Thursday, June 30, 2011

Reverence for Others

“For me, the way to reduce misinterpretation when speaking with another person is to keep before the eyes of my heart a reverence for the mystery within him, his unknown mission, his identity hidden in the mind of the Most High.”
~Michael O’Brien

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wonder as the Origin of Philosophy

“(1) It begins with surprise, shock. Little kids do it all the time; everything surprises them because they have no ruts yet. (2) Then it becomes intellectual; emotional wonder turns into intellectual wonder. We want to explain these surprises, like uncles and oranges and spiders and tubas. We naturally want to know why. It's a little kid's favorite word. We want to know everything there is to know about everything there is (to paraphrase Lonergan). (3) Finally, the deepest wonder, the fruit of the other two, is appreciation, contemplation: something very close to love. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle all say 'philosophy begins in wonder.' If the thing done today by scholarly cyborgs doesn't, then it's not philosophy. It may be worthwhile to do. So is bookbinding, and computer repair, and news reporting; it's just a different thing. When you wonder, you get all still inside, not wordy. Words that come from wonder come from silence. They have heft, and weight. Words that come from other words are just more members of the chain gang. If that's no longer fashionable, so what? Chesterton says that whoever marries the spirit of the times must soon become a widower.”
~Peter Kreeft

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Call

“...do not say the way is impossible; say, rather, that it is the impossible to which we are called.”
~Michael O’Brien

Monday, June 27, 2011

Interesting...

“A church that can’t worship must be entertained; and men who can’t lead a church to worship must provide entertainment.”
~A. W. Tozer

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Psalm 8

How great is Your name, O Lord our God,
through all the earth!

Your majesty is praised above the heavens;
on the lips of children and of babes
You have found praise to foil Your enemy,
to silence the foe and the rebel.

When I see the heavens, the work of Your hands,
the moon and the stars which You arranged,
What is man that You should keep him in mind,
mortal man that You care for him?

Yet You have made him little less than a god;
with glory and honor You crowned him,
Gave him power over the works of Your hand,
put all things under his feet.

All of them, sheep and cattle,
yes, even the savage beasts,
Birds of the air, and fish
that make their way through the waters.

How great is Your name, O Lord our God,
through all the earth!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Society, Marriage, Dignity

“If the truth is now whatever we will, then just as there is nothing to stop society today from redefining marriage, there is nothing to stop it tomorrow from redefining personal dignity and rights so as to take them away...”
~Peter Kreeft

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In Reality...

“We tend to experience the self as the center of all existence.

...Thus, I run the risk of turning everything around me into the less real. And if I do that, then I too become less real—no, I should say that I experience less of my genuine reality, though I might feel more real by this obsession with the self.

...In reality, other people are as real as me, yet I do not experience them this way.

...That is a damaged life.”

~Michael O’Brien

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Question of Freedom

“...death would follow ...Since that was the case, and couldn’t be changed, they [Adam and Eve] had two possible types of freedom open to them: either to assert their autonomy, live in illusion, and find out in the end that it was no autonomy; or to assent to the way things, alas, were, and see if the matter of freedom weren’t something vastly different from what they might have supposed it to be. It was, according to that story, the way things are that the being called man exists as creature; the most noble creature, to be sure, but still creature; the lord of creation, yes, but holding that creation in vassalage to the great Lord of it all. That was the picture of human existence in the story, so that the question of freedom was one of discovering the conditions of that lordship and vassalage and assenting to them, rather than an idea of self-determination. The joker was, however, that they tried the latter idea. Like Pandora and the rest of us, they were convinced that it was worth doing what they inclined at the moment to do, and the devil take the consequences. Which is precisely what he did.

...The implication ...of the Adam and Eve story is that if they had bowed to the interdict placed on the forbidden fruit, life and not death would have been the guerdon. That is, paradoxically, if they had knuckled under to what looked emphatically like a denial of their freedom (‘Thou shalt not’ is not a very convincing corollary to the ‘Have dominion’ charge), they would have discovered something unimaginable to them—something that, according to the story, was at that very point lost to them and us for the duration of human time.”
~Thomas Howard

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Share His Holiness

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
~ Hebrews 12:7-11

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Commonplace

“We look for visions of heaven and we never dream that all the time God is in the commonplace things and people around us.”
~Oswald Chambers

Friday, June 17, 2011

Humans and Icebergs

“Human beings are very much like icebergs — we only see a small portion of them, and nothing of the hidden currents which drag them this way and that.

I fancy that we would not sit and judge our neighbor so frequently as we do, did we but ponder well over the small amount of data we possess. We perceive only the external act, but nothing of the motive activating it.”
~David McAstocker

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Morning Has Broken

Morning has broken
Like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken
Like the first bird.
Praise for the singing!
Praise for the morning!
Praise for them, springing
Fresh from the Word!

Sweet the rain’s new fall,
Sunlit from heaven,
Like the first dewfall
On the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness
Of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness
Where his feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight!
Mind is the morning,
Born of the one light
Eden saw play!
Praise with elation,
Praise every morning,
God’s recreation
Of the new day!

