Sunday, November 30, 2014

Savior Of The Nations, Come

Savior of the nations, come;
Virgin’s Son, here make Thy home!
Marvel now, O heaven and earth,
That the Lord chose such a birth.

Not by human flesh and blood;
By the Spirit of our God
Was the Word of God made flesh,
Woman’s offspring, pure and fresh.

Wondrous birth! O wondrous Child
Of the virgin undefiled!
Though by all the world disowned,
Still to be in heaven enthroned.

From the Father forth He came
And returneth to the same,
Captive leading death and hell
High the song of triumph swell!

Thou, the Father’s only Son,
Hast over sin the victory won.
Boundless shall Thy kingdom be;
When shall we its glories see?

Brightly doth Thy manger shine,
Glorious is its light divine.
Let not sin o’ercloud this light;
Ever be our faith thus bright.

Praise to God the Father sing,
Praise to God the Son, our King,
Praise to God the Spirit be
Ever and eternally.

~Words: St. Am­brose of Mi­lan, cir­ca 397 (Trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Ger­man by Mar­tin Lu­ther, 1523; trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to En­glish by Will­iam Rey­nolds, 1851) & Music: Jo­hann Wal­ther, har­mo­ny by Jo­hann S. Bach

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Hands


(Picture by Ivan Pastoukhov)
“Behold the hands, how they promise, conjure, appeal, menace, pray, supplicate, refuse, beckon, interrogate, admire, confess, cringe, instruct, command, mock…: and what not besides, with a variation and multiplication of variation which makes the tongue envious.”
~Michel de Montaigne
 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Until The Morning


(Artwork by Michael O'Brien - found here)
“To suffer and to be happy although suffering, to have one’s feet on the earth, to walk on the dirty and rough paths of this earth and yet to be enthroned with Christ at the Father’s right hand, to laugh and cry with the children of this world and ceaselessly to sing the praises of God with the choirs of angels this is the life of the Christian until the morning of eternity breaks forth.”
~Teresa Benedicta
  

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Tale (Part 3 of 3)

    “Do you know how many of those I see every night?”
    He shook his head.
    “On a good night, three or four. On a bad night, ten or twenty. Most of them die within a few hours. Most of them crawl here or are dumped at the door by the police. The morgue is full of them, and most are either very old, or young like this one. Never has a tourist brought me one. Why did you do it?”
    “He is my son.”
    “He is Russian. He is not your son.”
    “He is my father.”
    “Are you insane, or are you a poet?”
    “Neither.”
    “Religious, then. The Good Samaritan?”
    “Are you religious, Doctor?”
    “Not in the least. Answer my question.”
    “I am a father who has lost his child, and he is a son who has lost his parents.”
    “Perhaps he has no parents. These street people often don’t. He might have killed you.”
    “Well, the risk was mine.”
    Scrutinizing him with an expression of disapproval, she said, much to Alex’s surprise, “Would you like a cup of tea?”
    “No thank you. I will return to my hotel. But first may I leave a message for Alyosha?”
    “Alyosha, is it?”
    “Alexei Andreivich is his name.”
    “All right, you can leave it with me. I’ll see that he gets it, if he survives the night.”
    While she went to get an envelope, Alex wrote the following on a page in his pocket notebook:

    Alexei Andreivich,
       You do not know me, and I do not know you. You have a
    name that is beautiful in the sight of God, who is your Father.
    You have a Father, Alyosha. You are not alone. Though you
    say you are dead, you are alive. Though you think you are
    destined to fall down into the drain hole of the universe, it is
    not true. Do not believe that lie. You are more than you think
    you are.
       Life demands that we part, but I will not forget you. We are
    united in a bond that nothing can break. Take this gift, and
    when you have recovered your health, begin again.
                                                                Aleksandr Graham

