Sunday, July 31, 2016

Kindness

“Kindness makes life more endurable. The burden of life presses heavily on most people. Many find life almost unbearable. Yet, to a virtuous man, sin alone is sufficient to make life unbearable.

We make ourselves more unhappy than other people make us. A great portion of this self-inflicted unhappiness arises from our sense of justice being so continually wounded by the events of life. Kindness steps forward to remedy this evil also, because kindness is the amiability of justice. Each kind action that you do works to restore the balance between right and wrong.”
~Lawrence Lovasik

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Adventures

“Don’t adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on the story.”
~J. R. R. Tolkien

Friday, July 29, 2016

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Martyrdom

“I don’t know if Father Hamel had the chance to speak any last words to his flock as the terrorists stormed into his sanctuary. But I do know that any faithful pastor wouldn’t need to say much in his final benediction. To fulfill the final task of his job, all he’d need to do was look at the sheep he’d forgiven throughout the years and tell them, ‘Don’t be afraid. These men have come here to take our lives, but they’re too late. Our lives already belong to Christ.’”

Father Hamel is now numbered among all the faithful priests who have gained the crown of martyrdom down through the centuries.

~Hans Fiene

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Temper

“When you are in the right you can afford to keep your temper, and when you are in the wrong you can't afford to lose it.”
~George Lorimer

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Wonderful Words Of Life

Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life,
Let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life;
Words of life and beauty teach me faith and duty.

Refrain:
Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life,
Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life.

Christ, the blessèd One, gives to all wonderful words of life;
Sinner, list to the loving call, wonderful words of life;
All so freely given, wooing us to Heaven.

Refrain

Sweetly echo the Gospel call, wonderful words of life;
Offer pardon and peace to all, wonderful words of life;
Jesus, only Savior, sanctify us forever.

Refrain

~Words & Music: Philip Bliss

Monday, July 25, 2016

Being Crucified

“I see an infinite number of crucified persons in the world, but few who are crucified by the love of Jesus. Some are crucified by their self-love and inordinate love of the world. But happy are they who are crucified for the love of Jesus. Happy are they who live and die on the cross with Jesus.”
~St. John Eudes

Sunday, July 24, 2016

God Saves

“We are all insane. That is what original sin means. Sin is insanity. It is preferring finite joy to infinite joy, creatures to the Creator, an unhappy, Godless self to a happy, God-filled self. Only God can save us from this disease. That is what the name ‘Jesus’ means: ‘God saves.’”
~Peter Kreeft

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Sea


(Picture found here)
“...what I want to write about today is the sea. It contains so many colors. Silver at dawn, green at noon, dark blue in the evening. Sometimes it looks almost red. Or it will turn the color of old coins. Right now the shadows of clouds are dragging across it, and patches of sunlight are touching down everywhere. White strings of gulls drag over it like beads.

It is my favorite thing, I think, that I have ever seen. Sometimes I catch myself staring at it and forget my duties. It seems big enough to contain everything anyone could ever feel...”

~Anthony Doerr (from All the Light We Cannot See)
 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Jeremiah 2:1-3, 7-8, 12-13

This word of the LORD came to me:
   Go, cry out this message for Jerusalem to hear!

I remember the devotion of your youth,
   how you loved me as a bride,
Following me in the desert,
   in a land unsown.
Sacred to the LORD was Israel,
   the first fruits of his harvest;
Should any presume to partake of them,
   evil would befall them, says the LORD.

When I brought you into the garden land
   to eat its goodly fruits,
You entered and defiled my land,
   you made my heritage loathsome.
The priests asked not,
   “Where is the LORD?”
Those who dealt with the law knew me not:
   the shepherds rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal,
   and went after useless idols.