~Words: Eleanor Farjeon & Music: Old Gaelic Melody

Monday, June 13, 2011

Imagination and Renewal

“The antidote is humility. We must begin where the path always begins, by becoming empty in order to be filled. To be silent. To be still. To wait. To listen. To feel in our bones that we are creatures. To raise our hands, childlike, in the orans position, asking for grace.

To rejoice in our powerlessness, to find again our simplicity and thereby to discover our true greatness. To know that we are damaged but not destroyed. To learn that within us is a repository for truth and for love, and a potential for forms of creativity that are practically infinite. These are gifts, but they are not our possessions. They are not our power over creation but an act of love made with creation and in honour of He who lives beyond and within creation. He who is perfect beauty, perfect truth, perfect love.

Not until we see a movement of gifted people turning away from materialism, willing to be empty, willing to be poor, willing to be filled with something other than their ambitions and fabricated self-images, will we see a true renaissance, a second spring. I believe that a rebaptism of the imagination is already happening. It is small, fragile, but quite capable of overturning the culture of death. I believe that as it gathers momentum we will find again, to paraphrase Shakespeare, our home and our own true name.

A new iconography is waiting for us; it will be built upon all that the historical imagination has given, but reinvigorated by a new consciousness. Our perceptions, more accurately our soul, will be restored to divine order when we find again our proper place in the hierarchy of creation. In submission to natural and supernatural law, to the absolutes, in obedience and prayer, by opening our interior life and the intellectual life to the full authority of the Holy Spirit, we will germinate a little seed. And from it entire forests can spring, and may yet cover the earth.

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God...


And the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us.

And that has made all the difference.”
~Michael O’Brien

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Come, Holy Ghost, Who Ever One

Come, Holy Ghost, who ever One
Art with the Father and the Son;
Come, Holy Ghost, our souls possess
With Thy full flood of holiness.

In will and deed, by heart and tongue,
With all our powers, Thy praise be sung;
And love light up our mortal frame,
Till others catch the living flame.

Almighty Father, hear our cry
Through Jesus Christ our Lord most high,
Who with the Holy Ghost and Thee
Doth live and reign eternally.

~St. Ambrose of Milan, Translated by John Henry Newman

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

“Who are You, sweet light, that fills me
And illumines the darkness of my heart?
You lead me like a mother’s hand,
And should You let go of me,
I would not know how to take another step.
You are the space
That embraces my being and buries it in Yourself.
Away from You it sinks into the abyss
Of nothingness, from which You raised it to the light.
You, nearer to me than I to myself
And more interior than my most interior
And still impalpable and intangible
And beyond any name:
Holy Spirit eternal love!

Are You not the sweet manna
That from the Son’s heart
Overflows into my heart,
The food of angels and the blessed?
He who raised Himself from death to life,
He has also awakened me to new life
From the sleep of death.
And He gives me new life from day to day,
And at some time His fullness is to stream through me,
Life of Your life indeed, You Youself:
Holy Spirit eternal life!

Are You the ray
That flashes down from the eternal Judge’s throne
And breaks into the night of the soul
That had never know itself?
Mercifully relentlessly
It penetrates hidden folds.
Alarmed at seeing itself,
The self makes space for holy fear,
The beginning of that wisdom
That comes from on high
And anchors us firmly in the heights,
Your action,
That creates us anew:
Holy Spirit ray that penetrates everything!...”
~Teresa Benedicta

Thursday, June 9, 2011

’Tis Not That I Did Choose Thee

’Tis not that I did choose Thee,
For Lord, that could not be;
This heart would still refuse Thee,
Hadst Thou not chosen me...

...My heart owns none before Thee,
For Thy rich grace I thirst;
This knowing, if I love Thee,
Thou must have loved me first.

~Words: Josiah Conder & Music: John Calkin

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Deer

“A few weeks ago I was visiting at the home of a family which lives on a farm down the road from where we live. They had recently moved there from the city, and it was their first experience of living in the countryside. The father of the family and I were engaged in a heated theological debate, when the door flew open and his twelve year old son burst in, I should say floated in. The boy’s eyes were full of tears and his mouth was open wide, unable to speak for a few moments. We stared at him. His face was full of wonder and his arms raised in a gesture that bore a remarkable resemblance to the ancient orans position of prayer, a gesture that is a timeless one, a mute reaching for transcendence.

‘Oh papa,’ he whispered, ‘I have seen the most beautiful thing. I have seen a deer.’

It is impossible to convey the sense of awe with which he breathed this word. We stared at him, wondering what he meant. A deer? We have all seen deer. Then my neighbour and I looked at each other and understood that perhaps after all we had not ever really seen a deer. At least not in the way this child had just seen one. And later there came the revelation to both of us that we, with our prodigious intellects and our fiercely defended positions, often talk about things we have not really seen, or known, or loved well. We have pictures in our mind which form concepts and ideologies. We are clever, articulate impressionists, but we have not gazed into the liquid galaxies of a wild creature’s eyes as it gazed back equally uncomprehending upon us. We have not stroked the red velvet hide. We have not touched the bone antlers and felt them toss. We have not seen it leap as it bolted for the sanctuary of the trees.”
~Michael O’Brien

Friday, June 3, 2011

Have Peace & Take Heart

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
~John 16:33

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Jesus, I Love Thee

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

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

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

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

~Words: William Featherston & Music: Adoniram Gordon