    He tore the page from the notebook and folded it around two five-hundred-ruble notes. Examining the rumpled bills that remained in his pocket, he saw that he now had less than a thousand. He kept enough for a taxi ride back to the Rossiya and added the balance to the gift. When the doctor returned, he put the note and money into the envelope she gave him, sealed it, and wrote Alyosha’s name on it.
    “You are mad”, she said, shaking her head. “Why do you throw away your money?”
    “Will you give it to him?”
    “If he lives”, she said without emotion. “But what if he dies?”
    “If he dies, give it to someone like him, someone who survives.”
    “What about your hat, your coat, and your jacket?” He hesitated only a moment, then bid farewell to his grandfather’s overcoat.
    “They are now his.”
    “And if he dies?”
    “Give them to someone like him.”
    Her frown intensified, as if she was deeply offended by all that had occurred.
   “Wait here”, she commanded, turning on her heel. A few minutes later she returned bearing a huge old greatcoat of dark blue felt, and a leather cap lined with dirty sheepskin.
    “Take this”, she said, thrusting them upon him. “No one needs it.”
    “Who does it belong to?”
    “I took it off a dead man earlier this evening. A man with no name. He was not diseased. He died of heart failure.”
    Alex put on the coat, which fit well and smelled of dried sweat. He wrapped his beloved tartan scarf around his neck.
    “Thank you”, he said.
    And so he left wearing the garb of the nameless, aware only that he was moving ever closer to the loss of everything, unaware that the doctor stood motionless in the center of the ward watching him go.

~Michael O’Brien (from The Father’s Tale)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Tale (Part 2 of 3)

    “I have a sick man here”, Alex said. “Can you take him to a hospital?”
    “Yes, for two hundred rubles.”
    Alex rummaged in his pockets and hastily gave him the money.
    “Can you help me carry him?”
    The driver shrugged, got out, and walked with Alex to the street lamp. When he saw the bundle of groaning rags, he took a step back and said, “He’s filthy. He’s a hotel for lice.”
    “He will die if he stays here.”
    “So? What is he to you?”
    “He is . . .”, Alex said slowly. “He is my son.”
    “He’s your son? All right, let’s get him. You take his shoulders; I’ll take his feet.”
    The driver reached down to grab the ankles, then drew back.
    “Forget it”, he said. “He’ll make a mess in my car.”
    Alex unbuttoned his coat and threw it over Alyosha. He removed the wallet, passport, and papers from his tweed jacket and stuffed them into his pants pockets. The jacket went over Alyosha’s legs and feet.
    “There, we’ll wrap him in this. Now he won’t soil your upholstery.”
    “This is not your son”, the driver said. “You’re a foreigner.”
    “Yes, I am a foreigner. And you are right, he is not my son.” Alex shivered in the night wind. “He is my father.”
    The driver stared at him suspiciously. Alex handed him another hundred rubles. This finalized the deal, and without any further discussion they loaded the body into the back seat of the car. Ten minutes later they carried Alyosha into the emergency ward of a hospital.
    The driver took off immediately, leaving Alex on a hard wooden bench with Alyosha propped against his shoulder. For an hour he watched the frantic comings and goings in the ward, amazed that the city contained so many tragedies, even more amazed that he was sitting in the midst of it with a stranger’s body leaning against his. Wondering why.
    Wondering if he had fallen through the thin ice that separated all men from the suction of the void.
    With his eyes closed, Alyosha rolled his head back and breathed noisily through his open mouth. His teeth stopped chattering, he was no longer shaking, and a great heat now emanated from his body. When at last a doctor approached with a clipboard, Alex explained what had happened. Frowning, she jotted down pertinent details, then put her hand to Alyosha’s forehead.
    “He’s burning up”, she said in a monotone. “Does he have papers?”
    “I think he has been robbed of his documents.”
    “There’s not much we can do for him.”
    “Is there no place for a Russian citizen who has suffered this misfortune?”
    She shrugged. “We look after all our citizens.”
    “I can help with expenses”, he said.
    She put her clipboard under her arm and gave him a stern look.
    “Sir, though you speak Russian very well, it is obvious that you are not from this country. It is a foolish thing you have done. There are very dangerous people in Moscow, flooding in from all over, criminals who would not hesitate to cut your throat for a ruble. In the future you must remember that it is better to avoid trouble. Do not make eye contact with strangers. Do not answer them if they speak to you.”
    “This is most helpful advice, madam”, he replied politely. “Still, I do not think this man is dangerous. He is just a lost soul.”
    “I can see that you are a person of considerate nature. However, people from the West are naïve. It would be better for you to keep to the hotels and the tourist places. We do not want incidents.”
    “Of an international nature?”
    She flashed him a look and returned to writing on her clipboard.
    Calling two orderlies, she instructed them to take Alyosha away. “To DT wing. Shower and disinfect him there. I will call the chief of detox to register. If anyone makes problems, tell them I will take personal responsibility.”
    They carried Alyosha to a gurney and loaded him onto it. The doctor watched them go through a set of green double doors, and then she turned to Alex.

