Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 27, 2017

Remembering

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

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

~William Stafford

Sunday, February 26, 2017

I Would Be Thine, O Take My Heart

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Good Books

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

Friday, February 24, 2017

...in the Spring

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

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Life

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

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Gospel

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

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Reveal

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

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Mystery of Life

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

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

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

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

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

~Harriet Beecher Stowe

Sunday, February 19, 2017

...And you shall not have an enemy

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

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

Saturday, February 18, 2017

More Wisdom from the Desert

“A brother said to Abbot Pastor: If I give one of my brothers a little bread or something of the sort, the demons spoil everything and it seems to me that I have acted only to please men. The elder said to him: Even if your good work was done to please, we must still give to our brothers what they need. And he told him this story. Two farmers lived in a village. One of them sowed his field and reaped only a small and wretched crop. The other neglected to sow anything at all, and so he reaped nothing. Which of the two will survive, if there is a famine? The brother replied: The first one, even though his crop is small and wretched. The elder said to him: Let us also sow, even though our sowing is small and wretched...”
~Desert Fathers

Friday, February 17, 2017

Saints and Prayer

“The usual notion of prayer is so absurd. How can those who know nothing about it, who pray little or not at all, dare speak so frivolously of prayer? A Carthusian, a Trappist will work for years to make of himself a man of prayer, and then any fool who comes along sets himself up as judge of this lifelong effort. If it were really what they suppose, a kind of chatter, the dialogue of a madman with his shadow, or even less—a vain and superstitious sort of petition to be given the good things of this world, how could innumerable people find until their dying day, I won't even say such great 'comfort'—since they put no faith in the solace of the senses—but sheer, robust, vigorous, abundant joy in prayer? Oh, of course—suggestion, say the scientists. Certainly they can never have known old monks, wise, shrewd, unerring in judgement, and yet aglow with passionate insight, so very tender in their humanity. What miracle enables these semi-lunatics, these prisoners of their own dreams, these sleepwalkers, apparently to enter more deeply each day into the pain of others? An odd sort of dream, an unusual opiate which, far from turning him back into himself and isolating him from his fellows, unites the individual with mankind in the spirit of universal charity!

This seems a very daring comparison. I apologise for having advanced it, yet perhaps it might satisfy many people who find it hard to think for themselves, unless the thought has first been jolted by some unexpected, surprising image. Could a sane man set himself up as a judge of music because he has sometimes touched a keyboard with the tips of his fingers? And surely if a Bach fugue, a Beethoven symphony leave him cold, if he has to content himself with watching on the face of another listener the reflected pleasure of supreme, inaccessible delight, such a man has only himself to blame.

But alas! We take the psychiatrists' word for it. The unanimous testimony of saints is held as of little or no account. They may all affirm that this kind of deepening of the spirit is unlike any other experience, that instead of showing us more and more of our own complexity it ends in sudden total illumination, opening out upon azure light—they can be dismissed with a few shrugs. Yet when has any man of prayer told us that prayer had failed him?”
~Georges Bernanos

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Dead of Winter


(Picture found here)

                                        In my coat I sit
                                        At the window sill
                                        Wintering with snow
                                        That did not melt
                                        It fell long ago
                                        At night, by stealth
                                        I was where I am
                                        When the snow began

                                        ~Samuel Menashe
 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Jesus’ Enduring Relevance

“I think we finally have to say that Jesus’ enduring relevance is based on his historically proven ability to speak to, to heal and empower the individual human condition. He matters because of what he brought and what he still brings to ordinary human beings, living their ordinary lives and coping daily with their surroundings. He promises wholeness for their lives. In sharing our weakness he gives us strength and imparts through his companionship a life that has the quality of eternity. He comes where we are, and he brings us the life we hunger for. An early report reads, ‘Life was in him, life that made sense of human existence’ (John 1:4). To be the light of life, and to deliver God’s life to women and men where they are and as they are, is the secret of the enduring relevance of Jesus. Suddenly they are flying right-side up, in a world that makes sense.”
~Dallas Willard

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Apparent Incompatibles

“The Gospel constantly unites apparent incompatibles. Paul is intensely involved in this world and yet he admonishes others (and no doubt himself) not to mind the things on earth but those in heaven (Col 3:1-2). He is completely without possessions, yet he has all things (2 Cor 6:10). If one wishes to be full of joy (Jn 15:11), he must enter the narrow gate and tread the hard way (Mt 7:13-14). Caring for one’s brother is crucially important (Mt 25:40), and yet gazing on the beauty of the Lord in prayer is the one over-riding necessity (Ps 27:4; Lk 10:41-42).

