Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Monday, December 30, 2013
"See, we are headed toward great things. Let us take advantage of the little things and we will become great. Do you want to reach the heights of God? Take hold first of the humility of God.
Put on the humility of God. Put on the humility of Christ. Learn to be humble; do not grow proud (Sermon 117, 17)."
"...If you should ask me what are the ways of God, I would tell you that the first is humility, the second is humility , and the third is still humility. Not that there are no other precepts to give, but if humility does not precede all that we do, our efforts are fruitless..."
"Mere human being that you are, why are you proud? God became humble for your sake! Perhaps you would be ashamed to imitate a humble man; then at least imitate a humble God. The Son of God came as a man and became humble.
Your whole humility consists in knowing yourself. Pride does its own will; humility does the will of God (Sermon on John 25, 16)."
"Alas for me, O Lord, how high You are in the heights, and how deep in the depths! Nowhere do You withdraw, yet we scarcely return to You! (Confessions 8, 3)."
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her Baby
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little Child.
He came down to earth from Heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall;
With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Savior holy.
And, through all His wondrous childhood,
He would honor and obey,
Love and watch the lowly maiden,
In whose gentle arms He lay:
Christian children all must be
Mild, obedient, good as He.
For He is our childhood’s pattern;
Day by day, like us He grew;
He was little, weak and helpless,
Tears and smiles like us He knew;
And He feeleth for our sadness,
And He shareth in our gladness.
And our eyes at last shall see Him,
Through His own redeeming love,
For that Child so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in Heav’n above,
And He leads His children on
To the place where He is gone.
~Words: Cecil Alexander & Music: Henry Gauntlett
Friday, December 27, 2013
Rubies in the snow,
Twelve cardinals in my snowy backyard.
You are friends now, companions.
But when the snow melts,
when your colors fade a little,
when it’s nesting time?
I remember two red enemies last spring,
chasing, chasing each other through
my obstacle-course backyard.
Over the fence. Under the maple.
Around the house. Into the alley.
A two-week-long tournament to win this territory.
But when the nesting is done, the babies grown,
when leaves turn the colors of cardinals?
You are friends again,
companions for the lonely winter.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
This day is born a Savior of a pure Virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him from Satan’s power and might.”
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.
~Words & Music: Unknown – Traditional English
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Jesus, to Thee be glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.
~Words: John Wade & Music: John Wade, John Reading, or Simao Portogallo
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
The immense night of origins,
And nothing exists except love,
Except love which now begins.
By separating sand from water,
God has prepared the earth
Like a cradle
For His coming from above.
This is the night,
The happy night of Palestine,
And nothing exists except the Child,
Except the Child of life divine.
By taking flesh of our flesh,
God our desert did refresh
And made a land
Of boundless spring.”
~From Ancient Christmas Eve Liturgy
Monday, December 23, 2013
Sunday, December 22, 2013
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,
And sadness flee away.
Dear Savior haste;
Come, come to earth,
Dispel the night and show Your face,
And bid us hail the dawn of grace.
~Words: Simon Pellegrin & Music: 16th Century French Carol
Saturday, December 21, 2013
(based on Isaiah 45:8)
“When You were born ineffably of the Virgin, the Scriptures were fulfilled. As dew upon the fleece, You came down to save mankind: we praise You, O our God.”
~from an old prayer
Friday, December 20, 2013
Too happy for a smile,
And plays through one long holiday
With balls to roll and pile;
A painted wind-mill by his side,
Runs like a merry tune,
But the sails are the four great winds of heaven,
And the balls are the sun and moon.
A staring doll's-house shows to him
Green floors and starry rafter,
And many-coloured graven dolls
Live for his lonely laughter.
The dolls have crowns and aureoles,
Helmets and horns and wings,
For they are the saints and seraphim,
The prophets and the kings.
~G. K. Chesterton
Thursday, December 19, 2013
High in the heav'ns a star shone bright,
While in a manger a wee baby lay,
Sweetly asleep on a bed of hay.
Jesus the Lord was that baby so small,
Laid down to sleep in a humble stall;
Then came the star and it stood overhead,
shedding its light 'round His little bed.
Dear baby Jesus, how tiny Thou art,
I'll make a place for Thee in my heart,
And when the stars in the heavens I see,
Ever and always I think of Thee.
~Wihla Hutson & Alfred Burt
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
To blessed Spirits, ‘Come’:
‘Come,’ to the lambs of Thine own flock,
Thy little ones, ‘Come home.’
‘Come,’ from the many-mansioned house
The gracious word is sent;
‘Come,’ from the ivory palaces
Unto the Penitent.
