Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Belief

“Those who believe that they believe in God, but without passion in their hearts, without anguish in mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, without an element of despair even in their consolation, believe only in the God idea, not God Himself.”
~Miguel de Unamuno

Monday, April 29, 2013

Overwhelming Mercy

“...out of mercy You have washed us in His Blood, out of mercy You have wished to converse with creatures. O crazed with love! It did not suffice for You to take flesh, but You also wished to die!... O mercy! My heart drowns in thinking of You: for no matter where I turn to think, I find only mercy...”
~St. Catherine of Siena

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Worship the Lord

 

“Worship the Lord who made the heavens and the earth, springs of water and the mighty sea, alleluia.”
 
~Antiphon, unknown (Photo by Remo Savisaar)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Eucharist [Thanksgiving]

“Eucharist [thanksgiving] is the state of the perfect man. Eucharist is the life of paradise. Eucharist is the only full and real response of man to God’s creation, redemption, and gift of heaven.”
~Alexander Schmemann

Friday, April 26, 2013

Meditating on the Psalms...

Indeed You love truth in the heart;
    then in the secret of my heart teach me wisdom.
...
O Lord, open my lips
    and my mouth shall declare Your praise.

~Psalm 51:6;15

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Selections from On the Spiritual Law

“When reading the Holy Scriptures, someone who is humble and engaged in spiritual work will apply everything to himself and not to someone else.”

“At the times when you remember God, increase your prayers, so that when you forget Him, the Lord may remind you.”

“If a man tries to overcome temptations without prayer and patient endurance, he will become more entangled in them instead of driving them away.”

“Some call men intelligent because they have the power of discernment on the sensible plane. But the really intelligent people are those who control their own desires.”

“He who does not persevere in examining his conscience will not endure bodily suffering for God’s sake.”

“Accept present afflictions for the sake of future blessings; then you will never weaken in your struggle.”

“When harmed, insulted or persecuted by someone, do not think of the present but wait for the future, and you will find he has brought you much good, not only in this life but also in the life to come.”

~St. Mark the Ascetic (5th Century)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Love/Live the Questions

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke (re-posted)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Peace Among Life’s Contradictions

“Whoever gathers his life’s many contradictions into one,
gratefully makes of them a single symbol,
expels all the noisy ones from his palace and
becomes in a new way festive.
Then You, God, are the guest whom he receives
in gentle evening hours. You are the second to
his solitude, the quiet center of his monologues,
and every time he circles around You,
You stretch his compass beyond time.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

I know that my Redeemer lives;
What joy the blest assurance gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my everlasting Head!

He lives, to bless me with His love,
He lives, to plead for me above.
He lives, my hungry soul to feed,
He lives, to help in time of need.

He lives, my kind, wise, heavenly Friend,
He lives, and loves me to the end;
He lives, and while He lives, I’ll sing;
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.

He lives, and grants me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death:
He lives, my mansion to prepare;
He lives, to bring me safely there.

He lives, all glory to His Name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same;
What joy the blest assurance gives;
I know that my Redeemer lives!

~Words: Samuel Medley & Music: John Hatton

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Infinitely More Full

“Every time you feel in God’s creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: ‘O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!’”
~Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

Thursday, April 18, 2013

He is near...

“He does not ask much of us, merely a thought of Him from time to time, a little act of adoration, sometimes to ask for His grace, sometimes to offer Him your sufferings, at other times to thank Him for the graces, past and present, He has bestowed on you, in the midst of your troubles to take solace in Him as often as you can. Lift up your heart to Him during your meals and in company; the least little remembrance will always be the most pleasing to Him. One need not cry out very loudly; He is nearer to us than we think.”
~Brother Lawrence

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Your Altars





The bird has found for him
a house and the turtledove a
nest where to place her
chicks. Your altars, Lord of
the armies, my King and my
God, they are for me this nest.
Blissful those that inhabit Your
house: they will be able to
praise You for the centuries
of the centuries.
~Psalm 84:3-4





(Photo taken by Remo Savisaar)
    

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Praying for Boston...

Because He is with us in this time of violence,
let us not dream that He is everywhere other than where we die.
Let us make haste.
Let us draw patience from Him.
Let us turn to the Man of Sorrows
who beckons us from the cross.
Because He is with us as on Easter morn,
let us not forgo the blood He shed.
Let us break the bread.
Let us drink from the chalice of passage.
Let us greet the One who sacrifices Himself
by loving us until the end.

