Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Understand Two Thoughts

“Understand two thoughts, and fear them. One says, ‘You are a saint,’ the other, ‘You won’t be saved.’ Both of these thoughts are from the enemy, and there is no truth in them. But think this way: I am a great sinner, but the Lord is merciful. He loves people very much, and He will forgive my sins.”
~St. Silouan

Monday, August 21, 2017

Little Things

Little drops of water,
          Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
          And the pleasant land.
Little deeds of kindness,
          Little words of love,
Make our earth an Eden,
          Like the heaven above.

~Julia Carney

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Work In Me Life And Salvation

“I know, O Lord, Thou wilt do Thy part towards me, as I, through Thy grace, desire to do my part towards Thee. I know well Thou never canst forsake those who seek Thee, or canst disappoint those who trust Thee. Yet I know too, the more I pray for Thy protection, the more surely and fully I shall have it. And therefore now I cry out to Thee, and intreat Thee, first that Thou wouldest keep me from myself, and from following any will but Thine. Next I beg of Thee, that in Thy infinite compassion, Thou wouldest temper Thy will to me, that it may not be severe, but indulgent to me. Visit me not, O my loving Lord—if it be not wrong so to pray—visit me not with those trying visitations which saints alone can bear! Pity my weakness, and lead me heavenwards in a safe and tranquil course. Still I leave all in Thy hands, my dear Saviour—I bargain for nothing—only, if Thou shalt bring heavier trials on me, give me more grace—flood me with the fulness of Thy strength and consolation, that they may work in me not death, but life and salvation.”
~John Henry Newman

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Order

“Whoever exalts . . . the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community – however necessary and honorable be their function in worldly things – whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from the concept of life which that faith upholds.”
~Pope Pius XI

Friday, August 18, 2017

False Choices

“The fracture lines in the mind run in every direction, but they have their roots in the heart. Do you see what Satan has done to all of us? Whenever he cannot entice us into direct evil, he will try to allure us into passive evil. No, that is not the exact word—I should say that he always seeks to deceive men of good will by offering them what appears to be a lesser evil.”

“You mean he offers them a terrible evil on one hand and an apparently small evil on the other?”

“Yes. This is his great subtlety with us. He has observed us for millennia. The devil is an outstanding psychologist.”

“So we choose the lesser evil, thinking we have been saved from the great evil, when all the while his real purpose was to bring about the evil we have chosen.”

. . .“He wishes to infect everything, every particle of creation, with compromise. If he cannot entice a man into participating directly in his Great Revolt, he will work to infect him with its lesser attributes.”

“And does so by presenting us with false choices.”

~Michael O'Brien (from The Father's Tale)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thought

“There is something at the bottom of every new human thought, every thought of genius, or even every earnest thought that springs up in any brain, which can never be communicated to others, even if one were to write volumes about it and were explaining one's idea for thirty-five years; there's something left which cannot be induced to emerge from your brain, and remains with you forever; and with it you will die, without communicating to anyone perhaps the most important of your ideas.”
~Fyodor Dostoyevsky (from The Idiot)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Psalm 126

When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage,
it seemed like a dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter,
on our lips there were songs.

The heathens themselves said: “What marvels
the Lord worked for them!”
What marvels the Lord worked for us!
Indeed we were glad.

Deliver us, O Lord, from our bondage
as streams in dry land.
Those who are sowing in tears
will sing when they reap.

They go out, they go out, full of tears,
carrying seed for the sowing:
they come back, they come back, full of song,
carrying their sheaves.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Word from His Song

The sparrow on my rooftop shouts,
“All roads be blessed.” His voice a ring
for the finger of the beloved.

And he wouldn’t work harder at his song
if all the world prized it,
nor temper what sounds like ardor
if a public thought him wrong.

He says singing redeems the body’s loneliness.
All praise is homage to an older praising,
a drastic sum and ruling mean,
earth’s urging the grapes to a clearer fate,
sun’s pressing them to a more potent praise.

Flying fixes the heart to the sky’s wheel, he says.
Salt cures the script.
Light is a fractal script.
Imagination is branched, flowering,
and each fans the buds himself.

He says every atom burns.
Hunger rends the kingdom by mending,
marrying voices and wings.

Singing builds a throne
for hearing, sets up a swing
between our one night and our day.

It’s all song, all singing, the body’s seat
and number, the mind’s pleats, time’s hem.

The voice is a sighted brink.
Its mission is to sort the world.
The tongue is a mortal flower.
The dew at last. The guests arrive.
The child learns his name,
a virgin bell. And even that
iron note is God awake in two worlds.