O Lord, restore us deaf and blind,
Unclose our lips though dumb:
Then say to us, ‘I will come with speed,’
And we will answer, ‘Come.’
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
All’s spent in keeping warm.
Has joy been frozen, too?
I blow upon my hands
Stiff from the biting wind.
My heart beats slow, beats slow.
What has become of joy?
If joy’s gone from my heart
Then it is closed to You
Who made it, gave it life.
If I protect myself
I’m hiding, Lord, from you.
How we defend ourselves
In ancient suits of mail!
Protected from the sword,
Shrinking from the wound,
We look for happiness,
Small, safety-seeking, dulled,
Selfish, exclusive, in-turned.
Elusive, evasive, peace comes
Only when it’s not sought.
Help me forget the cold
That grips the grasping world.
Let me stretch out my hands
To purifying fire,
Clutching fingers uncurled.
Look! Here is the melting joy.
My heart beats once again.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Christ, the true, the only Light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise,
Triumph o’er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high, be near;
Day-star, in my heart appear.
Dark and cheerless is the morn
Unaccompanied by Thee;
Joyless is the day’s return
Till Thy mercy’s beams I see;
Till they inward light impart,
Glad my eyes, and warm my heart.
Visit then this soul of mine,
Pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
Fill me, Radiancy divine,
Scatter all my unbelief;
More and more Thyself display,
Shining to the perfect day.
~Words: Charles Wesley & Music: Johann Werner
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Friday, December 13, 2013
And the explanation was that a certain being whom people called Santa Claus was benevolently disposed toward me. . . . What we believed was that a certain benevolent agency did give us those toys for nothing. And, as I say, I believe it still. I have merely extended the idea.
...[As a child] I only wondered who put the toys in the stocking; now I wonder who put the stocking by the bed, and the bed in the room, and the room in the house, and the house on the planet, and the great planet in the void.
...Once I thought it delightful and astonishing to find a present so big that it only went halfway into the stocking. Now I am delighted and astonished every morning to find a present so big that it takes two stockings to hold it, and then leaves a great deal outside; it is the large and preposterous present of myself...”
~G. K. Chesterton
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
|(Picture found here)|
They all were looking for a king
To slay their foes and lift them high;
Thou cam’st, a little baby thing
That made a woman cry.
O Son of Man, to right my lot
Naught but Thy presence can avail;
Yet on the road Thy wheels are not,
Nor on the sea Thy sail!
My how or when Thou wilt not heed,
But come down Thine own secret stair,
That Thou may’st answer all my need-
Yea, every bygone prayer.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Monday, December 9, 2013
~John Henry Newman
Sunday, December 8, 2013
And light triumphant breaks;
When beauty gilds the eastern hills,
And life to joy awakes.
Not as of old a little child
To bear, and fight, and die,
But crowned with glory like the sun
That lights the morning sky.
The King shall come when morning dawns,
And earth’s dark night is past;
O haste the rising of that morn,
The day that aye shall last.
And let the endless bliss begin,
By weary saints foretold,
When right shall triumph over wrong,
And truth shall be extolled.
The King shall come when morning dawns,
And light and beauty brings:
Hail, Christ the Lord! Thy people pray,
Come quickly, King of kings.
~Words: Unknown Author (translated from Greek to English by John Brownlie) & Music: William Jones
Thursday, December 5, 2013
|Abraham Journeying Into the Land of Canaan by Gustave Doré - found here|
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die.
For poor on'ry people like you and like I...
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.
When Mary birthed Jesus 'twas in a cow's stall,
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all.
But high from God's heaven a star's light did fall,
And the promise of ages it then did recall.
If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing,
A star in the sky, or a bird on the wing,
Or all of God's angels in heav'n for to sing,
He surely could have it, 'cause he was the King.
~Written by folklorist and singer John Jacob Niles. The hymn has its origins in a song fragment collected by Niles on July 16, 1933.
Story behind the song:
While in the town of Murphy in Appalachian North Carolina, Niles attended a fundraising meeting held by traveling evangelicals who had been ordered out of town by the police. In his unpublished autobiography, he wrote of hearing the song:
“A girl had stepped out to the edge of the little platform attached to the automobile. She began to sing. Her clothes were unbelievable dirty and ragged, and she, too, was unwashed. Her ash-blond hair hung down in long skeins.... But, best of all, she was beautiful, and in her untutored way, she could sing. She smiled as she sang, smiled rather sadly, and sang only a single line of a song.”