~From the movie: Of Gods and Men

Monday, April 15, 2013

...and I will give you rest

“I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are very wise and very beautiful, but I have never read in either of them, ‘Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden.’”
~St. Augustine

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Radiating Christ

Dear Christ Jesus,
help us to spread Your fragrance everywhere we go.
Flood our souls with Your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess our whole being,
so utterly,
that our lives may only be a radiance of Yours.
Shine through us,
and be so in us,
that every soul with whom we come in contact
may feel Your presence in our soul.
Let them look up and see no longer us
but only Jesus.
Stay with us,
and then we shall begin to shine as You shine;
so to shine as to be a light to others;
the light, O Jesus, will be all from You,
none of it will be ours;
it will be You, shining on others through us.
Let us thus praise You in the way You love
by shining on those around us.
Let us preach You without preaching,
not by words but by our example,
by the catching force,
the sympathetic influence of what we do,
the evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to You.
Amen.

~A prayer adapted from the writings of John Henry Newman

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Interesting thought...

“Every sin is an attempt to fly from emptiness.”
~Simone Weil

Friday, April 12, 2013

See by a brighter Light

“Never let us be discouraged with ourselves. It is not when we are conscious of our faults that we are the most wicked; on the contrary, we are less so. We see by a brighter light; and let us remember for our consolation, that we never perceive our sins till… [the cure] begin[s]…”

“Nothing will make us so charitable and tender to the faults of others, as, by self-examination, thoroughly to know our own.”
~François Fénelon

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Morality

Orthodox Christian teaching insists upon the doctrine of original sin. In our present state there is a certain obscurity in reason's vision of the moral law, together with a morbid craving for independence impelling us to transgress it, and a lack of complete control over the passions . . . by reason of this inherited taint, [humanity], unless supported by Divine aid, is unable to observe the moral law for any length of time. Newman has admirably described from the psychological point of view this weakness in our grasp of the moral law (George Joyce):

“The sense of right and wrong . . . is so delicate, so fitful, so easily puzzled, obscured, perverted, so subtle in its argumentative methods, so impressionable by education, so biassed by pride and passion, so unsteady in its course, that in the struggle for existence amid the various exercises and triumphs of the human intellect, the sense is at once the highest of all teachers yet the least luminous.”
~John Henry Newman

Of course, God is still at work (Indeed, how great is His mercy!) . . .
“The comparative study of ethics, which is apt in its earlier stages to impress the student with a bewildering sense of the diversity of moral judgments, ends rather by impressing them with a more fundamental and far-reaching uniformity. Through the greatest extent of time and space over which we have records, we find a recurrence of the common features of ordinary morality, which to my mind at least is not less impressive than the variations which also appear.”
~Leonard Hobhouse

Not all is hidden and obscured:
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse”
~Romans 1:20

Teach me Your way, O Lord;
    I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.
    I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And I will glorify Your name forevermore.
    For great is Your mercy toward me,
And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
~Psalm 86:11-13

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Moral Decay

I have been reading a number of articles and trying to stay on top of some of the significant matters facing American morality today. The following is a very brief note followed by a quote. I attempted to change the wording enough to make it my own. However, I am not trying to claim all of the exact wording/phrasing as my own as I am sure it was significantly influenced by much of what I have read.

Genesis is where God made man and woman for each other. The created cannot overturn the work and will of the Creator without dire consequences. Making homosexual ‘marriage’ legal will not make it right and will further add to the moral confusion of our times. What is called ‘progressive’ currently is many times simply a cover for a radical ideology which fails to respect human dignity and undermines morality, marriage, and the family. The agenda calling itself ‘progressive’ in American politics today is not progressive; it is regressive and ripe with moral decay. It is adding to the downward spiral of our civilization.

G. K. Chesterton prophesied well, “We will not be able to destroy the family. We will merely destroy ourselves by disregarding the family.”

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Toy Ship in a Shop Window (Part 2 of 2)

...Seek all waters, be they waves of fear or wells of peace,
seek in unexpected places,
the creeks and rivers of release!
Seek the snow falling on sleeping fields or mountain peaks,
seek the rain, seek the sun a moment before dawn,
when the forest to the east bursts into flames
and the lake is as blue as a pauper’s crown.

Seek the tent of those abandoned in the desert!
Seek those who have known many paths, many woes,
yet have retained their dignity.
Seek the silent and listen to them speaking!
Seek the prisoner released.
Seek the wedding feast,
seek love, which is the royal wedding feast!
For with all its imperfections it is the work of art
before its final form is complete.

Seek the lost kingdom at the feet of mountains,
seek the interior palace!
Carry the great treasure of your burden
and serve it to the guests.
Run across the thinnest ice, laughing—or weeping if you must—
as you must, as I must, as each man must—
yet remember that laughter should enfold all weeping.

Seek the eye of childhood!
Seek the eye of purified old age!
Seek those who value good fools,
seek those who have mercy on bad fools.
Seek the wise but remember they are only dust,
seek the innocent, but remember the trials ahead of them.
Seek the strong and the weak, and love them equally,
know that their tests are only variations on the unified theme.

Seek the eternal in the present,
seek the past and the future,
link them with the trajectory of your course,
for you are
you are
you are
you are the vessel.

