Monday, October 31, 2016

The Visitation

His body ahead
Of him on the bed
He faces his feet
Sees himself dead,
A corpse complete
With legs and chest
And belly between
Swelling the scene
Of the crime you left,
Taking your time,
Angel of Death

~Samuel Menashe

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Blest Be The Tie That Binds

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one
Our comforts and our cares.

We share each other’s woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.

When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.

This glorious hope revives
Our courage by the way;
While each in expectation lives,
And longs to see the day.

From sorrow, toil and pain,
And sin, we shall be free,
And perfect love and friendship reign
Through all eternity.

~Words: John Fawcett & Music: Hans Nägeli or Lowell Mason

Friday, October 28, 2016

Pray Fervently

“Every person that does any evil, that gratifies any passion, is sufficiently punished by the evil he has committed, by the passion he serves, but chiefly by the fact that he withdraws himself from God, and God withdraws Himself from him: it would therefore be insane and most inhuman to nourish anger against such a man; it would be the same as to drown a sinking man, or to push into the fire a person who is already being devoured by the flame. To such a man, as to one in danger of perishing, we must show double love, and pray fervently to God for him; not judging him, not rejoicing at his misfortune.”
~St. John of Kronstadt

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Regarding Conscience

“Left to itself, though it tells truly at first, it soon becomes wavering, ambiguous, and false; it needs good teachers and good examples to keep it up to the mark and the line of duty; and the misery is that these external helps, teachers, and examples are in many instances wanting.”
~John Henry Newman

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hold It Cheap

“Accordingly this seems to me to be one principal reason why the good are chastised along with the wicked, when God is pleased to visit with temporal punishments the profligate manners of a community. They are punished together, not because they have spent an equally corrupt life, but because the good as well as the wicked, though not equally with them, love this present life; while they ought to hold it cheap, that the wicked, being admonished and reformed by their example, might lay hold of life eternal.”
~St. Augustine

Monday, October 24, 2016

Lament 18

My Lord, each of us is your wilful child:
By happiness beguiled,
Entranced by earthly joys,
He soon forgets you and heeds not your voice.

We fail to see how much your Grace attends
Our welfare; which soon ends
When your infinite Good
Is not repaid with infinite gratitude.

Rein us in, Lord, before vain pleasure blinds
Our supercilious minds!
Remind them of your cause
If not with blessings, then at least with blows!

Yet punish us as loving fathers do:
Your wrath would burn us through;
We'd vanish without trace
Like snow when warmed by the sun's piercing rays.

Oh, let your hand not crush those in discord
With you, Eternal Lord;
You hurt us to the core
With your mere frown: we could not withstand more.

Though fools claim you have never been man's friend,
Sooner the world may end
Than you shall ever scorn
A rebel soul, when broken and forlorn.

Great are my sins before you, Lord; yet still
Your mercy and goodwill
Would not let evil reign.
Have pity, Lord, on my despair and pain!

~Jan Kochanowski

Sunday, October 23, 2016

And Can It Be

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

~Words: Charles Wesley & Music: Thomas Campbell

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Loses His Bearings

“When one is not aware of the judgment of God, when one does not recognize the possibility of hell, of the radical and definitive failure of life; then one does not recognize the possibility and necessity of purification. Then man does not work well on behalf of the world, because in the end he loses his bearings; he no longer knows himself, not knowing God, and destroying the world. All of the great ideologies have promised: We will take things in hand; we will no longer overlook the world; we will create the new, just, correct fraternal world. Instead they destroyed the world.”
~Benedict XVI

Friday, October 21, 2016

If we are to survive...

“It is said that Christianity, if it is to survive, must face the modern world, must come to terms with the way things are in the sense of the current drift of things. It is just the other way around: If we are to survive, we must face Christianity. The strongest reactionary force impeding progress is the cult of progress itself, which, cutting us off from our roots, makes growth impossible and choice unnecessary. We expire in the lazy, utterly helpless drift, the spongy warmth of an absolute uncertainty. Where nothing is ever true, or right or wrong, there are no problems; where life is meaningless we are free from responsibility, the way a slave or scavenger is free. Futility breeds carelessness, against which stands the stark alternative: against the radical uncertainty by which modern man has lived – as in a game of Russian roulette, stifled in the careless ‘now’ between the click and the explosion, living by the dull grace of empty chambers – the risk of certainty.”
~John Senior

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fire by Fire


(Picture found here)
       My son goes down in the orchard to incinerate
Burning the days trash, the accumulation
Of old letters, empty toilet-paper rolls, a paper plate,
Marketing lists, discarded manuscript, on occasion
Used cartons of bird seed, dog biscuit. The fire
Rises and sinks; he stirs the ashes till the flames expire.
       Burn, too, old sins, bedraggled virtues, tarnished
Dreams, remembered unrealities, the gross
Should-haves, would-haves, the unvarnished
Errors of the day, burn, burn the loss
Of intentions, recurring failures, turn
Them all to ash. Incinerate the dross. Burn. Burn.