God seeks a destiny in all things fired
in the kiln of the sun or the mind.

That’s the word from his song.

~Li-Young Lee

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Sick

“Each person must bear the weaknesses of others. Who is perfect? Who can boast that he has kept his heart undefiled? Hence, we are all sick, and whoever condemns his brother does not perceive that he himself is sick, because a sick person does not condemn another sick person.”
~Elder Ephraim

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Thankfulness

“I am thankful for my heritage, both family and the church. They have left me with no excuse for not being all that I should be . . .

Most of all I am thankful to God, our Father and Jesus, our Savior and the Spirit, our helper for the providence’s He has shown us all our lives. ‘The lines have fallen to us in pleasant places.’

I sometimes have apprehensions about my standing before the Great Judge of the Universe when I read that, ‘to whom much is given, much shall be required.’

All I can do at this point in my life is trust that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ will take up the slack, make up the lack, and that God the Righteous Judge will be as merciful as we have believed Him to be.

This I do. Amen.”

~Walter Orr (a family friend – from his autobiography toward the end of his life)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

On The Mountain


(Picture found here)
At the mountain of God, Horeb,
   Elijah came to a cave where he took shelter.
Then the LORD said to him,
   “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD;
   the LORD will be passing by.”
A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains
   and crushing rocks before the LORD—
   but the LORD was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake—
   but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake there was fire—
   but the LORD was not in the fire.
After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.
When he heard this,
   Elijah hid his face in his cloak
   and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.

~1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13a

Friday, August 11, 2017

A Quiet Place to Pray

Simon Stylites left his shepherd’s manse behind,
but even the hut he built seemed just too lush.
With nowhere left to go away, he went up.
Still they came, the lovelorn, sick, and poor,
the curious and the kings. Thirty-seven years
on that pillar, and the pilgrims kept on coming.

Good Saint Henry built a cabin, quaint little place
facing the water, tidy pine desk, and the best—
a sunny step for meditations. Maybe a little close
to town for his taste, but it gave him space to write
about his sweet dead brother John, and of course
the other book. Disciples came, still come.

The blessed bhikku Kerouac bought himself a pack
and thought he’d hitchhike his way to the holy.
He found he had to keep moving his brakeman’s boots.
Fast cars and freights. I hope he found the silence
he was looking for before he found the bottom
of the last bottle. The hipsters trace his exodus.

Our local Brother Martin, Trappist raconteur,
follows his ascetic way on Oregon’s fairest farm,
prays hard among the gardens and wine vats,
sleeps behind the stone wall, comes out each day
to guide the spiritual way of professional wives:
the celibate guru of the lovely and young.

The hermit’s burden? It’s a trick to be alone.
Once people figure out you’ve pulled it off,
they can’t seem to stay away. What’s to say?
Isolation is one hot topic for conversation—
but it’s more than nearly anyone can understand.
Most people want to learn about it second-hand.

~William Jolliff

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Deer

“A few weeks ago I was visiting at the home of a family which lives on a farm down the road from where we live. They had recently moved there from the city, and it was their first experience of living in the countryside. The father of the family and I were engaged in a heated theological debate, when the door flew open and his twelve year old son burst in, I should say floated in. The boy’s eyes were full of tears and his mouth was open wide, unable to speak for a few moments. We stared at him. His face was full of wonder and his arms raised in a gesture that bore a remarkable resemblance to the ancient orans position of prayer, a gesture that is a timeless one, a mute reaching for transcendence.

‘Oh papa,’ he whispered, ‘I have seen the most beautiful thing. I have seen a deer.’

It is impossible to convey the sense of awe with which he breathed this word. We stared at him, wondering what he meant. A deer? We have all seen deer. Then my neighbour and I looked at each other and understood that perhaps after all we had not ever really seen a deer. At least not in the way this child had just seen one. And later there came the revelation to both of us that we, with our prodigious intellects and our fiercely defended positions, often talk about things we have not really seen, or known, or loved well. We have pictures in our mind which form concepts and ideologies. We are clever, articulate impressionists, but we have not gazed into the liquid galaxies of a wild creature’s eyes as it gazed back equally uncomprehending upon us. We have not stroked the red velvet hide. We have not touched the bone antlers and felt them toss. We have not seen it leap as it bolted for the sanctuary of the trees.”
~Michael O’Brien (re-post)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Truth and Love

“Do not accept anything as truth that lacks love and do not accept anything as love which lacks truth. One without the other is a destructive lie.”
~St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Good and Evil Acts

“Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.”
~C. S. Lewis (from Mere Christianity)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Numbers 11:4b-15

The children of Israel lamented,
   “Would that we had meat for food!
We remember the fish we used to eat without cost in Egypt,
   and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks,
   the onions, and the garlic.
But now we are famished;
   we see nothing before us but this manna.”

