Thursday, May 31, 2012

One More...

This goes well with yesterday’s post:

“It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”
~Mother Teresa (on abortion)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Material vs. Spiritual Poverty

“Those who are materially poor can be very wonderful people. One evening we went out and we picked up four people from the street. And one of them was in a most terrible condition. I told the Sisters: ‘You take care of the other three; I will take care of the one who looks worse.’ So I did for her all that my love can do. I put her in bed, and there was such a beautiful smile on her face. She took hold of my hand, as she said one word only: ‘thank you’ - and she died.

I could not help but examine my conscience before her. And I asked: ‘What would I say if I were in her place?’ And my answer was very simple. I would have tried to draw a little attention to myself. I would have said: ‘I am hungry, I am dying, I am cold, I am in pain,’ or something. But she gave me much more - she gave me her grateful love. And she died with a smile on her face. Then there was the man we picked up from the drain, half eaten by worms and, after we had brought him to the home, he only said, ‘I have lived like an animal in the street, but I am going to die as an angel, loved and cared for.’ Then, after we had removed all the worms from his body, all he said, with a big smile, was: ‘Sister, I am going home to God’ - and he died. It was so wonderful to see the greatness of that man who could speak like that without blaming anybody, without comparing anything. Like an angel - this is the greatness of people who are spiritually rich even when they are materially poor.”
~Mother Teresa


“When Mother Teresa first came into the tiny room where we were to conduct the interview, I soon realized that although she was small in stature -- she stood only 4-foot-11-inches tall -- she was a giant to the have-nots of life that she ministered to during her six decades on the subcontinent of India, as well as others around the world. Her friends were the starving, the dying, the poor.

As a young reporter, I immediately warmed to this gentle woman who went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize, for she had seen more poverty than anyone I had ever met. Speaking in the founding, festering slum where she made her simple home, I was surprised to hear her express pity for the ‘poverty-stricken West.’

‘The spiritual poverty of the Western World is much greater than the physical poverty of our people,’ she told me, as the fan whirred above us, trying to alleviate the unbearable heat of that Indian city.

‘You, in the West, have millions of people who suffer such terrible loneliness and emptiness. They feel unloved and unwanted. These people are not hungry in the physical sense, but they are in another way. They know they need something more than money, yet they don't know what it is.

What they are missing, really, is a living relationship with God.’”
~Mother Teresa (Dan Wooding reporting)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

God’s Grandeur

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
     It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
     It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
     And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
     And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
     There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
     Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
     World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
~Gerard Manley Hopkins

Listen sweet Dove unto my song,
And spread thy golden wings in me;
Hatching my tender heart so long,
Till it get wing, and fly away with thee.
~George Herbert

Monday, May 28, 2012

Eternal Father, Strong To Save

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who biddest the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy Word,
Who walked on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our family shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect us wheresoever we go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

~Words: William Whiting & Music: John Dykes

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

“Then, may it please the Divine Majesty to grant us the gift of fear that we may serve Him filially; the gift of piety to revere Him as our most loving Father, the gift of knowledge to know the good we ought to do and the evil we ought to avoid, the gift of fortitude to overcome courageously all difficulties in the practice of virtue, the gift of counsel to discern and to choose the true way of perfection, the gift of understanding to realize the beauty and benefit of the mysteries of faith and of the truths of the Gospel; finally the gift of wisdom to taste how good God is, to savor and experience the sweetnesses of His incomprehensible benignity. Oh! How happy shall we be, if we receive these priceless gifts, for doubtless, they will lead us to the summit of this mystical ladder where we shall be received by our Divine Saviour who awaits us there with open arms, to make us participants of His glory and felicity. Amen.”
~St. Francis de Sales

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Weddings, Ceremony, Ritual, Etc.

“...a wedding: none of the ‘rules’ accomplishes a thing, pragmatically. (The bride’s train just drags along the floor and gets dirty, for heaven’s sake.) The slow, measured walk down the aisle, the special clothes, the book from which the minister reads, the canned vows: it is all increasingly called into question now.

Couples write their own vows, the idea being, ‘But we want this to be our wedding. We want it to express who we are. We want our friends to share our joy, and they can’t do that if we have to say words someone else wrote a long time ago. If things are going to be real, they have to spring spontaneously from our love, and not from a printed page.’

Hmm. Are you sure you are on firm ground there? We might ponder a few embarrassingly obvious items.

First, spontaneous or not, we would all agree that there are some spontaneous displays that we don’t want just now (we are still talking of weddings here). An infant vomiting, for example. Very spontaneous, and natural, and perfectly sincere, but somewhat disconcerting to the rest of us. Or some well-meaning relative who rushes out to rumple the bride’s hair lovingly as she comes in. Or some bright soul who jumps up in the middle of the proceedings to share a reading that has meant a lot to her.