The girl, named Annie Morgan, repeated the fragment seven times in exchange for a quarter per performance, and Niles left with “three lines of verse, a garbled fragment of melodic material—and a magnificent idea”. (In various accounts of this story, Niles hears between one and three lines of the song.) Based on this fragment, Niles composed the version of “I Wonder as I Wander” that is known today, extending the melody to four lines and the lyrics to three stanzas. His composition was completed on October 4, 1933. It was originally published in Songs of the Hill Folk in 1934.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
~G. K. Chesterton
Monday, November 25, 2013
There are few social duties of sufficient importance to prevent an occasional retirement of the heart into this sacred solitude...”
~St. Francis de Sales
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Let us give thanks to the Father,
who has made you fit to share
in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.
He delivered us from the power of darkness
and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation.
For in Him were created all things in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers;
all things were created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things,
and in Him all things hold together.
He is the head of the body, the church.
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
that in all things He Himself might be preeminent.
For in Him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,
and through Him to reconcile all things for Him,
making peace by the blood of His cross
through Him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
the beauty of the sea,
the beauty of the wide air around you,
the beauty of the sky;
question the order of the stars,
the sun whose brightness lights the day,
the moon whose splendor softens the gloom of night;
question the living creatures that move in the waters,
that roam upon the earth,
that fly through the air;
the spirit that lies hidden,
the matter that is manifest;
the visible things that are ruled,
the invisible things that rule them;
question all these.
They will answer you:
“Behold and see, we are beautiful.”
Their beauty is their confession of God.
These beauties are subject to change.
Who made them if not the Beautiful One
who changeth not?
Friday, November 22, 2013
November 29, 1898 - November 22, 1963
“Mere Christianity put the nail in the coffin of my adolescent atheism. The common-sensical clarity with which [C. S. Lewis] expounded classical Christian orthodoxy, and particularly the Natural Law tradition, convinced me of the credibility of Theistic belief, and the essential complementarity between faith and reason. The luminous lucidity of Lewis's logic, is the perennial power of his prose. His ability to write simply yet profoundly and un-condescendingly, continues to give a wide audience access to intelligent and compelling arguments for Christianity, and in a way that remains as relevant and exemplary to contemporary apologetics as ever. The writings of C. S. Lewis remain what they have long been: the best introduction to Christian thought for those who honestly and rationally seek after truth.”
Excerpts from Mere Christianity:
“Remember that, as I said, the right direction leads not only to peace but to knowledge. When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse he understands his own badness less and less. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right. This is common sense, really. You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping. You can see mistakes in arithmetic when your mind is working properly: while you are making them you cannot see them. You can understand the nature of drunkenness when you are sober, not when you are drunk. Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either.”
~C. S. Lewis (re-posted)
“[Christ] told us to be not only ‘as harmless as doves,’ but also ‘as wise as serpents.’ He wants a child's heart, but a grown-up's head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good as children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim.”
~C. S. Lewis
Thursday, November 21, 2013
3 Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
To be gone in a day
Just as the leaves had turned gold
I was drawn to the sound
That the wind carried down
From an open window pane
And oh, how like a song
Or a sad melody
To linger long after the end
And the harmony rings
With the promise of spring
On a Brooklyn street
~Gordon Sumner & Kenny Kirkland
Monday, November 18, 2013
Placing stick, crossing stick
On dry eucalyptus bark
Now the larger boughs, the log
(With thanks to the tree for its life)
Touching the match, waiting for creeping flame.
I know myself linked by chains of fire
To every person who has kept a hearth
In the resinous smoke
I smell hut and castle and cave,
Mansion and hovel.
See in the shifting flame my sisters and brothers out over the world
Sunday, November 17, 2013
~G. K. Chesterton
Saturday, November 16, 2013
And as I witness its signs,
as I touch it and smell it,
feel it and breathe it in,
I think about dying and rising,
shedding and new births,
and trusting in fertile seeds,
submitting to the flow of the cosmos
with hope in the promise
of future life renewed.
I can see truth,
all that is real,
all that is constant,
in the depths of our existence.
nature is a dynamic teacher,
`tho I seldom give her
my listening ear.
I look out at the leaves,
across our grounds.
I look at the trees,
not quite so elaborately dressed
as they were last April.
And I know that I too must do my
and learn my lesson well.
I, too, must shed some
and die some.
I, too, must let go
and submit to the grace
of God’s mysterious ways.
Jesus, call me to see
the dawning of a new day
in the deep recesses of my heart.
