Friday, July 31, 2015

1 Peter 1:6-9

There is cause for rejoicing here. You may for a time have to suffer the distress of many trials; but this is so that your faith, which is more precious than the passing splendor of fire-tried gold, may by its genuineness lead to praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ appears. Although you have never seen him, you love him, and without seeing you now believe in him, and rejoice with inexpressible joy touched with glory because you are achieving faith’s goal, your salvation.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

From A Sermon...

"A virgin conceived, bore a son, and yet remained a virgin. This is no common occurrence, but a sign; no reason here, but God’s power, for He is the cause, and not nature. It is a special event, not shared by others; it is divine, not human. Christ’s birth was not necessity, but an expression of omnipotence, a sacrament of piety for the redemption of men. He who made man without generation from pure clay made man again and was born from a pure body. The hand that assumed clay to make our flesh deigned to assume a body for our salvation. That the Creator is in His creature and God is in the flesh brings dignity to man without dishonor to Him who made him.

Why then, man, are you so worthless in your own eyes and yet so precious to God? Why render yourself such dishonor when you are honored by Him? Why do you ask how you were created and do not seek to know why you were made? Was not this entire visible universe made for your dwelling? It was for you that the light dispelled the overshadowing gloom; for your sake was the night regulated and the day measured, and for you were the heavens embellished with the varying brilliance of the sun, the moon and the stars. The earth was adorned with flowers, groves and fruit; and the constant marvellous variety of lovely living things was created in the air, the fields, and the seas for you, lest sad solitude destroy the joy of God’s new creation. And the Creator still works to devise things that can add to your glory. He has made you in His image that you might in your person make the invisible Creator present on earth; He has made you His legate, so that the vast empire of the world might have the Lord’s representative. Then in His mercy God assumed what He made in you; He wanted now to be truly manifest in man, just as He had wished to be revealed in man as in an image. Now He would be in reality what He had submitted to be in symbol.

And so Christ is born that by His birth He might restore our nature. He became a child, was fed, and grew that He might inaugurate the one perfect age to remain for ever as He had created it. He supports man that man might no longer fall. And the creature He had formed of earth He now makes heavenly; and what He had endowed with a human soul He now vivifies to become a heavenly spirit. In this way He fully raised man to God, and left in him neither sin, nor death, nor travail, nor pain, nor anything earthly, with the grace of our Lord Christ Jesus, who lives and reigns with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, for all the ages of eternity. Amen."
~St. Peter Chrysologus (380 - 450)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Faith Which Banishes All Fear

"Let us have this faith which banishes all fear. We have beside us, facing us, in us, our Jesus, our God who loves us infinitely, is all-powerful, knows what is best for us, tells us to seek the kingdom and that the rest will be given to us."
~Charles de Foucauld

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey

A Man and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: "You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?"

So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: "See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides."

So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn't gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: "Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along."

Well, the Man didn't know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: "Aren't you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey with you and your hulking son?"

The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey's feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.

"That will teach you," said an old man who had followed them:

"Please all, and you will please none."

~Aesop's Fables

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Family Harmony

"Harmony is defined by St. Thomas Aquinas as 'an effect of charity, which does not necessarily imply unity of opinion, but of wills.' Hence familial harmony depends not on unity of opinion--often a rare and tenuous commodity between man and woman--but upon a unity of wills."
~Gregory Dilsaver

Friday, July 24, 2015

St. Charbel Makhlouf (1828 - 1898)


(Picture found here)
He was born in Lebanon, the son of a mule-driver, and brought up by his uncle, who did not approve of his devotion to prayer and solitude. He would go secretly to the monastery of St. Maron at Annaya, and eventually became a Maronite monk and was ordained a Catholic priest. After being a monk for many years, he was drawn to a closer imitation of the Desert Fathers and became a hermit.

At his hermitage he lived a severely ascetic life with much prayer and fasting. He refused to touch money and considered himself the servant of anyone who came to stay in the three other cells that the hermitage possessed. He spent the last 23 years of his life there, and increasing numbers of people would come to receive his counsel or his blessing.
      

