Friday, October 31, 2014

The humble

“The humble live surprised. The humble live by joy.”
~Ann Voskamp

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Intermittent Rain


(Picture found here)
Rain hitting the shovel
leaned against the house,
rain eating the edges
of the metal in tiny bites,
bloating the handle,
cracking it.
The rain quits and starts again.

There are people who go into that room in the house
where the piano is and close the door.
They play to get at that thing
on the tip of the tongue,
the thing they think of first and never say.
They would leave it out in the rain if they could.

The heart is a shovel leaning against a house somewhere
among the other forgotten tools.
The heart, it's always digging up old ground,
always wanting to give things a decent burial.

But so much stays fugitive,
inside,
where it can't be reached.

The piano is a way of practising
speech when you have no mouth.
When the heart is a shovel that would bury itself.
Still we can go up casually to a piano
and sit down and start playing
the way the rain felt in someone else's bones
a hundred years ago
before we were born,
before we were even one cell,
when the world was clean,
when there were no hearts or people,
the way it sounded
a billion years ago, pattering
into unknown ground. Rain

hitting the shovel leaned against the house,
eating the edges of the metal.
It quits,
             and starts again.

~Roo Borson
 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Become A Blessing

“Just as Christ is the one through whom the love of God is fully revealed and in whom that love is experienced, so also is he the one in whom that love becomes fruitful for the benefit of others. The love of God cannot remain inactive.

Even before the beginning, that love reached out in the eternal Word and, through that Word, produced the blessings of creation. Henceforth, anyone who participates in that love and understands its nature will wish to reach out in the same way and thus to become a blessing in the lives of others.”
~Demetrius Dumm

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Lost

“For everything, in time, gets lost: the lives of peoples now remote, the tantalizing yet ultimately vanished and largely unknowable lives of virtually all of the Greeks and Romans and Ottomans and Malays and Goths and Bengals and Sudanese who ever lived, the peoples of Ur and Kush, the lives of the Hittites and Philistines that will never be known, the lives of people more recent than that, the African slaves and the slave traders, the Boers and the Belgians, those who were slaughtered and those who died in bed, the Polish counts and the Jewish shopkeepers, the blond hair and eyebrows and small white teeth that someone once loved or desired of this or that boy or girl or man or woman who was one of the five million (or six or seven) Ukrainians starved to death by Stalin, and indeed the intangible things beyond the hair and teeth and brows, the smiles and frustrations and laughter and terror and loves and hunger of every one of those millions of Ukrainians, just as the hair of a Jewish girl or boy or man or woman that someone once loved, and the teeth and the brows , the smiles and frustrations and laughter and terror of the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust are now lost, or will soon be lost, because no number of books, however great, could ever document them all, even if they were to be written, which they won’t and can’t be; all that will be lost, too, their pretty legs and their deafness and the vigorous way they strode off a train with a pile of schoolbooks once, the secret family rituals and the recipes for cakes and stews and golaki, the goodness and wickedness, the saviors and the betrayers, their saving and betraying: most everything will be lost, eventually, as surely as most of what made up the lives of the Egyptians and Incas and Hittites has been lost. But for a little while some of that can be rescued, if only, faced with the vastness of all that there is and all that there ever was, somebody makes the decision to look back, to have one last look, to search for a while in the debris of the past and to see not only what was lost but what there is still to be found.”
~Daniel Mendelsohn

Monday, October 27, 2014

Scraps of moon


Photo by Scott Christy on Flickr

Scraps of moon
bobbing discarded on broken water
but sky-moon
complete, transcending
all violation
Here she seems to be talking to herself about
the shape of a life:
Only Once

All which, because it was
flame and song and granted us
joy, we thought we'd do, be, revisit,
turns out to have been what it was
that once, only; every invitation
did not begin
a series, a build-up: the marvelous
did not happen in our lives, our stories
are not drab with its absence: but don't
expect to return for more. Whatever more
there will be will be
unique as those were unique. Try
to acknowledge the next
song in its body-halo of flames as utterly
present, as now or never.