Friday, November 15, 2013
“Photographs don’t discriminate between the living and the dead. In the fragments of time and shards of light that compose them, everyone is equal. Now you see us; now you don’t. It doesn’t matter whether you look through a camera lens and press the shutter. It doesn’t even matter whether you open your eyes or close them. The pictures are always there. And so are the people in them.”
Thursday, November 14, 2013
“Here we are told that upon death the spirit of man returns to God. The sacred writer is not speaking of good men only, or of God's chosen people, but of men generally. In the case of all men, the soul, when severed from the body, returns to God. God gave it: He made it, He sent it into the body, and He upholds it there; He upholds it in distinct existence, wherever it is. It animates the body while life lasts; it returns again, it relapses into the unseen state upon death.
...But what is the truth? why, that every being in that great concourse is his own centre and all things about him are but shades, but a ‘vain shadow,’ in which he ‘walketh and disquieteth himself in vain.’ He has his own hopes and fears, desires, judgments, and aims; he is everything to himself, and no one else is really any thing. No one outside of him can really touch him, can touch his soul, his immortality; he must live with himself for ever. He has a depth within him unfathomable, an infinite abyss of existence; and the scene in which he bears part for the moment is but like a gleam of sunshine upon its surface.
...I say immortal souls: each of those multitudes, not only had while he was upon earth, but has a soul, which did in its own time but return to God who gave it, and not perish, and which now lives unto Him. All those millions upon millions of human beings who ever trod the earth and saw the sun successively, are at this very moment in existence...
...it is difficult, as I have said it is, to realize that all who ever lived still live...
...How blessed would it be, if we really understood this! What a change it would produce in our thoughts, unless we were utterly reprobate, to understand what and where we are,—accountable beings on their trial, with God for their friend and the devil for their enemy, and advanced a certain way on their road either to heaven or to hell.
...Endeavour then, my brethren, to realize that you have souls, and pray God to enable you to do so. Endeavour to disengage your thoughts and opinions from the things that are seen; look at things as God looks at them...”
~John Henry Newman (Excerpts from: Parochial and Plain Sermons, Volume 4, Sermon 6, “The Individuality of the Soul”)
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
~John Henry Newman
Monday, November 11, 2013
|D-Day - Normandy|
“Typical of the ‘Greatest Generation’ is the story of a son or daughter who finds a war medal stashed in the attic after their father passes, he having never told them about it. Even if their exploits had been brave and heroic, the ‘Greatest Generation’ rarely talked about the war, both because of the difficulty in remembering such carnage, but also from the sense that they had simply been fulfilling their duty, and thus had no reason to brag.
[Tom] Brokaw observes: ‘The World War II generation did what was expected of them. But they never talked about it. It was part of the Code. There’s no more telling metaphor than a guy in a football game who does what’s expected of him-makes an open-field tackle-then gets up and dances around. When Jerry Kramer threw the block that won the Ice Bowl in ’67, he just got up and walked off the field.’”
~Brett and Kate McKay
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is His new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her
And for her life He died.
She is from every nation,
Yet one o’er all the earth;
Her charter of salvation,
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy Name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses,
With every grace endued.
The Church shall never perish!
Her dear Lord to defend,
To guide, sustain, and cherish,
Is with her to the end:
Though there be those who hate her,
And false sons in her pale,
Against both foe or traitor
She ever shall prevail.
Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distressed:
Yet saints their watch are keeping,
Their cry goes up, “How long?”
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song!
’Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace forevermore;
Till, with the vision glorious,
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious
Shall be the Church at rest.
Yet she on earth hath union
With God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won,
With all her sons and daughters
Who, by the Master’s hand
Led through the deathly waters,
Repose in Eden land.
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we
Like them, the meek and lowly,
On high may dwell with Thee:
There, past the border mountains,
Where in sweet vales the Bride
With Thee by living fountains
Forever shall abide!
~Words: Samuel Stone & Music: Samuel Wesley
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Friday, November 8, 2013
~St. Cyril of Jerusalem
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Lord, God, Your light which dims the stars
Awakes all things,
And all that springs to life in You
Your glory sings.
Your peaceful presence, giving strength,
And fallen men may rise again
On wings of prayer.
You are the God whose mercy rests
On all You made;
You gave us Christ, whose love through death
Our ransom paid.
We praise You, Father, with Your Son
And Spirit blest,
In whom creation lives and moves,
And finds its rest.
~Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Monday, November 4, 2013
Saturday, November 2, 2013
But there must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away 'blindly' so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality; but you must not go to Him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ's and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him...Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”
~C. S. Lewis
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
“Nothing can come except what God wills. And I make me very sure that whatsoever that be, even if nothing has ever appeared so bad, it shall indeed be the best... I never intend, God being my good Lord, to pin my soul to another man's back, not even the best man that I know this day living; for I know not where he may hap to carry it.”
