Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year

“The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year, but rather that we should have a new soul.”
~G. K. Chesterton

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

O, Great Wonder

“And the Word became flesh!…in order to make us earthly beings into heavenly ones, in order to make sinners into saints; in order to raise us up from corruption into incorruption, from earth to heaven; from enslavement to sin and the devil – into the glorious freedom of children of God; from death – into immortality, in order to make us sons of God and to seat us together with Him upon the Throne as His royal children. O, boundless compassion of God! O, inexpressible wisdom of God! O, great wonder, astounding not only the human mind, but the angelic [mind] as well!”
~St. John of Kronstadt

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Little Way

“O humankind, you need not sail across the seas or pierce the clouds or cross the Alps! No grand way is being shown to you. Run to your own self to meet your God! ‘The Word is near you, on your lips and in your heart!’ Run to compunction of heart and confession of lips to escape at least the dunghill of a wretched conscience, for there the author of purity cannot appropriately enter.”
~St. Bernard of Clairvaux

“To call it a little way and a little distance is not to say it is easy. Nothing is nearer and more constantly with us than our conscience and our true self: and yet how inaccessible they can seem. This is part of the Christmas paradox. The infant Savior inhabits our frail, vulnerable and dependent state humbly and purely. Our only way to meet him there is through the door of compunction and sorrow for our wrongs, the one door we most avoid, and the short little journey we most resist taking.

This Christmas and in this Year of Mercy may we each receive the grace to travel this little way and to go this little distance, both to receive mercy and to become merciful.”

~Fr. Elias, Christmas Homily 2015 (Abbey of Gethsemani)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Numen


(Picture found here)
Two ducks
fly over the lagoon,
neat and clean,
an ordinary happening
above these waters
but one that almost never fails
to make one’s soul tilt.
The word that might come to mind
is marvelous if that word
had meaning anymore. Two ducks
fly over the lagoon, neat and clean,
creatures who have no trouble
annunciating their livingness.
They fly so well over these waters.
They fly straight and fast and clearly strange.

~Teddy Macker
   

Sunday, December 27, 2015

St. Joseph

“Joseph is the man on the outskirts, standing in the shadows, silently waiting, there when wanted and always ready to help. He is the man in whose life God is constantly intervening with warnings and visions. Without complaint he allows his own plans to be set aside. . . .

Willing, unquestioning service is the secret of his life. It is his message for us and his judgment of us. We have crabbed and confined God within the pitiable limits of our obstinacy, our complacency, our mania for ‘self expression.’ We have given God only the minimum of recognition.”
~Alfred Delp

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Joy To The World

...And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

~Excerpt - Words: Isaac Watts & Music: Low­ell Ma­son

Friday, December 25, 2015

Descent

Down he came from up,
and in from out,
and here from there.
A long leap,
an incandescent fall
from magnificent
to naked, frail, small,
through space,
between stars,
into our chill night air,
shrunk, in infant grace,
to our damp, cramped
earthy place
among all
the shivering sheep.

And now, after all,
there he lies,
fast asleep.

~Luci Shaw

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Carol for the Last Christmas Eve

The first night, the first night,
The night that Christ was born,
His mother looked in his eyes and saw
Her maker in her son.

The twelfth night, the twelfth night,
After Christ was born,
The Wise Men found the child and knew
Their search has just begun.

Eleven thousand, two fifty nights,
After Christ was born,
A dead man hung in the child's light
And the sun went down at noon.

Six hundred thousand or thereabout nights,
After Christ was born,
I look at you and you look at me
But the sky is too dark for us to see
And the world waits for the sun.

But the last night, the last night,
Since ever Christ was born,
What his mother knew will be known again,
And what was found by the Three Wise Men,
And the sun will rise and so may we,
On the last morn, on Christmas morn,
Umpteen hundred and eternity.

~Norman Nicholson

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

James 5:7-8, 9b

Be patient, my brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer awaits the precious yield of the soil. He looks forward to it patiently while the soil receives the winter and the spring rains. You, too, must be patient. Steady your hearts, because the coming of the Lord is at hand. See! The judge stands at the gate.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Solstice


(Picture found here)
These are dark times. Rumors of war
rise like smoke in the east. Drought
widens its misery. In the west, glittering towers
collapse in a pillar of ash and dust. Peace,
a small white bird, flies off in the clouds.

And this is the shortest day of the year.
Still, in almost every window,
a single candle burns,
there are tiny white lights
on evergreens and pines,
and the darkness is not complete.

~Barbara Crooker
     

Monday, December 21, 2015

Hope and Trust

“What a strength and spring of life, what hope and trust, what glad, unresting energy, is in this one thought: to serve Him who is ‘my Lord,’ ever near me, ever looking on; seeing my intentions before He beholds my failures; knowing my desires before He sees my faults; cheering me to endeavor greater things, and yet accepting the least; inviting my poor service, and yet, above all, content with my poorer love.

Let us try to realize this, whatsoever, wheresoever we be. The humblest and the simplest, the weakest and the most encumbered, may love Him not less than the busiest and strongest, the most gifted and laborious. If our heart be clear before Him; if He be to us our chief and sovereign choice, dear above all, and beyond all desired; then all else matters little. That which concerneth us He will perfect in stillness and in power.”
~Howard Manning

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Creator Of The Stars Of Night

Creator of the stars of night,
thy people's everlasting light,
Jesus, Redeemer, save us all,
hear thou thy servants when they call.