Be amazed at this, O heavens,
   and shudder with sheer horror, says the LORD.
Two evils have my people done:
   they have forsaken me, the source of living waters;
They have dug themselves cisterns,
   broken cisterns, that hold no water.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Far Exceeds

“We ought not to listen to those who exhort us, because we are human, to think of human things.… We ought rather to take on immortality as much as possible, and do all that we can to live in accordance with the highest element within us; for even if its bulk is small, in its power and value it far exceeds everything.”
~Aristotle

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Micah 6:1-4, 6-8

Hear what the LORD says:
   Arise, present your plea before the mountains,
and let the hills hear your voice!
   Hear, O mountains, the plea of the LORD,
pay attention, O foundations of the earth!
   For the LORD has a plea against his people,
and he enters into trial with Israel.

O my people, what have I done to you,
   or how have I wearied you? Answer me!
For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
   from the place of slavery I released you;
and I sent before you Moses,
   Aaron, and Miriam.

With what shall I come before the LORD,
   and bow before God most high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
   with calves a year old?
Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
   with myriad streams of oil?
Shall I give my first-born for my crime,
   the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
You have been told, O man, what is good,
   and what the LORD requires of you:
Only to do the right and to love goodness,
   and to walk humbly with your God.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

XXXV

Even now, I tell myself, there is a language  
to which I might speak and which
would rightly hear me;
responding with eloquence; in its turn,  
negotiating sense without insult
given or injury taken.
Familiar to those who already know it  
elsewhere as justice,
it is met also in the form of silence.

~Geoffrey Hill

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Brain

“The brain is locked in total darkness … It floats in a clear liquid inside the skull, never in the light. And yet the world it constructs in the mind is full of light. It brims with color and movement.  So how … does the brain, which lives without a spark of light, build for us a world full of light?”
~Anthony Doerr (from All the Light We Cannot See)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Mystical Wisdom is Revealed by the Holy Spirit

“Christ is both the way and the door. Christ is the staircase and the vehicle, like the throne of mercy over the Ark of the Covenant, and the mystery hidden from the ages. A man should turn his full attention to this throne of mercy, and should gaze at him hanging on the cross, full of faith, hope and charity, devoted, full of wonder and joy, marked by gratitude, and open to praise and jubilation. Then such a man will make with Christ a pasch, that is, a passing-over. Through the branches of the cross he will pass over the Red Sea, leaving Egypt and entering the desert. There he will taste the hidden manna, and rest with Christ in the sepulchre, as if he were dead to things outside. He will experience, as much as is possible for one who is still living, what was promised to the thief who hung beside Christ: Today you will be with me in paradise.

For this passover to be perfect, we must suspend all the operations of the mind and we must transform the peak of our affections, directing them to God alone. This is a sacred mystical experience. It cannot be comprehended by anyone unless he surrenders himself to it; nor can he surrender himself to it unless he longs for it; nor can he long for it unless the Holy Spirit, whom Christ sent into the world, should come and inflame his innermost soul. Hence the Apostle says that this mystical wisdom is revealed by the Holy Spirit.”
~St. Bonventure

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Contemplation

You trudge dirt roads   a pilgrim of your heart’s desire
till your blistered feet tire
At the House of Wisdom you crawl to bed
where woods lie lovely   dark & deep
& soon you’re asleep

When you wake in the night   a full moon   large & low
shines in at your window
& a woman   standing there   lifts her hand
to keep the silence unbroken
for you’d have spoken

Out to the grassy lawn   she leads you by moonlight
to forests of the night
She instructs you to leap the deep crevice
You fly high over pines   non-stop
to the mountain top

Her name is Contemplation   grey Wisdom’s daughter
Out across the water
she shows you the island of your desire
You consider it by moonlight
as from a great height

~D. S. Martin

Friday, July 15, 2016

Psalm 143 – Domine, exaudi

Lord, listen to my prayer:
turn your ear to my appeal.
You are faithful, you are just; give answer.
Do not call your servant to judgment
for no one is just in your sight.

The enemy pursues my soul;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me dwell in darkness
like the dead, long forgotten.
Therefore my spirit fails;
my heart is numb within me.

I remember the days that are past:
I ponder all your works.
I muse on what your hand has wrought
and to you I stretch out my hands.
Like a parched land my soul thirsts for you.

