Thursday, June 30, 2016

Psalm 19:1-4


(Picture found here)
The heavens proclaim the glory of God,
    and the firmament shows forth the work of His hands.
Day unto day takes up the story
    and night unto night makes known the message.

No speech, no word, no voice is heard
    yet their span extends through all the earth,
their words to the utmost bounds of the world.
   

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Literature

“Literature offers us a different way of seeing things. The reading of literature opens our eyes, offering us new perspectives on things that we can evaluate and adopt. My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through those of others. . . . In reading great literature, I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see.”
~Alister McGrath

Monday, June 27, 2016

In the Privacy of our Heart

“The mystery of the spiritual life is that Jesus desires to meet us in the seclusion of our own heart, to make his love known to us there, to free us from our fears, and to make our own deepest self known to us.

In the privacy of our heart, therefore, we can learn not only to know Jesus, but through Jesus to know ourselves as well. If you reflect on this a bit more you will see an interaction between God’s love revealing itself to you and a constant growth in self-knowledge.

Each time you let the love of God penetrate deeper into your heart, you lose a bit of your anxiety; and every time you shed a bit of your anxiety, you learn to know yourself better and long all the more to be known by your loving God.”
~Henri Nouwen

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Prayer in Old Age

Bring no expectance of a heaven unearned
No hunger for beatitude to be
Until the lesson of my life is learned
Through what Thou didst for me.

Bring no assurance of redeemed rest
No intimation of awarded grace
Only contrition, cleavingly confessed
To Thy forgiving face.

I ask one world of everlasting loss
In all I am, that other world to win.
My nothingness must kneel below Thy Cross.
There let new life begin.

~Siegfried Sassoon

Friday, June 24, 2016

All Ear

“A spiritual life requires discipline because we need to learn to listen to God, who constantly speaks but whom we seldom hear. When, however, we learn to listen, our lives become obedient lives. The word ‘obedient’ comes from the word audire, which means ‘listening.’

A spiritual discipline is necessary in order to move slowly from an absurd to an obedient life, from a life filled with noisy worries to a life in which there is some free inner space where we can listen to our God and follow God’s guidance. Jesus’ life was a life of obedience. He was always listening to the Father, always attentive to his voice, always alert for his directions. Jesus was ‘all ear.’

That is true prayer: being all ear for God. The core of all prayer is indeed listening, obediently standing in the presence of God.”
~Henri Nouwen

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

1 John 2:3-6

The way we can be sure of our knowledge of Christ
is to keep his commandments.
The man who claims, “I have known him,”
without keeping his commandments,
is a liar; in such a one there is no truth.
But whoever keeps his word,
truly has the love of God been made perfect in him.
The way we can be sure we are in union with him
is for the man who claims to abide in him
to conduct himself just as he did.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Christian

“Paul teaches us the power of Christ’s name when he calls him the power and wisdom of God, our peace, the unapproachable light where God dwells, our expiation and redemption, our great high priest, our paschal sacrifice, our propitiation; when he declares him to be the radiance of God’s glory, the very pattern of his nature, the creator of all ages, our spiritual food and drink, the rock and the water, the bedrock of our faith, the cornerstone, the visible image of the invisible God. He goes on to speak of him as the mighty God, the head of his body, the Church, the firstborn of the new creation, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep, the firstborn of the dead, the eldest of many brothers; he tells us that Christ is the mediator between God and man, the only begotten Son crowned with glory and honor, the Lord of glory, the beginning of all things, the king of justice and of peace, the king of the whole universe, ruling a realm that has no limits.

Paul calls Christ by many other titles too numerous to recall here. Their cumulative force will give some conception of the marvelous content of the name ‘Christ,’ revealing to us his inexpressible majesty, insofar as our minds and thought can comprehend it. Since, by the goodness of God, we who are called ‘Christians’ have been granted the honor of sharing this name, the greatest, the highest, the most sublime of all names, it follows that each of the titles that express its meaning should be clearly reflected in us. If we are not to lie when we call ourselves ‘Christians,’ we must bear witness to it by our way of living.”
~St. Gregory of Nyssa

Monday, June 20, 2016

What the Bird Said Early In The Year


(Picture found here)
I heard in Addison’s Walk a bird sing clear:
This year the summer will come true. This year. This year.

Winds will not strip the blossom from the apple trees
This year nor want of rain destroy the peas.

This year time’s nature will no more defeat you.
Nor all the promised moments in their passing cheat you.

This time they will not lead you round and back
To Autumn, one year older, by the well worn track.

