Thursday, August 29, 2013

Kinship

“You stand with the least likely to succeed until success is succeeded by something more valuable: kinship. You stand with the belligerent, the surly, and the badly behaved until bad behavior is recognized for the language it is: the vocabulary of the deeply wounded and of those whose burdens are more than they can bear.

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

Thinking about being called simple by a critic

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.

~William Stafford

Monday, August 26, 2013

Phew...

“It’s all right if you grow your wings on the way down.”
~Robert Bly

Sunday, August 25, 2013

See with the other...

“Close both eyes; see with the other one. Then, we are no longer saddled by the burden of our persistent judgments, our ceaseless withholding, our constant exclusion. Our sphere has widened, and we find ourselves, quite unexpectedly, in a new, expansive location, in a place of endless acceptance and infinite love.
We’ve wandered into God’s own ‘jurisdiction.’”
~Gregory Boyle (from Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I Will Greatly Rejoice...

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
     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.

~Isaiah 61:10-11

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Love is its own merit, its own reward

“Love is sufficient of itself, it gives pleasure by itself and because of itself. It is its own merit, its own reward. Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies in its practice. I love because I love, I love that I may love. Love is a great thing so long as it continually returns to its fountainhead, flows back to its source, always drawing from there the water which constantly replenishes it. Of all the movements, sensations and feelings of the soul, love is the only one in which the creature can respond to the Creator and make some sort of similar return however unequal though it be. For when God loves, all He desires is to be loved in return; the sole purpose of His love is to be loved, in the knowledge that those who love Him are made happy by their love of Him.”
~St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sojourns in the Parallel World

We live our lives of human passions,
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.

~Denise Levertov

Monday, August 19, 2013

Try Again...

“After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again.”
~C. S. Lewis

Sunday, August 18, 2013

"Such is my Gospel"

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David: such is my gospel, for which I am suffering, even to the point of chains, like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, together with eternal glory.

This saying is trustworthy:

If we have died with Him
we shall also live with Him;
if we persevere
we shall also reign with Him.
But if we deny Him
He will deny us.
If we are unfaithful
He remains faithful,
for He cannot deny Himself.

~2 Timothy 2:8-13

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Avowal

As swimmers dare
to lie face to the sky
and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air
and air sustains them,
so would I learn to attain
freefall, and float
into Creator Spirit's deep embrace...

~Denise Levertov

Friday, August 16, 2013

God is Greater...

“Meister Eckhart says ‘God is greater than God.’ The hope is that our sense of God will grow as expansive as our God is. Each tiny conception gets obliterated as we discover more and more the God who is always greater.”
~Gregory Boyle

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Pastures of God

“When a shepherd sees that his sheep have scattered, he keeps one of them under his control and leads it to the pastures he chooses, and thus he draws the other sheep back to him by means of this one. And so it was when God the Word saw that the human race had gone astray: He took the form of a slave and united it to Himself, and by means of it won over the whole race of men to Him, enticing the sheep that were grazing in bad pastures and exposed to wolves, and leading them to the pastures of God.”
~Theodoret of Cyr

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The New Day

 
The new day rises
as heat rises,
knocking in the pipes
with rhythms it seizes for its own
to speak of its invention—
the real, the new-laid
egg whose speckled shell
the poet fondles and must break
if he will be nourished.

Denise Levertov
 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

All Creatures of our God and King

 

Let all things their Creator bless,
and worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him, Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
and praise the Spirit, Three in One:
 
O praise Him, O praise Him,
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
----------------------------------------------------
Words: after St. Francis of Assisi
Paraphrase of “Canticle of the Sun”
MIDI: Lasst uns erfreuen; Harmony by Ralph Vaughan Williams
  

Monday, August 12, 2013

From Husband to Wife...

“All tends to the return of the simple truth that the private work is the great one and the public work the small. The human house is a paradox, for it is larger inside than out.”