Manna was like coriander seed and had the color of resin.
When they had gone about and gathered it up,
   the people would grind it between millstones or pound it in a mortar,
   then cook it in a pot and make it into loaves,
   which tasted like cakes made with oil.
At night, when the dew fell upon the camp, the manna also fell.

When Moses heard the people, family after family,
   crying at the entrance of their tents,
   so that the LORD became very angry, he was grieved.
“Why do you treat your servant so badly?” Moses asked the Lord.
“Why are you so displeased with me
   that you burden me with all this people?
Was it I who conceived all this people?
Or was it I who gave them birth,
   that you tell me to carry them at my bosom,
   like a foster father carrying an infant,
   to the land you have promised under oath to their fathers?
Where can I get meat to give to all this people?
For they are crying to me,
   ‘Give us meat for our food.’
I cannot carry all this people by myself,
   for they are too heavy for me.
If this is the way you will deal with me,
   then please do me the favor of killing me at once,
   so that I need no longer face this distress.”

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Transfiguration

“In the gloom of fallen creation the Logos blazes celestial light. But the dark asserts itself; ‘. . . grasped it not . . .’ as John says in the opening of his Gospel. Thus Christ’s truth and love, which long for nothing but the freedom to spend themselves, are forced back into his heart—sorrow God alone can measure and comprehend. Here on the mountain though, for one moment, they break through in all their radiant clarity. This was the Light which had come into the world and was powerful enough to illuminate it completely. On the way to death the glory of what may be revealed only after death breaks out like a jet of flame, burning illustration of Christ’s own words on death and resurrection.

What is revealed here is not only the glory of pure, angelic spirit, but of the spirit through the body, glory of the spiritualized body of man. Not the glory of God alone, not a piece of disclosed heaven, not only the sheen of the Lord as it hovered over the ark of the covenant, but the glory of the God-Logos in the Son of Man. Life above life and death; life of the body, but issue of the spirit; life of the spirit, but issue of the Logos; life of the man Jesus, but issue of the Son of God.

The Transfiguration is the summer lightning of the coming Resurrection. Also of our own resurrection, for we too are to partake of that transfigured life. To be saved means to share in the life of Christ. We too shall rise again, and our bodies will be transformed by the spirit, which itself is transformed by God. In us mortals blissful immortality will once awaken; read the magnificent fifteenth chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians.”
~Romano Guardini

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Children/Family

“When young people ask me how to change the world, I tell them to love each other, get married, stay faithful to one another, have lots of children, and raise those children to be men and women of Christian character. Faith is a seed. It doesn’t flower overnight. It takes time and love and effort.... The future belongs to people with children, not with things. Things rust and break. But every child is a universe of possibility that reaches into eternity, connecting our memories and our hopes in a sign of God’s love across the generations. That’s what matters.”
~Charles Chaput

Friday, August 4, 2017

See the Light

“I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up in the morning and see the light. Then I’m grateful.”
~Miles Davis

“All a musician can do is to get closer to the source.”
~John Coltrane

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Two Persons

“There are only two persons you can never, ever escape, not for one moment, either in time or in eternity: God and yourself.”
~Peter Kreeft

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Excerpt from A Grief Observed

Something quite unexpected has happened. It came this morning early. For various reasons, not in themselves at all mysterious, my heart was lighter than it had been for many weeks. For one thing, I suppose I am recovering physically from a good deal of mere exhaustion. And I’d had a very tiring but very healthy twelve hours the day before, and a sounder night’s sleep; and after ten days of low-hung grey skies and motionless warm dampness, the sun was shining and there was a light breeze. And suddenly at the very moment when, so far, I mourned H. least, I remembered her best. Indeed it was something (almost) better than memory; an instantaneous, unanswerable impression. To say it was like a meeting would be going too far. Yet there was that in it which tempts one to use those words. It was as if the lifting of the sorrow removed a barrier.

Why has no one told me these things? How easily I might have misjudged another man in the same situation? I might have said, ‘He’s got over it. He’s forgotten his wife,’ when the truth was, ‘He remembers her better because he has partly got over it.’

