Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Personal Epiphany

In atheistic despair over the meaninglessness and futility of life and the universe, Muggeridge decided to commit suicide in 1942, by walking out into the sea and drowning himself. But something strange happened to prevent this, as he recalls:

"Suddenly, without thinking or deciding, I started swimming back to shore . . . I shouted foolishly for help, and kept my eyes fixed on the lights of Peter's Cafe and the Costa da Sol. They were the lights of the world; they were the lights of my home, my habitat, where I belonged. I must reach them. There followed an overwhelming joy such as I had never experienced before; an ecstasy. In some mysterious way it became clear to me that there was no darkness, only the possibility of losing sight of a light which shone eternally; . . . that our sufferings, our affliction, are part of a drama - an essential, even an ecstatic part - endlessly revolving around the two great propositions of good and evil, of light and darkness. A brief interlude, an incarnation, reaching back into the beginning of time, and forward into an ultimate fulfilment in the universal spirit of love which informs, animates, illuminates all creation, from the tiniest particle of insentient matter to the radiance of God's very throne . . . Though I scarcely realised it at the time and subsequently only very slowly and dimly, this episode represented for me one of those deep changes which take place in our lives; as, for instance, in adolescence, only more drastic and fundamental. A kind of spiritual adolescence, whereby, thenceforth, all my values and pursuits and hopes were going to undergo a total transformation - from the carnal towards the spiritual; from the immediate, the now, towards the everlasting, the eternal. In a tiny dark dungeon of the ego, chained and manacled, I had glimpsed a glimmer of light . . ."
~Malcolm Muggeridge

Monday, July 29, 2013

Poverty of Spirit

"Come in, Lord, for it is cold and dark out there. Come in, for it is sometimes cold and dark in here too. We need Your smile, Your light, Your heart beating among us. Help us to accept peacefully the adversities of our state in life. Thank You for the various ways in which we experience our powerlessness, our insecurity, the weakness of our creaturehood. Grant us the grace of love of the poor, detachment from riches, and a desire to live in perfect trust in Your providence. Give each of us the heart of a child. Amen."
~Michael O'Brien

Friday, July 26, 2013

Repentance

"Repentance effaces every sin when there is no delay after the fall of the soul - when the disease is not allowed to go on for a long time. For then evil will not have power to leave its mark in us, when it is drawn up at the moment it is set down, like a plant newly planted."
~St. Methodius of Olympus

"Repentance is an effect of faith. For unless a man believes that the object of his addiction is sin, he will not abandon it; and if he does not believe punishment is impending over the transgressor, and salvation to be the portion of him who lives according to the commandments, he will not reform."
~St. Clement

"God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination."
~St. Augustine

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

His Glory

"My Lord, I believe, and know, and feel, that Thou art the Supreme Good. And, in saying so, I mean, not only supreme Goodness and Benevolence, but that Thou art the sovereign and transcendent Beautifulness.  I believe that, beautiful as is Thy creation, it is mere dust and ashes, and of no account, compared with Thee, who art the infinitely more beautiful Creator. I know well, that therefore it is that the Angels and Saints have such perfect bliss, because they see Thee. To see even the glimpse of Thy true glory, even in this world throws holy men into an ecstasy. And I feel the truth of all this, in my own degree, because Thou hast mercifully taken our nature upon Thee, and hast come to me as man. ...'and we saw His glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father.' The more, O my dear Lord, I meditate on Thy words, works, actions, and sufferings in the Gospel, the more wonderfully glorious and beautiful I see Thee to be."
~John Henry Newman

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sabbath

“The meaning of the Sabbath is to celebrate time rather than space. Six days a week we live under the tyranny of things of space; on the Sabbath we try to become attuned to holiness in time. It is a day on which we are called upon to share in what is eternal in time, to turn from the results of creation to the mystery of creation; from the world of creation to the creation of the world.

Spiritual life begins to decay when we fail to sense the grandeur of what is eternal in time.

The higher goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information, but to face sacred moments.”
~Abraham Heschel

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Soon...

“God has no antipode. He exists in pure freedom and holiness in himself, sufficient unto himself. All true being is contained in him, and there is nothing that exists ‘beside’ or ‘opposite’ him. Satan is no principle, no elementary power, but a rebellious, fallen creature who frantically attempts to set up a kingdom of appearances and disorder. He has power, but only because man has sinned. He is powerless against the heart that lives in humility and truth. His dominion reaches as far as man’s sinfulness, and will collapse on the Day of Judgment—a term long in itself, for every moment of evil is dreadfully long for those who stand in danger of Satan—but only a moment as compared with eternity. ‘Soon,’ as the Apocalypse [Revelation] reveals, it will be over (3:11; 22:7).”
~Romano Guardini

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Soul

“The soul is like an uninhabited world that comes to life only when God lays His head against us.”
~St. Thomas Aquinas

“As the soul is the life of the body, so God is the life of the soul.”
~St. Augustine

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

unbound

“It is the childlike part of us that produces works of the imagination. When we were children time passed so slow with us that we seemed to have time for everything.”
~William Morris

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Being Ready...