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Church Under Persecution

“Reflecting on such thoughts almost habitually, amid the exhausting labors of endless days in the camps of Siberia, made me conscious of my obligation toward God in fulfilling to the best of my abilities the daily rounds of prayer and work and suffering, setting an example as conscientiously as I could for my fellow prisoners, helping them to see by word and by deed that even the days of this most wretched existence in a frozen wasteland could be productive in brining the kingdom of God upon earth. No man’s life, no man’s suffering, is lost from the eyes of God. For each of us has been created to praise, reverence, and serve God and by this means to save our souls and help in the salvation of others. No action, however insignificant, if accepted and performed as from God’s hand and in conformity with his will, is anything other than redemptive and a sharing in the great work of salvation begun by Christ’s passion.

Reflecting on these truths was consoling, but it was more than that. It opened up to me a whole new vision of Siberia and the pain and suffering that went on around me. It seemed to me that I could see arising out of the devastated and blighted lives around me a whole new Church to come—if only there were laborers enough for the vineyard. A Church of men and women full of sacrifice and total dedication was in the process of formation here. A Church formed out of a generation of persecution and frustration, tried as gold in the furnace. A Church of new leaders, survivors of these camps and living in a militantly atheistic country, yet aware of how totally all things depended upon God alone, unable to worship publicly perhaps and yet united to the entire mystical body of Christ called the Church. That saving remnant, perhaps, of which Isaiah spoke. A people who accepted persecution with joy might see in their own trials and sufferings the true Christian work of redeeming the world about them, of being the leaven in the mass. ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor? My ways are not your ways, says the Lord; as far as the heavens are above the earth are my ways above your ways.’ Perhaps, in God’s providence, there might result from all this suffering something new and precious in the mystical body: zealous Christians, with a new ideal of dedication to offer the Church existing in the world as a human institution. In God’s providence, this Church under persecution—these suffering Christians—constantly enriched the Church upon earth, the mystical body of Christ.”
~Walter Ciszek

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Loving Your Enemies

“But I feel this, Helen; I must dislike those who, whatever I do to please them, persist in disliking me; I must resist those who punish me unjustly.  It is as natural as that I should love those who show me affection, or submit to punishment when I feel it is deserved.”

“Heathens and savage tribes hold that doctrine, but Christians and civilised nations disown it.”

“How?  I don’t understand.”

“It is not violence that best overcomes hate—nor vengeance that most certainly heals injury.”

“What then?”

“Read the New Testament, and observe what Christ says, and how He acts; make His word your rule, and His conduct your example.”

“What does He say?”

“Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you and despitefully use you.”

“Then I should love Mrs. Reed, which I cannot do; I should bless her son John, which is impossible.”

In her turn, Helen Burns asked me to explain, and I proceeded forthwith to pour out, in my own way, the tale of my sufferings and resentments.  Bitter and truculent when excited, I spoke as I felt, without reserve or softening.

Helen heard me patiently to the end: I expected she would then make a remark, but she said nothing.

“Well,” I asked impatiently, “is not Mrs. Reed a hard-hearted, bad woman?”

“She has been unkind to you, no doubt; because you see, she dislikes your cast of character, as Miss Scatcherd does mine; but how minutely you remember all she has done and said to you!  What a singularly deep impression her injustice seems to have made on your heart!  No ill-usage so brands its record on my feelings.  Would you not be happier if you tried to forget her severity, together with the passionate emotions it excited?  Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.  We are, and must be, one and all, burdened with faults in this world: but the time will soon come when, I trust, we shall put them off in putting off our corruptible bodies; when debasement and sin will fall from us with this cumbrous frame of flesh, and only the spark of the spirit will remain,—the impalpable principle of light and thought, pure as when it left the Creator to inspire the creature: whence it came it will return; perhaps again to be communicated to some being higher than man—perhaps to pass through gradations of glory, from the pale human soul to brighten to the seraph!  Surely it will never, on the contrary, be suffered to degenerate from man to fiend?  No; I cannot believe that...”

