Sunday, June 25, 2017

Ye Servants Of God

Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim,
And publish abroad His wonderful Name;
The Name all victorious of Jesus extol,
His kingdom is glorious and rules over all.

God ruleth on high, almighty to save,
And still He is nigh, His presence we have;
The great congregation His triumph shall sing,
Ascribing salvation to Jesus, our King.

“Salvation to God, who sits on the throne!”
Let all cry aloud and honor the Son;
The praises of Jesus the angels proclaim,
Fall down on their faces and worship the Lamb.

Then let us adore and give Him His right,
All glory and power, all wisdom and might;
All honor and blessing with angels above,
And thanks never ceasing and infinite love.

~Words: Charles Wesley & Music: Johann Haydn; arranged by William Gardiner

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Infinite Worth

“The religious life begins when we discover that God is not a postulate of ethics, but the only adventure in which it is worth the trouble to risk ourselves.”
~Nicolás Gómez Dávila

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Boy’s Head

In it there is a space-ship
and a project
for doing away with piano lessons.

And there is
Noah’s ark,
which shall be first.

And there is
an entirely new bird,
an entirely new hare,
an entirely new bumble-bee.

There is a river
that flows upwards.

There is a multiplication table.

There is anti-matter.

And it just cannot be trimmed.

I believe
that only what cannot be trimmed
is a head.

There is much promise
in the circumstance
that so many people have heads.

~Miroslav Holub (1923-1998), Czech poet

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Child of God

“It is better to be a child of God than king of the whole world.”
~St. Aloysius Gonzaga

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Equanimity

“Styles and approaches in prayer are very varied. Some people love the company of others when they pray, and the stimulus of words and music. My usual preference would be for stillness. One image of Newman’s has never failed to help me. In a sermon called ‘Equanimity’ he asks: ‘Did you ever look at an expanse of water, and observe the ripples on the surface? Do you think that disturbance penetrates below it?’ He goes on to speak of tempests and scenes of horror and distress at sea, but remarks, ‘The foundations of the ocean, the vast realms of water which girdle the earth, are as tranquil and as silent in the storm as in a calm.’ He uses it as an image for the souls of those who are holy: ‘They have a well of peace springing up within them unfathomable’ (PS v, p. 69). As the passage continues, he acknowledges how troubled we may sometimes be in fact, and indeed the tsunami at Christmas 2004 may seem to qualify the image further; but that tragic event cannot simply cancel it altogether. The appeal to tranquillity in the deep has given me encouragement to persevere in prayer beyond immediate difficulties in order to discover the strength and stillness of God.”
~Roderick Strange

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

From the Explanations of the Psalms

“What is more pleasing than a psalm? David expresses it well: Praise the Lord, for a song of praise is good: let there be praise of our God with gladness and grace. Yes, a psalm is a blessing on the lips of the people, a hymn in praise of God, the assembly’s homage, a general acclamation, a word that speaks for all, the voice of the Church, a confession of faith in song. It is the voice of complete assent, the joy of freedom, a cry of happiness, the echo of gladness. It soothes the temper, distracts from care, lightens the burden of sorrow. It is a source of security at night, a lesson in wisdom by day. It is a shield when we are afraid, a celebration of holiness, a vision of serenity, a promise of peace and harmony. It is like a lyre, evoking harmony from a blend of notes. Day begins to the music of a psalm. Day closes to the echo of a psalm.

In a psalm, instruction vies with beauty. We sing for pleasure. We learn for our profit. What experience is not covered by a reading of the psalms? I come across the words: A song for the beloved, and I am aflame with desire for God’s love. I go through God’s revelation in all its beauty, the intimations of resurrection, the gifts of his promise. I learn to avoid sin. I see my mistake in feeling ashamed of repentance for my sins.

What is a psalm but a musical instrument to give expression to all the virtues? The psalmist of old used it, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, to make earth re-echo the music of heaven. He used the dead gut of strings to create harmony from a variety of notes, in order to send up to heaven the song of God’s praise. In doing so he taught us that we must first die to sin, and then create in our lives on earth a harmony through virtuous deeds, if the grace of our devotion is to reach up to the Lord.

David thus taught us that we must sing an interior song of praise, like Saint Paul, who tells us: I shall pray in spirit, and also with understanding; I shall sing in spirit, and also with understanding. We must fashion our lives and shape our actions in the light of the things that are above. We must not allow pleasure to awaken bodily passions, which weigh our soul down instead of freeing it. The holy prophet told us that his songs of praise were to celebrate the freeing of his soul, when he said: I shall sing to you, God, on the lyre, holy one of Israel; my lips will rejoice when I have.”
~St. Ambrose

Monday, June 19, 2017

Circle of Happiness

I am a little kid
For you to love.
I am a little kid
For you to hug and kiss.
I am a little kid
For you to say,
“You are so special,
Yes you are” to.
I am a little kid
For all of those things
And more.
And when you
Feel and say and do
All of those things,
I will be a little kid
Who will hug and kiss you.
I will be a little kid
Who will say to you,
“You are so special, too,
Yes you are.”
I will be a little kid
Who will do all of those things
And more.
And that is what
Happiness
Is all about.

~Mattie J. T. Stepanek

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father, We Thank Thee

Father, we thank thee who has planted
Thy holy Name within our hearts.
Knowledge and faith and life immortal
Jesus, thy Son, to us imparts.
Thou, Lord, didst make all for thy pleasure,
Didst give man food for all his days,
Giving in Christ the Bread eternal;
Thine is the power, be thine the praise.

Watch o’er thy Church, O Lord, in mercy,
Save it from evil, guard it still;
Perfect it in thy love, unite it,
Cleansed and conformed unto thy will.
As grain, once scattered on the hill sides,
Was in this broken bread made one,
So from all lands thy Church be gathered
Into thy kingdom by thy Son.