(To his daughter, in prison 1534)
“I will not mistrust [God], though I shall feel myself weakening and on the verge of being overcome with fear... I trust He shall place His holy hand on me and in the stormy seas hold me up from drowning.”
~St. Thomas More
Monday, October 28, 2013
whose sin is remitted.
O happy the man to whom the Lord
imputes no guilt, in whose spirit is no guile.
I kept it secret and my frame was wasted.
I groaned all day long,
for night and day your hand was heavy upon me.
Indeed my strength was dried up
as by the summer's heat.
But now I have acknowledged my sins;
my guilt I did not hide.
I said: "I will confess
my offense to the Lord."
And you, Lord, have forgiven
the guilt of my sin.
So let every good man pray to you
in the time of need.
The floods of water may reach high
but him they shall not reach.
You are my hiding place, O Lord;
you save me from distress.
You surround me with cries of deliverance.
I will instruct you and teach you
the way you should go;
I will give you counsel
with my eye upon you.
Be not like horse and mule, unintelligent,
needing bridle and bit else they will not approach you.
Many sorrows has the wicked
but he who trusts in the Lord,
loving mercy surrounds him.
Rejoice, rejoice in the Lord,
exult, you just!
O come, ring out your joy,
all you upright of heart.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
sing the resurrection song!
Death and sorrow, earth's dark story,
to the former days belong.
All around the clouds are breaking,
soon the storms of time shall cease;
in God's likeness we, awaking,
know the everlasting peace.
O what glory, far exceeding
all that eye has yet perceived!
Holiest hearts, for ages pleading,
never that full joy conceived.
God has promised, Christ prepares it,
there on high our welcome waits.
Every humble spirit shares it;
Christ has passed th'eternal gates.
Life eternal! heaven rejoices;
Jesus lives, who once was dead.
Join we now the deathless voices;
child of God, lift up your head!
Patriarchs from the distant ages,
saints all longing for their heaven,
prophets, psalmists, seers, and sages,
all await the glory given.
Life eternal! O what wonders
crowd on faith; what joy unknown,
when, amidst earth's closing thunders,
saints shall stand before the throne!
O to enter that bright portal,
see that glowing firmament;
know, with thee, O God Immortal,
"Jesus Christ whom thou has sent!"
~Words: William Irons & Music: Ludwig von Beethoven
Saturday, October 26, 2013
~Thomas à Kempis
Friday, October 25, 2013
|(Photo by Remo Savisaar)|
I woke up the Pharisee today.
Looking out my kitchen window I breathe, the autumn leaves comfort my soul as they fall the old and incubate the new. I wash my hands clean in the bowl of my righteousness: my hidden closet prayers, my undisclosed alms towards the fatherless, the soft spoken words of condolences I speak to the needy. Those hypocrites out there sure need a savior. If only...they'd be closer to finding the Real. They'd rest their shallow serving and be truly sacrificial by Christ's example. So glad I'm not like them...what a weight to shed. They act like Spring...all. the. time.
Oh, that beautiful crescendo of leaf color outside my driver's window amazes my knowledge of God's glory. Can they even see it? Awe... Ah! A winged beauty takes flight before my eyes and smashes. The highway speed takes no regard for bird's error and I am shaken. Heart races, pounds. You halt my sermon, Oh God! The beauty of earth and sky still stretch before me unchanged, yet all has changed. I return the rented carpet cleaner, then return home, afraid of my own destructiveness. That open windshield before me guiding my view while protecting me from harm's way feels like an ally in the unknown demise of my impartial thoughts and judgments. I arrive home and sit in the driveway, still breathing hard. Adjusting the rear view mirror, a reflection of self appears. I am a windshield? Am I the bird? No, I am the reflection and the reflection was a Pharisee this morning but is a broken wing just now, a part of the whole. A falling leaf gracefully lands against the glass where previously an innocent life ended and I embrace Spring a little more carefully.
Some days I am a Pharisee and nothing measures up. Even today, I am asked to cast the first stone and I rake a pile of leaves and jump in because I can't see that Grace is for all.
~Elsa (my wife)
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
whose mind is stayed on Thee:
because he trusts in Thee.
Our soul is waiting for the Lord.
The Lord is our help and our shield.
In Him do our hearts find joy.
We trust in His holy name.
May Your love be upon us, O Lord,
as we place all our hope in You.
Monday, October 21, 2013
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me...
