Monday, December 31, 2012
“Imitate a little child, which will walk along with one hand clinging to its father, and with the other it gathers strawberries or blackberries from the wayside hedge. Even so, while you gather and use this world’s goods with one hand, always let the other be fast in your Heavenly Father’s hand, and look round from time to time to make sure that He is satisfied with what you are doing, at home or abroad. Beware of letting go, under the idea of making or receiving more—for if He is not with you, you will fall to the ground at the first step. When your ordinary work or business is not specially engrossing, let your heart be fixed more on God than on it; and if the work be such as to require your undivided attention, then pause from time to time and look to God, just as the sailor on his homeward voyage looks oftener to the sky than to the waves which carry him. So will God work with you, in you, and for you, and your work will be blessed.”
~St. Francis de Sales
Sunday, December 30, 2012
“Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call 'humble' nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you had to say to him. If you do dislike him, it will be because you feel a bit envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.”
~C. S. Lewis
“We must not think Pride is something God forbids because He is offended at it, or that humility is something He demands as due to His own dignity — as if God Himself was proud. He is not in the least worried about His dignity. The point is, He wants you to know Him: wants to give you Himself. And He and you are two things of such a kind that if you really get into any kind of touch with Him you will, in fact, be humble — delightedly humble, feeling the infinite relief of having for once got rid of all the silly nonsense about your own dignity which has made you restless and unhappy all your life. He is trying to make you humble in order to make this moment possible: trying to take off a lot of silly, ugly, fancy-dress in which we have all got ourselves up and are strutting about like the little idiots we are. I wish I had got a bit further with humility myself: if I had, I could probably tell you more about the relief, the comfort, of taking the fancy-dress off — getting rid of the false self, with all its 'Look at me' and 'Aren’t I a good boy?' and all its posing and posturing. To get even near it, even for a moment, is like a drink of cold water to a man in the desert.”
~C. S. Lewis
3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
~Philippians 2:3-8 (English Standard Version)
Saturday, December 29, 2012
The following quotes are from a book by Peter Kreeft who selects the parts of Blaise Pascal’s Pensées (English translation=Thoughts) that are generally considered great and interesting, and most respond to the needs of today. Kreeft quotes Pascal and then offers his own comments and insights on applying Pascal’s wisdom to today’s questions and problems. Pascal (1623-1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher. Kreeft is a modern Christian apologist and professor of philosophy at Boston College and The King's College.
“I condemn equally those who choose to praise man, those who choose to condemn him, and those who choose to divert themselves, and I can only approve of those who seek with groans.”
“It is good to be tired and weary from fruitlessly seeking the true good, so that one can stretch out one’s arms to the Redeemer.”
“Truth is so obscured nowadays and lies [are] so well established that unless we love the truth we shall never recognize it.”
“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.”
“This is why the discovery of truth depends on the heart and will, not just the head and mind. This is why the prime requisite for finding any great truth (like God, or the meaning of life or death, or who we are and what we ought to do, or even finding the right mate and the right career) is love, passion, questing and questioning. Once we pursue a question with our whole being, as Socrates pursued 'know thyself', we will find answers. Answers are not as hard to come by as we think; and questions, real questioning, is a lot more rare and precious than we think. Finding is not the problem, seeking is. For truth is hidden, ever since the Fall but especially 'nowadays', now that our secular society no longer helps us to God, as traditional societies did. Lies are well established on the level of appearance (for example, movies); truth and reality are hidden, behind the lies. No one will find the truth today just by listening to the media, which are largely in the power of the Father of Lies. We have to ignore the pervasive chatter and seek the countercultural, unfashionable, media-scorned truth behind these obstacles.
Clearly, this situation has become vastly exacerbated since Pascal’s day. Here again he plays the prophet; he is more relevant to our time than to his own.
If we do not love the truth, we will not seek it. If we do not seek it, we will not find it. If we do not find it, we will not know it. If we do not know it, we have failed our fundamental task in time, and quite likely also in eternity.”
Friday, December 28, 2012
“I am old. Time has revealed itself and shed its pretense of eternity, though it is of course contained within eternity. I clean the hallways, take out the garbage, try not to be irritated by the roar of ten million automobiles, and by the jackhammers that are breaking up the street outside the front door, only to lay down another stratum of tar for future generations to dig up. This is a big city, and though I have lived within it for close to forty years, I still do not understand how it survives.