Tune: Rendez a Dieu 98.98 D
Music: Louis Bourgeois, 1543
Text: Didache, c. 110
Translation: F. Bland Tucker, 1941

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Consolation Grook

Losing one glove
is certainly painful,
but nothing
compared to the pain,
of losing one,
throwing away the other,
and finding

the first one again.

~Piet Hein

Friday, June 16, 2017

Nondiscipleship

“...It was right and good of Bonhoeffer to point out that one cannot be a disciple of Christ without forfeiting things normally sought in human life, and that one who pays little in the world’s coinage to bear his name has reason to wonder where he or she stands with God. But the cost of nondiscipleship is far greater—even when this life alone is considered—than the price paid to walk with Jesus, constantly learning from him.

Nondiscipleship costs abiding peace, a life penetrated throughout by love, faith that sees everything in the light of God’s overriding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging of circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil. In short, nondiscipleship costs you exactly that abundance of life Jesus said he came to bring (John 10:10). The cross-shaped yoke of Christ is after all an instrument of liberation and power to those who live in it with him and learn the meekness and lowliness of heart that brings rest to the soul.”
~Dallas Willard

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Discipleship

“Though costly, discipleship once had a very clear, straightforward meaning. The mechanics are not the same today. We cannot literally be with him in the same way as his first disciples could. But the priorities and intentions—the heart or inner attitudes—of disciples are forever the same. In the heart of a disciple there is a desire, and there is a decision or settled intent. Having come to some understanding of what it means, and thus having ‘counted up the costs,’ the disciple of Christ desires above all else to be like him. Thus, ‘it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher’ (Matthew 10:25). And moreover, ‘everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher’ (Luke 6:40).

Given this desire, usually produced by the lives and words of those already in the Way, there is still a decision to be made: the decision to devote oneself to becoming like Christ. The disciple is one who, intent upon becoming Christ-like and so dwelling in his ‘faith and practice,’ systematically and progressively rearranges his affairs to that end. By these decisions and actions, even today, one enrolls in Christ’s training, becomes his pupil or disciple. There is no other way...”
~Dallas Willard

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Rest

“Rest is the conversation between what we love to do and how we love to be. Rest is the essence of giving and receiving; an act of remembering, imaginatively and intellectually but also physiologically and physically. To rest is to give up on the already exhausted will as the prime motivator of endeavor, with its endless outward need to reward itself through established goals. To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting and the sense that there is something wrong with the world unless we are there to put it right; to rest is to fall back literally or figuratively from outer targets and shift the goal not to an inner static bull’s eye, an imagined state of perfect stillness, but to an inner state of natural exchange.

...A deep experience of rest is the template of perfection in the human imagination, a perspective from which we are able to perceive the outer specific forms of our work and our relationships whilst being nourished by the shared foundational gift of the breath itself. From this perspective we can be rested while putting together an elaborate meal for an arriving crowd, whilst climbing the highest mountain or sitting at home surrounded by the chaos of a loving family.

Rested, we are ready for the world but not held hostage by it, rested we care again for the right things and the right people in the right way. In rest we reestablish the goals that make us more generous, more courageous, more of an invitation, someone we want to remember, and someone others would want to remember too.”
~David Whyte

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Nothing Is Lost

Deep in our subconscious, we are told,
Lie all our memories, lie all the notes
Of all the music we have ever heard
And all the phrases those we loved have spoken,
Sorrows and losses time has since consoled,
Family jokes, outmoded anecdotes
Each sentimental souvenir and token
Everything seen, experienced, each word
Addressed to us in infancy,
Before we could even know or understand
The implications of our wonderland.
There they all are, the legendary lies
The birthday treats, the sights, the sounds, the tears
Forgotten debris of forgotten years
Waiting to be recalled, waiting to rise
Before our world dissolves before our eyes
Waiting for some small, intimate reminder,
A word, a tune, a known familiar scent
An echo from the past when, innocent
We looked upon the present with delight
And doubted not the future would be kinder
And never knew the loneliness of night.

~Noël Coward

Monday, June 12, 2017

Progress Toward God

“A man must not try to settle down in this world if he truly wishes to make progress toward God, if he wishes to make profitable use of time to advance toward eternity. The infinite loftiness of our supernatural end demands a special abnegation in regard to whatever is simply human, even though legitimate, for we might become absorbed in it to the detriment of the life of grace.”
~Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Great Strength of His love

“...He shows the great strength of His love. Large and infinite was the interval between the two. He, the immortal, who is without beginning, the Infinite Majesty, they but dust and ashes, full of ten thousand sins, who, ungrateful, have at all times offended Him; and these He loved. Again, the words which He added after these are alike significant, when He says, that He gave His Only-begotten Son, not a servant, not an Angel, not an Archangel. And yet no one would show such anxiety for his own child, as God did for His ungrateful servants.

...If we see a man submitting to sufferings and death for us, we set him before all others, count him among our chief friends, place in his hands all that is ours, and deem it rather his than ours, and even so do not think that we give him the return that he deserves. But towards Christ we do not preserve even this degree of right feeling. He laid down His life for us, and poured forth His precious Blood for our sakes, who were neither well-disposed nor good, while we do not pour out even our money for our own sakes, and neglect Him who died for us, when He is naked and a stranger; and who shall deliver us from the punishment that is to come? For suppose that it were not God that punishes, but that we punished ourselves; should we not give our vote against ourselves? Should we not sentence ourselves to the very fire of hell, for allowing Him who laid down His life for us, to pine with hunger? But why speak I of money? Had we ten thousand lives, ought we not to lay them all down for Him? And yet not even so could we do what His benefits deserve.”
~St. John Chrysostom

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Romans 15:1-3

We who are strong in faith should be patient with the scruples of those whose faith is weak; we must not be selfish. Each should please his neighbor so as to do him good by building up his spirit. Thus, in accord with Scripture, Christ did not please himself: “The reproaches they uttered against you fell on me.”

