Saturday, December 31, 2011

Finding and Not Finding the Truth

“The devil is no fool. He can get people feeling about heaven the way they ought to feel about hell. He can make them fear the means of grace the way they do not fear sin. And he does so, not by light but by obscurity, not by realities but by shadows, not by clarity and substance but by dreams and the creatures of psychosis. And men are so poor in intellect that a few cold chills down their spine will be enough to keep them from ever finding out the truth about anything.”
~Thomas Merton

Friday, December 30, 2011

Prayer to the Infant Jesus

“Let Your goodness Lord appear to us, that we, made in Your image,
    conform ourselves to it.
In our own strength we cannot imitate Your majesty, power, and wonder
    nor is it fitting for us to try.
But Your mercy reaches from the heavens through the clouds to the earth
You have come to us as a small child, but You have brought us the
    greatest of all gifts, the gift of eternal love.
Caress us with Your tiny hands, embrace us with Your tiny arms, and
    pierce our hearts with Your soft, sweet cries.”
~St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The God in the Cave

“…no other story, no pagan legend or philosophical anecdote or historical event, does in fact affect any of us with that peculiar and even poignant impression produced on us by the word Bethlehem. No other birth of a god or childhood of a sage seems to us to be Christmas or anything like Christmas. It is either too cold or too frivolous, or too formal and classical, or too simple and savage, or too occult and complicated. Not one of us, whatever his opinions, would ever go to such a scene with the sense that he was going home. He might admire it because it was poetical, or because it was philosophical, or any number of other things in separation; but not because it was itself. The truth is that there is a quite peculiar and individual character about the hold of this story on human nature; it is not in its psychological substance at all like a mere legend or the life of a great man. It does not exactly in the ordinary sense turn our minds to greatness; to those extensions and exaggerations of humanity which are turned into gods and heroes, even by the healthiest sort of hero-worship. It does not exactly work outwards, adventurously, to the wonders to be found at the ends of the earth. It is rather something that surprises us from behind, from the hidden and personal part of our being; like that which can some times take us off our guard in the pathos of small objects or the blind pieties of the poor. It is rather as if a man had found an inner room in the very heart of his own house, which he had never suspected; and seen a light from within. It is as if he found something at the back of his own heart that betrayed him into good. It is not made of what the world would call strong materials; or rather it is made of materials whose strength is in that winged levity with which they brush us and pass. It is all that is in us but a brief tenderness that is there made eternal; all that means no more than a momentary softening that is in some strange fashion become a strengthening and a repose; it is the broken speech and the lost word that are made positive and suspended unbroken; as the strange kings fade into a far country and the mountains resound no more with the feet of the shepherds; and only the night and the cavern lie in fold upon fold over something more human than humanity.”
~G. K. Chesterton

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

An Unusual Romantic

"The believer is not a killjoy. He's in love with life, with all its comforts and all its troubles. The complete [Christian] is a kind of romantic--but a very unusual kind of romantic, because he is also a realist."
~Michael O'Brien

Monday, December 26, 2011

Gospel Canticle

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for He has looked with favor on His lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His Name.

He has mercy on those who fear Him
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of His arm,
He has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of His servant Israel
for He has remembered His promise of mercy,
the promise He made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.
~Luke 1:46-55

Sunday, December 25, 2011


"A little Child is born for us today; little and yet called the mighty God, alleluia."

Saturday, December 24, 2011

In the morning...

Today you will know that the Lord is coming,
and in the morning you will see His glory.
~Ex. 16:6-7

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Incarnation

“Just as our unaided eyes cannot look directly into the sun’s brilliant light without our having to close them immediately, being momentarily blinded, so, in a similar way, our understanding is blinded and darkened by the brilliant light and splendor of the mystery of the Incarnation. Our understanding, the eye of our soul, cannot consider this mystery for any length of time without becoming clouded, humbly confessing that it cannot penetrate it deeply enough to understand how God became incarnate in the virginal womb of the Blessed Virgin and how He became one like us to make us like God.”
~St. Frances de Sales

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Good Mess

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don't clean it up too quickly.”
~Andy Rooney

Monday, December 19, 2011

Thy Grandeur

“O my Lord and my God! How stupendous is Thy grandeur! We are like so many foolish peasant lads: we think we know something of Thee, yet it must be comparatively nothing, for there are profound secrets even in ourselves of which we know naught.”
~St. Teresa of Avila

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Setting Out

...What is it that you do here?
...We fall, and we get up again.

In time, even the slowest pilgrim might
articulate a turn. Given time enough,

the slowest pilgrim—even he—might
register some small measure of belated

progress. The road was, more or less, less
compelling than the hut, but as the benefit

of time allowed the hut’s distractions to attain
a vaguely musty scent, and all the novel

knickknacks to acquire a fine veneer of bone-white
dust, the road became then somewhat more

attractive, and as the weather made a timely
if quite brief concession, the pilgrim took this all

to be an open invitation to set out.

~Scott Cairns

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

There must be...

There must be a time of day when the man who
makes plans forgets his plans,
and acts as if he had no plans at all.

There must be a time of day when the man who has
to speak falls very silent.
And his mind forms no more propositions,
and he asks himself:
Did they have a meaning?

There must be a time
when the man of prayer goes to pray
as if it were the first time in his life
he ever prayed,
when the man of resolutions puts his
resolutions aside
as if they had all been broken,
and he learns a different wisdom:

distinguishing the sun from the moon,
the stars from the darkness,
the sea from the dry land,
and the night sky from the shoulder of a hill.
~Thomas Merton

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

His Shattering Presence

“My idea of God is not a divine idea. It has to be shattered time after time. He shatters it Himself. He is the great iconoclast. Could we not almost say that this shattering is one of the marks of His presence? The Incarnation is the supreme example; it leaves all previous ideas of the Messiah in ruins. And most are ‘offended’ by the iconoclasm; and blessed are those who are not. But the same thing happens in our private prayers.”
~C. S. Lewis

Sunday, December 11, 2011


We are preparing ourselves for the days when “the wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing.” (Is. 35:1)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Truth made Flesh and the End...

“Perhaps the worst of the ‘demythologizing’ so endemic to our times is the message that the stories of the Christian Faith are merely our version of universal ‘myths’. It is suggested that many cultures have produced tales about a hero who is killed and then returns to life; many more have imagined a cataclysm that will occur at the end of history. G. K. Chesterton once wrote that the demythologizers’ position really adds up to this: since a truth has impressed itself deeply in the imagination of a vast number of ancient peoples, therefore it simply cannot be true. He pointed out that the demythologizer has failed to examine the most important consideration of all: that people of various times and places may have been informed at an intuitive level of actual events that would one day take place in history; that in their inner longings there was a glimmer of light, a presentiment, a yearning forward through the medium of art toward the fullness of Truth that would one day be made flesh in the Incarnation. Saint John’s Revelation is an apocalypse of a higher order. It is genuine prophecy in the sense that it is not merely a work of foretelling, but is a communication from the Lord of history Himself. It is an exhortation, an encouragement, a teaching vehicle, and a vision of actual events that will one day occur.”
~Michael O’Brien

Friday, December 9, 2011


“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness — they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means — the only complete realist.”
~C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
~Aldous Huxley

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Truth & Light

“...We all of us waste our inheritance of grace, not because we willfully choose to go out and plunge into corruption like the prodigal son (though some of us do). Much of our habit of wasting grace comes from not knowing who we are in the eyes of God. We do not really believe what he tells us about who we are and who he is. Of course, we accept the theological abstractions, we acknowledge on some level the truth of what Jesus tells us, but it does not burn in our hearts. It remains semi-dormant in our heads, and whenever it comes to mind we perhaps think to ourselves, yes, that’s a wonderful truth and isn’t it great to have a good God like this. But it rarely if ever brings us to the point of throwing ourselves into the arms of God. We work hard to prevent ourselves becoming that weak—as weak as a child in desperate need of his father’s mercy. We become that weak whenever life brings us to moments of encounter with physical, emotional, or material failure in the ordinary and extraordinary trials of existence.