Its people display an astonishing variety of colors, languages, temperaments, and ratios of good and evil (as is everywhere), but they do not seem unhappy. Neither do they contemplate the body of the world. Its foundations are below them, they believe, in the concrete and tar, the pipes and wires. During my time among them I have noticed this delusion particularly. Seldom have I encountered the few who are awake, who cast their gaze to the real foundations, which, as human beings should know, are above.”
~from The Island of the World by Michael O’Brien
Thursday, December 27, 2012
“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. ‘He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,’ is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book. The paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or quite brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if he will risk it on the precipice. He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to live, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine.”
~G. K. Chesterton
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
“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
Monday, December 24, 2012
How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him, still the dear Christ enters in.
~Phillips Brooks (from O Little Town of Bethlehem)
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Friday, December 21, 2012
“I just read this in Tolkien’s letters to his grown children: ‘I live in anxiety concerning my children, who in this harder, crueler, and more mocking world into which I have survived must suffer more assaults than I have … I have brought you all up and talked to you too little … I failed as a father. Now I pray for you all, unceasingly, that the Healer shall heal my defects.’
Joseph Pearce, Tolkien’s biographer, comments: ‘One cannot help but feel that Tolkien was being unduly harsh in seeing himself as a failure as a father. Whatever shortcomings he exhibited must be countered by the mitigating pleas of those who remembered him as a loving and conscientious parent.’
Pearce was still young when he wrote that. When he gets as old as Tolkien was when he wrote his letter, he will understand, and perhaps write one like it to his children. What parents can look back and be satisfied with their own efforts? Only shallow and materialistic fools. (‘My kids never lacked any toy that other kids had!’)
Good parents are never satisfied with their efforts to love and understand their kids, but they are satisfied with their kids. How can we be satisfied with the results of our efforts but not with our efforts? Because the good in our kids now is due 1% to us, 2% to them, and 97% to God’s grace.
There is only one perfect Father. And even His kids mess up. All of them.”
Thursday, December 20, 2012
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
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.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
“Much thought has at its root a dissatisfaction with what is. Wanting is the urge for the next moment to contain what this moment does not. When there’s wanting in the mind, that moment feels incomplete. Wanting is seeking elsewhere. Completeness is being right here.”
“…one of the best ways that our faith expresses itself is by our ability to be still, to be present, and not to panic or lose perspective. God still does His best work in the most difficult of circumstances. The Spirit is more powerful than the will, more powerful than the flesh, more powerful than pain, more powerful than guilt, even more powerful than our weakness and our doubt.
We can experience the living Christ here and now, and our difficult circumstances will be the very opportunity for our faith to grow.”
“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…”
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
While its owner looks away I touch the rabbit.
Its long soft ears fold back under my hand.
Miles of yellow wheat bend; their leaves
rustle away and wait for the sun and wind.
This day belongs to my uncle. This is his farm.
We have stopped on our journey; when my father says to
we will go on, leaving this paradise, leaving
the family place. We have my father's job.
Like him, I will be strong all my life.
We are men. If we squint our eyes in the sun
we will see far. I'm ready. It's good, this resolve.
But I will never pet the rabbit again.
Monday, December 17, 2012
“...As he went forward it grew and grew, till there was no doubt about it. It was a red light steadily getting redder and redder. Also it was now undoubtedly hot in the tunnel. Wisps of vapour floated up and past him and he began to sweat. A sound, too, began to throb in his ears, a sort of bubbling like the noise of a large pot galloping on the fire, mixed with a rumble as of a gigantic tom-cat purring. This grew to the unmistakable gurgling noise of some vast animal snoring in its sleep down there in the red glow in front of him.
It was at this point that Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterward were as nothing compared to it. He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait...”
~from The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
Sunday, December 16, 2012
The best quotes contained in this blog are those sharing the truths of God’s revelation. There are many direct quotes from Holy Scripture. One could meditate on these passages everyday (the Psalms being a great example)—joining God in eternity as the earth/sky fall away. Good hymns have a similar power (there are many contained here). The saintly Christians who have gone on before and whose lives so beautifully retell/restate the deep Truth (big “T”) are a constant thread throughout as well.
As we near 2013 and as this blog nears 1,000 entries, I thought it might be fun to pull out just a few “Best of” posts from the past, repost them here, and do a bit of a countdown. I hope you enjoy!
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
Monday, December 10, 2012
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Through the shadows of the night
‘Cast away the dreams of darkness
Christ descends with heavenly light.’