This year, this year, as all these flowers foretell,
We shall escape the circle and undo the spell.

Often deceived, yet open once again your heart,
Quick, quick, quick, quick! – the gates are drawn apart.

~C. S. Lewis
  

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Prayer for Father’s Day

God and father of our Lord, Jesus Christ,
you have gathered us as your own family,
happy to act as our father
and to have us call you father,
providing us with all we need
to live and thrive on earth.

This day we thank you for the blessing of fathers,
for all our own fathers have done for us
to rear us to take care of ourselves and our world,
to guide us into the paths of peace and righteousness,
to show us how to be both strong and gentle.

We pray for those men who are fathers
who find themselves unable or unwilling
to fulfill their roles as dad for their children.

We pray for new fathers,
learning to care for and enjoy their little ones,
experienced fathers who are learning
to let go of their children,
and for fathers whose unseen presence
still guides their adult children.

Bless, we ask, the memory of fathers
who have passed into your presence,
guide and sustain those whose fatherly work is not yet done,
and give us all the grace we need to build up
the children of generations who will come after us.

~Brummhart Publishing

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Matthew 6:24-34

Jesus said to his disciples:
“No one can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
   or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
   what you will eat or drink,
   or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
   they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
   yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
   was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
   which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
   will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
   or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness,
   and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

Friday, June 17, 2016

My Body Is a Broken Toy

My body is a broken toy
Which nobody can mend
Unfit for either play or ploy
My body is a broken toy;
But all things end.
The siege of Troy
Came one day to an end.
My body is a broken toy
Which nobody can mend.

My soul is an immortal toy
Which nobody can mar,
An instrument of praise and joy;
My soul is an immortal toy;
Though rusted from the world’s alloy
It glitters like a star;
My soul is an immortal toy
Which nobody can mar.

~Maurice Baring

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

On the Lord’s Prayer

May Your name be hallowed

“How merciful the Lord is to us, how kind and richly compassionate! He wished us to repeat this prayer in God’s sight, to call the Lord our Father and, as Christ is God’s Son, be called in turn sons of God! None of us would ever have dared to utter this name unless He Himself had allowed us to pray in this way. And therefore, dear friends, we should bear in mind and realize that when we call God our Father we ought also to act like sons. If we are pleased to call Him Father, let Him in turn be pleased to call us sons.

We should live like the temples of God we are, so that it can be seen that God lives in us...”
~St. Cyprian

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Monday, June 13, 2016

True Story

“I was walking down a dimly lit street late one evening when I heard muffled screams coming from behind a clump of bushes. Alarmed, I slowed down to listen, and panicked when I realized that what I was hearing were the unmistakable sounds of a struggle: heavy grunting, frantic scuffling, the tearing of fabric. Only yards from where I stood, a woman was being attacked.

Should I get involved? I was frightened for my own safety, and cursed myself for having suddenly decided to take a new route home that night. What if I became another statistic? Shouldn’t I just run to the nearest phone and call the police?

Although it seemed like an eternity, the deliberations in my head had taken only seconds, but already the girl’s cries were growing weaker. I knew I had to act fast. How could I walk away from this? No, I finally resolved, I could not turn my back on the fate of this unknown woman, even if it meant risking my own life.

I am not a brave man, nor am I athletic. I don’t know where I found the moral courage and physical strength—but once I had finally resolved to help the girl, I became strangely transformed. I ran behind the bushes and pulled the assailant off the woman. Grappling, we fell to the ground, where we wrestled for a few minutes until the attacker jumped up and escaped.

Panting hard, I scrambled upright and approached the girl, who was crouched behind a tree, sobbing. In the darkness, I could barely see her outline, but I could certainly sense her trembling shock. Not wanting to frighten her further, I at first spoke to her from a distance. ‘It's ok,’ I said soothingly. ‘The man ran away. You’re safe now.’

There was a long pause and then I heard her words, uttered in wonder, in amazement. ‘Dad, is that you?’ And then, from behind the tree, stepped my youngest daughter, Katherine.”

~Greg O'Leary (from Small Miracles by: Halberstam and Leventhal)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Test of Character

“The test of character posed by the gentleness of God's approach to us is especially dangerous for those formed by the ideas that dominate our modern world. We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can be almost as stupid as a cabbage, as long as you doubt. The fashion of the age has identified mental sharpness with a pose, not with genuine intellectual method and character. Only a very hardy individualist or social rebel -- or one desperate for another life -- therefore stands any chance of discovering the substantiality of the spiritual life today. Today it is the skeptics who are the social conformists, though because of powerful intellectual propaganda they continue to enjoy thinking of themselves as wildly individualistic and unbearably bright.”
~Dallas Willard

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Love and the Child

‘Why do you so clasp me,
     And draw me to your knee?
Forsooth, you do but chafe me,
     I pray you let me be:
I will be loved but now and then
     When it liketh me!’

