Thursday, May 30, 2013

Prayer For Home

Grant them peace, most precious gift of all
Keep the worried world far away and small
When they return, may quiet fill their souls,
Dearest Lord, keep them safe within it's walls.

May the stone be cool beneath their feet.
The canyon breezes circle soft and sweet
When darkness falls, the stars and opal moon
Find them wrapped in each other, ever warm.

Chorus:
May it be a refuge for their love,
A harbor for their deepest prayer.
May they come to flourish in the grove,
Grow ever nearer to You there.

Many a burdened friend in their company rises,
A heavy heart is soon released to fly.
May their table be blessed with laughter and with grace
And by the comfort of kinship be surprised.

Chorus

May the cold wind blow far from their front door
May the winter rains never bring them harm
May their hearthfires burn throughout the night
Grant them peace until morning's perfect light.

Chorus

~Fernando Ortega

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lord help!

“There is no need at all to make long discourses; it is enough to stretch out one’s hand and say, ‘Lord, as You will, and as You know, have mercy.’ And if the conflict grows fiercer say, ‘Lord help!’ God knows very well what we need and He shows us His mercy.”
~Abba Macarius

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Convert

After one moment when I bowed my head
And the whole world turned over and came upright,
And I came out where the old road shone white.
I walked the ways and heard what all men said,
Forests of tongues, like autumn leaves unshed,
Being not unlovable but strange and light;
Old riddles and new creeds, not in despite
But softly, as men smile about the dead

The sages have a hundred maps to give
That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,
They rattle reason out through many a sieve
That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:
And all these things are less than dust to me
Because my name is Lazarus and I live.

~G. K. Chesterton

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

“Freedom is a light for which many men have died in darkness.”
~Message engraved on the wall of the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior of the Revolution

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Wonderer

“. . . The innermost meaning of wonder is fulfilled in a deepened sense of mystery. It does not end in doubt, but is the awakening of the knowledge that being, qua being, is mysterious and inconceivable, and that it is a mystery in the full sense of the word: neither a dead end, nor a contradiction, nor even something impenetrable and dark. Rather, mystery means that a reality cannot be comprehended because its light is ever-flowing, unfathomable, and inexhaustible. And that is what the wonderer really experiences. . .”
~Josef Pieper

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hidden Inside

“There is the case of a man minding his own business, sitting at peace and quiet; and when a brother comes up and says an annoying word to him, he is put out by it. And from the circumstances he thinks that he is justifiably angered, and he speaks against the one who troubled him, saying, ‘If he had not come and spoken to me and annoyed me I should not have been at fault.’ This is a delusion: this is false reasoning! It was not the one who spoke that put him in a bad mood. He only showed that it already existed in him; so that he could, if he chose, make reparation for his fault. But the man referred to above is like clean-looking winter wheat, externally good and ready to use; but when someone crushes it, its corruption is revealed. He was sitting at peace but he had this anger inside him and he did not know it. One word to him from the other and the corruption hidden inside him leapt out.”
~St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Give me your hand

“God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don't let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Monday, May 20, 2013

Determination

“The way to become strong is by doing
small things you've made up your mind to do, however much you
don't want to do them at the time.”
~Robert Hugh Benson

A community leader came to see a simple man known as Jacob the Baker, hoping to find peace of mind; an ease for his burden. The man was troubled by a repetitive dream that he did not understand. 
“Jacob, in my dream, I have traveled a long distance and am finally arriving at a great city. But, at the entrance to the city, I am met by a tall soldier who says that I must answer two questions before I am
admitted. Will you help me?” Jacob nodded.
“The first question the soldier asks is ‘What supports the walls of a city?’”.
“That is easy,” said Jacob. “Fear supports the walls of a city.”
“But what supports the fear?” asked the man. “For that is the second question.”
“The walls,” answered Jacob. “The fears we cannot climb become our walls.”
~Unknown

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pentecost

Brothers and sisters:
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh;
on the contrary, you are in the spirit,
if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
But if Christ is in you,
although the body is dead because of sin,
the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
the one who raised Christ from the dead
will give life to your mortal bodies also,
through his Spirit that dwells in you.
Consequently, brothers and sisters,
we are not debtors to the flesh,
to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die,
but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body,
you will live.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
but you received a Spirit of adoption,
through whom we cry, “Abba, Father!”
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit
that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs,
heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
if only we suffer with him
so that we may also be glorified with him.

