, the Most High, have mercy on us.
Spirit Who fillest the universe, have mercy on us.
Spirit of the adoption of the children of God, have mercy on us.

Holy Spirit, inspire us with horror of sin.
Holy Spirit, come and renew the face of the earth.
Holy Spirit, shed Thy light in our souls.
Holy Spirit, engrave Thy law in our hearts.
Holy Spirit, inflame us with the flame of Thy love.
Holy Spirit, open to us the treasures of Thy graces.
Holy Spirit, teach us to pray well.
Holy Spirit, enlighten us with Thy heavenly inspirations.
Holy Spirit, lead us in the way of salvation.
Holy Spirit, grant us the only necessary knowledge.
Holy Spirit, inspire in us the practice of good.
Holy Spirit, grant us the merits of all virtues.
Holy Spirit, make us persevere in justice.
Holy Spirit, be Thou our everlasting reward.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Send us Thy Holy Spirit.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
pour down into our souls the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
grant us the Spirit of wisdom and piety.

V. Come, Holy Spirit! Fill the hearts of Thy faithful,
R. And enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.

Let us pray. Grant, O merciful Father, that Thy Divine Spirit may enlighten, inflame and purify us, that He may penetrate us with His heavenly dew and make us fruitful in good works, through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who with Thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, forever and ever.

R. Amen.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Saint Porphyrius

St. Porphyrius ... was a comedian, a mimic, a famous jester. He was a prevailing voice of the remnant of paganism in the post-Constantine Roman Empire, offering to those who hadn’t accepted Christianity a sufficient mockery of its tenets...

His story begins best with the story of Julian the Apostate, who, given the spoiler alert in his name, didn’t care for Christianity very much. In the years following the death of Constantine the Great in 337AD, a barrage of complicated politics had plagued the leadership of the vast Roman Empire. Fast forward a couple of decades, and in 361AD one “Flavius Claudius Julianus,” a nephew of Constantine, arose as sole emperor. His reign was to be short (only 20 months), but not without activity.

Although Christianity for almost 50 years had enjoyed political freedom and support from the emperor, the rule of Julian loomed as a serious threat. Though he was a Christian for the first 20 years of his life, he came to reject the Lord and choose instead the “way of Helios” (see his Letter 47). Julian the Apostate envisioned a return to the Roman paganism of old, a religious atmosphere marked by highly syncretistic polytheism, unified, as it were, under the banner of being ‘not Christian.’

When Julian heard of the fame of Porphyrius the Mimic whose specialty was mocking Christians, he had him brought in to entertain the royal court. Everything was set up for a successful show. The audience was eager to be entertained at Christianity’s expense, and Porphyrius had put together a special play; he was going to mock the Mystery of Baptism.

The show was a riot, eliciting raucous laughter to be sure. Things seemed to be lining up perfectly. The climax of the action involved a mock-baptism scene with fake clergy dressed in liturgical garb immersing the “catechumen,” Porphyrius, into some water.

He ceremoniously pronounced that he would now be a follower of Jesus Christ, “in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” before being immersed. But something happened when Porphyrius entered the water. Submerged in that moment, Porphyrius felt the summons of actual grace, a call to serious conversion. Coming out of the water, he announced his decision to all present that he wished to be a Christian and would no longer mock the Living God. But, while he had his metanoia, the emperor was simply annoyed. The Roman Martyrology sums up best what happened next:

“Forthwith, by order of the emperor, he was struck with an axe, and thus crowned with martyrdom.”

​Struck with the extraordinary work of divine grace, he managed to get struck also by the work of human anger. Having given over his heart to Jesus, he gave his head to the emperor. Thus is the story of the great Martyr Porphyrius. Once a jester before secular courts, he was to become a martyr in the heavenly courts.

​As for Julian the Apostate, his hopes for a revival of Roman paganism would not find widespread success. In 363AD, following Julian’s military death, Emperor Jovian took the emperor’s throne and restored the faith of the Roman Empire to Christianity.