~Denise Levertov
 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

John 14:23

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”

Saturday, October 25, 2014

They Always Fall

“...remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall – think of it – always.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, October 24, 2014

Remarkable Thought

“I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking.”
~George MacDonald

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Humility

“The humble man receives praise the way a clean window takes the light of the sun. The truer and more intense the light is, the less you see of the glass.”
~Thomas Merton

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Only Just Beginning

“This is the mark of Christianity—however much a man toils, and however many righteousnesses he performs, to feel that he has done nothing, and in fasting to say, ‘This is not fasting,’ and in praying, ‘This is not prayer,’ and in perseverance at prayer, ‘I have shown no perseverance; I am only just beginning to practice and to take pains’; and even if he is righteous before God, he should say, ‘I am not righteous, not I; I do not take pains, but only make a beginning every day.’”
~Abba Macarius

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Proverbs

Open rebuke is better
    Than love carefully concealed.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
    But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
~Proverbs 27:5-6

Monday, October 20, 2014

Salvation

“God has let us know a lot. He has lifted the curtain on the problem of evil with Christ. There, the greatest evil that ever happened, both the greatest spiritual evil and the greatest physical evil, both the greatest sin (deicide) and the greatest suffering (perfect love hated and crucified), is revealed as his wise and loving plan to bring about the greatest good, the salvation of the world from sin and suffering eternally. There, the greatest injustice of all time is integrated into the plan of salvation that Saint Paul calls ‘the righteousness (justice) of God’. Love finds a way. Love is very tricky. But love needs to be trusted.

...Reality has hard corners, surprises, and terrible dangers in it. We desperately need a true road map, not nice feelings, if we are to get home...”
~Peter Kreeft

Jesus answered [the Disciples], “Do you now believe? The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave Me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with Me. I have said this to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!”
~John 16:31-33

Sunday, October 19, 2014

God Is Working His Purpose Out

God is working his purpose out
as year succeeds to year:
God is working his purpose out,
and the time is drawing near;
nearer and nearer draws the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled
with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.

From utmost east to utmost west,
wherever foot hath trod,
by the mouth of many messengers
goes forth the voice of God;
give ear to me, ye continents,
ye isles, give ear to me,
that the earth may be filled
with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.

March we forth in the strength of God,
with the banner of Christ unfurled,
that the light of the glorious gospel of truth
may shine throughout the world:
fight we the fight with sorrow and sin
to set their captives free,
that the earth may be filled
with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.

All we can do is nothing worth
unless God blesses the deed;
vainly we hope for the harvest-tide
till God gives life to the seed;
yet nearer and nearer draws the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled
with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.

~Words: Arthur Ainger & Music: Martin Shaw

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Praise the Lord


Photo by jmphotography on Flickr

Praise the Lord for He is good;
sing to our God for He is loving:
to Him our praise is due.

...

He covers the heavens with clouds;
He prepares the rain for the earth,
making mountains sprout with grass
and with plants to serve man’s needs.
He provides the beasts with their food
and young ravens that call upon Him.

His delight is not in horses
nor His pleasure in warriors’ strength.
The Lord delights in those who revere Him,
in those who wait for His love.

~Psalm 147:1,8-11
 

Friday, October 17, 2014

October

“October's the month
When the smallest breeze
Gives us a shower
Of autumn leaves.
Bonfires and pumpkins,
Leaves sailing down -
October is red
And golden and brown.”

