Saturday, May 31, 2014

Let All Things Now Living

Let all things now living a song of thanksgiving
To God the creator triumphantly raise.
Who fashioned and made us, protected and stayed us,
Who still guides us on to the end of our days.
God's banners are o'er us, His light goes before us,
A pillar of fire shining forth in the night.
Till shadows have vanished and darkness is banished
As forward we travel from light into Light.

His law He enforces, the stars in their courses
And sun in its orbit obediently shine;
The hills and the mountains, the rivers and fountains,
The deeps of the ocean proclaim Him divine.
We too should be voicing our love and rejoicing;
With glad adoration a Song let us raise
Till all things now living unite in thanksgiving:
“To God in the highest, Hosanna and praise!”

~Words: Katherine Davis & Music: Welsh Melody (Ash Grove)

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Fear Of God

“The fear of God illumines the soul, annihilates evil, weakens the passions, drives darkness from the soul and makes it pure. The fear of God is the summit of wisdom. Where it is not you will find nothing good. Whoever does not have the fear of God is open to diabolical falls.”
~St. Ephrem the Syrian

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Troubles?

“Troubles are usually the brooms and shovels that smooth the road to a good man’s fortune; and many a man curses the rain that falls upon his head, and knows not that it brings abundance to drive away hunger.”
~St. Basil

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Thoughts on Life

“If you become rich, consider whether or not you could worthily bear poverty. If you are happy, imagine how you could worthily meet unhappiness. When people praise you, think how you might worthily bear insult. And, all your life, think how you might worthily meet death.”
~St. Nicholas of Serbia

Monday, May 26, 2014

Moral Courage

"Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men."
~George Patton  

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Lord Answers


(Photo by Remo Savisaar)
“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
    that a flood of waters may cover you?
Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go
    and say to you, ‘Here we are’?
Who has put wisdom in the inward parts
    or given understanding to the mind?”
~Job 38:34-36
  

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Meeting

He was looking at a flower,
Not with love, but looking at it;
His plough was stopped in the top corner
Of a field he had just roofed.

There was nothing to say that the wind,
Repeating in a tree the unrecorded
Facts of history, had reached further
Than the cold porches of his ear.

He was looking at a flower,
As an animal looks, wondering nothing
About the mystery of its growth.
And why should he? He had grown, too.

With less beauty? Who is to say?
There was a likeness in his eyes,
In both their tenancies of the air’s
Quietness. You could have passed

On the hill road, unsuspecting
That blank encounter in space-time
Of two creatures, each with its load
Of meaning not to be set down.

~R. S. Thomas

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Art and Faith

“The journey homewards. Coming home. That's what it's all about. The journey to the coming of the Kingdom. That's probably the chief difference between the Christian and the secular artist--the purpose of the work, be it story or music or painting, is to further the coming of the kingdom, to make us aware of our status as children of God, and to turn our feet toward home.”
~Madeleine L'Engle

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Overlap

“But the whole point of the Christian story, at the climax of the Jewish story, is that the curtain has been pulled back, the door has been opened from the other side, and like Jacob we have glimpsed a ladder between heaven and earth with messengers going to and fro upon it. ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand,’ says Jesus in Matthew’s gospel, not offering a new way of getting to heaven hereafter, but announcing that the rule of heaven, the very life of heaven, is now overlapping with earth in a new way—a way which sweeps together all the moments from Jacob’s ladder to Isaiah’s vision, all the patriarchal insights and prophetic dreams, and turns them into a human form, a human voice, a human life, a human death.

...Heaven and earth have overlapped permanently where he stands, where he hung, where he rises, wherever the fresh wind of his Spirit now blows. Living as a Christian means living in the world as it’s been reshaped by and around Jesus and his Spirit...

Christian prayer is about standing at the fault line, being shaped by the Jesus who knelt in Gethsemane, groaning in travail, holding heaven and earth together like someone trying to tie two pieces of rope with people tugging at the other ends to pull them apart.

...Like John in Revelation 4 and 5, we see through prayer a door standing open in heaven, and we are ushered into the throne room.

But we are no longer there as mere observers. We are there as beloved children. Let Jesus himself have the last word: ‘If you, then, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!’ (Matthew 7:11).”
~N. T. Wright

Monday, May 19, 2014

Bear Patiently

“At the least, bear patiently, if thou canst not joyfully. And although thou be very unwilling to hear it, and feel indignation, yet check thyself, and suffer no unadvised word to come forth from thy lips, whereby the little ones may be offended. Soon the storm which hath been raised shall be stilled, and inward grief shall be sweetened by returning grace.”
~Thomas à Kempis

Sunday, May 18, 2014

"the Love which moves the sun and the other stars"

~Dante

“Behind the violence of the birthing of galaxies and stars and planets came a quiet and tender melody, a gentle love song. All the raging of creation, the continuing hydrogen explosions on the countless suns, the heaving of planetary bodies, all was enfolded in a patient, waiting love.”
~Madeleine L'Engle

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Great and Lasting Things...

