Friday, January 30, 2015

Reality and Truth

“Reality is what we notice on the surface – what we feel or see, what superficial perspectives we might gain, for example, from television's evening news. Truth is much larger. It encompasses everything that genuinely is going on. The reality might be that our world looks totally messed up, that war and economic chaos seem to control the globe. But the truth is much deeper – that Jesus Christ is still ... Lord of the cosmos, and the Holy Spirit is empowering many people to work for peacemaking and justice building as part of the Trinity's purpose to bring the universe to its ultimate wholeness. The reality might be that you do not feel God, but the truth is that God is always present with you ... unceasingly caring for you with extravagant grace and abundant mercy. Not only that, but the very process of dealing with our lack of feelings and our resultant doubts about God is one of the ways by which our trust in the Trinity is deepened.”
~Marva Dawn

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Infinity Of Charity

Whether charity increases indefinitely?
   . . . let none of the faithful say: “Enough.”
   . . . the wayfarer’s charity can ever increase more and more. . . . [C]harity has no limit to its increase, since it is a participation in the infinite charity which is the Holy Ghost. . . .
   The capacity of the rational creature is increased by charity because the heart is enlarged thereby . . . so that it still remains capable of receiving a further increase (II-II,24,7).
~St. Thomas Aquinas

“St. Thomas is a rational, logical, judicious, careful, thoughtful, conservative kind of intellectual, not naturally given to exaggeration, fanaticism, passionate outbursts, Romanticist exuberance, poetic extremes, or Existentialist impatience with limits. Those who know only this dimension of him may be surprised to find this other dimension in him too. It is his vertical, not horizontal, dimension. The word for limits and finitude, the word enough, expresses a primary horizontal virtue regarding all things human and natural. It is the virtue of moderation. Nothing too much, or moderation in all things, was one of the two virtues (the other was know thyself) inscribed over the door of the temples to Apollo, especially that of the Delphic oracle, in ancient Greece; and St. Thomas wisely approves this. But when it comes to the relationship with God, with the supernatural, he is an extremist. All the natural virtues are means between two opposite extremes, as Aristotle said; but the three theological, or supernatural, virtues do not follow this formula. No one can have too much faith (trust in God), too much hope in God’s generosity, or too much love for God...”
~Peter Kreeft

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Reality

“It is necessary to have had a revelation of reality through joy in order to find reality through suffering,”
~Simone Weil

“I don’t really think it’s possible for humans to be at the same time conscious and comfortable...I would qualify Weil’s statement somewhat, then, by saying that reality, be it of this world or another, is not something one finds and then retains for good. It must be newly discovered daily, and newly lost.”
~Christian Wiman

Monday, January 26, 2015

Father’s Song


(Picture taken by Elsa)
Yesterday, against admonishment,
my daughter balanced on the couch back,
fell and cut her mouth.

Because I saw it happen I knew
she was not hurt, and yet
a child’s blood’s so red
it stops a father’s heart.

My daughter cried her tears;
I held some ice
against her lip.
That was the end of it.

Round and round; bow and kiss.
I try to teach her caution;
she tries to teach me risk.

~Gregory Orr
 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

1 Peter 1:3-5

Praised be the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
He who in His great mercy
gave us new birth;
a birth unto hope which draws its life
from the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead;
a birth to an imperishable inheritance,
incapable of fading or defilement,
which is kept in heaven for you
who are guarded with God’s power through faith;
a birth to a salvation which stands ready
to be revealed in the last days.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Temptation


(Artwork by Ilya Repin - found here)
“The holy man does not differ from the sinner in the fact of not being similarly tempted, but rather to the extent that the former is not overcome by some great onslaught, whereas the latter is defeated by even a minor temptation. And the brave endurance of some just man would not be worthy of praise if his victory were unaccompanied by temptation, for it is surely true that there can be no place for victory where the clash of a contest is missing. ‘Blessed indeed is the man who endures temptation because after passing the test he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him’ (Jms. 1:12). According to Paul the apostle the virtue of a man is brought to perfection not amid idleness and pleasure but in infirmity. And then this saying: ‘Today I have set you up into a fortified city, into a pillar of iron and a wall of bronze over all the land, over the leaders and kings of Judah, over its priests and over all the people of the earth. And they shall make war against you, and they shall not be victorious because I am with you, says the Lord, so that I may protect you’ (Jer. 1:18-19).”
~St. John Cassian
 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What Are They Thinking?

“Why all this pink flesh? he wondered. Why the desperation to return to the bacchanal in the forest glade? Did these women think their overexposure was attractive? If they had ever known real love, would they have unveiled themselves to strange men? The sensation of attracting male eyes would have been revealed to them for what it was: an adolescent concept of sexuality, bereft of love, and in the end bereft of genuine passion. Then it struck him that perhaps they did not think about it at all.”
~Michael O’Brien (from The Father's Tale)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

From "Coming" Collected Poems II


(Picture found here)
On the earth when deep snows lie
Still the sun is in the sky,
And when most we miss his fire
He is ever drawing nigher.
In the darkest winter day
Thou, God, art not far away;
When the nights grow colder, drearer,
Father, thou art coming nearer!

~George MacDonald

Friday, January 16, 2015

Winter... Listening...


(Picture found here)
No one but me by the fire,
my hands burning
red in the palms while
the night wind carries
everything away outside.

All this petty worry
while the great cloak
of the sky grows dark
and intense
round every living thing.

What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.

What we strive for
in perfection
is not what turns us
into the lit angel
we desire,

what disturbs
and then nourishes
has everything
we need...

~David Whyte
 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Depression in Winter

There comes a little space between the south
side of a boulder
and the snow that fills the woods around it.
Sun heats the stone, reveals
a crescent of bare ground: brown ferns,
and tufts of needles like red hair,
acorns, a patch of moss, bright green....

I sank with every step up to my knees,
throwing myself forward with a violence
of effort, greedy for unhappiness--
until by accident I found the stone,
with its secret porch of heat and light,
where something small could luxuriate, then
turned back down my path, chastened and calm.

~Jane Kenyon

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A True Work Of Art

“I believe we are losing understanding of our place in the continuity of time, the flow of mankind’s course through the ages, our connections to the generations that came before us and those yet to be born. If we lose our essential Story, manifested in a myriad of creative forms, then we are less able to know ourselves, both our weakness and our greatness, and our pathway to an eternal home.

Here is where the arts can come to our rescue, if they are true and beautiful and faithful to the moral order of the universe. In presenting human dramas in all their variety, a novelist, for example, can help reveal the actions of divine providence (very present but usually mysterious and hidden from our eyes). In this way a reader or a person listening to a symphony or gazing at a good painting can come to know that he is more than he thinks he is, more than the definitions of man given by ideologues and theorists. A true work of art helps him apprehend, by some interior sense, that while Man is damaged he is not destroyed; he is beautiful and beloved by his Father Creator.”
~Michael O’Brien

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Good News

“The good news comes knocking on doors that we didn’t even know we had; it flings open the curtains on windows we didn’t know existed to reveal the rising sun flooding the room with glory when we had imagined that all light came from candles; it woos our cold hearts and awakens them, like someone falling in love for the first time, to a joy and fulfillment never before imagined.”
~N. T. Wright

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Success?

“The logic of worldly success rests on a fallacy—the strange error that our perfection depends on the thoughts and opinions and applause of other men. A weird life it is to be living always in somebody else's imagination, as if that were the only place in which one could become real.”
~Thomas Merton

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Public Space

“If the world is to contain a public space, it cannot be erected for one generation and planned for the living only; it must transcend the life-span of mortal men.... There is perhaps no clearer testimony to the loss of the public realm in the modern age than the almost complete loss of authentic concern with immortality, a loss somewhat overshadowed by the simultaneous loss of the metaphysical concern with eternity.”
~Hannah Arendt

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Teach Us

“Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will

...And let my cry come unto Thee.”

~T. S. Eliot

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

To Be A Pilgrim

Who would true valor see,
   Let him come hither;
One here will constant be,
   Come wind, come weather;
There’s no discouragement
Shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent
   To be a pilgrim.

Whoso beset him round
   With dismal stories
Do but themselves confound;
   His strength the more is.
No lion can him fright,
He’ll with a giant fight,
But he will have a right
   To be a pilgrim.

No power of evil field
   Can daunt his spirit,
He knows he at the end
   Shall life inherit.
Then fancies fly away,
He’ll fear not what men say,
He’ll labor night and day
   To be a pilgrim.

Melody: Monks Gate
Music: R. Vaughan Williams
Text: John Bunyan, 1628-1688, alt.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Words

“Words written fifty years ago, a hundred years ago, a thousand years ago, can have as much of this power today as ever they had it then to come alive for us and in us and to make us more alive within ourselves. That, I suppose, is the final mystery as well as the final power of words: That not even across great distances of time and space do they ever lose their capacity for becoming incarnate. And when these words tell of virtue and nobility, when they move closer to that truth and gentleness of spirit by which we become fully human, the reading of them is sacramental...”
~Frederick Buechner

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What Star Is This

What star is this, with beams so bright,
more lovely than the noonday light?
’Tis sent to announce a newborn king,
glad tidings of our God to bring.

’Tis now fulfilled what God decreed,
“From Jacob shall a star proceed;”
and lo! the eastern sages stand
to read in heaven the Lord’s command.

While outward signs the star displays,
an inward light the Lord conveys
and urges them, with tender might,
to seek the giver of the light.

O Jesus, while the star of grace
impels us on to seek your face,
let not our slothful hearts refuse
the guidance of your light to use.

~Author: Charles Coffin (Translator: John Chandler) & Tune: PUER NOBIS

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Unknown

“The human story does not always unfold like a mathematical calculation on the principle that two and two make four. Sometimes in life they make five or minus three; and sometimes the blackboard topples down in the middle of the sum and leaves the class in disorder and the pedagogue with a black eye. The element of the unexpected and the unforeseeable is what gives some of its relish to life, and saves us from falling into the mechanic thralldom of the logicians.”
~Winston Churchill