Saturday, April 30, 2016

How Long We Wait


(Picture found here)
How long we wait, with minds as quiet as time,
Like sentries on a tower.
How long we watch, by night, like the astronomers.

Heaven, when will we hear you sing,
Arising from our grassy hills,
And say: “The dark is done, and Day
Laughs like a Bridegroom in His tent, the lovely sun,
His tent the sun, His tent the smiling sky!”

How long we wait with minds as dim as ponds
While stars swim slowly homeward in the water of our west!
Heaven, when will we hear you sing?

How long we listened to the silence of our vineyards
And heard no bird stir in the rising barley.
The stars go home behind the shaggy trees.
Our minds are grey as rivers.

O earth, when will you wake in the green wheat,
And all our Trappist cedars sing:
“Bright land, lift up your leafy gates!
You abbey steeple, sing with bells!
For look, our Sun rejoices like a dancer
On the rim of our hills.”

In the blue west the moon is uttered like a word:
          “Farewell.”

~Thomas Merton
   

Friday, April 29, 2016

I Tasted and I Saw

“Eternal God, eternal Trinity, you have made the blood of Christ so precious through his sharing in your divine nature. You are a mystery as deep as the sea; the more I search, the more I find, and the more I find the more I search for you. But I can never be satisfied; what I receive will ever leave me desiring more. When you fill my soul I have an even greater hunger, and I grow more famished for your light. I desire above all to see you, the true light, as you really are.

I have tasted and seen the depth of your mystery and the beauty of your creation with the light of my understanding. I have clothed myself with your likeness and have seen what I shall be. Eternal Father, you have given me a share in your power and the wisdom that Christ claims as his own, and your Holy Spirit has given me the desire to love you. You are my Creator, eternal Trinity, and I am your creature. You have made of me a new creation in the blood of your Son, and I know that you are moved with love at the beauty of your creation, for you have enlightened me.

Eternal Trinity, Godhead, mystery deep as the sea, you could give me no greater gift than the gift of yourself. For you are a fire ever burning and never consumed, which itself consumes all the selfish love that fills my being. Yes, you are a fire that takes away the coldness, illuminates the mind with its light and causes me to know your truth. By this light, reflected as it were in a mirror, I recognize that you are the highest good, one we can neither comprehend nor fathom. And I know that you are beauty and wisdom itself. The food of angels, you gave yourself to man in the fire of your love.

You are the garment which covers our nakedness, and in our hunger you are a satisfying food, for you are sweetness and in you there is no taste of bitterness, O triune God!”
~St. Catherine of Siena (from The Dialogue)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hope

“Totally without hope one cannot live. To live without hope is to cease to live. Hell is hopelessness. It is no accident that above the entrance to Dante’s hell is the inscription: ‘Leave behind all hope, you who enter here.’”
~Jürgen Moltmann

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

John 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
   and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
   unless it remains on the vine,
   so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
   because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
   will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
   people will gather them and throw them into a fire
   and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
   ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
   that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Come, O Christian People Sing

Come, O Christian people sing
In triumphant gladness;
God has rescued Israel,
Given joy for sadness;
Freed from Pharaoh’s bitter yoke
Jacob’s sons and daughters;
Leading them beyond all death
Through the Red Sea waters.

Spring is in our hearts today;
Christ has burst his prison
And from three days’ sleep in death
As a sun has risen.
All the winter of our sins,
Long and dark, is flying
From his light, to whom we give
Song and praise undying.

Now the queen of seasons, bright
With the day of splendor,
With the royal feast of feasts,
Far from dark December,
Comes to glad Jerusalem,
Who with true affection,
Welcomes with untiring praise
Jesus’ resurrection.

Neither could the gates of death,
Nor the tomb’s dark portal,
Nor the watchers, nor the seal,
Hold you as a mortal.
But today amid your own
You have stood bestowing
Your own peace which evermore
Passes human knowing.

Tune: Ave Virgo Virginum (Gaudeamus Pariter) 76.76 D
Music: Johann Horn, 1544
Text: Aσωμεν παντες λαοι, John of Damascus, c. 740
Translation: John Mason Neale, 1818-1866

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Flow of Life

“Beneath the current of our existence and within it, there is another current flowing in the opposite direction. In this life we go from yesterday to tomorrow, but there we go from tomorrow to yesterday. The web of life is being woven and unraveled at the same time. And from time to time we get breaths and vapors and even mysterious murmurs from that other world, from that interior of our own world. ...The subterranean river flows from the sea and back to its source.”
~Miguel de Unamuno

