Monday, April 24, 2017

Ritual

“The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility; rather it proves the offender’s inability to forget himself in the rite, and readiness to spoil for every one else the proper pleasure of ritual.”
~C. S. Lewis

Sunday, April 23, 2017

All Ye That Seek The Lord Who Died

All ye that seek the Lord Who died,
Your God for sinners crucified,
Prevent the earliest dawn, and come
To worship at His sacred tomb.
Bring the sweet spices of your sighs,
Your contrite hearts, and streaming eyes,
Your sad complaints, and humble fears;
Come, and embalm Him with your tears.

While thus ye love your souls t’employ,
Your sorrow shall be turned to joy:
Now, let all your grief be o’er!
Believe, and ye shall weep no more.
An earthquake hath the cavern shook,
And burst the door, and rent the rock;
The Lord hath sent His angel down,
And he hath rolled away the stone.

As snow behold his garment white,
His countenance as lightning bright:
He sits, and waves a flaming sword,
And waits upon his rising Lord.
The third auspicious morn is come,
And calls your Savior from the tomb,
The bands of death are torn away
The yawning tomb gives back its prey.

The Lord of Life is risen indeed,
To death delivered in your stead;
His rise proclaims your sins forgiv’n,
And show the living way to Heav’n.
Go tell the followers of your Lord
Their Jesus is to life restored;
He lives, that they His life may find;
He lives, to quicken all mankind.

~Words: Charles Wesley & Music: Wenzel Müller

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Town of Spring Once Again

“Spring is always like what it used to be.”
Said an old Chinese man.
Rain hissed down the windows.
Longings from a great distance.
Reached us.

~Anne Carson

Friday, April 21, 2017

Story in Icons


(Weeping Outside of Paradise - found here)

(Harrowing of Hades - found here)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bright Week

Bright Week, Pascha Week or Renewal Week (Greek: Διακαινήσιμος Ἑβδομάς) is the name used by the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Rite Catholic Churches for the period of seven days beginning on Pascha (Easter) and continuing up to (but not including) the following Sunday, which is known as Thomas Sunday.

The entire week following Pascha is to be set aside by Orthodox Christians for the celebration of the Resurrection. “...from the holy day of the Resurrection of Christ our God until New Sunday (i.e. Thomas Sunday) for a whole week the faithful in the holy churches should continually be repeating psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, rejoicing and celebrating Christ, and attending to the reading of the Divine Scriptures and delighting in the Holy Mysteries. For in this way shall we be exalted with Christ; raised up together with Him.”

The entire week is considered to be one continuous day. The name of each day of the week is called “Bright” (e.g., “Bright Monday”) and the week's services are unique, varying greatly from those during the remainder of the year.

During all of Bright Week the Holy Doors on the Iconostasis are kept open—the only time of the year when this occurs. The open doors represent the stone rolled away from the Tomb of Christ, and the Epitaphios (Slavonic: Plashchanitza), representing the burial clothes, is visible through them on the Holy Table (altar). The doors are closed before the Ninth Hour on the eve of Thomas Sunday. However, the Afterfeast of Pascha will continue until the eve of the Ascension. (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bright_Week)

("Resurrected Christ" - St. Isaac's Cathedral, St. Petersburg, Russia - found here)

(St. Isaac's Cathedral, St. Petersburg, Russia - found here)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Divine Mysteries

“Those to whom Christ has given light as He has risen, to them He has appeared spiritually, He has been shown to their spiritual eyes. When this happens to us through the Spirit He raises us up from the dead and gives us life. He grants us to see Him, who is immortal and indestructible. More than that, He grants clearly to know Him who raises us up (Eph. 2:6) and glorifies us (Rom. 8:17) with Himself, as all the divine Scripture testifies. These, then, are the divine mysteries of Christians. This is the hidden power of our faith, which unbelievers, or those who believe with difficulty, or rather believe in part, do not see nor are able at all to see.”
~St. Symeon

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

On the Lord’s Resurrection

“Let God’s people then recognize that they are a new creation in Christ, and with all vigilance understand by Whom they have been adopted and Whom they have adopted. Let not the things, which have been made new, return to their ancient instability; and let not him who has ‘put his hand to the plough’ forsake his work, but rather attend to that which he sows than look back to that which he has left behind. Let no one fall back into that from which he has risen, but, even though from bodily weakness he still languishes under certain maladies, let him urgently desire to be healed and raised up. For this is the path of health through imitation of the Resurrection begun in Christ, whereby, notwithstanding the many accidents and falls to which in this slippery life the traveller is liable, his feet may be guided from the quagmire on to solid ground, for, as it is written, ‘the steps of a man are directed by the Lord, and He will delight in his way. When the just man falls he shall not be overthrown, because the Lord will stretch out His hand.’”
~St. Leo the Great

Monday, April 17, 2017

A New Spring

“...Their poor ointments, with which they meant to preserve from corruption Him who Himself keeps the heavens from decay, and with which they desired to anoint Him from whom the heavens take their fragrance! O most fragrant Lord, the only fragrance of the human being and human history; how wondrously didst Thou reward these devoted and faithful souls who did not forget Thee dead in Thy tomb! Thou didst make the Myrrh-Bearing Women the bearers of the tidings of Thy Resurrection and Thy glory! They did not anoint Thy dead body, but Thou didst anoint their living souls with the oil of gladness. The mourners of the dead became the swallows of a new spring.”
~St. Nikolai Velimirovic

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday Hymn

Thine Is The Glory

Thine is the glory,
Risen, conqu’ring Son;
Endless is the victory,
Thou o’er death hast won;
Angels in bright raiment
Rolled the stone away,
Kept the folded grave clothes
Where Thy body lay.

Refrain:
Thine is the glory,
Risen conquering Son,
Endless is the victory,
Thou o’er death hast won.

Lo! Jesus meets us,
Risen from the tomb;
Lovingly He greets us,
Scatters fear and gloom;
Let the church with gladness,
Hymns of triumph sing;
For her Lord now liveth,
Death hath lost its sting.