Thou, sorrowing at the helpless cry
of all creation doomed to die,
didst save our lost and guilty race
by healing gifts of heavenly grace.

Thou cam'st, the Bridegroom of the bride,
as drew the world to eventide;
proceeding from a virgin shrine,
the spotless Victim all divine.

At thy great Name, exalted now,
all knees in lowly homage bow;
all things in heaven and earth adore,
and own thee King for evermore.

To thee, O Holy One, we pray,
our Judge in that tremendous day,
ward off, while yet we dwell below,
the weapons of our crafty foe.

To God the Father, God the Son,
and God the Spirit, Three in One,
laud, honor, might and glory be
from age to age eternally.

Words: Latin, sixth century
Translation: John Neale
Music: Conditor Sarum melody

Saturday, December 19, 2015

From God Christ's Deity Came Forth

From God Christ's deity came forth,
his manhood from humanity;
his priesthood from Melchizedek,
his royalty from David's tree:
praised be his Oneness.

He joined with guests at wedding feast,
yet in the wilderness did fast;
he taught within the temple's gates;
his people saw him die at last:
praised be his teaching.

The dissolute he did not scorn,
nor turn from those who were in sin;
he for the righteous did rejoice
but bade the fallen to come in:
praised be his mercy.

He did not disregard the sick;
to simple ones his word was given;
and he descended to the earth
and, his work done, went up to heaven:
praised be his coming.

Who then, my Lord, compares to you?
The Watcher slept, the Great was small,
the Pure baptized, the Life who died,
the King abased to honor all:
praised be your glory.

~St. Ephrem the Syrian, translated by John Rhys, adapted and altered by F. Bland Tucker for a hymn

Friday, December 18, 2015

Advent Calendar


(Picture found here)
He will come like last leaf's fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud's folding.

He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.

He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.

He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.

~Rowan Williams
   

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Christmas Child

“Little one, who straight hast come
Down the heavenly stair,
Tell us all about your home,
And the father there.”

“He is such a one as I,
Like as like can be.
Do his will, and, by and by,
Home and him you’ll see.”

~George MacDonald

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

From a Commentary on Ps. 99

“If you want some idea who He is, you must draw nearer to Him. To look from a distance is to risk being deceived. It is the spirit that perceives Him and the heart that sees Him. What sort of heart? “Blessed are the pure in heart: they shall see God” (Mt. 5:8).

You must draw nearer to Him by becoming like Him. You will feel His presence to the extent that love grows in you, because God is Love.

Then you will not be able to do anything but praise Him. And if you make a joyful noise to the Lord, you will understand the joyful noise that all the lands make to Him.”
~St. Augustine

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Giving

“Many a man when he was poor had a heart that was open to every call of pity, but as riches increased he set his heart more upon them. The massing of wealth has a peculiar effect on the soul; it intensifies the desire of getting. What is often lust in youth is avarice in old age. Could they but expose themselves to the great joy of giving and respond to pity’s claim, they would sense the great thrill in benevolence. Great as the pleasure is in receiving, greater is the pleasure in benevolence.”
~Fulton Sheen

Monday, December 14, 2015

Lake Erie




(Pictures found here)
Dave Sandford has always been drawn to the water. He recently spent time on Lake Erie shooting the Great Lake’s turbulent fall season. His goal was to capture the exact moment when lake waves driven by gusting winds collide with a rebound wave that’s created when the water hits a pier and collection of boulders on the shore.

“The best way I can describe the water is it’s like a washing machine. It’s not like ocean waves, where you have a nice set that’s rolling in. They are really erratic, they go all over the place, and there is a strong undertow there so it can be a very dangerous place.”

“I’ve had a number of people contact me that used to live by the Great Lakes …. and they said the photos really stirred something inside them because they grew up there and know what the water can be like.”

“I’m hearing from other people that are blown away. They say, ‘This can’t be a lake, it’s got to be an ocean.’ They had no idea that a lake could generate waves of this size and force.”
 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Wonder of Wonders

“God travels wonderful ways with human beings, but he does not comply with the views and opinions of people. God does not go the way that people want to prescribe for him; rather, his way is beyond all comprehension, free and self-determined beyond all proof. Where reason is indignant, where our nature rebels, where our piety anxiously keeps us away: that is precisely where God loves to be. There he confounds the reason of the reasonable; there he aggravates our nature, our piety—that is where he wants to be, and no one can keep him from it. Only the humble believe him and rejoice that God is so free and so marvelous that he does wonders where people despair, that he takes what is little and lowly and makes it marvelous. And that is the wonder of all wonders, that God loves the lowly…. God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and broken.”
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Invocation from the Army-Navy Game 2015

“Gathered on this gridiron, we are grateful for such rough and rugged souls as these cadets and midshipmen—strong in spirit and in sinew. We are especially mindful of our first-class cadets and midshipmen bristling on the brink of becoming soldiers, sailors, marines ready today to happily visit violence on each other and if need be someday, sometime soon on the enemies of the world so that our citizens, our allies’ citizens, indeed the sane citizens of all countries can sleep safe and sound in peace. For those of us who have fought, who can fight, who will fight our country's wars, pray for peace more than those who have never served can ever know. For we willingly face the horrors from which others are thankfully spared. But, if peace on earth be not granted us in this season of our lives, then we pray, almighty God, that on these fields of friendly strife be sown the seeds that on other fields, on other days will bear the fruits of victory. Amen!”