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Jeremiah 17:7-8


(Lone tree at Lake Wanaka - New Zealand - found here)
Blessed are those who trust in the Lord,
   whose trust is the Lord.
They shall be like a tree planted by water,
   sending out its roots by the stream.
It shall not fear when heat comes,
   and its leaves shall stay green;
in the year of drought it is not anxious,
   and it does not cease to bear fruit.
(re-post)
 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Your Word Remains


(Picture found here)
“You are a fertile God. Many seeds are dropped into the soil. Many do not sprout. Yet beneath the appearance of waste nothing is wasted, nothing lost. Giant trees crash to the forest floor, decompose, and become the soil out of which the saplings arise. Similarly, in human affairs, movements are created, rise, do Your work in the world, decline, go back into the soil, and provide the rich humus out of which new life springs. Generations come and go. Sun and rain, winter and summer, seed time and harvest. Always Your Word remains constant. Your people are called over and over, generation after generation, back into this constancy, back to this mysterious fluid stability—the only security worth having. Can You not waste a little more time on us?”
~Michael O’Brien
 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Infinite Possibility

“Either you look at the universe as a very poor creation out of which no one can make anything or you look at your own life and your own part in the universe as infinitely rich, full of inexhaustible interest, opening out into infinite further possibilities for study and contemplation and interest and praise. Beyond all and in all is God.”
~Thomas Merton

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Let Me Know You

“O God, let me know you and love you so that I may find my joy in you; and if I cannot do so fully in this life, let me at least make some progress every day, until at last that knowledge, love and joy come to me in all their plenitude. While I am here on earth let me learn to know you better, so that in heaven I may know you fully; let my love for you grow deeper here, so that there I may love you fully. On earth then I shall have great joy in hope, and in heaven complete joy in the fulfilment of my hope.

O Lord, through your Son you command us, no, you counsel us to ask, and you promise that you will hear us so that our joy may be complete. Lord, I am making the request that you urge us to make through your Wonder-Counsellor. Give me then what you promise to give through your Truth. You, O God, are faithful; grant that I may receive my request, so that my joy may be complete.

Meanwhile, let this hope of mine be in my thoughts and on my tongue; let my heart be filled with it, my voice speak of it; let my soul hunger for it, my body thirst for it, my whole being yearn for it, until I enter into the joy of the Lord, who is Three in One, blessed for ever. Amen.”
~St. Anselm

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Agnosticism

“When he drops one doctrine after another in a refined skepticism, when he declines to tie himself to a system, when he says that he has outgrown definitions, when he says that he disbelieves in finality, when, in his own imagination, he sits as God, holding no form of creed but contemplating all, then he is by that very process sinking slowly backwards into the vagueness of the vagrant animals and the unconsciousness of the grass.

Trees have no dogmas.”
~G. K. Chesterton

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Lord’s Appeal

I appeal to you by the mercy of God... (Rom. 12:1) “This appeal is made by Paul, or rather, it is made by God through Paul...

Listen to the Lord’s appeal: In me, I want you to see your own body, your members, your heart, your bones, your blood. You may fear what is divine, but why not love what is human? You may run away from me as the Lord, but why not run to me as your father? Perhaps you are filled with shame for causing my bitter passion. Do not be afraid. This cross inflicts a mortal injury, not on me, but on death. These nails no longer pain me, but only deepen your love for me. I do not cry out because of these wounds, but through them I draw you into my heart. My body was stretched on the cross as a symbol, not of how much I suffered, but of my all-embracing love. I count it no less to shed my blood: it is the price I have paid for your ransom. Come, then, return to me and learn to know me as your father, who repays good for evil, love for injury, and boundless charity for piercing wounds.”
~St. Peter Chrysologus

Monday, April 18, 2016

Justice and Charity

“Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.”
~St. Augustine

“The source of justice is not vengeance but charity.”
~St. Bridget of Sweden

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Savior, Like A Shepherd Lead Us

Savior, like a shepherd lead us,
Much we need Thy tender care;
In Thy pleasant pastures feed us,
For our use Thy folds prepare.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus!
Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus!
Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.

We are Thine, Thou dost befriend us,
Be the guardian of our way;
Keep Thy flock, from sin defend us,
Seek us when we go astray.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus!
Hear, O hear us when we pray.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus!
Hear, O hear us when we pray.

Thou hast promised to receive us,
Poor and sinful though we be;
Thou hast mercy to relieve us,
Grace to cleanse and power to free.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus!
We will early turn to Thee.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus!
We will early turn to Thee.

Early let us seek Thy favor,
Early let us do Thy will;
Blessèd Lord and only Savior,
With Thy love our bosoms fill.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus!
Thou hast loved us, love us still.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus!
Thou hast loved us, love us still.