~Charlotte Brontë (Excerpt from Jane Eyre

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Death, Life, Luck, and God

“With the smoke of the dead sailor's cigar wreathing around him, Willie passed to thinking about death and life and luck and God. Philosophers are at home with such thoughts, perhaps, but for other people it is actual torture when these concepts--not the words, the realities--break through the crust of daily occurrences and grip the soul. A half hour of such racking meditation can change the ways of a lifetime.”
~Herman Wouk

Monday, July 20, 2015

Certain Periods

"At certain periods of life, we live years of emotion in a few weeks, and look back on those times as on great gaps between the old life and the new."
~William Thackeray

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Mark 6:30-34

The apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught. 
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” 
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat. 
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. 
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. 
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Proverbs 15:15

All the days of the poor are hard,
    but a cheerful heart has a continual feast.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Romans 5:1-11

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

While we were yet helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man—though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received our reconciliation.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

When you wake up...

 
“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.

~A. A. Milne
 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Traps Everywhere

“It was here that I first read a volume of Chesterton’s essays. I had never heard of him and had no idea of what he stood for; nor can I quite understand why he made such an immediate conquest of me. It might have been expected that my pessimism, my atheism, and my hatred of sentiment would have made him to me the least congenial of all authors. It would almost seem that Providence, or some ‘second cause’ of a very obscure kind, quite over-rules our previous tastes when It decides to bring two minds together ...

In reading Chesterton, as in reading MacDonald, I did not know what I was letting myself in for. A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere — ‘Bibles laid open, millions of surprises,’ as Herbert says, ‘fine nets and stratagems.’ God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous.”
~C. S. Lewis

Monday, July 13, 2015

Come, let us climb the mountain of the Lord


(Chapelle Saint Michel d'Aiguilhe - found here)
In days to come,
the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest mountain
and raised above the hills.

All nations shall stream toward it;
many peoples shall come and say:
“Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in his paths.”

For from Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

He shall judge between the nations,
and impose terms on many peoples.
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.

O house of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord!

~ Isaiah 2:2-5
  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Put Christ Before Everything

“Whenever you begin any good work you should first of all make a most pressing appeal to Christ our Lord to bring it to perfection; that he, who has honored us by counting us among his children, may never be grieved by our evil deeds. For we must always serve him with the good things he has given us in such a way that he may never—as an angry father disinherits his sons or even like a master who inspires fear—grow impatient with our sins and consign us to everlasting punishment, like wicked servants who would not follow him to glory.

So we should at long last rouse ourselves, prompted by the words of Scripture: Now is the time for us to rise from sleep. Our eyes should be open to the God-given light, and we should listen in wonderment to the message of the divine voice as it daily cries out: Today, if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts; and again: If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. And what does the Spirit say? Come my sons, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord, Hurry, while you have the light of life, so that death’s darkness may not overtake you.

And the Lord as he seeks the one who will do his work among the throng of people to whom he makes that appeal, says again: Which of you wants to live to the full; who loves long life and the enjoyment of prosperity? And, if when you hear this you say, I do, God says to you: If you desire true and everlasting life, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from deceit, turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. And when you have done these things my eyes will be upon you and before you call upon my name I shall say to you: Behold, I am here. What could be more delightful, dearest brothers, than the voice of our Lord’s invitation to us? In his loving kindness he reveals to us the way of life.

...

Just as there exists an evil fervor, a bitter spirit, which divides us from God and leads us to hell, so there is a good fervor which sets us apart from evil inclinations and leads us toward God and eternal life. Monks should put this fervor into practice with an overflowing love: that is, they should surpass each other in mutual esteem, accept their weaknesses, either of body or of behavior, with the utmost patience; and vie with each other in acceding to requests. No one should follow what he considers to be good for himself, but rather what seems good for another. They should display brotherly love in a chaste manner; fear God in a spirit of love; revere their abbot with a genuine and submissive affection. Let them put Christ before all else; and may he lead us all to everlasting life.”