Friday, June 9, 2017

Hymn to the Light

The Light of the just and joy of the upright is Christ Jesus our Lord.
Begotten of the Father, He manifested himself to us.
He came to rescue us from darkness and to fill us with the radiance of His light.
Day is dawning upon us; the power of darkness is fading away.

From the true Light there arises for us the light which illumines our darkened eyes.
His glory shines upon the world and enlightens the very depths of the abyss.
Death is annihilated, night has vanished, and the gates of Sheol are broken.
Creatures lying in darkness from ancient times are clothed in light.
The dead arise from the dust and sing because they have a Savior.
He brings salvation and grants us life. He ascends to his Father on high.
He will return in glorious splendor and shed His light on those gazing upon Him.

Our King comes in majestic glory.

Let us light our lamps and go forth to meet Him.
Let us find our joy in Him, for He has found joy in us.
He will indeed rejoice us with His marvelous light.

Let us glorify the majesty of the Son and give thanks to the almighty Father
Who, in an outpouring of love, sent Him to us, to fill us with hope and salvation.
When He manifests Himself, the saints awaiting Him in weariness and sorrow,
will go forth to meet Him with lighted lamps.

The angels and guardians of heaven will rejoice
in the glory of the just and upright people of earth;
Together crowned with victory,
they will sing hymns and psalms.

Stand up then and be ready!
Give thanks to our King and Savior,
Who will come in great glory to gladden us
with His marvelous light in His kingdom.

~St. Ephrem the Syrian

Thursday, June 8, 2017

No Love Without The Holy Spirit

“How do you know whether you have received the Holy Spirit? Question your heart. If you love your brother and sister, the Spirit of God abides in you. Examine yourself before the eyes of God; see if there is in you a love of unity of peace, and a love for the church spread throughout the whole world. 

Take care not to love only the person in front of you: we do not see many sisters and brothers, but we are united to them in the unity of Spirit. What cause is there to marvel that they are not with us? We are in one body; we have one head in heaven.

So, if you want to know if you have received the Holy Spirit, ask your heart: if fraternal charity is there, you can rest easy, for there can be no love without the Holy Spirit. As St. Paul says, the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us. (Romans 5:5)”
~Ludolph of Saxony (Easter Meditations From the Vita Christi)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Change

“The vision has come; it cannot simply open my eyes to new things in life without thereby altering that very life itself. Not only shall I find that what seemed to me before to be evil now appears to me to be a blessing; but on that very account, what before I tried to avoid, or, having got, tried to be rid of, I shall now accept, perhaps even seek. Similarly, whereas when I was weak, now I am strong’ and increase of strength means new activities, new energy put into the old work and finding its way into works altogether new. ... Once upon a time I thought happiness meant comfort; now I see that it means something quite different. My view of happiness has changed. I am therefore obliged to change also my idea as to the means and conditions whereby, and in which, happiness can be found.”
~Bede Jarrett

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Noise

“Noise is a deceptive, addictive, and false tranquilizer. The tragedy of our world is never better summed up than in the fury of senseless noise that stubbornly hates silence. This age detests the things that silence brings us to: encounter, wonder, and kneeling before God.”
~Robert Cardinal Sarah

Monday, June 5, 2017

The best poem ever

What if, says a small child to me this afternoon,
We made a poem without using any words at all?
Wouldn’t that be cool? You could use long twigs,
And feathers, or spider strands, and arrange them
So that people imagine what words could be there.
Wouldn’t that be cool? So there’s a different poem
For each reader. That would be the best poem ever.
The poem wouldn’t be on the page, right? It would
Be in the air, sort of. It would be between the twigs
And the person’s eyes, or behind the person’s eyes,
After the person saw whatever poem he or she saw.
Maybe there are a lot of poems that you can’t write
Down. Couldn’t that be? But they’re still there even
If no one can write them down, right? Poems in
Books are only a little bit of all the poems there are.
Those are only the poems someone found words for.

~Brian Doyle

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Come Down, O Love Divine

Come down, O love divine, seek Thou this soul of mine,
And visit it with Thine own ardor glowing.
O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear,
And kindle it, Thy holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn, til earthly passions turn
To dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
And let Thy glorious light shine ever on my sight,
And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

Let holy charity mine outward vesture be,
And lowliness become mine inner clothing;
True lowliness of heart, which takes the humbler part,
And o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong, with which the soul will long,
Shall far outpass the power of human telling;
For none can guess its grace, till he become the place
Wherein the Holy Spirit makes His dwelling.

~Words: Bianco of Siena & Music: Ralph Vaughn Williams (re-post)

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Awaken the Light

“When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him.”
~Albert Camus

Friday, June 2, 2017

Humility

“The word ‘humility’ comes from the Latin word ‘humus’ which means fertile ground... Humility is the situation of the earth. The earth is always there, always taken for granted, never remembered, always trodden on by everyone, somewhere we cast and pour out all the refuse, all we don’t need. It’s there, silent and accepting everything and in a miraculous way making out of all the refuse new richness in spite of corruption, transforming corruption itself into a power of life and a new possibility of creativeness, open to the sunshine, open to the rain, ready to receive any seed we sow and capable of bringing thirtyfold, sixtyfold, a hundredfold out of every seed.”
~Anthony Bloom

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

“It is quite right that you should feel that ‘something terrific’ has happened to you (It has) and be ‘all glowy.’ Accept these sensations with thankfulness as birthday cards from God, but remember that they are only greetings, not the real gift. I mean, it is not the sensations that are the real thing. The real thing is the gift of the Holy Spirit which can’t usually be—perhaps not ever—experienced as a sensation or emotion. The sensations are merely the response of your nervous system. Don’t depend on them. Otherwise when they go and you are once more emotionally flat (as you certainly will be quite soon), you might think that the real thing had gone too. But it won’t. It will be there when you can’t feel it. May even be most operative when you can feel it least.”
~C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sacrifice

“The Christian who goes through life systematically avoiding sacrifice will not find God, will not find happiness. What he will have been taking care to avoid is his own sanctity.”
~Francis Fernandez,

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Psalm 68:9-10,19-20


A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance;
   you restored the land when it languished;
Your flock settled in it;
   in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy.