~Chaplain Matthew Pawlikowski
(this was typed from the television – any grammatical errors are mine)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Reason

“Likewise, exalting reason and science as the only true things in the universe, while declaring them to be the epiphenomena of exactly the same mindless forces that also give us wind, weather, and driftwood does not seem to me to be a credible way of arguing that one’s thoughts are superior to those of a theist who roots human reason in the Divine Mind. But this is the method of countless atheists.”
~Mark Shea

Thursday, December 10, 2015

He Will Come

Strengthen the weak hands,
    and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
    “Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
    He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
    He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
    and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
    and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
    and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
    the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

~Isaiah 35:3-7

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Your Whole Being

“See that your praise comes from your whole being; in other words, see that you praise God not with your lips and voices alone, but with your minds, your lives and all your action. . . . You cease to praise God only when you swerve from justice and from what is pleasing to God. If you never turn aside from the good life, your tongue may be silent but your actions will cry aloud, and God will perceive your intentions; for as our ears hear each other’s voices, so do God’s ears hear our thoughts.”
~St. Augustine

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Simplicity

“It is when I possess least that I have the fewest worries, and the Lord knows that, as far as I can tell, I am more afflicted when there is excess of anything than when there is lack of it.”
~St. Teresa of Avila

“Property, wealth, diversions, amusements are often obstacles to the attainment of truth, beauty, celebration, delight, and love. They are not evil in themselves, of course, but the fact is that they allure us to fasten on them for themselves. They become finite crutches that distract and lead us away from our genuine quenching. Pulled to them, we cannot be pulled to God.”
~Thomas Dubay

“There are two wings that raise a man above earthy things—simplicity and purity. Simplicity must inspire his purpose, and purity his affection. Simplicity reaches out after God; purity discovers and enjoys Him.”
~Thomas à Kempis

Monday, December 7, 2015

Far Back

“Perhaps, indeed, the better the gift we pray for, the more time is necessary for its arrival. To give us the spiritual gift we desire, God may have to begin far back in our spirit, in regions unknown to us, and do much work that we can be aware of only in the results; for our consciousness is to the extent of our being but as the flame of the volcano to the world-gulf whence it issues; in the gulf of our unknown being God works behind our consciousness.

With His holy influence, with His own presence (the one thing for which we most earnestly cry) He may be approaching our consciousness from behind, coming forward through regions of our darkness into our light, long before we begin to be aware that He is answering our request—has answered it, and is visiting his child.”
~George MacDonald

Sunday, December 6, 2015

His Kingdom


(Found here)
“Herod, you are troubled with idle fear. Your kingdom would not contain Christ; nor is the Lord of the world to be confined within the narrow limits of the power of your scepter. He whom you wish not to reign in Judah, already reigns everywhere.”
~St. Leo the Great

“What shall the tribunal of the Judge be like, when the Nativity of an Infant, makes proud kings tremble? Let kings fear Him, now sitting at the Right Hand of the Father, Whom the impious king feared, while yet at His Mother’s breast.”
~St. Augustine
 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates

Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates;
Behold, the King of glory waits;
The King of kings is drawing near;
The Savior of the world is here!

Fling wide the portals of your heart;
Make it a temple, set apart
From earthly use for heaven’s employ,
Adorned with prayer and love and joy.

Redeemer, come, with us abide;
Our hearts to thee we open wide;
Let us thy inner presence feel;
Thy grace and love in us reveal.

Thy Holy Spirit lead us on
Until our glorious goal is won;
Eternal praise, eternal fame
Be offered, Savior, to thy name!

Tune: Truro L.M.
Music: Psalmodia Evangelica
Text: Georg Weissel
Translation: Catherine Winkworth

Friday, December 4, 2015

Advent


(Picture found here)
“Everybody knows, even those of us who have lived most unadventurously, what it is to plod on for miles, it seems, eagerly straining your eyes toward the lights that, somehow, mean home. How difficult it is, when you are doing that to judge distances! In pitch darkness, it might be a couple of miles to your destination, it might be a few hundred yards. So it was, I think, with the Hebrew prophets, as they looked forward to the redemption of their people. They could not have told you, within a hundred years, within five hundred years, when it was the deliverance would come. They only knew that, some time, the stock of David would burgeon anew; some time, a key would be found to fit the door of their prison house; some time, the light that only shows, now, like a will-o'-the-wisp on the horizon would broaden out, at last into the perfect day.

This attitude of expectation is one which the Church wants to encourage in us, her children, permanently. She sees it as an essential part of our Christian drill that we should still be looking forward; getting on for two thousand years, now, since the first Christmas Day came and went, and we must still be looking forward. So she encourages us, during advent, to take the shepherd-folk for our guides, and imagine ourselves traveling with them at dead of night, straining our eyes towards that chink of light which streams out, we know, from the cave at Bethlehem.”