~Michael O’Brien

Monday, April 8, 2013

Toy Ship in a Shop Window (Part 1 of 2)

Odysseus in the city streets,
between his place of business and his home,
arrested by the shock of sails encased in glass,
is for a moment paralyzed, unable now to pass.
He stares into a mirror of himself, or memory of childish dreams,
hears again the heroes shout as they fight and love the sea.
He calls to them, but to himself he speaks: I do not know what I have lost,
do not remember when.

A captain calls to him from on the heaving deck:
I will tell you the tale, he cries,
of what I have learned upon the sea.
For this is what she teaches,
of losing and finding,
of answering and quests:

A voyage is a movement embraced by departure and arrival,
an arc between speaking and hearing.
More it asks of us than we of it.
Look neither to your right nor to your left, my mariner;
see the bowsprit tilting northward to the axle of the world,
and beyond it the star-dipper full of quenching dreams,
and farther still the arching bow, the quiver full, the future waiting.
Will you dream with me the long-abandoned ways,
and be with me again the father-king and his valiant son
well met upon the sea?

Odysseus in the city streets then dares reply:
I hear your songs and groans, he cries,
but where are those who might have been?
What would I impart if they were by me now?
Seek now the glorious moment, I would say,
the act that lives as a sign in memory.
Seek the indestructible truth, I would declare,
seek, if you wish, this art or toy through which a soul,
gone these many years, now speaks to you....

~Michael O’Brien

Sunday, April 7, 2013

LORD and KING

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
~Phil. 2:5-11

27 Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
~John 20:27-29

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:

“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
~Rev. 5:12-13

11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.
~Rev. 19:11-16

Friday, April 5, 2013

From Above...

“Jesus did not come to add a new link to mankind’s already existing chain of cognition; he did not come to scale new peaks of existence higher than any previously glimpsed; nor did he come to establish a new ideal, a transvaluation for which the time was at last ripe. It is the other way around. From the abundance otherwise reserved for heaven, Jesus brings divine reality to earth. He is the stream of living water from the eternal source of the Father’s love to the thirsting world. From ‘above’ he establishes the new existence it was impossible to establish solely from below, existence which, seen only from the natural level, must seem subvertive and incoherent.

To participate in this new order, man must open his heart. He must free himself from the clutches of natural existence and advance to meet the things to come. He must eradicate the old, deeply rooted claim that this world is sufficient unto itself, the essential and only reality; he must admit that earthly existence even at its best is stained and discredited in the eyes of God....”
~Romano Guardini

Thursday, April 4, 2013

O Thou In Whose Presence

O Thou in whose presence my soul takes delight,
On whom in affliction I call,
My comfort by day, and my song in the night,
My hope, my salvation, my all.

Where dost Thou, dear Shepherd, resort with Thy sheep,
To feed them in pastures of love?
Say, why in the valley of death should I weep,
Or alone in this wilderness rove?

O, why should I wander an alien from Thee,
And cry in the desert for bread?
Thy foes will rejoice when my sorrows they see,
And smile at the tears I have shed.

He looks, and ten thousands of angels rejoice,
And myriads wait for His word;
He speaks, and eternity, filled with His voice,
Re-echoes the praise of the Lord.

Dear Shepherd, I hear and will follow Thy call;
I know the sweet sound of Thy voice.
Restore and defend me, for Thou art my All,
And in Thee I will ever rejoice.

~Words: Joseph Swain & Music: Freeman Lewis

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Obey and Hope...

“Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life in fear; rather look to them with full hope that, as they arise, God, whose you are, will deliver you out of them. He is your Keeper. He has kept you hitherto. Hold fast to His dear hand, and He will lead you safely through all things; and, when you cannot stand, He will bear you in His arms. Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. Our Father will either shield you from suffering, or He will give you strength to bear it.”
~St. Francis de Sales

“When we choose deliberately to obey Him, then He will tax the remotest star and the last grain of sand to assist us with all His almighty power.”
~Oswald Chambers

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wonder and Mystery

“Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean; at the circular motions of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering.”
~St. Augustine

“She had not remembered the words of her dolphin poem, while he has remembered it ever since, each word distinct within its whole. What is this mysterious overflow of the soul’s secret languages, so close to the surface in the heart of a child but buried deep under the weight of experience or crowded aside by practical matters as the years unfold? The voice of mankind speaking its thoughts and singing its songs and breathing its poems. Little dreams that evaporate almost upon leaving the lips. Where do they come from, and where are they going? And who are we, if such mysteries pour from our mouths?”
~Michael O’Brien

Monday, April 1, 2013

On the Third Day...

“On the third day the friends of Christ coming at daybreak to the place found the grave empty and the stone rolled away. In varying ways they realised the new wonder; but even they hardly realised that the world had died in the night. What they were looking at was the first day of a new creation, with a new heaven and a new earth; and in a semblance of the gardener God walked again in the garden, in the cool not of the evening but the dawn.”
~G. K. Chesterton