Such was the fact. And I believe I can make sense out of it. You can’t see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tears. You can’t, in most things, get what you want if you want it too desperately: anyway, you can’t get the best out of it. ‘Now! Let’s have a real good talk’ reduces everyone to silence, ‘I must get a good sleep tonight’ ushers in hours of wakefulness. Delicious drinks are wasted on a really ravenous thirst. Is it similarly the very intensity of the longing that draws the iron curtain, that makes us feel we are staring into a vacuum when we think about our dead? ‘Them as asks’ (at any rate ‘as asks too importunately’) don’t get. Perhaps can’t.

And so, perhaps, with God. I have gradually been coming to feel that the door is no longer shut and bolted. Was it my own frantic need that slammed it in my face? The time when there is nothing at all in your soul except a cry for help may be just the time when God can’t give it: you are like the drowning man who can’t be helped because he clutches and grabs. Perhaps your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear.
~C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Confidence in God, Not self

“Miserable the man who trusts to himself in the way of God. St. Peter experienced the sad effect of self-confidence. Jesus Christ said to him, ‘In this night, before cock-crow, thou wilt deny me thrice’ (Mat. 26: 34). Trusting in his own strength and in his good will, the Apostle replies: ‘Yea, though I should die with Thee, I will not deny Thee’ (26: 35). What was the result? On the night on which Jesus Christ had been taken, Peter was reproached in the court of Caiphas with being one of the disciples of the Savior. The reproach filled him with fear: he thrice denied his Master, and swore that he had never known Him. Humility and distrust in ourselves are so necessary for us, that God permits us sometimes to fall into sin, that, by our fall, we may acquire humility and a knowledge of our own weakness. Through want of humility, David also fell, hence, after his sin, he said, ‘Before I was humbled, I offended’ (Ps. 119:67).

Hence the Holy Ghost pronounces blessed the man who is always in fear: ‘Blessed is the man who is always fearful’ (Prov. 28:14). He who is afraid of falling, distrusts his own strength, avoids as much as possible all dangerous occasions, and recommends himself often to God, and thus preserves his soul from sin. But the man who is not fearful, but full of self-confidence, easily exposes himself to the danger of sin: he seldom recommends himself to God, and thus he falls. Let us imagine a person suspended over a great precipice by a cord held by another. Surely he would constantly cry out to the person who supports him: Hold fast, hold fast; for God's sake, do not let go.. We are all in danger of falling into the abyss of all crime, if God does not support us. Hence we should constantly beseech Him to keep His hands over us, and to help us in all dangers.

In rising from bed, St. Philip Neri used to say every morning, O Lord, keep Thy hand this day over Philip, if Thou do not, Philip will betray Thee. And one day, as he walked through the city, reflecting on his own misery, he frequently said, I despair, I despair. A certain religious who heard him, believing that the saint was really tempted to despair, corrected him, and encouraged him to hope in the divine mercy. But the saint replied, ‘I despair of myself, but I trust in God, hence, during this life which we are exposed to so many dangers of losing God, it is necessary for us to live always in great distrust in ourselves, and full of confidence in God.’”
~St. Alphonsus Liguori

Monday, July 31, 2017

from Sonnets for Michelangelo — 31

If this little music, stirring the frail air,
can gather up the spirit,
open it and melt it as it does —
If this mere breeze of sound, this mortal voice,
can lift the heart so,
heal it, startling thought and firing our resolve —
what will that heart do when,
before God in the first and ancient heaven,
it hears the music of all being?
When, struck by truth, it steps forth
in the great wind of that singing?

~Vittoria Colonna (translation by Jan Zwicky)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Jesus, Lover Of My Soul

Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none, hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone, still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed, all my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head with the shadow of Thy wing.

Wilt Thou not regard my call? Wilt Thou not accept my prayer?
Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall—Lo! on Thee I cast my care;
Reach me out Thy gracious hand! While I of Thy strength receive,
Hoping against hope I stand, dying, and behold, I live.

Thou, O Christ, art all I want, more than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name, I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found, grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art, freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart; rise to all eternity.

~Words: Charles Wesley & Music: Joseph Parry

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Given


(Picture found here)
We travelers, walking to the sun, can't see
Ahead, but looking back the very light
that blinded us shows us the way we came,
Along which blessings now appear, risen
As if from sightlessness to sight, and we,
By blessing brightly lit, keep going toward
That blessed light that yet to us is dark.

~Wendell Berry (Sabbaths 1999: VI)
   

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Knockdown Question

Why does God not spare the innocent?

The answer to that is not in
the same world as the question
so you would shrink from me
in terror if I could answer it.

~Les Murray

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Country Clergy

I see them working in old rectories
By the sun’s light, by candlelight,
Venerable men, their black cloth
A little dusty, a little green
With holy mildew. And yet their skulls,
Ripening over so many prayers,
Toppled into the same grave
With oafs and yokels. They left no books,
Memorial to their lonely thought
In grey parishes; rather they wrote
On men’s hearts and in their minds
Of young children sublime words
Too soon forgotten. God in his time
Or out of time will correct this.

