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

Enemies

“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

Friday, July 29, 2011

Interesting Quote

“There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religion.”
~G. K. Chesterton

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What to Fear...

“Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning.”
~John Henry Newman

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Culture of Shamelessness

“…Much of current fashion, especially for women, is an assault upon the ultimate good of those who wear such clothing. It is cunningly designed for attraction, enticement, and seduction, reinforcing the great lie that dominates modern consciousness. This lie tells us that the body is simply an object which we possess as our own, to do with as we like.

Semi-nudity has become commonplace on magazine covers, advertisements, at swimming pools and beaches. Total nudity is becoming more frequent in media such as television and film, and is rampant in the vastly more popular 'private' cultural consumption of the internet. Juxtapose with these near-universal phenomena the fact that more than sixty percent of marriages now end in divorce or separation, that self-denial and sacrifice have become widely discredited concepts, and that the pursuit of happiness through the avenues of sensual satisfaction have produced a profoundly disordered society. No people in history has been so richly rewarded with pleasures, and no people in history has ever been so unhappy.

The great lie tells us, in essence, that we have no eternal value, that our value is to be found only within the limited span of our lives, and especially during the most vital years of youth when we are strongest, most attractive, and most productive. We are, supposedly, what others tell us we are. We are worth as much or as little as they decide we are worth. In a society that is increasingly focused on sensual pleasure, this means we will be as valuable only so far as we are considered sensually attractive. Attractiveness, of course, is a subjective thing, and thus most people will find themselves objects of interest to others at some point in their lives. Generally this means they will be objects of desire. And desire’s first 'interface,' if you will, is the body.

...'Are [Christians] prudes?'

'If only we were!' sighs many an exasperated parent, wishing we could go back to a time when sexual temptations of the most extreme kind did not assault the young at every turn, to a time, moreover, when our present state of affairs would not for an instant have appeared to be normal. Of course, the longing for an age when Christian morality was the norm in society is to some degree a hankering for a golden age that never really existed. It was never perfectly lived by any Christian society. Yet in those older and wiser periods of Christian civilization, whenever individuals violated moral law they knew that there was a law, and they had some sense that this law was an unshakable truth based in the divine order, the very structure of reality itself. Even as recently as a generation ago, the extent to which our present culture has become a pornographic one would have been unthinkable. Though sex has always been in the atmosphere, my parents’ generation could not have imagined whole peoples consumed by obsession with sexual pleasure as if it were the most important element in existence. In my youth, my peers may have been tempted to pore over certain sections of the Sears catalogue, or to rifle through the National Geographic magazine in search of articles about hottest Africa, or to pursue their academic interest in Art (at the age of thirteen) by familiarizing themselves with the pictures in well-thumbed volumes on Greek sculpture which our parents thought harmless. But my children are now living in a society where anything—simply anything—can be seen with the tap of a computer key.

From the perspective of middle age, father of six children and husband of a beloved wife, I have come to believe that Western man is still missing the mark, still lost between the poles of two disorders. The libertarian, obsessed with the passions, thinks that our problems are caused by repression and that these will be relieved when we toss out inhibitions. The prude or puritan, hating or fearing the passions, believes that our problems stem from altogether too much of the senses, and wishes to cram them back into the shadows of his being. Neither of these are Christian views of the body.”
~Michael O’Brien

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I Came Into the Unknown

I came into the unknown
and stayed there unknowing
rising beyond all science.

I did not know the door
but when I found the way,
unknowing where I was,
I learned enormous things,
but what I felt I cannot say,
for I remained unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

It was the perfect realm
of holiness and peace.
In deepest solitude
I found the narrow way:
a secret giving such release
that I was stunned and stammering,
rising beyond all science.

I was so far inside,
so dazed and far away
my senses were released
from feelings of my own.
My mind had found a surer way:
a knowledge of unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

And he who does arrive
collapses as in sleep,
for all he knew before
now seems a lowly thing,
and so his knowledge grows so deep
that he remains unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

The higher he ascends
the darker is the wood;
it is the shadowy cloud
that clarified the night,
and so the one who understood
remains always unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

This knowledge by unknowing
is such a soaring force
that scholars argue long
but never leave the ground.
Their knowledge always fails the source:
to understand unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

This knowledge is supreme
crossing a blazing height;
though formal reason tries
it crumbles in the dark,
but one who would control the night
by knowledge of unknowing
will rise beyond all science.

