Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Gift

To pull the metal splinter from my palm
my father recited a story in a low voice.
I watched his lovely face and not the blade.
Before the story ended, he’d removed
the iron sliver I thought I’d die from.

I can’t remember the tale,
but hear his voice still, a well
of dark water, a prayer.
And I recall his hands,
two measures of tenderness
he laid against my face,
the flames of discipline
he raised above my head.

Had you entered that afternoon
you would have thought you saw a man
planting something in a boy’s palm,
a silver tear, a tiny flame.
Had you followed that boy
you would have arrived here,
where I bend over my wife’s right hand.

Look how I shave her thumbnail down
so carefully she feels no pain.
Watch as I lift the splinter out.
I was seven when my father
took my hand like this,
and I did not hold that shard
between my fingers and think,
Metal that will bury me,
christen it Little Assassin,
Ore Going Deep for My Heart.
And I did not lift up my wound and cry,
Death visited here!
I did what a child does
when he’s given something to keep.
I kissed my father.

~Li-Young Lee

Monday, January 30, 2017

Hidden Evil

“We must receive the one who curses us as a messenger from God, rebuking our hidden evil thoughts, so that we, seeing our thoughts with exactness, might correct ourselves. For we do not know how many hidden evils we have; Only a perfect man can understand all of his own shortcomings.”
~St. Mark the Ascetic

Sunday, January 29, 2017

O To Be Like Thee!

O to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

O to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.


O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.


O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.


~Words: Thomas Chisholm & Music: William Kirkpatrick

Saturday, January 28, 2017


“Fear is such a powerful emotion for humans that when we allow it to take us over, it drives compassion right out of our hearts.”
~St. Thomas Aquinas

Friday, January 27, 2017

A Litany for Life

Lord, have mercy,
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy,
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy,
Lord, have mercy.

You breathed life into Adam,
Lord, you give us life!

You formed Eve from flesh,
Lord, you give us life!

You heard the cry of innocent blood,
Lord, you give us life!

You spared the life of Cain,
Lord, you give us life!

You saved Noah from the flood,
Lord, you give us life!

You filled Sarah's barren womb,
Lord, you give us life!

You gave Abraham a son,
Lord, you give us life!

You preserved the life of Jacob,
Lord, you give us life!

You punished those who took life,
Lord, you give us life!

You place before us life and death,
Lord, you give us life!

You restore lost life,
Lord, you give us life!

You nourish the aged and weak,
Lord, you give us life!

You delivered Saul from David,
Lord, you give us life!

You redeemed the life of David,
Lord, you give us life!

You gave Solomon length of days,
Lord, you give us life!

You raised the child by Elijah's cry,
Lord, you give us life!

You are the Life that is the light of men,
Lord, you give us life!

You are the bread of Life,
Lord, you give us life!

You have the words of eternal life,
Lord, you give us life!

You are the resurrection and the life,
Lord, you give us life!

You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life,
R. Lord, you give us life!

Thursday, January 26, 2017


        Now that I've gone beyond the middle middle
I wrote at forty seven
feeling at last I'd got there,
maturity, I mean,
borne children
watched one barely survive death one winter weekend
fought with my husband and made up
wept and laughed, grieved and let go—
how long and young ago was that
Now that I've gone beyond the Bible's life span
been warned by the psalmist, dour as Ecclesiastes
that everything is bleak and dark
I rejoice in family, friends, flowers
dance at my granddaughter's wedding
weep at another marriage broken
laugh as we sit twelve at a table meant for eight
Now that I've twice (almost)
gone beyond the middle middle
I smile at statistics I could never comprehend
I see death's shadow stretch its barren trees
showing structure and surprising beauty,
promising that the journey does not end.
Perhaps now—forgetting fat maturity—
I'm ready to let go
into the questioning child
        who has always understood
that love is endless
numbers do not threaten
and Yes! Each day is a new challenge
a new birth.