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Alleluia! His the triumph, His the victory alone.
Hark! the songs of peaceful Zion thunder like a mighty flood.
Jesus out of every nation has redeemed us by His blood.
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”?
Alleluia! bread of angels, Thou on earth our food, our stay;
Alleluia! here the sinful flee to Thee from day to day:
Intercessor, Friend of sinners, Earth’s Redeemer, plead for me,
Where the songs of all the sinless sweep across the crystal sea.
Alleluia! King eternal, Thee the Lord of lords we own;
Alleluia! born of Mary, Earth Thy footstool, Heav’n Thy throne:
Thou within the veil hast entered, robed in flesh our great High Priest;
Thou on earth both priest and victim in the Eucharistic feast.
~Words: William Dix & Music: Rowland Prichard
Friday, October 18, 2013
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Thought's wheels have round me whirled a fiery zone,
And the recoil of my words' airy ripple
My heart unheedful has puffed up and blown.
Therefore I cast myself before thee prone:
Lay cool hands on my burning brain, and press
From my weak heart the swelling emptiness.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Monday, October 14, 2013
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.
Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!
~Words: Charitie Bancroft & Music: William Bradbury
Saturday, October 12, 2013
~Peter Hitchens (from “How I Found God and Peace With My Atheist Brother”)
Friday, October 11, 2013
|(Photo by Remo Savisaar)|
Soft blue horizons
Reach far into my childhood days
As you are rising
To bring me my forgotten ways.
Strange how I falter
To find I'm standing in deep water
Strange how my heart beats
To find I'm standing on your shore.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
‘Clean up after your dogs,’ she yells at me.
It doesn’t matter that I don’t have dogs. She’s got her shard of power, the right to yell.”
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
And so the idea of peace came down to do the work of peace: The Word was made flesh and even now dwells among us. It is by faith that He dwells in our hearts, in our memory, our intellect and penetrates even into our imagination. What concept could man have of God if He did not first fashion an image of Him in his heart? By nature incomprehensible and inaccessible, He was invisible and unthinkable, but now He wished to be understood, to be seen and thought of.
But how, you ask, was this done? He lay in a manger and rested on a virgin’s breast, preached on a mountain, and spent the night in prayer. He hung on a cross, grew pale in death, and roamed free among the dead and ruled over those in hell. He rose again on the third day, and showed the apostles the wounds of the nails, the signs of victory; and finally in their presence He ascended to the sanctuary of heaven.
How can we not contemplate this story in truth, piety and holiness? Whatever of all this I consider, it is God I am considering; in all this He is my God. I have said it is wise to meditate on these truths...”
Monday, October 7, 2013
Friday, October 4, 2013
|(Artwork by Michael O'Brien - found here)|
“In this place where we first appeared, we did not doubt that love is the path of ascent. We did not think of it, as we did not think of the air we breathed. In time our flesh received instruction as we grew, and our hearts and our souls. We came to know that love is the soul of the world, though its body bleeds, and we must learn to bleed with it. Love is also the seed and milk and the fruit of the world, though we can partake of it in greed or reverence.
We are born, we eat, and learn, and die. We leave a tracery of messages in the lives of others, a little shifting of the soil, a stone moved from here to there, a word uttered, a song, a poem left behind. I was here, each of these declare. I was here.”
~Michael O’Brien (from Island of the World - partial re-post)
Thursday, October 3, 2013
Born of a virgin, he came forth from the womb as the light of the whole world in order to shine on all men. His light is received by those who long for the splendor of perpetual light that night can never destroy. The sun of our daily experience is succeeded by the darkness of night, but the sun of holiness never sets, because wisdom cannot give place to evil.
Blessed then is the man at whose door Christ stands and knocks. Our door is faith; if it is strong enough, the whole house is safe. This is the door by which Christ enters. So the Church says in the Song of Songs: The voice of my brother is at the door. Hear his knock, listen to him asking to enter: Open to me, my sister, my betrothed, my dove, my perfect one, for my head is covered with dew, and my hair with the moisture of the night.”
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
~J. R. R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King)
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
~C. S. Lewis (from The Problem of Pain)
Monday, September 30, 2013
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.
This is my Father’s world, dreaming, I see His face.
I ope my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.”
This is my Father’s world, from the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, His Only Son,
Came—a pledge of deathless love.
This is my Father’s world, should my heart be ever sad?
The Lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.
This is my Father’s world. Now closer to Heaven bound,
For dear to God is the earth Christ trod.
No place but is holy ground.
This is my Father’s world. I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes His glory known.