​[L]et us ... take the lesson to have sincere reverence for the truth and all holy things even when it puts us in rather difficult situations.

~Jacob Gruber

Friday, May 18, 2018

Psalm 148(148) Laudate Dominum

(Alleluia.)
1 Give praise to the Lord in heaven; praise him, all that dwells on high.
2 Praise him, all you angels of his, praise him, all his armies.
3 Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, every star that shines.
4 Praise him, you highest heavens, you waters beyond the heavens.
5 Let all these praise the Lord; it was his command that created them.
6 He has set them there unageing for ever, given them a law which cannot be altered.
7 Give praise to the Lord on earth, monsters of the sea and all its depths;
8 fire and hail, snow and mist, and the storm-wind that executes his decree;
9 all you mountains and hills, all you fruit trees and cedars;
10 all you wild beasts and cattle, creeping things and birds that fly in air;
11 all you kings and peoples of the world, all you that are princes and judges on earth;
12 young men and maids, old men and boys together; let them all give praise to the Lord’s name.
13 His name is exalted as no other,
14 his praise reaches beyond heaven and earth; and now he has given fresh strength to his people. Shall not his faithful servants praise him, the sons of Israel, the people that draw near to him? Alleluia. (KNOX)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Detachment

“Abba Macarius while he was in Egypt discovered a man who owned a beast of burden engaged in plundering Macarius’ goods. So he came up to the thief as if he was a stranger and he helped him to load the animal. He saw him off in great peace of soul saying, ‘We have brought nothing into this world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.’ (1 Tim. 6.7) ‘The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’ (Job 1.21)”
~Desert Fathers

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Spring



It was a long winter around here. We are thankful for spring...
 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

On Creation

There is this. The river, silent,
moving through the reeds,

the crab tree
crippled with fruit,

the doe in winter
that will die before nightfall,

and the sapling with ambition
in the heart of the forest—

all things are warm
from the forge of Creation.

The muskrat slapping
water with its tail,

the mute stones
wearing smooth in rain,

the earthworm lolling
from its hole in flood time,

and the night sky heavy
with snow but waiting—

all these are still warm
from the fires of Creation.

The ox at the yoke,
at the row's end, turning,

the yew and the heron
and the unwinding stars,

the swallow blinded
in the eye of the sun,

and the mole whose patience
undermines the world—

all these are still warm
from the touch of that Hand.

Who sows the seeds in the drops
of rain and fills the morning crows

with laughter? Who hung
the web in the spider's mind?

Tell every pilgrim you meet on the way,
the shrine of the Holy is everywhere.

~Robert Hudson

Monday, May 14, 2018

Books


(Picture found here)
“Who was it who said, ‘I hold the buying of more books than one can peradventure read, as nothing less than the soul’s reaching towards infinity; which is the only thing that raises us above the beasts that perish?’ Whoever it was, I agree with him.”
~A. Edward Newton
   

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Mother

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”
~Washington Irving

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Unnotable Fidelity

“Ordinarily, God is asking not for a heroism that will be admired by others, but for the self-effacement of an unnotable fidelity, a perseverance that draws no eyes.”
~Donald Haggerty

Friday, May 11, 2018

Eternal Being

“God always was, and always is, and always will be. Or rather, God always Is. For Was and Will be are fragments of our time, and of changeable nature, but He is Eternal Being. And this is the Name that He gives to Himself when giving the Oracle to Moses in the Mount. For in Himself He sums up and contains all Being, having neither beginning in the past nor end in the future; like some great Sea of Being, limitless and unbounded, transcending all conception of time and nature, only adumbrated [intimated] by the mind, and that very dimly and scantily.”
~St. Gregory Nazianzen

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into
heaven, did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish
Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples,
deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may
perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your
love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise
the perishable things of this world and aspire only after
the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding
to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine
truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the
surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the
Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You
and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles
that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I
may know God and know myself and grow perfect in
the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may
find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the
Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving
reverence towards God and may dread in any way to
displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of
Your true disciples and animate me in all things with
Your Spirit. Amen.