~Madeleine L'Engle
 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

St. Isaac Jogues


(Picture found here)
Isaac Jogues was a “missionary to New France (Canada), starting in Quebec and working among the Hurons and Petuns in the area of the Great Lakes. This was a rough assignment – not only were the living conditions hard, but the locals blamed the ‘Blackrobes’ for any disease, ill luck, or other problems that occurred where they were. Captured on 3 August 1642 by the Mohawks, enslaved, tortured and mutilated for thirteen months, he taught the Faith to any who would listen. With the help of local Dutch settlers he finally escaped and was sent back to France to recover.”

While recovering in France he decided to return to his mission work in New France (Canada). He declared, “My heart tells me that if I have the blessing of being used for this mission, I shall go and I shall not return; but I would be glad if our Lord should fulfill the sacrifice where he began it, and that the small amount of blood I shed in that land should turn out to be an advance payment for that which I would give from all the veins of my body and heart.”

In 1644 he returned to New France (Canada) to continue his work with the natives and negotiate peace with the Iroquois. He was tortured, decapitated, and martyred by the Iroquois tribe on October 18, 1646.

(Picture of the area where St. Isaac Jogues' body was thrown after his death in modern day Auriesville, NY)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Colossians 1:9b-11

May you attain full knowledge of God’s will through perfect wisdom and spiritual insight. Then you will lead a life worthy of the Lord and pleasing to Him in every way. You will multiply good works of every sort and grow in the knowledge of God. By the might of His glory you will be endowed with the strength needed to stand fast, even to endure joyfully whatever may come.

Monday, October 17, 2016

I see his blood upon the rose


(Picture found here)
I see his blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of his eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.
I see his face in every flower;
The thunder and the singing of the birds
Are but his voice—and carven by his power
Rocks are his written words.
All pathways by his feet are worn,
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
His cross is every tree.

~Joseph Plunkett
 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Let Us Always Be Mindful Of Christ’s Love

“If Christ Jesus dwells in a man as his friend and noble leader, that man can endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us. He is a true friend. And I clearly see that if we expect to please him and receive an abundance of his graces, God desires that these graces must come to us from the hands of Christ, through his most sacred humanity, in which God takes delight. 

Many, many times I have perceived this through experience. The Lord has told it to me. I have definitely seen that we must enter by this gate if we wish his Sovereign Majesty to reveal to us great and hidden mysteries. A person should desire no other path, even if he is at the summit of contemplation; on this road he walks safely. All blessings come to us through our Lord. He will teach us, for in beholding his life we find that he is the best example.

What more do we desire from such a good friend at our side? Unlike our friends in the world, he will never abandon us when we are troubled or distressed. Blessed is the one who truly loves him and always keeps him near. Let us consider the glorious Saint Paul: it seems that no other name fell from his lips than that of Jesus, because the name of Jesus was fixed and embedded in his heart. Once I had come to understand this truth, I carefully considered the lives of some of the saints, the great contemplatives, and found that they took no other path: Francis, Anthony of Padua, Bernard, Catherine of Siena. A person must walk along this path in freedom, placing himself in God’s hands. If God should desire to raise us to the position of one who is an intimate and shares his secrets, we ought to accept this gladly.

Whenever we think of Christ we should recall the love that led him to bestow on us so many graces and favors, and also the great love God showed in giving us in Christ a pledge of his love; for love calls for love in return. Let us strive to keep this always before our eyes and to rouse ourselves to love him. For if at some time the Lord should grant us the grace of impressing his love on our hearts, all will become easy for us and we shall accomplish great things quickly and without effort.”
~St. Teresa of Avila

Friday, October 14, 2016

Do Not Put Your Trust In Princes

Do not put your trust in princes,
    in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
    on that very day their plans perish.