And if you wish to hear:
the highest science leads
to an ecstatic feeling
of the most holy Being;
and from his mercy comes his deed:
to let us stay unknowing,
rising beyond all science.

~St. John of the Cross

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Paul to Timothy...

Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
~2 Timothy 4:2-5

Friday, July 22, 2011

Set Our Course

“Blessed are Thy saints, O God and King, who have traveled over the tempestuous sea of this mortal life, and have made the harbour of peace and felicity. Watch over us who are still in our dangerous voyage; and remember such as lie exposed to the rough storms of trouble and temptations. Frail is our vessel, and the ocean is wide; but as in Thy mercy Thou hast set our course, so steer the vessel of our life toward the everlasting shore of peace, and bring us at length to the quiet haven of our heart's desire, where Thou, O our God, are blessed, and livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.”
~St. Augustine

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Comfort

“A silent look of affection and regard when all other eyes are turned coldly away—the consciousness that we possess the sympathy and affection of one being when all others have deserted us—is a hold, a stay, a comfort, in the deepest affliction, which no wealth could purchase, or power bestow.”
~Charles Dickens

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

From Preface to The Screwtape Letters

“The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see the final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.”
~C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Patience

“Patience is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in us. Practically, we are required to be patient in many ways: for there are some things, trials and crosses, which come to us from God; others, temptations and enticements, that come to us from our old adversary the devil. Still other difficulties arise from our neighbor: persecution, complaints, unjust accusations. Against all this we must be ever on guard lest we give way to complaining against trials our Maker sends us; lest again we be led astray into sin, which is what the devil wants; or to be overly disturbed by the thoughtlessness or unkindness of others. For if we want to have our own way always aren't we really seeking our reward here below in the things of this life? Let us couple patience and long-suffering in the spirit of meekness and faith (and so bring forth fruit in patience)!”
~St. Anthony of Padua

Monday, July 18, 2011

O Gladsome Light

According to my research, this is one of the earliest known Christian hymns recorded outside of Scripture. It is still used today in the Orthodox Church. I did find one account which stated that this hymn’s origin could conceivably go back to the first apostles. By the 4th Century the hymn was considered quite old. At that time in Jerusalem a candle was kept perpetually burning in the empty tomb of Christ, its glow a symbol of the living light of Jesus. As Christians gathered to worship, the hymn was sung and, in a tradition known as the lighting of the lamps, the candle was brought forth from the tomb, its bright, solitary flame calling the Church to celebrate their risen Lord.

O Gladsome Light of the holy glory of the Immortal Father,
   heavenly, holy, blessed Jesus Christ.
Now we have come to the setting of the sun and behold the light of evening.
   We praise God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
For it is right at all times to worship Thee with voices of praise,
   O Son of God and Giver of Life, therefore all the world glorifies Thee.

~Unknown Author

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Worship

“When we really worship anything, we love not only its clearness but its obscurity. We exult in its very invisibility.”
~G. K. Chesterton

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Strain and Pursue

This is a re-post. Sometimes a quote is so good it needs to be posted twice. The original and more comprehensive posting is at: http://apaththrough.blogspot.com/2009/01/passionate-truth-seeking.html

“My whole heart strains to know what the true good is in order to pursue it: no price would be too high to pay for eternity.”
~Blaise Pascal

Thursday, July 14, 2011

John Adams quote...

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
~John Adams

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Strength and Shield

“Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations, and say continually; ‘The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart has trusted in Him and I am helped. He is not only with me but in me and I in Him.’”
~St. Francis de Sales

Monday, July 11, 2011

Except...

“You must pay for everything
in this world, one way and another.
There is nothing free,
except the grace of God.”

~from the movie True Grit

Friday, July 8, 2011

Attitude & Gratitude

"Those who wish to sing, always find a song."
~Swedish Proverb

"Gratitude is the sign of noble souls."
~Aesop

"Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."
~G. K. Chesterton

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Anxiety

"If any one strives to be delivered from his troubles out of love of God, he will strive patiently, gently, humbly and calmly, looking for deliverance rather to God's Goodness and Providence than to his own industry or efforts; but if self-love is the prevailing object he will grow hot and eager in seeking relief, as though all depended more upon himself than God."
~St. Francis de Sales