...Weakness was forcing us to see our root fear, the root fear of abandonment, the root fear of insufficiency, and the most horrifying fear of all—that maybe God wasn’t really looking after us, maybe he wasn’t what he said he was—a Father. I make bold to say that at the core of every heart this fear is present. Until we faced that fundamental doubt, the light of Christ could not heal it. Human nature builds a wall of protection around the dark little corners of fear inside us. We have all kinds of devices for this, money being the most obvious one. We can pad and buffer our life, distract and entertain ourselves very successfully in this society, filling an entire lifetime with it.
...But all such defenses are only delaying mechanisms.”
~Michael O’Brien

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Day Draws Near

It is now the hour for you to wake from sleep, for our salvation is closer than when we first accepted the faith. The night is far spent; the day draws near. Let us cast off deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
~Romans 13:11-12

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Peace Like a River

“And now the orchard ended, and a plain reached far ahead to a range of blanched mountains. A stream coursed through this plain, of different personality and purpose than the earlier wide river. A narrow, raucous stream, it flowed upward against the gradient, and mighty fish arched and swam in it, flinging manes of spray. I meant to jump in—wherever this river went I wanted to go—and would’ve done so had not another figure appeared, running beside the water.

A man in pants. Flapping colorless pants and a shirt, dismal things most strange in this place. He was running upslope by the boisterous stream. Despite the clothes his face was incandescent, and when he saw me he wheeled his arms and came on ever faster. Then history entered me—my own and all the rest of it, more than I could hold, history like a heavy rain—so I knew the man coming along was my father, Jeremiah Land; and all that had happened, himself slipping down the hood of the Ford, Roxanna’s hard grip on my shoulder, the air drumming in my ears like bird wings, came back like a mournful story told from ancient days.

He was beside me in moments, stretching out his hands. What cabled strength! I remember wondering what those arms were made for—no mere reward, they had design in them. They had some work to set about. Meantime Dad was laughing—at my arms, which were similarly strong! He sang out, You’re as big as me! How had I not noticed? We were like two friends, and I saw he was proud of me, that he knew me better than he’d ever thought to and was not dismayed by the knowledge; and even as I wondered at his ageless face, so clear and at home, his eyes owned up to some small regret, for he knew a thing I didn’t.

Let’s run, he said. It’s true both of us were wild to go on. I tell you there is no one who compels as does the master of that country—although badly as I wanted to see him, Dad must’ve wanted to more, for he shot ahead like a man who sees all that pleases him most stacked beside the finish. I could only be awed at his speed, which was no effort for him; indeed he held back so that we traveled together, he sometimes reaching for my hand, as he’d done a thousand times in the past; and the music and living language swept us forth across the plains until the mountains lay ahead, and up we climbed at a run.

Is it fair to say that country is more real than ours? That its stone is harder, its water more drenching—that the weather itself is alert and not just background? Can you endure a witness to its tactile presence?”

~Leif Enger

Sunday, November 27, 2011


“Advent calls us as Christians to ponder again the mystery of our salvation, our hope that there is an answer to the riddle of earthly life with its passing joys, disappointments, sorrows, and frustrations, and its apparently dark end in the oblivion of death.

Does life go anywhere? Does it have any meaning? Advent calls every one of us to stop in the struggle of life and to look up, to recall the answer to the questions of life. We are on a journey to our Father’s house. The door has been opened to us by the Son of God, and the way marked out.

...So many mysteries, so many questions, and so many answers. For the one with faith, Advent should be a time of mystery, discovery, new insights, and deeper joy.”
~Benedict Groeschel

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Another Life, Another Day

“Who is more little, who is more poor than the helpless who lies asleep in bed without awareness and without defense? Who is more trusting than he who must entrust himself each night to sleep? What is the reward of his trust? Gentleness comes to him when he is most helpless and awakens him, refreshed, beginning to be made whole. Love takes him by the hand, and opens to him the doors of another life, another day.

(But he who has defended himself, fought for himself in sickness, planned for himself, guarded himself, loved himself alone and watched over his own life all night, is killed at last by exhaustion. For him there is no newness. Everything is stale and old.)”
~Thomas Merton

Friday, November 25, 2011

Return to the Father

“One thing above all is important: the ‘return to the Father.’

The Son came into the world and died for us, rose and ascended to the Father; sent us His Spirit, that in Him and with Him we might return to the Father.

That we might pass clean out of the midst of all that is transitory and inconclusive: return to the Immense, the Primordial, the Source, the unknown, to Him Who loves and knows, to the Silent, to the Merciful, to the Holy, to Him Who is All.

To seek anything, to be concerned with anything but this is only madness and sickness, for this is the whole meaning and heart of all existence, and in this all the affairs of life, all the needs of the world and of men, take on their right significance: all point to this one great return to the Source.

All goals that are not ultimate, all ‘ends of the line’ that we can see and plan as ‘ends,’ are simply absurd, because they do not even begin. The ‘return’ is the end beyond all ends, and the beginning of beginnings.

To ‘return to the Father’ is not to ‘go back’ in time, to roll up the scroll of history, or to reverse anything. It is a going forward, a going beyond, for merely to retrace one’s steps would be a vanity on top of vanity, a renewal of the same absurdity in reverse.

Our destiny is to go on beyond everything, to leave everything, to press forward to the End and find in the End our Beginning, the ever-new Beginning that has no end.

To obey Him on the way, in order to reach Him in whom I have begun, who is the key and the end—because He is the Beginning.”
~Thomas Merton

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


“Pride slays thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.”
~Henry Ward Beecher

“O Thou Who has given us so much, mercifully grant us one more thing: a grateful heart.”
~George Herbert

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An "Expert"

“An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field.”
~Niels Bohr

Monday, November 21, 2011

Good Point

“To be an angel in prayer and a beast in one's relations with people is to go lame on both legs.”
~St. Francis de Sales

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rejoice, The Lord Is King

Rejoice, the Lord is King! Your Lord and King adore;
Mortals give thanks and sing, and triumph evermore;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Jesus, the Savior, reigns, the God of truth and love;
When He had purged our stains He took His seat above;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

His kingdom cannot fail, He rules o’er earth and Heav’n,
The keys of death and hell are to our Jesus giv’n;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

He sits at God’s right hand till all His foes submit,
And bow to His command, and fall beneath His feet:
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

He all His foes shall quell, shall all our sins destroy,
And every bosom swell with pure seraphic joy;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice,
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Rejoice in glorious hope! Jesus the Judge shall come,
And take His servants up to their eternal home.
We soon shall hear th’archangel’s voice;
The trump of God shall sound, rejoice!