~An Old Church Prayer

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Grace and Mercy of God

“The thief who received the kingdom of heaven, though not as the reward of virtue, is a true witness to the fact that salvation is ours through the grace and mercy of God.

All of our holy fathers knew this and all with one accord teach that perfection in holiness can be achieved only through humility.

Humility, in its turn, can be achieved only through faith, fear of God, gentleness and the shedding of all possessions.

It is by means of these that we attain perfect love, through the grace and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory through all the ages. Amen.”
~St. John Cassian

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A Universal Sense of Right and Wrong

“To do the honorable thing is to submit the whole of one’s being to the belief that there is underlying all human life and interaction, and indeed all of existence, a universal sense of right and wrong...”
~Jeremy Kee

Monday, May 7, 2018

Parents

“Don’t hold your parents up to contempt. After all, you are their son, and it is just possible that you may take after them.”
~Evelyn Waugh

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Psalm 84(83) Quam dilecta!

1 (To the choir-master. Melody: The Winepresses. Of the sons of Core. A psalm.)
2 Lord of hosts, how I love thy dwelling-place!
3 For the courts of the Lord’s house, my soul faints with longing. The living God! at his name my heart, my whole being thrills with joy.
4 Where else should the sparrow find a home, the swallow a nest for her brood, but at thy altar, Lord of hosts, my king and my God?
5 How blessed, Lord, are those who dwell in thy house! They will be ever praising thee.
6 How blessed is the man who finds his strength in thee! Where there are hearts set on pilgrimage,
7 the parched ravine turns into a water-course at their coming, new-clad by the bounty of returning rain.
8 So, at each stage refreshed, they will reach Sion, and have sight there of the God who is above all gods.
9 Lord of hosts, listen to my prayer; God of Israel, grant me audience!
10 God, ever our protector, do not disregard us now; look favourably upon him whom thou hast anointed!
11 Willingly would I give a thousand of my days for one spent in thy courts! Willingly reach but the threshold of my God’s house, so I might dwell no more in the abode of sinners!
12 Sun to enlighten, shield to protect us, the Lord God has favour, has honour to bestow.
13 To innocent lives he will never refuse his bounty; Lord of hosts, blessed is the man who puts his confidence in thee. (KNOX)

Saturday, May 5, 2018

from Diary of an Old Soul

Afresh I seek thee. Lead me—once more I pray—
Even should it be against my will, thy way.
Let me not feel thee foreign any hour,
Or shrink from thee as an estranged power.
Through doubt, through faith, through bliss, through stark dismay,
Through sunshine, wind, or snow, or fog, or shower,
Draw me to thee who art my only day.
~George MacDonald

Friday, May 4, 2018

If You Fall, Rise Up

“...should we fall, we should not despair and so estrange ourselves from the Lord’s love. For if He so chooses, He can deal mercifully with our weakness. Only we should not cut ourselves off from Him or feel oppressed when constrained by His commandments, nor should we lose heart when we fall short of our goal...let us always be ready to make a new start. If you fall, rise up. If you fall again, rise up again. Only do not abandon your Physician, lest you be condemned...because of your despair. Wait on Him, and He will be merciful, either reforming you, or sending you trials, or through some other provision of which you are ignorant.”
~St. Peter of Damascus

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Hard to Convince

“There is no arguing with people who say that, since there is nothing but Nature, no process can be other than natural. There is no sign, even from heaven, that could break down the intellectual prejudice of such people. If they saw Jesus Christ Himself in glory, they could always say that ‘at present science cannot account for the phenomenon of a luminous body apparently seated upon a throne, but no doubt it will do so in the course of time.’ If they saw a dead and corrupting man rise from the grave, they could always argue that he could not have been dead and corrupting, or he could not have risen from the grave. Nothing but the Last Judgment could convince such persons. Even when the trumpet sounds, I believe that some of them, when they have recovered from their first astonishment, will make remarks about aural phenomena.”
~Robert Hugh Benson

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Savage Sunset

O Father, if I love not life
In you, nor to share Christ’s death in you,
My heart’s a charnel-house: and more,
          Death gnaws the heart.

