Monday, April 30, 2012

Faith

“Faith is the refiner of our souls as gold is tested in fire. When all our other strengths fail, we can discover at the base of our empty souls a mysterious silent wealth. There at the bottom of the barrel is the real strength, not power or resources, nor worldly wisdom nor a solid defence system, but rather the will to continue to love and to live by the truth: the human will—that curious faculty which so often reaches for illusory wealth and power and weapons, and even, at its worst, the ultimate illusion of being lord over all it surveys. But when we are stripped down and know our fundamental human weakness, then faith whispers the gentle, startling, and very good news that we are not God, that we need a saviour, and that there is a Saviour.”
~Michael O’Brien

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Inventing...

“The human mind is inspired enough when it comes to inventing horrors; it is when it tries to invent a Heaven that it shows itself cloddish.”
~Evelyn Waugh

Monday, April 23, 2012

Set Your Heart

Blessed the man whose help comes from You,
     who has set his heart on climbing to You.
They pass through the valley of thirst
     and make a spring there:
     the morning rain will cover it with blessings.
They will go from strength to strength:
     they will see the God of gods, in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5-7

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Luke 24:29

“Stay with us, Lord, for evening is at hand...”

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Rather Lovely Day

     “Mary stood blinking, her eyebrows pleading. Father opened his mouth and left it hanging there because not a single word would come out. Then the girl took his fingers in hers and said, imploring, ‘I need you to take me for a walk!’
     He looked at his desk heaped with things to do. He thought of his falling-down house clamouring at him with other things to do.
     He sighed, knowing that he had been defeated by a conspiracy of sunlight and youth. She gripped his fingers tightly, and then they went outside to encounter the great river of being, though neither father nor daughter would spoil the day by calling it that.
     And a little child shall lead them, he recalled, the words surfacing from somewhere in the Scriptures. The little girl led the man down to the end of the lane and they turned onto the road.
     As I said, the girl was of an age to go walking with her father. A walk is a kind of art form. But a father setting out on such a walk for the first time in a long time could not immediately remember this. His motors were still racing, though he had slowed his body with an enormous effort of the will in order to match her pace. She was interested in everything: coloured pebbles (you can fill a pocket), the smell of an aromatic cottonwood bud unfurling (crush the leaves and smear the wine-coloured gum across your face), watch a bug whirl and twirl insanely (Why does it do that? Why? Why?). Everything is new when you see it again with someone. This child who had come from his body and that of his wife was not old enough yet to understand her origins. It was unnecessary. It was only enough to see the miraculous world step by step, to wonder at the incredible richness and variety heaped upon each other. When had he stopped seeing it; when had he stopped looking? Father’s adrenalin slowed, as did his heart, and his thoughts, and the twitching in his muscles. It was a rather lovely day, he noticed...”
~Michael O’Brien

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Nature

As a fond mother, when the day is o'er,
     Leads by the hand her little child to bed,
     Half willing, half reluctant to be led,
     And leave his broken playthings on the floor,
Still gazing at them through the open door,
     Nor wholly reassured and comforted
     By promises of others in their stead,
     Which, though more splendid, may not please him more;
So Nature deals with us, and takes away
     Our playthings one by one, and by the hand
     Leads us to rest so gently, that we go
Scarce knowing if we wish to go or stay,
     Being too full of sleep to understand
     How far the unknown transcends the what we know.

     ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Psalm 86

Turn Your ear, O Lord, and give answer
for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am faithful;
save the servant who trusts in You.

You are my God, have mercy on me, Lord,
for I cry to You all the day long.
Give joy to Your servant, O Lord,
for to You I lift up my soul.

O Lord, You are good and forgiving,
full of love to all who call.
Give heed, O Lord, to my prayer
and attend to the sound of my voice.

In the day of distress I will call
and surely You will reply.
Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord;
nor work to compare with Yours.

All the nations shall come to adore You
and glorify Your name, O Lord:
for You are great and do marvelous deeds,
You who alone are God.

Show me, Lord, Your way
so that I may walk in Your truth.
Guide my heart to fear Your name.

I will praise You, Lord my God, with all my heart
and glorify Your name for ever;
for Your love to me has been great:
You have saved me from the depths of the grave.

The proud have risen against me;
ruthless men seek my life;
to You they pay no heed.

But You, God of mercy and compassion,
slow to anger, O Lord,
abounding in love and truth,
turn and take pity on me.

O give Your strength to Your servant
and save Your handmaid's child.
Show me the sign of Your favor
that my foes may see to their shame
that You console me and give me Your help.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hope

“Genuine Christian hope is not a facile optimism nor is it a gloomy pessimism. It is a willingness to look into the face of a very difficult and confused state of affairs and remain confident of the victory of good over evil. Yet we cannot truly understand the enormity of the victory if we blithely continue to think that all is well, or at least comfortably bad. This is not the time to look back in anger but rather around in awareness and forward with hope.”
~Michael O’Brien

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Prayer

“Consider how august a privilege it is, when angels are present, and archangels throng around, when cherubim and seraphim encircle with their blaze the throne, that a mortal may approach with unrestrained confidence, and converse with heaven's dread Sovereign! O, what honor was ever conferred like this?”
~St. John Chrysostom

Friday, April 13, 2012

Using Your Talents

“Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”
~Henry Van Dyke

Monday, April 9, 2012

Humility

“It is only in our confrontation with a personal God that we become fully aware of our condition as creatures, and fling from us the last particle of self-glory.

...Humility involves the full knowledge of our status as creatures, a clear consciousness of having received everything we have from God. ‘Or what hast thou that thou hast not received? And if thou hast received, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?’ (I Cor. 4:7).

