Monday, December 31, 2012

Best of... 1... (Post 1,000!)

Over-anxiety?

“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

Best of... 2...

Humility

“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

Best of... 3...

Passionate Truth-seeking

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.”
~Blaise Pascal

“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.”
~Peter Kreeft

Friday, December 28, 2012

Best of... 4...

The World

“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

Best of... 5...

Courage

“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

Best of... 6...

A Good Mess

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don't clean it up too quickly.”
~Andy Rooney

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Best of... 7...

The Incarnation

“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

Best of... 8...

Favorite Christmas Hymn Verse

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

Best of... 9...

Little Things

“We ought not weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.”
~Brother Lawrence

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Best of... 10...

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

Friday, December 21, 2012

Best of... 11...

All Fathers Fail but One

“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.”
~Peter Kreeft

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Best of... 12...

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

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Best of... 13...

Here and Now; In The Moment

“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.”
~Stephen Levine

“…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.”
~Tim Hansel

“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

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Best of... 14...

A Farewell, Age 10

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.

~William Stafford

Monday, December 17, 2012

Best of... 15...

Courage in the Face of the Unknown

“...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

Best of... 16...

I started this blog during a bitter/sweet time in my life. The bitter was quite overwhelming and the sweet was otherworldly. I was ignorant of the blog genre. My wife encouraged me to try. I knew I wanted to catalog the ideas I was discovering during my reading, searching, seeking, and finding. This seemed a good way even if it ended up being a mostly personal endeavor. It does appear there are a few consistent “followers” of this effort and I hope/pray that the sharing has been beneficial. God has been very gracious to this poor man. He definitely comes to those who truly and passionately seek. I greatly desire to be the child of God, husband, father, son, brother, church member, friend, neighbor, employee, etc. that God wants me to be. May He have mercy and help me...

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!

God bless,

Kevin


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

Lord of the Winter

“It was now dark. We were the under half of the world. The sun was scorching and glowing on the other side, leaving us to night and frost. But the night and the frost wake the sunshine of a higher world in our hearts; and who cares for winter weather at Christmas? - I believe in the proximate correctness of the date of our Saviour's birth. I believe he always comes in winter. And then let Winter reign without: Love is king within; and Love is lord of the Winter.”
~George MacDonald

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Hark! A Herald Voice Is Calling

Hark! a herald voice is calling
  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

Snowflake


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.”
~Kristen Heitzmann
 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Miracles

“Just as every natural event is the manifestation at a particular place and moment of Nature’s total character, so every particular Christian miracle manifests at a particular place and moment the character and significance of the Incarnation.”
~C. S. Lewis

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Dream

“...an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream.”

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.
~Eugene Peterson

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Into The Darkest Hour

It was a time like this,
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.

~Madeleine L’Engle

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Noël

When snow is shaken
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.

~Anne Porter

Monday, December 3, 2012

Patient Trust

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
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, O Come, Emmanuel

 




















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.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
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

Some Motivation

“Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.”

“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

Friendship

“Friendships begun in this world will be taken up again, never to be broken off.”
~St. Francis de Sales

Monday, November 26, 2012

When I found...

"When I found Your words, I devoured them;
    they became my joy and the happiness of my heart,
Because I bore Your name,
    O LORD, God of hosts."
~Jeremiah 15:16

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The King Of Love My Shepherd Is

The King of love my Shepherd is,
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

War in the Heavens

“Where is the road of modern culture taking us? The real question is not whether there are intriguing, entertaining, and even edifying details along the route, but what is the final destination. Are we Christians asking this question as we consume contemporary cultural material? Or are we gradually losing our bearings, the moral compass spinning aimlessly? What is the dominant terrain, the pitch of the slope? I believe it is heading downward, and the occasional bumps in the road that offer a sense of upward mobility contribute to an illusion. In order to see clearly the extent to which we have been absorbed by the illusion, we first must recognize how strong is the need in human nature for confidence in the world, and the instinctive aversion to the threat of ‘negativity’ or ‘intolerance.’