~Michael O’Brien (from The Father’s Tale)

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Tale (Part 1 of 3)

    As he entered one of the stalls, he heard a bestial wail, or a snort, or the gurgle of a cut throat. Leaping back into the center of the room, he turned in every direction but could see no other person. Then the sound came again from the farthest corner, this time followed by groans. Creeping warily along the row of cubicles, Alex stopped suddenly and remained motionless as he stared into the last stall. The scene was so completely beyond his experience and normal categories of thought that he was momentarily paralyzed.
    Lying on the wet floor was a young man in fetal position, reeking of alcohol, body fluids, and human befoulment. His shoes were soaked, torn, sockless, laced with string. His thin cloth coat was flung open, revealing a cotton undershirt stained with blood and vomit. But his face was the worst, for it was bruised and lacerated with cuts, scabbed with dried blood. His nose was broken, though this seemed to be an old break that had healed badly. His lips were swollen and cracked, opening and closing with shallow breathing that came from his mouth. His chin was dark with several days’ growth of beard. By what chain of follies he had come to this end, Alex could not begin to guess.
    He knelt down and reached out to shake the man’s shoulder, but there was little response, only a resuming of mute cries that seemed to come from the pit of the soul. His glazed eyes managed to swivel toward Alex but could not maintain their focus and returned to a sightless gaze at the floor. His arms were locked in an X across his chest, with large hands clenched tightly. His body convulsed and shook with chills. Alex put his hand on the man’s forehead. It was ice cold.
    He now realized that the man was lying across the drain hole and that spray from the water pipe was soaking the entire length of his back. Fighting overwhelming disgust, he grabbed the inert form and dragged it out of the cubicle into the dirty slush of the main section of the washroom. An empty vodka bottle skidded out with him and spun in circles. Alex closed the front of the coat over the man’s chest and bound it with strings that were knotted in the buttonholes. After a quick search, he found a weak heat source farther along the wall, the ventilation shaft out of which warm air was rising, accompanied by the faint roar of the subway many meters below. He dragged the man’s body over to it and propped it up in sitting position.
    Removing his own scarf, Alex soaked it in the water spurting from one of the nearby sinks, then used it to clean the man’s face and hands. The rest of his body was in a condition that was beyond any help he could offer.
    The man’s eyes opened and tried to focus again.
    “Little brother,” Alex said in a low voice, “what has happened to you?”
    The answering groan was an attempt at articulation, but it failed.
    “What is your name?” Alex said.
    “No name”, slurred the voice.
    “You have a name”, Alex said firmly.
    “No name”, the voice cried with sudden volume. The head lurched sideways, the eyes rolling.
    Alex removed his fur hat and put it onto the man’s head, pulling down the flaps about the ears.
    “Where do you live?” he asked.
    “No live, no place, no live, no place, no nothing, no . . .”
    The chorus of nyet, nyet went on for some time until the man’s eyes glazed over and his teeth began to chatter violently.
    “But you must live someplace. Tell me, where? I will take you there.”
    The eyes struggled to focus again. The blue lips parted to reveal an insane grin.
    “Live here. Die here. Live, die, live, die—”
    “You cannot stay here. You will die if you stay.”
    “I am dead. I live in the drain hole—”
    “You must try to get up!”
    “—the drain hole of the universe.”
    “That’s not true! You must get up!”
    “I die in the hole. I am the hole. I am the nyet, nyet, nyet, nyet. . .”
    Alex’s face went hot with shame and pity. He seized the man’s coat lapels tightly, pulling his loathsome body, trying to lift him. But it was no use. The man’s head flopped back and banged against the wall. Alex put his hand on the back of the man’s skull, sticky with blood and the detritus of the hole of the universe.
    “Fifty rubles for me”, the man babbled. The eyes wept and laughed. “Cheap.”
    “What is your name?”
    “A bottle. A needle.”
    “Your name?” Alex shook him.
    “One sip.”
    “You must remember. Try to remember.”
    “No name.”
    “Tell me your name!” Alex cried.
    “I . . . I . . .”
    Now the man’s mad mouth fell slack, and the laughing-weeping eyes turned to pure weeping.
    “I once was Alexei”, he sobbed.
    “Alexei? Your name is Alexei?”
    “Alexei Andreivich, who has become a hole.”
    Alex jerked back, holding the other’s body at arm’s length, staring into his eyes with uncertainty.
    “Get up”, he said.
    “Nyet.”
    “Get up, Alyosha, get up!”
    “Alyosha?” The eyes strained to focus, filled now with puzzlement. “You call me Alyosha?” he whispered.
    “Please, get up!”
    “I cannot. My legs.”
    Alex stood, dragging Alyosha’s body up with him, straining every muscle. Shifting the weight of the other to his right hip, he gripped the man’s chest under his arm and hobbled with him to the entry stairs. Climbing-dragging him up to street level took an eternity. When they finally emerged, Alex lowered him to the pavement and propped him against the post of a street lamp. A search through the man’s pockets produced no identification papers, nothing to indicate a home address.
    Alex dashed to the corner, hoping to spot a policeman. A few minutes later a taxi wheeled around the corner and barreled along the street in his direction. He flagged it to the curb.