~Ronald Knox
   

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Scars

“...Scars can be honourable tokens of battle and of life fully lived. Jesus kept His and allowed the apostles to see and touch them; tradition says the body of the exalted and glorified Lord bears them forever. Transfigured and glorious they are tokens of His love for us. The same is true of our own healed wounds; in heaven they will be glorious and the cause of more joy. It begins to be true now, for I too am marked for life; my scars are tokens of His re-creative love, and as ever I must pray from where I am. My forgive-ness and my healed-ness are a prayer if I have the wit to let them be.”
~Maria Boulding

“The virile Christ is He who unfurls before an evil world the pledge of victory in His own Body – the scar-spangled banner of Salvation.”
~Fulton Sheen

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wall Marks

Those scratchy marks there on the wall,
They show how short I used to be.
They rise until they get this tall,
And Mama keeps reminding me
The way dad would take his pen
And as I stood there, stiff and straight,
He’d put a ruler on my head
And mark the spot and write the date.
She says that it’s my history,
But I don’t understand at all
Just why she cries each time she sees
Those scratchy marks there on the wall.

~Shel Silverstein

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Interesting...

“I believe that man is, by nature, an exile and will never be self-sufficient or complete on this earth; that his chances of happiness and virtue, here, remain more or less constant through the centuries and, generally speaking, are not much affected by the political and economic conditions in which he lives; that the balance of good and ill tends to revert to a norm; that sudden changes of physical condition are usually ill, and are advocated by the wrong people for the wrong reasons...”
~Evelyn Waugh

Monday, November 30, 2015

Fasting


(St. Antony - picture found here)
“Fasting is not dieting. Fasting is not about keeping a Christian version of kosher. Fasting is about hunger and humility (which is increased as we allow ourselves to become weak). Fasting is about allowing our heart to break.”

“Why do we fast? Perhaps the more germane question is ‘why do we eat?’ Christ quoted Scripture to the evil one and said, ‘Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ We eat as though our life depended on it and it does not. We fast because our life depends on the word of God.”
~Stephen Freeman

“Fasting appears gloomy until one steps into its arena. But begin and you will see what light it brings after darkness, what freedom from bonds, what release after a burdensome life.”
~St. Theophan
 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

E'en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come

Peace be to you and grace from Him
Who freed us from our sin
Who loved us all, and shed his blood
That we might saved be.

Sing holy, holy to our Lord
The Lord almighty God
Who was and is, and is to come
Sing holy, holy Lord.

Rejoice in heaven, all ye that dwell therein
Rejoice on earth, ye saints below
For Christ is coming, is coming soon
For Christ is coming soon.

E’en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come
And night shall be no more
They need no light, no lamp, nor sun
For Christ will be their All!

~Paul and Ruth Manz

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Telling Stories

“We tell some of the best stories to ourselves. ... We ask our friend, ‘What’s up?’ or ‘What’s new?’ and we begin to narrate our lives to one another, trading tales back and forth over cups of coffee ... unconsciously shaping and embellishing to make the tales hum. And every night, we reconvene with our loved ones at the dinner table to share the small comedies and tragedies of our day.”
~Jonathan Gottschall

Friday, November 27, 2015

When My Love Grows Weak

When my love for man grows weak,
When for stronger faith I seek,
Hill of Calvary, I go
To thy scenes of fear and woe.

There behold His agony,
Suffered on the bitter tree;
See His anguish, see His faith,
Love triumphant still in death.

Then to life I turn again,
Learning all the worth of pain,
Learning all the might that lies
In a full self-sacrifice.

~Words: John Wreford & Music: Charles Vincent, Jr. (excerpt from When My Love To God Grows Weak)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving and Praise

You will say in that day:
I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
    for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
    and you comforted me.

Surely God is my salvation;
    I will trust, and will not be afraid,
for the Lord God is my strength and my might;
    he has become my salvation.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day:

Give thanks to the Lord,
    call on his name;
make known his deeds among the nations;
    proclaim that his name is exalted.

Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
    let this be known in all the earth.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion,
    for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

~Isaiah 12:1-6

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

On Giving

You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?
And what is fear of need but need itself?
Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable?

There are those who give little of the much which they have--and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.
And there are those who have little and give it all.
These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.
There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.
And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;
They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.
Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.

It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding;
And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving.
And is there aught you would withhold?
All you have shall some day be given;
Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors’.

You often say, “I would give, but only to the deserving.”
The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights, is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.
And what desert greater shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?
And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?
See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.
For in truth it is life that gives unto life while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.

And you receivers... and you are all receivers... assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives.
Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings;
For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the freehearted earth for mother, and God for father.

~Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Treatment

“The person who truly wishes to be healed is he who does not refuse treatment. This treatment consists of the pain and distress brought on by various misfortunes. He who refuses them does not realize what they accomplish in this world or what he will gain from them when he departs this life.”
~St. Maximus the Confessor

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thy Kingdom Come

“Everybody in this room has been taught to pray daily. 'Thy kingdom come.' Now, if we hear a man swear in the streets, we think it very wrong, and say 'he takes God's name in vain.' But there's a twenty times worse way of taking His name in vain, than that. It is to ask God for what we don't want. He doesn't like that sort of prayer. If you don't want a thing, don't ask for it: such asking is the worst mockery of your King you can mock Him with: the soldiers striking Him on the head with the reed was nothing to that. If you do not wish for His kingdom, don't pray for it. But if you do, you must do more than pray for it; you must work for it. And to work for it, you must know what it is; we have all prayed for it many a day without thinking.”
~John Ruskin

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ephesians 4:15-16

Let us profess the truth in love and grow to the full maturity of Christ the head. Through him the whole body grows, and with the proper functioning of the members joined firmly together by each supporting ligament, builds itself up in love.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Against Loose Talk

One who trusts others too quickly has a shallow mind,
    and one who sins does wrong to himself.
One who rejoices in wickedness will be condemned,
    but one who hates gossip has less evil.
Never repeat a conversation,
    and you will lose nothing at all.
With friend or foe do not report it,
    and unless it would be a sin for you, do not reveal it;
for someone may have heard you and watched you,
    and in time will hate you.
Have you heard something? Let it die with you.
    Be brave, it will not make you burst!
Having heard something, the fool suffers birth pangs
    like a woman in labor with a child.
Like an arrow stuck in a person’s thigh,
    so is gossip inside a fool.