Wakened by the solemn warning,
Let the earthbound soul arise;
Christ, her sun, all sloth dispelling,
Shines upon the morning skies.
Lo, the Lamb, so long expected,
Comes with pardon down from heav’n;
Let us haste, with tears of sorrow,
One and all to be forgiv’n;
So, when next He comes with glory,
And His judgement-day draws near,
Faithful He may find His servants,
Watching till their Lord appear.
Honour, glory, might, and blessing
To the Father and the Son,
With the everlasting Spirit,
While eternal ages run.
~Words: Anonymous (6th Century, Translation by Edward Caswall) & Music: W. H. Monk
Saturday, December 8, 2012
|Picture used with permission by photographer Elsa Kettinger. All rights reserved.|
“As a snowflake, icy-edged, unique in shape and kind,
So a soul traversing, alone until it finds
One to which it cleaves and forms, a new and wondrous thing,
God in perfect wisdom makes the human heart to sing.”
Friday, December 7, 2012
~C. S. Lewis
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Amiably at home with virtue and evil -
The righteousness of Joseph and Herod’s
Wickedness – I’m ever and always a stranger to grace.
I need this annual angel visitation.
- this sudden drive by dream into reality -
to know the virgin conceives and God is with us.
The dream powers its way through winter weather
and gives me vision to see the Jesus gift.
Light from the dream lasts a year. Through
Equinox and solstice I am given twelve months
Of daylight by which to build the crèche where my
Redeemer lives. The fetus of praise grows
deep in my spirit. As autumn wanes I count
the days until I bear the dream again.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
War & tumult of war,
a horror in the air.
Hungry yawned the abyss-
and yet there came the star
and the child most wonderfully there.
It was time like this
of fear & lust for power,
license & greed and blight-
and yet the Prince of bliss
came into the darkest hour
in quiet & silent light.
And in a time like this
how celebrate his birth
when all things fall apart?
Ah! Wonderful it is
with no room on the earth
the stable is our heart.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
From the balsam trees
And they're cut down
And brought into our houses
When clustered sparks
Of many-colored fire
Appear at night
In ordinary windows
We hear and sing
The customary carols
They bring us ragged miracles
And hay and candles
And flowering weeds of poetry
That are loved all the more
Because they are so common
But there are carols
That carry phrases
Of the haunting music
Of the other world
A music wild and dangerous
As a prophet's message
Or the fresh truth of children
Who though they come to us
From our own bodies
Are altogether new
With their small limbs
And birdlike voices
They look at us
With their clear eyes
And ask the piercing questions
God alone can answer.
Monday, December 3, 2012
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Sunday, December 2, 2012
O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
~Words: Combined from various antiphons by an unknown author, possibly in the 12th Century & Music: Veni Emmanuel, from a 15th Century processional of French Franciscan nuns
Thursday, November 29, 2012
“Among the things you can give and still keep are your word, a smile, and a grateful heart.”
“If you go out looking for friends, you’re going to find they are very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”
“Some people find fault like there is a reward for it.”
“Ask yourself a question: Is my attitude worth catching?”
“Duty makes us do things well, but love makes us do them beautifully.”
“Failure is an event not a person.”
“Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker.”
“Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly--until you can learn to do it well.”
“Outstanding people have one thing in common: an absolute sense of mission.”
“The greatest of all mistakes is to do nothing because you think you can only do a little.”
“If God would have wanted us to live in a permissive society He would have given us Ten Suggestions and not Ten Commandments.”
“When you put faith, hope and love together, you can raise positive kids in a negative world.”
“You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life.”
“If standard of living is your major objective, quality of life almost never improves, but if quality of life is your number one objective, your standard of living almost always improves.”
“The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want right now.”
“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.”
~Zig Ziglar (died yesterday)
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Monday, November 26, 2012
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Whose goodness faileth never,
I nothing lack if I am His
And He is mine forever.
Where streams of living water flow
My ransomed soul He leadeth,
And where the verdant pastures grow,
With food celestial feedeth.
Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love He sought me,
And on His shoulder gently laid,
And home, rejoicing, brought me.
In death’s dark vale I fear no ill
With Thee, dear Lord, beside me;
Thy rod and staff my comfort still,
Thy cross before to guide me.
Thou spread’st a table in my sight;
Thy unction grace bestoweth;
And O what transport of delight
From Thy pure chalice floweth!
