Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Crippling...

“Modern mass culture, aimed at the ‘consumer’, the civilisation of prosthetics, is crippling people’s souls, setting up barriers between man and the crucial questions of his existence, his consciousness of himself as a spiritual being.”
~Andrei Tarkovsky

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Living Wire

I thought I’d never hear your tongue
Again in this dead world of shame
As once when heart and world were young
And then—you spoke my name.

The barriers of space were spread
Widely between us, when a shaft
Of driven lightning broke their dread,
Leaping—and you had laughed.

The harp-strings in the house of gold
Vibrate when chants the heavenly choir,
My heart bound to your heart you hold
With love—and a living wire.

We are not separate, we two,
(Alas, not one) beneath our feet
The blessed earth binds me to you,
The stones upon the street.

The very stones cry out: No more
Seek separate paths, each step you’ve trod
Brings you but nearer than before
Home to your heart—and God.

~Joseph Plunkett

Monday, August 29, 2016

His Words

My child, hear My words, words of greatest sweetness surpassing all the knowledge of the philosophers and wise men of earth. My words are spirit and life, and they are not to be weighed by man's understanding. They are not to be invoked in vanity but are to be heard in silence, and accepted with all humility and with great affection.

THE DISCIPLE

"Happy is the man whom Thou admonishest, O Lord, and teachest out of Thy law, to give him peace from the days of evil," and that he be not desolate on earth.

THE VOICE OF CHRIST

I taught the prophets from the beginning, and even to this day I continue to speak to all men. But many are hardened. Many are deaf to My voice. Most men listen more willingly to the world than to God. They are more ready to follow the appetite of their flesh than the good pleasure of God. The world, which promises small and passing things, is served with great eagerness: I promise great and eternal things and the hearts of men grow dull. Who is there that serves and obeys Me in all things with as great care as that with which the world and its masters are served?

"Be thou ashamed, O Sidon, for the sea speaketh." And if you ask why, listen to the cause: for a small gain they travel far; for eternal life many will scarcely lift a foot from the ground. They seek a petty reward, and sometimes fight shamefully in law courts for a single piece of money. They are not afraid to work day and night for a trifle or an empty promise. But, for an unchanging good, for a reward beyond estimate, for the greatest honor and for glory everlasting, it must be said to their shame that men begrudge even the least fatigue. Be ashamed, then, lazy and complaining servant, that they should be found more eager for perdition than you are for life, that they rejoice more in vanity than you in truth.

Sometimes indeed their expectations fail them, but My promise never deceives, nor does it send away empty-handed him who trusts in Me. What I have promised I will give. What I have said I will fulfill, if only a man remain faithful in My love to the end. I am the rewarder of all the good, the strong approver of all who are devoted to Me.

Write My words in your heart and meditate on them earnestly, for in time of temptation they will be very necessary. What you do not understand when you read, you will learn in the day of visitation...
~Thomas à Kempis (from The Imitation of Christ)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24a

Brothers and sisters:
You have not approached that which could be touched
   and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness
   and storm and a trumpet blast
   and a voice speaking words such that those who heard
   begged that no message be further addressed to them.
No, you have approached Mount Zion
   and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
   and countless angels in festal gathering,
   and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven,
   and God the judge of all,
   and the spirits of the just made perfect,
   and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant,
   and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

What does the Crucifixion signify...

“What does the Crucifixion signify in an age like ours? I see it in the first place as a sublime mockery of all earthly authority and power. The crown of thorns, the purple robe, the ironical title “King of the Jews,” were intended to mock or parody Christ’s pretensions to be the Messiah; in fact, they rather hold up to ridicule and contempt all crowns, all robes, all kings that ever were. It was a sick joke that back-fired. No one it seems to me, who has fully grasped the Crucifixion can ever again take seriously any expression or instrument of worldly power, however venerable, glittering or seemingly formidable.”
~Malcolm Muggeridge