May I learn from You [Lord]
how precarious are earthly things,
how great divine things,
how fleeting is time,
how lasting things eternal.
~Pope Clement XI

Friday, May 16, 2014

Prayer for the busy...

“Everyone of us needs half an hour of prayer each day, except when we are busy—then we need an hour.”
~St. Francis de Sales

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Jesus Paid It All

I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Refrain:
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.

Refrain

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down
All down at Jesus’ feet.

Refrain 

~Words: Elvina Hall & Music: John Grape

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Spring

I heard this poem (read by Garrison Keillor) on the classical radio station while driving into work this morning. It seems that those living in New York State have just recently been able to appreciate the full arrival of spring. This poem seemed quite timely...

Just as we lose hope
she ambles in,
a late guest
dragging her hem
of wildflowers,
her torn
veil of mist,
of light rain,
blowing
her dandelion
breath
in our ears;
and we forgive her,
turning from
chilly winter
ways,
we throw off
our faithful
sweaters
and open
our arms.

~Linda Pastan

Monday, May 12, 2014

Missing the Sea...


(Photo by Remo Savisaar)

“When we’re at the place where the sea and the land meet, why do we love to look at the sea rather than at the land?

We act on the sea with our ships, but she acts on our souls with her beauty. ...How does she come to have such power?

...All nature is radioactive with a mysterious spiritual power that we do not understand, but it shows itself most powerfully in the sea. We never feel more humble and helpless than when we face the sea—and we never feel happier...

...I think words are not meant to capture the answer to the sea’s mystery, any more than they are meant to capture the strangely similar mystery of music. I think our question about the riddle of the sea is meant to be asked, but not meant to be answered. It is supposed to go on and on like the waves...

The music is playing all the time. All the intermittent musics on earth are surrounded by the perpetual music of the sea; and the music of the sea is surrounded by ‘the music of the spheres.’

...When you live by the sea, everything changes, and the change is the same as when you believe in God: you are never alone. There is a Greater Presence next to you every minute. You have to take account of this Presence every day, at least unconsciously....You always have this large, unpredictable wild animal in your neighborhood...

...Deep down, we know our souls need something wild, something dangerous, something that makes us feel alive. The sea does that. It’s the last untamed place on earth.”
~Peter Kreeft

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother’s Day!

I have been and continue to be so blessed by a wonderful mother. My children are so blessed as well. The following quotes remind me of what I get to witness all of the time at home as I watch my wife with our children. Just beautiful... Having amazing mothers like my children and I have is such a gift from God...

“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.”

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.”

“Try to be even-tempered. Only in this way can one show a constant resolution to love God.”

“Great occasions for serving God come seldom, but little ones surround us daily.”

“When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time.”
~St. Francis de Sales

“Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of impossibility . . .”
~Thomas à Kempis

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Comfort

“Do not assume that he who seeks to comfort you now, lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life may also have much sadness and difficulty, that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise, he would never have been able to find these words.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Psalm 91:14-16

“Because he holds fast to Me in love, I will deliver him;
    I will protect him, because he knows My name.
When he calls to Me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble;
    I will rescue him and honor him.
With length of days I will content him
    and show him My salvation.”

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

In Vain

“Evil labours with vast power and perpetual success—in vain; preparing always only the soil for unexpected good to sprout in.”
~J. R. R. Tolkien

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Song Goes On

“My life is not this steeply sloping hour,
in which you see me hurrying.
Much stands behind me; I stand before it like a tree;
I am only one of my many mouths,
and at that, the one that will be still the soonest.

I am the rest between two notes,
which are somehow always in discord
because Death’s note wants to climb over—
but in the dark interval, reconciled,
they stay there trembling.
And the song goes on, beautiful.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Monday, May 5, 2014

Heaven

“How great will your glory and happiness be, to be allowed to see God, to be honored with sharing the joy of salvation and eternal light with Christ your Lord and God, ... to delight in the joy of immortality in the Kingdom of heaven with the righteous and God's friends.”
~St. Cyprian

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Becoming One

“When we say to people, ‘I will pray for you,’ we make a very important commitment. The sad thing is that this remark often remains nothing but a well-meant expression of concern. But when we learn to descend with our mind into our heart, then all those who have become part of our lives are led into the healing presence of God and touched by Him in the center of our being. We are speaking here about a mystery for which words are inadequate. It is the mystery that the heart, which is the center of our being, is transformed by God into His own heart, a heart large enough to embrace the entire universe. Through prayer we can carry in our heart all human pain and sorrow, all conflicts and agonies, all torture and war, all hunger, loneliness, and misery, not because of some great psychological or emotional capacity, but because God's heart has become one with ours.”
~Henri Nouwen

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Way of the World

“If the world is against truth, then I am against the world.”
~St. Athanasius

“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.”
~Will Durant

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Soul

“Ten times a day something happens to me like this - some strengthening throb of amazement - some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built ...out of attentiveness.”
~Mary Oliver