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

Mute

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

Joy

“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

“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