Friday, August 26, 2016

Christian Colleges

“You [Christian colleges] have what everybody else is desperate to have: a way of talking about and educating the human person in a way that integrates faith, emotion, and intellect. You have a recipe to nurture human beings who have a devoted heart, a courageous mind and a purposeful soul. Almost no other set of institutions in American society has that, and everyone wants it. From my point of view, you’re ahead of everybody else and have the potential to influence American culture in a way that could be magnificent. I visit many colleges a year. I teach at a great school, Yale University. These are wonderful places. My students are wonderful; I love them. But these, by and large, are not places that integrate the mind, the heart and the spirit. These places nurture an overdeveloped self and an underdeveloped soul.”
~David Brooks

Thursday, August 25, 2016

When Morning Fills The Sky

When morning fills the sky,
Our hearts awaking cry:
May Jesus Christ be praised.
In all our works and prayer
His Sacrifice we share:
May Jesus Christ be praised.

The night becomes as day,
When from our hearts we say:
May Jesus Christ be praised.
The powers of darkness fear
When this glad song they hear:
May Jesus Christ be praised.

In heav’n our joy will be
To sing eternally:
May Jesus Christ be praised.
Let earth and sea and sky
From depth to height reply:
May Jesus Christ be praised.

Let all the earth now sing
To our eternal King:
May Jesus Christ be praised.
By this the eternal song.
Through ages all along:
May Jesus Christ be praised.

Tune: Laudes Domini 666.666
Music: Joseph Barnby
Text: Edward Caswall

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Ultimate Disaster

“The only ultimate disaster that can befall us, I have come to realise, is to feel ourselves to be at home here on earth. As long as we are aliens we cannot forget our true homeland, which is that other kingdom You proclaimed.”
~Malcolm Muggeridge

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Artist and the Rooster

“Do you know the story of how a famous painter made the emperor of China wait for more than a year for a picture of a rooster?”

They went into the next room and, while Bärger began his preparations, he told the story of the painter who had made the emperor of China wait.

The emperor of China, they say, had heard of the master’s great skill. At that time, it was a special honor to receive a commission for a picture from the emperor. The emperor expected that his commission, which wasn’t very different from an imperial order, would be carried out immediately. That didn’t happen. After several weeks, the emperor sent one of his officials to demand the delivery of the picture, but the painter informed him that he needed more time.

When the painting hadn’t been completed after several months, the emperor sent one of his ministers to emphasize the urgency of his imperial wishes. Once again, the painter said that he needed more time.

After over a year, the emperor was so angry with the painter that he ordered him to be brought before him to be executed.

This time, the painter invited the emperor’s messenger into his studio, placed a piece of rice paper on a table, prepared his ink, and right before the messenger’s eyes, painted a picture of a rooster in a few minutes that was so life-like, the messenger almost expected to hear it crow.

The emperor’s messenger rolled up the painting that the painter handed him and, as a few minutes no longer mattered, they drank a cup of tea together.

Then the messenger asked why the painter had made the emperor wait over a year for a painting that he could do in a couple of minutes.

The painter answered that he had never had so little time for a painting.

From morning to night, he had done nothing but watch roosters; how they moved, when they crowed, when they ate and drank, when they fought, and when they slept. He did this, he said, until he understood the essence of a rooster as thoroughly as if he had been one himself. Only then, and not one minute sooner, was he able to paint a picture of a rooster worthy of an emperor.

~Famous Chinese story (taken from a book by Günther Bach)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Leaning On The Everlasting Arms

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Refrain:
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Refrain

