Friday, March 31, 2017

The Just One

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

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Seven in the Woods

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

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Patience

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

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

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Out of Mercy

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

Monday, March 27, 2017

Mystery

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

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

~St. Augustine (Confessions)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Infinite Blessedness

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

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

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Real Love

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 24, 2017

Jesus Self-identifies

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

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

Thursday, March 23, 2017

True Hope Seeks Only The Kingdom

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

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Connection

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Watch and Pray

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

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Restoration Of Culture

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

Sunday, March 19, 2017

My Food Is To Do His Will

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

Saturday, March 18, 2017

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

  
from Innocence And Experience

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

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

That is what I do with that experience of yours.

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

~Charles Péguy

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Couple Hard Insights

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

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

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Excerpt - Interview with Author Michael O’Brien

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

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

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Excerpt from “East Coker”

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

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

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Source of Strength

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Vocation

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

Sunday, March 12, 2017

'Tis Good, Lord, To Be Here

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

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

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

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

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

~Words: J. Armitage Robinson & Music: Carlisle

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Pain of Nothingness

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

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

~a Carthusian monk

Friday, March 10, 2017

Isaiah 53:11b-12

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

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Deciduous


(Picture found here)

After Les Murray

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

~Tess Barry
     

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

From Devotion to Business

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

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Liberty

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

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

Monday, March 6, 2017

A Glance from the Heart

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

~a Carthusian monk 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

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

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

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

Refrain

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

Refrain

~Words & Music: Helen Lemmel

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Isaiah 1:16-18

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

Friday, March 3, 2017

A Guilty Conscience Punishes Itself Without A Judge

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

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

For Ash Wednesday

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

~George MacDonald (from Diary of an Old Soul)