...

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.’

‘What?’

‘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

Pumpkin pies and Thanksgiving dinner

 
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.
~Psalm 118:28-29
 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Wingèd Herald Of The Day

The wingèd herald of the day
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

Deeds and Actions

“Our actions have a tongue of their own; they have an eloquence of their own, even when the tongue is silent. For deeds prove the lover more than words.”
~St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Closing Prayer

Ever the richest, tenderest glow
     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.
~John Keble

Friday, November 16, 2012

If only in one small corner...

“With the arrogance of youth, I determined to do no less than to transform the world with Beauty. If I have succeeded in some small way, if only in one small corner of the world, amongst the men and women I love, then I shall count myself blessed, and blessed, and blessed, and the work goes on.”
~William Morris (from: The Well At The World's End)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lux Umbra Dei


“Light is the Shadow of God”
  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Great Things

“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.”
~Leonard Bernstein

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Development of the Soul

“The meaning of earthly existence lies not, as we have grown used to thinking, in prospering but in the development of the soul.”
~Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Monday, November 12, 2012

Soldiers

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
~G. K. Chesterton

“I always considered statesmen to be more expendable than soldiers.”
~Harry Truman

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Boys

"There comes a time in every rightly constructed boy's life when he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure."
~Mark Twain

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Then he saw...

“Then I saw what appeared to be a sea
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.”
~Revelation 15:2-4

Friday, November 9, 2012

Attack!

“My center is giving way.
My right is in retreat.
Situation excellent.
I attack!”
~General Ferdinand Foch

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Again

Oh Lord, God of our fathers
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

Holy Holy
You alone are true
Holy Holy
You alone are true
Turn us back towards You

~Jon Foreman

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Don't forget

“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
~Carl Buechner

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Higher Vantage Point

“Be not a slave to the apparent, but seek the perspective of a higher vantage point. Climb the mast with patience, endure the abstinence of the immediate for the sake of what is beyond the arc.”
~Michael O’Brien

Monday, November 5, 2012

God Knows (a.k.a. The Gate of the Year)

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
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

Sweetest of all Gifts

“We love You, O our God; and we desire to love You more and more. Grant us that we may love You as much as we desire, and as much as we ought. O dearest friend, who has so loved and saved us, the thought of whom is so sweet and always growing sweeter, come with Christ and dwell in our hearts; that You keep a watch over our lips, our steps, our deeds, and we shall not need to be anxious either for our souls or our bodies. Give us love, sweetest of all gifts, which knows no enemy. Give us in our hearts pure love, born of Your love to us, that we may love others as You love us. O most loving Father of Jesus Christ, from whom flows all love, let our hearts, frozen in sin, cold to You and cold to others, be warmed by this divine fire. So help and bless us in Your Son.” Amen.
~St. Anselm

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ephesians 1:17-18

May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to full knowledge of Him. May He enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope His call holds for you, what rich glories He has promised the saints will inherit.
 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Gathering of Spirits



“Jan Richardson’s ‘A Gathering of Spirits’ evokes the thin place in the landscape of the Christian year when heaven and earth meet and we remember that what holds us together is not limited by time. At All Saints Day we stand together not only with those who are physically present with us but also with those who linger close in spirit. She writes of creating the collage: ‘With every piece, another prayer; with every layer, another memory of those who have passed through the thin, thin place. Remember how their presence lingers. A communion of saints, say, to sustain us when the way grows daunting. Or call it this: a gathering of spirits.’”
~Peter Fung

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Ghost House

I dwell in a lonely house I know
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.

~Robert Frost

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Resurrection

Moist with one drop of thy blood, my dry soul
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.
~John Donne

Sunday, October 28, 2012

O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
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

Find places

"We need no wings to go in search of Him, but have only to find a place where we can be alone and look upon Him present within us."
~St. Teresa of Avila

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Psalm 90:1-2

O Lord, You have been our refuge
from one generation to the next.
Before the mountains were born
or the earth or the world brought forth,
You are God, without beginning or end.
 