Refrain

No more we doubt Thee,
Glorious Prince of life;
Life is naught without Thee;
Aid us in our strife;
Make us more than conquerors,
Through Thy deathless love:
Bring us safe through Jordan
To Thy home above.

Refrain

~Words: Edmond Budry (Translated from French to English by Richard Hoyle) & Music: George F. Handel

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Holy Saturday

My brothers, it was to us that this message of salvation was sent forth. The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their rulers failed to recognize him, and in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets which we read sabbath after sabbath. Even though they found no charge against him which deserved death, they begged Pilate to have him executed. Once they had brought about all that had been written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. Yet God raised him from the dead.
~Acts 13:26-30

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday Hymn

Jesus, Our Savior, Lord Of All the Nations

Refrain:
Hear us, almighty Lord, show us your mercy
Sinners, we stand here before you.

Jesus, our Savior, Lord of all the nations,
Christ our Redeemer, hear the prayers we offer,
Spare us and save us, comfort us in sorrow.

Refrain

Word of the Father, keystone of God’s building,
Source of our gladness, gateway to the Kingdom,
Free us in mercy from the sins that bind us.

Refrain

God of compassion, Lord of might and splendor,
Graciously listen, hear our cries of anguish.
Touch us, and heal us where our sins have wounded.

Refrain

Humbly confessing that we have offended,
Stripped of illusions, naked in our sorrow,
Pardon, Lord Jesus, those your blood has ransomed.

Refrain

Innocent captive, you were led to slaughter,
Sentenced by sinners when they brought false witness.
Keep from damnation those your death has rescued.

Refrain:
Hear us, almighty Lord, show us your mercy
Sinners, we stand here before you.

Tune: Attende Domine 11.11.11 with Refrain
Music: Gregorian, Mode V
Text: Latin, tenth century
Translation: Ralph Wright, OSB, 1938-

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sonnet for Maundy Thursday

Here is the source of every sacrament,
The all-transforming presence of the Lord,
Replenishing our every element
Remaking us in his creative Word.
For here the earth herself gives bread and wine,
The air delights to bear his Spirit’s speech,
The fire dances where the candles shine,
The waters cleanse us with His gentle touch.
And here He shows the full extent of love
To us whose love is always incomplete,
In vain we search the heavens high above,
The God of love is kneeling at our feet.
Though we betray Him, though it is the night.
He meets us here and loves us into light.

~Malcolm Guite

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Cost

“It cost God nothing, so far as we know, to create nice things: but to convert rebellious wills cost Him crucifixion.”
~C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Cross


                              The Cross
                               The form
                                Of Love
                                 Is still
                    A King dead upon a hill.
            Oh what is Love that yet does kill!
                                So fierce
                                In bloom:
                               That Love
                                 Which
                                  broke
                              The tomb!

                       ~a Carthusian monk
  

Monday, April 10, 2017

Indifference


(Picture found here)
When Jesus came to Golgotha
They hanged Him on a tree,
They drave great nails through hands and feet,
And made a Calvary.
They crowned Him with a crown of thorns;
Red were His wounds and deep,
For those were crude and cruel days,
And human flesh was cheap.

When Jesus came to Birmingham,
They simply passed Him by;
They never hurt a hair of Him,
They only let Him die.
For men had grown more tender,
And they would not give Him pain;
They only just passed down the street,
And left Him in the rain.

Still Jesus cried, “Forgive them,
For they know not what they do.”
And still it rained the winter rain
That drenched Him through and through.
The crowds went home and left the streets
Without a soul to see;
And Jesus crouched against a wall
And cried for Calvary.

~G. A. Studdert Kennedy
   

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Stranger of Galilee

In fancy I stood by the shore, one day,
Of the beautiful murm’ring sea;
I saw the great crowds as they thronged the way
Of the Stranger of Galilee;
I saw how the man who was blind from birth,
In a moment was made to see;
The lame was made whole by the matchless skill
Of the Stranger of Galilee.

Refrain 1-3:
And I felt I could love Him forever,
So gracious and tender was He!
I claimed Him that day as my Savior,
This Stranger of Galilee.

His look of compassion, His words of love,
They shall never forgotten be;
When sin-sick and helpless He saw me there,
This Stranger of Galilee;
He showed me His hand and His riven side,
And He whispered, “It was for thee!”
My burden fell off at the pierced feet
Of the Stranger from Galilee. [Refrain]

I heard Him speak peace to the angry waves,
Of that turbulent, raging sea;
And lo! at His word are the waters stilled,
This Stranger of Galilee;
A peaceful, a quiet, and holy calm,
Now and ever abides with me;
He holdeth my life in His mighty hands,
This Stranger of Galilee. [Refrain]

Come, ye who are driven and tempest-tossed,
And His gracious salvation see;
He’ll quiet life’s storms with His “Peace, be still!”
This Stranger of Galilee;
He bids me to go and the story tell—
What He ever to you will be,
If only you let Him with you abide,
This Stranger of Galilee.

Refrain 4:
Oh, my friend, won’t you love Him forever?
So gracious and tender is He!
Accept Him today as your Savior,
This Stranger of Galilee.

Author: Mrs. C. H. Morris (1893)
Tune: [In fancy I stood by the shore, one day]

Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Photographer


(Picture found here)
It may be best to start recalling the origin of this word.
In Greek, “photo” meaning light.
And “graphein” was writing, drawing.
A photographer is literally someone drawing with light.
Someone who writes and rewrites the world with light and shadow.
~Sebastião Salgado
 

Friday, April 7, 2017

More Wisdom from the Desert

“Abbot Pastor was asked by a certain brother: How should I conduct myself in the place where I live? The elder replied: Be as cautious as a stranger; wherever you may be, do not desire your word to have power before you, and you will have rest.”
~Desert Fathers

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Falsehood

“Falsehood – and only falsehood – separates us from God ... false thoughts, false words, false feelings, false desires – Behold the aggregate of lies that leads us to non-being, illusion, and rejection of God.”
~St. Nicholas of Serbia

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

If the Son frees you, then you will truly be free

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him,
“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
   and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham
   and have never been enslaved to anyone.
How can you say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
   everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.
A slave does not remain in a household forever,
   but a son always remains.
So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free.
I know that you are descendants of Abraham.
But you are trying to kill me,
   because my word has no room among you.
I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence;
   then do what you have heard from the Father.”