Only large minds can accept the whole Gospel. Only magnanimous people can see the richness of reality and thus be liberated from an either/or mentality that fails to be impressed with more than one aspect of a question at a time.”
~Thomas Dubay

Monday, February 13, 2017

more from The Screwtape Letters

“You must have often wondered why the Enemy [God] does not make more use of His power to be sensibly present to human souls in any degree He chooses and at any moment. But you now see that the Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of His scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to over-ride a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo. For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; the creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves; merely to cancel them, or assimilate them, will not serve. . . . Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs — to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. . . . He cannot ‘tempt’ to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand. . . . Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”
~C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Sunday, February 12, 2017

1 Corinthians 2:6-10

Brothers and sisters:
We speak a wisdom to those who are mature,
   not a wisdom of this age,
   nor of the rulers of this age who are passing away.
Rather, we speak God’s wisdom, mysterious, hidden,
   which God predetermined before the ages for our glory,
   and which none of the rulers of this age knew;
   for, if they had known it,
   they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
But as it is written:
   What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard,
      and what has not entered the human heart,
      what God has prepared for those who love him,
      this God has revealed to us through the Spirit.

For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Finally Beginning

“The lights of prayer that make us imagine we are beginning to be angels are sometimes only signs that we are finally beginning to be men. We do not have a high enough opinion of our own nature. We think we are at the gates of heaven and we are only just beginning to come into our own realm as free and intelligent beings.”
~Thomas Merton

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Ascent to Truth

“In His hands He hideth the light
and commandeth it to come again.
He sheweth His friend concerning it,
that it is his possession,
and that he may ascend to it.”
~Job xxxvi, 32-33

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Purifying the Soul

“...The ordinary purifying and healing (whether of the body or the mind) is only effected by little and little, by going on from one step to another, with time and pains.

The angels upon Jacob’s ladder have wings, yet they fly not, but ascend and descend in order, from step to step. The soul which rises from sin to devotion, is compared to the dawning of the morning, which drives not away the darkness in an instant, but by degrees. The slow cure, says the proverb, is the safe cure. The diseases of the soul, as well as those of the body, come post-haste on horseback, but go away on foot at a snail’s pace. Courage and patience then, O Philothea, are necessary in this enterprise. Alas! how much are those souls to be pitied, who, seeing themselves subject to many imperfections, after being a little exercised in devotion, begin to be troubled, disquieted, and discouraged, suffering their hearts almost to yield to the temptation to forsake all, and return back? But on the other hand, is it not also exceedingly dangerous for those, who, by a contrary temptation, make themselves believe that they are cleansed from their imperfections the first day of their purgation, and esteeming themselves perfect, though scarce as yet initiated, take upon them to fly without wings. O Philothea, in what danger are they of relapsing through being taken too soon out of the physician’s hands. ‘It is but lost labour to rise up early and late take rest,’ unless the Lord prosper all we do.

...let us not then afflict ourselves because we have imperfections, for our perfection consists in resisting them; and we cannot resist them without seeing them, nor vanquish them without encountering them. Our victory does not lie in not feeling them, but in not consenting to them. But to be disturbed by them is not to consent to them: nay, it is necessary, for the exercise of our humility, that we be sometimes wounded in this spiritual combat; but we are never conquered, except when we have lost either life or courage. Now imperfections or venial sins cannot deprive us of spiritual life, for that is not lost but by mortal sin. It only remains that they should not make us lose courage. ‘Deliver me, O Lord’ (said David) ‘from fear and faint-heartedness.’ It is a happy condition of this war, that if we fight valiantly we are always conquerors.”
~St. Francis de Sales

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Joy

“Joy may indeed seem to be elusive but only if we look in the wrong places for it. Those who dare to love as Jesus did, who are free enough to seek the happiness of others rather than just their own, will enter into his joy. This is the only perfect joy, and it will not prove to be a will-o’-the-wisp that merely tantalizes us. It will be full to overflowing and will last forever.

We could never believe this if Jesus himself had not told us so. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete (John 15:11). Jesus offers the wisdom that makes joy our partner in life, no matter what hardships may come our way.”
~Demetrius Dumm

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A Meditation on Psalm 90

Make us know the shortness of our life that we may gain wisdom of heart. (Psalm 90:12)

“In the troubles and distractions of our earthly life, there is one thought that should be constantly near, either to console or to control us—the eternity of God. His existence, itself altogether outside of and unconditioned by time, recedes infinitely (in our human mode of calculation) into the past and into the future. To let the imagination feed on this truth has, at first, the effect of altogether crushing our spirits and frightening us away; this is not the effect God intends. If we will think of the meaning of our life in the light of eternity, it will be a sure way to conversion of the heart. With him, a thousand years are as one day, a mere brief episode: nay, time itself is lost in an eternal Now. In His sight a human life is simply the turn of a watchman at his post; maturity follows upon youth, and decay upon maturity so soon, that the brief time of man’s probation loses all value and colour of its own, and is seen merely as a preparation for eternity.