~Words: Attributed to Dorothy Thrupp & Music: William Bradbury


I am the good shepherd. I know my own — by which I mean, I love them — and my own know me. In plain words: those who love me are willing to follow me, for anyone who does not love the truth has not yet come to know it.”
~St. Gregory the Great

Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Dream

“A dream is not a very safe thing to be near... I know; I had one once. It’s like a loaded pistol with a hair trigger: if it stays alive long enough, somebody is going to be hurt. But if it’s a good dream, it’s worth it.”
~William Faulkner

Friday, April 15, 2016

On Reading

“It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones. Every age has its own outlook. It is especially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books ... Not, of course, that there is any magic about the past. People were no cleverer then than they are now; they made as many mistakes as we. But not the same mistakes. They will not flatter us in the errors we are already committing; and their own errors, being now open and palpable, will not endanger us.”
~C. S. Lewis

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Vanity

“We are so presumptuous that we should like to be known all over the world, even by people who will only come when we are no more. Such is our vanity that the good opinion of half a dozen of the people around us gives us pleasure and satisfaction.”
~Blaise Pascal

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ethics


(The Mill by Rembrandt - found here)
In ethics class so many years ago
our teacher asked this question every fall:
If there were a fire in a museum,
which would you save, a Rembrandt painting
or an old woman who hadn’t many
years left anyhow?  Restless on hard chairs
caring little for pictures or old age
we’d opt one year for life, the next for art
and always half-heartedly.  Sometimes
the woman borrowed my grandmother’s face
leaving her usual kitchen to wander
some drafty, half-imagined museum.
One year, feeling clever, I replied
why not let the woman decide herself?
Linda, the teacher would report, eschews
the burdens of responsibility.
This fall in a real museum I stand
before a real Rembrandt—old woman,
or nearly so, myself.  The colors
within this frame are darker than autumn,
darker even than winter—the browns of earth,
though earth’s most radiant elements burn
through the canvas. I know now that woman
and painting and season are almost one
and all beyond the saving of children.

~Linda Pastan
  

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Costly Grace

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Monday, April 11, 2016

That Shall Know No End

“The believer, like the prophets under the Old Dispensation, looks forward to the manifestation of Christ upon the earth; . . . he desires that Christ shall fill his soul, and that the Kingdom of God shall indeed come among men; and he looks forward to the Last Day with a dread not unmixed with exultation, when he thinks that his Judge is also his Redeemer, and that the terrors of that scene shall usher in a joy that for him, if he be found faithful, shall know no end.”
~Albert Cook

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Most Holy Faith

“In the light of faith I gain wisdom in the wisdom of the Word your Son; in the light of faith I am strong, constant, persevering; in the light of faith I have hope: It does not let me faint along the way. This light teaches me the way, and without this light I would be walking in the dark. This is why I asked you, eternal Father, to enlighten me with the light of most holy faith.

Truly this light is a sea, for it nourishes the soul in you, peaceful sea, eternal Trinity. Its water is not sluggish; so the soul is not afraid because she knows the truth. It distills, revealing hidden things, so that here, where the most abundant light of your faith abounds, the soul has, as it were, a guarantee of what she believes. This water is a mirror in which you, eternal Trinity, grant me knowledge; for when I look into this mirror, holding it in the hand of love, it shows me myself, as your creation, in you, and you in me through the union you have brought about of the Godhead with our humanity.

This light shows you to me, and in this light I know you, highest and infinite Good: Good above every good, joyous Good, Good beyond measure and understanding! Beauty above all beauty; Wisdom above all wisdom—indeed you are wisdom itself! You who are the angels’ food are given to humans with burning love. You, garment who cover all nakedness, pasture the starving within your sweetness, for you are sweet without trace of bitterness.

O eternal Trinity, when I received with the light of most holy faith your light that you gave me, I came to know therein the way of great perfection, made smooth for me by so many wonderful explanations. Thus I may serve you in the light, not in the dark; and I may be a mirror of a good and holy life; and I may rouse myself from my wretched life in which, always through my own fault, I have served you in darkness. I did not know your truth, and so I did not love it. Why did I not know you? Because I did not see you with the glorious light of most holy faith, since the cloud of selfish love darkened the eye of my understanding. Then with your light, eternal Trinity, you dispelled the darkness.”