Question a friend; perhaps he did not do it;
    or if he did, so that he may not do it again.
Question a neighbor; perhaps he did not say it;
    or if he said it, so that he may not repeat it.
Question a friend, for often it is slander;
    so do not believe everything you hear.
A person may make a slip without intending it.
    Who has not sinned with his tongue?
Question your neighbor before you threaten him;
    and let the law of the Most High take its course.
~Sirach 19:4-17

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Kingdom in the Street (Part 3 of 3)

...There I saw all the things I had seen before, all the death and destruction, the vacuous teenagers, and the old people on the corners.  But I saw something I had never seen before.  A great banquet table was all set up in the city streets.  There were hundreds of thousands of people sitting around the banquet table feasting and singing.  There was great dancing and music everywhere.  They were singing something like this:

            When all of the world shall feast again,
            Hurrah, hurrah;
            Injustice and crime are ended then,
            Hurrah, hurrah.
            Then all the valleys with joy shall ring,
            And all the people on Earth shall sing.
            And we will not rest 'til all of the world shall feast.

            When weapon is plow and hoe again,
            Hurrah, hurrah;
            Shall mercy like rivers flow again,
            Hurrah, hurrah.
            Then darkness shall be done away,
            And we shall see salvation's day.
            And we will not rest 'til weapon is plow and hoe
            And we will not rest 'til all of the world shall feast.

And I along with the others sat at the table and enjoyed the great feast.  Then it was that the Man of Sorrows came to me—to all of us who were gathered there at the table—and he said, “What will you do in my city?”  To some who had the gift of building things he said, “Go build more tables so that there will be tables for everyone to enjoy my banquet.  Go build shelters for the homeless and the hungry and the cold.”  To some who had the gift of telling, “Go and tell the story of my banquet table.  Write it, fax it, send it on computers, put it on the telephone lines, put it everywhere that there is room at my table for everyone.”

And then the Man of Sorrows gave to those who had the gift of disruption the assignment to go the holy mountain fortress and to break the dam which had blocked the river of life from running in the city.  Then he came to me.  “What will you do, son?”

I said, “I don't know. I don't belong here.”  I could hear the ringing of bells.

“Son, what will you do in my city?” said the Man of Sorrows.

“I don't know,” I said, “I'm frightened!  I would rather be up in the holy mountain fortress.”  The ringing of the bells was like the ringing of a death bell, the death of all the life I had known.

“What will you do in my city?” said the Man of Sorrows.

“I'm afraid!” I said.  “I'm afraid!”  I heard the ringing of the bell and suddenly the ringing of the bell became the ringing of the alarm bell on my bedside table.  I shut off the alarm and I lay there for a long time thinking about the images in my dream, the Man of Sorrows, and the table in the city streets.  Still I could hear the call: “What will you do in my city, my child?”  So while I lay there in bed, I wrote my last verse to the song that the wind had taught me when we were flying high above the city streets.

            Come see the kingdom coming,
            Come see the victory day,
            There will be no need for fortress walls,
            For there is a better way.
            The Prince will lift the lowly,
            And the proud will know defeat,
            Don't look for the kingdom on the mountain,
            For it's coming in the street.

                        For it's a long night,
                        And weary grow the feet
                        That walk the long road,
                        But the morning will come sweet.
                        Yes, it's a long night
                        And the Prince is in the streets tonight.

~Ken Medema 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Kingdom in the Street (Part 2 of 3)

And the wind said, “Certainly, my child, I will remove you from this place.”

The wind began to blow again and it lifted me high above the city streets.  I said to the wind, “Where are we going now?”

 The wind said, “Listen and I will tell you.”

            Well, just outside that city
            Far from the blight and pain,
            Is a holy mountain fortress
            Where life seems calm and sane.
            There is feasting there and singing
            By tranquil waterfalls,
            And the street folks never come there,
            'Cause they cannot climb the walls.

            At the gateway to the fortress,
            The Man of Sorrows cries.
            A Prince in beggar's clothing,
            With compassion in His eyes.
            And the mountain folk won't hear Him,
            So He turns His feet around,
            And the ruler of the mountains
            Becomes a servant in the town.

                        For it's a long night,
                        And weary grow the feet
                        That walk the long road,
                        But the morning will come sweet.
                        Yes, it's a long night
                        And the Prince is in the streets tonight.

Suddenly I was deposited on the top of a great and tall hill.  There on the top of the hill was a holy mountain fortress cathedral.  I could hear the bells ringing everywhere and the folk were all coming to worship. I said, “Yes!  This is the place I want to be!”  There were lovely houses all around the cathedral.  There was a lake there that I knew had been made when the river that used to run through the city was dammed up.  “I want to go in and worship,” I said to the wind.

The wind shouted, “No. You will stay here.”  Then they closed the door of the holy mountain cathedral and I could hear in the background the music.