~From the Rule of Saint Benedict

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Reminiscing


("Watermelon Slice" by Nina Aide - found here)
1    Watermelons were so much sweeter then,
2    When boys were the stuff of super men,
3    And summers seemed so much longer too,
4    With nothing pending and nothing due.
5    We were swordsmen—swashbuckling heroes,
6    Eternal victors—never zeroes;
7    Second basemen and clean-up hitters;
8    Forever winners, never quitters.
9    Play was a ritual in those days,
10  To go on magical mind forays,
11  To play the game with aplomb and ease,
12  To venture forth when and where we’d please.
13  We would feign death, and then rise up again.
14  Watermelons were so much sweeter then.

~Ralph Cortez
 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Ever Aware

“The marvelous perfection of creation, where everything fits and works together to bring about God’s plan, should help us keep God always in mind, says St. Basil. If we remain ever aware of the beauty of God’s creation, we’ll give sin no opportunities.”

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

King Hezekiah

2 Kings 18-19

Hezekiah’s Reign over Judah

In the third year of King Hoshea son of Elah of Israel, Hezekiah son of King Ahaz of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign; he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the sight of the Lord just as his ancestor David had done. He removed the high places, broke down the pillars, and cut down the sacred pole. He broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it; it was called Nehushtan. He trusted in the Lord the God of Israel; so that there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah after him, or among those who were before him. For he held fast to the Lord; he did not depart from following him but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses. The Lord was with him; wherever he went, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him. He attacked the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city.

In the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of King Hoshea son of Elah of Israel, King Shalmaneser of Assyria came up against Samaria, besieged it, and at the end of three years, took it. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of King Hoshea of Israel, Samaria was taken. The king of Assyria carried the Israelites away to Assyria, settled them in Halah, on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, because they did not obey the voice of the Lord their God but transgressed his covenant—all that Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded; they neither listened nor obeyed.

Sennacherib Invades Judah

In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, King Sennacherib of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. King Hezekiah of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong; withdraw from me; whatever you impose on me I will bear.” The king of Assyria demanded of King Hezekiah of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king’s house. At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the doorposts that King Hezekiah of Judah had overlaid and gave it to the king of Assyria. The king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rabsaris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Fuller’s Field. When they called for the king, there came out to them Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebnah the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder.

The Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah: Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you base this confidence of yours? Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? On whom do you now rely, that you have rebelled against me? See, you are relying now on Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of anyone who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him. But if you say to me, ‘We rely on the Lord our God,’ is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem’? Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master’s servants, when you rely on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have come up against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.”

Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah, and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, “Please speak to your servants in the Aramaic language, for we understand it; do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” But the Rabshakeh said to them, “Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the people sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and to drink their own urine?”

Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. Do not let Hezekiah make you rely on the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me; then every one of you will eat from your own vine and your own fig tree, and drink water from your own cistern, until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive oil and honey, that you may live and not die. Do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, The Lord will deliver us. Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered its land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who among all the gods of the countries have delivered their countries out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’”

But the people were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, “Do not answer him.” Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.

Hezekiah Consults Isaiah

When King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. And he sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. It may be that the Lord your God heard all the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the Lord your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.” When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the Lord: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. I myself will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.’”

Sennacherib’s Threat

The Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah; for he had heard that the king had left Lachish. When the king heard concerning King Tirhakah of Ethiopia, “See, he has set out to fight against you,” he sent messengers again to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus shall you speak to King Hezekiah of Judah: Do not let your God on whom you rely deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. See, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, destroying them utterly. Shall you be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my predecessors destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?”

Hezekiah’s Prayer

Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; then Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said: “O Lord the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, you are God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, and have hurled their gods into the fire, though they were no gods but the work of human hands—wood and stone—and so they were destroyed. So now, O Lord our God, save us, I pray you, from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone.”

Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I have heard your prayer to me about King Sennacherib of Assyria. This is the word that the Lord has spoken concerning him:

She despises you, she scorns you—
    virgin daughter Zion;
she tosses her head—behind your back,
    daughter Jerusalem.

