Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Death

“Death is someone you see very clearly with eyes in the center of your heart: eyes that see not by reacting to light, but by reacting to a kind of a chill from within the marrow of your own life.”
~Thomas Merton

Monday, May 30, 2011

Quote for Today

“Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid, one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.”
~Douglas MacArthur

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Face to Face

They shall see the Lord face to face and bear His name on their foreheads. The night shall be no more. They will need no light from lamps or the sun, for the Lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever.
~Revelation 22:4-5

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Love, and Do What You Will

“Once and for all, a short rule is laid down for you: Love, and do what you will. If you keep silence, do it out of love. If you cry out, do it out of love. If you refrain from punishing, do it out of love.

Let the root of love be within. From such a root nothing but good can come.”
~Saint Augustine

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dependent on Him

“It is a kind of pride to insist that our prayers should never be petitions for our own needs: for this is a subtle way of trying to put ourselves on the same plane as God — acting as if we had no needs, as if we were not creatures, not dependent on Him and dependent, by His will, on material things too.”
~Thomas Merton

Thursday, May 26, 2011

For Music

...And this shall be for music when no one else is near,
The fine song for singing, the rare song to hear!
That only I remember, that only you admire,
Of the broad road that stretches and the roadside fire.

~Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Cost

“I didn’t know it then, but the cost of a happy family is the death of selfishness. The father must die if he is to give life to his spouse and children. Not a pleasant thought but a true one. An entire lifetime can be spent avoiding it. It’s simply not enough to provide and protect. In themselves, of course, providing and protecting are good and necessary things. That is our responsibility. But a father can provide a mountain of material goods for his family and defend it against all kinds of inconveniences, thinking he can rest easy, having done his part, and still have missed the essential point: he is called to be an image of love and truth. The house he provides, be it a cabin, a mansion, or a barge..., must have at its core a heart that is willing to look at its poverty. As long as we’re convinced of our own strengths, our cleverness, and our cagey ability to endure, we still think we’re in charge. We construct a life-style of eliminating difficulties at any cost. It takes a lot of padding if you’re to avoid the unexplainable, unjust blows of suffering. There will come a time, however, when this elaborate defense system crumbles.

…The innumerable little trials and strains of raising a family can add up to a considerable weight, especially if in coping with the storm of a thousand daily demands a father begins to forget bit by bit where his strength comes from...

…A father at night may be afraid of any number of things: sickness, poverty, chaos, isolation, the collapse of the roof, the car breaking down again, his own mortality…or, even more to the point, his powerlessness in the face of reality. He may discover a secret in the fearful dark: he may actually learn to the depths of his being that he is not God.

…I laid my body down in bed. Then, from the material of my little sufferings, I wove a word of thanks…”
~Michael O’Brien

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Humdrum...

“For most of us the conflict with evil does not commonly come down to our being obliged to stalk alone down a sandy main street between store fronts with the locals lounging on the stoops lining the street and the Bad Guy sauntering toward us with his hand hovering near the butt of the pistol just visible from the holster dangling from a wide, loose leather belt. It is much more likely to present itself to me in the form of a choice between letting a slightly derogatory remark about someone slip from my lips or refraining from saying it. My struggle is never as colorful and heroic as John Wayne’s always seems to be. It’s very humdrum, this business of moving along through life, trying to make a thousand small choices every day in behalf of charity, and at the same time fending off all the cleverly veiled impulses activating themselves in behalf of my ego at the expense of my neighbor...”
~Thomas Howard

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Hound of Heaven

I fled Him down the nights and down the days
I fled Him down the arches of the years
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind, and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped and shot precipitated
Adown titanic glooms of chasmed hears
From those strong feet that followed, followed after
But with unhurrying chase and unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat, and a Voice beat,
More instant than the feet:
All things betray thee who betrayest Me.

...

~Francis Thompson (beginning section of poem)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Canticle

"We have found, we have found,
the places where the rain is deep and silent.
We have found the fountains of the spring,
where the Lord emerges refreshed every morning!
He has laid His hand upon our shoulders,
and our heart, like a bird, has spoken!"
~Thomas Merton

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Just Thinking...

“The mind is a mosaic, or, more accurately, a swirling multimedia art form. I think about the mind-brain relationship constantly. How does it work? Why does it work? Chimps and crayfish figure things out within the parameters of their limited world views, but only man thinks about thinking.”
~Michael O’Brien (from Plague Journal)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Security

(I am still trying to figure this poem out...)