~Michael O’Brien (from The Father's Tale)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

All Hail The Power Of Jesus’ Name

All hail the power of Jesus’ Name! Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.

Crown Him, ye martyrs of your God, who from His altar call;
Extol the Stem of Jesse’s Rod, and crown Him Lord of all.
Extol the Stem of Jesse’s Rod, and crown Him Lord of all.

Ye seed of Israel’s chosen race, ye ransomed from the fall,
Hail Him Who saves you by His grace, and crown Him Lord of all.
Hail Him Who saves you by His grace, and crown Him Lord of all.

O that, with yonder sacred throng, we at His feet may fall,
Join in the everlasting song, and crown Him Lord of all,
Join in the everlasting song, and crown Him Lord of all!

~Words: Edward Perronet & Music: James Ellor

Saturday, November 22, 2014

In A Picture


(Picture found here)
“And in a picture I wish to say something that would console as music does.”
~Vincent Van Gogh
  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Brilliant Sky


(Picture found here)
For a friend...

Never between the branches has the sky
burned with such brilliance, as if
it were offering all of its light to me,
to say – what? what urgent mystery
strains at that transparent mouth?
No leaf, no rustle . . . It's in winter,
in cold emptiness and silence, that the air
suddenly arches itself like this into infinity,
and glitters.

This evening, far from here,
a friend is entering his death,
he knows it, he walks
under bare trees alone,
perhaps for the last time. So much love,
so much struggle, spent and worn thin.
But when he looks up, suddenly the sky
is arrayed in this same vertiginous clarity.

~Jean Joubert (Translated by Denise Levertov)
 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Scripture

“The evidence for our New Testament writings is ever so much greater than the evidence for many writings of classical authors, the authenticity of which no one dreams of questioning. And if the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt.”
~F. F. Bruce

“All I am in private life is a literary critic and historian, that's my job...And I'm prepared to say on that basis if anyone thinks the Gospels are either legends or novels, then that person is simply showing his incompetence as a literary critic. I've read a great many novels and I know a fair amount about the legends that grew up among early people, and I know perfectly well the Gospels are not that kind of stuff.”
~C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Notice What This Poem Is Not Doing

The light along the hills in the morning
comes down slowly, naming the trees
white, then coasting the ground for stones to nominate.

Notice what this poem is not doing.

A house, a house, a barn, the old
quarry, where the river shrugs--
how much of this place is yours?

Notice what this poem is not doing.

Every person gone has taken a stone
to hold, and catch the sun. The carving
says, “Not here, but called away.”

Notice what this poem is not doing.

The sun, the earth, the sky, all wait.
The crowns and redbirds talk. The light
along the hills has come, has found you.

Notice what this poem has not done.

~William Stafford

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Dwarfs Refused To Be Taken In

Lucy led the way and soon they could all see the Dwarfs. They had a very odd look. They weren't strolling about or enjoying themselves (although the cords with which they had been tied seemed to have vanished) nor were they lying down and having a rest. They were sitting very close together in a little circle facing one another. They never looked round or took any notice of the humans till Lucy and Tirian were almost near enough to touch them. Then the Dwarfs all cocked their heads as if they couldn't see anyone but were listening hard and trying to guess by the sound what was happening.