~Words: Charles Wesley & Music: John Darwall

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Has That Break Come?

“The worst pains we experience are not those of the suffering itself but of our stubborn resistance to it, our resolute insistence on our independence. To be ‘crucified with Christ’ means what Oswald Chambers calls ‘breaking the husk’ of that independence. ‘Has that break come?’ he asks. ‘All the rest is pious fraud.’”
~Elisabeth Elliott

Monday, November 14, 2011

At the Border of Paradise

It’s strange
that green valleys are still here
as if happiness slept in them
and shady streams
we once knew for sure
and that there still are roofs
under which small children sleep
filling the house with a different silence

It’s strange
that clouds here still follow the sun
like gliding birds
and that there still is simple human goodness
besides what aspires upwards
that pure music stands at the door
which suddenly seems like a palace portico

It’s strange
that we still
want so much to love and cry
~Anna Kamienska

Sunday, November 13, 2011

...for Thee

How lovely are Thy dwellings fair!
    O Lord of Hosts, how dear
The pleasant tabernacles are!
    Where Thou dost dwell so near.
My soul doth long and almost die
    Thy courts O Lord to see;
My heart and flesh aloud do cry,
    O living God, for Thee.
~John Milton

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Created

“There is naught for thee by thy haste to gain;
‘Tis not the swift with Me that win the race;
Through long endurance of delaying pain,
Thine opened eye shall see thy Father’s face;
Nor here nor there, where now thy feet would turn,
Thou wilt find Him who ever seeks for thee;
But let obedience quench desires that burn,
And where thou art, thy Father, too, will be.
Behold! as day by day the spirit grows,
Thou see’st by inward light things hid before;
Till what God is, thyself, his image shows;
And thou dost wear the robe that first thou wore,
When bright with radiance from his forming hand
He saw thee Lord of all his creatures stand.”
~Jones Very

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Story (Fiction) – Part 2

    ...Then suddenly the news comes out: The code has been broken. A cure has been found. A vaccine can be made. But it’s going to take the blood of somebody who hasn’t been infected. So you and I are asked to do just one thing: Go to the nearest hospital and have our blood tested. When we hear the sirens go off in our neighborhood, we are to make our way quickly, quietly, and safely to the hospital.
    Sure enough, by the time you and your family get to the hospital it’s late Friday night. There are long lines of people and a constant rush of doctors and nurses taking blood and putting labels on it. Finally, it is your turn. You go first, then your spouse and children follow, and once the doctors have taken your blood they say to you, “Wait here in the parking lot for your name to be called.” You stand around with your family and neighbors, scared, waiting, wondering. Wondering quietly to yourself, What on earth is going on here? Is this the end of the world? How did it ever come to this?
    Nobody seems to have had their name called; the doctors just keep taking people’s blood. But then suddenly a young man comes running out of the hospital, screaming. He’s yelling a name and waving a clipboard. You don’t hear him at first. “What’s he saying?” someone asks. The young man screams the name again as he and a team of medical staff run in your direction, but again you cannot hear him. But then your son tugs on your jacket and says, “Daddy, that’s me. That’s my name they’re calling.” Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy. “Wait a minute. Hold on!” you say, running after them. “That’s my son.”
    “It’s okay,” they reply. “We think he has the right blood type. We just need to check one more time to make sure he doesn’t have the disease.”
    Five tense minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses, crying and hugging each another; some of them are even laughing. It’s the first time you have seen anybody laugh in a week. An old doctor walks up to you and your spouse and says, “Thank you. Your son’s blood is perfect. It’s clean, it’s pure, he doesn’t have the disease, and we can use it to make the vaccine.”
    As the news begins to spread across the parking lot, people scream and pray and laugh and cry. You can hear the crowd erupting in the background as the gray-haired doctor pulls you and your spouse aside to say, “I need to talk to you. We didn’t realize that the donor would be a minor and we . . . we need you to sign a consent form.”
    The doctor presents the form and you quickly begin to sign it, but then your eye catches something. The box for the number of pints of blood to be taken is empty.
    “How many pints?” you ask. That is when the old doctor’s smile fades, and he says, “We had no idea it would be a child. We weren’t prepared for that.”
    You ask him again, “How many pints?” The old doctor looks away and says regretfully, “We are going to need it all!”
    “But I don’t understand. What do you mean you need it all? He’s my only son!”
    The doctor grabs you by the shoulders, pulls you close, looks you straight in the eyes, and says, “We are talking about the whole world here. Do you understand? The whole world. Please, sign the form. We need to hurry!”
    “But can’t you give him a transfusion?” you plead.
    “If we had clean blood we would, but we don’t. Please, will you sign the form?”

    What would you do?
    In numb silence you sign the form because you know it’s the only thing to do. Then the doctor says to you, “Would you like to have a moment with your son before we get started?”
    Could you walk into that hospital room where your son sits on a table saying, “Daddy? Mommy? What’s going on?” Could you tell your son you love him? And when the doctors and nurses come back in and say, “I’m sorry, we’ve got to get started now; people all over the world are dying,” could you leave? Could you walk out while your son is crying out to you, “Mom? Dad? What’s going on? Where are you going? Why are you leaving? Why have you abandoned me?”
    The following week, they hold a ceremony to honor your son for his phenomenal contribution to humanity . . . but some people sleep through it, others don’t even bother to come because they have better things to do, and some people come with a pretentious smile and pretend to care, while others sit around and say, “This is boring!” Wouldn’t you want to stand up and say, “Excuse me! I’m not sure if you are aware of it or not, but the amazing life you have, my son died so that you could have that life. My son died so that you could live. He died for you. Does it mean nothing to you?”
    Perhaps that is what God wants to say.

~Matthew Kelly

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Story (Fiction) – Part 1

This is a little long as compared to most of my posts. I will break it up into 2 parts. It is an interesting, thought-provoking, fictitious story...

Imagine this.
    You’re driving home from work next Monday after a long day. You turn on your radio and you hear a brief report about a small village in India where some people have suddenly died, strangely, of a flu that has never been seen before. It’s not influenza, but four people are dead, so the Centers for Disease Control is sending some doctors to India to investigate.
    You don’t think too much about it—people die every day—but coming home from church the following Sunday you hear another report on the radio, only now they say it’s not four people who have died, but thirty thousand, in the back hills of India. Whole villages have been wiped out and experts confirm this flu is a strain that has never been seen before.
    By the time you get up Monday morning, it’s the lead story. The disease is spreading. It’s not just India that is affected. Now it has spread to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and northern Africa, but it still seems far away. Before you know it, you’re hearing this story everywhere. The media have now coined it “the mystery flu.” The President has announced that he and his family are praying for the victims and their families, and are hoping for the situation to be resolved quickly. But everyone is wondering how we are ever going to contain it.
    That’s when the President of France makes an announcement that shocks Europe: He is closing the French borders. No one can enter the country, and that’s why that night you’re watching a little bit of CNN before going to bed. Your jaw hits your chest when a weeping woman’s words are translated into English from a French news program: There’s a man lying in a hospital in Paris dying of the mystery flu. It has come to Europe.
    Panic strikes. As best they can tell, after contracting the disease, you have it for a week before you even know it, then you have four days of unbelievable symptoms, and then you die.
    The British close their borders, but it’s too late. The disease breaks out in Southampton, Liverpool, and London, and on Tuesday morning the President of the United States makes the following announcement: “Due to a national-security risk, all flights to and from the United States have been canceled. If your loved ones are overseas, I’m sorry. They cannot come home until we find a cure for this horrific disease.”
    Within four days, America is plunged into an unbelievable fear. People are wondering, What if it comes to this country? Preachers on television are saying it’s the scourge of God. Then on Tuesday night you are at church for Bible study, when somebody runs in from the parking lot and yells, “Turn on a radio!” And while everyone listens to a small radio, the announcement is made: Two women are lying in a hospital in New York City dying of the mystery flu. It has come to America.
    Within hours the disease envelops the country. People are working around the clock, trying to find an antidote, but nothing is working. The disease breaks out in California, Oregon, Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts. It’s as though it’s just sweeping in from the borders...