~R. S. Thomas

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

After Psalm 137

We’re still in Babylon but
We do not weep
Why should we weep?
We have forgotten
How to weep

We’ve sold our harps
And bought ourselves machines
That do our singing for us
And who remembers now
The songs we sang in Zion?

We have got used to exile
We hardly notice
Our captivity
For some of us
There are such comforts here
Such luxuries

Even a guard
To keep the beggars
From annoying us

Jerusalem
We have forgotten you.

~Anne Porter

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Path Through


(Picture found here)
There is a place
where a stream flows
down through the heart of the Abbey.
To walk along paths of solitude
and breathe the air of silent men
whose prayers have touched the sky and earth,
whose hands have labored in quiet reverence
and whose hearts have felt true love
is but a small glimpse of heaven on earth.

There is a bridge
that passes over this stream.
Many men and women have crossed over.
Lost and found.
Looking for something
that can only be seen
through the path of the cross...
A footpath,
a river,
a sojourn of a heart’s surrender.

~Elsa (my wife)
  

Monday, July 24, 2017

Monastic Wisdom

“John the Short said, ‘I will invent a man composed of all the virtues. He would rise at dawn every morning, take up the beginning of each virtue, and keep God’s commandments. He would live in great patience, in fear, in long-suffering, in love of God; with a firm purpose of soul and body; in deep humility, in patience, in trouble of heart and earnestness of practice. He would pray often, with sorrow of heart, keeping his speech pure, his eyes controlled. He would suffer injury without anger, remaining peaceful and not rendering evil for evil, not looking out for the faults of others, nor puffing himself up, meekly subject to every creature, renouncing material property and everything of the flesh. He would live as though crucified, in struggle, in lowliness of spirit, in goodwill and spiritual abstinence, in fasting, in penitence, in weeping. He would fight against evil, be wise and discreet in judgment and chaste of mind. He would receive good treatment with tranquillity, working with his own hands, watching at night, enduring hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness and labor. He would live as though buried in a tomb and already dead, every day feeling death to be near him.’”
~Rowan Williams (from Where God Happens: Discovering Christ in One Another)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Entrance Antiphon

Ecce Deus adiuvat me, et Dominus susceptor est animae meae. Voluntarie sacrificabo tibi, et confitebor nomini tuo, Domine, quoniam bonum est.

See, I have God for my help.
   The Lord sustains my soul.
I will sacrifice to you with willing heart,
   and praise your name, O Lord, for it is good.

~Psalm 54: 6, 8

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Word

“...the word of God is a light to the mind and a fire to the will. It enables man to know God and to love him. And for the interior man who lives by the Spirit of God, through grace, it is bread and water, but a bread sweeter than honey and the honeycomb, a water better than wine and milk. For the soul it is a spiritual treasure of merits yielding an abundance of gold and precious stones. Against the hardness of a heart that persists in wrongdoing, it acts as a hammer. Against the world, the flesh and the devil it serves as a sword that destroys all sin.”
~St. Lawrence of Brindisi

Friday, July 21, 2017

Mercy

“Let there always be a preponderance of mercy with you, even though you don’t feel such mercy in yourself, as God has for the world ... A cruel and merciless heart is never purified.”
~St. Isaac the Syrian

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Interesting Thought

“The most evident mark of God's anger, and the most terrible castigation He can inflict upon the world, is manifest when He permits His people to fall into the hands of a clergy who are more in name than in deed, priests who practice the cruelty of ravening wolves rather than the charity and affection of devoted shepherds. They abandon the things of God to devote themselves to the things of the world and, in their saintly calling of holiness, they spend their time in profane and worldly pursuits. When God permits such things, it is a very positive proof that He is thoroughly angry with His people and is visiting His most dreadful wrath upon them.”
~St. John Eudes

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Miracles

“Real miracles bother people, like strange sudden pains unknown in medical literature. It's true: They rebut every rule all we good citizens take comfort in. Lazarus obeying orders and climbing up out of the grave - now there's a miracle, and you can bet it upset a lot of folks who were standing around at the time. When a person dies, the earth is generally unwilling to cough him back up. A miracle contradicts the will of the earth.”
~Leif Enger

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Spiritual And Material

“And let me make it quite clear that when Christians say the Christ-life is in them, they do not mean simply something mental or moral. When they speak of being ‘in Christ’ or of Christ being ‘in them,’ this is not simply a way of saying that they are thinking about Christ or copying Him. They mean that Christ is actually operating through them; that the whole mass of Christians are the physical organism through which Christ acts—that we are.