And so through all the length of days
Thy goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing Thy praise
Within Thy house forever.
Words: Psalm 23; Henry Baker & Music: St. Columba (ancient Irish melody)
Friday, November 23, 2012
Imagine two mothers, or two fathers, having a discussion about what kind of cultural material is best to give their children: One parent is cautious about the way most contemporary fantasy mixes good and evil (and sometimes inverts them). The other parent has grown accustomed to the septic environment and is more trusting of the surrounding culture. When he tastes the mixture his tongue reassures him that it is honey.
‘It is sweet,’ he declares. ‘It is good. The virus, the bacteria, the toxin you speak of is a figment of your imagination, the product of your irrational fears about contamination!’
‘Do not be deceived by the taste,’ says the cautious parent. ‘It is better for people not to consume such mixtures.’
The trusting parent says with a certain tension: ‘So you want to quarantine your children, lock them away in an antiseptic environment!’
‘Not at all,’ replies the other. ‘Regardless of the exact ratio of healthy and unhealthy materials, is it not obvious that consuming any virus, toxin, or virulent bacteria is detrimental to health? I simply do not want to feed this particular honey to my children.’
‘But by not giving them this honey you are harming your children.’
‘Explain to me, precisely, how I am harming my children by abstaining from giving them infected food.’
‘It is not infected! Besides, you’re going to isolate your children, make them strangers in their own culture. Do you want them to be weird?’
‘But I just saw you dip your finger into a septic tank and lick it. That seems a little weird to me.’
‘It is not a septic tank. It is a very large reservoir containing, admittedly, some unpleasant things, but also many good things. We need to focus on the good. You really have a problem with negativity, you know. It’s making you intolerant.’
‘Yes, I am intolerant.’
A shocked pause. ‘Pardon me?’
‘I’m intolerant of anything that will make my children sick.’
‘Are you accusing me of making my children sick?!’
‘I respect your right to make your own decision. I have no respect for the contents of the septic tank.’
‘I was making a distinction.’
And so it goes—the seemingly irresolvable, supposedly rational dialogues of the Western world as it loses its bearings, its sense of the actual moral order in the universe.”
~Michael O'Brien (excerpt from the article: War in the Heavens)
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Thank the Lord for family, friends, pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving dinner, etc.
|Pumpkin pies and Thanksgiving dinner, Jack Delano, photographer, Part of: Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress) 1940|
You are my God, I thank You.
My God, I praise You.
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good;
for His love endures for ever.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Proclaims the morn’s approaching ray:
And Christ the Lord our souls excites,
And so to endless life invites.
‘Take up thy bed,’ to each He cries,
Who sick or wrapped in slumber lies;
‘And chaste and just and sober stand
And watch: My coming is at hand.’
With earnest cry, with tearful care,
Call we the Lord to hear our prayer;
While supplications, pure and deep,
Forbid each chastened heart to sleep.
Do Thou, O Christ, our slumbers wake:
Do Thou the chains of darkness break;
Purge Thou our former sins away,
And in our souls new light display.
All laud to God the Father be,
All praise, eternal Son, to Thee;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To God the Holy Paraclete.
~Words: Aurelius Prudentius (348-413), translated from Latin to English by John Neale & Music: William Knapp
Monday, November 19, 2012
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Sets round the autumnal sun—
But there sight fails: no heart may know
The bliss when life is done.
Such is Thy banquet, dearest Lord;
O give us grace, to cast
Our lot with Thine, to trust Thy word,
And keep our best till last.
Friday, November 16, 2012
~William Morris (from: The Well At The World's End)
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Monday, November 12, 2012
~G. K. Chesterton
“I always considered statesmen to be more expendable than soldiers.”
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Saturday, November 10, 2012
of glass mingled with fire. On it were
standing those who had won the victory
over the beast and its image and the
number of its name. They were holding
the harps of God in their hands and were
singing the song of Moses, the servant
of God, and the song of the Lamb:
Great and wonderful are Your deeds,
O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are Your ways,
O King of the ages!
Who will not fear You, O Lord,
and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy.
All nations will come and worship You
for Your judgments have been revealed.”
Friday, November 9, 2012
Thursday, November 8, 2012
this day let it be known
That You Lord,
Are God of the present tense
Oh Lord, Father of history
this day let it be known
That You Lord,
Are present in our human events
Answer me, Oh Lord
Let Your people know
That You’re turning our hearts
Back to You…Again
You alone are true
You alone are true
Turn us back towards You
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Monday, November 5, 2012
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.
