Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Chinese Proverb


Picture used with permission from artist
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.
The second best time is now.”
  

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Taste and See

“Eternal Trinity, Godhead, mystery deep as the sea, You could give me no greater gift than the gift of Yourself. For You are a fire ever burning and never consumed, which itself consumes all the selfish love that fills my being. Yes, You are a fire that takes away the coldness, illuminates the mind with its light and causes me to know Your truth. By this light, reflected as it were in a mirror, I recognise that You are the highest good, one we can neither comprehend nor fathom. And I know that You are beauty and wisdom itself. The food of angels, You gave Yourself to man in the fire of Your love.

You are the garment which covers our nakedness, and in our hunger You are a satisfying food, for You are sweetness and in You there is no taste of bitterness, O triune God!”
~St. Catherine of Siena

Monday, April 28, 2014

Praying

“It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.”
~Mary Oliver

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Gloria

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of good will.
We praise you, we bless you,
we adore you, we glorify you,
we give you thanks,
for your great glory,
Lord God, heavenly King,
O God, almighty Father.

Lord Jesus Christ,
Only Begotten Son,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world,
receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
have mercy on us.

For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.
Amen.

~Church Liturgy

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Easter Sequence


(Picture found here)

“Christians, to the Paschal victim
offer your thankful praises!

A lamb the sheep redeemeth:
Christ, who only is sinless,
reconcileth sinners to the Father.

Death and life have contended
in that combat stupendous:
the Prince of life, who died,
reigns immortal.

Speak, Mary, declaring
what thou sawest, wayfaring:

‘The tomb of Christ, who is living,
the glory of Jesus’ resurrection;

Bright angels attesting,
the shroud and napkin resting.

Yea, Christ my hope is arisen;
to Galilee he will go before you.’

Christ indeed from death is risen,
our new life obtaining;
have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!”
[Amen.] [Alleluia.]

~Wipo of Burgundy (d. 1048)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Light’s Glittering Morn



Light’s glittering morn bedecks the sky,
Heav’n thunders forth its victor cry:
The glad earth shouts her triumph high,
And groaning hell makes wild reply.

Hell’s pains are loosed and tears are fled:
Captivity is captive led:
The angel, crowned with light, hath said:
‘The Lord is risen from the dead.’

Author of all, be Thou our guide
In this our joy of Eastertide;
Whene’er assaults of death impend,
Thy people strengthen and defend.

To Thee who, dead, again dost live,
All glory, Lord, Thy people give:
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete.

~Words: Latin, Seventh century & Music: Easter Chant, Easter Song, St. Lawrence

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Road

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can.”
~J. R. R. Tolkien

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Voice of Silence

...In meditation there is peace.
The outer world is stilled.
You become an ear.
You learn to listen.
At first, with luck, you hear
the sound of distant deer bells:
and then, from even farther,
a voice that falls more softly
than footsteps on the water.
~George Whipple

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Suddenly

As I had always known
he would come, unannounced,
remarkable merely for the absence
of clamour. So truth must appear
to the thinker; so, at a stage
of the experiment, the answer
must quietly emerge. I looked
at him, not with the eye
only, but with the whole
of my being, overflowing with
him as a chalice would
with the sea. Yet was he
no more there than before,
his area occupied
by the unhaloed presences.
You could put your hand
in him without consciousness
of his wounds. The gamblers
at the foot of the unnoticed
cross went on with
their dicing; yet the invisible
garment for which they played
was no longer at stake, but worn
by him in this risen existence.

~R. S. Thomas

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Monday

“...if you deny that the Lord Jesus Christ is God, the result is that in denying the Son of God you deny the Father also. For as St. John says: ‘He who hath not the Son hath not the Father; but he who hath the Son hath the Father also.’ By denying then Him who was begotten you deny also Him who begat. By denying also that the Son of God was born in the flesh, you are led also to deny that He was born in the Spirit, for it is the same Person who was born in the flesh who was first born in the Spirit. If you do not believe that He was born in the flesh, the result is that you do not believe that He suffered. If you do not believe in His Passion what remains for you but to deny His resurrection? For faith in one raised springs out of faith in one dead. Nor can the reference to the resurrection keep its place, unless belief in His death has first preceded it. By denying then his Passion and Death, you deny also his resurrection from hell. It follows certainly that you deny His ascension also, for there cannot be the ascension without the resurrection. And if we do not believe that He rose again, we cannot either believe that He ascended: as the Apostle says, ‘For He that descended is the same also that ascended.’ Thus, so far as you are concerned, the Lord Jesus Christ did not rise from hell, nor ascend into heaven, nor sit at the right hand of God the Father, nor will He come at that day of judgment which we look for, nor will He judge the quick and the dead.”
~St. John Cassian (c.360-435) from The Seven Books, Chapter XVII

“Cassian is defending the resurrection of Jesus Christ by using logic. If you deny the incarnation, then you deny death, and if you deny death, you deny the resurrection. The whole realm of Christianity rests on the fact that ‘Christ is risen’.