Blessed day by day be the Lord,
   who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation.
God is a saving God for us;
   the LORD, my Lord, controls the passageways of death.

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Prayer for Memorial Day

Remember, Lord, the fallen
Who died in fields of war,
In flaming clouds,
in screaming crowds,
On streets that are no more,
That we today might waken
And greet this day in peace
With grateful prayer for those who bear
The storms that never cease.
Remember friends and strangers,
And those forgotten now,
Whose names are known to you alone,
Before whose love we bow
And ask that you surround them
With mercy’s endless light
That they may live,
and we forgive
The foe they went to fight.
Remember, Lord, the living,
Who bear the pain of loss-
A death she died who stood beside
Her Son upon the cross.
Remember all your children
The dead and those who weep,
And make us one beneath the sun
Where love will never sleep.

~Genevieve Glen

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A World War II Secret and Tragedy

...The HMT Rohna was an 8,600-ton British troopship carrying mostly an American crew to the Far East theatre. It went down the day after Thanksgiving, in the Mediterranean, off the coast of North Africa, the victim of a German missile. But it was not just any German missile. This was, it seems, the first known successful “hit” of a vessel by a German rocket-boosted, radio/remote-controlled “glider” bomb—i.e., one of the first true missiles used in combat. It was, in effect, a guided missile, and the Nazis had achieved it first.

...Over one thousand boys lost their lives, and their government kept the entire episode a secret out of fear of information being leaked about the power of the German guided missile. The government feared the effect on the morale of the U.S. military and the wider population.

“The ‘hit’ was so devastating,” states the Rohna Survivors Association, “that the U.S. Government placed a veil of secrecy upon it. The events which followed were so shameful that the secrecy continued for decades until recently, when documents were grudgingly released under pressure of the Freedom of Information Act. The government still does not acknowledge this tragedy, thus most families of the casualties still do not know the fate of their loved ones.”

...The secrecy was so tight that Frank Bryer’s daughter, Mary Jo Palmer, spent painstaking years with her dad trying to tug out details and piece together what occurred. “Dad was haunted frequently by this,” Mary Jo told me, “but it was not so much the sinking of the ship, but his inability to save many men.”

Those awful moments of fire remained seared in Frank’s brain. As the ship burst into a giant fireball, Frank manned the ropes of a lifeboat packed with injured soldiers. He was ordered to hold the ropes tight and lower the boat with the soldiers into the water below. This was no simple task, especially in a chaotic, panicked situation. A lifeboat filled with men isn’t light. That was proven quickly as the ropes broke and Frank watched the men below him in his care fall to their death in the sea. The image of those men slipping from his hands into the abyss horrified him.

But the nightmares would come later. In the meantime, Frank, too, was forced to abandon ship, which submerged within merely an hour. For his own crowded lifeboat, he and five other men seized a floating wooden bench. As the darkness slowly enveloped them, with night setting in, and with the fear of still more German missiles, Frank led the group in reciting the Lord’s Prayer.  Frank would later write of this dark evening:

Destroyers were ordered to put thick smoke screens up to help camouflage the area. Other German planes flew over with orders to shoot to kill men floating in the water. I can remember as we floated in the ocean watching other soldiers hanging onto the ship for dear life. We watched as the ship went down to the very end. The back of the ship went down first and the bow (front) was pointed straight up sky. It then just went down slowly until we could no longer see it. It is something that I will never forget.

There were other ships in the convoy that passed by, not seeing or hearing Frank and his crewmates. “It was the worst feeling you could possibly have,” said Frank. “I was sure that it was the end. I told the group of men that we better start to pray.... We were scared, shaking, and moaning.”

Those that had survived the explosion were scattered everywhere, yelling and crying for help. “My mind was on the life boat that fell into the ocean,” said Frank. “All I could do was ask God to take them fast so that they would not have to suffer.” He and his group with their floating wooden bench took turns—four of them would float on the bench and two would hang on the ropes.

They feared not only Germans but sharks, and for good reason. Anyone familiar with the horror story that was the USS Indianapolis knows how the sharks slowly but steadily devoured the boys floating in the water over a course of several long days.

This time alone in the water at night was a “hard time,” said Frank. They ached for their families. They talked about home. Frank told his crewmates about his time in his youth living and working at the Villa Maria convent in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he spent much of his time because of a difficult family life. He later laughed at how the guys “didn’t understand how I could be living with nuns.”

They say there are no atheists in foxholes. And there were none on that wooden bench in the water that night either. “Two of the men didn’t think that they would go to Heaven, but I told them they would if they asked God for His mercy and forgiveness,” said Frank. “We would wrap around each other and I would say the Our Father and Act of Contrition. We just talked to God. It was a long night.”

The crew of six tried to get some sleep while floating in the cold water, but couldn’t. They needed to stay focused on holding on to their floating device—the bench. To their great fortune, they were in the water only for about six hours. Just as the sun started to rise, they spied a rescue boat on the horizon. It was a Minesweep that picked them up.