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Refrain

~Words: Eli­sha Hoff­man & Music: An­tho­ny Sho­wal­ter

Saturday, August 20, 2016

...But my words shall not pass away

“‘Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.’ The civilisation of antiquity was the whole world: and men no more dreamed of its ending than of the ending of daylight. They could not imagine another order unless it were in another world. The civilisation of the world has passed away and those words have not passed away. In the long night of the Dark Ages feudalism was so familiar a thing that no man could imagine himself without a lord: and religion was so woven into that network that no man would have believed they could be torn asunder. Feudalism itself was torn to rags and rotted away in the popular life of the true Middle Ages; and the first and freshest power in that new freedom was the old religion. Feudalism had passed away, and the words did not pass away. The whole medieval order, in many ways so complete and almost cosmic a home for man, wore out gradually in its turn and here at least it was thought that the words would die. They went forth across the radiant abyss of the Renaissance and in fifty years were using all its light and learning for new religious foundations, new apologetics, new saints. It was supposed to have been withered up at last in the dry light of the Age of Reason; it was supposed to have disappeared ultimately in the earthquake of the Age of Revolution. Science explained it away; and it was still there. History disinterred it in the past; and it appeared suddenly in the future. Today it stands once more in our path; and even as we watch it, it grows.”
~G. K. Chesterton

Friday, August 19, 2016

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

“Without the Father, man finds himself dependent exclusively on little personal deals, which lead to great loneliness. Without Christ, man becomes a wolf to his fellow-man, and he no longer can love as Jesus does. Without the Spirit, man’s intellect increasingly contemplates itself and finally goes into decline; with the Spirit, reason functions in hope and joy.”
~Cardinal Robert Sarah

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Friend of Silence

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. . . . The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life. We need silence to be able to touch souls. The essential thing is not what we say, but what God says to us and through us.”

“In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.”
~Mother Teresa

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The World Is In Pencil


(Picture found here)
—not pen. It’s got

that same silken
dust about it, doesn’t it,

that same sense of
having been roughed

onto paper even
as it was planned.

It had to be a labor
of love. It must’ve

taken its author some
time, some shove.

I’ll bet it felt good
in the hand—the o

of the ocean, and
the and and the and

of the land.

~Todd Boss
   

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Favorable Conditions Never Come

“We are always falling in love or quarreling, looking for jobs or fearing to lose them, getting ill and recovering, following public affairs. If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.”
~C. S. Lewis

Monday, August 15, 2016

Interesting thought...

“The novelist with Christian concerns will find in modern life distortions which are repugnant to him, and his problem will be to make these appear as distortions to an audience which is used to seeing them as natural; and he may well be forced to take ever more violent means to get his vision across to this hostile audience. When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs you do, you can relax a little and use more normal ways of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock -- to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost blind you draw large and startling figures.”
~Flannery O'Connor

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Priest and Martyr


(Picture of St. Maximilian Kolbe - found here)
“I could only thank him with my eyes. I was stunned and could hardly grasp what was going on. The immensity of it: I, the condemned, am to live and someone else willingly and voluntarily offers his life for me - a stranger. Is this some dream?

I was put back into my place without having had time to say anything to Maximilian Kolbe. I was saved. And I owe to him the fact that I could tell you all this. The news quickly spread all round the camp. It was the first and the last time that such an incident happened in the whole history of Auschwitz.

For a long time I felt remorse when I thought of Maximilian. By allowing myself to be saved, I had signed his death warrant. But now, on reflection, I understood that a man like him could not have done otherwise. Perhaps he thought that as a priest his place was beside the condemned men to help them keep hope. In fact he was with them to the last.”

~Testimony of Franciszek Gajowniczek,
for whom Maximilian Kolbe offered himself at Auschwitz

When a prisoner escaped, Franciszek Gajowniczek was one of the ten men chosen for death in retaliation. He sobbed, “My poor wife! My poor children! What will they do?”

Maximilian Kolbe stepped forward before the commandant and said, “I am a Catholic priest. Let me take his place. I am old. He has a wife and children.”

It took the prisoners over two weeks to die, imprisoned with no food or water, but the sounds of hymns and prayers came from the room until only Father Kolbe was left. The room was needed for more prisoners so he was killed by injection and his body was burned in the crematorium.
 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Honeybee and the Fly

“Some people tell me that they are scandalized because they see many things wrong in the Church. I tell them that if you ask a fly, ‘Are there any flowers in this area?’ it will say, ‘I don’t know about flowers, but over there in that heap of rubbish you can find all the filth you want.’ And it will go on to list all the unclean things it has been to.

Now, if you ask a honeybee, ‘Have you seen any unclean things in this area?’ it will reply, ‘Unclean things? No, I have not seen any; the place here is full of the most fragrant flowers.’ And it will go on to name all the flowers of the garden or the meadow.