~St. Catherine of Siena (from The Dialogue)

Saturday, April 9, 2016

John 3:31-36

The one who comes from above is above all.
The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things.
But the one who comes from heaven is above all.
He testifies to what he has seen and heard,
   but no one accepts his testimony.
Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.
For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.
He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.
The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
   but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life,
   but the wrath of God remains upon him.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Strive for the Crown

“Perhaps you say, Why are the wicked joyous? Why do they live in luxury? Why do they not toil with me? It is because they who have not put down their names to strive for the crown are not bound to undergo the labors of the contest. They who have not gone down into the race-course do not anoint themselves with oil nor get covered with dust. For those whom glory awaits trouble is at hand. The perfumed spectators are wont to look on, not to join in the struggle, nor to endure the heat, the dust, and the showers ...”
~St. Ambrose of Milan


I will bless the Lord at all times;
   His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
   let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me,
   and let us exalt His name together.

O taste and see that the Lord is good;
   happy are those who take refuge in Him.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted,
   and saves the crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
   but the Lord rescues them from them all.

~Psalm 34: 1-3, 8, 18-19

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Going to Church

“...People would say, ‘Why do you want to go to church with all those hypocrites?’ And I would say, ‘Look, why do I want to stay here with all you hypocrites?’ I never knew why going to church made you a hypocrite. They’d say because you go to church and you’re all ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ for two or three hours, and then you go home and sin. I’d say, ‘exactly!’ For two or three hours you’re doing pretty good! Maybe the problem isn’t that you go to church, maybe the problem is that you go home! I never understood why going to church made you a hypocrite either, because nobody goes to church because they’re perfect. If you’ve got it all together, you don’t need to go. You can go jogging with all the other perfect people on Sunday morning. Every time you go to church, you’re confessing again to yourself, to your family, to the people you pass on the way there, to the people who will greet you there, that you don’t have it all together. And that you need their support. You need their direction. You need some accountability. You need some help.”
~Rich Mullins

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Study and Learning

“Do you desire to study to your advantage? Let devotion accompany all your studies, and study less to make yourself learned than to become a saint. Consult God more than your books, and ask Him, with humility, to make you understand what you read. Study fatigues and drains the mind and heart. Go from time to time to refresh them at the feet of Jesus Christ under His cross. Some moments of repose in His sacred wounds give fresh vigor and new lights. Interrupt your application by short prayers: never begin or end your studies but by prayer. Learning is a gift of the Father of Lights; do not, therefore, consider it a fruit of your own intellect or industry.”
~St. Vincent Ferrer

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Nature of God

“The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.”
~G. K. Chesterton (Introduction to The Book of Job)

Monday, April 4, 2016

Fight On

Fight on, my men, Sir Andrew said,
A little I'm hurt but not yet slain.
I'll just lie down and bleed awhile,
And then I'll rise and fight again.

~Unknown poet

Sunday, April 3, 2016

O Sons And Daughters

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

O sons and daughters, let us sing!
The King of heaven, the glorious King,
over death today rose triumphing.
Alleluia!

That night the apostles met in fear;
amidst them came their Lord most dear,
and said, "My peace be on all here."
Alleluia!

When Thomas first the tidings heard,
how they had seen the risen Lord,
he doubted the disciples' word.
Alleluia!

"My piercèd side, O Thomas, see;
my hands, my feet, I show to thee;
not faithless but believing be."
Alleluia!

No longer Thomas then denied;
he saw the feet, the hands, the side;
"Thou art my Lord and God," he cried.
Alleluia!

How blest are they who have not seen,
and yet whose faith has constant been;
for they eternal life shall win.
Alleluia!

On this most holy day of days
to God your hearts and voices raise,
in laud and jubilee and praise.
Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

~Words: Attributed to Jean Tisserand; Translated by John M. Neale
Music: O filii et filiae

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Romans 14:7-9

7 We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Pietà


(Pietà by Michelangelo - found here)
The other Marys radiated joy.
The disciples found the truth hard to believe.
There had to be breaking bread, eating fish,
before they, too, even Thomas, were lit with joyfulness.

Not much was said about me.
I said good-bye to the son I carried within me
for nine months, nursed, fed, taught to walk.
On Friday when they took him down from the cross,
I held the son I knew,
recognizing him in my arms,
and never saw him again,
not my body’s child.

How could I laugh, weep tears of joy?
Like the others, I failed to recognize him;
the Christ who rose was not Bethlehem’s babe.
And it was right. For this was meant to be.
Here in my head I would not have had it otherwise.
But empty arms still longed for familiar flesh.
My joy, a sword that pierced through my heart.

I understood, more, perhaps, than the others
when he said that he could not stay with us—
that it was better if he went away,
was one again with God, his Father.
And when the Spirit came
I once again could love my son
and know my Lord.

If Easter came later for me than for the others,
its brilliance was as poignant and bright.

~Madeleine L'Engle