No. Oddly, some ‘rule’ is presiding here; some decorum, some appropriateness, some acknowledgment of a weight of significance suffusing the occasion. We can’t quite do what we want. At some point the rest of us have to lapse into silence and focus our entire attention on the ceremony that is occurring.

Second, it turns out that we do, after all, most earnestly wish the occasion to be a ceremonial one. A couple doesn’t get married, be they never so blithe and earthy, on the fly in the middle of a game of hide-and-seek. Everything else has to stop. And what occurs now must have some forethought investing it.

If we do not like Thomas Cranmer’s angelic English, that, of course, is a very great pity. God himself will not prevent our cobbling up our vows. But, one way or another, they have got to be cobbled up. It may indeed be the case that some wedding has occurred somewhere, in which the man and woman (they would scarcely wish to be called by such heavily ornamented words as bride and groom) sauntered up to some random spot, accompanied by the ragtag and bobtail of their friends, and ‘chatted’ their vows. Perhaps so. But such an event will not serve, we suspect, as any sort of paradigm for weddings. All of anthropology, sociology, and religion cry out against it.

Third, our spontaneity caucus is missing something. It is missing the paradox that lies at the root of all ceremony and ritual, namely, that by reaching for the seemingly artificial phenomenon of ceremony, lo and behold, we are all carried beyond the shallow puddles of the spontaneous, into the deeps of genuine significance.

Through the imposed, we meet the natural. Through the prescribed, we meet the sincere. This is always and everywhere true. No tribe, culture, civilization, or society has ever operated on any other assumption.”
~Thomas Howard

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Into the Will of the Eternal Father

“This choice of his own being, in the full knowledge of what he did; this active willing to be the Son of the Father, perfect in obedience--is that in Jesus which responds and corresponds to the self-existence of God. Jesus rose at once to the height of his being, set himself down on the throne of his nature, in the act of subjecting himself to the will of the Father as his only good, the only reason of his existence. When he died on the cross, he did that, in the wild weather of his outlying provinces in the torture of the body of his revelation, which he had done at home in glory and gladness. From the infinite beginning--for here I can speak only by contradictions-he completed and held fast the eternal circle of his existence in saying, ‘Thy will, not mine, be done!’ He made himself what he is by deathing himself into the will of the eternal Father, through which will he was the eternal Son--thus plunging into the fountain of his own life, the everlasting Fatherhood, and taking the Godhead of the Son. This is the life that was made in Jesus: ‘That which was made in him was life.’ This life, self-willed in Jesus, is the one thing that makes such life--the eternal life, the true life, possible--nay, imperative, essential, to every man, woman, and child, whom the Father has sent into the outer, that he may go back into the inner world, his heart. As the self-existent life of the Father has given us being, so the willed devotion of Jesus is his power to give us eternal life like his own--to enable us to do the same. There is no life for any man, other than the same kind that Jesus has; his disciple must live by the same absolute devotion of his will to the Father's; then is his life one with the life of the Father.”
~George MacDonald

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Good & Evil

“...We cannot take up the weapons of evil in order to defeat evil. To do so, even in the defense of good, would be to be doubly defeated. I believe that is Satan’s ultimate objective. Why would a fallen angel want to kill six million, or sixty or a hundred million or even the whole human race? What would that prove? That he is bad? He already knows that, and God knows it too. No, the prize he is after is no less than to seduce all mankind into his rebellion. And to do it in the name of the good. That would be his masterstroke.”
~From Father Elijah: An Apocalypse by Michael O’Brien

Monday, May 21, 2012

Very True...

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”
~Zora Hurston

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Ascension of Our Lord

15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
~Ephesians 1:15-23

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord
for He alone is exalted.
The splendor of His name
reaches beyond heaven and earth.
~Psalm 148:13

9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
~Acts 1:9-11

Alleluia! not as orphans
are we left in sorrow now;
Alleluia! He is near us,
faith believes, nor questions how;
Though the cloud from sight received Him
when the forty days were o'er
shall our hearts forget His promise,
'I am with you evermore'?

~Words: William Dix & Music: Rowland Prichard

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sing We Triumphant Hymns Of Praise

Sing we triumphant hymns of praise,
New hymns to Heaven exulting raise:
Christ, by a road before untrod,
Ascendeth to the throne of God.

The holy apostolic band
Upon the Mount of Olives stand,
And with the virgin mother see
Jesu’s resplendent majesty.

To whom the angels, drawing nigh,
“Why stand and gaze upon the sky?
This is the Savior!” thus they say,
“This is His noble triumph day!”

“Again ye shall behold Him, so
As ye today have seen Him go;
In glorious pomp ascending high,
Up to the portals of the sky.”

O grant us thitherward to tend,
And with unwearied hearts ascend
Toward Thy kingdom’s throne, where Thou
As is our faith, art seated now.