Easter Monday is a holiday celebrated in Eastern Orthodox churches and Roman Catholic churches. It is also called Bright Monday or Renewal Monday and time is spent in worship, fellowship and in the Greek tradition, telling jokes to each other remembering that God pulled the great cosmic joke on the devil by raising Christ from the dead.”
~Jeffrey Johnson

Sunday, April 20, 2014

To Him Be Glory

“Let no one bewail his poverty,
For the universal Kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one weep for his iniquities,
For pardon has shown forth from the grave.
Let no one fear death,
For the Saviour's death has set us free.
He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it.

By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive.
He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh.
And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry:
Hell, said he, was embittered
When it encountered Thee in the lower regions.

It was embittered, for it was abolished.
It was embittered, for it was mocked.
It was embittered, for it was slain.
It was embittered, for it was overthrown.
It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains.
It took a body, and met God face to face.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

O Death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory?

Christ is risen, and thou art overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!

. . . To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages.
Amen.”

~St. John Chrysostom

Friday, April 18, 2014

That I may see...

“The piercing nail has become a key to unlock the door, that I may see the good will of the Lord. And what can I see as I look through the hole? Both the nail and the wound cry out that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself... Through these sacred wounds we can see the secret of His heart, the great mystery of love...”
~St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Last Supper

When the hour came, He took His place at table with the apostles.
He said to them, “I have longed to eat this meal with you before I suffer...”
~Luke 22:14-15

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

When I Survey...

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

~(From the hymn: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross)
Words: Isaac Watts & Music: Lowell Mason

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Judgment

"O who can tell which judgment is the more terrible, the silent secret judgment, or the open glorious coming of the Judge. It will be most terrible certainly, and it comes first, to find ourselves by ourselves, one by one, in His presence, and to have brought before us most vividly all the thoughts, words and deeds of this past life. Who will be able to bear the sight of himself? And yet we shall be obliged steadily to confront ourselves and to see ourselves. In this life we shrink from knowing our real selves. We do not like to know how sinful we are. We love those who prophesy smooth things to us, and we are angry with those who tell us of our faults. But then, not one fault only, but all the secret, as well as evident, defects of our character will be clearly brought out. We shall see what we feared to see here, and much more. And then, when the full sight of ourselves comes to us, who will not wish that he had known more of himself here, rather than leaving it for the inevitable day to reveal it all to him!"
~John Henry Newman

"On that day [at the end of time] we will not be facing an unknown, faceless judge who has stern, by-the-book convictions. We will be facing our Friend. His hands still bear the wounds of the nails, and His voice is the same one that has been calling us all our lives. As He sorts between sheep and goats, it won't be hard for Him to tell which is which. A lifetime turns you into one or the other. It will be too late then to repent of all the goatish decades, which passed so gently, imperceptibly, one lazy day after another. At the end of a lifetime of living like a goat, it will be too late to turn into a humble, trusting lamb. Today is the day of salvation.

(Psalm 95:6-7) 'O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. O that today you would hearken to His voice!'"
~Frederica Mathewes-Green

Monday, April 14, 2014

Holy Week

 
Lord, Your Glory In Christ We Have Seen

Antiphon:
Lord, Your glory in Christ we have seen,
Full of goodness and full of grace:
In Christ let us live anew,
Fill us with His love,
And all men shall see the fruits of Your victory.

The Almighty has planted His seed in the earth:
He tended well the grain and He waits for the rebirth.

Antiphon

The Almighty has ground all the grain for the feast:
He made it into flour, and He waits for the yeast.

Antiphon

The Almighty has given His body for man:
He broke for us the bread, and He waits like a lamb.

Antiphon

The Almighty was given a crown made of thorn:
It pierced Him till He bled and He waits: do we mourn?

Antiphon

The Almighty did suffer and evil destroy:
He died to ease our pain, and He waits for our joy.

Antiphon

~Melody: Words: Didier Rimaud (Translator: Anthony Petti) Music: Jean Langlais

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Art Gallery


"Luke and St. Luke"
“Man, in the simplicity and loftiness of his nature . . . is surely the most beautiful model for the painter . . . .”
~George Catlin
 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Acedia

“Cassian quotes several of the Egyptian desert fathers including Abbot Moses, that the best way to fight acedia is to avoid idleness of heart and mind, and endure the work at hand. It is said in the Egyptian desert ‘a monk who works is attacked by but one devil; but an idler is tormented by countless spirits.’ Every Christian should apply patience and humility to their work, and purpose their hearts to be diligent to everything that they do.”
~Jeffrey Johnson

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Finally, Spring

 
Picture used with permission by photographer Elsa Kettinger.