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth,
    the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
~Psalm 146:3-6

“For at present we all tend to one mistake; we tend to make politics too important. We tend to forget how huge a part of a man's life is the same under a Sultan and a Senate, under Nero or St. Louis. Daybreak is a never-ending glory, getting out of bed is a never-ending nuisance; food and friends will be welcomed; work and strangers must be accepted and endured; birds will go bedwards and children won't, to the end of the last evening.”
~G. K. Chesterton

“How small, of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure.”
~Samuel Johnson

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Dead and Living

“A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”
~G. K. Chesterton

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

At The Center

“God’s first language is silence.” In commenting on this beautiful, rich insight of Saint John of the Cross, Thomas Keating, in his work Invitation to Love, writes: “Everything else is a poor translation. In order to understand this language, we must learn to be silent and to rest in God.”

It is time to rediscover the true order of priorities. It is time to put God back at the center of our concerns, at the center of our actions and of our life: the only place that He should occupy. Thus, our Christian journey will be able to gravitate around this Rock, take shape in the light of the faith and be nourished in prayer, which is a moment of silent, intimate encounter in which a human being stands face to face with God to adore Him and to express his filial love for Him.
~Robert Sarah

Monday, October 10, 2016

Confidence in Him

“The sermon on the mount is a summons to follow Jesus Christ in discipleship. He alone is (the demand reaching into the depths of one’s being in which the individual instructions of the sermon on the mount are condensed and united: Matt. 5:48). On our own we cannot be perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect – but we must be to correspond to the task our nature lays upon us.

We cannot do this, but we can follow him, cling to him, become his. If we belong to him as his limbs or members, then through our participation we become what he is: his goodness becomes ours. What the father says in the parable of the prodigal son is realized in us: All that is mine is yours (Luke 15:31).

The moralism of the sermon on the mount that is all too stiff for us is brought together and transformed into communion with Jesus, into being a disciple of Jesus; in clinging fast to our relationship to him, in friendship with him and in confidence in him.”
~Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Ask Ye What Great Thing I Know

Ask ye what great thing I know,
That delights and stirs me so?
What the high reward I win?
Whose the Name I glory in?
Jesus Christ, the Crucified.

What is faith’s foundation strong?
What awakes my heart to song?
He Who bore my sinful load,
Purchased for me peace with God,
Jesus Christ, the Crucified.

Who is He that makes me wise
To discern where duty lies?
Who is He that makes me true
Duty, when discerned to do,
Jesus Christ, the Crucified.

Who defeats my fiercest foes?
Who consoles my saddest woes?
Who revives my fainting heart,
Healing all its hidden smart?
Jesus Christ, the Crucified.

Who is life in life to me?
Who the death of death will be?
Who will place me on His right,
With the countless hosts of light?
Jesus Christ, the Crucified.

This is that great thing I know;
This delights and stirs me so;
Faith in Him Who died to save,
Him Who triumphed over the grave:
Jesus Christ, the Crucified.

~Words: Johann Schwedler & Music: H. A. César Malan; harmony by Lowell Mason

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Everything I Am

“Everything that I am (insofar as I am anything more on this earth than a fugitive figure without hope, all of whose illusions are rendered worthless by death), I am solely by virtue of Christ’s death, which opens up to me the possibility of fulfillment in God. I blossom on the grave of God who died for me.”
~Hans Urs von Balthasar

Friday, October 7, 2016

We should meditate on the mysteries of salvation

“...In the beginning was the Word. The spring was gushing forth, yet still within himself. Indeed, the Word was with God, truly dwelling in inaccessible light. And the Lord said from the beginning: I think thoughts of peace and not of affliction. Yet your thought was locked within you, and whatever you thought, we did not know; for who knew the mind of the Lord, or who was his counsellor?

And so the idea of peace came down to do the work of peace: The Word was made flesh and even now dwells among us. It is by faith that he dwells in our hearts, in our memory, our intellect and penetrates even into our imagination. What concept could man have of God if he did not first fashion an image of him in his heart? By nature incomprehensible and inaccessible, he was invisible and unthinkable, but now he wished to be understood, to be seen and thought of.

But how, you ask, was this done? He lay in a manger and rested on a virgin’s breast, preached on a mountain, and spent the night in prayer. He hung on a cross, grew pale in death, and roamed free among the dead and ruled over those in hell. He rose again on the third day, and showed the apostles the wounds of the nails, the signs of victory; and finally in their presence he ascended to the sanctuary of heaven.