Tomorrow will have an island. Before night
I always find it. Then on to the next island.
These places hidden in the day separate
and come forward if you beckon.
But you have to know they are there before they exist.

Some time there will be a tomorrow without any island.
So far, I haven't let that happen, but after
I'm gone others may become faithless and careless.
Before them will tumble the wide unbroken sea,
and without any hope they will stare at the horizon.

So to you, Friend, I confide my secret:
to be a discoverer you hold close whatever
you find, and after a while you decide
what it is. Then, secure in where you have been,
you turn to the open sea and let go.

~William Stafford

Thursday, May 19, 2011

How Do You?

“How do you reach a culture who hears with its eyes and thinks with its feelings?”
~Ravi Zacharias

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Prayer for Guidance

“O Creator past all telling,
You have appointed from the treasures of Your wisdom
the hierarchies of angels,
disposing them in wondrous order
above the bright heavens,
and have so beautifully set out all parts of the universe.

You we call the true fount of wisdom
and the noble origin of all things.
Be pleased to shed
on the darkness of mind in which I was born,
The twofold beam of Your light
and warmth to dispel my ignorance and sin.

You make eloquent the tongues of children.
Then instruct my speech
and touch my lips with graciousness.
Make me keen to understand, quick to learn,
able to remember;
make me delicate to interpret and ready to speak.

Guide my going in and going forward,
lead home my going forth.
You are true God and true man,
and live forever and ever.”
Amen

~St. Thomas Aquinas

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Live More Fully In The Moment

“We know that the real stuff of life cannot be located either at our desk or on the beach. Whatever it is, it won’t be parceled out that way. Experience doesn’t hold off while we are at work and begin when the whistle blows. The whole thing is ‘the real stuff’, and the irony is that, unless we take ourselves by the scruff of the neck and make ourselves reflect upon it, we allow it to tumble past us helter-skelter and never grasp any of it as real. Here, parenthetically, is one of the losses sustained in growing up: it is in the nature of childhood to live fully in the moment, savoring the warmth of the sand or the dancing of the dust in the sunbeam or the new taste of raspberries, without emasculating the sensation by worrying over what has just occurred or what is about to occur. Adulthood, on the other hand, entails the pitiless awareness of time, which drains away our pleasures (much more rapidly, it always seems, than our pains), and hurries crisis and doom at its heels…”
~Thomas Howard

Monday, May 16, 2011

Poorest Beggar/Greatest Emperor

“You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honor enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.”
~C. S. Lewis (from Prince Caspian)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Be Careful

“In all ages, the tendency of the heretic has been to single out one aspect of Christian life or doctrine, and treat it as if it were the whole.”
~Ronald Knox

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Few Random Quotes

“The soul is indestructible and its activity will continue through eternity.”

“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”

“All truly wise thoughts have been thoughts already thousands of times, but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience.”

~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Friday, May 13, 2011

Psalm 84:1-5

How lovely is Your dwelling place,
Lord, God of hosts.

My soul is longing and yearning,
is yearning for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and my soul ring out their joy
to God, the living God.

The sparrow herself finds a home
and the swallow a nest for her brood;
She lays her young by Your altars,
Lord of hosts, my king and my God.

They are happy, who dwell in Your house,
forever singing Your praise.
They are happy, whose strength is in You,
in whose hearts are the roads to Zion.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I Shall Raise Him

Jesus said to the crowds,
“I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to Me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in Me will never thirst.
But I told you that although you have seen Me,
you do not believe.
Everything that the Father gives Me will come to Me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to Me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the One who sent Me.
And this is the will of the One who sent Me,
that I should not lose anything of what He gave Me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.”

John 6:35-40

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

To Any Reader

As from the house your mother sees
You playing round the garden trees,
So you may see, if you will look
Through the windows of this book,
Another child, far, far away,
And in another garden, play.
But do not think you can at all,
By knocking on the window, call
That child to hear you. He intent
Is all on his play-business bent.
He does not hear; he will not look,
Nor yet be lured out of this book.
For, long ago, the truth to say,
He has grown up and gone away,
And it is but a child of air
That lingers in the garden there.

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Christian Home

O give us homes built firm upon the Savior,
Where Christ is Head, and Counselor and Guide;
Where every child is taught His love and favor
And gives his heart to Christ, the crucified:
How sweet to know that tho' his footsteps waver
His faithful Lord is walking by his side!