...Thus, it has been said justly, ‘Humility is Truth.’ Correspondingly, the soul of pride is falsehood, for pride means a refusal to realize our metaphysical situation.

...But what we have now in mind is our joy related to the fact that the absolute Being is infinitely perfect and that this infinitely glorious Being is a Person. What an immense augmentation of the reality of good is implied in this – that the summum bonum (‘the highest good’) should not be a mute impersonal something, an idea or a principle, but a Person speaking to us: Ego sum qui sum (‘I am who am’); the absolute Person in whom all values converge at their highest, who has created us and keeps us in being, who embraces us and owns us as only a person can.

Humility calls upon us to allow our hearts to be wounded by the glory of God, to fall on our knees in loving adoration, and to deliver ourselves over to God entirely. We must display that pure response in which our center of gravity is thus transferred from ourselves to God, that His glory taken in itself, without any reference to His benevolence towards us, becomes for us a source of precious joy: Deus meus et omnia (‘My God and my all’), said St. Francis of Assisi.

...That blissful assent to our creatureliness and our nothingness, our entire dependence on God, must be given freely and expressly: it must be, precisely, a personal act par excellence. Humility does not command a rejection of one’s own self, pure and simple.

Though we be nothing by ourselves, though everything we have is received – still, we have received a great deal from God.

...Over and above the natural dignity that God has conferred on man, Christian humility will remember that far higher and ineffable gift of divine mercy; its call upon man to participate in divine life...”
~Dietrich von Hildebrand

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter

I know that my Redeemer lives;
What joy the blest assurance gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives my everlasting Head!
~Samuel Medley (Tune: John Hatton)

Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
~Charles Wesley (Tune: Unknown)

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
   a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
   of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
And He will swallow up on this mountain
   the covering that is cast over all peoples,
   the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death forever;
   and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
   and the reproach of His people He will take away from all the earth,
   for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
   “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, that He might save us.
   This is the Lord; we have waited for Him;
   let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”
~Isaiah 25:6-9

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Triumph of the Cross

“Our understanding which is enlightened by the Spirit of truth, should receive with purity and freedom of heart the glory of the cross as it shines in heaven and on earth. It should see with inner vision the meaning of the Lord’s words when He spoke of the imminence of His passion: The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. Afterward He said: Now my soul is troubled, and what am I to say? Father, save me from this hour. But it was for this that I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your Son. When the voice of the Father came from heaven, saying, I have glorified Him, and will glorify Him again, Jesus said in reply to those around Him: It was not for me that this voice spoke, but for you. Now is the judgment of the world, now will the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself.

How marvelous the power of the cross; how great beyond all telling the glory of the passion…”
~St. Leo the Great

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

“It was not all my fault, but it was my fault too.”
~James Shea

Thursday, April 5, 2012

O Sacred Head, Surrounded

O sacred head, surrounded
by crown of piercing thorn!
O bleeding head, so wounded,
reviled and put to scorn!
Our sins have marred the glory
of Thy most holy face,
yet angel hosts adore Thee
and tremble as they gaze

I see Thy strength and vigor
all fading in the strife,
and death with cruel rigor,
bereaving Thee of life;
O agony and dying!
O love to sinners free!
Jesus, all grace supplying,
O turn Thy face on me.

In this Thy bitter passion,
Good Shepherd, think of me
with Thy most sweet compassion,
unworthy though I be:
beneath Thy cross abiding
for ever would I rest,
in Thy dear love confiding,
and with Thy presence blest.

~Words: Paul Gerhardt; based on poem ascribed to Bernard of Clairvaux & Music: Hans Leo Hassler; arranged by Johann Sebastian Bach

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Find Rest For Your Soul

“At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity. They were lying prostrate from exhaustion, like sheep without a shepherd.”

Look round, I say, and answer, why it is that there is so much change, so much strife, so many parties and sects, so many creeds? because men are unsatisfied and restless; and why restless, with every one his psalm, his doctrine, his tongue, his revelation, his interpretation? They are restless because they have not found. Alas! so it is, in this country called Christian, vast numbers have gained little from religion, beyond a thirst after what they have not, a thirst for their true peace, and the fever and restlessness of thirst. It has not yet brought them into the Presence of Christ, in which "is fulness of joy" (Jn 15:11) and "pleasure for evermore." (Ps 16:11)…

O sad and pitiable spectacle, when the people of Christ wander on the hills as "sheep which have no shepherd;" and instead of seeking Him in His ancient haunts and His appointed home, busy themselves in human schemes, follow strange guides, are taken captive by new opinions, become the sport of chance, or of the humour of the hour, or the victims of self-will, are full of anxiety, and perplexity, and jealousy, and alarm, "tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive;" (Eph 4:14) —and all because they do not seek the "one body" and the "one Spirit," and the "one hope of their calling," the "one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all," (Eph 4:5-6) and find rest for their souls! (Mt 11:29)
~John Henry Newman

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Great Mourning

“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of mercy and supplication, so that when they look on him whom they have thrust through, they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and they will grieve for him as one grieves over a firstborn.
When that day comes, there will be great mourning in Jerusalem.”
~Zechariah 12:10-11a

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Palm Sunday

Open to me the gates of holiness:
I will enter and give thanks.
This is the Lord's own gate
where the just may enter.
I will thank You for You have answered
and You are my savior.

The stone which the builders rejected
has become the corner stone.
This is the work of the Lord,
a marvel in our eyes.
This day was made by the Lord;
we rejoice and are glad.

O Lord, grant us salvation;
O Lord, grant success.
Blessed in the name of the Lord
is he who comes.
We bless You from the house of the Lord;
the Lord God is our light.

Go forward in procession with branches
even to the altar.
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 118:19-29

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
~Zechariah 9:9

In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the
shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
~Luke 1:78-79