His fingers and muscles, the cells of His body. And perhaps that explains one or two things. It explains why this new life is spread not only by purely mental acts like belief, but by bodily acts like baptism and Holy Communion. It is not merely the spreading of an idea . . . There is no good trying to be more spiritual than God. God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature. That is why He uses material things like bread and wine to put the new life into us. We may think this rather crude and unspiritual. God does not: He invented eating. He likes matter. He invented it.”
~C. S. Lewis

Monday, July 17, 2017

Hope

“‘Hope’, in fact, is a key word in Biblical faith—so much so that in several passages the words ‘faith’ and ‘hope’ seem interchangeable. Thus the Letter to the Hebrews closely links the ‘fullness of faith’ (10:22) to ‘the confession of our hope without wavering’ (10:23). Likewise, when the First Letter of Peter exhorts Christians to be always ready to give an answer concerning the logos—the meaning and the reason—of their hope (cf. 3:15), ‘hope’ is equivalent to ‘faith’. We see how decisively the self-understanding of the early Christians was shaped by their having received the gift of a trustworthy hope, when we compare the Christian life with life prior to faith, or with the situation of the followers of other religions. Paul reminds the Ephesians that before their encounter with Christ they were ‘without hope and without God in the world’ (Eph 2:12). Of course he knew they had had gods, he knew they had had a religion, but their gods had proved questionable, and no hope emerged from their contradictory myths. Notwithstanding their gods, they were ‘without God’ and consequently found themselves in a dark world, facing a dark future. In nihil ab nihilo quam cito recidimus (How quickly we fall back from nothing to nothing): so says an epitaph of that period. In this phrase we see in no uncertain terms the point Paul was making. In the same vein he says to the Thessalonians: you must not ‘grieve as others do who have no hope’ (1 Th 4:13). Here too we see as a distinguishing mark of Christians the fact that they have a future: it is not that they know the details of what awaits them, but they know in general terms that their life will not end in emptiness. Only when the future is certain as a positive reality does it become possible to live the present as well. So now we can say: Christianity was not only ‘good news’—the communication of a hitherto unknown content. In our language we would say: the Christian message was not only ‘informative’ but ‘performative’. That means: the Gospel is not merely a communication of things that can be known—it is one that makes things happen and is life-changing. The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open. The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life.”
~Benedict XVI

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Praise To The Holiest In The Height

“The Dream of Gerontius,” 1865. The editor of The Month: An Illustrated Magazine of Literature, Science and Art asked Newman if he could contribute something, and Newman submitted this poem. These lyrics appeared in hymnals shortly thereafter.

Praise to the Holiest in the height,
And in the depth be praise;
In all His words most wonderful,
Most sure in all His ways.

O loving wisdom of our God!
When all was sin and shame,
A second Adam to the fight
And to the rescue came.

O wisest love! that flesh and blood,
Which did in Adam fail,
Should strive afresh against the foe,
Should strive and should prevail.

And that a higher gift than grace
Should flesh and blood refine,
God’s Presence and His very Self,
And Essence all divine.

O generous love! that He, who smote,
In Man for man the foe,
The double agony in Man
For man should undergo.

And in the garden secretly,
And on the Cross on high,
Should teach His brethren, and inspire
To suffer and to die.

Praise to the Holiest in the height,
And in the depth be praise;
In all His words most wonderful,
Most sure in all His ways.

~ Words: John Henry Newman & Music: John Dykes

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Life with God

“Prayer is not a discourse. It is a form of life, the life with God. That is why it is not confined to the moment of verbal statement. The latter (verbalization) can only be the secondary expression of the relationship with God, an overflow from the encounter between the living God and the living person.”
~Jacques Ellul

Friday, July 14, 2017

Canticle: Habakkuk 3:2-4,13a,15-19

O Lord, I have heard your renown,
and feared, O Lord, your work.
In the course of the years revive it,
in the course of the years make it known;
in your wrath remember compassion!

God comes from Teman,
the Holy One from Mount Paran.
Covered are the heavens with his glory,
and with his praise the earth is filled.

His splendor spreads like the light;
rays shine forth from beside him,
where his power is concealed.
You come forth to save your people,
to save your anointed one.

You tread the sea with your steeds
amid the churning of the deep waters.
I hear, and my body trembles;
at the sound, my lips quiver.

Decay invades my bones,
my legs tremble beneath me.
I await the day of distress
that will come upon the people who attack us.