~Matthew Kelly

Monday, November 7, 2011 come again...

“Then shall my heart behold Thee everywhere.
The vision rises of a speechless thing,
A perfectness of bliss beyond compare!
A time when I nor breathe nor think nor move,
But I do breathe and think and feel Thy love,
The soul of all the songs the saints do sing!
And life dies out in bliss, to come again in prayer.”
~George MacDonald

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Psalm 118:1-9, 15-29

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
    For His mercy endures forever.

Let Israel now say,
    “His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron now say,
    “His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD now say,
    “His mercy endures forever.”

I called on the LORD in distress;
    The LORD answered me and set me in a broad place.
The LORD is on my side;
    I will not fear.
    What can man do to me?
The LORD is for me among those who help me;
    Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.
It is better to trust in the LORD
    Than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the LORD
    Than to put confidence in princes.

...The voice of rejoicing and salvation
    Is in the tents of the righteous;
    The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.
The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
    The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.
I shall not die, but live,
    And declare the works of the LORD.
The LORD has chastened me severely,
    But He has not given me over to death.

Open to me the gates of righteousness;
    I will go through them,
    And I will praise the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD,
    Through which the righteous shall enter.

I will praise You,
    For You have answered me,
    And have become my salvation.

The stone which the builders rejected
    Has become the chief cornerstone.
This was the LORD’s doing;
    It is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
    We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Save now, I pray, O LORD;
    O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!
    We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.
God is the LORD,
    And He has given us light;
    Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will praise You;
    You are my God, I will exalt You.
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
    For His mercy endures forever.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Good Advice

“When you don't know what to do, do the work in front of you.”
~Calvin Coolidge

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Prayer...

If making makes us Thine then Thine we are,
   And if redemption we are twice Thine own:
If once Thou didst come down from heaven afar
   To seek us and to find us, how not save?
Comfort us, save us, leave us not alone,
   Thou Who didst die our death and fill our grave.
~Christina Rossetti

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

For All The Saints

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

(Select verses)
~Words: Will­iam How & Music: Ralph Vaughan Williams

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rinsed with Gold, Endless, Walking the Fields

Let this day’s air praise the Lord—
Rinsed with gold, endless, walking the fields,
Blue and bearing the clouds like censers,
Holding the sun like a single note
Running through all things, a basso profundo
Rousing the birds to an endless chorus.

Let the river throw itself down before him,
The rapids laugh and flash with his praise,
Let the lake tremble about its edges
And gather itself in one clear thought
To mirror the heavens and the reckless gulls
That swoop and rise on its glittering shores.

Let the lawn burn continually before him
A green flame, and the tree’s shadow
Sweep over it like the baton of a conductor,
Let winds hug the housecorners and woodsmoke
Sweeten the world with her invisible dress,
Let the cricket wind his heartspring
And draw the night by like a child’s toy.

Let the tree stand and thoughtfully consider
His presence as its leaves dip and row
The long sea of winds, as sun and moon
Unfurl and decline like contending flags.

Let blackbirds quick as knives praise the Lord,
Let the sparrow line the moon for her nest
And pick the early sun for her cherry,
Let her slide on the outgoing breath of evening,
Telling of raven and dove,
The quick flutters, homings to the green houses.

Let the worm climb a winding stair,
Let the mole offer no sad explanation
As he paddles aside the dark from his nose,
Let the dog tug on the leash of his bark
The startled cat electrically hiss,
And the snake sign her name in the dust

In joy. For it is he who underlies
The rock from its liquid foundation,
The sharp contraries of the giddy atom,
The unimaginable curve of space,
Time pulling like a patient string,
And gravity, fiercest of natural loves.

At his laughter, splendor riddles the night,
Galaxies swarm from a secret hive,
Mountains split and crawl for aeons
To huddle again, and planets melt
In the last tantrum of a dying star.

At his least signal spring shifts
Its green patina over half the earth,
Deserts whisper themselves over the cities,
Polar caps widen and wither like flowers.

In his stillness rock shifts, root probes,
The spider tenses her geometrical ego,
The larva dreams in the heart of the peachwood,
The child’s pencil makes a shaky line,
The dog sighs and settles deeper,
And a smile takes hold like the feet of a bird.

Sit straight, let the air ride down your backbone,
Let your lungs unfold like a field of roses,
Your eyes hang the sun and moon between them,
Your hands weigh the sky in even balance,
Your tongue, swiftest of members, release a word
Spoken at conception to the sanctum of genes,
And each breath rise sinuous with praise.

Let your feet move to the rhythm of your pulse
(Your joints like pearls and rubies he has hidden),
And your hands float high on the tide of your feelings.
Now, shout from the stomach, hoarse with music,
Give gladness and joy back to the Lord,
Who, sly as a milkweed, takes root in your heart.
~Robert Siegel

Saturday, October 29, 2011

silent pulse

that silent pulse of dew that flows all these months long
now turned to frost embarks you on a flight
downward spiraling weighted fell
upon a carpet made of white
still you lie in colors all aglow
for you beneath the snow will see your skyward home
in earthy tones until you decompose
to live again in nurturing microspecs
ancestral gift
tomorrow's light to find
or bind release to life again

~Elsa (my wife)

Friday, October 28, 2011

For One Second...

“...The expert would seek an answer. The saint seeks a mystery. The expert would gaze well. The saint looks at the face of Christ like an idiot child looks at a bird on his windowsill.
...He gazes to confirm the suspicion that he cannot understand it at all. He gazes for hours to see the face of Christ for one second. He contemplates for years to realize that he has not enough lifetimes to contemplate.”
~Marc Barnes

“If you look at a thing 999 times, you are perfectly safe; if you look at it for the 1,000th time, you are in danger of seeing it for the first time.”
~G. K. Chesterton

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Readiness To Change

“[The Christian’s] readiness to change impels him to break with his unredeemed nature as a whole: he wills to lose the firm ground of unredeemed nature under his feet and to tumble, so to speak, into the arms of Christ. Only he who may say with St. Paul, ‘I know in whom I have believed’ can risk the enormous adventure of dying unto himself and of relinquishing the natural foundation.”
~Dietrich von Hildebrand

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Must we use words
For everything?
Can there not be
A silent, flaming
Leap of heart
Toward Thee?

~Elizabeth Rooney

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Psalm 4

When I call, answer me, O God of justice;
from anguish You released me, have mercy and hear me!

O men, how long will your hearts be closed,
will you love what is futile and seek what is false?

