Saturday, July 28, 2012

Toward Salvation

"What we await are new heavens and a new earth where, according to His promise, the justice of God will reside. So, beloved, while waiting for this, make every effort to be found without stain or defilement, and at peace in His sight. Consider that our Lord's patience is directed toward salvation."
~2 Peter 3:13-15a

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Infinite Mercy and Love of God

     "It is only the infinite mercy and love of God that has prevented us from tearing ourselves to pieces and destroying His entire creation long ago. People seem to think that it is in some way a proof that no merciful God exists, if we have so many wars. On the contrary, consider how in spite of centuries of sin and greed and lust and cruelty and hatred and avarice and oppression and injustice, spawned and bred by the free wills of men, the human race can still recover, each time, and can still produce men and women who overcome evil with good, hatred with love, greed with charity, lust and cruelty with sanctity. How could all this be possible without the merciful love of God, pouring out His grace upon us? Can there be any doubt where wars come from and peace comes from, when the children of this world, excluding God from their peace conferences, only manage to bring about greater and greater wars the more they talk about peace?
     We have only to open our eyes and look about us to see what our sins are doing to the world, and have done. But we cannot see. We are the ones to whom it is said by the prophets of God: 'Hearing hear, and understand not; and see the vision, and know it not.'
     There is not a flower that opens, not a seed that falls into the ground, and not an ear of wheat that nods on the end of its stalk in the wind that does not preach and proclaim the greatness and mercy of God to the whole world.
     There is not an act of kindness or generosity, not an act of sacrifice done, or a word of peace and gentleness spoken, not a child's prayer uttered, that does not sing hymns to God before His throne, and in the eyes of men, and before their faces.
     How does it happen that in the thousands of generations of murderers since Cain, our dark bloodthirsty ancestor, that some of us can still be saints? The quietness and hiddenness and placidity of the truly good people in the world all proclaim the glory of God.
     All these things, all creatures, every graceful movement, every ordered act of the human will, all are sent to us as prophets from God. But because of our stubbornness they come to us only to blind us further.
     'Blind the heart of this people and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes: lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them.'
     We refuse to hear the million different voices through which God speaks to us, and every refusal hardens us more and more against His grace--and yet He continues to speak to us: and we say He is without mercy!
     'But the Lord dealeth patiently for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance.'"
~Thomas Merton

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Soul

"[The soul] is the life of the body, and it must also have a life of its own. But the life of the soul does not inhere in any physical, material subject. So to compare a soul without grace to a corpse without life is only a metaphor. But it is very true."
~Thomas Merton

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Muse who is Grace

     The words that I use,

     Are everyday words, and are not the same!

     You will not find any rhymes in my verse, or any tricks. They are
your own phrases. But there’s no phrase of yours that I don’t know
how to remake!

     These flowers are your flowers and you say that you don’t
recognize them.

     And these feet are your feet, but look how I walk on the sea and
how I tread the sea’s waters in triumph!

~Paul Claudel

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Wonderful Work

“The wonderful works of God among the people of the Old Testament were but a prelude to the work of Christ the Lord in redeeming mankind and giving perfect glory to God. He accomplished this work principally by the Paschal mystery of His blessed Passion, Resurrection from the dead, and glorious Ascension, whereby ‘dying He destroyed our death, rising He restored our life.’ For it was from the side of Christ as He slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth ‘the wondrous sacrament of the whole Church.’”
~St. Augustine

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Revealed them to the Childlike

These go well with yesterday’s post:

At that time Jesus exclaimed:
I give praise to You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although You have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
You have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been Your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to Me by My Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal Him.
~Matt 11:25-27

“Jesus is a God whom we can approach without pride and before whom we can humble ourselves without despair.”
~Blaise Pascal

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

As Little Children

Unless we mature in Christ (that is, until we become as little children) we are like troubled adolescents who want to be 'independent', who reject authority and restraints of any kind, thinking this makes them more 'free.' In the worst case it becomes a way of life that leads to ever-deeper blindness and grave malformations of one's perceptions and one's acts. The modern person without faith is, in a sense, adrift in a cosmos without orientation. He lives in a flattened world, though it is filled with powerful stimuli and much noise.

He does not know himself, and thus he seeks to fill his hunger for identity through the immediacy of the physical senses, or through power and manipulative control over others, or the drug of social-revolutionary ideology, or false 'spiritualities' to fill the void that opens within himself, or by making idols of various things. As a result, regardless of how relentlessly he seeks love, if he does not develop the genuine responsibility of love, he becomes less able to authentically offer the gift of himself as a unique person. I know this dynamic very well, since this was my life during part of my youth. I was extremely blind--and worse, for I did not know I was blind and believed that my blindness was superior vision.
~Michael O’Brien

Monday, July 16, 2012

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six wingèd seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia
Alleluia, Lord Most High!

