Friday, June 29, 2012

Faith Seeking Understanding

As yesterday’s post indicated, a measure of faith is needed as one begins and proceeds in the Christian life. However, no such faith is needed to know that there is a God—the Christian God, yes... A God at all, no... There are many wonderful Christian apologists and philosophers (and even non-Christian philosophers) who have made this obvious case. Many are quoted in this blog (Aquinas, Chesterton, Lewis, Kreeft, etc.). Here is a good quote from another:

“If anyone does not know, either because he has not heard or because he does not believe, that there is one nature, supreme among all existing things, who alone is self-sufficient in his eternal happiness, who through his omnipotent goodness grants and brings it about that all other things exist or have any sort of well-being, and a great many other things that we must believe about God or his creation, I think he could at least convince himself of most of these things by reason alone, if he is even moderately intelligent.”
~St. Anselm

In the Proslogion Anselm sets out to show a rationale for the Christian faith and also shows the broader picture which should convince “the fool,” that is, the person who “has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1).

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Free Choice

“[C. S.] Lewis could not go on thinking it over for ever. He realized that some sort of ‘leap of faith’ was necessary to get him over the final hurdle. ‘There must,’ he [Lewis] said, ‘perhaps always be just enough lack of demonstrative certainty to make free choice possible, for what could we do but accept if the Faith were like the multiplication table?’ So he became a Christian.”
~Humphrey Carpenter

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Amen

“Believe me, if you will but persevere you will not fail to enjoy a sweetness so real and satisfying, that you will be constrained to confess that the world has only gall to give as compared with this honey, and that one single day of devotion is worth more than a thousand years of worldly life.”
~St. Frances de Sales

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In Thy Glory

Jesus! whom for the present veiled I see
What I so thirst for, oh vouchsafe to me:
That I may see Thy countenance unfolding,
And may be blest Thy glory in beholding.
~St. Thomas Aquinas

13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
~John 4:13-14

35 Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. 36 Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.
~Luke 12:35-36

Sunday, June 24, 2012

From All That Dwell Below The Skies

From all that dwell below the skies,
Let the Creator’s praise arise;
Let the Redeemer’s Name be sung,
Through every land, by every tongue.

Eternal are Thy mercies, Lord;
Eternal truth attends Thy Word.
Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore,
Till suns rise and set no more.

Your lofty themes, ye mortals, bring,
In songs of praise divinely sing;
The great salvation loud proclaim,
And shout for joy the Savior’s Name.

In every land begin the song;
To every land the strains belong;
In cheerful sounds all voices raise,
And fill the world with loudest praise.

~Words: Isaac Watts (Stanzas 1-2), Anonymous (Stanza 3), Robert Spence (Stanza 4) & Music: John Hatton

Saturday, June 23, 2012

No or Yes

“A ‘no’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘yes’ merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, June 22, 2012

Toward Others...

From my devotions this morning:

“I condemn no other man’s conscience: their conscience may save them, and mine must save me.”
~St. John Fisher

We should remember, in all the controversies in which we engage, to treat our opponents as if they were acting in good faith, even if they seem to us to be acting out of spite or self-interest.

“Those with good sense are slow to anger,
and it is their glory to overlook an offense.”
~Proverbs 19:11

“A generous person will be enriched,
and one who refreshes others will be refreshed.”
~Proverbs 11:25

“O Lord, do not leave me alone,
my Strength, make haste to help me!”
~Psalm 22:19

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Good Shepherd: God Most High

Here comes with power
the Lord GOD,
who rules by His strong arm;
here is His reward with Him,
His recompense before Him.

Like a shepherd He feeds His flock;
in His arms He gathers the lambs,
carrying them in His bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.

Who has cupped in His hand the waters of the sea,
and marked off the heavens with a span?
Who has held in a measure the dust of the earth,
weighed the mountains in scales
and the hills in a balance?

Who has directed the spirit of the LORD,
or has instructed Him as His counselor?
Whom did He consult to gain knowledge?
Who taught Him the path of judgment,
or showed Him the way of understanding?

Behold, the nations count as a drop in the bucket,
as dust on the scales;
the coastlands weigh no more than powder.

