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


(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

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


“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


“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’, 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 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.

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


“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