You see, the fly only knows where the unclean things are, while the honeybee knows where the beautiful iris or hyacinth is.

As I have come to understand, some people resemble the honeybee and some resemble the fly. Those who resemble the fly seek to find evil in every circumstance and are preoccupied with it; they see no good anywhere. But those who resemble the honeybee only see the good in everything they see. The stupid person thinks stupidly and takes everything in the wrong way, whereas the person who has good thoughts, no matter what he sees, no matter what you tell him, maintains a positive and good thought.”
~Elder Paisios of Mt. Athos

Friday, August 12, 2016

Mercy

“I am out of bed at two-fifteen in the morning, when the night is darkest and most silent. ... I find myself in the primordial lostness of night, solitude, forest, peace, a mind awake in the dark, looking for a light, not totally reconciled to being out of bed. A light appears, and in the light an ikon. There is now in the large darkness a small room of radiance with psalms in it. The psalms grow up silently by themselves without effort like plants in this light which is favorable to them. The plants hold themselves up on stems which have a single consistency, that of mercy, or rather great mercy. Magna misericordia. In the formlessness of night and silence a word then pronounces itself: Mercy.”
~Thomas Merton (from Day of a Stranger - this is Merton describing a day in his life at the hermitage)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Avoiding Crosses

“When we try to avoid a cross that the Lord has sent we often meet with another, and a much heavier one.”
~St. Alphonsus Liguori

Monday, August 8, 2016

Evil Men

“The man who cries out against evil men but does not pray for them will never know the grace of God.”
~St. Silouan

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Very Thought Of Jesus Christ

The very thought of Jesus Christ
To troubled soul brings peace and cheer,
Beyond all honey and delights
It is to feel His presence near.

No sweeter Name the voice can sing,
More pleasing sound the ear finds none,
No better thought can come to mind
Than that of Jesus, God the Son.

O Jesus, joy of ev’ry heart,
True fount of life and sacred fire,
The thought of You surpasses all
Our longings and the soul’s desire.

And when You visit us unseen,
Our hearts are bathed in truth and light,
The joys of earth grow cold and dim
As love for You asserts its right.

Increase the ardor of our love,
And heal our wounds with pardon blest;
May we one day Your glory see
And ever in Your presence rest.

Christ Jesus Lord, we praise Your Name,
Beloved Son, for us You died,
But with the Spirit now You reign
For ever by the Father’s side. Amen.

Tune: Jesu, dulcis memoria, plainsong L.M.
Music: Traditional Gregorian
Text: Dulci Jesu memoria, attributed to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153
Translation: the Benedictines of Saint Cecilia’s Abbey, Ryde, UK

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Ask/Receive

“How often we come to church with no idea of what to do or what to ask for. And yet, whenever we go to any human being, we know well enough why we go. And still worse, there are some who seem to speak to the good God like this: ‘I will only say a couple of things to you, and then I will be rid of you.’ I often think that when we come to adore the Lord, we would receive everything we ask for, if we would ask with living faith and with a pure heart.”
~St. John Vianney

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Look to Christ

“You don’t become holy by fighting evil. Let evil be. Look towards Christ and that will save you. What makes a person saintly is love...”
~St. Porphyrios the Kapsokalivite

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A Glimpse

“What is serious to men is often very trivial in the sight of God. What in God might appear to us as ‘play’ is perhaps what He Himself takes most seriously. ...

When we are alone on a starlit night; when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children; when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet Bashō we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash – at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the ‘newness,’ the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.”
~Thomas Merton

Monday, August 1, 2016

Evil Days

“When evil days are upon us and the worker of malice gains power, we must attend to our own souls and seek to know the ways of the Lord. In those times reverential fear and perseverance will sustain our faith, and we will find need of forbearance and self-restraint as well. Provided that we hold fast to these virtues and look to the Lord, then wisdom, understanding, knowledge and insight will make joyous company with them.”
~From the beginning of a letter attributed to Barnabas