So I heard a young child,
     A thwart child, a young child
Rebellious against love’s arms,
     Make its peevish cry.

To the tender God I turn:—
     ‘Pardon, Love most High!
For I think those arms were even Thine,
     And that child even I.’

~Francis Thompson

Friday, June 10, 2016

Fulfillment

“Fulfillment does not lie in comfort, ease, and following one's inclinations, but precisely in allowing demands to be made upon you, in taking the harder path. Everything else turns out somehow boring, anyway. Only the person who recognizes an ideal he must satisfy, who takes on real responsibility, will find fulfillment. It is not in taking, not on the path of comfort that we become rich, but only in giving.”
~Pope Benedict XVI

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Colossians 4:5-6

Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Crossing of the Jordan

“The ark of the covenant led the people of God across the Jordan. The priests and the Levites halted, and the waters, as though out of reverence to the ministers of God, stopped flowing. They piled up in a single mass, thus allowing the people of God to cross in safety. As a Christian, you should not be amazed to hear of these wonders performed for men of the past. The divine Word promises much greater and more lofty things to you who have passed through Jordan’s stream by the sacrament of baptism: he promises you a passage even through the sky. Listen to what Paul says concerning the just: We shall be caught up in the clouds to meet Christ in heaven, and so we shall always be with the Lord. There is absolutely nothing for the just man to fear; the whole of creation serves him. Listen to another promise that God makes him through the prophet: If you pass through fire, the flame shall not burn you, for I am the Lord your God. The just man is everywhere welcome, and everything renders him due service.

...Mindful, then, of all the mighty works of God, remembering that he divided the sea for you and held back the waters of the river, you will turn to them and say: Why was it, sea, that you fled? Jordan, why did you turn back? Mountains, why did you skip like rams, and you hills, like young sheep? And the word of the Lord will reply: The earth is shaken at the face of the Lord, at the face of the God of Jacob, who turns stones into a pool and rock into springs of water.
~Origen

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Are Ye Not Much Better Than They?

The twig sprouteth,
The moth outeth,
The plant springeth,
The bird singeth:
Tho’ little we sing today
Yet are we better than they;
Tho’ growing with scarce a showing,
Yet, please God, we are growing.
The twig teacheth,
The moth preacheth,
The plant vaunteth,
The bird chanteth,
God’s mercy overflowing,
Merciful past man’s knowing.
Please God to keep us growing
Till the awful day of mowing.

~Christina Rossetti

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Arise

Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain,
   and His disciples and a large crowd accompanied Him.
As He drew near to the gate of the city,
   a man who had died was being carried out,
   the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her,
   He was moved with pity for her and said to her,
   “Do not weep.”
He stepped forward and touched the coffin;
   at this the bearers halted,
   and He said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”
The dead man sat up and began to speak,
   and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,
   “A great prophet has arisen in our midst,”
   and “God has visited His people.”
This report about Him spread through the whole of Judea
   and in all the surrounding region.
~Luke 7:11-17

“St. Augustine has a beautiful comment on the three miracles of raising the dead related in the Gospels. He has been saying that all our Lord’s works of mercy to the body have a spiritual reference to the soul; he then proceeds to consider them ‘as illustrations of Christ's Divine power and love in raising the soul, dead in trespasses and sins, from every kind of spiritual death, whether the soul be dead, but not yet carried out, like the daughter of Jairus; or dead and carried out, but not buried, like the widow’s son; or dead, carried, and buried, like Lazarus. He who raised himself from the dead can raise all from the death of sin. Therefore let no one despair’”
~R. M. Edgar

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Way To Come To True Life

“...If, then, you are looking for the way by which you should go, take Christ, because He Himself is the way: This is the way; walk in it. ...It is better to limp along the way than stride along off the way. For a man who limps along the way, even if he only makes slow progress, comes to the end of the way; but one who is off the way, the more quickly he runs, the further away is he from his goal.

If you are looking for a goal, hold fast to Christ, because He Himself is the truth, where we desire to be. My mouth shall reflect on the truth. If you are looking for a resting place, hold fast to Christ, because He Himself is the life. Whoever finds Me finds life, and receives salvation from the Lord. 