Lebanon would not suffice for fuel,
nor its animals be enough for holocausts.
Before Him all the nations are as nought,
as nothing and void He accounts them.
~Isaiah 40:10-17

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Writing Down Your Thoughts

“Writing down your thoughts is both necessary and harmful. It leads to eccentricity, narcissism, preserves what should be let go. On the other hand, these notes intensify the inner life, which, left unexpressed, slips through your fingers. If only I could find a better kind of journal, humbler, one that would preserve the same thoughts, the same flesh of life, which is worth saving.

Moreover the writer invents himself as a character in this form. He shapes himself from the shards of the everyday, from the truth of that daily life. Which is also a truth not to be scorned.”
~Anna Kamienska

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Our Father...

“...Pray then like this:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
     on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
     as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
     but deliver us from evil.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
~Matthew 6:9-15

“...And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
~Luke 11:9-13

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Joy and Wisdom

“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
~C. S. Lewis

“It is a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and good people who have learned the great secret of life. They have found a joy and wisdom which is a thousand times better than any of the pleasures of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people, Donatus, are Christians. . . and I am one of them.”
~St. Cyprian of Carthage (died a martyr in 258)

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Few on Atheists

“If there be a God and one has never sought him, it will be small consolation to remember that one could not get proof of his existence.”
~George MacDonald

“I believe in God as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
~C. S. Lewis

“A creature revolting against a creator is revolting against the source of his own powers--including even his power to revolt...It is like the scent of a flower trying to destroy the flower.”
~C. S. Lewis

“Shouldn't atheists have an equal obligation to explain pleasure in a world of randomness? Where does pleasure come from?”
~G. K. Chesterton

“If there were no God, there would be no atheists.”
~G. K. Chesterton

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why Do I Need These Landscapes?

“Why do I need these landscapes? The image of the sea draws me out of myself, forces all my attention to the surface so that I can cast my thought into the depths once again. As if an imaginative blow were needed for a longer, better-aimed thrust into the depths. Contemplation. The roots of my astonishment at the world cling tight to my inner life, in a tangle of memories, experiences, atavisms from both my own childhood and that of our species.”
~Anna Kamienska

Monday, June 11, 2012

From What I Am Not

My prayers, my God, flow from what I am not;
I think Thy answers make me what I am.
Like weary waves thought follows upon thought,
But the still depth beneath is all Thine own,
And there Thou mov’st in paths to us unknown.
Out of strange strife Thy peace is strangely wrought;
If the lion in us pray—Thou answerest the lamb.
~George MacDonald

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Holy God, We Praise Thy Name

Holy God, we praise Thy Name;
Lord of all, we bow before Thee!
All on earth Thy scepter claim,
All in Heaven above adore Thee;
Infinite Thy vast domain,
Everlasting is Thy reign.

Hark! the loud celestial hymn
Angel choirs above are raising,
Cherubim and seraphim,
In unceasing chorus praising;
Fill the heavens with sweet accord:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord.

Holy Father, Holy Son,
Holy Spirit, Three we name Thee;
While in essence only One,
Undivided God we claim Thee;
And adoring bend the knee,
While we own the mystery.

From Thy high celestial home,
Judge of all, again returning,
We believe that Thou shalt come
In the dreaded doomsday morning;
When Thy voice shall shake the earth,
And the startled dead come forth.

Therefore do we pray Thee, Lord:
Help Thy servants whom, redeeming
By Thy precious blood out-poured,
Thou hast saved from Satan’s scheming.
Give to them eternal rest
In the glory of the blest.

Spare Thy people, Lord, we pray,
By a thousand snares surrounded:
Keep us without sin today,
Never let us be confounded.
Lo, I put my trust in Thee;
Never, Lord, abandon me.

~Words: Attributed to Ignaz Franz, except verse 5 above by Hugh Henry & Music: Katholisches Gesangbuch

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

So Shall I Find

Still may thy sweet mercy spread
A shady arm above my head,
About my paths, so shall I find
The fair Center of my mind
Thy Temple, and those lovely walls
Bright ever with a beam that falls
Fresh from the pure glance of thine eye,
Lighting to Eternity.
~Richard Crashaw

Friday, June 1, 2012

Others & Oneself

“The majority of men are subjective toward themselves and objective toward all others. Terribly objective sometimes. But the real task is in fact to be objective toward oneself and subjective toward all others.” ~Søren Kierkegaard