“It is the main earthly business of a human being to make his home, and the immediate surroundings of his home, as symbolic and significant to his own imagination as he can.”

“Mystical or ancient sayings should be inscribed on every object, the more prosaic the object the better; and the more coarsely and rudely the inscription was traced the better. ‘Hast thou sent the Rain upon the Earth?’ should be inscribed on the Umbrella-Stand: perhaps on the Umbrella. ‘Even the Hairs of your Head are all numbered’ would give a tremendous significance to one’s hairbrushes: the words about ‘living water’ would reveal the music and sanctity of the sink: while ‘Our God is a consuming Fire’ might be written over the kitchen-grate, to assist the mystic musings of the cook – Shall we ever try that experiment, dearest. Perhaps not, for no words would be golden enough for the tools you had to touch: you would be beauty enough for one house…”

“I cannot profess to offer any elaborate explanation of your mother’s disquiet but I admit it does not wholly surprise me. You see I happen to know one factor in the case, and one only, of which you are wholly ignorant. I know you … I know one thing which has made me feel strange before your mother – I know the value of what I take away. I feel (in a weird moment) like the Angel of Death.”

“But there are four lamps of thanksgiving always before him. The first is for his creation out of the same earth with such a woman as you. The second is that he has not, with all his faults, ‘gone after strange women.’ You cannot think how a man’s self restraint is rewarded in this. The third is that he has tried to love everything alive: a dim preparation for loving you. And the fourth is – but no words can express that. Here ends my previous existence. Take it: it led me to you.”

~G. K. Chesterton

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Preaching to myself...

“Our life and our death is with our neighbor. If we win our brother, we win God. If we cause our brother to stumble, we have sinned against Christ.”
~Anthony the Great

“You don’t build a house by starting with the roof and working down. You start with the foundation.”
They said, “What does that mean?”
He said, “The foundation is our neighbor whom we must win. The neighbor is where we start. Every commandment of Christ depends on this.”
~St. John Colobus

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Eyewitnesses of Christ’s Glory

Beloved:
We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with Him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts
~2 Peter 1:16-19

Monday, August 5, 2013

Memories

“...memories melt like ice under light. They thaw slowly and never entirely disappear, becoming instead a different form of water.”
~Michael O'Brien

Thursday, August 1, 2013

On the Love of Christ

     All holiness and perfection of soul lies in our love for Jesus Christ our God, who is our Redeemer and our supreme good. It is part of the love of God to acquire and to nurture all the virtues which make a man perfect.
     Has not God in fact won for himself a claim on all our love? From all eternity he has loved us. And it is in this vein that he speaks to us: “O man, consider carefully that I first loved you. You had not yet appeared in the light of day, nor did the world yet exist, but already I loved you. From all eternity I have loved you.”
     Since God knew that man is enticed by favours, he wished to bind him to his love by means of his gifts: “I want to catch men with the snares, those chains of love in which they allow themselves to be entrapped, so that they will love me.” And all the gifts which he bestowed on man were given to this end. He gave him a soul, made in his likeness, and endowed with memory, intellect and will; he gave him a body equipped with the senses; it was for him that he created heaven and earth and such an abundance of things. He made all these things out of love for man, so that all creation might serve man, and man in turn might love God out of gratitude for so many gifts.
     But he did not wish to give us only beautiful creatures; the truth is that to win for himself our love, he went so far as to bestow upon us the fullness of himself. The eternal Father went so far as to give us his only Son. When he saw that we were all dead through sin and deprived of his grace, what did he do? Compelled, as the Apostle says, by the superabundance of his love for us, he sent his beloved Son to make reparation for us and to call us back to a sinless life.
     By giving us his Son, whom he did not spare precisely so that he might spare us, he bestowed on us at once every good: grace, love and heaven; for all these goods are certainly inferior to the Son: He who did not spare his own Son, but handed him over for all of us: how could he fail to give us along with his Son all good things?
~From a sermon by St. Alphonsus Liguori