I have confused first buds
with failed beginnings,
mistakes and scribbled-over
words. No mistaking this:
the faint blush from buds
on the long black branch.
~Richard Osler
 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

To Their Own Advantage

“Although the life of heaven is designed to bring healing to the life of earth, the powers that presently run this earth have carved it up to their own advantage, and they resent any suggestion of a different way. That is why the powers—whether they are in politics or the media, in the professions or the business world—bitterly resent any suggestion from Christian leaders as to how things ought to be...”
~N. T. Wright

Monday, April 7, 2014

His Plan

“How is it possible for us to come to God, to surrender to Him our whole intellect, our whole will? We do not even ourselves know why we are loyal to one person and alienated from another, in sympathy with one person and opposed to another. God alone knows the working of the human soul; and God, who knows, who has made us, has thought out His plan, the supreme plan, the good testimony of Christ before Pilate. In the words of Saint Peter: ‘Christ died for our sins, the just for the unjust.’ And by His death He achieved for truth its highest ascendency, an ascendency not otherwise to be obtained. Here again we see the genius of Christianity, a wonderful understanding, we might almost say, on the part of God Himself, of man's real needs, man's real hunger, and thirst... The folly of the cross is a great psychological power, a great instrument of truth, which wins us and makes us loyal to Christ Himself; nothing else can achieve that... We know what a Christian man ought to be. Your life, such as it is, is a pre-ordained thing, and it is for you to drink your cup even as Christ drank His. His life and His death, if they apparently were failures, were not so in reality. We also are children of that divine Father who held to the lips of His Son a beverage to drink, and so our lives have a wonderful mysterious significance.”
~Anscar Vonier

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Only Received

“Meaning that is self-made is in the last analysis no meaning. Meaning, that is, the ground on which our existence as a totality can stand and live, cannot be made but only received...”
~Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Glory Of These Forty Days

The glory of these forty days
We celebrate with songs of praise;
For Christ, by Whom all things were made,
Himself has fasted and has prayed.

Alone and fasting Moses saw
The loving God Who gave the law;
And to Elijah, fasting, came
The steeds and chariots of flame.

So Daniel trained his mystic sight,
Delivered from the lions’ might;
And John, the Bridegroom’s friend, became
The herald of Messiah’s Name.

Then grant us, Lord, like them to be
Full oft in fast and prayer with Thee;
Our spirits strengthen with Thy grace,
And give us joy to see Thy face.

O Father, Son, and Spirit blest,
To thee be every prayer addressed,
Who art in threefold Name adored,
From age to age, the only Lord.

~Words: St. Gregory (translated by Maurice Bell) & Music: Joseph Klug

Friday, April 4, 2014

O my soul...

“O my soul, thou hast valued the wells of Canaanite
thoughts more than the veined Rock, Jesus, the
Fountain of wisdom from which flow the rivers of
divine knowledge.

When Thy servant Moses struck the rock with his rod,
he prefigured Thy life-giving side, O Savior, from which
we all draw the water of life.

Like Joshua the son of Nun, search and spy out, my
soul, the land of thine inheritance and take up thy
dwelling within it, through obedience to the law.

Rise up and make war against the passions of the flesh,
as Joshua against Amalek, ever gaining victory over
the Gibeonites, they deceitful thoughts.

O my soul, pass through the flowing waters of time
like the ark of old, and take possession of the land of
promise, for God commands thee.

As Thou has saved Peter when he cried out, ‘Save
me,’ come quickly, O Savior, before it is too late, and
save me from the beast. Stretch out Thine hand and
lead me up from the deep of sin.

I know Thee as a calm haven, O Lord...

     Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

~St. Andrew of Crete

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Bright Field

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
the treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying

on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but it is the eternity that awaits you.

~R. S. Thomas

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Vision of God in the Bush

“Moses the great went to dwell in the desert. Come, seek
to follow his way of life, my soul, that in contemplation
thou mayest attain the vision of God in the bush.”
~St. Andrew of Crete

“This ‘vision of God in the bush’ is, like the Transfiguration of Christ on Mt. Tabor (Matthew 17:1-8), the Christian destiny. By diligence in seeking God we are purified, then illumined, and then see His light; and to see His light is to be engulfed and filled by it. (1 John 3:2) ‘Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.’ So wrote St. John, who had been a witness on Mt. Tabor.

...it is the same fire of God that Moses saw in the Burning Bush and that St. John saw transfiguring Christ on Mt. Tabor, which devoured Nadab and Abihu. People in earlier generations had more familiarity with the characteristics of fire than we do. Until a hundred years ago, there was no experience of light that was not provided by fire, whether candlelight, lamplight, or campfire. All scriptural references to ‘light’ assume the presence of fire.

Fire is brilliant, illuminating, and warming, but is also dangerous in its power. It must be treated with respect. Fire does not compromise or make allowances. In an encounter, any change that takes place will be on the part of the one approaching the fire—not the fire itself.

God is changeless by His very nature. If you approach Him, you are going to be the one doing the changing. (1 Corinthians 3:15) ‘If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.’ What in you will be burned up when you meet the light of Christ?”
~Frederica Mathewes-Green

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Roof Nail

A hundred boats are still looking for the shore.
There is more in my hopes than I imagined.
The tiny roof nail lies on the ground, aching for the roof.
Some little bone in our foot is longing for heaven.

~Robert Bly