They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.”
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children,
   you would be doing the works of Abraham.
But now you are trying to kill me,
   a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God;
Abraham did not do this.
You are doing the works of your father!”
So they said to him, “We were not born of fornication.
We have one Father, God.”
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me,
   for I came from God and am here;
   I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”

~John 8:31-42

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Bad Days

When Passion week started and Jesus
Came down to the city, that day
Hosannahs burst out at his entry
And palm leaves were strewn in his way.

But days grow more stern and more stormy.
No love can men's hardness unbend;
Their brows are contemptuously frowning,
And now comes the postscript, the end.

Grey, leaden and heavy, the heavens
Were pressing on treetops and roofs.
The Pharisees, fawning like foxes,
Were secretly searching for proofs.

The lords of the Temple let scoundrels
Pass judgement, and those who at first
Had fervently followed and hailed him,
Now all just as zealously cursed.

The crowd on the neighbouring sector
Was looking inside through the gate.
They jostled, intent on the outcome,
Bewildered and willing to wait.

And whispers and rumours were creeping,
Repeating the dominant theme.
The flight into Egypt, his childhood
Already seemed faint as a dream.

And Jesus remembered the desert,
The days in the wilderness spent,
The tempting with power by Satan,
That lofty, majestic descent.

He thought of the wedding at Cana,
The feast and the miracles; and
How once he had walked on the waters
Through mist to a boat, as on land;

The beggarly crowd in a hovel,
The cellar to which he was led;
How, started, the candle-flame guttered,
When Lazarus rose from the dead...

~Boris Pasternak

Monday, April 3, 2017

On Interior Humility

“...nothing so tends to humble us before the Mercy of God as the multitude of His gifts to us; just as nothing so tends to humble us before His Justice as the multitude of our misdeeds. Let us consider what He has done for us, and what we have done contrary to His Will, and as we review our sins in detail, so let us review His Grace in the same. There is no fear that a perception of what He has given you will puff you up, so long as you keep steadily in mind that whatever is good in you is not of yourself. Do mules cease to be clumsy, stinking beasts because they are used to carry the dainty treasures and perfumes of a prince? ‘What hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?’ [1 Cor. iv. 7] On the contrary, a lively appreciation of the grace given to you should make you humble, for appreciation begets gratitude. But if, when realising the gifts God has given you, any vanity should beset you, the infallible remedy is to turn to the thought of all our ingratitude, imperfection, and weakness. Any one who will calmly consider what he has done without God, cannot fail to realise that what he does with God is no merit of his own; and so we may rejoice in that which is good in us, and take pleasure in the fact, but we shall give all the glory to God Alone, Who Alone is its Author.”
~St. Francis de Sales

Sunday, April 2, 2017

There Were Ninety And Nine

There were ninety and nine that safely lay
in the shelter of the fold,
but one was out on the hills away,
far off from the gates of gold —
away on the mountains wild and bare,
away from the tender Shepherds care,
away from the tender Shepherds care.

“Lord, thou hast here thy ninety and nine;
are they not enough for thee?
But the Shepherd made answer:
“This of mine has wandered away from me,
and although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find my sheep,
I go to the desert to find my sheep.”

But none of the ransomed ever knew
how deep were the waters crossed;
nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed thro
ere he found his sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert he heard its cry —
sick and helpless, and ready to die,
sick and helpless, and ready to die.

“Lord, whence are those blood-drops all the way
that mark out the mountains track?
“They were shed for one who had gone astray
ere the Shepherd could bring him back.”
“Lord, whence are thy hands so rent and torn?”
“Theyre pierced tonight by many a thorn,
theyre pierced tonight by many a thorn.”

But all thro the mountains, thunder-rivn,
and up from the rocky steep,
there arose a glad cry to the gate of heavn,
“Rejoice! I have found my sheep!
And the angels echoed around the throne,
“Rejoice, for the Lord brings back his own!
Rejoice, for the Lord brings back his own!”

Author: Elizabeth Clephane (1868)
Tune: [There were ninety and nine that safely lay] (Sankey)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

On Greater Humility

“Some people are proud and conceited because they ride a fine horse, wear a feather in their hat, and are expensively dressed, but who can fail to see their folly, or that if any one has reason to be proud over such things, it would be the horse, the bird, and the tailor!

...A well-conditioned mind will not throw away its powers upon such sorry trifles as rank, position or outward forms—it has other things to do, and will leave all that to meaner minds. He who can find pearls will not stop to pick up shells; and so a man who aims at real goodness will not be keen about outward tokens of honour. Undoubtedly every one is justified in keeping his own place, and there is no want of humility in that so long as it is done simply and without contention.”
~St. Francis de Sales

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Just One

The wicked said among themselves,
   thinking not aright:
“Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
   he sets himself against our doings,
Reproaches us for transgressions of the law
   and charges us with violations of our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God
   and styles himself a child of the LORD.
To us he is the censure of our thoughts;
   merely to see him is a hardship for us,
Because his life is not like that of others,
   and different are his ways.
He judges us debased;
   he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure.
He calls blest the destiny of the just
   and boasts that God is his Father.
Let us see whether his words be true;
   let us find out what will happen to him.
For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him
   and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
With revilement and torture let us put him to the test
   that we may have proof of his gentleness
   and try his patience.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death;
   for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”
These were their thoughts, but they erred;
   for their wickedness blinded them,
and they knew not the hidden counsels of God;
   neither did they count on a recompense of holiness
   nor discern the innocent souls’ reward.
~Wisdom 2:1a, 12-22