...And that preparation—how miserably used! How little we should shrink from God’s chastisements in time, if we could always remember that he has our eternal destiny in view! Our sins, even when we ourselves are unconscious of their weight, lie open and naked in his sight; our worldliness is seen in its true colours in that infallible Light in which God sees the hearts of men. Our allotted days slip away from us almost unnoticed; almost unnoticed, too, the offences against God which mount up as our life goes on: are declining years to bring a better mind? Or are we to risk an eternity of God’s displeasure? And that in exchange for something as frail and unsubstantial as a spider’s web,—the enjoyment of our brief human existence; seventy or eighty years, perhaps, and how many of them darkened by infirmities, miseries, anxieties, and despairs? God’s mercy inflicts these upon us, precisely lest we should forget, in unchequered happiness, the small worth of our life here. Otherwise, so weak are we, it would be hard for us to keep in mind the claims God has upon us, and avert his anger by the constant exercise of holy fear. O may His hand never cease to visit us with chastisement, until we have learned that divine wisdom which consists in a proper disposition of our hearts towards him!

...How long will it be before God will give us grace to live simply for his service? Would that this very morning might see the dawn in our souls of that heavenly illumination, which alone can bring true happiness ... We are creatures of his hand, bound to him by an infinite debt of service; may he teach us, then, to direct all our works to the sole intention of his glory: may the consciousness of his enlightening presence be with us continually, so that, as far as possible, no moment of our transitory lives may be wasted by being spent on occupations which we cannot devote to his honour.”
~Ronald Knox

Monday, February 6, 2017

Have You Prayed

When the wind
turns and asks, in my father's voice,
Have you prayed?
I know three things. One:
I'm never finished answering to the dead.
Two: A man is four winds and three fires.
And the four winds are his father's voice,
his mother's voice ...
Or maybe he's seven winds and ten fires.
And the fires are seeing, hearing, touching,
dreaming, thinking . . .
Or is he the breath of God?
When the wind turns traveler
and asks, in my father's voice, Have you prayed?
I remember three things.
One: A father's love
is milk and sugar,
two-thirds worry, two-thirds grief, and what's left over
is trimmed and leavened to make the bread
the dead and the living share.
And patience? That's to endure
the terrible leavening and kneading.
And wisdom? That's my father's face in sleep.
When the wind
asks, Have you prayed?
I know it's only me
reminding myself
a flower is one station between
earth's wish and earth's rapture, and blood
was fire, salt, and breath long before
it quickened any wand or branch, any limb
that woke speaking. It's just me
in the gowns of the wind,
or my father through me, asking,
Have you found your refuge yet?
asking, Are you happy?
Strange. A troubled father. A happy son.
The wind with a voice. And me talking to no one.

~Li-Young Lee

Sunday, February 5, 2017

In His Temple Now Behold Him

In His temple now behold Him;
See the long-expected Lord!
Ancient prophets had foretold him;
God hath now fulfilled His word.
Now to praise Him, His redeemèd
Shall break forth with one accord.

In the arms of her who bore Him,
Virgin pure, behold Him lie,
While His aged saints adore Him,
Ere in perfect faith they die:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Lo, the incarnate God most high!

Jesus, by Thy Presentation,
Thou, Who didst for us endure,
Make us see Thy great salvation,
Seal us with Thy promise sure;
And present us in Thy glory
To Thy Father cleansed and pure.

Prince and author of salvation,
Be Thy boundless love our theme!
Jesus, praise to Thee be given
By the world Thou didst redeem,
With the Father and the Spirit,
Lord of majesty supreme!
Amen.

~Words: Henry Pye, Hymns, 1851 (stanzas 1-3); William Cooke (stanza 4), 1853 & Music: Sieh, Hier Bin Ich, Geistreiches Gesangbuch (Darmstadt, Germany: 1698)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Steps

“God takes pleasure to see you take your little steps; and like a good father who holds his child by the hand, He will accommodate His steps to yours and will be content to go no faster than you. Why do you worry?”
~St. Francis de Sales

Friday, February 3, 2017

A beautiful end of the day...


(Photo by Remo Savisaar)
Just a picture today...  Enjoy the weekend...
 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Wisdom of the Desert

“The same Father said: If there are three monks living together, of whom one remains silent in prayer at all times, and another is ailing and gives thanks for it, and the third waits on them both with sincere good will, these three are equal, as if they were performing the same work.”
~Desert Fathers

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Spiritual Sense

“The light of true knowledge makes it possible to discern without error the difference between good and evil. Then the path of justice, which leads to the Sun of Justice, brings the mind into the limitless light of knowledge, since it never fails to seek the love of God with all confidence.

Therefore, we must maintain great stillness of mind, even in the midst of our struggles. We shall then be able to distinguish between the different types of thoughts that come to us: those that are good, those sent by God, we will treasure in our memory; those that are evil and inspired by the devil we will reject. A comparison with the sea may help us. A tranquil sea allows the fisherman to gaze right to its depths. No fish can hide there and escape his sight. The stormy sea, however, becomes murky when it is agitated by the winds. The very depths that it revealed in its placidness, the sea now hides. The skills of the fisherman are useless.

Only the Holy Spirit can purify the mind: unless the strong man enters and robs the thief, the booty will not be recovered. So by every means, but especially by peace of soul, we must try to provide the Holy Spirit with a resting place...”
~Diadochus of Photice