“May I please go in?” I said to the wind.

And again the wind said, "No. You will stay here."

And then I saw him coming up the hill looking like a Man of Sorrows who bore the weight of all the world on his shoulders.  And he sang these words:

            If anybody would come after me,
            Let him take up his cross and follow me.
            If anybody would come after me,
            Let him take up his cross and follow me.

Well, some of the people in the holy mountain fortress cathedral must have heard him because they came out the back door.  They knelt at his feet and they said, “What shall we do?”  They cried as if in abject sorrow.  And he said with a smile on his face, “Get up, for we have great things to do in the city.”  And then he led them down the hill toward the city.

The wind said to me, “You will go, too.”

I said, “No.  I am afraid!”

The wind said, “You will go, too.”

So I followed the little band into the city...

~Ken Medema

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Kingdom in the Street (Part 1 of 3)

I want to tell you about a dream.  The dream begins with a real event in my life.  I was just finishing my master's degree in music in college and I had been asked to sing the tenor solos in the performance of Messiah.  Now, this was a big deal at Michigan State University!  In my dream I can remember being on that stage and the orchestra beginning the introduction.  My heart was beating so fast.  This was my great moment...

Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people;
Comfort ye.

In the middle of the aria, suddenly I was accosted by a great wind. It howled around my face, it whistled around my back, and it lifted me right off the stage.  I kicked and screamed and I said, “No.  I've got to finish the aria.  Please don't take me away from here!”  And the wind blew and I sailed higher and higher until I was flying right out the back door of that auditorium.  The wind would not let me go.  I said to the wind, “Where are we going?”

And the wind said, “Listen to me, child, and I will tell you.”

            Come walk with me in the darkness,
            And as we walk along;
            I'll tell you quite a story,
            And I'll sing you quite a song.
            I'll sing of light and darkness,
            Of victory and defeat;
            Corruption on the mountains,
            And compassion in the streets.
  
                        For it's a long night,
                        And weary grow the feet
                        That walk the long road,
                        But the morning will come sweet.
                        Yes, it's a long night
                        And the Prince is in the streets tonight.

            We're walking to the city,
            And Chaos is its name,
            And in its streets and alleys
            Are the blind, the sick, the maimed
            And the children cry for water,
            And relief seems out of sight,
            And they dream about tomorrow
            In the darkness of the night.

                        For it's a long night,
                        And weary grow the feet
                        That walk the long road,
                        But the morning will come sweet.
                        Yes, it's a long night
                        And the Prince is in the streets tonight.

And suddenly the wind put me down and I was in the middle of the streets of a great and tumultuous city. The city was named Chaos and death was everywhere.  Children with distended stomachs lay on the streets and vacuous teenagers stood on the corners wondering what to do with themselves.  Old people rocked back and forth on their porches.  The stench of death was everywhere.  I could see that running through the middle of the city there was what used to be a river and now the river was dry.  Between its banks was nothing but trash and weeds and refuse.  A horrible place.  I screamed at the wind, “Take me out of here!  I can't stand to be here!  I don't belong here!”

...

~Ken Medema

Sunday, November 15, 2015

2 Peter 3:8-15a

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.

Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? What we await are new heavens and a new earth where, according to his promise, the justice of God will reside. So, beloved, while waiting for this, make every effort to be found without stain or defilement, and at peace in his sight. Consider that our Lord’s patience is directed toward salvation.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Terrorism

“[T]here’s one thing we must all be clear about: terrorism is not the pursuit of legitimate goals by some sort of illegitimate means. Whatever the murderers may be trying to achieve, creating a better world certainly isn’t one of their goals. Instead they are out to murder innocent people.”
~Salman Rushdie

“Monsters remain human beings. In fact, to reduce them to a subhuman level is to exonerate them of their acts of terrorism and mass murder — just as animals are not deemed morally responsible for killing. Insisting on the humanity of terrorists is, in fact, critical to maintaining their profound responsibility for the evil they commit.”
~Andrew Sullivan

Friday, November 13, 2015

May God Help Us...


(By Nikola Sarić - found here)
This modern icon depicts the beheading of the 21 Christians martyrs in Libya at the hands of ISIS.
 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Live Simply

“Live simply and without thinking too much, like a child with his father. Faith without too much thinking works wonders. The logical mind hinders the Grace of God and miracles. Practice patience without judging with the logical mind.”
~Elder Paisios

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Do It Justice

“Now the best relation to our spiritual home is to be near enough to love it. But the next best is to be far enough away not to hate it. It is the contention of these pages that while the best judge of Christianity is a Christian, the next best judge would be something more like a Confucian. The worst judge of all is the man now most ready with his judgements; the ill-educated Christian turning gradually into the ill-tempered agnostic, entangled in the end of a feud of which he never understood the beginning, blighted with a sort of hereditary boredom with he knows not what, and already weary of hearing what he has never heard. He does not judge Christianity calmly as a Confucian would; he does not judge it as he would judge Confucianism. ...Their anti-clericalism has become an atmosphere, an atmosphere of negation and hostility from which they cannot escape. Compared with that, it would be better to see the whole thing as something belonging to another continent, or to another planet. It would be more philosophical to stare indifferently at bonzes than to be perpetually and pointlessly grumbling at bishops. It would be better to walk past a church as if it were a pagoda than to stand permanently in the porch, impotent either to go inside and help or to go outside and forget. For those in whom a mere reaction has thus become an obsession ...I recommend these critics to try to do as much justice to Christian saints as if they were Pagan sages.”
~G. K. Chesterton (from The Everlasting Man)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Will of God