...Brothers and sisters:
We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now;
and not only that, but we ourselves,
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
we also groan within ourselves
as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
For in hope we were saved.
Now hope that sees is not hope.
For who hopes for what one sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.

In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.
And the one who searches hearts
knows what is the intention of the Spirit,
because he intercedes for the holy ones
according to God’s will.
~Romans 8:8-17;22-27

On the last and greatest day of the feast,
Jesus stood up and exclaimed,
“Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink.
As Scripture says:
Rivers of living water will flow from within him who believes in me.”
He said this in reference to the Spirit
that those who came to believe in him were to receive.
~John 7:37-39a

Friday, May 17, 2013

Story and Restoring Culture

“What is the true story of man? The true story of man is that we face evil. We face sometimes overwhelming challenges; daunting odds against us in which everything looks like defeat. Isn’t this the story that really most grips us? The hero with whom we’ve identified faces overwhelming odds. Is there any hope? And yet something within the heart of his soul rouses whether it’s through a faithful friend like Sam Gamgee or a thousand other manifestations of true friendship in fiction, or true love in fiction—husbands encouraging wives, wives encouraging husbands and so forth. In all the great stories of man we find our courage again. Isn’t this the great story? Not that we have some kind of power that can overwhelm and degrade our enemies, but that there is an internal strength of moral character that goes forth in the face of radical danger armed only with courage and determination to defend and preserve the good ...the true good.

So often that drama and its many manifestations mean that the hero knows he goes forth into the face of death, in all likelihood he is going to die, and that he will not defeat his enemy. His enemy will overcome him and yet by the giving up of his life he leaves a sign. He leaves a sign in existence that would not otherwise be there. There will be those, there will always be witnesses no matter what evil does in this world. There will always be a witness ...God always leaves a witness. That sign may have more authority over the imagination of those who are to come after us than all the apparent victory that evil wins in this age. The paradigm of this is to be found in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross—this moment of absolute defeat. There is the true story. There is the greatest story ever told (to borrow a phrase). We are inside the great story. We are a part of the great story. An authentic culture awakens within us an awareness of this even when it does not penetrate to the rational mind or can be articulated. Suddenly we are more than we thought we were.”
~Michael O’Brien

(the above was typed from a lecture – any grammatical errors are mine)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Some Day

“At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in.”
~C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Search

“Much time had I spent in vanity, and had wasted nearly all my youth acquiring the sort of wisdom made foolish by God. Then once, like a man roused from deep sleep, I turned my eyes to the marvelous light of the truth of the Gospel, and I perceived the uselessness of ‘the wisdom . . . of the rulers of this world, who are doomed to pass away’ (1 Cor 2:6). I wept many tears over my miserable life and I prayed that I might receive guidance to admit me to the doctrines of true religion.”
~St. Basil

“I will not hesitate to search if I find myself in doubt; I will not be ashamed to learn if I find myself in error. . . . Let him continue along with me, whoever with me is certain; let him search with me, whoever shares my doubts; let him turn to me, whoever acknowledges his own error; let him rebuke me, whoever perceives my own.”

“Within me was a hunger of that inward food, Yourself, my God.”

“What I feared to part with was now a joy to surrender.”
~St. Augustine

“Pray that, above all things, the gates of light may be opened to you; for these things cannot be perceived or understood by all, but only by the man to whom God and His Christ have imparted wisdom.”
~St. Justin Martyr

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hidden Service

“Nothing disciplines the inordinate desires of the flesh like service, and nothing transforms the desires of the flesh like serving in hiddenness. The flesh whines against service but screams against hidden service. It strains and pulls for honour and recognition. It will devise subtle, religiously acceptable means to call attention to the service rendered. If we stoutly refuse to give in to this lust of the flesh, we crucify it. Every time we crucify the flesh, we crucify our pride and arrogance.”
~Richard Foster

Monday, May 13, 2013

Patience

          I
I waited for the Lord a little space.
So little! in whose sight as yesterday
Passes a thousand years: -- I cried for grace,
Impatient of delay.