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Seven in the Woods

Am I as old as I am?
Maybe not. Time is a mystery
that can tip us upside down.
Yesterday I was seven in the woods,
a bandage covering my blind eye,
in a bedroll Mother made me
so I could sleep out in the woods
far from people. A garter snake glided by
without noticing me. A chickadee
landed on my bare toe, so light
she wasn’t believable. The night
had been long and the treetops
thick with a trillion stars. Who
was I, half-blind on the forest floor
who was I at age seven? Sixty-eight
years later I can still inhabit that boy’s
body without thinking of the time between.
It is the burden of life to be many ages
without seeing the end of time.
~Jim Harrison

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Patience

“‘Ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the Will of God, ye might receive the promise,’ says Saint Paul; and the Saviour said, ‘In your patience possess ye your souls.’ The greatest happiness of any one is ‘to possess his soul;’ and the more perfect our patience, the more fully we do so possess our souls. Call often to mind that our Saviour redeemed us by bearing and suffering, and in like manner we must seek our own salvation amid sufferings and afflictions; bearing insults, contradictions and troubles with all the gentleness we can possibly command. Do not limit your patience to this or that kind of trial, but extend it universally to whatever God may send, or allow to befall you. Some people will only bear patiently with trials which carry their own salve of dignity,—such as being wounded in battle, becoming a prisoner of war, being ill-used for the sake of their religion, being impoverished by some strife out of which they came triumphant. Now these persons do not love tribulation, but only the honour which attends it. A really patient servant of God is as ready to bear inglorious troubles as those which are honourable. A brave man can easily bear with contempt, slander and false accusation from an evil world; but to bear such injustice at the hands of good men, of friends and relations, is a great test of patience...

Be patient, not only with respect to the main trials which beset you, but also under the accidental and accessory annoyances which arise out of them. We often find people who imagine themselves ready to accept a trial in itself who are impatient of its consequences. We hear one man say, ‘I should not mind poverty, were it not that I am unable to bring up my children and receive my friends as handsomely as I desire.’ And another says, ‘I should not mind, were it not that the world will suppose it is my own fault;’ while another would patiently bear to be the subject of slander provided nobody believed it. Others, again, accept one side of a trouble but fret against the rest—as, for instance, believing themselves to be patient under sickness, only fretting against their inability to obtain the best advice, or at the inconvenience they are to their friends. But, dear child, be sure that we must patiently accept, not sickness only, but such sickness as God chooses to send, in the place, among the people, and subject to the circumstances which He ordains;—and so with all other troubles. If any trouble comes upon you, use the remedies with which God supplies you. . . . If He pleases to let the evil be remedied, thank Him humbly; but if it be His will that the evil grow greater than the remedies, patiently bless His Holy Name.”
~St. Francis de Sales

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Out of Mercy

“The flood of temporal things draws us after itself, but in this flood there is, as it were, a full-grown tree: our Lord Jesus Christ. He took flesh, died, and ascended to heaven. It is as if He agreed to be in the flood of the temporal. Is this stream dragging you headlong? Hold on to Christ. He became temporal for you, so that you might become eternal, for He became temporal in such a way that He remained eternal. What difference is there between two men in a prison when one of them is a convict and the other a visitor! Sometimes a man comes to visit his friend, and it seems that both are in prison, but there is a great difference between them. One of them is held there because of guilt, while the other has come out of love for mankind. Thus it is with our mortality: guilt holds us here, but Christ had come out of mercy. He came freely into bondage, and not as a convict.”
~St. Augustine

Monday, March 27, 2017

Mystery

“But if You fill heaven and earth, do they contain You? Or do You fill them, and yet have much over since they cannot contain You? Is there some other place into which that overplus of You pours that heaven and earth cannot hold? Surely You have no need of any place to contain You. . . . It is true that all things cannot wholly contain You: but does this mean that they contain part of You? . . . But are there in You parts greater and smaller? Or are You not in every place at once in the totality of Your being, while yet nothing contains You wholly?” (1/3/3, p. 4)

“What then is my God? . . .
most merciful and most just,
utterly hidden and utterly present,
most beautiful and most strong . . . ,
suffering no change and changing all things:
never new, never old, making all things new, . . .
ever in action, ever at rest,
gathering all things to Thee and needing none; . . .
ever seeking though lacking nothing.
Thou lovest without subjection to passion,
Thou art jealous but not with fear . . .
angry yet unperturbed by anger.” (1/4/4, pp. 4-5)

~St. Augustine (Confessions)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Infinite Blessedness

“...Accustom yourself to the idea, my Brethren, and a terrible idea it is, that the state of sin is a demoniacal possession. Consider how such a possession of the body is spoken of in Scripture. Consider how the devil tormented the poor suffering body which he was allowed to get hold of. Then consider, what we may so often see now, what a fearful affliction madness is. Then, when you have considered these two things, and got a clear hold of the idea, think that sin is just such a possession of the heart and spirit. It is not that the body is afflicted, as in the case of a demoniac. It is not that the reason is afflicted, as in the case of a madman. But it is that the spirit, the heart, the affections, the conscience, the will, are in the power of an evil spirit, who sways them about at his pleasure. How awful is this!