“I thanked God for saving us,” said Frank. “I asked the men if they thought that our prayers had been answered.”

They were taken to a facility in Algeria to recover. But for Frank, there was little emotional comfort. All he could think about was the wounded soldiers that he could not save: “I thought of the pain they must have endured. A sergeant told me that there was nothing that I could have done. I couldn’t sleep and had bad dreams, sometimes jumping out of bed and yelling for help.”

But worst of all, Frank could not share what he was going through. They were ordered not to write or talk about the Rohna with their family or even among themselves. The military censorship was so strict that they were threatened with court martial if they disobeyed.

And like so many World War II soldiers, Frank’s ordeal did not earn him a ticket home after having experienced enough trauma for a lifetime. He was ordered to heal up and return to the service, which he did through the duration of the war, and then some. He was officially discharged on March 21, 1946 after an endless bout of island-hopping throughout the Pacific theater.

That, too, was no day at the beach.

“I thank God that I am still alive because I should have been dead a hundred times,” he said in his 90s.

Frank Bryer died on January 4, 2016 at age 92, seven decades after the sinking of the Rohna. He now at long last rests in peace. And perhaps only now has he been reconciled with those wounded boys who lives plunged to their death below him on November 26, 1943.
~Paul Kengor

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Lack of Faith

Yes
even when I don't believe
there is a place in me
inaccessible to unbelief
a patch of wild grace
a stubborn preserve
impenetrable
pain untouched sleeping in the body
music that builds its nest in silence

~Anna Kamienska

Friday, May 26, 2017

John 16:20-23

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn,
   while the world rejoices;
   you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.
When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived;
   but when she has given birth to a child,
   she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy
   that a child has been born into the world.
So you also are now in anguish.
But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice,
   and no one will take your joy away from you.
On that day you will not question me about anything.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
   whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”

Thursday, May 25, 2017

On the Ascension

“Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him. Listen to the words of the Apostle: If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.

Christ is now exalted above the heavens, but he still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of his body, have to bear. He showed this when he cried out from above: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? and when he said: I was hungry and you gave me food. Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to him?

While in heaven he is also with us; and we while on earth are with him. He is here with us by his divinity, his power and his love. We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love.

He did not leave heaven when he came down to us; nor did he withdraw from us when he went up again into heaven. The fact that he was in heaven even while he was on earth is borne out by his own statement: No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. These words are explained by our oneness with Christ, for he is our head and we are his body. No one ascended into heaven except Christ because we also are Christ: he is the Son of Man by his union with us, and we by our union with him are sons of God.

So the Apostle says: Just as the human body, which has many members, is a unity, because all the different members make one body, so is it also with Christ. He too has many members, but one body. Out of compassion for us he descended from heaven, and although he ascended alone, we also ascend, because we are in him by grace. Thus, no one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; not because there is no distinction between the head and the body, but because the body as a unity cannot be separated from the head.”

~St. Augustine (From a sermon on the Ascension)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Barking

The moon comes up.
The moon goes down.
This is to inform you
that I didn’t die young.
Age swept past me
but I caught up.
Spring has begun here and each day
brings new birds up from Mexico.
Yesterday I got a call from the outside
world but I said no in thunder.
I was a dog on a short chain
and now there’s no chain.

~Jim Harrison

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Supernatural Basis

“Today we can see it on all sides as the active negation of all that Western culture has stood for. Civilization - and by this I do not mean talking cinemas and tinned food, nor even surgery and hygienic houses, but the whole moral and artistic organization of Europe - has not in itself the power of survival. It came into being through Christianity, and without it has no significance or power to command allegiance. The loss of faith in Christianity and the consequential lack of confidence in moral and social standards have become embodied in the ideal of a materialistic, mechanized state . . . It is no longer possible . . . to accept the benefits of civilization and at the same time deny the supernatural basis upon which it rests.”
~Evelyn Waugh

Monday, May 22, 2017

World Into Fragments

Small breaks first: cup on marble floor,
mirror on staircase, cracked watch-face,
hairlines in roof tiles. Then it escalates.

Plate windows shiver into diamonds,
smoked office towers smoke into tobacco heaps,
screens give way to white noise, then blow.

Reasons for this shattering include
too great a tension, too much shrill,
a world more fragile than we thought.

Yet still it goes, ear-splitting, as
great forests disassemble like mosaics,
sugar-glass trees turn shingle, then the sky,

sun and moon as vast burst bulbs,
hot torrential hail. And when it stops,
we see for real, as if through mud and spit.

~Michael Symmons Roberts

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Importance of Prayer

“Without prayer salvation is impossible. To neglect it is to neglect the only means given us to remain in touch with Almighty God; if we lose hold of Him we necessarily fall back upon ourselves, and in ourselves we can find nothing that can advance us towards eternal life.

...

The difficulty in prayer is not in prayer itself. It all comes from our want of decision in electing definitely to find our unique satisfaction of mind, will and imagination in the supernatural and in definitely renouncing the tendency to seek in the natural world any form of satisfaction that does not lead to God.

...

Many will plead that they find the spiritual life a difficulty, because they find prayer a difficulty. The truth is that men begin to find prayer a difficulty when they have begun to find God a difficulty. This comes when God has ceased to interest them because other things have begun to interest them more.”
~Edward Leen

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Happiness and Gratitude

“The very fury with which people go on seeking pleasure is a proof that they have not found it.”
~G. K. Chesterton

“No one can obtain felicity by pursuit. This explains why one of the elements of being happy is the feeling that a debt of gratitude is owed, a debt impossible to pay. Now, we do not owe gratitude to ourselves. To be conscious of gratitude is to acknowledge a gift.”