“The Lord has given the Holy Spirit upon the earth, and in whomsoever He dwells, that one feels paradise within himself. You might say: why hasn't this happened to me? Because you have not given yourself over to the will of God, but you live according to yourself. Look at the one who loves his own will. He never has peace in himself and is always displeased with something. But whoever has given himself over to God's will perfectly has pure prayer. His soul loves the Lord, and everything is acceptable and good to him.”
~St. Silouan

Monday, November 9, 2015

Contemplation

“...Contemplation is a matter of immersing ourselves in the heart of reality. And to anyone who is capable of taking the plunge, reality suddenly unveils itself, presents itself in its truth, reveals its truth.

But this revelation is possible only if our gaze is pure enough to penetrate this secret sanctuary without violating it or seeking to possess it.

Contemplation is an attitude of mind... We can develop this contemplative gaze which penetrates to the heart of reality in order to reach its soul in the midst of our ordinary everyday life. Contemplation is the capacity to live out the present fully.”
~Henri Boulard

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns



The King shall come when morning dawns,
And light triumphant breaks;
When beauty gilds the eastern hills,
And life to joy awakes.

Nor as of old a little child
To bear, and fight, and die,
But crowned with glory like the sun
That lights the morning sky.

O brighter than the rising morn
When He, victorious, rose,
And left the lonesome place of death,
Despite the rage of foes.

O brighter than that glorious morn
Shall this fair morning be,
When Christ, our King, in beauty comes,
And we His face shall see.

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And light and beauty brings:
Hail, Christ the Lord! Thy people pray,
Come quickly, King of kings!

Amen

~Words: Greek Text (Unknown Author); Translated to English by John Brownlie & Music: William Jones (re-post)
     

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Ocean of Mankind

“Look closely. Here is the ocean of mankind. See the depths and the surface waves, the currents converging or parting, swift and silent or turbulent. There are riptides and calm, and monsters from which all recoil, and the marvels of beauty that draw us toward themselves, and every rank of complexity between the two. Among them are beautiful perils and virtues with repellent features. All of these are present, dwelling together within these waters, each in its place and depth. Each strives for mastery of microscopic realms or for sufficiency in the larger ones, a few of them sure of their right to be, others uncertain, many more indifferent.”
~Michael O’Brien

Friday, November 6, 2015

Compline

READING
Jeremiah 14:9a

You are in our midst, O Lord,
   your name we bear:
   do not forsake us, O Lord, our God!

RESPONSORY

Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
– Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.

You have redeemed us, Lord God of truth.
– I commend my spirit.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.

GOSPEL CANTICLE
Luke 2:29-32

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:

my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people:

a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now,
and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Let us pray.

All-powerful God
keep us united with your Son
in his death and burial
so that we may rise to new life with him,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
– Amen.

BLESSING

May the all-powerful Lord
grant us a restful night
and a peaceful death.
– Amen.

~(Excerpt from Compline - Night Prayer)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Live For Something

“It's not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.”
~Michael O’Brien (from Island of the World)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Progress

“If we wish to make any progress in the service of God we must begin every day of our life with new eagerness. We must keep ourselves in the presence of God as much as possible and have no other view or end in all our actions but the divine honor.”
~St. Charles Borromeo

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Poem For Christ The King

See how this homeless babe lifted
himself down into his humble Crèche
and laid his tender glove
of skin against that splintered wood —
found refuge in that rack
of raspy straw — home
on that chilly dawn, in sweetest
silage, those shriven stalks.
See how this outcast King lifted
himself high upon his savage Cross,
extended the regal banner
of his bones, draping himself
upon his throne — his battered feet,
his wounded hands not fastened
there by nails but sewn
by the strictest thorn of Love.

~Pamela Cranston

Monday, November 2, 2015

Inexhaustible Riches

“The same truth, the same virtue, the same God, can belong to us all in like manner. . .such are the inexhaustible riches of the Spirit. . .only then do we possess a truth completely when we teach it to others, when we make others share our contemplation. . .Give money away or spend it and it is no longer yours. But give God to others, and you possess Him more fully for yourself.”
~Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

Sunday, November 1, 2015

You Should Want To Be A Saint

“What you should say”– Lax told me — ”what you should say is that you want to be a saint.”

A saint! The thought struck me as a little weird. I said: “How do you expect me to become a saint?”

“By wanting to,” said Lax, simply.

“I can’t be a saint,” I said, “I can’t be a saint.” And my mind darkened with a confusion of realities and unrealities: the knowledge of my own sins, and the false humility which makes men say that they cannot do the things that they must do, cannot reach the level that they must reach: the cowardice that says: “I am satisfied to save my soul, to keep out of mortal sin,” but which means, by those words: “I do not want to give up my sins and my attachments.”

Lax said: “All that is necessary to be a saint is to want to be one. Don’t you believe that God will make you what He created you to be, if you will consent to let him do it? All you have to do is desire it.”

~Thomas Merton (from The Seven Storey Mountain)

Friday, October 30, 2015

On Humility as a Foil against the Devil

“The devil appeared to a certain brother, transformed into an angel of light, and said to him, ‘I am the angel Gabriel and I am sent unto thee.’ But the brother said, ‘Consider well if you were not in fact sent to some other: for I am not worthy that an angel should be sent to me.’ And the devil was no more seen.”