~Children’s Folk Song

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The New Trinity

“We can say that the family is the unit of the state; that it is the cell that makes up the formation. Round the family do indeed gather the sanctities that separate men from ants and bees. Decency is the curtain of that tent; liberty is the wall of that city; property is but the family farm; honour is but the family flag. In the practical proportions of human history, we come back to that fundamental of the father and the mother and the child. It has been said already that if this story cannot start with religious assumptions, it must none the less start with some moral or metaphysical assumptions, or no sense can be made of the story of man. And this is a very good instance of that alternative necessity. If we are not of those who begin by invoking a divine Trinity, we must none the less invoke a human Trinity; and see that triangle repeated everywhere in the pattern of the world. For the highest event in history, to which all history looks forward and leads up, is only something that is at once the reversal and the renewal of that triangle. Or rather it is the one triangle superimposed so as to intersect the other, making a sacred pentacle of which, in a mightier sense than that of the magicians, the fiends are afraid. The old Trinity was of father and mother and child and is called the human family. The new is of child and mother and father and has the name of the Holy Family. It is in no way altered except in being entirely reversed; just as the world which is transformed was not in the least different, except in being turned upside-down.”
~G. K. Chesterton

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Morning Hymn


Autumn photo by wistine on Flickr
Eternal Maker of the light,
True Light itself, surpassing day,
No gloom or darkness can You know,
In Your own light which has no end.

Pale shades of night are yielding fast,
Before the bold advance of day;
Resplendent shines the morning star
While other constellations fade.

We gladly rise to sing Your praise,
And thank You with renewed delight,
That rising sun brings back the day,
To conquer night’s obscurity.

Most Holy One, we beg of You
Let not our souls be led astray,
By nature’s pleasures and desires
Or by the world’s deceiving glare.

Let no contention raise disputes,
Nor greed disgrace a Christian’s name,
Nor greed for riches be a snare,
Nor evil thoughts corrupt our minds.

But let us show well-governed souls,
Within a body chaste and pure,
To spend this day in work and prayer,
For Christ our Leader and our Lord.

O Father, this we ask be done
Through Jesus Christ Your only Son,
Whom in the Spirit we adore:
One God who reigns for evermore.
Amen.

~Text: Anonymous from the fifth or sixth century (Translation: Benedictines of Saint Cecilia’s Abbey) & Music: Andernach Gesangbuch
 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Remain Faithful

“I shall promise You one thing, God, just one very small thing: I shall never burden my today with cares about my tomorrow, although that takes some practice. Each day is sufficient unto itself. I shall try to help You, God to stop my strength ebbing away, though I cannot vouch for it in advance...
...we must help You and defend Your dwelling place inside us to the last... You are sure to go through lean times with me now and then, when my faith weakens a little, but believe me, I shall always labor for You and remain faithful to You and I shall never drive You from my presence.”
~Etty Hillesum

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Caged Skylark

As a dare-gale skylark scanted in a dull cage
  Man’s mounting spirit in his bone-house, mean house, dwells—
  That bird beyond the remembering his free fells;
This in drudgery, day-labouring-out life’s age.

Though aloft on turf or perch or poor low stage,
  Both sing sometímes the sweetest, sweetest spells,
  Yet both droop deadly sómetimes in their cells
Or wring their barriers in bursts of fear or rage.

Not that the sweet-fowl, song-fowl, needs no rest—
Why, hear him, hear him babble and drop down to his nest,
  But his own nest, wild nest, no prison.

Man’s spirit will be flesh-bound when found at best,
But uncumbered: meadow-down is not distressed
  For a rainbow footing it nor he for his bónes rísen.

~Gerard Manley Hopkins

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Irreverence in Church


Saint Louis Church - Buffalo, NY
     “When the Patriarch Jacob saw in a dream the ladder reaching to Heaven, on the top of which God was seated, while numerous angels ascended and descended by it, he woke full of astonishment and reverence: ‘And trembling, he said: How terrible is this place! this is no other but the house of God, and the gate of Heaven. Indeed the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not.’ But, holy Patriarch, what are you saying? Do you not know that God is present in all places? Certainly, I do; but here I see in a special manner the effect of His presence, namely, the extraordinary blessing He confers; and I knew it not. See there, my dear brethren, as St. Gregory says, that is a figure of our Christian churches; there is not one of them which does not resemble a ladder leading to Heaven, by which our prayers ascend to God, and His blessings and mercies come down to us. But perhaps, if I were to inquire into the matter, I should find many Christians who do not know what kind of a place the Church is, nor what kind of a Lord dwells in it...