“Whom have you mocked and reviled?
    Against whom have you raised your voice
and haughtily lifted your eyes?
    Against the Holy One of Israel!
By your messengers you have mocked the Lord,
    and you have said, ‘With my many chariots
I have gone up the heights of the mountains,
    to the far recesses of Lebanon;
I felled its tallest cedars,
    its choicest cypresses;
I entered its farthest retreat,
    its densest forest.
I dug wells
    and drank foreign waters,
I dried up with the sole of my foot
    all the streams of Egypt.’

“Have you not heard
    that I determined it long ago?
I planned from days of old
    what now I bring to pass,
that you should make fortified cities
    crash into heaps of ruins,
while their inhabitants, shorn of strength,
    are dismayed and confounded;
they have become like plants of the field
    and like tender grass,
like grass on the housetops,
    blighted before it is grown.

“But I know your rising and your sitting,
    your going out and coming in,
    and your raging against me.
Because you have raged against me
    and your arrogance has come to my ears,
I will put my hook in your nose
    and my bit in your mouth;
I will turn you back on the way
    by which you came.

“And this shall be the sign for you: This year you shall eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs from that; then in the third year sow, reap, plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. The surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward; for from Jerusalem a remnant shall go out, and from Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

“Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city, shoot an arrow there, come before it with a shield, or cast up a siege ramp against it. By the way that he came, by the same he shall return; he shall not come into this city, says the Lord. For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”

Sennacherib’s Defeat and Death

That very night the angel of the Lord set out and struck down one hundred eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians; when morning dawned, they were all dead bodies. Then King Sennacherib of Assyria left, went home, and lived at Nineveh. As he was worshiping in the house of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped into the land of Ararat. His son Esar-haddon succeeded him.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Painting & Quotes


(La Varenne de Saint Hilaire by Camille Pissarro - found here)
“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.”

“All the sorrow, all the bitterness, all the sadness, I forget them and ignore them in the joy of working.”

~Camille Pissarro
 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Rewards of the Fountain

Let the world offer what it will,
Its bargains I refuse.
Those it rewards are greedy still.
I serve a stricter Muse.

She bears no treasure but the sands,
No bounty but the sea’s.
The fountain falls on empty hands.
She only gives to these.

The living water sings through her
Whose eyes are fixed on stone.
My strength is from the sepulchre
Where time is overthrown.

If once I labour to possess
A gift that is not hers,
The more I gain in time, the less
I triumph in the verse.

~Vernon Watkins

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Beautiful Savior

Beautiful Savior,
King of Creation,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Truly I'd love Thee,
Truly I'd serve Thee,
Light of my soul, my Joy, my Crown.

Fair are the meadows,
Fair are the woodlands,
Robed in flowers of blooming spring;
Jesus is fairer,
Jesus is purer;
He makes our sorrowing spirit sing.

Fair is the sunshine,
Fair is the moonlight,
Bright the sparkling stars on high;
Jesus shines brighter,
Jesus shines purer,
Than all the angels in the sky.

Beautiful Savior,
Lord of the nations,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor,
Praise, adoration,
Now and forevermore be Thine!

~Author Unknown, 1677 & Translated by Joseph Seiss

Friday, July 3, 2015

2 Peter 1:10-11

Be solicitous to make your call and election permanent, brothers; surely those who do so will never be lost. On the contrary, your entry into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for. (Partial re-post)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Braving It

“I don’t like anything here at all.” said Frodo, “step or stone, breath or bone. Earth, air and water all seem accursed. But so our path is laid.”

“Yes, that’s so,” said Sam, “And we shouldn’t be here at all, if we’d known more about it before we started. But I suppose it’s often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo, adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on, and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same; like old Mr. Bilbo. But those aren’t always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?”

“I wonder,” said Frodo, “But I don’t know. And that’s the way of a real tale. Take any one that you’re fond of. You may know, or guess, what kind of a tale it is, happy-ending or sad-ending, but the people in it don’t know. And you don’t want them to.”

~J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings