Saturday, April 25, 2015

Primary Wonder

Days pass when I forget the mystery.
Problems insoluble and problems offering
their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their colored clothes; cap and bells.
                                               And then
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, the throng’s clamor
recedes: the mystery
that there is anything, anything at all,
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,
rather than void: and that, O Lord,
Creator, Hallowed One, You still,
hour by hour sustain it.
~Denise Levertov

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cantate Domino

All the ends of the earth have seen
    the salvation of our God.
Shout to the Lord, all the earth,
    ring out your joy.

Sing psalms to the Lord with the harp
    with the sound of music.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
    acclaim the King, the Lord.

Let the sea and all within it, thunder;
    the world, and all its peoples.
Let the rivers clap their hands
    and the hills ring out their joy

at the presence of the Lord: for He comes,
    He comes to rule the earth.
He will rule the world with justice
    and the peoples with fairness.

~Psalm 98:3b-9

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Song — If You Seek. . .

If you seek a heavenly light
I, Solitude, am your professor!

I go before you into emptiness,
Raise strange suns for your new mornings,
Opening the windows
Of your innermost apartment.

When I, loneliness, give my special signal
Follow my silence, follow where I beckon!
Fear not, little beast, little spirit
(Thou word and animal)
I, Solitude, am angel
And have prayed in your name.

Look at the empty, wealthy night
The pilgrim moon!
I am the appointed hour,
The “now” that cuts
Time like a blade.

I am the unexpected flash
Beyond “yes,” beyond “no,”
The forerunner of the Word of God.

Follow my ways and I will lead you
To golden-haired suns,
Logos and music, blameless joys,
Innocent of questions
And beyond answers:

For I, Solitude, am thine own self:
I, Nothingness, am thy All.
I, Silence, am thy Amen!

~Thomas Merton

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Roots of Existence

“There is a lovely root to the word humiliation - from the latin word humus, meaning soil or ground. When we are humiliated, we are in effect returning to the ground of our being.

Shedding the carapace we have been building so assiduously on the surface, we must by definition give up exactly what we thought was necessary to protect us from further harm. The outlaw is the radical, the one close to the roots of existence. The one who refuses to forget their humanity and in remembering, helps everyone else remember too.”
~David Whyte

Monday, April 20, 2015

To Know or To Love

“St. Thomas says that it is better to know a stone than to love a stone but better to love God than to know God, because love conforms the lover to the beloved, while knowledge conforms the known object to the way-of-knowing of the knower. ...When we know God, we drag him down to our anthropomorphic level, we make God more humanoid than he really is; but when we love God, we are raised up more closely to his level, we become more God-like than we were (for ‘God is love’).

Humility (‘humbling’) goes with love. Therefore, although knowledge (‘teaching’) is the best relation to nature, love and humility (‘humbling’) are the best relation to God.

And man. Who knows you best: the intellectual who does not love you or your dear friend who is not too bright but loves you deeply? No contest.”
~Peter Kreeft

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Creator

“Know that no one can escape my hands, for I am who I am, whereas you have no being at all of yourselves. What being you have is my doing: I am the Creator of everything that has any share in being. But sin is not of my making, for sin is nonbeing. Sin is unworthy of any love, then, because it has no part in me. Therefore, my creatures offend me when they love sin, which they should not love, and hate me, to whom they owe love because I am supremely good and gave them being with such burning love. But they cannot escape me. Either I will have them in justice because of sin, or I will have them in mercy.

Open the eye of your understanding, then, and look at my hand, and you will see that what I have told you is true.

So in obedience to most high Father, she raised her eyes, and she saw within his closed fist the entire world. And God said:

My daughter, see now and know that no one can be taken away from me. Everyone is here as I said, either in justice or in mercy. They are mine, I created them, and I love them ineffably...”
~St. Catherine of Siena (from The Dialogue)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Mind has Mountains

I live in a world I have not created
inward or outward. There is a sweetness
in willing surrender: I trail my ideas
behind great truths. My ideas are like shadows
and sometimes I consider how it would have been
to create a credo, objects, ideas
and then to live with them. I can understand
when tides most tug and the moon is remote
and the trapped wild beast is one with its shadow,
how even great faith leaves room for abysses
and the taut mind turns to its own requirings.

~Elizabeth Jennings

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Simple Dark


(Photo by Remo Savisaar)

Black birds slice their evening patterns—
long curves in the sky. Everything
is drawing down into shade.
But the dark, which is at first so simple
is not simple. Away from the farmhouse
with its slits of yellow, the monochrome
develops like a print in the chemical bath.

The unbroken velvet swims
with complications so subtle that
seeing and hearing must take their time
to know. The shadow purples,
the dusk intricate with crickets. The sky
infested with pricks of light.
My whole body an ear, an eye.

~Luci Shaw
   

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Not Enough...

A friend of mine posted this quote. I am not familiar with the author or for what she stands. However, I found the message in this particular quote to be arresting and worthy of contemplation...

“For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is ‘I didn't get enough sleep.’ The next one is ‘I don’t have enough time.’ Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of... We don’t have enough exercise. We don’t have enough work. We don’t have enough profits. We don’t have enough power. We don’t have enough wilderness. We don’t have enough weekends. Of course, we don’t have enough money—ever.

We’re not thin enough, we’re not smart enough, we’re not pretty enough or fit enough or educated or successful enough, or rich enough—ever. Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we're already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds race with a litany of what we didn't get done, that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to the reverie of lack... What begins as a simple expression of the hurried life, or even the challenged life, grows into the great justification for an unfulfilled life.”
~Lynne Twist

Monday, April 13, 2015

Matins

It is morning. A finch startles
the maple leaves. Everything’s clear
in this first light before all thins
to a locust harping on the heat.
While day clutches at my pulse
to inject the usual anesthetic,
now, Christ, stimulate my heart,
transfuse your blood to fortify my own.
Let no light upon these sheets
diminish, Lord, before I feel you
burst inward like a finch
to nest and sing within this tree of bones.

~Robert Siegel

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Good, the True, and the Beautiful

“Men despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it may be true. The cure for this is first [1] to show that religion is not contrary to reason, but worthy of reverence and respect.

Next [2] make it attractive, make good men wish it were true, and then [3] show that it is.

Worthy of reverence because it really understands human nature.

Attractive because it promises true good.”

~Blaise Pascal

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Life

“If we have died with Christ, we believe that we are also to live with Him. We know that Christ, once raised from the dead, will never die again; death has no more power over Him. His death was death to sin, once for all; His life is life for God. In the same way, you must consider yourselves dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus.”
~Romans 6:8-11

“If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will bring your mortal bodies to life also, through His Spirit dwelling in you.”
~Romans 8:11

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

’Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
And to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus says the Lord!”

Refrain:
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!

O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Refrain

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

Refrain

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

Refrain

~Words: Louisa Stead & Music: William Kirkpatrick

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

1 John 4:7,10-11

Beloved, let us love one another,
for love is of God;
and everyone who loves is born of God
and knows God.

In this is love,
not that we loved God,
but that He loved us
and sent His Son
to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Beloved,
if God so loved us,
we also ought to love one another.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Sunday

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

~Words: From hymn Christ The Lord Is Risen Today by Charles Wesley (this stanza unknown author) & Music: Easter Hymn composer unknown

“And so, my brothers, each of us ought surely to rejoice on this holy day. Let no one, conscious of his sinfulness, withdraw from our common celebration, nor let anyone be kept away from our public prayer by the burden of his guilt. Sinner he may indeed be, but he must not despair of pardon on this day which is so highly privileged; for if a thief could receive the grace of paradise, how could a Christian be refused forgiveness?”
~St. Maximus of Turin (5th Century)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Holy Saturday

Antiphon: Though sinless, the Lord has been put to death. The world is in mourning as for an only son.

“It is impossible to describe the feeling that comes over you at such a time. The feeling that somehow, in an instant of time, everything is changed and nothing again will ever be quite the same. That tomorrow will never again be like yesterday. That the very trees, the grass, the air, the daylight are no longer the same, for the world has changed. It is a feeling impossible to describe, and yet one that every wife who has lost a husband knows well, one that every child who has tasted evil for the first time or faced a sudden crisis has experienced. It is that feeling that leaves the heart saying, ‘Oh, if only I could turn back the clock to before it happened...’”
~Walter Ciszek

   Thus says the Lord,
In their affliction, they shall look for Me:
   “Come, let us return to the Lord,
For it is He who has rent, but He will heal us;
   He has struck us, but He will bind our wounds.
He will revive us after two days;
   on the third day He will raise us up,
   to live in His presence.”
~Hosea 5:15b-16:2

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday

O sacred head, surrounded
by crown of piercing thorn!
O bleeding head, so wounded,
reviled and put to scorn!
Our sins have marred the glory
of Thy most holy face,
yet angel hosts adore Thee
and tremble as they gaze

~Words: Paul Gerhardt; based on poem ascribed to Bernard of Clairvaux & Music: Hans Leo Hassler; arranged by Johann Sebastian Bach (partial re-post)

Were you there when the sun refused to shine?
Were you there when the sun refused to shine?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble
Were you there when the sun refused to shine?

~Traditional Spiritual

See, my servant shall prosper,
   he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.
Even as many were amazed at him—
   so marred was his look beyond that of man,
   and his appearance beyond that of mortals—
So shall he startle many nations,
   because of him kings shall stand speechless;
For those who have not been told shall see,
   those who have not heard shall ponder it.

~Isaiah 52:13-15 (re-post)

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.

~Words: Liturgy of St. James, 4th Century & Music: Picardy, French carol melody (partial re-post)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Thursday - Holy Week

  
’Tis Midnight, And On Olive’s Brow

’Tis midnight, and on Olive’s brow
The star is dimmed that lately shone;
’Tis midnight, in the garden now
The suffering Savior prays alone.

’Tis midnight, and from all removed
Emmanuel wrestles lone with fears
E’en the disciple whom He loved
Heeds not his Master’s grief and tears.

’Tis midnight, and for others’ guilt
The Man of Sorrows weeps in blood;
Yet He who hath in anguish knelt
Is not forsaken by His God.

’Tis midnight, and from ether plains
Is borne the song that angels know;
Unheard by mortals are the strains
That sweetly soothe the Savior’s woe.

~Words: William Tappan & Music: William Bradbury
  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wednesday - Holy Week


(Picture found here)
The last public execution in America was carried out in Owensboro, Kentucky, in 1936 when Rainey Bethea was hanged. Hundreds of reporters and photographers -- some from as far away as New York and Chicago -- were sent to Owensboro to cover [the event]. At least 20,000 people descended on the town to witness the execution. Bethea walked toward the gallows shortly after sunrise and was pronounced dead at around 5:45 a.m. that same day.