It is the Lord who grants favors to those whom He loves;
the Lord hears me whenever I call Him.

Fear Him; do not sin: ponder on your bed and be still.
Make justice your sacrifice and trust in the Lord.

“What can bring us happiness?” many say.
Lift up the light of Your face on us, O Lord.

You have put into my heart a greater joy
than they have from abundance of corn and new wine.

I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once
for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Monday, October 24, 2011

from Diary of an Old Soul

Sometimes, hard-trying, it seems I cannot pray—
For doubt, and pain, and anger, and all strife,
Yet some poor half-fledged prayer-bird from the nest
May fall, flit, fly, perch—crouch in the bowery breast
Of the large, nation-healing tree of life;
Moveless there sit through all the burning day
And on my heart at night a fresh leaf cooling lay.
~George MacDonald

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Come Down, O Love Divine

Come down, O love divine, seek Thou this soul of mine,
And visit it with Thine own ardor glowing.
O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear,
And kindle it, Thy holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn, til earthly passions turn
To dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
And let Thy glorious light shine ever on my sight,
And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

Let holy charity mine outward vesture be,
And lowliness become mine inner clothing;
True lowliness of heart, which takes the humbler part,
And o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong, with which the soul will long,
Shall far outpass the power of human telling;
For none can guess its grace, till he become the place
Wherein the Holy Spirit makes His dwelling.

Words: Bianco of Siena & Music: Ralph Vaughn Williams

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Call

“Unless thou follow the call of dying and becoming, thou art but a sad guest on this dark earth.”
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

At The Still Point

“At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is...”
~T. S. Eliot

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Song of Praises

for the gray nudge of dawn at the window
for the chill that hangs around the bed and slips

     its cold tongue under the covers

for the cat who walks over my face purring murderously
for the warmth of the hip next to mine and sweet lethargy
for the cranking up of the will until it turns me out of bed
for the robe’s caress along arm and neck
for the welcome of hot water, the dissolving of

     the night’s stiff mask in the warm washcloth

for the light along the white porcelain sink
for the toothbrush’s savory invasion of the tomb of the mouth

     and resurrection of the breath

for the warm lather and the clean scrape of the razor

     and the skin smooth and pink that emerges

for the steam of the shower, the apprehensive shiver and then

     its warm enfolding of the shoulders

     its falling on the head like grace

     its anointing of the whole body

     and the soap’s smooth absolution

for the rough nap of the towel and its message to each skin cell
for the hairbrush’s pulling and pulling,

     waking the root of each hair

for the reassuring snap of elastic
for the hug of the belt that pulls all together

for the smell of coffee rising up the stairs announcing paradise
for the glass of golden juice in which light is condensed

     and the grapefruit’s sweet flesh

for the incense of butter on toast
for the eggs like two peaks over which the sun rises

     and the jam for which the strawberries of summer have
     saved themselves

for the light whose long shaft lifts the kitchen

     into the realms of day

for Mozart elegantly measuring out the gazebos

     of heaven on the radio

and for her face, for whom the kettle sings, the coffee percs,

     and all the yellow birds in the wallpaper spread their wings.

~Robert Siegel

Monday, October 17, 2011

Small Things

It usually starts taking shape
from one word
reveals itself in one smile
sometimes in the blue glint of eyeglasses
in a trampled daisy
in a splash of light on a path
in quivering carrot leaves
in a bunch of parsley
It comes from laundry hung on a balcony
from hands thrust into dough
It seeps through closed eyelids
as through the prison wall of things of objects
of faces of landscapes
It’s when you slice bread
when you pour out some tea
It comes from a broom from a shopping bag
from peeling new potatoes
from a drop of blood from the prick of a needle
when making pants for a child
or sewing a button on a husband’s burial shirt
It comes out of toil out of care
out of immense fatigue in the evening
out of a tear wiped away
out of a prayer broken off in mid-word by sleep

It’s not from the grand
but from every tiny thing
that it grows enormous
as if Someone was building Eternity
as a swallow its nest
out of clumps of moments
~Anna Kamienska

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above
Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.

To all, life Thou givest, to both great and small;
In all life Thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish—but naught changeth Thee.

Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;
But of all Thy rich graces this grace, Lord, impart
Take the veil from our faces, the vile from our heart.

All laud we would render; O help us to see
’Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee,
And so let Thy glory, Almighty, impart,
Through Christ in His story, Thy Christ to the heart.

~Words: Walter Smith & Music: John Roberts

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Prayer That Will Be Answered

Lord let me suffer a lot
and then let me die

Allow me to walk through silence
Let nothing not even fear linger after me

Make the world go on as it always has
let the sea continue to kiss the shore

Let grass still remain green
so a little frog could find shelter in it

and someone could bury his face
and weep his heart out

Make a day dawn so bright
it seems there is no more suffering

And let my poem be transparent as a windowpane
against which a straying bee hits its head

~Anna Kamienska

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Our Single Endeavor

“My confidence is placed in God who does not need our help for accomplishing His designs. Our single endeavor should be to give ourselves to the work [He has placed before us] and to be faithful to Him, and not to spoil His work by our shortcomings.”
~St. Isaac Jogues

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Many People Are Tried In Life

“Fairly or unfairly, many people are tried in life. The mistake people make is they think that the trial is a sign of failure. It's not. It's only a doorway that leads you to who you really are.”
~Stephen Tobolowsky

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Natural Virtue

“Unless every natural virtue is baptized, it is in some sense tainted.”
~Alice von Hildebrand

Monday, October 10, 2011

Please Dear Lord, Make It So...

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
~2 Corinthians 3:18

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Lord's Love

I led them with cords of kindness,
    with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,
    and I bent down to them and fed them.
~Hosea 11:4

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fear of God

“Not only are we missing something when fear is absent from religion, but (far worse) we are sinning grievously. For the absence of the fear of God is arrogance and pride. How dare sinners sashay up to God as a chum without first falling down in repentance and fear and calling on the Blood of Christ to save us?”
~Peter Kreeft

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Christian Wisdom

“Regardless of our circumstances and regardless of the age or place in which we live, we are all called to sanctity. Our guide is Christian wisdom, which is not subject to time but rather should shape the time in which it is found.
...This wisdom retains its full validity from age to age. Being anchored in eternity, it conquers time.”
~Alice von Hildebrand

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


“If we endure things patiently and with gladness thinking on the sufferings of our blessed Lord, and bearing all for the love of Him: herein is perfect joy.”
~St. Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Where There Is Charity And Wisdom

Where there is charity and wisdom,
there is neither fear nor ignorance.

Where there is patience and humility,
there is neither anger nor vexation.

Where there is poverty with joy,
there is neither covetousness nor avarice.

Where there is inner peace and meditation,
there is neither anxiety nor doubt.

Where there is fear of the Lord to guard the house,
there the enemy cannot gain entry.

Where there is mercy and discernment,
there is neither excess nor hardness of heart.

~ St. Francis of Assisi

Monday, October 3, 2011


“Peace is love, and love peace. Peace is the certainty that you are never alone.”
~Joseph Warrilow

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Praise To The Lord, The Almighty

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.

Praise to the Lord, who over all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires ever have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

Praise to the Lord, who hath fearfully, wondrously, made thee;
Health hath vouchsafed and, when heedlessly falling, hath stayed thee.
What need or grief ever hath failed of relief?
Wings of His mercy did shade thee.