~Madeleine L'Engle

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Childlike Trust in God

O Lord, my heart is not proud
nor haughty my eyes.
I have not gone after things too great
nor marvels beyond me.

Truly I have set my soul
in silence and peace.
As a child has rest in its mother’s arms,
even so my soul.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
both now and for ever.

~Psalm 131

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


“We recognize genuine goodness as we do genuine balm. If balm sinks down and stays at the bottom when dropped into water, it is rated the best and most valuable. So also in order to know whether a man is truly wise, learned, generous, and noble, we must observe whether his abilities tend to humility, modesty, and obedience for in that case they will be truly good. If they float on the surface and seek to show themselves, they are so much less genuine in so far as they are more showy. Pearls conceived and nourished by wind or thunder claps are mere crusts, devoid of substance. So also men’s virtues and fine qualities conceived and nurtured by pride, show, and vanity have the mere appearance of good, without juice, marrow, solidity.”
~St. Francis de Sales

Monday, January 23, 2017

Faith of Our Fathers

The faculty ate lunch and sang today,
a dark day in the old chapel. We lent
our less than thousand tongues
unto a fortress mighty as it's ever been,
and though there were brave women too
we bellowed like bass organ pipes,
joining mostly our forefathers
in echoes of their hallowing,
our brief and particular stanza.

So many rich voices among us,
grave and deep and reverberant,
and this was a great comfort to me—
to be still a child after all, still surrounded
by grown men growling low
in their unmistakable harmony.

~Paul Willis

Sunday, January 22, 2017

O For A Heart To Praise My God

O for a heart to praise my God,
A heart from sin set free,
A heart that always feels Thy blood
So freely shed for me.

A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
My great Redeemer’s throne,
Where only Christ is heard to speak,
Where Jesus reigns alone.

A humble, lowly, contrite, heart,
Believing, true and clean,
Which neither life nor death can part
From Christ who dwells within.

A heart in every thought renewed
And full of love divine,
Perfect and right and pure and good,
A copy, Lord, of Thine.

Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart;
Come quickly from above;
Write Thy new name upon my heart,
Thy new, best name of Love.

~Words: Charles Wesley & Music: Thomas Haweis

Saturday, January 21, 2017

You cannot turn me...

“You cannot turn me from my holy Faith by threats, nor with promises of riches and pleasures. I will obey your orders willingly, if you will leave me free to follow my religion. I would rather surrender my head to you than to change my faith. I was born a Christian, and I shall die a Christian.”
~St. John the Russian

Friday, January 20, 2017

1 Timothy 2:1b-6a

...I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For

          there is one God;
               there is also one mediator between God and humankind,
          Christ Jesus, himself human,
               who gave himself a ransom for all...

Thursday, January 19, 2017


“Suffering is also present in the world to liberate love in the human person, that unselfish gift of one’s ‘I’ on behalf of other people, especially those who suffer.”
~Pope John Paul II

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

His Winter

“It is not the high summer alone that is God’s. The winter also is His. And into His winter He came to visit us. And all man’s winters are His  the winter of our poverty, the winter of our sorrow, the winter of our unhappiness  even ‘the winter of our discontent.’”
~George MacDonald

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Journal Entry – January 27, 1950

“Today, in a moment of trial, I rediscovered Jesus, or perhaps discovered Him for the first time. But then, in a monastery you are always discovering Jesus for the first time. Anyway, I came closer than ever to fully realizing how true it is that our relations with Jesus are something utterly beyond the level of imagination and emotion.

His eyes, which are the eyes of Truth, are fixed upon my heart. Where His glance falls, there is peace: for the light of His Face, which is the Truth, produces truth wherever it shines. His eyes are always on us in choir and everywhere and in all times. No grace comes to us from heaven except He looks upon our hearts.