...All is darkness here, all is bright in heaven. All is disorder here, all is order there. All is noise here, and there there is stillness, or if sounds are heard, they are the sweet sounds of the eternal harps on which the praises of God are sung. Here we are in a state of uncertainty: we do not know what is to happen. The Church suffers; her goodly portion, and her choice inheritance suffer; the vineyard is laid waste; there is persecution and war; and Satan rages and afflicts when he cannot destroy. But all this will be set right in the world to come, and if St. Peter could say at the Transfiguration ‘It is good to be here,’ much more shall we have cause to say so when we see the face of God. For then we shall be like our Lord Himself, we shall have glorified bodies, as He had then, and has now. We shall have put off flesh and blood, and receive our bodies at the last day, the same indeed, but incorruptible, spiritual bodies, which will be able to see and enjoy the presence of God in a way which was beyond the three Apostles in the days of their mortality. Then the envious malignant spirit will be cast out, and we shall have nothing to fear, nothing to be perplexed at, for the Lord God shall lighten us, and encompass us, and we shall be in perfect security and peace. Then we shall look back upon this world, and the trials, and temptations which are past, and what thankfulness, what joy will not rise within us—and we shall look forward; and this one thought will be upon us that this blessedness is to last for ever. Our security has no limit. It is not that we shall be promised a hundred years of peace, or a thousand, but for ever and ever shall we be as we are, for our happiness and our peace will be founded in the infinite blessedness and peace of God, and as He is eternal and happy, so shall we be.”
~John Henry Newman

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Real Love

“...Christian life requires a willingness to love. And I don’t mean ‘love’, the theory, or ‘love’, the warm feeling. I mean ‘love’, the act of will, the act of courage. Real love is always expensive. Real love is always anchored in the truth about ourselves and about others. And while the truth will make us free, nobody said it would make us comfortable. The truth is that the world is a sinful place, and we’re part of that sinfulness.

...In a way, all Christians are caught in a seeming dilemma, between the stars God calls us to reach for, and the clay we’re made of. God asks us to acknowledge all of our many sins, but then He insists that we trust in His love anyway, believe in our dignity anyway, follow Him anyway, and sanctify the world anyway. And that means that if we try to do what seems so improbable—to love as Jesus loved—we’re going to struggle and sometimes fail, and in failing, we’ll experience the disdain of the world.

So it has always been. When the prophet Isaiah tells us that the Spirit of God has anointed him to ‘bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound’ (Is 61:1), he doesn’t talk about the cost, because he’s consumed with the reward of serving God—and rightly so. But Isaiah was also a sinner like the rest of us, and from the Scriptures we know that people rejected him the same way they rejected every other prophet.

The cost of discipleship can be high. Real love is always beautiful but also humbling. It asks us to listen to the needs of others and to choose what’s best for them first. It asks us to admit our sins and repent of them, but it also offers the solace that we not be deterred by them. This is why discipleship is not for the fainthearted, and Christian life is an adventure meant for the brave. God needs people of selflessness and character. God needs men and women who will help Him remake the world, who will allow Him to make them into a holy people, something more than what they are without Him.

...Today, Jesus asks each of us, not just those of us who are priests, to be His Father’s word becoming flesh through the witness of our lives. It’s through our witness—despite all our failures but guided, lifted up, and encouraged by our pastors who share our same struggles—that Christ sanctifies the world. When people see and hear us, they should see and hear Jesus Christ; and through Jesus, they will encounter the Father who loves them despite their sins, and our sins.”
~Charles Chaput

Friday, March 24, 2017

Jesus Self-identifies

The Least:
Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’
~Matthew 25:45

The Church:
Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”
~Acts 9:1-5

Thursday, March 23, 2017

True Hope Seeks Only The Kingdom

“If a man has no worries about himself at all for the sake of love toward God and the working of good deeds, knowing that God is taking care of him, this is a true and wise hope. But if a man takes care of his own business and turns to God in prayer only when misfortunes come upon him which are beyond his power, and then he begins to hope in God, such a hope is vain and false. A true hope seeks only the Kingdom of God... the heart can have no peace until it obtains such a hope. This hope pacifies the heart and produces joy within it.”
~St. Seraphim of Sarov

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Connection

“...theology must be approached prayerfully, and not as if it were an objective science.”

“When theology is connected with adoration of God, love of God, expectation of his love, humble seeking of the Holy Spirit’s help (the Spirit ‘will guide you into all the truth,’ John 16:13), it is like plugging a lamp into a socket. The circuit is made, and your mind—your receptive, perceptive mind, not the analytical one—is flooded with illumination.

But if no connection with God is sought, if it’s just you and your high IQ, you’re left with a lamp that may well be complicated or aesthetically pleasing, but it isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do. And if you get too absorbed in studying the rivets that hold the lamp together, and arguing with other experts about the metal composition of the lamp, it can be actually detrimental to your mind. You can latch onto theological ideas that are, in fact, not accurate, and refuse to let them go...”
~Frederica Mathewes-Green

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Watch and Pray

“But if a man is in earnest in wishing to get at the depths of his own heart, to expel the evil, to purify the good, and to gain power over himself, so as to do as well as know the Truth, what is the difficulty?—a matter of time indeed, but not of uncertainty is the recovery of such a man. So simple is the rule which he must follow, and so trite, that at first he will be surprised to hear it. God does great things by plain methods; and men start from them through pride, because they are plain. This was the conduct of Naaman the Syrian. Christ says, ‘Watch and pray;’ herein lies our cure. To watch and to pray are surely in our power, and by these means we are certain of getting strength. You feel your weakness; you fear to be overcome by temptation: then keep out of the way of it. This is watching. Avoid society which is likely to mislead you; flee from the very shadow of evil; you cannot be too careful; better be a little too strict than a little too easy,—it is the safer side. Abstain from reading books which are dangerous to you. Turn from bad thoughts when they arise, set about some business, begin conversing with some friend, or say to yourself the Lord's Prayer reverently. When you are urged by temptation, whether it be by the threats of the world, false shame, self-interest, provoking conduct on the part of another, or the world's sinful pleasures, urged to be cowardly, or covetous, or unforgiving, or sensual, shut your eyes and think of Christ's precious blood-shedding. Do not dare to say you cannot help sinning; a little attention to these points will go far (through God's grace) to keep you in the right way. And again, pray as well as watch. You must know that you can do nothing of yourself; your past experience has taught you this; therefore look to God for the will and the power; ask Him earnestly in His Son's name; seek His holy ordinances. Is not this in your power? Have you not power at least over the limbs of your body, so as to attend the means of grace constantly? Have you literally not the power to come hither; to observe the Fasts and Festivals of the Church; to come to His Holy Altar and receive the Bread of Life? Get yourself, at least, to do this; to put out the hand, to take His gracious Body and Blood; this is no arduous work;—and you say you really wish to gain the blessings He offers. What would you have more than a free gift, vouchsafed ‘without money and without price?’ So, make no more excuses; murmur not about your own bad heart, your knowing and resolving, and not doing. Here is your remedy.”
~John Henry Newman