"Look out!" said one of them in a surly voice. "Mind where you're going. Don't walk into our faces!"

"All right!" said Eustace indignantly. "We're not blind. We've got eyes in our heads."

"They must be darn good ones if you can see in here," said the same Dwarf whose name was Diggle.

"In where?" asked Edmund.

"Why you bone-head, in here of course," said Diggle. "In this pitch-black, poky, smelly little hole of a stable."

"Are you blind?" said Tirian.

"Ain't we all blind in the dark!" said Diggle.

"But it isn't dark, you poor stupid Dwarfs," said Lucy. "Can't you see? Look up! Look round! Can't you see the sky and the trees and the flowers? Can't you see me?"

"How in the name of all Humbug can I see what ain't there? And how can I see you any more than you can see me in this pitch darkness?"

"But I can see you," said Lucy. "I'll prove I can see you. You've got a pipe in your mouth."

"Anyone that knows the smell of baccy could tell that," said Diggle.

"Oh the poor things! This is dreadful," said Lucy. Then she had an idea. She stopped and picked some wild violets. "Listen, Dwarf," she said. "Even if your eyes are wrong, perhaps your nose is all right: can you smell that?" She leaned across and held the fresh, damp flowers to Diggle's ugly nose. But she had to jump back quickly in order to avoid a blow from his hard little fist.

"None of that!" he shouted. "How dare you! What do you mean by shoving a lot of filthy stable-litter in my face? There was a thistle in it too. It's like your sauce! And who are you anyway?"

"Earth-man," said Tirian, "she is the Queen Lucy, sent hither by Aslan out of the deep past. And it is for her sake alone that I, Tirian your lawful King, do not cut all your heads from your shoulders, proved and twice-proved traitors that you are."

"Well if that doesn't beat everything!" exclaimed Diggle. "How can you go on talking all that rot? Your wonderful Lion didn't come and help you, did he? Thought not. And now - even now - when you've been beaten and shoved into this black hole, just the same as the rest of us, you're still at your old game. Starting a new lie! Trying to make us believe we're none of us shut up, and it ain't dark, and heaven knows what."

"There is no black hole, save in your own fancy, fool," cried Tirian. "Come out of it." And, leaning forward, he caught Diggle by the belt and the hood and swung him right out of the circle of Dwarfs. But the moment Tirian put him down, Diggle darted back to his place among the others, rubbing his nose and howling:

"Ow! Ow! What d'you do that for! Banging my face against the wall. You've nearly broken my nose."

"Oh dear!" said Lucy, "What are we to do for them?"

"Let 'em alone," said Eustace: but as he spoke the earth trembled. The sweet air grew suddenly sweeter. A brightness flashed behind them. All turned. Tirian turned last because he was afraid. There stood his heart's desire, huge and real, the golden Lion, Aslan himself, and already the others were kneeling in a circle round his forepaws and burying their hands and faces in his mane as he stooped his great head to touch them with his tongue. Then he fixed his eyes upon Tirian, and Tirian came near, trembling, and flung himself at the Lion's feet, and the Lion kissed him and said, "Well done, last of the Kings of Narnia who stood firm at the darkest hour."

"Aslan," said Lucy through her tears, "could you - will you - do something for these poor Dwarfs?"

"Dearest," said Aslan, "I will show you both what I can, and what I cannot, do." He came close to the Dwarfs and gave a low growl: low, but it set all the air shaking. But the Dwarfs said to one another, "Hear that? That's the gang at the other end of the stable. Trying to frighten us. They do it with a machine of some kind. Don't take any notice. They won't take us in again!"

Aslan raised his head and shook his mane. Instantly a glorious feast appeared on the Dwarfs' knees: pies and tongues and pigeons and trifles and ices, and each Dwarf had a goblet of good wine in his right hand. But it wasn't much use. They began eating and drinking greedily enough, but it was clear that they couldn't taste it properly. They thought they were eating and drinking only the sort of things you might find in a stable. One said he was trying to eat hay and another said he had a bit of an old turnip and a third said he'd found a raw cabbage leaf. And they raised golden goblets of rich red wine to their lips and said "Ugh! Fancy drinking dirty water out of a trough that a donkey's been at! Never thought we'd come to this." But very soon every Dwarf began suspecting that every other Dwarf had found something nicer than he had, and they started grabbing and snatching, and went on to quarrelling, till in a few minutes there was a free fight and all the good food was smeared on their faces and clothes or trodden under foot. But when at last they sat down to nurse their black eyes and their bleeding noses, they all said:

"Well, at any rate there's no Humbug here. We haven't let anyone take us in. The Dwarfs are for the Dwarfs."