Genesis 1:2

Earth was still an empty waste, and darkness hung over the deep; but already, over its waters, stirred the breath of God.
  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

That Which God Has Made

"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

Neighbors in October

All afternoon his tractor pulls a flat wagon
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.
~David Baker

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October

October
And the trees are stripped bare
Of all they wear
What do I care

October
And kingdoms rise
And kingdoms fall
But you go on... and on...

~Paul Hewson

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall Wind

Pods of summer crowd around the door;
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.

~William Stafford

Monday, October 15, 2012

God ever and alone

“Let nothing affright thee,
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

O Christ, The Great Foundation

O Christ, the great foundation
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

In prayer...

“The words are like the banks of a river and the prayer is like the river itself. The banks are necessary to give direction and to keep the river flowing. But it is the river with which we are concerned.
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.”
~Robert Llewelyn

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Turn Aside Now, and See

“...And Moses said, ‘I will turn aside now and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.’”
~Exodus 3:3

Monday, October 8, 2012

Five A.M.

Still dark, the early morning breathes
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.
~William Stafford

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Now Thank We All Our God

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
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

The Soul

“In those respects
in which the soul
is unlike God
it is also
unlike itself.”

~St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Falling

“...By denying their pain, avoiding the necessary falling, many have kept themselves from their own spiritual depths and therefore have been kept from their own spiritual heights. The human ego prefers anything, just about anything to falling or changing or dying. The ego is that part of you that loves the status quo, even when it is not working. It attaches to past and present and fears the future.

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.”
~Richard Rohr

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

He draws us to Him

I wanted to repost this one...

“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.”
~Blaise Pascal

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Come unto Me and rest;
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

Where He Wills

“No enthusiasm will ever stand the strain that Jesus Christ will put upon His worker, only one thing will, and that is a personal relationship to Himself which has gone through the mill of His spring-cleaning until there is only one purpose left--I am here for God to send me where He will.”
~Oswald Chambers

Thursday, September 27, 2012

On the razor-edge...

“I've never forgotten for long at a time that living is struggle. I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for—whether it's a field, or a home, or a country.”
~Thornton Wilder

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Christian Saint

“The saint is a medicine because he is an antidote. Indeed that is why the saint is often a martyr; he is mistaken for a poison because he is an antidote. He will generally be found restoring the world to sanity by exaggerating whatever the world neglects, which is by no means always the same element in every age. Yet each generation seeks its saint by instinct; and he is not what the people want, but rather what the people need. This is surely the very much mistaken meaning of those words to the first saints, ‘Ye are the salt of the earth,’ which caused the Ex-Kaiser to remark with all solemnity that his beefy Germans were the salt of the earth; meaning thereby merely that they were the earth's beefiest and therefore best. But salt seasons and preserves beef, not because it is like beef; but because it is very unlike it. Christ did not tell his apostles that they were only the excellent people, or the only excellent people, but that they were the exceptional people; the permanently incongruous and incompatible people; and the text about the salt of the earth is really as sharp and shrewd and tart as the taste of salt. It is because they were the exceptional people, that they must not lose their exceptional quality. ‘If salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted?’ is a much more pointed question than any mere lament over the price of the best beef. If the world grows too worldly, it can be rebuked by the Church; but if the Church grows too worldly, it cannot be adequately rebuked for worldliness by the world.”
~G. K. Chesterton

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bless What Eludes My Grasp

Lord, so many things skitter through my mind,
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:
              birthday people,
                            giving birth people,
                                          being born people;
              conformed people,
                            dying people,
                                          dead people;
              hostaged people,
                            banged up people,
                                          held down people;
              leader people,
                            lonely people,
                                          limping people;
              hungry people,
                            surfeited people,
                                          indifferent people;
              first world people,
                            second world people,
                                          third world people;
              one world people,
                            Your people,
                                          all people.
Bless them, Lord.
Bless what eludes my grasp
       but not Yours. Amen.