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Restoration Of Culture

“Our Lord explains in the Parable of the Sower that the seed of His love will only grow in a certain soil—and that is the soil of Christian Culture, which is the work of music in the wide sense, including as well as tunes that are sung, art, literature, games, architecture—all so many instruments in the orchestra which plays day and night the music of lovers; and if it is disordered, then the love of Christ will not grow. It is an obvious matter of fact that here in the United States now, the Devil has seized these instruments to play a danse macabre, a dance of death, especially through what we call the ‘media,’ the film, television, radio, record, book, magazine and newspaper industries. The restoration of culture, spiritually, morally, physically, demands the cultivation of the soil in which the love of Christ can grow, and that means we must, as they say, rethink priorities.”
~John Senior

Sunday, March 19, 2017

My Food Is To Do His Will

Meanwhile, the disciples urged Him, “Rabbi, eat.”
But He said to them,
   “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
So the disciples said to one another,
   “Could someone have brought Him something to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
   “My food is to do the will of the one who sent Me
   and to finish His work.
Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’?
I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest.
The reaper is already receiving payment
   and gathering crops for eternal life,
   so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together.
For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’
I sent you to reap what you have not worked for;
   others have done the work,
   and you are sharing the fruits of their work.”
~John 4:31-38

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The emptiness of experience must be filled with the richness of restored innocence...

  
from Innocence And Experience

God Speaks:
It is innocence that is full and experience that is empty.
It is innocence that wins and experience that loses.
It is innocence that is young and experience that is old.
It is innocence that grows and experience that wanes.

It is innocence that is born and experience that dies.
It is innocence that knows and experience that does not know.
It is the child who is full and the man who is empty,
Empty as an empty gourd and as an empty barrel:

That is what I do with that experience of yours.

Now then, children, go to school.
And you men, go to the school of life.
Go and learn
How to unlearn.
................................................
Nothing is so beautiful as a child going to sleep
while he is saying his prayers, says God.
I tell you nothing is so beautiful in the world.—
And yet I have seen beautiful sights in the world.
And I know something about it. My creation is
overflowing with beauty.
My creation overflows with marvels.
There are so many that you don't know where to put them.
I have seen millions and millions of stars rolling
under my feet like the sands of the sea.
I have seen days as scorching as flames,
Summer days of June and July and August.
I have seen winter evenings spread out like a cloak....

~Charles Péguy

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Couple Hard Insights

“Present-day Christendom really lives as if the situation were as follows: Christ is the great hero and benefactor who has once and for all secured salvation for us; now we must merely be happy and delighted with the innocent goods of earthly life and leave the rest to Him. But Christ is essentially the exemplar, that is we are to resemble Him, not merely profit from Him.”
~The Journals of Søren Kierkegaard

“The ordinary kind of Christianity is: a secularized life, avoiding major crimes more out of sagacity than for the sake of conscience, ingeniously seeking the pleasures of life – and then once in a while a so-called pious mood. This is Christianity – in the same sense as a touch of nausea and a little stomachache are cholera.”
~Søren Kierkegaard (For Self-Examination)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Excerpt - Interview with Author Michael O’Brien

K. V. Turley: What do you understand as a writer’s vocation?
Michael O’Brien: As with all Christian art, the writer’s calling is to make visible what is invisible, but in such a way that the reader experiences wonder and reverence for Being itself. This means telling a story in which the mysterious movements of divine providence in human life become more comprehensible, and that the great drama of existence in which we are all immersed is seen with new eyes—fraught with dangers and with sublime beauty. Whether one’s work is explicitly or implicitly Christian in themes, the writer’s fidelity to ultimate reality—to Truth—enlarges the reader’s universe.

K. V. Turley: What has writing and being a novelist taught you? 
Michael O’Brien: The long discipline of being an artist in Christ throughout more than forty-five years has taught me to see that creativity is not my possession. It’s a co-creative grace—grace and human nature working together to create “words” that give life to others. And, that in order for one’s art to be living words, prayer is absolutely fundamental.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Excerpt from “East Coker”

Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

~T. S. Eliot, East Coker, in Four Quartets

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Source of Strength

“...there should come together in spirit beneath the Cross on Calvary all suffering people who believe in Christ, and particularly those who suffer because of their faith in him who is the Crucified and Risen One, so that the offering of their sufferings may hasten the fulfilment of the prayer of the Saviour himself that all may be one. Let there also gather beneath the Cross all people of good will, for on this Cross is the ‘Redeemer of man’, the Man of Sorrows, who has taken upon himself the physical and moral sufferings of the people of all times, so that in love they may find the salvific meaning of their sorrow and valid answers to all of their questions.

Together with Mary, Mother of Christ, who stood beneath the Cross, we pause beside all the crosses of contemporary man.

We invoke all the Saints, who down the centuries in a special way shared in the suffering of Christ. We ask them to support us.

And we ask all you who suffer to support us. We ask precisely you who are weak to become a source of strength for the Church and humanity. In the terrible battle between the forces of good and evil, revealed to our eyes by our modern world, may your suffering in union with the Cross of Christ be victorious!”
~Pope John Paul II

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Vocation

“Saint Paul, writing to the Christian converts, addresses them as persons called to be Saints. It is clear from this mode of address that, in the eyes of the Apostle, the vocation of every Christian, as such, is that he be a saint. To the Apostle’s mind this calling, once one has been baptized, is ineluctable. To evade it to the end is not merely to risk but actually to incur everlasting unhappiness. Startling as this thought is, there is not needed much reflection to see that its truth cannot be gainsaid. Nothing ‘unsaintly’ can find place in heaven.”
~Edward Leen

Sunday, March 12, 2017

'Tis Good, Lord, To Be Here

'Tis good, Lord, to be here,
thy glory fills the night;
thy face and garments, like the sun,
shine with unborrowed light.