Lord, make haste and answer;
for my spirit fails within me.
Do not hide your face
lest I become like those in the grave.

In the morning let me know your love
for I put my trust in you.
Make me know the way I should walk:
to you I lift up my soul.

Rescue me, Lord, from my enemies;
I have fled to you for refuge.
Teach me to do your will
for you, O Lord, are my God.
Let your good spirit guide me
in ways that are level and smooth.

For your name's sake, Lord, save my life;
in your justice save my soul from distress.
In your love make an end of my foes;
destroy all those who oppress me
for I am your servant, O Lord.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Deserve Neither

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
~Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Charity

“Brother, the power of love quiets our will and makes us wish only for that which we have and gives no other thirst. Did we desire to be more aloft, our longings would be discordant with His will who assigns us here: which you will see is not possible in these circles if to exist in charity here is of necessity, and if you well consider what is love’s nature.”
~Dante

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

“Progress”

“There is a new religion, Progress, in which we all devoutly believe, and it is concerned only with material things in the present and in a vague golden-handed future. It is a rootless utilitarian faith, without beauty or mystery... [This] notion of progress is a cancer that makes an elemental community look better, and induces a false euphoria, while it drains the life out of it remorselessly.”
~George Mackay Brown

Monday, July 11, 2016

Life's Beauty


(Picture found here)

And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

~William Shakespeare
 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Word Is Very Near

Moses said to the people:
“If only you would heed the voice of the LORD, your God,
   and keep his commandments and statutes
   that are written in this book of the law,
   when you return to the LORD, your God,
   with all your heart and all your soul.

“For this command that I enjoin on you today
   is not too mysterious and remote for you.
It is not up in the sky, that you should say,
   ‘Who will go up in the sky to get it for us
   and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’
Nor is it across the sea, that you should say,
   ‘Who will cross the sea to get it for us
   and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’
No, it is something very near to you,
   already in your mouths and in your hearts;
   you have only to carry it out.”

~Deuteronomy 30:10-14 (partial re-post)

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Waiting

A man & woman wait by a window
for a third who’s overdue
The sky reddened with evening
as the hour of his arrival approached
& then passed    Your friend’s not coming
she says    He is coming her husband replies
despite the hollow halo of the streetlight
for he’s been promised
The evidence of the dark street    an hour later
& the clock’s progressive testimony    are proof
enough for her    She turns away
How will the husband feel if he turns
off the porch light    just before his friend arrives
hat in hand    apologetic for the unavoidable delay?
He waits    with proof of a different kind

~D. S. Martin

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Hosea 11:1-4, 8c-9

Thus says the LORD:
   When Israel was a child I loved him,
out of Egypt I called my son.
   The more I called them,
the farther they went from me,
   Sacrificing to the Baals
and burning incense to idols.
   Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
who took them in my arms;
   I drew them with human cords,
with bands of love;
   I fostered them like one
who raises an infant to his cheeks;
   Yet, though I stooped to feed my child,
they did not know that I was their healer.

My heart is overwhelmed,
   my pity is stirred.
I will not give vent to my blazing anger,
   I will not destroy Ephraim again;
For I am God and not man,
   the Holy One present among you;
I will not let the flames consume you.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

10

Fearful I peer upon the mountain path
where once Your shadow passed, Limner of the clouds
up their phantastic guesses. I am afraid,
I never until now confessed.

I fell back in love with you, Father, for two reasons:
You were good to me, & a delicious author,
rational & passionate. Come on me again,
as twice you came to Azarias & Misael.

President of the brethren, our mild assemblies
inspire, & bother the priest not to be dull;
keep us week-long in order; love my children,
my mother far & ill, far brother, my spouse.

Oil all my turbulence as at Thy dictation
I sweat out my wayward works.
Father Hopkins said the only true literary critic is Christ.
Let me lie down exhausted, content with that.