For though the fig tree blossom not
nor fruit be on the vines,
though the yield of the olive fail
and the terraces produce no nourishment,

though the flocks disappear from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet will I rejoice in the Lord
and exult in my saving God.

God, my Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet swift as those of hinds
and enables me to go upon the heights.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Only Once

All which, because it was
flame and song and granted us
joy, we thought we'd do, be, revisit,
turns out to have been what it was
that once, only; every invitation
did not begin
a series, a build-up: the marvelous
did happen in our lives, our stories
are not drab with its absence: but don't
expect to return for more. Whatever more
there will be will be
unique as those were unique. Try
to acknowledge the next
song in its body -- halo of flames as utterly
present, as now or never.
~Denise Levertov

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Finding Meaning

“We can try to limit suffering, to fight against it, but we cannot eliminate it. It is when we attempt to avoid suffering by withdrawing from anything that might involve hurt, when we try to spare ourselves the effort and pain of pursuing truth, love, and goodness, that we drift into a life of emptiness, in which there may be almost no pain, but the dark sensation of meaninglessness and abandonment is all the greater. It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love.”
~Benedict XVI

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Prayer as Feather


The sides of the feather are fineweave wrought w/ barbs


     the
   spine
      is
 
   echo
    and
   bone


                               (the feather is as much air as matter)*


*it’s the air that matters

~Jeanie Tomasko

Monday, July 10, 2017

Almighty God, Whose Will Supreme


(Picture found here)
Almighty God, whose will supreme
Made ocean’s flood with life to teem;
Part in the firmament to fly,
And part in ocean depths to lie:

Appointing fishes in the sea,
And fowls in open air to be;
That each, by origin the same,
Its separate dwelling place might claim:

Grant that thy servants by the tide
Of Blood and Water purified
No guilty fall from thee may know,
Nor death eternal undergo.

Let none despair through sin’s distress,
Be none puffed up with boastfulness;
That contrite hearts be not dismayed,
Nor haughty souls in ruin laid.

O Father, that we ask be done,
Through Jesus Christ, thine only Son;
Who, with the Holy Ghost and thee,
Doth live and reign eternally. Amen.

Tune: CREATOR ALMA SIDERUM - L.M.
Text: Magnæ Deus potentiæ, attributed to Saint Gregory the Great, 540-604
Translation: William John Courthope, 1804-1885
 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

In the company...

“By thought we can put ourselves in the presence of Christ, set ourselves gradually aflame by a great love for the Sacred Humanity, keep company with Him at all times, speak to Him, recommend our needs to Him, seek compassion from Him in our trials, rejoice with Him in our consolations, keep ourselves from forgetting Him in times of prosperity. Let us not seek to make beautiful speeches to Him; but rather speak simply to express our desires and wants. This is an excellent method and makes us advance in a very short time. The person who studies how to live in this precious company and draws there from a genuine love for the Master who has showered so many benefits upon us, that person, I assert, has gone forward in the way of prayer. So that we must not grow disconsolate, as I have already said, if the feeling of devotion is lacking. Let us rather give thanks to Our Lord, Who despite the imperfections in our works, keeps alive within us the desire of pleasing Him.

This method of prayer, which consists in keeping oneself in the company of the Savior, is profitable at every stage. It is a very certain means of progressing in the first degree of prayer and of reaching the second in a short time. And in the last stages it serves as a protection against the temptations of the devil.”
~St. Teresa of Avila

Saturday, July 8, 2017

A Profound and Sacred Moment

As Jesus passed by,
   he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax booth.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed him.

~Matthew 9:9

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Soul and God

“We have been so accustomed to follow every whim and fancy, to gratify ourselves in all that we consider not positively sinful (our efforts to live a Christian life have consisted rather in the effort to avoid what was wrong, than to do what was right) that the soul no longer understands itself as a soul. To accustom it to God it is necessary to proceed slowly, with caution and patience.”
~St. Teresa of Avila

“God is hidden in us, and from us. To find Him we must go to hide ourselves where He is hidden.”
~St. John of the Cross

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Divine Life

“...Many give up prayer in disgust because they do not understand its meaning, its nature and its end. They believe prayer consists in asking for graces, spiritual and temporal, the acquisition of virtues or the extirpation of vices, and they pray in the belief that God will bestow virtues just as we make presents of books, or take away our vicious habits as we remove dangerous instruments from the hands of children. Virtue is a growth and follows the laws and conditions of growing things. The same is true of vice. In the ordinary ways of Providence the sole mode of its removal is by the growth of the contrary virtue. God does not take away our vices as the surgeon severs a gangrenous limb from the body. We do not get virtues or lose vices merely for the asking. The desire prompting and inspiring our prayer should be the desire of growing in all respects like to Jesus. It is in that growth that vices vanish and virtues make their appearance. We pray to God through Jesus not so much to get something as to become something, namely to become ‘conformable to the image of His Son.’ The ultimate object of prayer is to glorify God and we glorify God by being as we should be. The real end of prayer therefore is to be good, to effect in ourselves the dispositions to sanctification, that is, to purify our souls and replace our natural views by the views of Jesus Christ and to substitute for our natural life, His mode of life...