“...each gratification points to the ultimate one, and that all happiness has some connection with eternal beatitude. Some connection, if only this: that every fulfillment this side of Heaven instantly reveals its inadequacy. It is immediately evident that such satisfactions are not enough; they are not what we have really sought; they cannot really satisfy us...”
~Josef Pieper

Friday, May 19, 2017

Religion, Government, Society...

“There is now a false idealism of turning Government into God, by a vague notion that it gives everything to everybody; to the denial of the liberty given by God, which is called life...”

“Religious liberty might be supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss religion. In practice it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it.”
~G. K. Chesterton

“Wherever politics tries to be redemptive, it is promising too much. Where it wishes to do the work of God, it becomes not divine, but demonic.”
~Benedict XVI

“A people may also lose its religion and become secularized. Without a religion, however, a culture cannot long survive. Secularization is inevitably a sign of ‘social decay;’ since religion provides the principle of inner cohesion for a society, a secular society will sooner or later disintegrate.”
~Christopher Dawson

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Burst Our Bubble

“...suffering and even crisis is our normal situation. The bubble of pain-free and ordered living that we modern Americans think of as our normal state is highly abnormal judged by historical standards. In most cultures throughout human history, people could expect to experience monthly about the same amount of physical pain most of us encounter in a lifetime. Remember, for instance, that anesthetics and pills were invented only about a century ago.

This is probably one of the reasons why people in scientifically advanced cultures tend to be more secular and people in scientifically primitive cultures tend to be more religious: not because religion is based on scientific ignorance or because any scientific discovery has ever disproved a single doctrine of the Christian faith; but because science’s child, technology, has conquered or mitigated so many of life’s pains and limitations that it has put us into this soundproofed bubble that God has to burst just to get our attention. As C. S. Lewis put it, ‘God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world’ (The Problem of Pain).”
~Peter Kreeft

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Inner Life

“The ‘whole good’ cannot be had, it would seem, without mustering all the strength of our inner life. Even in the sphere of external possessions there are goods which inherently demand, if they are to be truly ours, far more of us than mere acquisition. ‘My garden,’ the rich man said; his gardener smiled.”
~Josef Pieper

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Encouragement

“He is in no real danger. He merely suffers from a lethargy, a sickness that is common among the depressed. He has forgotten who he really is, but he will recover, for he used to know me, and all I have to do is cloud the mist that beclouds his vision.”
~Boethius

Monday, May 15, 2017

Peasants Versus Philosophers

“It wasn’t that they didn’t take an interest in the world around them. On the contrary, they had a deep, personal and passionate involvement in it, but instead of asking, ‘Why are we here?’ they asked, ‘Is it going to rain before the harvest?’

A philosopher might have deplored this lack of mental ambition, but only if he was really certain about where his next meal was coming from.”
~Terry Pratchett

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day 2017

I am a tree
     Strong limbed and deeply rooted
     My fruit is bittersweet
     I am your mother
~from “Trees” by Walter Dean Myers

Oh, if instead she’d left to me
     The thing she took into the grave!—
     That courage like a rock, which she
     Has no more need of, and I have.
~from “The courage that my mother had” by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I want my conscience to be
     true before you;
     want to describe myself like a picture I observed
     for a long time, one close up,
     like a new word I learned and embraced,
     like the everday jug,
     like my mother’s face,
     like a ship that carried me along
     through the deadliest storm.
~from “I Am Much Too Alone in This World, Yet Not Alone” by Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, May 13, 2017

First and Second Adam

“The holy Apostle has told us that the human race takes its origin from two men, Adam and Christ; two men equal in body but unequal in merit, wholly alike in their physical structure but totally unlike in the very origin of their being. The first man, Adam, he says, became a living soul, the last Adam a life-giving spirit. The first Adam was made by the last Adam, from whom he also received his soul, to give him life. The last Adam was formed by his own action; he did not have to wait for life to be given him by someone else, but was the only one who could give life to all. The first Adam was formed from valueless clay; the second Adam came forth from the precious womb of the Virgin. In the case of the first Adam, earth was changed into flesh; in the case of the second Adam, flesh was raised up to be God.

What more need be said? The second Adam stamped his image on the first Adam when he created him. That is why he took on himself the role, and the name, of the first Adam, in order that he might not lose what he had made in his own image. The first Adam, the last Adam; the first had a beginning, the last knows no end. The last Adam is indeed the first; as he himself says: I am the first and the last.

I am the first, that is, I have no beginning. I am the last, that is, I have no end. But what was spiritual, says the Apostle, did not come first; what was living came first, then what is spiritual. The earth comes before its fruit, but the earth is not so valuable as its fruit. The earth exacts pain and toil; its fruit bestows subsistence and life. The prophet rightly boasted of this fruit: Our earth has yielded its fruit. What is this fruit? The fruit referred to in another place: I will place upon your throne one who is the fruit of your body. The first man, says the Apostle, was made from the earth and belongs to the earth; the second man is from heaven, and belongs to heaven.

The man made from the earth is the pattern of those who belong to the earth; the man from heaven is the pattern of those who belong to heaven. How is it that these last, though they do not belong to heaven by birth, will yet belong to heaven, men who do not remain what they were by birth but persevere in being what they have become by rebirth? The reason is, brethren, that the heavenly Spirit, by the mysterious infusion of his light, gives fertility to the womb of the virginal font. The Spirit brings forth as men belonging to heaven those whose earthly ancestry brought them forth as men belonging to the earth, and in a condition of wretchedness; he gives them the likeness of their Creator. Now that we are reborn, refashioned in the image of our Creator, we must fulfill what the Apostle commands: So, as we have worn the likeness of the man of earth, let us also wear the likeness of the man of heaven.