~John Berryman

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Peace

“Peace, dearest brethren, rescues man from servitude, provides him with the name of a free man, changes his identity before God together with his condition, from a servant to a son, and from a slave to a free man. Peace among brethren is the will of God, the joy of Christ, the completion of holiness, the rule of justice, the teacher of truth, the guardian of morals and a praiseworthy discipline in every regard. Peace lends strength to our prayers; it is the way our petitions can reach God easily and be credited; it is the plentitude which fulfills our desires. Peace is the mother of love, the bond of concord and the manifest sigh of a pure soul, one which seeks to please God, which seeks to be fulfilled and has its desire rewarded. Peace must be preserved according to the Lord’s precepts, as Christ said: I leave you peace, my peace I give you, that is, as I left you in peace, in peace shall I find you. As Christ left the world, he wished to leave the gift he wanted to find when he returned.”
~St. Peter Chrysologus

Monday, July 4, 2016

God Of Our Fathers


(Picture found here)
God of our fathers, whose almighty hand
Leads forth in beauty all the starry band
Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies
Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.

Thy love divine hath led us in the past,
In this free land by Thee our lot is cast,
Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide and Stay,
Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.

From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence,
Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
Thy true religion in our hearts increase,
Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.

Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way,
Lead us from night to never ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.

~Words: Daniel Roberts & Music: George Warren
  

Sunday, July 3, 2016

A Sacrifice to God is a Contrite Spirit - Psalm 51

I acknowledge my transgression, says David. If I admit my fault, then you will pardon it. Let us never assume that if we live good lives we will be without sin; our lives should be praised only when we continue to beg for pardon. But men are hopeless creatures, and the less they concentrate on their own sins, the more interested they become in the sins of others. They seek to criticize, not to correct. Unable to excuse themselves, they are ready to accuse others. This was not the way that David showed us how to pray and make amends to God, when he said: I acknowledge my transgression, and my sin is ever before me. He did not concentrate on others’ sins; he turned his thoughts on himself. He did not merely stroke the surface, but he plunged inside and went deep down within himself. He did not spare himself, and therefore was not impudent in asking to be spared.

Do you want God to be appeased? Learn what you are to do that God may be pleased with you. Consider the psalm again: If you wanted sacrifice, I would indeed have given it; in burnt offerings you will take no delight. Are you then to be without sacrifice? Are you to offer nothing? Will you please God without an offering? Consider what you read in the same psalm: If you wanted sacrifice, I would indeed have given it; in burnt offerings you will take no delight. But continue to listen, and say with David: A sacrifice to God is a contrite spirit; God does not despise a contrite and humble heart. Cast aside your former offerings, for now you have found out what you are to offer. In the days of your fathers you would have made offerings of cattle—these were the sacrifices. If you wanted sacrifice, I would indeed have given it. These then, Lord, you do not want, and yet you do want sacrifice.

You will take no delight in burnt offerings, David says. If you will not take delight in burnt offerings, will you remain without sacrifice? Not at all. A sacrifice to God is a contrite spirit; God does not despise a contrite and humble heart.

You now have the offering you are to make. No need to examine the herd, no need to outfit ships and travel to the most remote provinces in search of incense. Search within your heart for what is pleasing to God. Your heart must be crushed. Are you afraid that it might perish so? You have the reply: Create a clean heart in me, O God. For a clean heart to be created, the unclean one must be crushed.

We should be displeased with ourselves when we commit sin, for sin is displeasing to God. Sinful though we are, let us at least be like God in this, that we are displeased at what displeases him. In some measure then you will be in harmony with God’s will, because you find displeasing in yourself what is abhorrent to your Creator.”
~St. Augustine

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Silence

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
~Elie Wiesel

Friday, July 1, 2016

On Prayer...

Some brothers asked Macarius, “How should we pray?” He said, “There is no need to talk much in prayer. Reach out your hands often and say, ‘Lord have mercy on me, as you will and as you know.’ But if conflict troubles you, say, ‘Lord, help me.’ He knows what is best for us and has mercy.”
~Rowan Williams (from Where God Happens: Discovering Christ in One Another)