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.

~Words: Joachim Neander & Music: Lobe den Herren

Friday, September 30, 2011

At the Abbey...

“The first impression was of utter silence, stillness so palpable that you had to stand for a moment to see if anything would disturb it.”
~Tony Hendra

Thursday, September 29, 2011


“Atheism is cheap on people, because it snobbishly says nine out of ten people through history have been wrong about God and have had a lie at the core of their hearts.”
~Peter Kreeft

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


“Saints are driven to humbling themselves before all the splendor and horror of the world because they perceive there to be something divine in it, something pulsing and alive beneath the hard dead surface of material things, something inconceivably greater and purer than they.”
~Tony Hendra

Monday, September 26, 2011


“On my door is a cartoon of two turtles. One says, ‘Sometimes I would like to ask why He allows poverty, famine and injustice when He could do something about it.’ The other turtle says ‘I am afraid that God might ask me the same question.’”
~Peter Kreeft

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Blessed Assurance

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.


Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.


~Words: Fan­ny Cros­by & Music:  Phoe­be Knapp

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Necessity of Prayer for Contemplation

“The true Christian must at any cost conquer a place in his life for contemplation. He must firmly refuse to let himself be dragged into a whirlpool of activities in which he is driven incessantly from one task to another, purpose succeeding purpose, without a pause. The present period of perpetual unrest, in which the machine has come to be the model, the causa exemplaris, of well-nigh all things, in which everything is caught in a process of instrumentalization, in which Leistung (“achievement”) with the emphasis on quantity and mere technical perfection, has assumed priority over being in a substantial and meaningful sense – this period of shallow hyperactivity is only too apt to drag us into that whirlpool of outward preoccupations.

All our actions, even those with a religious or moral importance, which therefore essentially appeal to the contemplative attitude, we tend to perform in the manner of discharging a duty or of acquitting ourselves of a task – not to say, of turning out the required output. We live in uninterrupted tension, never ceasing to be conquered about what has next to be settled; and many of us no longer know any alternative to work except recreation and amusement.”
~Dietrich von Hildebrand

Monday, September 19, 2011

Some Say...

“Some say that we shall never know, and that to the gods we are like the flies that the boys kill on a summer's day, and some say, to the contrary, that the very sparrows do not lose a feather that has not been brushed away by the finger of God.”
~Thornton Wilder

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Hamlet Philosophy

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
~William Shakespeare

“That’s my philosophy: ‘More-ness’. There are only three possibilities: There are (1) more things, (2) fewer things, or the (3) same number of things in heaven and earth—that is, in objective reality—than are dreamed of in my philosophy—that is, that are in my mind. So, either the world is richer, poorer, or exactly the same quantity as what I think. The philosophy of all great thinkers and all great artists of all time has always been the ‘Hamlet Philosophy’.”
~Peter Kreeft

Friday, September 16, 2011


There is one sin: to call a green leaf grey,
Whereat the sun in heaven shuddereth.
There is one blasphemy: for death to pray,
For God alone knoweth the praise of death.

There is one creed: ‘neath no world-terror’s wing
Apples forget to grow on apple-trees.
There is one thing needful — everything –
The rest is vanity of vanities.

~G. K. Chesterton

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Lesser Reflects The Greater

“...The modern mind always tends to reduce the greater to the lesser rather than seeing the lesser as reflecting the greater. It thinks of human love as only complex animal instinct, or even complex electrochemical attraction, rather than thinking of these subhuman attractions as love on a lesser level. Premodern thought saw lust as confused love. Modern thought sees love as rationalized lust. This is reductionism.

Christianity is anti-reductionistic. Christians cannot buy into reductionism, for they know that God is first. They know that the universe resembles God rather than vice versa, that God made man in His image rather than vice versa. They know that the best comes first, not last. They know that animal love is a late comer and imitator of perfect, eternal, divine love rather than vice versa...

An example of the influence of modern reductionism on the Christian mind is this: There are two relationships between Creator and creature. But modern Christians usually remember only one of them. First, God loves everything. Second, everything loves God. The second is as true as the first. Acorns grow into oak trees because they are in love with God. That is, they seek unconsciously their own perfection, which is a participation in some of God's perfection. An oak tree is more perfect, more godlike, than an acorn. An acorn is not satisfied to be an acorn, because it wants (unconsciously, of course) to be more like God. God is the magnet that draws all the iron filings that are creatures closer to Himself. That is why everything moves. It is seeking its own perfection, which is a reflection of God's perfection. Everything moves out of love of God.

...Everything loves God in its way. Not only did God love everything into existence by creation, He also loves everything into perfection by being the universal beloved. Not only does God love everything, but everything loves God. Only man can move contrary to this principle of nature through freely choosing evil. Every thing loves God, but not every one loves God.”
~Peter Kreeft

Monday, September 12, 2011

When a man is getting better...

“Remember that, as I said, the right direction leads not only to peace but to knowledge. When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse he understands his own badness less and less. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right. This is common sense, really. You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping. You can see mistakes in arithmetic when your mind is working properly: while you are making them you cannot see them. You can understand the nature of drunkenness when you are sober, not when you are drunk. Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either.”
~C. S. Lewis

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Will Not Fear

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

~Words & Music: Martin Luther
(Verses 3 & 4 from A Mighty Fortress Is Our God)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Face of God

“When we see the face of God we shall know that we have always known it.”
~C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Darkness Would Lose Its Power

“For the rest of my life I will wonder what might have happened if I had turned the temptation into a prayer... This is the only way for a Christian. It helps little to thrust the dark suggestions and impulses of our fallen natures back below the surface. It is even worse, of course, to give in to them. What, then, is to be done with them?

The answer is once again, prayer, prayer, prayer! What would the world be like if we were to turn every temptation into an opportunity to receive grace and to spread grace. If every invitation to sin were converted into a prayer, the darkness would quickly lose its power. The Resurrection would penetrate to every nook and cranny, every dark corner, every splinter in our souls.”
~Michael O’Brien

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Virtue that Requires the Greatest Effort

“The brethren also asked [Abba Agathon], ‘Amongst all good works, which is the virtue that requires the greatest effort?’ He answered, ‘Forgive me, but I think there is no labour greater than that of prayer to God. For every time a man wants to pray, his enemies, the demons, want to prevent him. For they know that it is only by turning him from prayer that they can hinder his journey. What ever good work a man undertakes, if he perseveres in it, he will attain rest. But prayer is warfare to the last breath.’”
~From The Sayings of the Desert Fathers

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Psalm 148

Praise the Lord from the heavens,
praise Him in the heights.
Praise Him, all His angels,
praise Him, all His host.

Praise Him, sun and moon,
praise Him, shining stars.
Praise Him, highest heavens
and the waters above the heavens.

Let them praise the name of the Lord.
He commanded: they were made.
He fixed them for ever,
gave a law which shall not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,
sea creatures and all oceans,
fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy winds that obey His word;

all mountains and hills,
all fruit trees and cedars,
beasts, wild and tame,
reptiles and birds on the wing;

all earth’s kings and peoples,
earth’s princes and rulers;
young men and maidens,
old men together with children.

Let them praise the name of the Lord
for He alone is exalted.
The splendor of His name
reaches beyond heaven and earth.