Now that we are reborn, as I have said, in the likeness of our Lord, and have indeed been adopted by God as his children, let us put on the complete image of our Creator so as to be wholly like him, not in the glory that he alone possesses, but in innocence, simplicity, gentleness, patience, humility, mercy, harmony, those qualities in which he chose to become, and to be, one with us.”
~St. Peter Chrysologus (380 – 450 AD)
(Sermon 117: PL 52, 520-521)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Pray for them...

“Love sinners, but hate their deeds, and do not disdain sinners for their failings, so that you yourself do not fall into the temptation in which they abide... Do not be angry at anyone and do not hate anyone, neither for their faith, nor for their shameful deeds... Do not foster hatred for the sinner, for we are all guilty... Hate his sins, and pray for him, so that you may be made like unto Christ, who had no dislike for sinners, but prayed for them.”
~St. Isaac the Syrian

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Ultimate Questions

“...a young, agnostic medical student named Walker Percy discovered—through debilitating illness and then deep reading of Christian philosophy—that science, which he once viewed as the final word on everything, could not answer the ultimate questions. Modern science, he later wrote (after becoming Catholic), ‘is itself radically incoherent, not when it seeks to understand things and subhuman organisms and the cosmos itself, but when it seeks to understand man, not man’s physiology or neurology or his bloodstream, but man qua man, man when he is peculiarly human. In short, the sciences of man are incoherent.’ And in a self-interview, ‘Questions They Never Asked Me,’ Percy put it this way:

This life is much too much trouble, far too strange, to arrive at the end of it and then be asked what you make of it and have to answer, ‘Scientific humanism.’ That won’t do. A poor show. Life is a mystery, love is a delight. Therefore, I take it as axiomatic that one should settle for nothing less than the infinite mystery and infinite delight; i.e., God.

We can either have an earth-bound and cramped system, or Truth Himself. The former offers trendy marches and Bill Nye rants; the latter offers infinite mystery and infinite delight.”
~Carl Olson

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Opposite Dangers

“There is for the Christian community, at a time like ours, two opposite dangers: the danger of seeking sanctity only in the desert, and the danger of forgetting the necessity of the desert for sanctity . . . Christian heroism has not the same sources as other heroisms; it proceeds from the heart of a God scourged and ridiculed, crucified outside the gates of the city.”
~Jacques Maritain

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Security

“Security in what comes last gives serenity in what comes before.”
~Romano Guardini

Monday, May 8, 2017

Eat You Alive

he said to me,
child, I’m afraid for your soul
these things that you’re after, they can’t be controlled
this beast that you’re after will eat you alive
and spit out your bones

she’ll string you along and she’ll sell you a lie
but there’s nothing but pain on the edge of a knife
there is no courage in flirting with fear
to prove you’re alive

I’ve seen the true face of the things you call Life
the voice of the siren that holds your desires
but Death, she is cunning, and clever as hell
and she’ll eat you alive

oh, she’ll eat you alive

~Tyler Heath and Maggie Heath

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Good Shepherd

My Savior the good Shepherd is,
He’ll never leave the flock.
The One Who truly loves the sheep,
Became the Lamb of God.
Despised, afflicted in my stead,
He spent His soul for me.
And to the slaughter He was led,
That I not thirsty be.

My Shepherd is the Lamb of God,
He calls to me each day,
To drink the waters flowing free,
From His pierced side of grace.
Yet when I stray or choose my way,
He still would search for me,
And bring me home on shoulders strong.
Do I not His love see?

My Shepherd’s face is how I live,
I love to look at Him.
Though He might lead through shearing trial,
But still I follow Him.
Just as the Father’s presence cheered
Him through each suffering day,
’Tis once I saw His tender care
That here I want to stay.

Oh, Father thank You for Your Son,
He shares Your heart for us.
That gladly He would bear us to
The bosom of Your love.
No greater Shepherd could there be,
That He would not lose one!
And lead us all to dwell with You.
Sweet Pasture, Living Stream.

~Found here: https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/ns/89

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Has That Break Come?

“The worst pains we experience are not those of the suffering itself but of our stubborn resistance to it, our resolute insistence on our independence. To be ‘crucified with Christ’ means what Oswald Chambers calls ‘breaking the husk’ of that independence. ‘Has that break come?’ he asks. ‘All the rest is pious fraud.’”
~Elisabeth Elliott (re-post)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Be in the Resistance

“I do not think any efforts of my own will can end once and for all this craving for limited liabilities, this fatal reservation. Only God can. I have good faith and hope He will. Of course, I don't mean I can therefore, as they say, ‘sit back.’ What God does for us, He does in us. The process of doing it will appear to me (and not falsely) to be the daily or hourly repeated exercises of my own will in renouncing this attitude, especially each morning, for it grows all over me like a new shell each night. Failures will be forgiven; it is acquiescence that is fatal, the permitted, regularised presence of an area in ourselves which we still claim for our own. We may never, this side of death, drive the invader out of our territory, but we must be in the Resistance, not the Vichy government. And this, so far as I can yet see, must be begun again every day. Our morning prayer should be that in the Imitation: Da hodie perfecte incipere - grant me to make an unflawed beginning today, for I have done nothing yet.”
~C. S. Lewis

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Communion with God

“God gives His communion to all who love Him. Communion with God is life and light and sweetness with all the good things that He has. But those who of their own will forsake him he rewards with separation from Him, which they themselves have chosen. As separation from light is darkness, so also alienation from God is deprivation of all good things which He has. But the good things of God are eternal and without end, so that the loss of them is eternal and without end. Thus sinners shall be the cause of their own torments, just as the blind do not see the light, although it is shining on them.”
~St. Irenaeus

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Shadowing the Medivac

He's already in the car, an hour's drive
he can't allow himself to think, just drive
in the helicopter's shadow peeling

silently over the hills, silently, like nothing
is happening inside, nothing going on,
can't think of anything newborn

zooming through the sky, an ounce of brain
racked by seizures, blue-skinned, underweight
and Swiss cheese for a heart.    