'Tis good, Lord, to be here,
thy beauty to behold,
where Moses and Elijah stand,
thy messengers of old.

Fulfiller of the past,
promise of things to be,
we hail thy body glorified,
and our redemption see.

Before we taste of death,
we see thy kingdom come;
we fain would hold the vision bright,
and make this hill our home.

'Tis good, Lord, to be here,
yet we may not remain;
but since thou bidst us leave the mount,
come with us to the plain.

~Words: J. Armitage Robinson & Music: Carlisle

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Pain of Nothingness

Plunging into pointlessness day
After day, diminishing to insignificance
In anguish (a straw swept on by the desert wind;
A cork on the frightening sea; a child lost
In a crowd startled by sudden glimpse of self,
His pain of panic and isolation, bewildered
Stares at the passers-by, seeks one form
Familiar, the hand he held, one face, one voice),
I walk in a world not mine, too big to possess,
         Too fleeting to understand.

Called into solitude, called by a voice
Familiar, held by a hand well known, led
To solitude’s reverse, to fellowship,
To oneness with He-who-is, I walk in a world
Made mine. Inserted where heartbeats rise, where eyes
Startled behold the Face so longed-for, bewildered
Man finds himself. The world’s too small for man:
O freedom from the small! The human heart’s
A mystery too terrifying to plumb, a point
         Too God-close to understand.

~a Carthusian monk

Friday, March 10, 2017

Isaiah 53:11b-12

Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many,
   and their guilt he shall bear.
Therefore I will give him his portion among the great,
   and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty,
Because he surrendered himself to death
   and was counted among the wicked;
And he shall take away the sins of many,
   and win pardon for their offenses.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Deciduous


(Picture found here)

After Les Murray

I am the seed that roots and spreads,
I am the underbough unbearing.
I am the meristem, the forest in refuge,
the division in moss and the division in fern.
I am the absence of sound in deep rise,
in snow-buried mound, in matter-of-fact serration,
the feeling of stillness, that widens
and widens, then rustles and spills
from forked tongue to tadpole-spitting stream.
I am boundlessness of now, when it
is good to bear nothing but the weight
of its great vastness, while winters
pass from absence to deafening gathering
to absence again, many re-births
and sprawling coverings, till the falling ahead
becomes the falling behind, and half
the short seasons of the day are sameness.
Widening pools cast my perpetual echo,
I am bark of skin dividing out,
I am winged vertebrate weaving,
I am cambium, the forest in refuge,
the division in fern the place
of meristem division.

~Tess Barry
     

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

From Devotion to Business

“When you leave off ... interior prayer, you must be careful to keep your heart in an even balance, lest the balm it has received in meditation be scattered. I mean, try to maintain silence for some brief space, and let your thoughts be transferred gradually from devotion to business, keeping alive the feelings and affections aroused in meditation as long as possible. Supposing some one to have received a precious porcelain vessel, filled with a most costly liquid, which he is going to carry home; how carefully he would go, not looking about, but watching stedfastly lest he trip or stumble, or lest he spill any of the contents of his vessel. Just so, after meditation, do not allow yourself forthwith to be distracted, but look straight before you. Of course, if you meet any one to whom you are bound to attend, you must act according to the circumstances in which you find yourself, but even thus give heed to your heart, so as to lose as little as possible of the precious fruits of your meditation. You should strive, too, to accustom yourself to go easily from prayer to all such occupations as your calling or position lawfully require of you, even although such occupations may seem uncongenial to the affections and thoughts just before forming part of your prayer. Thus the lawyer should be able to go from meditation to his pleading, the tradesman to his business, the mistress of a family to the cares of her household and her wifely duties, so calmly and gently as not to be in any way disturbed by so doing. In both you are fulfilling God’s Will, and you should be able to turn from one to the other in a devout and humble spirit.”
~St. Francis de Sales

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Liberty

“It is not that someone else is preventing you from living happily; you yourself do not know what you want. Rather than admit this, you pretend that someone is keeping you from exercising your liberty. Who is this? It is you yourself.

But as long as you pretend to live in pure autonomy, as your own master, without even a god to rule you, you will inevitably live as the servant of another man or as the alienated member of an organization. Paradoxically it is the acceptance of God that makes you free and delivers you from human tyranny, for when you serve Him you are no longer permitted to alienate your spirit in human servitude. God did not invite the Children of Israel to leave the slavery of Egypt: He commanded them to do so.”
~Thomas Merton

Monday, March 6, 2017

A Glance from the Heart

Speaking’s deadweight in the silent world of God.
A Word suffices for the architect of thought,
A glance of love for Uncreated Love.
God’s a new world, a world of shorthand: Love
Is he and Love his language. No laboured style,
No ocean of ink, no volumes of endless type.
Not even a whisper is heard in the heart of God
Where all his children sing an ecstatic song
In silence
Of timeless adoration. Love the fount
Of Being floods in everlasting speech
A Word beyond articulation, the Act
Of Being, Jesus forever clothed in Flames.
The Pillar of Fire, God’s inward joy and bond,
Creates our hearts receptive, a single lyre,
For God’s eternal Voice: the Breath of Life.
Loving says all in the silent world of God ...

~a Carthusian monk 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Refrain:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!

Refrain

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Refrain

~Words & Music: Helen Lemmel

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Isaiah 1:16-18

    Wash yourselves clean!
Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;
    cease doing evil; learn to do good.
Make justice your aim: redress the wronged,
    hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.
Come now, let us set things right,
    says the Lord:
Though your sins be like scarlet,
    they may become white as snow;
Though they be crimson red,
    they may become white as wool.