This is my Father’s world, a wanderer I may roam
Whate’er my lot, it matters not,
My heart is still at home.
~Words: Maltbie Babcock & Music: Franklin Sheppard
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
“He always gives us more than we ask Him for. Always.”
“There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.”
“I know that many persons who say vocal prayers are raised by God to high contemplation without their knowing how.”
“There is no greater cause of straying from the path of faithful perseverance than letting up in prayer.”
~St. Teresa of Avila
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
~St. Teresa of Avila
Monday, September 23, 2013
Friday, September 20, 2013
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
if I were clear
and of a single mind and a pure heart;
if I could be done hiding from myself
and from You, even in my prayers.
But, I am who I am,
mixture of motives and excuses,
blur of memories,
quiver of hopes,
knot of fear,
tangle of confusion,
and restless with love, for love.
I wander somewhere between
gratitude and grievance,
wonder and routine,
high resolve and undone dreams,
generous impulses and unpaid bills.
Come, find me, Lord.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
He was shaken out of this thoughts when someone came in and called out a name from another world.
“Is Allan Roberts here?”
That had been his name once but he hadn’t heard it for some time. He hardly knew Allan Roberts anymore. It couldn’t be him being called.
The caller persisted, “Is there anybody named Allan Roberts here?”
No one else answered and so Allan took a risk. “I’m Allan Roberts (or used to be).”
“Your mother’s on the phone.”
My mother, no, you’ve made a mistake. I don’t know where I am, how could my mother know where I am?
“If you’re Allan Roberts, your mother’s on the phone.”
Unsure what to expect, he went to the desk in the hall and took the receiver. “Allan,” it was his mother, “It’s time for you to come home.”
“Mom, I don’t know where I am, I have no money, you don’t know what I’m like anymore. I can’t go home.”
“It’s time for you to come home. There’s a Salvation Army officer who’s coming to you with a plane ticket. He’s going to take you to the airport to get you home.”
She hadn’t known where he was, she just called every shelter and hostel for months until she found him.
He went home and, supported and loved by his mother, who had never ceased to know him even though he had forgotten himself, and influenced and inspired by the faith that had sustained his mother’s hope and love, he began attending church services and one day came to my office seeking to be baptized.
He did not find his own way to my office . . . A path, not of his own making, [was] made by the love that found him, that knew him better than he knew himself, and invited him to “follow me.”
~From a sermon by Hugh Reed, as quoted in a book by Paul Wilson
Monday, September 16, 2013
He moved my soul to seek Him, seeking me.
It was not I that found, O Savior true;
no, I was found of Thee.
Thou didst reach forth Thy hand and mine enfold;
I walked and sank not on the storm-vexed sea.
'Twas not so much that I on Thee took hold,
as Thou, dear Lord, on me.
I find, I walk, I love, but oh, the whole
of love is but my answer, Lord, to Thee!
For Thou wert long beforehand with my soul;
always Thou lovedst me.
~Words: Anonymous & Music: George Chadwick
Sunday, September 15, 2013
And God wept.”
If we are unable to celebrate God’s grace to others, can we experience that mercy ourselves?
~Story found in the New Interpreter’s Bible
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Walk out with me toward the Unknown Region,
Where neither ground is for the feet, nor any path to follow?
No map, there, nor guide,
Nor voice sounding, nor touch of human hand,
Nor face with blooming flesh, nor lips, nor eyes, are in that land.
I know it not, O Soul;
Nor dost thou—all is a blank before us;
All waits, undream’d of, in that region—that inaccessible land.
Till, when the ties loosen,
All but the ties eternal, Time and Space,
Nor darkness, gravitation, sense, nor any bounds, bound us.
Then we burst forth—we float,
In Time and Space, O Soul—prepared for them;
Equal, equipt at last—(O joy! O fruit of all!) them to fulfil, O Soul.
Friday, September 13, 2013
~St. Augustine (re-post—different English translation)
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
like a homeless dog
who comes to the back door
for a crust, for a meatless bone.
I should trust you.
I should coax you
into the house and give you
your own corner,
a worn mat to lie on,
your own water dish.
You think I don’t know you’ve been living
under my porch.
You long for your real place to be readied
before winter comes. You need
your collar and tag. You need
the right to warn off intruders,
my house your own
and me your person
my own dog.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Monday, September 9, 2013
“The men whom the people ought to choose to represent them are too busy to take the jobs. But the politician is waiting for it. He’s the pestilence of modern times. What we should try to do is make politics as local as possible. Keep the politicians near enough to kick them.”