Be Thou our joy and strong defense,
Who art our future recompense:
So shall the light that springs from Thee
Be ours through all eternity.

O risen Christ, ascended Lord,
All praise to Thee let earth accord,
Who art, while endless ages run,
With Father and with Spirit One.

~Words: The Venerable Bede (673-735); translated to English by Benjamin Webb & Music: Nicholas Gatty

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers

Where would we be without mothers? We wouldn’t...

It seems an obvious and straightforward statement. It's more. There are levels of meaning and depth wrapped up in it if one takes the time to ponder. Many are so blessed throughout their lives due to these wonderful women who love and sacrifice so much. My family and I are a part of this crowd. Blessings heaped upon blessings... However, even for those whose story is dissimilar and some even tragic, we can all still be thankful for the gift of life.

Thank You Lord God for mothers and for the miracle of new life You bestow through them...

~Kevin

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Through the Eye of the Needle

“In Jesus Christ, God lays bare his heart in the total vulnerability of being fully human, to the point of permitting himself to be crucified. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, as the prophet Isaiah says. He knew joy, but he accepted the suffering of our state in life. He accepted it because he knew that in the passage through the ‘eye of the needle’ a great secret is to be found. The priceless secret is that on the other side of the needle’s eye is a vast and beautiful kingdom—an infinite kingdom in which the beauty of God the Father is ever creating more and more beauty, more and more love. And even in this present world we, who are created in the image and likeness of God, can reflect this. Like him, following his example, we must go through the eye of the needle, which is to say through the Cross. For most of us, this is a lifelong journey, with many trials and errors, and even some false trails. Yet, because Christ is who he says he is, because he is Love, he is always leading us back on the path that will bring us to the Father.”
~Michael O’Brien

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ballad of the Sun

O well for him that loves the sun
That sees the heaven-race ridden or run,
The splashing seas of sunset won,
And shouts for victory.

God made the sun to crown his head,
And when death's dart at last is sped,
At least it will not find him dead,
And pass the carrion by.

O ill for him that loves the sun;
Shall the sun stoop for anyone?
Shall the sun weep for hearts undone
Or heavy souls that pray?

Not less for us and everyone
Was that white web of splendour spun;
O well for him who loves the sun
Although the sun should slay.

~G. K. Chesterton

Monday, May 7, 2012

Virtue Development

“It is not from what we undertake with a view to our transformation, but from the things to which we devote ourselves for their own sake, that will issue the deepest formative effect upon our habitual being.”
~Dietrich von Hildebrand

Sunday, May 6, 2012

David Prays in the Assembly

10 Therefore David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are You, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is Yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all. In Your hand are power and might, and in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13 And now we thank You, our God, and praise Your glorious name.

14 “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from You, and of Your own have we given You. 15 For we are strangers before You and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. 16 O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building You a house for Your holy name comes from Your hand and is all Your own. 17 I know, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen Your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to You. 18 O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of Your people, and direct their hearts toward You. 19 Grant to Solomon my son a whole heart that he may keep Your commandments, Your testimonies, and Your statutes, performing all, and that he may build the palace for which I have made provision.”

20 Then David said to all the assembly, “Bless the Lord your God.” And all the assembly blessed the Lord, the God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and paid homage to the Lord and to the king. 21 And they offered sacrifices to the Lord, and on the next day offered burnt offerings to the Lord, 1,000 bulls, 1,000 rams, and 1,000 lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel. 22 And they ate and drank before the Lord on that day with great gladness.

~1 Chronicles 29:10-22a

Friday, May 4, 2012

At a Distance

“I think the reason we sometimes have the false sense that God is so far away is because that is where we have put Him. We have kept Him at a distance, and then when we are in need and call on Him in prayer, we wonder where He is. He is exactly where we left Him.”
~Ravi Zacharias

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Jesu, The World’s Redeeming Lord

Jesu, the world’s redeeming Lord,
The Father’s co-eternal Word,
Of light invisible true Light,
Thine Israel’s Keeper day and night.

Our great Creator and our Guide,
Who times and seasons dost divide,
Refresh at night with quiet rest,
Our limbs by daily toil oppressed.

That while in this frail house of clay
A little longer here we stay,
Our flesh in Thee may sweetly sleep,
Our souls with Thee their vigils keep.

We pray Thee, while we dwell below,
Preserve us from our ghostly foe;
Nor let his wiles victorious be
O’er them that are redeemed by Thee.

All praise be Thine, O risen Lord,
From death to endless life restored;
All praise to God the Father be,
And Holy Ghost eternally.

~Words: Unknown Author, 11th Century or earlier (Jesu Redemptor saeculi, Verbum Patris altissimi); translated from Latin to English by William Copeland & Music: Edward Hopkins