          II
He waited for me -- ah so long! For He
Sees in one single day a loss or gain
That bears a fruit through all eternity: --
My soul, did He complain?

~Robert Hugh Benson

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

“To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors, and holidays; to be Whitely within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets, cakes, and books, to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about [arithmetic], and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? ...a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.”
~G. K. Chesterton

“[A mother] does what she does not because she is going to be paid for her services ...but because she wants to do it. And she does ‘the things worth doing,’ which are the things closest and most sacred to all of humanity – nurturing a baby, teaching a child the first things, and, in fact, all things.”
~Dale Ahlquist

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Mystery of Grace

“...On grace depends our salvation, but we have neither a right to grace nor the power to compel it. Grace must reveal itself to us, and only then will we recognize it. Grace must give itself to us, and only then will we possess it. And in it alone do we receive our own true self, which you, O God, assigned to us as you created us.

In the work of your redemption, O Lord, you started a fresh work. You yourself came and called to man. Your being, veiled from all creation, ‘shown out to him in the face of Jesus Christ’. You showed him how he was lost, and offered him forgiveness. Your love and holiness streamed out to him; now he can accept them and share them.

All that is your free gift, and yet the answer to our innermost need. We cannot conceive it with our own strength, but when you reveal it, we feel that it is the truth upon which we live. We must preserve it from the claim of the world and from the contradiction of our own inadequacy. But when our heart is open, the truth speaks within it and bears up our existence.

Awake within me a holy disquiet, O Lord, so that at all times I may search for you. Teach me to understand the mystery according to which you made my being: that I can only live from that which is above me, and that I lose myself as soon as I place myself within myself. Take my hand; help me to cross over to you, so that I may truly find myself in you.”
~Romano Guardini

Friday, May 10, 2013

Too wonderful are Your gifts, Oh Lord

 
(Photo by Remo Savisaar)
How quickly Spring spreads gifts in such array.
Here today, preceding Summer's long and steady greens,
how impossible it seems to keep up with thanks before another wave comes showering in.
If I could capture it and hold it still for just a moment longer...
and yet, it's Maker will not cease giving and I am overwhelmed.
 
~Elsa (my wife)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing



A hymn of glory let us sing!
New hymns throughout the world shall ring:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Christ, by a road before untrod.
Ascends unto the throne of God.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia!

~Words: The Venerable Bede & Music: Ralph Vaughan Williams

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior

Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.

Refrain:
Savior, Savior,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.

Let me at Thy throne of mercy
Find a sweet relief,
Kneeling there in deep contrition;
Help my unbelief.

Trusting only in Thy merit,
Would I seek Thy face;
Heal my wounded, broken spirit,
Save me by Thy grace.

Thou the Spring of all my comfort,
More than life to me,
Whom have I on earth beside Thee?
Whom in Heav’n but Thee?

~Words: Fan­ny Cros­by & Music: W. How­ard Doane

Monday, May 6, 2013

He knows what He is about

“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.

He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work.

I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.

Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.”
~John Henry Newman

Friday, May 3, 2013

Stay Awake and Watch

“The Church is a timeless society. Membership makes it possible to step outside of the contemporary milieu, at least mentally, and to measure it against something infinitely better and ultimately more real. But this is not possible for those locked into a de-spiritualised cosmos. Rejection of the idea of evil, coupled to belief in progress and the self-perfectibility of man, blocks awareness that the worst may be happening, a blindness reinforced by the fact that every person tends naturally to experience his own times as normal. Even believers can be blinded by the psychology of denial—consider the attitude of most Christians and Jews in Germany during the 1930s. As events become more and more extreme, the temptation grows to bury oneself in escapist dreams or in the distractions of comfort. The critical faculty is lulled to sleep. ‘To stay awake and watch,’ demands energy and the willingness to persist in a state of chronic tension. It is so much easier to be ‘optimistic.’”
~Michael O’Brien

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Journey Toward the Stars


The Large Sagittarius Star Cloud - millions of stars in the brightest part of our galaxy, the Milky Way.
Photograph: European Southern Observatory/AFP/Getty Images
“If seeds in the black earth can turn into such beautiful roses, what might not the heart of man become in its long journey toward the stars?”
~G. K. Chesterton

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

the Great Story

“And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
~ C. S. Lewis (The Last Battle)