How can we not contemplate this story in truth, piety and holiness? Whatever of all this I consider, it is God I am considering; in all this he is my God...”
~St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Business of One Who is Sinless

“To judge sins is the business of one who is sinless, but who is sinless except God? Who ever thinks about the multitude of his own sins in his heart never wants to make the sins of others a topic of conversation. To judge a man who has gone astray is a sign of pride, and God resists the proud. On the other hand, one who every hour prepares himself to give answer for his own sins will not quickly lift up his head to examine the mistakes of others.”
~St. Gennadius of Constantinople

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Knowledge Without Obedience

If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. — John xiii. 17.

“...Now, doubtless, many of us think we know this very well. It seems a very trite thing to say, that it is nothing to know what is right, unless we do it; an old subject about which nothing new can be said. When we read such passages in Scripture, we pass over them as admitting them without dispute; and thus we contrive practically to forget them. Knowledge is nothing compared with doing; but the knowing that knowledge is nothing, we make to be something, we make it count, and thus we cheat ourselves.

This we do in parallel cases also. Many a man instead of learning humility in practice, confesses himself a poor sinner, and next prides himself upon the confession; he ascribes the glory of his redemption to God, and then becomes in a manner proud that he is redeemed. He is proud of his so-called humility.

Doubtless Christ spoke no words in vain. The Eternal Wisdom of God did not utter His voice that we might at once catch up His words in an irreverent manner, think we understand them at a glance, and pass them over. But His word endureth for ever; it has a depth of meaning suited to all times and places, and hardly and painfully to be understood in any. They, who think they enter into it easily, may be quite sure they do not enter into it at all.”
~John Henry Newman

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Credo

“You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.”
~Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Monday, October 3, 2016

Interesting...

“One of the most dangerous errors is that civilization is automatically bound to increase and spread. The lesson of history is the opposite; civilization is a rarity, attained with difficulty and easily lost. The normal state of humanity is barbarism, just as the normal surface of the planet is salt water. Land looms large in our imagination and civilization in history books, only because sea and savagery are to us less interesting.”
~C. S. Lewis

Sunday, October 2, 2016

O Jesus, I Have Promised

O Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou forever near me, my Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle if Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway if Thou wilt be my Guide.

O let me feel Thee near me! The world is ever near;
I see the sights that dazzle, the tempting sounds I hear;
My foes are ever near me, around me and within;
But Jesus, draw Thou nearer, and shield my soul from sin.

O let me hear Thee speaking in accents clear and still,
Above the storms of passion, the murmurs of self will.
O speak to reassure me, to hasten or control;
O speak, and make me listen, Thou Guardian of my soul.

O Jesus, Thou hast promised to all who follow Thee
That where Thou art in glory there shall Thy servant be.
And Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
O give me grace to follow, my Master and my Friend.

O let me see Thy footprints, and in them plant mine own;
My hope to follow duly is in Thy strength alone.
O guide me, call me, draw me, uphold me to the end;
And then in Heaven receive me, my Savior and my Friend.

~Words: John Bode & Music: Arthur Mann

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Deuteronomy 32:1-12

Give ear, O heavens, while I speak;
let the earth hearken to the words of my mouth!
May my instruction soak in like the rain,
and my discourse permeate like the dew,
like a downpour upon the grass,
like a shower upon the crops:

For I will sing the Lord’s renown.
Oh, proclaim the greatness of our God!
The Rock—how faultless are his deeds,
how right all his ways!
A faithful God, without deceit,
how just and upright he is!

Yet basely has he been treated by his degenerate children,
a perverse and crooked race!
Is the Lord to be thus repaid by you,
O stupid and foolish people?
Is he not your father who created you?
Has he not made you and established you?

Think back on the days of old,
reflect on the years of age upon age.
Ask your father and he will inform you,
ask your elders and they will tell you:

When the Most High assigned the nations their heritage,
when he parceled out the descendants of Adam,
he set up the boundaries of the peoples
after the number of the sons of God;
while the Lord’s own portion was Jacob,
his hereditary share was Israel.

He found them in a wilderness,
a wasteland of howling desert.
He shielded them and cared for them,
guarding them as the apple of his eye.

As an eagle incites its nestlings forth
by hovering over its brood,
so he spread his wings to receive them
and bore them up on his pinions.
The Lord alone was their leader,
no strange god was with him.