The grace of this gaze of Christ upon my heart transfigured this day like a miracle. It seems to me that I have discovered a freedom that I never knew before in my life and with this freedom a recollection that is no impediment to moderate action. I have felt the Spirit of God upon me, and after dinner, walking along the road beyond the orchard by myself under a cobalt blue sky (in which the moon was already visible), I thought that, if I only turned my head a little, I would see a tremendous host of angels in silver armor advancing behind me through the sky, coming at last to sweep the whole world clean. I did not have to mortify this fantasy as it did not arouse my emotions but carried me along on a vivid ocean of peace. And the whole world and the whole sky were filled with a wonderful music, as it has often been for me in these days. Sitting alone in the attic of the garden house and looking at the stream shining under the bare willows and at the distant hills, I think I have never been so near to Adam’s, my father’s, Eden. Our Eden is the Heart of Christ.”
~Thomas Merton

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Word

“It is better to remain silent and to be than talk and not be. Teaching is good if the speaker also acts. Now there was one teacher who spoke, and it was made, and even what he did in silence is worthy of the Father. He who has the word of Jesus can truly listen also to his silence, in order to be perfect, that he may act through his speech and be known by his silence. Nothing is hidden from the Lord, but even our secrets are close to him. Let us then do everything in the knowledge that he is dwelling within us that we may be his temples, and he God within us. He is, and will reveal himself, in our sight, according to the love we bear him in holiness.”
~St. Ignatius of Antioch (partial re-post)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Jesus, The Very Thought Of Thee

Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills the breast;
But sweeter far Thy face to see,
And in Thy presence rest.

O hope of every contrite heart,
O joy of all the meek,
To those who fall, how kind Thou art!
How good to those who seek!

But what to those who find? Ah, this
Nor tongue nor pen can show;
The love of Jesus, what it is,
None but His loved ones know.

Jesus, our only joy be Thou,
As Thou our prize will be;
Jesus be Thou our glory now,
And through eternity.

Abide with us, and let Thy light
Shine, Lord, on every heart;
Dispel the darkness of our night;
And joy to all impart.

Jesus, our love and joy to Thee,
The virgin’s holy Son,
All might and praise and glory be,
While endless ages run.

~Words: St. Bernard of Clairvaux, 12th Century; translated from Latin to English by Edward Caswall & Music: John Dykes

Saturday, January 14, 2017


"An elder said: The reason why we do not get anywhere is that we do not know our limits, and we are not patient in carrying on the work we have begun. But without any labour at all we want to gain possession of virtue."
~Desert Fathers

Friday, January 13, 2017

Psalm 30

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me
and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.

O Lord, I cried to you for help
and you, my God, have healed me.
O Lord, you have raised my soul from the dead,
restored me to life from those who sink into the grave.

Sing psalms to the Lord, you who love him,
give thanks to his holy name.
His anger lasts but a moment; his favor through life.
At night there are tears, but joy comes with dawn.

I said to myself in my good fortune:
“Nothing will ever disturb me.”
Your favor had set me on a mountain fastness,
then you hid your face and I was put to confusion.

To you, Lord, I cried,
to my God I made appeal:
“What profit would my death be, my going to the grave?
Can dust give you praise or proclaim your truth?”

The Lord listened and had pity.
The Lord came to my help.
For me you have changed my mourning into dancing,
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.
So my soul sings psalms to you unceasingly.
O Lord my God, I will thank you for ever.

Thursday, January 12, 2017


(Picture found here)
Let me but do my work from day to day,
In field or forest, at the desk or loom,
In roaring market-place or tranquil room;
Let me but find it in my heart to say,
When vagrant wishes beckon me astray,
“This is my work; my blessing, not my doom;
“Of all who live, I am the one by whom
“This work can best be done in the right way.”

Then shall I see it not too great, nor small,
To suit my spirit and to prove my powers;
Then shall I cheerful greet the labouring hours,
And cheerful turn, when the long shadows fall
At eventide, to play and love and rest,
Because I know for me my work is best.