~Words: Liturgy of St. James, 4th Century & Music Picardy, French carol melody

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sons and Beggars

“This seeming contradiction, that we are both sons and beggars, is not in fact a contradiction. We are beloved in the eyes of God our Father, yet the image and likeness of God in us has been damaged. We are like beggars because we are profoundly poor in our being, our intellect darkened and our will weakened by the fall of man, and we remain capable of much evil. Yet our Father loves the image of the Son within us. He sees who we truly are in Him, how we were intended to be 'from the beginning,' as sacred Scripture says. Like the Prodigal Son who returns begging to his father, we do not claim any rights for ourselves. We open our hands and hearts in trust. And He pours forth what we need--most importantly He gives us our identity as true sons. If we are 'beggars,' it is as beloved beggars. Christ has lived with us and died with us in our poverty. And He desires to take us with Him back into the palace as full inheritors of the Kingdom.

In my own life, many powerful graces have come when I pray in a condition of weakness, without any merits of my own, when I have nothing to offer the Lord except my little bit of trust in His promises. The older and older I become, the more I realize that we must grow younger and younger in the heart, and become as little children. In this regard I must say that poverty is my only riches. And, strangely, it has been the source of much joy. When we are this poor, then we can allow our Papa to give to us.”
~Michael O'Brien

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Intrusion

After I had cut off my hands
and grown new ones

something my former hands had longed for
came and asked to be rocked.

After my plucked out eyes
had withered, and new ones grown

something my former eyes had wept for
came asking to be pitied.

~Denise Levertov

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Being Christ

“Sometimes it may seem to us that there is no purpose in our lives, that going day after day for years to this office or that school or factory is nothing else but waste and weariness. But it may be that God has sent us there because but for us Christ would not be there. If our being there means that Christ is there, that alone makes it worthwhile.

...

If Christ is growing in us, if we are at peace, recollected, because we know that however insignificant our life seems to be, from it He is forming Himself; if we go with eager wills, ‘in haste,’ to wherever our circumstances compel us, because we believe that He desires to be in that place, we shall find that we are driven more and more to act on the impulse of His love. And the answer we shall get from others to those impulses will be an awakening into life, or the leap into joy of the already wakened life within them.”
~Caryll Houselander

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Shallows

“Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”
~Nicholas Carr - author of, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

Sunday, July 8, 2012

God Is My Great Desire

God is my great desire, His face I seek the first;
to Him my heart and soul aspire, for Him I thirst.
As one in desert lands, whose very flesh is flame,
in burning love I lift my hands and bless His name.

God is my true delight, my richest feast His praise,
through silent watches of the night, through all my days.
To Him my spirit clings, on Him my soul is cast;
beneath the shadow of His wings He holds me fast.

God is my strong defense in every evil hour;
in Him I face with confidence the tempter's power.
I trust His mercy sure with truth and triumph crowned:
my hope and joy forevermore in Him are found.

~Words: Timothy Dudley-Smith (Psalm 63) & Music: Meyer Lyon

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Practice

“Short-term intensity cannot replace long-term commitment...

...the uppermost achievers not only spent significantly more time in solitary study and drills, but also exhibited a consistent (and persistent) style of preparation that K. Anders Ericsson came to call ‘deliberate practice’...

‘Deliberate practice is a very special form of activity that differs from mere experience and mindless drill,’ explains Ericsson. ‘Unlike playful engagement with peers, deliberate practice is not inherently enjoyable. It ... does not involve a mere execution or repetition of already attained skills but repeated attempts to reach beyond one’s current level which is associated with frequent failures.’...

‘In other words, it is practice that doesn’t take no for an answer; practice that perseveres; the type of practice where the individual keeps raising the bar of what he or she considers success.’...

‘[This type of practice] requires a constant self-critique, a pathological restlessness, a passion to aim consistently just beyond one’s capability so that daily disappointment and failure is actually desired, and a never-ending resolve to dust oneself off and try again and again and again...’

‘...truly outstanding skill in any domain is rarely achieved in less than ten thousand hours of practice over ten years’ time (which comes to an average of three hours per day). From sublime pianists to unusually profound physicists, researchers have been very hard-pressed to find any examples of truly extraordinary performers in any field who reached the top of their game before that ten-thousand-hour mark.’”
~David Shenk & K. Anders Ericsson

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Cure of Souls

The pastor
of grief and dreams

guides his flock towards
the next field

with all his care.
He has heard

the bell tolling
but the sheep

are hungry and need
the grass, today and

every day. Beautiful
his patience, his long

shadow, the rippling
sound of the flock moving

along the valley.

~Denise Levertov

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Aaron's Blessing

22 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,

24 The LORD bless you and keep you;
25 the LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

27 “So shall they put My name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”

~Numbers 6:22-27

Monday, July 2, 2012

Life

Life

“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.”
 
~Mother Teresa

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fight!

“He who fights even the smallest distractions faithfully when he says even the very smallest prayer, will also be faithful in great things.”
~St. Louis de Montfort