~Ted Loder

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Good Laugh

“...a good laugh is a mighty good thing, and rather too scarce a good thing; the more's the pity. So, if any one man, in his own proper person, afford stuff for a good joke to anybody, let him not be backward, but let him cheerfully allow himself to spend and be spent in that way. And the man that has anything bountifully laughable about him, be sure there is more in that man than you perhaps think for.”
~Herman Melville (Moby Dick, or, The Whale)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Prayer of Abandonment

My Father, I abandon myself to You,
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,
without reserve,
in boundless confidence,
for You are my Father.
Amen.
~Charles de Foucauld

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Meditation and Water

“...What do you see?--Posted like silent sentinels all around the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries. Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks of ships from China; some high aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better seaward peep. But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in lath and plaster--tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks. How then is this? Are the green fields gone? What do they here?

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)
http://www.mobydickbigread.com/

Thursday, September 20, 2012

You Sustain It

“Days pass when I forget the mystery. Problems insoluble and problems offering their own ignored solutions jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber along with a host of diversions...And then once more the quiet mystery is present to me, the throng's clamor recedes: the mystery that there is anything, anything at all, let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything, rather than void: and that, O Lord, Creator, Hallowed One, You still hour by hour sustain it.”
~Denise Levertov

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Expectations

“I realize it is not the trials that break us and make us weak. It is low expectations.”
~Stephen Tobolowsky

Monday, September 17, 2012

Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord

Teach me Thy way, O Lord, teach me Thy way!
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

Food for Thought

“Strive to acquire the virtues you think your brothers lack, and then you will no longer see their defects, because you yourselves will not have them.”
~St. Augustine

“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

The Servant

5 The Lord God has opened My ear;
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?

~Isaiah 50:5-9a

Monday, September 10, 2012

Patience & Impatience

“We are faced with a course of happening, a sequence of events in time, which is not of our making and which we cannot alter except within certain rather closely set bounds. We may not subvert its essential structure.

...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

Lift High The Cross

Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim,
Till all the world adore His sacred Name.

Led on their way by this triumphant sign,
The hosts of God in conquering ranks combine.

Refrain

Each newborn servant of the Crucified
Bears on the brow the seal of Him Who died.

Refrain

O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree,
As Thou hast promised, draw the world to Thee.

Refrain

So shall our song of triumph ever be:
Praise to the Crucified for victory.

Refrain

~Words: George Kitchin & Music: Sydney Nicholson

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Celebration

“People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state--it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle... Celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one's actions.”
~Abraham Heschel

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

from Diary of an Old Soul

I clasp Thy feet, O Father of the living!
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.
~George MacDonald

Sunday, September 2, 2012

All is Gained

“O Jesus, let me frequently and attentively consider whatsoever I gain, if I lose Thee, all is lost; and whatsoever I lose, if I gain Thee, all is gained.”
~Richard Whitford

Friday, August 31, 2012

A Heart of Love

“A heart full of love loves the commandments and the more difficult it seems, the more sweet and pleasing they become because it pleases the Beloved and gives Him more honor.”
~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.
~Ephesians 4:29-32

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Compassion & Kindness as Strength

“A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair.”

“When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.”

~Abraham Heschel

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Heavens

 
“In an age of hope men looked up at the night sky and saw ‘the heavens.’ In an age of hopelessness they call it simply ‘space.’”
~Peter Kreeft



Sunday, August 26, 2012

There’s A Wideness In God’s Mercy

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
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, Walking, Being

I look and look.
Looking's a way of being: one becomes,
sometimes, a pair of eyes walking.
Walking wherever looking takes one.

The eyes
dig and burrow into the world.
They touch
fanfare, howl, madrigal, clamor.
World and the past of it,
not only
visible present, solid and shadow
that looks at one looking.

And language? Rhythms
of echo and interruption?
That's
a way of breathing.

breathing to sustain
looking,
walking and looking,
through the world,
in it.