So heart be still:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.
God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.
Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.
~Minnie Louise Haskins
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
That vanished many a summer ago,
And left no trace but the cellar walls,
And a cellar in which the daylight falls,
And the purple-stemmed wild raspberries grow.
O’er ruined fences the grape-vines shield
The woods come back to the mowing field;
The orchard tree has grown one copse
Of new wood and old where the woodpecker chops;
The footpath down to the well is healed.
I dwell with a strangely aching heart
In that vanished abode there far apart
On that disused and forgotten road
That has no dust-bath now for the toad.
Night comes; the black bats tumble and dart;
The whippoorwill is coming to shout
And hush and cluck and flutter about:
I hear him begin far enough away
Full many a time to say his say
Before he arrives to say it out.
It is under the small, dim, summer star.
I know not who these mute folk are
Who share the unlit place with me—
Those stones out under the low-limbed tree
Doubtless bear names that the mosses mar.
They are tireless folk, but slow and sad,
Though two, close-keeping, are lass and lad,—
With none among them that ever sings,
And yet, in view of how many things,
As sweet companions as might be had.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Shall (though she now be in extreme degree
Too stony hard, and yet too fleshly,) be
Freed by that drop, from being starved, hard, or foul,
And life, by this death abled, shall control
Death, whom thy death slew; nor shall to me
Fear of first or last death, bring misery,
If in thy little book my name thou enroll,
Flesh in that long sleep is not putrefied,
But made that there, of which, and for which ’twas;
Nor can by other means be glorified.
May then sin’s sleep, and death’s soon from me pass,
That waked from both, I again risen may
Salute the last, and everlasting day.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!
~Words: S. Trevor Francis & Music: Thomas Williams
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Sunday, October 21, 2012
"In the kiss of an infant,
let us consider,
for our very religion's sake,
the still recent hands of God themselves,
which in some sort we are kissing
in the child lately formed
and freshly born,
when we are embracing
that which God has made."
~St. Cyprian of Carthage
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Thursday, October 18, 2012
with bales to the barn, then back to the waiting
chopped field. It trails a feather of smoke.
Down the block we bend with the season:
shoes to polish for a big game,
storm windows to batten or patch.
And how like a field is the whole sky now
that the maples have shed their leaves, too.
It makes us believers—stationed in groups,
leaning on rakes, looking into space. We rub blisters
over billows of leaf smoke. Or stand alone,
bagging gold for the cold days to come.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
I take them in the autumn of my hands.
Last night I heard the first cold wind outside:
And wind blew soft, and yet I shiver twice:
Once for thin walls, once for the sound of time.
Monday, October 15, 2012
nothing dismay thee.
All is passing,
God ever remains.
...Patience obtains all.
Whoever possesses God
cannot lack anything
God alone suffices.”
~St. Teresa of Avila
Sunday, October 14, 2012
On which Your people stand
To preach Your true salvation
In every age and land:
Pour out Your Holy Spirit
To make us strong and pure,
To keep the faith unbroken
As long as worlds endure.
Baptized in one confession,
One church in all the earth,
We bear our Lord's impression,
The sign of second birth:
One holy people gathered
In love beyond our own,
By grace we were invited,
By grace we make You known.
Where tyrants' hold is tightened,
Where strong devour the weak,
Where innocents are frightened,
The righteous fear to speak,
There let Your church awaking
Attack the powers of sin
And, all their ramparts breaking,
With You the victory win.
This is the moment glorious
When He who once was dead
Shall lead His church victorious,
Their champion and their head.
The Lord of all creation
His heavenly kingdon brings,
The final consummation,
The glory of all things.
~Words: Timothy Lew & Music: Samuel Wesley
Friday, October 12, 2012
The words are...the framework in which the prayer is held.
The words are not the prayer. The prayer lies always beyond the words. As the river moves into the sea, the banks drop away. So, too, as we move into the deeper sense of God's presence the words fall away and...we shall be left in silence in the ocean of God's love.”
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Monday, October 8, 2012
a soft sound above the fire. Hooded
lights on porches lead past lawns,
a hedge; I pass the house of the couple
who have the baby, the yard with the little
dog; my feet pad and grit on the pavement, flicker
past streetlights; my arms alternate
easily to my pace. Where are my troubles?