...In a word prayer may be considered a going to Jesus for spiritual direction—a direction on the way that is to lead to God. We pray not to dispose God to give, but to prepare ourselves to receive—to receive that plenitude of Divine life which is in Christ Jesus Our Lord.”
~Edward Leen

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Step by step...

“...Trust is a choice. We cannot always help our feelings. But our will is our own. In exhaustion, desolation, darkness, sickness, and doubts, we can choose to flee into the Lord’s own arms. We must pray—and we must make a conscious decision to pray—especially in those times when we least feel like praying. We can make mental acts of trust in divine providence, especially when our surroundings are a disaster zone. When temptation pounds away at our hearts, we can run to the Lord in the Sacraments, hide ourselves in His Sacred Heart, cry out to Him from beneath the cross. We will find that He always supplies the graces necessary to bearing our crosses. Step by step, little by little, we learn that God is infinitely patient—and generous—with those who sincerely seek Him. The fight against fear may even be a life-long effort, but still we mustn’t be unduly fearful. Where else but in fearful situations will we learn courage? Where else but in disaster zones will we learn to trust absolutely?”
~Michael O’Brien (partial re-post)

Monday, July 3, 2017

Open-Hearted

“And those are called blessed who make the effort to remain open-hearted. Nothing that comes from God, even the greatest miracle, can be proven like 2 x 2 = 4. It touches one; it is only seen and grasped when the heart is open and the spirit purged of self. Then it awakens faith...the heart is not overcome by faith, there is no force or violence there, compelling belief by rigid certitudes. What comes from God touches gently, comes quietly; does not disturb freedom; leads to quiet, profound, peaceful resolve within the heart.”
~Romano Guardini

Sunday, July 2, 2017

In Christ

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me;”
~Matthew 10:37a

“Let my father say, ‘Love me.’ Let my mother say, ‘Love me.’ Am I to say to these voices, ‘Be quiet’? Aren’t they making a just demand? Am I not to pay back what I have received? My father says, ‘I begot you.’ My mother says, ‘I bore you.’ My father says, ‘I reared you.’ My mother says, ‘I nursed you.’ Perhaps these voices have every right to say, ‘You want to be carried on his wings; don’t fly as a debtor; pay back the advance we made you.’ Let us answer our fathers and mothers, when they say to us, with every right, ‘Love us’; let us answer, ‘I do love you, in Christ; I don’t love you instead of Christ. Be with me in him; I won’t be with you without him.’”
~St. Augustine

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Our Creator Is Amazing

“Imagine a city so tiny it cannot be seen by the naked eye, and yet having millions of opening and closing gateways. It possesses a transportation system, libraries of information, manufacturing plants, computers, and much else. Imagine each of these microcities making others like them in an afternoon. If readers have not yet exhausted their wondering energies, we may note how all this happens on a vast scale. A single rye plant has 14 million roots and 14 billion root hairs. In one summer it can grow well over 300 miles of roots, which means that on average it grows three miles of roots each day. When we recall that one single cell in one root hair is as complex as New York City, we can be pardoned if we blanch with amazement.”
~Thomas Dubay

Friday, June 30, 2017

Prayer as Wing

It’s how physics plays with air
it’s how air plays with wings
it’s how birds, and If

the pressure on top of the wing
is less than that below, there is lift
-ing, yes it’s how Seven Swallows

just made it look easy

~Jeanie Tomasko

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Offering

“All that we do without offering it to God is wasted.”
~St. John Vianney

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Necessary Thing

“Don’t spend your energies on things that generate worry, anxiety, and anguish. Only one thing is necessary: lift up your spirit and love God.”
~St. Padre Pio

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Humble Heart

“Many rich and powerful men would pay dearly to see the Lord ... but God does not appear in riches, but in the humble heart.
...Any of the poorest of men can be humbled and come to know God. He needs neither money nor reputation to come to know God, but only humility.”
~St. Silouan

Monday, June 26, 2017

Good point...

“If you feel like fighting fire with fire, remember real firefighters use water.”
~Anonymous

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