He exalts the strength of His people.
He is the praise of all His saints,
of the sons of Israel,
of the people to whom He comes close.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


"Morality is a mountain which we cannot climb by our own efforts; and if we could we should only perish in the ice and unbreathable air of the summit, lacking those wings with which the rest of the journey has to be accomplished. For it is from there that the real ascent begins. The ropes and axes are 'done away' and the rest is a matter of flying."
~C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Living by Love

“...When we lose sight of God's divine will for the whole of creation we cease to live in wisdom and have no grasp of eternal truth. We need to be attuned to the promptings of grace whereby we can experience the communion of love. Wisdom allows us to let go of our subjective opinions and come together in unity and peace. The source of this unity and peace is the love of the Father for the Son in the Holy Spirit. This love comes down to us from the Son. It is creative love, through which we have our being. It is redemptive love, through which we have the forgiveness of our sins. As objects of God's love we become instruments of grace for a world grown old in sin.

Wisdom allows us to bring God's love to men and women whose hearts have grown hard and insensitive. While heaven and earth may pass away, God's love is everlasting and will never pass away. Those who are wise know the ways of love. Those who are wise know that living by love is a life-long task. It takes wisdom to know how to respond with love to all the circumstance of life. It takes vigilance. We must always be prepared to respond to love's call. There are risks involved. Our Christian vocation demands that we be willing to become child-like of heart. While watching the rain come down in buckets last week, I remembered how, as a child, I used to dance and play in the rain. Those rain-soaked memories filled my heart with joy and delight. This child-like delight allows us to cling to the hope that the Kingdom of God is erupting in our midst. Are we willing to abandon ourselves to the outpourings of God's love?”
~Jerome Machar

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tomorrow at Breakfast

“Plato has told you a truth; but Plato is dead. Shakespeare has startled you with an image; but Shakespeare will not startle you with any more. But imagine what it would be to live with such men still living, to know that Plato might break out with an original lecture tomorrow, or that at any moment Shakespeare might shatter everything with a single song. The man who lives in contact with what he believes to be a living Church is a man always expecting to meet Plato and Shakespeare tomorrow at breakfast.”
~G. K. Chesterton

Monday, August 29, 2011

Holy Week

“I would be better if every Monday, instead of being Black Monday, were always Bright Monday, to commemorate the creation of the Light. It would be better if Tuesday, at present a word of colourless connotation, represented a great feast of fountains, and rivers and rolling streams; because it was the Day of the Division of the Waters. It would be better if every Wednesday were an occasion for hanging the house with green boughs or blossoms; because these things were brought forth on the third day of Creation; or that Thursday were sacred to the sun and the moon, and Friday sacred to fish and fowl; and so on. Then you might begin to have some notion of the importance of the week; and what a high and imaginative civilisation might really do with the week. If it had the creative power to produce such a pageant of creation, it would not bother with cinemas.”
~G. K. Chesterton

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Paradoxical Commandments

“People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.”
~Kent Keith

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The First Fountains of Life

“Now a child is the very sign and sacrament of personal freedom. He is a fresh free will added to the wills of the world; he is something that his parents have freely chosen to produce and which they freely agree to protect. They can feel that any amusement he gives (which is often considerable) really comes from him and from them, and from nobody else. He has been born without the intervention of any master or lord. He is a creation and a contribution; he is their own creative contribution to creation. He is also a much more beautiful, wonderful, amusing and astonishing thing than any of the stale stories or jingling jazz tunes turned out by the machines. When men no longer feel that he is so, they have lost the appreciation of primary things, and therefore all sense of proportion about the world. People who prefer the mechanical pleasures, to such a miracle, are jaded and enslaved. They are preferring the very dregs of life to the first fountains of life. They are preferring the last, crooked, indirect, borrowed, repeated and exhausted things of our dying Capitalist civilisation, to the reality which is the only rejuvenation of all civilisation. It is they who are hugging the chains of their old slavery; it is the child who is ready for the new world.”
~G. K. Chesterton

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bravo the Humdrum – Part 3

“And in his own experience he may observe that his greatest liberty occurs (he can only see this in retrospect, since it vanishes the moment it is looked at) when he is least conscious of himself—when he is hard at work on some piece of research, focusing on the data, or when he is carried away upon hearing an aria sung by Birgit Nilsson, or when he is loving his wife, either passionately or in some simple act like bringing breakfast to her in bed. It will occur to him that one of the oddities of love (erotic, paternal, filial, social) is that its motion is outward and away from itself, and that it experiences this motion as joy: and, conversely, he may discover if he visits his psychiatrist often enough that there is an unsettling ratio between a person’s unhappiness and his concentration on himself.

And so on: on and on, until he shuffles, through debility and hebetude, toward that final horror that seems to settle it once and forever that there is discrepancy at work in things—this time the discrepancy between our dreams of destiny and our actual experience of dissolution—and that the Conqueror Worm has the last word.

But he might not, because he has looked around him at a thousand images, that it is not unobserved that life issues from death—that spring rises from winter, and the oak from the dead acorn, and dawn from the night, and Phoenix from the ashes.

These are all old moral saws. Nothing new here. Bromides. But then there is nothing new anywhere. The business of the poet and prophet has always been to take the saws and astonish and delight us into a fresh awareness of what they mean by discovering them suddenly in this image, and in this, and this. And the rest of us may see it all either as a pointless jumble of phenomena, or as the diagram of glory—as grinding tediously toward entropy, or as dancing toward the Dance.”
~Thomas Howard

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bravo the Humdrum – Part 2

“Hence, when he observes in his own experience that a child issues from the union of the man and the woman, he might suspect that it is in the nature of union to produce fruit, or, conversely, that the fruit owes its life to a prior union. Further, he might observe that it is in the nature of that union to be ecstatic, and he might thus conclude that joy is somehow written into the sources of life. And he will undoubtedly see that there are pain and agony involved and will have to come to terms with what he can see only as an intrusion or an ambiguity—that pain is somehow bound up in the whole process of joy. And, seeing his infant suck its mother’s breasts, he will understand that growth and strength derive from nourishment, and that that nourishment issues from the self-giving of another life—milk from the mother, or meat from the calf, or flour from the wheat. And he might see that all these humdrum necessities—dishes and laundry and cooking—are the accouterments to the liturgies celebrated in this temple.

Moreover, watching that growth, he will see the paradox that authentic freedom is won not by child’s being granted every wish (an infinite number of chocolates, dancing on the windowsill, etc.), but rather by curbing and channeling and, alas, denying. And in the denial (and perhaps punishment) he will observe again that there is a lamentable discrepancy at work in things, tearing at the fabric of the diagram—in this case a discrepancy between inclination (more chocolates) and perfection (good teeth). He will see also that the truth of the matter is not necessarily known intuitively by the growing child, but that facts have to be learned, either by authority (thou shalt not put thy pinkie in that gas flame) or by experience (ouch). And he will see at work over a long, long span of time the difficult notion that reward or fulfillment commonly follows rigor and renunciation and austerity (the winning pole vault, the Ph.D.), and is not available on demand.”
~Thomas Howard

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bravo the Humdrum – Part 1

“…the business of life is not so much to observe experience (although that is close to the center) as to participate in experience. And presumably one is human to the extent that he participates authentically in those experiences that specially characterize human existence (as opposed to angelic or avian or simian existence). Whatever else a man (king or serf) may be doing, there are various things which mark his experience, and the viewpoint being put here is that it is those universals which lie at the center of significance, and that the variables (whether he gets to move in court circles, climb the Himalayas, write epic poetry, or mix sundaes) are just that—variables. They may color and shape his experience, but they do not determine its essence. The king and the serf must both be born in precisely the same way, and must learn to walk and talk, and must eat periodically, and sleep, and learn that one may do this and may not do that; and grow up, putting away the toys and taking up the scepter or plow; and marry (probably), with all the potential which that holds for exploring the nature of love; and must go on day after day and year after year, doing what is required; and must grow feeble and infirm and then die. And it is the supposition here that these commonplaces—these given rhythms of experience—constitute the imagery under which we may all participate in the way things are. And, corollary to this, that the failure to seize these humdrum commonplaces as vitally significant, or the effort to fly from them and seek fulfillment in various forms of substitution or diversion, represents a misapprehension of what it means to be authentically human.

