Monday, June 18, 2018

Being Approachable

“As long as we ourselves are real, as long as we are truly ourselves, God can be present and can do something with us. But the moment we try to be what we are not, there is nothing left to say or have; we become a fictitious personality, an unreal presence, and this unreal presence cannot be approached by God.”
~Anthony Bloom

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Children Of The Heavenly Father

Children of the heav’nly Father
Safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in Heaven
Such a refuge e’er was given.

God His own doth tend and nourish;
In His holy courts they flourish;
From all evil things He spares them;
In His mighty arms He bears them.

Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth,
And their sorrows all He knoweth.

Though He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.

Lo, their very hairs He numbers,
And no daily care encumbers
Them that share His ev’ry blessing
And His help in woes distressing.

Praise the Lord in joyful numbers:
Your Protector never slumbers.
At the will of your Defender
Ev’ry foeman must surrender.

~Words: Karolina Sandell-Berg; translated from Swedish to English by Ernst Olson & Music: Tryggare Kan Ingen Vara, Swedish melody, arranged by Oskar Ahnfelt

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Books, etc.

“I am a product of long corridors, empty sunlit rooms, upstairs indoor silences, attics explored in solitude, distant noises of gurgling cisterns and pipes, and the noise of wind under the tiles. Also, of endless books. My father bought all the books he read and never got rid of any of them. There were books in the study, books in the drawing room, books in the cloakroom, books (two deep) in the great bookcase on the landing, books in a bedroom, books piled as high as my shoulder in the cistern attic, books of all kinds reflecting every transient stage of my parents’ interest, books readable and unreadable, books suitable for a child and books most emphatically not. Nothing was forbidden me. In the seemingly endless rainy afternoons I took volume after volume from the shelves. I had always the same certainty of finding a book that was new to me as a man who walks into a field has of finding a new blade of grass.”
~C. S. Lewis

Friday, June 15, 2018

Beware

“Beware of passionate attachments to the world. Although they deceive you with peace and comfort, they are so fleeting that you do not notice how you are deprived of them, and in their place come sorrow, longing, despondency, and no comfort whatsoever.”
~St. Leonid of Optina

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Natural Object

“...We reduce things to mere Nature in order that we may ‘conquer’ them. We are always conquering Nature, because ‘Nature’ is the name for what we have, to some extent, conquered. The price of conquest is to treat a thing as mere Nature. Every conquest over Nature increases her domain. The stars do not become Nature till we can weigh and measure them: the soul does not become Nature till we can psychoanalyse her. The wresting of powers from Nature is also the surrendering of things to Nature. As long as this process stops short of the final stage we may well hold that the gain outweighs the loss. But as soon as we take the final step of reducing our own species to the level of mere Nature, the whole process is stultified, for this time the being who stood to gain and the being who has been sacrificed are one and the same. This is one of the many instances where to carry a principle to what seems its logical conclusion produces absurdity. It is like the famous Irishman who found that a certain kind of stove reduced his fuel bill by half and thence concluded that two stoves of the same kind would enable him to warm his house with no fuel at all. It is the magician’s bargain: give up our soul, get power in return. But once our souls, that is, ourselves, have been given up, the power thus conferred will not belong to us. We shall in fact be the slaves and puppets of that to which we have given our souls. It is in Man’s power to treat himself as a mere ‘natural object’ and his own judgements of value as raw material for scientific manipulation to alter at will. The objection to his doing so does not lie in the fact that this point of view (like one’s first day in a dissecting room) is painful and shocking till we grow used to it. The pain and the shock are at most a warning and a symptom. The real objection is that if man chooses to treat himself as raw material, raw material he will be: not raw material to be manipulated, as he fondly imagined, by himself, but by mere appetite, that is, mere Nature, in the person of his de-humanized Conditioners.

We have been trying, like Lear, to have it both ways: to lay down our human prerogative and yet at the same time to retain it. It is impossible. Either we are rational spirit obliged for ever to obey the absolute values of the Tao [Tao = Natural Law or Traditional Morality or the First Principles of Practical Reason or the First Platitudes], or else we are mere nature to be kneaded and cut into new shapes for the pleasures of masters who must, by hypothesis, have no motive but their own ‘natural’ impulses. Only the Tao provides a common human law of action which can over-arch rulers and ruled alike. A dogmatic belief in objective value is necessary to the very idea of a rule which is not tyranny or an obedience which is not slavery.