“A man in trouble laments that he did not listen to his teachers, and thus he finds himself in a sad state, utter ruin. A candid admission of a blunder is refreshing and not often heard in human affairs. It is the saint alone who is large-minded enough to think and speak in this way. This is part of his authenticity.

The person who is swift to hear and slow to respond is a stranger to an all-knowing illuminism. He believes that others, too, have some truth, and he is willing to be instructed by them. He is ready for the mind of God.”
~Thomas Dubay

Friday, July 12, 2013

Encouraging...

“[He] who will, in the long run, be satisfied with nothing less than perfection, will also be delighted with the first feeble, stumbling effort you make tomorrow to do the simplest duty.”
~C. S. Lewis

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Interesting...

“I have been a participating member of the Christian church in North America all my life (for seventy-five years at the time I am writing this). For fifty of those years I have had a position of responsibility as pastor in the church. Over the course of these fifty years I have seen both the church and my vocation as a pastor in it relentlessly diminished and corrupted by being redefined in terms of running an ecclesiastical business. The ink on my ordination papers wasn't even dry before I was being told by experts in the field of church that my main task was to run a church after the manner of my brother and sister Christians who run service stations, grocery stores, corporations, banks, hospitals, and financial services. Many of these experts wrote books and gave lectures on how to do it. I was astonished to learn in one of these best-selling books that the size of my church parking lot had far more to do with how things fared in my congregation than my choice of texts in preaching. After a few years of trying to take all of this seriously, I decided that I was being lied to.”
~Eugene Peterson

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fully Charged with Wonder

“At the back of our brains, so to speak, there was a forgotten blaze or burst of astonishment at our own existence. The object of the artistic and spiritual life was to dig for this submerged sunrise of wonder.”
~G. K. Chesterton

“Eternity is with us, inviting our contemplation perpetually, but we are too frightened, lazy, and suspicious to respond; too arrogant to still our thought, and let divine sensation have its way. It needs industry and goodwill if we would make that transition; for the process involves a veritable spring-cleaning of the soul, a turning-out and rearrangement of our mental furniture, a wide opening of closed windows, that the notes of the wild birds beyond our garden may come to us fully charged with wonder and freshness, and drown with their music the noise of the gramaphone within. Those who do this, discover that they have lived in a stuffy world, whilst their inheritance was a world of morning-glory: where every tit-mouse is a celestial messenger, and every thrusting bud is charged with the full significance of life.”

“For a lack of attention a thousand forms of loveliness elude us everyday.”
~Evelyn Underhill

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

This is Eternal Life

“Now this is eternal life: That they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.”
~John 17:3

Monday, July 8, 2013

Wisdom from the Psalms

...The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
    all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!

Praise the Lord!

Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
    Who delights greatly in His commandments.

His descendants will be mighty on earth;
    The generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches will be in his house,
    And his righteousness endures forever.
Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness;
    He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
A good man deals graciously and lends;
    He will guide his affairs with discretion.
Surely he will never be shaken;
    The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.
He will not be afraid of evil tidings;
    His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
His heart is established;
    He will not be afraid...

~Psalm 111:10–112:8a

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Reminder

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.
~2 Peter 1:3-15

Friday, July 5, 2013

Truth

“One of the greatest difficulties is to keep before the audience’s mind the question of Truth. They always think you are recommending Christianity not because it is true, but because it is good. And in the discussion they will at every moment try to escape from the issue ‘True-or False’ into stuff about a good society, or morals, or incomes of Bishops, or the Spanish inquisition, or France, or Poland—or anything whatever. You have to keep forcing them back, and again back, to the real point. Only thus you will be able to undermine…their belief that a certain amount of ‘religion’ is desirable but one mustn’t carry it too far. One must keep on pointing out that Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
~C. S. Lewis

Thursday, July 4, 2013

See and Live in the Light

So then, you who have followed our lead and robed yourselves in Christ, let the words of God lift you out of this turbulent age as a net lifts the little fishes out of the water. In us the laws of nature are turned upside down – for fish, taken out of the water, die; but the Apostles have fished us out of the sea that is this world not to kill us but to bring us from death to life. As long as we were in the world, our eyes were peering into the depths and we led our lives in the mud. Now we have been torn from the waves, we begin to see the true light. Moved by overwhelming joy, we say to our souls: Put your hope in the Lord, I will praise him still, my Saviour and my God.
~St. Jerome

Eternal Father, through Your Word
You gave new life to Adam’s race,
And call us now to live in light,
New creatures by Your saving grace.

To You who stooped to all who sin
We render homage and give praise:
To Father, Son and Spirit blest
Whose loving gift is endless days.
~Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Words

“It took me years to understand that words are often as important as experience, because words make experience last.”
~William Morris

Monday, July 1, 2013

Most Ourselves When We Pray

“At the deep center of our lives, we are connected somehow or other with God. That deep center often gets buried under the everyday debris of routine and distraction and chatter, while we shuffle about out of touch and unaware of our true selves. Then a sudden jolt opens a crevasse, exposing for a moment our bedrock self: spontaneously we pray. We pray because it is our most human response. We’re made by and for the voice of God — listening to and answering that voice is our most characteristic act. We are most ourselves when we pray.”
~Eugene Peterson