This view, carried to the nth place, would go like this, then: things are not random; they are, finally, glorious, and the diagram of this glory appears everywhere and on all levels—in astronomy and in zoology and botany and anatomy and oceanography—and is enacted by man in his politics and institutions, and acknowledged and celebrated in his rituals and his art. And it is configured most immediately and obviously for him in the commonplaces of his life. So that, working from the bottom up, he might see those commonplaces as images of that ultimate glory, and find in them clues as to the nature of that glory.”
~Thomas Howard

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Jesus Shall Reign

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

To Him shall endless prayer be made,
And praises throng to crown His head;
His Name like sweet perfume shall rise
With every morning sacrifice.

People and realms of every tongue
Dwell on His love with sweetest song;
And infant voices shall proclaim
Their early blessings on His Name.

Blessings abound wherever He reigns;
The prisoner leaps to lose his chains;
The weary find eternal rest,
And all the sons of want are blessed.

Let every creature rise and bring
Peculiar honors to our King;
Angels descend with songs again,
And earth repeat the loud Amen!

~Words: Isaac Watts & Music: John Hatton

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Life...

“A life is a word. Its meaning and its shape are the answer you seek. It must be lived in order to be spoken.”
~Michael O’Brien

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hebrew Proverb

“God did not create woman from man’s head, that he should command her. Nor from his feet, that she should be his slave. But, rather from his side, that she should be near his heart.”
~Hebrew Proverb

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Remain Awake

“We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito. And the incognito is not always easy to penetrate. The real labour is to remember to attend. In fact to come awake. Still more to remain awake.”
~C. S. Lewis

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Psalm 65

To You our praise is due
in Zion, O God.
To You we pay our vows,
You who hear our prayer.

To You all flesh will come
with its burden of sin.
Too heavy for us, our offenses,
but You wipe them away.

Blessed is he whom You choose and call
to dwell in Your courts.
We are filled with the blessings of Your house,
of Your holy temple.

You keep Your pledge with wonders,
O God our savior,
the hope of all the earth
and of far distant isles.

You uphold the mountains with Your strength,
You are girded with power.
You still the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves
and the tumult of the peoples.

The ends of the earth stand in awe
at the sight of Your wonders.
The lands of sunrise and sunset
You fill with Your joy.

You care for the earth, give it water,
You fill it with riches.
Your river in heaven brims over
to provide its grain.

And thus You provide for the earth;
You drench its furrows,
You level it, soften it with showers,
You bless its growth.

You crown the year with Your goodness.
Abundance flows in Your steps,
in the pastures of the wilderness it flows.

The hills are girded with joy,
the meadows covered with flocks,
the valleys are decked with wheat.
They shout for joy, yes, they sing.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Empty and Full

“God cannot fill what is full. He can only fill emptiness, deep poverty, and your ‘Yes’ is the beginning of being or becoming empty. It is not how much we really ‘have’ to give, but how empty we are, so that we can receive fully in our life and let Him live His life in us.”
~Mother Teresa

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Very True...

“Regarding Christianity: Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt.”
~John Henry Newman

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How to Convince/Explain?

“At the time I had not yet come across Saint Augustine's famous dictum, 'We do not first understand in order to believe; we must first believe in order to understand.' I was still laboring under the impression that the human mind could not fail to be convinced if matters were properly explained. I had not yet come to the realization that human beings, on the whole, are largely subjective creatures and that we make our judgments about practically everything on the basis of impressions—on our fundamental perception of how creation works.”
~Michael O’Brien

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Christian! Seek Not Yet Repose

Christian! seek not yet repose,
Hear thy guardian angel say;
Thou art in the midst of foes;
“Watch and pray.”

Principalities and powers,
Mustering their unseen array,
Wait for thy unguarded hours;
“Watch and pray.”

Gird thy heavenly armor on,
Wear it ever night and day;
Ambushed lies the evil one;
“Watch and pray.”

Hear the victors who o’ercame;
Still they mark each warrior’s way;
All with one clear voice exclaim,
“Watch and pray.”

Hear, above all, hear thy Lord,
Him thou lovest to obey;
Hide within thy heart His Word,
“Watch and pray.”

Watch, as if on that alone
Hung the issue of the day;
Pray that help may be sent down;
“Watch and pray.”

~Words: Charlotte Elliott & Music: William Monk

Monday, August 1, 2011

Thoughts re: The Christian Family

“The family, like the nation, can be offered to God, can be converted and redeemed, and will then become the channel of particular blessings and graces. But, like everything else that is human, it needs redemption. Unredeemed, it will produce only particular temptations, corruptions, and miseries. Charity begins at home: so does uncharity.

...How, then, are people to behave at home? If a man can't be comfortable and unguarded, can't take his ease and ‘be himself’ in his own house, where can he? That is, I confess, the trouble. The answer is an alarming one. There is nowhere this side of heaven where one can safely lay the reins on the horse's neck. It will never be lawful simply to ‘be ourselves’ until ‘ourselves’ have become sons of God. It is all there in the hymn – ‘Christian, Seek Not Yet Repose.’ This does not mean, of course, that there is no difference between home life and general society. It does mean that home life has its own rule of courtesy—a code more intimate, more subtle, more sensitive, and, therefore, in some ways more difficult, than that of the outer world.

Finally, must we not teach that if the home is to be a means of grace it must be a place of rules? There cannot be a common life without a regula. The alternative to rule is not freedom but the unconstitutional (and often unconscious) tyranny of the most selfish member.

In a word, must we not either cease to preach domesticity or else begin to preach it seriously? Must we not abandon sentimental eulogies and begin to give practical advice on the high, hard, lovely, and adventurous art of really creating the Christian family?”
~C. S. Lewis

Sunday, July 31, 2011

So Far To Go...

“We cannot arrive at the perfect possession of God in this life, and that is why we are travelling and in darkness. But we already possess Him by grace, and therefore in that sense we have arrived and are dwelling in the light. But oh! How far have I to go to find You in Whom I have already arrived!”
~Thomas Merton

Saturday, July 30, 2011


“That your enemies have been created is God's doing; that they hate you and wish to ruin you is their own doing. What should you say about them in your own mind? ‘Lord be merciful to them, forgive them their sins, put the fear of God in them, change them!’ You are loving in them not what they are, but what you would have them to become.”
~St. Augustine