...The process which, if not checked, will abolish Man goes on apace among Communists and Democrats no less than among Fascists. The methods may (at first) differ in brutality. ...

...Traditional values are to be ‘debunked’ and mankind to be cut out into some fresh shape at the will (which must, by hypothesis, be an arbitrary will) of some few lucky people in one lucky generation which has learned how to do it. ...”
~C. S. Lewis (from The Abolition of Man)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

At the Heart of Every Conversion

“At the heart of every conversion is an encounter with the mystery of God himself. We come to know that God is utterly personal and real in his mystery, with eyes of a secret penetration cast upon our soul. In a unique way for each person, he enters within our life to invite us to fix our gaze in the direction of his approach. If we allow ourselves to be drawn and step closer, a brief unmasking may take place. We know him then indisputably as our Lord and our God. All our prior reflection about God may seem at that hour unfocused and superficial, a chasing after shadows. For we perceive now that he possesses an exquisite personal quality beyond any previous idea we may have had. The certainty in faith of his presence in near proximity to our soul leads quite spontaneously to the prostration of our spirit before him.”
~Donald Haggerty

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Practice

“‘It’s so hard to be good!’ And so we have to practice. It is hard to become a concert pianist. It is hard to become an expert surgeon. It is hard to become an outstanding ballerina. We have to practice and practice and practice. If this is true of the worldly arts, it is more true of the art of spiritual fidelity.”
~Mary Francis

May God help us!

Monday, June 11, 2018

On Listening to God

Do you think that
by leaning closer

to the sun, you are better
able to hear it burning?

Trust me. It’s burning.
It’s burning. Just listen.

~Robert Hudson

Sunday, June 10, 2018

My Jesus, I Love Thee

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

~Words: William Featherston & Music: Adoniram Gordon (Re-post)

Saturday, June 9, 2018

True Questions

“...Finally there are the questions induced by wonder: What is goodness? Does knowing what goodness is have an assignable relation to being good? What does it mean to be or not to be and is being better than not-being—a question you have all heard Hamlet utter, but not perhaps taken as seriously as one should, considering that while we’re alive the ability to be or not to be is our ultimate power. Thinking about such questions necessarily drives you into asking others: Is death the end of life? What comes afterwards? Is a divinity watching?

Let me call these questions true questions, because they do not go away. Some would say that they do not go away because unlike well-formulated problems they neither dictate a clear common method of inquiry nor have a universally acceptable answer. Their pesky perennialism is therefore purely the effect of their unanswerability. I don’t think so. First you have to know a lot, in fact you have to know everything, to know that such questions are in principle unanswerable. I happen to know that students find answers they can live with every day. I think such questions do not go away because, unlike problems that get solved and cease to be an issue, questions of this sort become the more engaging the closer they come to the answer. That is because those who truly ask long for the answer not because they want to be finished with the problem, but because they really want the answer to be with them; they want to live by its light. Let me give a hypothetical example of what I mean. Suppose after a life given to the quest for God you found yourself suddenly standing before His Throne. You would not rub your hands and say, ‘Well,—that’s that’ and lose interest. It would be a beginning, not an end.”
~Eva Brann

Friday, June 8, 2018

Lamentations 3:22-33

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
   his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
   great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
   “therefore I will hope in him.”

The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
   to the soul that seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
   for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for one to bear
   the yoke in youth,
to sit alone in silence
   when the Lord has imposed it,
to put one’s mouth to the dust
   (there may yet be hope),
to give one’s cheek to the smiter,
   and be filled with insults.

For the Lord will not
   reject forever.
Although he causes grief, he will have compassion
   according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
for he does not willingly afflict
   or grieve anyone. (Partial re-post)

Thursday, June 7, 2018

From Psalm 4

"What can bring us happiness?" many say.
Lift up the light of your face on us, O Lord.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Excess of Life

“A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”
~G. K. Chesterton (partial re-post)

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Radiate Christ

“Western societies are organized and live as though God did not exist. Christians themselves, on many occasions, have settled down to a silent apostasy. If the concerns of contemporary man are centered almost exclusively on the economy, technology, and the immediacy of material happiness that has been wrongly sentimentalized, God becomes distant; often in the West the last things and eternity have unnecessarily become a sort of psychological burden...