"You see, " said Aslan. "They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out. But come, children. I have other work to do."
~C. S. Lewis (from The Last Battle)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Seeds and Fruit

“Let us believe the Gospel when it tells us that the kingdom of God is already present in this world and is growing, here and there, and in different ways: like the small seed which grows into a great tree (cf. Mt 13:31-32), like the measure of leaven that makes the dough rise (cf. Mt 13:33) and like the good seed that grows amid the weeds (cf. Mt 13, 24-30) and can always pleasantly surprise us.

...Because we do not always see these seeds growing, we need an interior certainty, a conviction that God is able to act in every situation, even amid apparent setbacks: ‘We have this treasure in earthen vessels’ (2 Cor 4:7). This certainty is often called ‘a sense of mystery’. It involves knowing with certitude that all those who entrust themselves to God in love will bear good fruit (cf. Jn 15:5). This fruitfulness is often invisible, elusive and unquantifiable. We can know quite well that our lives will be fruitful, without claiming to know how, or where, or when. We may be sure that none of our acts of love will be lost, nor any of our acts of sincere concern for others. No single act of love for God will be lost, no generous effort is meaningless, no painful endurance is wasted. All of these encircle our world like a vital force. Sometimes it seems that our work is fruitless, but mission is not like a business transaction or investment, or even a humanitarian activity. It is not a show where we count how many people come as a result of our publicity; it is something much deeper, which escapes all measurement. It may be that the Lord uses our sacrifices to shower blessings in another part of the world which we will never visit. The Holy Spirit works as he wills, when he wills and where he wills; we entrust ourselves without pretending to see striking results. We know only that our commitment is necessary. Let us learn to rest in the tenderness of the arms of the Father amid our creative and generous commitment. Let us keep marching forward; let us give him everything, allowing him to make our efforts bear fruit in his good time.”
~Pope Francis

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sin

"Before we commit a sin, Satan assures us that it is of no consequence; after we commit a sin, he persuades us that it is unforgivable."
~Fulton Sheen

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Poem


(Picture found here)
The poem wants to be an extra bone
in the body. Lonely,
it wants the day to come back for it:
a jacket left at the coat check,
the dance floor deserted.

There is no wisdom in the poem,
but it repeats its small life as many times
as we ask. The poem is everybody's
mother, remembering what can't be found,
remembering who you are, remembering
what hasn't even happened yet.

~Sue Sinclair
 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

People at Night


(Picture found here)
A night that cuts between you and you
and you and you and you
and me : jostles us apart, a man elbowing
through a crowd.          We won't
                  look for each other, either-
wander off, each alone, not looking
in the slow crowd. Among sideshows
                  under movie signs,
                  pictures made of a million lights,
                  giants that move and again move
                  again, above a cloud of thick smells,
                  franks, roasted nutmeats-

Or going up to some apartment, yours
                  or yours, finding
someone sitting in the dark:
who is it really? So you switch the
light on to see: you know the name but
who is it ?
         But you won't see.

The fluorescent light flickers sullenly, a
pause. But you command. It grabs
each face and holds it up
by the hair for you, mask after mask.
                  You and you and I repeat
                  gestures that make do when speech
                  has failed          and talk
                  and talk, laughing, saying
                  'I', and 'I',
meaning 'Anybody'.
                           No one.