Therefore hold fast to Christ if you wish to be safe. You will not be able to go astray, because He is the way. He who remains with Him does not wander in trackless places; he is on the right way. Moreover he cannot be deceived, because He is the truth, and He teaches every truth. And He says: For this I was born and for this I have come, to bear witness to the truth. Nor can he be disturbed, because He is both life and the giver of life. For He says: I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.

~St. Thomas Aquinas

Friday, June 3, 2016

C. S. Lewis

“I have received lots of letters from people telling me about their experiences of hearing Lewis [C. S. Lewis] lecture. Some remembered his days at Cambridge, when he would walk into a lecture theatre, still wearing his hat and scarf, and begin delivering his lecture as he walked to the podium. Another letter was especially interesting. It was from someone who had been an undergraduate at Oxford during the Second World War, and had heard Lewis speak about the Christian faith one evening. ‘The atmosphere was electric,’ he told me. ‘My friends and I were all ready to repent and be baptized, right there and then!’

Lewis’s impassioned speeches and writings on the Christian faith have earned him a reputation as one of the greatest Christian apologists of all time. When he began his studies at Oxford University in January 1919, Lewis hoped to be remembered as an atheist poet—someone who destroyed the plausibility of God through his verbal eloquence and the power of argument. Yet in the end, it was the plausibility of a dull and joyless atheism that crumbled before him.”
~Alister McGrath

“On the one side, a many-islanded sea of
poetry and myth; on the other, a glib and
shallow rationalism. Nearly all that I loved
I believed to be imaginary; nearly all that
I believed to be real I thought grim and
meaningless.”
~C. S. Lewis

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Isaiah 66:1-2

Thus says the Lord:
The heavens are my throne,
   and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house can you build for me;
   what is to be my resting place?
My hand made all these things
   when all of them came to be, says the Lord.
This is the one whom I approve:
   the humble and contrite in spirit,
   who trembles at my word.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Church of God

“...The members of some Eastern sect or secret society or other seemed to have made a scene somewhere; nobody could imagine why. The incident occurred once or twice again and began to arouse irritation out of proportion to its insignificance. It was not exactly what these provincials said; though of course it sounded queer enough. They seemed to be saying that God was dead and that they themselves had seen him die. This might be one of the many manias produced by the despair of the age; only they did not seem particularly despairing. They seem quite unnaturally joyful about it, and gave the reason that the death of God had allowed them to eat him and drink his blood. According to other accounts God was not exactly dead after all; there trailed through the bewildered imagination some sort of fantastic procession of the funeral of God, at which the sun turned black, but which ended with the dead omnipotence breaking out of the tomb and rising again like the sun. But it was not the strange story to which anybody paid any particular attention; people in that world had seen queer religions enough to fill a madhouse. It was something in the tone of the madmen and their type of formation. They were a scratch company of barbarians and slaves and poor and unimportant people; but their formation was military; they moved together and were very absolute about who and what was really a part of their little system; and about what they said. However mildly, there was a ring like iron. Men used to many mythologies and moralities could make no analysis of the mystery, except the curious conjecture that they meant what they said. All attempts to make them see reason in the perfectly simple matter of the Emperor's statue seemed to be spoken to deaf men. It was as if a new meteoric metal had fallen on the earth; it was a difference of substance to the touch. Those who touched their foundation fancied they had struck a rock.

With a strange rapidity, like the changes of a dream, the proportions of things seemed to change in their presence. Before most men knew what had happened, these few men were palpably present. They were important enough to be ignored. People became suddenly silent about them and walked stiffly past them. We see a new scene, in which the world has drawn its skirts away from these men and women and they stand in the centre of a great space like lepers. The scene changes again and the great space where they stand is overhung on every side with a cloud of witnesses, interminable terraces full of faces looking down towards them intently; for strange things are happening to them. New tortures have been invented for the madmen who have brought good news. That sad and weary society seems almost to find a new energy in establishing its first religious persecution. Nobody yet knows very clearly why that level world has thus lost its balance about the people in its midst; but they stand unnaturally still while the arena and the world seem to revolve round them. And there shone on them in that dark hour a light that has never been darkened; a white fire clinging to that group like an unearthly phosphorescence, blazing its track through the twilights of history and confounding every effort to confound it with the mists of mythology and theory; that shaft of light or lightning by which the world itself has struck and isolated and crowned it; by which its own enemies have made it more illustrious and its own critics have made it more inexplicable; the halo of hatred around the Church of God.”
~G. K. Chesterton