~G. K. Chesterton
Sunday, September 8, 2013
You know my resting and my rising,
You discern my purpose from afar.
You mark when I walk or lie down,
all my ways lie open to You.
Before ever a word is on my tongue
You know it, O Lord, through and through.
Behind and before You besiege me,
Your hand ever laid upon me.
Too wonderful for me this knowledge,
too high, beyond my reach.
O where can I go from Your spirit,
or where can I flee from Your face?
If I climb the heavens, You are there.
If I lie in the grave, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn
and dwell at the sea's furthest end,
even there Your hand would lead me,
Your right hand would hold me fast.
If I say: “Let the darkness hide me
and the light around me be night,”
even darkness is not dark for You
and the night is as clear as the day.
For it was You who created my being,
knit me together in my mother's womb.
I thank You for the wonder of my being,
for the wonders of all Your creation.
Already You knew my soul
my body held no secret from You
when I was being fashioned in secret
and molded in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw all my actions,
they were all of them written in Your book;
every one of my days was decreed
before one of them came into being.
To me, how mysterious Your thoughts,
the sum of them not to be numbered!
If I count them, they are more than the sand;
to finish, I must be eternal, like You.
O God, that You would slay the wicked!
Men of blood, keep far away from me!
With deceit they rebel against You
and set Your designs at naught.
Do I not hate those who hate You,
abhor those who rise against You?
I hate them with a perfect hate
and they are foes to me.
O search me, God, and know my heart.
O test me and know my thoughts.
See that I follow not the wrong path
and lead me in the path of life eternal.
Friday, September 6, 2013
Spiritual doctrines do not actually limit the mind as do materialistic denials...”
~G. K. Chesterton
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
~St. Teresa of Avila
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
pulling at me—a thread
or net of threads
finer than cobweb and as
elastic. I haven’t tried
the strength of it. No barbed hook
pierced and tore me. Was it
not long ago this thread
began to draw me? Or
way back? Was I
born with its knot about my
neck, a bridle? Not fear
but a stirring
of wonder makes me
catch my breath when I feel
the tug of it when I thought
it had loosened itself and gone.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Mary Oliver writes, ‘There are things you can’t reach. But you can reach out to them, and all day long.’
The wrong idea has taken root in the world. And the idea is this: there just might be lives out there that matter less than other lives. The prophet Jeremiah writes: ‘In this place of which you say it is a waste … there will be heard again the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness … the voices of those who sing.’
Mother Teresa diagnosed the world’s ills in this way: we’ve just ‘forgotten that we belong to each other.’
…Serving others is good. It’s a start. But it’s just the hallway that leads to the Grand Ballroom.
Kinship— not serving the other, but being one with the other. Jesus was not ‘a man for others’; he was one with them. There is a world of difference in that.”
~Gregory Boyle (from Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion)
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
I wanted the plums, but I waited.
The sun went down. The fire
went out. With no lights on
I waited. From the night again—
those words: how stupid I was.
And I closed my eyes to listen.
The words all sank down, deep
and rich. I felt their truth
and began to live them. They were mine
to enjoy. Who but a friend
could give so sternly what the sky
feels for everyone but few learn to
cherish? In the dark with the truth
I began the sentence of my life
and found it so simple there was no way
back into qualifying my thoughts
with irony or anything like that.
I went to the fridge and opened it—
sure enough the light was on.
I reached in and got the plums.
Monday, August 26, 2013
Sunday, August 25, 2013
We’ve wandered into God’s own ‘jurisdiction.’”
~Gregory Boyle (from Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion)
Saturday, August 24, 2013
my soul shall exult in my God,
for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to spring up before all the nations.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
~St. Bernard of Clairvaux
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
cruelties, dreams, concepts,
crimes and the exercise of virtue
in and beside a world devoid
of our preoccupations, free
from apprehension--though affected,
certainly, by our actions. A world
parallel to our own though overlapping.
We call it "Nature"; only reluctantly
admitting ourselves to be "Nature" too.
Whenever we lose track of our own obsessions,
our self-concerns, because we drift for a minute,
an hour even, of pure (almost pure)
response to that insouciant life:
cloud, bird, fox, the flow of light, the dancing
pilgrimage of water, vast stillness
of spellbound ephemerae on a lit windowpane,
animal voices, mineral hum, wind
conversing with rain, ocean with rock, stuttering
of fire to coal--then something tethered
in us, hobbled like a donkey on its patch
of gnawed grass and thistles, breaks free.
No one discovers
just where we've been, when we're caught up again
into our own sphere (where we must
return, indeed, to evolve our destinies)
--but we have changed, a little.