Well, then, given this existential abyss, the Church has only one option left: she must radiate Christ exclusively, his glory and his hope.”
~Robert Sarah

Monday, June 4, 2018

Circles

“The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated without end. It is the highest emblem in the cipher of the world. St. Augustine described the nature of God as a circle whose centre was everywhere and its circumference nowhere. We are all our lifetime reading the copious sense of this first of forms.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Pange Lingua

I shall sing the Savior’s glory,
Of his flesh the mystery sing,
And the blood, all price excelling,
Shed by our immortal King:
God made man for our salvation,
Who from Virgin pure did spring.

Born for us, and for us given,
Born a man like us below,
Christ as man with man residing
Lived the seed of truth to sow,
Suffered bitter death unflinching,
And immortal love did show.

On the night before he suffered,
Seated with his chosen band,
Jesus, when they all had feasted,
Faithful to the law’s command,
Far more precious food provided:
Gave himself with his own hand.

Word made flesh, true bread of heaven,
By his word made flesh to be,
From the wine his blood is taken.
Though our senses cannot see,
Faith alone which is unshaken
Shows pure hearts the mystery.

Therefore we, before him falling,
This great sacrament revere;
Ancient forms are now departed,
For new acts of grace are here,
Faith our feeble senses aiding,
Makes the Savior’s presence clear.

To the everlasting Father
And his Son who reigns on high,
With the Holy Ghost proceeding
Forth from each eternally,
Be all honor, glory, blessing,
Power and endless majesty. Amen.

Tune: Pange Lingua 87.87.87
Music: Mode III Vatican Plainsong
Text: Pange Lingua, Saint Thomas Aquinas, about 1225-1274
Translation: Edward Caswall, 1814-1878, adapted by Anthony G. Petti

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Lay Down Your Life

“There is no greater love than that a man lays down his life for his neighbor. When you hear someone complaining and you struggle with yourself and do not answer him back with complaints; when you are hurt and bear it patiently, not looking for revenge; then you are laying down your life for your neighbor.”
~Abba Poemen

Friday, June 1, 2018

Canticle: Revelation 15:3-4

Mighty and wonderful are your works,
Lord God Almighty!
Righteous and true are your ways,
O King of the nations!

Who would dare refuse you honor,
or the glory due your name, O Lord?

Since you alone are holy,
all nations shall come
and worship in your presence.
Your mighty deeds are clearly seen.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Equal Love For All

“He who does not envy the spiritually mature and is merciful to the wicked has attained an equal love for all.”
~St. Thalassios the Libyan

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

1 Peter 1:18-25

Beloved:
Realize that you were ransomed from your futile conduct,
   handed on by your ancestors,
   not with perishable things like silver or gold
   but with the precious Blood of Christ
   as of a spotless unblemished Lamb.
He was known before the foundation of the world
   but revealed in the final time for you,
   who through him believe in God
   who raised him from the dead and gave him glory,
   so that your faith and hope are in God.

Since you have purified yourselves
   by obedience to the truth for sincere brotherly love,
   love one another intensely from a pure heart.
You have been born anew,
   not from perishable but from imperishable seed,
   through the living and abiding word of God, for:

   “All flesh is like grass,
      and all its glory like the flower of the field;
   the grass withers,
      and the flower wilts;
   but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
This is the word that has been proclaimed to you.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Ideologies

“...This thing which I have called for convenience the Tao, and which others may call Natural Law or Traditional Morality or the First Principles of Practical Reason or the First Platitudes, is not one among a series of possible systems of value. It is the sole source of all value judgements. If it is rejected, all value is rejected. If any value is retained, it is retained. The effort to refute it and raise a new system of value in its place is self-contradictory. There has never been, and never will be, a radically new judgement of value in the history of the world. What purport to be new systems or (as they now call them) ‘ideologies’, all consist of fragments from the Tao itself, arbitrarily wrenched from their context in the whole and then swollen to madness in their isolation, yet still owing to the Tao and to it alone such validity as they possess. If my duty to my parents is a superstition, then so is my duty to posterity. If justice is a superstition, then so is my duty to my country or my race. If the pursuit of scientific knowledge is a real value, then so is conjugal fidelity. The rebellion of new ideologies against the Tao is a rebellion of the branches against the tree: if the rebels could succeed they would find that they had destroyed themselves. The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of imagining a new primary colour, or, indeed, of creating a new sun and a new sky for it to move in.”
~C. S. Lewis (from The Abolition of Man)

Monday, May 28, 2018

In Flanders Fields


(Picture found here)
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

~John McCrae

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.