...Many Christians know not and think not of the Lord who dwells in our churches; or else they know not how to behave towards Him...”

~St. Robert Bellarmine
 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Opening Stanza from Choruses from "The Rock"

The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven,
The Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit.

O perpetual revolution of configured stars,

O perpetual recurrence of determined seasons,

O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying

The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to GOD.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from GOD and nearer to the Dust.
~T. S. Eliot

Friday, October 10, 2014

Concentrate Elsewhere

“Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself.”
~Thomas Merton

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Circus of Faith

A squirrel scampers through a circle of trees,
             chattering vociferously
             as branches give way.
Balancing precariously, she flies
             between earth and sky.

Does she catch a glimpse of the hawk
             circling majestically
             above her?
Does she long for the wonder
             of being held
             on the wings of the wind?

Or is she content
             with the daily challenge
                          in her trapeze
                          act of faith?

                          ~Lillian Englert

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cultivating Silence

     “Silence is not the absence of sound. That would be to imagine it negatively. Silence is a toning down of inner and outer static, noise that occupies not only the ears but also the attention. Silence allows many sounds to reach awareness that otherwise would go unheard—the sounds of birds, water, wind, trees, frogs, insects, and chipmunks, as well as conscience, daydreams, intuitions, inhibitions, and wishes.
     One cultivates silence not by forcing the ears not to hear, but by turning up the volume on the music of the world and the soul.”
~Thomas Moore

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Story

“You can’t change the tale so that you turned left one day instead of right, or didn’t make the mistake that might have saved your life a day later. We don’t get those choices. The story is what got you here, and embracing its truth is what makes the outcome bearable.”
~Gail Caldwell

Monday, October 6, 2014

It makes a difference

     “The well-known social critic Dennis Prager, debating the Oxford atheistic philosopher Jonathan Glover, raised this thorny question: ‘If you, Professor Glover, were stranded at the midnight hour in a desolate Los Angeles street and if, as you stepped out of your car with fear and trembling, you were suddenly to hear the weight of pounding footsteps behind you, and you saw ten burly young men who had just stepped out of a dwelling coming toward you, would it or would it not make a difference to you to know that they were coming from a Bible study?’
     Amidst hilarious laughter in the auditorium, Glover conceded that it would make a difference. Of course it makes a difference, because there is a logical connection.”

     “Yes, there is a connection—a logical connection—between telos and ethics, between the purpose of life and the ‘oughts’ that entail, between God and morality.”

~Ravi Zacharias

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Ladder

“Our blessed Lord said that unless the seed fall to the ground and die, it will not spring forth into life. Nothing is reborn to a higher life without a death to a lower one. The heart has its cycles as well as the planets and the movement of the heart is an upward spiral and not a circle which turns in upon itself. The crisis of nothingness which follows a dream come true, needs its purification and its cross. And its cross is not a roadblock on the way to happiness. It is a ladder of which one climbs to the very heaven of love itself.”
~Fulton Sheen

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation

Christ is made the sure foundation,
Christ, our head and cornerstone,
Chosen of the Lord and precious,
Binding all the Church in one;
Holy Zion’s help forever
And our confidence alone.

To this temple, where we call You,
Come, O Lord of hosts, and stay;
Come with all Your loving kindness,
Hear Your people as they pray;
And Your fullest benediction
Shed within these wall today.

Grant, we pray, to all Your faithful
All the gifts they ask to gain;
What they gain from You, forever
With the blessed to retain;
And here after in Your glory
Evermore with You to reign.

~Words: Latin, seventh century; Trans. John Neale & Music: Westminster Abbey

Friday, October 3, 2014

Love

“Love doesn't demand perfection, but it does ask you to give yourself with less reserve than you'd prefer.”
~Thomas Moore

Thursday, October 2, 2014

An Old Saying

“Four things come not back:
The spoken word,
The sped arrow,
The neglected opportunity,
The past.”
~Old Saying, Circa 750 A.D.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
~Walt Whitman