~Denise Levertov
 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran’s Day


(Picture found here)
“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.”
~Harry Truman
 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Laughter

“Laughter has something in it in common with the ancient winds of faith and inspiration; it unfreezes pride and unwinds secrecy; it makes men forget themselves in the presence of something greater than themselves; something (as the common phrase goes about a joke) that they cannot resist.”
~G. K. Chesterton

“Alone among the animals, Man is shaken with the beautiful madness called laughter; as if he had caught sight of some secret in the very shape of the universe hidden from the universe itself.”
~G. K. Chesterton

A cheerful heart is a good medicine,
    but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.
~Proverbs 17:22

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Christ's Church Shall Glory in His Power

Christ's church shall glory in his power
and grow to his perfection;
he is our rock, our mighty tower,
our life, our resurrection:
so by his skillful hand
the church of Christ shall stand;
the master-builder's plan
he works, as he began,
and soon will crown with splendour.

Christ's people serve his wayward world
to whom he seems a stranger;
he knows its welcome from of old,
he shares our joy, our danger:
so strong, and yet so weak,
the church of Christ shall speak;
his cross our greatest need,
his word the vital seed
that brings a fruitful harvest.

Christ's living lamp shall brightly burn,
and to our earthly city
forgotten beauty shall return,
and purity and pity:
to give the oppressed their right
the church of Christ shall fight;
and though the years seem long
he is our strength and song,
and he is our salvation.

Christ's body triumphs in his name;
one Father, sovereign giver,
one Spirit, with his love aflame,
one Lord, the same for ever:
to you, O God our prize,
the church of Christ shall rise
beyond all measured height,
to that eternal light,
where Christ shall reign all-holy.

~Words: Christopher Idle & Music: Martin Luther

Friday, November 7, 2014

Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus


(Picture found here)
Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us
Christ, graciously hear us. 

God the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mother,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, of Infinite Majesty,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Sacred Temple of God,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Tabernacle of the Most High,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, House of God and Gate of Heaven,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, abode of justice and love,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all treasures of wisdom and knowledge,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwells the fullness of divinity,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, patient and most merciful,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, enriching all who invoke Thee,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and holiness,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, loaded down with opprobrium,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, bruised for our offenses,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, obedient to death,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, our peace and our reconciliation,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who trust in Thee,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, delight of all the Saints,
have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us, O Lord.

V. Jesus, meek and humble of heart.
R. Make our hearts like to Thine.

Let us pray:
Almighty and eternal God, look upon the Heart of Thy most beloved Son and upon the praises and satisfaction which He offers Thee in the name of sinners; and to those who implore Thy mercy, in Thy great goodness, grant forgiveness in the name of the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who livest and reignest with Thee forever and ever. Amen.
 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

When Breaks The Day


Photo by Matt Champlin on Flickr
When breaks the day, and dawn grows bright,
Christ nearer seems, the Light of Light:
From us, like shades that nighttime brings,
Drive forth, O Lord, all darksome things.

Earth’s dusky veil is torn away,
Pierced by the sparkling beams of day;
Our life resumes its hues apace,
Soon as the Daystar shows his face.

So thee, O Christ, alone we seek,
With conscience pure and temper meek:
With tears and chants we humbly pray
That thou wouldst guide us through each day.

For many’a shade obscures each sense
Which needs thy beams to purge it thence;
Light of the Morning Star, thy grace
Shed on us from thy cloudless face.

All laud to God the Father be,
All praise, eternal Son, to thee;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To God the Holy Paraclete. Amen.

Music: Anonymous, Gregorian
Text: attributed to St. Gregory
Translation: John Neale
 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Shoulders



A man crosses the street in rain,
stepping gently, looking two times north and south,
because his son is asleep on his shoulder.

No car must splash him.
No car drive too near to his shadow.

This man carries the world’s most sensitive cargo
but he’s not marked.
Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE,
HANDLE WITH CARE.

His ear fills up with breathing.
He hears the hum of a boy’s dream
deep inside him.

We’re not going to be able
to live in this world
if we’re not willing to do what he’s doing
with one another.

The road will only be wide.
The rain will never stop falling.

~Naomi Shihab Nye
 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Unhappiness


(Picture found here)
“The sense of unhappiness is so much easier to convey than that of happiness. In misery we seem aware of our own existence, even though it may be in the form of a monstrous egotism: this pain of mine is individual, this nerve that winces belongs to me and to no other. But happiness annihilates us: we lose our identity.”
~Graham Greene
 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Ephesians 1:17-18

"May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, grant you a spirit of wisdom and insight to know Him clearly. May God enlighten your innermost vision that you may know the great hope to which He has called you, the wealth of His glorious heritage to be distributed among the members of the church." (re-post)