What's in the rearview, eh? Anything coming?
Cars? Trucks? Glare and a crab-red face deformed
with thoughts of beats and breathing tubes,

and ahead, old magazines on tables, waiting rooms
where doctors lead men and women into offices to sob
oh my god oh god oh jesus no...

And some of the most beautiful scenery in this country
can be found along our many well-maintained highways.
Shield rock, tamarack swamp and pine groves

line the winding thoroughfares between our cities. He is still
driving, he can see the city coming up. The helicopter
must have arrived already, in Toronto, where they fiddle

inside her rib cage with the sanitary version of a bicycle tire
repair kit....and he's on his way to the hospital, he'll get there,
he's coming, he's keeping his eye on the road.

~Paul Vermeersch

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Spirituality and Work

“It seems to me, though, that such corporate efforts are misguided. There is no need to add ‘spirituality’ to work; human work itself is already a spiritual act. It is a form of spirituality. It is only by confronting the daily demands of work that we deepen our interior dynamism. Upon impact with the world that is ‘other,’ our dynamism configures the demands or needs that define our human identity, such as the quest for justice, truth, beauty, and fulfillment. It is this that links us with the Infinite. This is the realm of an authentic human spirituality. Therefore, it is not that spirituality ‘adds’ something to work, or improves performance, or makes it barely tolerable. Instead, work itself is meant to become a spiritual act and this happens when it is experienced as being at the service of the quest for the Infinite.

We are often called upon to do ‘mindless’ work. But our spiritual task is to transform it. Emptying the trash can be considered mindless, but if I see it as a contribution to the well-being of my family, it can be immensely significant for me.”
~Lorenzo Albacete

Monday, May 1, 2017

Flower Head

Perched on the high end of its
spinal stalk the brain blooms
like a pink cabbage rose

Peel back the blunt bone like a bud—
it will be meaty to touch, the
corolla folding in, folding in to echo
within the sepal skull
a blink of light, logarithms, a view
of ships in harbor, a word just now
rescued by memory, clipped arbor vitae
how it smells—spiced

Here God lives, burrowing among
the petals, cross-
pollinating. Here is Christ's mind
juiced, joined, fleshed, celled.
Here is the clash,
the roil, an invasion, not gentle
as dew; the rose is unfurled
violently until the scent explodes
and detonates in the air

And oh, it trembles—
thousands of seeds ripen in it as
it reels in the wind

~Luci Shaw

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Jesus Is Risen! Let Us Sing!

Jesus is risen! Let us sing!
Praise to the ever-living King!
     Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise him in song, ye Seraphim!
Praise him with joy, ye Cherubim!
     Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

On this most holy day of days,
Let us together sing his praise!
     Alleluia! Alleluia!
Raise joyful voices to the sky!
Sing out, ye heavens, in reply:
     Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

To God the Father let us sing,
To God the Son, our risen King!
     Alleluia! Alleluia!
And equally let us adore
The Holy Spirit evermore!
     Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Tune: Laßt Uns Erfreuen L.M. with alleluias
Music: Auserlesene Catholische Geistliche Kirchgesänge, Köln, 1623
Text: Compilers, 1978

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Saint Francis and the Sow

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;  
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;  
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch  
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow  
began remembering all down her thick length,  
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,  
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine  
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering  
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

~Galway Kinnell

Friday, April 28, 2017

Acts 5:34-42

A Pharisee in the Sanhedrin named Gamaliel,
   a teacher of the law, respected by all the people,
   stood up, ordered the Apostles to be put outside for a short time,
   and said to the Sanhedrin, “Fellow children of Israel,
   be careful what you are about to do to these men.
Some time ago, Theudas appeared, claiming to be someone important,
   and about four hundred men joined him, but he was killed,
   and all those who were loyal to him
   were disbanded and came to nothing.
After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census.
He also drew people after him,
   but he too perished and all who were loyal to him were scattered.
So now I tell you,
   have nothing to do with these men, and let them go.
For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin,
   it will destroy itself.
But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them;
   you may even find yourselves fighting against God.”
They were persuaded by him.
After recalling the Apostles, they had them flogged,
   ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus,
   and dismissed them.
So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin,
   rejoicing that they had been found worthy
   to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.
And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes,
   they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Bridge


(Picture found here)
Most of my life was spent
building a bridge out over the sea
though the sea was too wide.
I’m proud of the bridge
hanging in the pure sea air. Machado
came for a visit and we sat on the
end of the bridge, which was his idea.
Now that I’m old the work goes slowly.
Ever nearer death, I like it out here
high above the sea bundled
up for the arctic storms of late fall,
the resounding crash and moan of the sea,
the hundred-foot depth of the green troughs.
Sometimes the sea roars and howls like
the animal it is, a continent wide and alive.
What beauty in this the darkest music
over which you can hear the lightest music of human
behavior, the tender connection between men and galaxies.
So I sit on the edge, wagging my feet above
the abyss. Tonight the moon will be in my lap.
This is my job, to study the universe
from my bridge. I have the sky, the sea, the faint
green streak of Canadian forest on the far shore.

~Jim Harrison
  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Follow Jesus Christ

“Made for spirituality, we wallow in introspection. Made for joy, we settle for pleasure. Made for justice, we clamor for vengeance. Made for relationship, we insist on our own way. Made for beauty, we are satisfied with sentiment. But new creation has already begun. The sun has begun to rise. Christians are called to leave behind, in the tomb of Jesus Christ, all that belongs to the brokenness and incompleteness of the present world ... That, quite simply, is what it means to be Christian: to follow Jesus Christ into the new world, God’s new world, which he has thrown open before us.”
~N. T. Wright

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