~A story from the Desert Fathers

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Tongue

“Your tongue longs to jump into argument, but restrain it. It is a tyrant, and you must fight it daily seventy times seven.”
~St. John Climacus

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

On Humility and the Problem of Evil

“The Abbot Antony, being at a loss in his meditation on the depth of the judgments of God, prayed, saying, ‘Lord, how comes it that some die in so short a space of life, and some live to the further side of decrepit old age: and wherefore are some in want, and others rich with various means of wealth, and how are the unrighteous rich and the righteous oppressed by poverty?’ And a voice came to him saying, ‘Antony, turn thine eyes upon thyself: for these are the judgments of God, and the knowledge of them is not for thee.’”

~A story from the Desert Fathers

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hebrews 11:5-6

By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death; and “he was not found, because God had taken him.” For it was attested before he was taken away that “he had pleased God.” And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.

Monday, October 26, 2015

On the need of the learned to respect the wisdom of ordinary people

“At one time the Abbot Arsenius was taking counsel with an old man of Egypt about his thoughts. And another, seeing him said, ‘Abbot Arsenius, how is it that thou, who art so great a scholar of Latin and Greek, dost take counsel of this common countryman?’ And he answered, ‘I have indeed apprehended the learning of the Greeks and the Latins as this world goes: but the alphabet of this countryman I have not yet been able to learn.’”

~A story from the Desert Fathers

Sunday, October 25, 2015

An Invitation to Abundant Life

Ho, everyone who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
    and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
    listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
    my steadfast, sure love for David.
See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
    a leader and commander for the peoples.
See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
    and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has glorified you.

Seek the Lord while he may be found,
    call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake their way,
    and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
    and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

For you shall go out in joy,
    and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall burst into song,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
    instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial,
    for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

~Isaiah 55

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Grace and Glory

"Grace and glory differ, but as the bud and the blossom. What is grace but glory begun? What is glory but grace perfected."
~Jerome Whittemore

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Little Sack Stuffed with Divinity

“Behold peace, not promised but present, not deferred but conferred, not prophesied but presented. Behold, God the Father has sent to the earth, as it were, a sack filled with his mercy, a sack that must be cut to pieces in the passion so that it can pour out what is concealed in it for our ransom; a small sack, indeed, but stuffed full. A child has been given us, but in him dwells the whole fullness of divinity. He came in the flesh so that in this way he might be shown to those made of flesh, and in the likeness of humanity so that his graciousness might be recognized. When God’s humanity becomes known, his graciousness can no longer be concealed.”
~St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Thursday, October 22, 2015

You Do Not Need Many Things

My house is buried in the deepest recess of the forest.
Every year, ivy vines grow longer than the year before.
Undisturbed by the affairs of the world I live at ease,
Woodmen’s singing rarely reaching me through the trees.
While the sun stays in the sky, I mend my torn clothes
And facing the moon, I read holy texts aloud to myself.
Let me drop a word of advice my friends.
To enjoy life’s immensity, you do not need many things.

~Taigu Ryokan

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Life

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”
~Frederick Buechner

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

from Novena

Let me know the distance
from your ghost to my bones.

Let these knees singe the ground
under coal-brushed clouds.

Let my voice grow into prayer
with my face against the soil.

Let the seed begin the tree,
the taproot kiss through stone.

Let hands grow to branches,
divide and rise to green.

Let fingers flower into leaves
and wander to the sky.

Let churning be an icon,
the beginning to your reach.

Let rain create the heat,
and batter every leaf.

Let lines of lightning chalk the sky,
fierce flare to flash and rush.

Let my pieces smolder
in the absence of your touch.

~Dave Harrity

Monday, October 19, 2015

Two Types

“The whole world, it seems, is divided into two types of people. On one side are the vast majority: normal, decent people who seek goodness, truth, and beauty in life. They find these delights in family, friendship, work, leisure, sports, art, nature, and other healthy human interests. On the other side are the minority: those who single-mindedly grasp after power. They devote themselves to imposing their will by bullying or manipulating others. They value people only for their usefulness; they treat words as weapons; they break promises when it suits them; they lust for gossip and traffic in it; they promote their interests above anyone else’s rights; they’re preoccupied, even obsessed, with the architectonics of control. Avoid these people. Try not to work under them. Above all, if possible, don’t vote them into public office.”
~James Stenson

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Encounter

“Man never stops seeking: both when he is marked by the drama of violence, loneliness, and insignificance, and when he lives in serenity and joy, he continues to seek. The only answer which can satisfy him and appease this search of his comes from the encounter with the One who is at the source of his being and his action. ...The road is Christ. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, who reaches the person in his day-to-day existence. The discovery of this road normally comes about through the mediation of other human beings. ...Christianity, even before being a sum of doctrines or a rule for salvation, is thus the ‘event’ of an encounter.”
~Pope John Paul II

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Autumn


(Middle Falls - Letchworth State Park, NY - picture found here)
“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.”
~William Cullen Bryant

On fields o’er which the reaper’s hand has pass’d
Lit by the harvest moon and autumn sun,
My thoughts like stubble floating in the wind
And of such fineness as October airs,
There after harvest could I glean my life
A richer harvest reaping without toil,
And weaving gorgeous fancies at my will
In subtler webs than finest summer haze.
~Henry David Thoreau