Friday, March 3, 2017

A Guilty Conscience Punishes Itself Without A Judge

“But nothing causes such exceeding grief as when anyone, lying under the captivity of sin, calls to mind from where he has fallen, because he turned aside to carnal and earthly things, instead of directing his mind in the beautiful ways of the knowledge of God. So you find Adam concealing himself, when he knew that God was present and wishing to be hidden when called by God with that voice which wounded the soul of him yourself? Why are you concealed? Why do you avoid Him Whom you once longed to see? A guilty conscience is so burdensome that it punishes itself without a judge, and wishes for covering, and yet is bare before God.”
~St. Ambrose

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

For Ash Wednesday

There is a misty twilight of the soul,
A sickly eclipse, low brooding o'er a man,
When the poor brain is as an empty bowl,
And the thought-spirit, weariful and wan,
Turning from that which yet it loves the best,
Sinks moveless, with life-poverty opprest:--
Watch then, O Lord, thy feebly glimmering coal.

~George MacDonald (from Diary of an Old Soul)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down thy head upon My breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one, stoop down, and drink, and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank of that life giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived, and now I live in Him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “I am this dark world’s Light;
Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise, and all thy day be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found in Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that light of life I’ll walk, till traveling days are done.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “My Father’s house above
Has many mansions; I’ve a place, prepared for you in love.”
I trust in Jesus—in that house, according to His word,
Redeemed by grace, my soul shall live, forever with the Lord.

~Words: Horatius Bonar & Music: John Dykes (partial re-post)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Remembering

When there was air, when you could
breathe any day if you liked, and if you
wanted to you could run, I used to
climb those hills back of town and
follow a gully so my eyes were at ground
level and could look out through grass as the stems
bent in their tensile way, and see snow
mountains follow along, the way distance goes.

Now I carry those days in a tiny box
wherever I go. I open the lid like this
and let the light glimpse and then glance away.
There is a sigh like my breath when I do this.
Some days I do this again and again.

~William Stafford

Sunday, February 26, 2017

I Would Be Thine, O Take My Heart

I would be Thine; O take my heart,
And fill it with Thy love;
Thy sacred image, Lord, impart,
And seal it from above.

I would be Thine; but while I strive
To give myself away,
I feel rebellion still alive,
And wander while I pray.

I would be Thine: but, Lord, I feel
Evil still lurks within:—
Do Thou Thy majesty reveal,
And overcome my sin.

I would be Thine; I would embrace
The Saviour, and adore;
Inspire with faith, infuse thy grace,
And now my soul restore.

~Author: Eliza Reed & Tune: Oh for Converting Grace

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Good Books

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
~J. D. Salinger

Friday, February 24, 2017

...in the Spring

“One can trample down seven flowers, but one cannot prevent them from blossoming again in the spring.”
~Freddy Derwahl

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Life

“Every moment and every event of every man's life on earth plants something in his soul.”

“A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.”
~Thomas Merton

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Gospel

“The Gospel is a harsh document; the Gospel is ruthless and specific in what it says; the Gospel is not meant to be re-worded, watered down and brought to the level of either our understanding or our taste. The Gospel is proclaiming something which is beyond us and which is there to stretch our mind, to widen our heart beyond the bearable at times, to recondition all our life, to give us a world view which is simply the world upside-down and this we are not keen to accept.”
~Anthony Bloom

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Reveal

“The constant talker will never, or a least rarely, grasp truth. Of course even he must experience some truths, otherwise he could not exist. He does notice certain facts, observe certain relations, draw conclusions and make plans. But he does not yet possess genuine truth, which comes into being only when the essence of an object, the significance of a relation, and what is valid and eternal in this world reveal themselves. This requires the speciousness, freedom, and pure receptiveness of that inner ‘clean-swept room’ which silence alone can create.”
~Romano Guardini

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Mystery of Life

Life's mystery — deep, restless as the ocean —
Hath surged and wailed for ages to and fro;
Earth's generations watch its ceaseless motion,
As in and out its hollow moanings flow.
Shivering and yearning by that unknown sea,
Let my soul calm itself, O Christ, in thee!

Life's sorrows, with inexorable power,
Sweep desolation o'er this mortal plain;
And human loves and hopes fly as the chaff
Borne by the whirlwind from the ripened grain.
Ah! when before that blast my hopes all flee,
Let my soul calm itself, O Christ, in thee!

Between the mysteries of death and life
Thou standest, loving, guiding, not explaining;
We ask, and thou art silent; yet we gaze,
And our charmed hearts forget their drear complaining.
No crushing fate, no stony destiny,
O Lamb that hast been slain, we find in thee!

The many waves of thought, the mighty tides,
The ground-swell that rolls up from other lands,
From far-off worlds, from dim, eternal shores,
Whose echo dashes on life's wave-worn strands,
This vague, dark tumult of the inner sea
Grows calm, grows bright, O risen Lord, in thee!

Thy piercèd hand guides the mysterious wheels;
Thy thorn-crowned brow now wears the crown of power;
And when the dread enigma presseth sore,
Thy patient voice saith, "Watch with me one hour."
As sinks the moaning river in the sea
In silver peace, so sinks my soul in thee!

~Harriet Beecher Stowe

Sunday, February 19, 2017

...And you shall not have an enemy

1:1 There are two ways, one of life and one of death, and there is a great difference between the two ways.
1:2 The way of life is this.
1:3 First of all, you shall love the God who made you;
1:4 secondly, your neighbour as yourself.
1:5 And do nothing to another that you would not have befal yourself.
1:6 Now of these words the doctrine is this.
1:7 Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies and fast for those who persecute you;
1:8 for what merit is it, if you love those who love you? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? But love those who hate you, and you shall not have an enemy...

~The Didache ("Teaching"), is a brief anonymous early Christian treatise, dated to the first century.