There are people in every country who never
turn into killers, saints have built
sanctuaries on islands and in valleys,
conquerors have quit and gone home, for thousands
of years farmers have worked their fields.
My feet begin the uphill curve
where a thicket spills with birds every spring.
The air doesn’t stir. Rain touches my face.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.
O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessèd peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!
All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;
The one eternal God, whom earth and Heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.
~Words: Martin Rinkart & Music: Johann Crüger
Friday, October 5, 2012
Thursday, October 4, 2012
It takes a foundational trust to fall or to fail – and to not fall apart. Faith alone holds you while you stand waiting and hoping and trusting. Then, and only then, will deeper love happen. It’s no surprise at all that we speak of ‘falling’ in love. I think it is the way to get there. None would go freely, if we knew ahead of time what love is going to ask of us.”
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
“It is true that there is something painful in beginning to practise piety, but this pain does not arise from the beginnings of piety within us, but from the impiety that is still there... We only suffer in so far as our natural vice resists supernatural grace: our heart feels torn between these contrary forces, but it would be very wrong to impute this violence to God, who draws us to Him, instead of attributing it to the world which holds us back. It is like a child snatched by its mother from the arms of robbers... The cruelest war that God can wage on men in this life is to leave them without the war He came to bring. ‘I came not to send peace but a sword,’ He said.
...Before His coming the world lived in a false peace.”
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down thy head upon My breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad.
I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one, stoop down, and drink, and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank of that life giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived, and now I live in Him.
I heard the voice of Jesus say, “I am this dark world’s Light;
Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise, and all thy day be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found in Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that light of life I’ll walk, till traveling days are done.
~Words: Horatius Bonar & Music: John Dykes
Friday, September 28, 2012
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
~G. K. Chesterton
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
and I give chase to gather them
and hold them up in a bunch to You,
but they go this way and that
while I go that way and this...
So, gather me up instead
and bless what eludes my grasp but not Yours:
...Lord, the people ...bless the people:
giving birth people,
being born people;
banged up people,
held down people;
first world people,
second world people,
third world people;
one world people,
Bless them, Lord.
Bless what eludes my grasp
but not Yours. Amen.
Monday, September 24, 2012
~Herman Melville (Moby Dick, or, The Whale)
Sunday, September 23, 2012
do with me as You will.
Whatever You do with me,
I thank You.
I am prepared for anything,
I accept everything,
provided Your will is fulfilled in me
and in all Your creatures.
I wish no more than this, my God.
Into Your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to You with all the love of my heart.
For me, it is a necessity of love,
this gift of myself,
this placing myself in Your hands,
in boundless confidence,
for You are my Father.
~Charles de Foucauld
Saturday, September 22, 2012
But look! here come more crowds, pacing straight for the water, and seemingly bound for a dive. Strange! Nothing will content them but the extremest limit of the land; loitering under the shady lee of yonder warehouses will not suffice. No. They must get just as nigh the water as they possibly can without falling in. And there they stand--miles of them--leagues. Inlanders all, they come from lanes and alleys, streets and avenues--north, east, south, and west. Yet here they all unite. Tell me, does the magnetic virtue of the needles of the compasses of all those ships attract them thither?
Once more. Say you are in the country; in some high land of lakes. Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries--stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever.”
~Herman Melville (Moby Dick, or, The Whale)
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Monday, September 17, 2012
Thy guiding grace afford, teach me Thy way!
Help me to walk aright, more by faith, less by sight;
Lead me with heav’nly light, teach me Thy way!
When I am sad at heart, teach me Thy way!
When earthly joys depart, teach me Thy way!
In hours of loneliness, in times of dire distress,
In failure or success, teach me Thy way!
When doubts and fears arise, teach me Thy way!
When storms o’erspread the skies, teach me Thy way!
Shine through the cloud and rain, through sorrow, toil and pain;
Make Thou my pathway plain, teach me Thy way!
Long as my life shall last, teach me Thy way!
Where’er my lot be cast, teach me Thy way!
Until the race is run, until the journey’s done,
Until the crown is won, teach me Thy way!
~Words & Music: Benjamin Ramsey
Thursday, September 13, 2012
“Take heed not to foster thy own judgment, for, without doubt, it will inebriate thee; as there is no difference between an intoxicated man and one full of his own opinion, and one is no more capable of reasoning than the other.”
~St. Francis de Sales
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
And I was not rebellious,
Nor did I turn away.