~Denise Levertov

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

There is blue in it

“It is admitted, one may hope, that common things are never commonplace. Birth is covered with curtains precisely because it is a staggering and monstrous prodigy. Death and first love, though they happen to everybody, can stop one’s heart with the very thought of them. But while this is granted, something further may be claimed. It is not merely true that these universal things are strange; it is moreover true that they are subtle. In the last analysis most common things will be found to be highly complicated.

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

Out of the Depths

If You, O Lord, should mark our guilt,
Lord, who would survive?
But with You is found forgiveness:
for this we revere You.
~Psalm 130:3-4

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
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

The Word & Creation

“God’s Word is in all creation, visible and invisible. The WORD is living, being, spirit, all verdant greening, all creativity. All creation is awakened, called, by the resounding melody, God’s invocation of the WORD. This WORD manifests in every creature. Now this is how the spirit is in the flesh--the WORD is indivisible from God.”
~St. Hildegard of Bingen

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

from Diary of an Old Soul

Come to me, Lord: I will not speculate how,
Nor think at which door I would have thee appear,
Nor put off calling till my floors be swept,
But cry, “Come, Lord, come any way, come now.”
Doors, windows, I throw wide; my head I bow,
And sit like some one who so long has slept
That he knows nothing till his life draw near.
~George MacDonald

Monday, August 13, 2012

Blessings from God

The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him,
    And delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good;
    Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
~Psalm 34:7-8

When a man’s ways please the LORD,
    He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
~Proverbs 16:7

Responsory:
The just are the friends of God.
They live with Him for ever.
—The just are the friends of God.
    They live with Him for ever.
God Himself is their reward.
—They live with Him for ever. Alleluia, alleluia.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
—The just are the friends of God.
    They live with Him for ever.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Little Things

“We ought not weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.”
~Brother Lawrence

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Praying the Psalms

“In assuming human nature the Divine Word introduced into this earthly exile a hymn which is sung in heaven for all eternity. He unites Himself with the whole human race and with it sings this hymn of praise to God.”

“…the subjective fruit of this divine and universal prayer, the prayer of Christ in His Church, depends on how faithfully we make the sentiments of the Psalms our own.”

“When in prayer the voice repeats those hymns written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost . . . it is necessary that the interior sentiment of our soul should accompany the voice so as to make those sentiments our own in which we are elevated to heaven.”

“The Psalms are not abstract treatises on the divine nature. In them we learn to know God not by analyzing various concepts of His divinity, but by praising and loving Him. The Psalms being hymns of praise, they only reveal their full meaning to those who use them in order to praise God.”

~Eugenio Pacelli (1st & 3rd sections) & Thomas Merton (2nd & 4th sections)

Friday, August 10, 2012

On Bliss

“There is no one of my brothers [or sisters]... that I can do without... In the heart of the meanest miser, the most squalid prostitute, the most miserable drunkard, there is an immortal soul with holy aspirations, which deprived of daylight, worships in the night. I hear them speaking when I speak and weeping when I go down on my knees. There is no one of them I can do without. Just as there are many stars in the heavens and their power of calculation is beyond my reckoning so also there are many living beings... I need them all in my praise of God. There are many living souls but there is not one of them that I'm not in communion in the sacred apex where we utter together the Our Father...
~Paul Claudel

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hope in God

Only Hope

There's a song that's inside of my soul
It's the one that I've tried to write over and over again
I'm awake in the infinite cold
But You sing to me over and over and over again

Refrain:
So I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands
And pray to be only Yours
I pray to be only Yours
I know now You're my only hope

Sing to me of the song of the stars
Of Your galaxy dancing and laughing and laughing again
When it feels like my dreams are so far
Sing to me of the plans that You have for me over again

Refrain

I give You my apathy
I'm giving You all of me
I want Your symphony
Singing in all that I am
At the top of my lungs I'm giving it back

Refrain

~Jon Foreman

O send forth Your light and Your truth;
let these be my guide.
Let them bring me to Your holy mountain,
to the place where You dwell.

And I will come to the altar of God,
the God of my joy.
My redeemer, I will thank You on the harp,
O God, my God.

Why are you cast down my soul,
why groan with