O give us homes with godly fathers, mothers,
Who always place their hope and trust in Him;
Whose tender patience turmoil never bothers,
Whose calm and courage trouble cannot dim;
A home where each finds joy in serving others,
And love still shines, tho' days be dark and grim.

O give us homes where Christ is Lord and Master,
The Bible read, the precious hymns still sung;
Where prayer comes first in peace or in disaster,
And praise is natural speech to every tongue;
Where mountains move before a faith that's vaster,
And Christ sufficient is for old and young.

O Lord, our God, our homes are Thine forever!
We trust to Thee their problems, toil, and care;
Their bonds of love no enemy can sever
If Thou art always Lord and Master there:
Be Thou the center of our least endeavor:
Be Thou our Guest, our hearts and homes to share.

~Words: Barbara Hart & Music: Jean Sibelius

Monday, May 9, 2011

Grace

“I do not understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are, but does not leave us where it found us.”
~Anne Lamott

Sunday, May 8, 2011

She Will Be Called Blessed

Her strength and her dignity clothe her with beauty;
In works of her hands she excels.
A heart of compassion she turns to the needy;
In service to others, she gives of herself.

She will be called blessed
By her sons and her daughters;
Precious to the Father
Are those who seek His ways.
She will be called blessed,
Held above every other;
Blessed is the mother
Who turns to God in praise.

She rises each morning to see her household;
She looks toward the future with joy.
She teaches her children true lessons of kindness;
And shares with them wisdom the world can’t destroy.

~Words: Elizabeth de Gravelles; based on Proverbs 31:10-31 & Music: Joseph Barlowe

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Listen

“Sainthood emerges when you can listen to someone's tale of woe and not respond with a description of your own.”
~Andrew Mason

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Dwelling Place

So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners; you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. You are built upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets, and Christ Jesus Himself is the chief cornerstone. Every structure knit together in Him grows into a holy temple in the Lord; and you too, in Him, are being built up into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
~Ephesians 2:19-22

Thursday, May 5, 2011

It is a Beauteous Evening

It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,
The holy time is quiet as a Nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquillity;
The gentleness of heaven broods o’er the Sea;
Listen! the mighty Being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder—everlastingly.
Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here,
If thou appear untouched by solemn thought,
Thy nature is not therefore less divine;
Thou liest in Abraham’s bosom all the year:
And worshipp’st at the Temple’s inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not.

~William Wordsworth

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Poetry

“[Poetry] is the language whose first halting utterances are our efforts to describe our experience by getting images of it from other realms of experience… It is the language, skipping or solemn, that elevates our experience by imposing a form upon it, not arbitrarily, but because it suspects that the truest way of speaking of that experience is formally. It is the language that, in effect, sets the table for lunch, that is, that disposes and arrays the common stuff of experience so that it is ritually transfigured from mere function into an instance of glory.

For it is the language that takes a serious view of experience. It is not satisfied with the idea of mere random tumble. It is not mere random tumble, it insists. There is something here. There is something to be said. There is something, oddly, to be elicited from this tumble. Take it. Grasp it. Handle it. Try one thing and another. Try to shape it. Impose some form on it, you will wonder whether that form was imposed by you or whether it emerged from the thing itself.

This is the business of the poets. They are the burdened and happy spirits who can do this—this that we all try to do. Burdened because they know that the most important thing is the most daunting thing—to seek and find and utter that significance that emerges from the union of form and content; happy because from time to time they succeed.”
~Thomas Howard

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Easter Wings

Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
  Though foolishly he lost the same,
    Decaying more and more,
      Till he became
        Most poore:
        With thee
      Oh let me rise
    As larks, harmoniously,
  And sing this day thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.

My  tender  age  in  sorrow    did    beginne:
  And still with sicknesses and shame
    Thou  didst  so  punish  sinne,
      That  I  became
        Most thinne.
        With  thee
      Let me combine
    And feel this day thy victorie:
  For,  if  I  imp  my  wing  on  thine
Affliction  shall  advance  the  flight in  me.

~George Herbert

Monday, May 2, 2011

Catch The Joy

“…our hearts are like stone, and only suffering carves them into bowls big enough to catch the joy.”
~Michael O’Brien

Sunday, May 1, 2011

O Worship The King

O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His power and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space,
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.

O measureless might! Ineffable love!
While angels delight to worship Thee above,
The humbler creation, though feeble their lays,
With true adoration shall all sing Thy praise.

~Words: William Kethe or Robert Grant & Music: Johann Haydn