6 I gave My back to those who struck Me,
And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard;
I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.
7 “For the Lord God will help Me;
Therefore I will not be disgraced;
Therefore I have set My face like a flint,
And I know that I will not be ashamed.
8 He is near who justifies Me;
Who will contend with Me?
Let us stand together.
Who is My adversary?
Let him come near Me.
9 Surely the Lord God will help Me;
Who is he who will condemn Me?
Monday, September 10, 2012
...The impatient man insists on ignoring this reality; he behaves as though it were in his power to make the trees grow more quickly and the earth revolve more quickly around the sun. Impatience renders us hard, unkind, masterful, and in some circumstances, violent. It always implies a loss of depth.
...a loveless rebuke sometimes amounts to a greater evil before God than a measure of lost time.
...Above all, the true Christian never pretends to a false position of supremacy over the universe. Indeed, Christian patience issues from religio: the consciousness of being a creature of God, whose property we are, without whom we can achieve nothing, and in whose hands all our endeavors, actions, and accomplishments are placed. The true Christian assents to his creaturely dependence on God, and consciously derives from it the informing principle of his life. ‘My days are in Thy hands’ (Psalm 31:15).
...For every deep, fateful word there is a fullness of time in which alone it can be legitimately and fruitfully spoken. Anticipate it hastily by acting without discretion, and your utterance of it will be shadowy, devoid of maturity, and invalid. Again, let the ‘destined hour’ pass unused, and you will no longer be able to speak that word except in an empty and purely formal fashion.
...For only in the measure that we have surrendered our inmost being to God do we possess ourselves.
...in the attitude of patience we emphatically let God act, thus allowing all things to unfold from above — as proceeding from their Origin — and by so experiencing their operation again render to God what is God’s.
...He alone who possesses patience — encompassed by disappointments, worn down by defeats, painfully aware of the narrowness of the road to salvation — can yet give proof of the constancy demanded by God, and hold on to the one thing necessary with a devotion not only unflagging but ever increasing.”
~Dietrich von Hildebrand
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Till all the world adore His sacred Name.
Led on their way by this triumphant sign,
The hosts of God in conquering ranks combine.
Each newborn servant of the Crucified
Bears on the brow the seal of Him Who died.
O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree,
As Thou hast promised, draw the world to Thee.
So shall our song of triumph ever be:
Praise to the Crucified for victory.
~Words: George Kitchin & Music: Sydney Nicholson
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Thou wilt not let my fluttering hopes be more,
Or lovelier, or greater, than Thy giving!
Surely Thy ships will bring to my poor shore,
Of gold and peacocks such a shining store
As will laugh all the dreams to holy scorn,
Of love and sorrow that were ever born.
Sunday, September 2, 2012
Friday, August 31, 2012
~St. Francis de Sales
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
“When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.”
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in His justice,
Which is more than liberty.
There is welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the good;
There is mercy with the Savior;
There is healing in His blood.
There is plentiful redemption
In the blood that has been shed;
There is joy for all the members
In the sorrows of the Head.
~Words: Frederick Faber & Music: Lizzie Tourjée
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Looking's a way of being: one becomes,
sometimes, a pair of eyes walking.
Walking wherever looking takes one.
dig and burrow into the world.
fanfare, howl, madrigal, clamor.
World and the past of it,
visible present, solid and shadow
that looks at one looking.
And language? Rhythms
of echo and interruption?
a way of breathing.
breathing to sustain
walking and looking,
through the world,
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Some men of science do indeed get over the difficulty by dealing only with the easy part of it: thus, they will call first love the instinct of sex, and the awe of death the instinct of self-preservation. But this is only getting over the difficulty of describing peacock green by calling it blue. There is blue in it. That there is a strong physical element in both romance and the Memento Mori makes them if possible more baffling than if they had been wholly intellectual. No man could say exactly how much his sexuality was colored by a clean love of beauty, or by the mere boyish itch for irrevocable adventures, like running away to sea. No man could say how far his animal dread of the end was mixed up with mystical traditions touching morals and religion. It is exactly because these things are animal, but not quite animal, that the dance of all the difficulties begins. The materialists analyze the easy part, deny the hard part and go home to their tea.”
~From: What’s Wrong with the World by G. K. Chesterton
Monday, August 20, 2012
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.
Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.
~Words: Robert Robinson & Music: John Wyeth
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
~St. Hildegard of Bingen