No Christ, no Cross, No Cross, no life.
No vehement heart, no hope, no locks
Wet with the drops of the night; yet more,
          Death gnaws the heart.

O Savage Sunset, my dawn, my life,
My Paradise unbound, my Stag
Leaping upon the mountains; no more
          Death gnaws the heart!

~a Carthusian monk

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Meditation on Copepods and Obscure Information

Some days I look around wildly,
convinced I'm missing something crucial.

Some days I pick up the guitar and try
to play toward something that won't fit

into words but might change the silence
where words grow, that place like

the liquid spaces within the living rock
in the salt-water tank where tiny

obscure creatures wait to be born.
You must look very closely to see

the copepods, smaller than rice grains,
translucent as rice fried in oil.

But once you know, you can watch them
crawl over the rock and each other,

feast on the purple and green algae,
delirious with delight, knowing

nothing of words or chords
or trains, the humming pumps

that make their weather,
the glass walls that keep them alive.

~Jeff Gundy

Monday, April 30, 2018

The House of my Soul is too Small

“Who shall grant me to rest in Thee? By whose gift shalt Thou enter into my heart and fill it so compellingly that I shall turn no more to my sins but embrace Thee, my only good? What art Thou to me? Have mercy, that I may tell. What rather am I to Thee, that Thou shouldst demand my love and if I do not love Thee be angry and threaten such great woes? Surely not to love Thee is already a great woe. For Thy mercies’ sake, O Lord my God, tell me what Thou art to me. Say unto my soul, I am Thy salvation. So speak that I may hear, Lord, my heart is listening; open it that it may hear Thee say to my soul I am Thy salvation. Hearing that word, let me come in haste to lay hold upon Thee. Hide not Thy face from me. Let me see Thy face even if I die, lest I die with longing to see it.

The house of my soul is too small to receive Thee: let it be enlarged by Thee. It is all in ruins: do Thou repair it. There are things in it that must offend Thy gaze, I confess and know. But who shall cleanse it? or to what other besides Thee shall I cry out: From my secret sins cleanse me, O Lord, and from those of others spare Thy servant? I believe, and therefore do I speak. Lord Thou knowest, Have I not confessed against myself my transgressions against Thee, and Thou, my God, hast forgiven the iniquities of my heart? I contend not in judgment with Thee, who art the truth; and I have no will to deceive myself, lest my iniquity lie unto itself. Therefore I contend not in judgment with Thee, for if Thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities, Lord, who shall endure it?
~St. Augustine (from Confessions)

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Refrain:
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Refrain

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Refrain

~Words: Thomas Chisholm & Music: William Runyan

Saturday, April 28, 2018

You Contain All Things


(Picture found here)
“But if You fill heaven and earth, do they contain You? Or do You fill them, and yet have much over since they cannot contain You? Is there some other place into which that overplus of You pours that heaven and earth cannot hold? Surely You have no need of any place to contain You since You contain all things, and fill them indeed precisely by containing them. The vessels thus filled with You do not render you any support: for though they perished utterly, You would not be split out. And in pouring Yourself out upon us, You do not come down to us but rather elevate us to You: You are not scattered over us, but we are gathered into one by You. You fill all things: but with Your whole being? It is true that all things cannot wholly contain You: but does this mean that they contain part of You? and do they all contain the same part at the same time? or do different parts of creation contain different parts of You—greater parts or smaller according to their own magnitude? But are there in You parts greater and smaller? Or are You not in every place at once in the totality of Your being, while yet nothing contains You wholly?”
~St. Augustine (from Confessions)