~Henry Van Dyke

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Grace of God

“Let us think much, and make much, of the grace of God; let us beware of receiving it in vain; let us pray God to prosper it in our hearts, that we may bring forth much fruit. We see how grace wrought in St. Paul: it made him labour, suffer, and work righteousness almost above man’s nature. This was not his own doing; it was not through his own power. He says himself, ‘Yet not I, but the grace of God which was in me.’ God’s grace was ‘sufficient for him.’ It was its triumph in him, that it made him quite another man from what he was before. May God’s grace be efficacious in us also.”
~John Henry Newman

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Matthew 13:44

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

Monday, January 9, 2017

Try to Praise the Mutilated World

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June's long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You've seen the refugees going nowhere,
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

~Adam Zagajewski
Translated by Clare Cavanagh

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Isaiah 52:7-10

How beautiful upon the mountains
   are the feet of him who brings glad tidings,
Announcing peace, bearing good news,
   announcing salvation, and saying to Zion,
   “Your God is King!”
Hark! Your watchmen raise a cry,
   together they shout for joy,
For they see directly, before their eyes,
   the Lord restoring Zion.
Break out together in song,
   O ruins of Jerusalem!
For the Lord comforts his people,
   he redeems Jerusalem.
The Lord has bared his holy arm
   in the sight of all the nations;
All the ends of the earth will behold
   the salvation of our God.
~Isaiah 52:7-10

Glorious now behold Him arise;
King and God and sacrifice;
Alleluia, Alleluia,
Sounds through the earth and skies.

O star of wonder, star of light,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

~Excerpt from We Three Kings - Words & Music: John Hopkins, Jr.

Friday, January 6, 2017

St. André Bessette

“When you say to God, Our Father, he has his ear right next to your lips.”

“There is so little distance between heaven and earth that God always hears us. Nothing but a thin veil separates us from God.”

“Put your self in God’s hands; he abandons no one.”

“It is with the smallest brushes that the artist paints the best paintings.”

“Practice charity with your neighbor—and this doesn’t mean only to give money to the poor. There are many ways to practice charity. We could, for example, keep ourselves from examining our neighbor’s conscience. There is also visiting the sick, who often do not need money, but who need good advice to help them get closer to God.”
~St. André Bessette

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Like Every Newborn

       “The Lord is King, and hath put on glorious apparel;
the Lord hath put on his apparel and girded himself with
       Like every newborn, he has come from very far.
His eyes are closed against the brilliance of the star.
So glorious is he, he goes to this immoderate length
To show his love for us, discarding power and strength.
Girded for war, humility his mighty dress,
He moves into the battle wholly weaponless.

~Madeleine L'Engle

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Will of the Father

“I will tell you what is my own great help. I once read or heard that an interior life means but the continuation of our Savior’s life in us; that the great object of all his mysteries is to merit for us the grace of his interior life and communicate it to us, it being the end of his mission to lead us into the sweet land of promise, a life of constant union with himself. And what was the first rule of our dear Savior’s life? You know it was to do his Father’s will. Well, then, the first end I propose in our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly, to do it in the manner he wills; and thirdly, to do it because it is his will...

...You are now in your first setout. Be above the vain fears of nature and efforts of your enemy. You are children of eternity. Your immortal crown awaits you, and the best of Fathers waits there to reward your duty and love. You may indeed sow here in tears, but you may be sure there to reap in joy.”
~St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

How Sweet the Name

“The sweet Name of Jesus produces in us holy thoughts, fills the soul with noble sentiments, strengthens virtue, begets good works, and nourishes pure affection. All spiritual food leaves the soul dry, if it contain not that penetrating oil, the Name Jesus.”
~St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Monday, January 2, 2017


“It was said of Abbot Agatho that for three years he carried a stone in his mouth until he learned to be silent.”
~Desert Fathers

Sunday, January 1, 2017

He Giveth More Grace

He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials he multiplies peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

~Words: Annie Flint & Music: Ray Steadman-Allen