Saturday, October 31, 2009


Beautiful presentation by my friend, Samuel Godfrey George. Visit at

All Souls

The leaves fall softly: a wind of sighs
Whispers the world's infirmities,
Whispers the tale of the waning years,
While slow mists gather in shrouding tears
On All Souls' Day; and the bells are slow
In steeple and tower. Sad folk go
Away from the township, past the mill,
And mount the slope of a grassy hill
Carved into terraces broad and steep,
To the inn where wearied travellers sleep,
Where the sleepers lie in ordered rows,
And no man stirs in his long repose.
They wend their way past the haunts of life,
Father and daughter, grandmother, wife,
To deck with candle and deathless cross,
The house which holds their dearest loss.
I, who stand on the crest of the hill,
Watch how beneath me, busied still,
The sad folk wreathe each grave with flowers.
Awhile the veil of the twilight hours
Falls softly, softly, over the hill,
Shadows the cross:- creeps on until
Swiftly upon us is flung the dark.
Then, as if lit by a sudden spark,
Each grave is vivid with points of light,
Earth is as Heaven's mirror to-night;
The air is still as a spirit's breath,
The lights burn bright in the realm of Death.
Then silent the mourners mourning go,
Wending their way to the church below;
While the bells toll out to bid them speed,
With eager Pater and prayerful bead,
The souls of the dead, whose bodies still
Lie in the churchyard under the hill;
While they wait and wonder in Paradise,
And gaze on the dawning mysteries,
Praying for us in our hours of need;
For us, who with Pater and prayerful bead
Have bidden those waiting spirits speed.

~ Michael Fairless (1869-1901)

fine art -- Aladar Korosfoi-Kriesch, 1910

Saints Have Adored

Saints have adored the lofty soul of you.
Poets have whitened at your high renown.
We stand among the many millions who
Do hourly wait to pass your pathway down.
You, so familiar, once were strange: we tried
To live as of your presence unaware.
But now in every road on every side
We see your straight and steadfast signpost there.

I think it like that signpost in my land
Hoary and tall, which pointed me to go
Upward, into the hills, on the right hand,
Where the mists swim and the winds shriek and blow,
A homeless land and friendless, but a land
I did not know and that I wished to know.

~ Charles Hamilton Sorely (1895-1915)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Prayer of Self-Dedication

Teach us, Good Lord,
To serve You as You deserve,
To give and not count the cost;
To fight and not heed the wounds;
To toil and not seek for rest;
To labor and not ask for any reward,
Save that of knowing that we do Your will.

Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty,
My memory, my understanding and my whole will.
All that I am, all that I have,
You have given to me,
And I will give back to You
To be disposed of according to Your good pleasure.
Give me Your love and Your graces,
With You I am rich enough,
Nor do I ask anything besides.


~ St Ignatius of Loyola

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Saint Jude

Apostle of Jesus

A martyr-saint of old

The cousin of our Savior

Of Whom thy love hath told;

A writer of the scriptures

With tongue of fire aflame,

The worker great of wonders,

In Jesus' Holy Name,

The worker great of wonders.

In Jesus' Holy Name.

St. Jude, tho oft forgotten

Thou shalt remembered be,

We hail thee now in glory

And have recourse to thee;

For help for the despairing

When hopeless seems the task,

And from the Heart of Jesus,

Thru thee we favors ask,

And from the Heart of Jesus,

Thru thee we favors ask.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

St Francis and the Birds

Francis had a special love and tenderness for birds, whom he called his "sisters." On one occasion, he preached a sermon to a number of birds who gathered on the roadside near the town of Bavagna, and they listened to his words with attention. On another occasion, a nightingale responded to his great magnetism and sang with him in an ilex grove. Francis loved robins and swallows and doves and sparrows, but his favorite bird by far, was the lark. The lark was a humble bird. She was satisfied with a few small kernels and seeds, found by the wayside. Her clothing of feathers was humble, the color of the earth. The lark gave the Brothers a good example not to wear showy or fine garments but to dress in a simple and plain manner. Francis loved the sweetness and the beauty of the song of the lark, as she soared heavenward. He told the Brothers that they too, should always sing praise to God, and have their conversation in Heaven. The love that he showed these humble creatures was reciprocated, for it was the larks that paid a special tribute to Francis when he was dying.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Contemplative Prayer

Falling and Rising

If there is anywhere
on earth
a lover of God
who is always kept safe,
I know nothing of it,
for it was not shown to me.

But this was shown:
that in falling
and rising again
we are always kept
in that same
precious love.

~Julian of Norwich

fine art, Joan de Joanes

Beyond Blue

Monday, October 19, 2009

Silence and Solitude

I will be SILENT
I will be STILL
I will QUIET my heart before my KING

And WAIT for HIM

And DRAW me NEAR to His Presence
CLOSE enough to FEEL the beat of His Heart
FIND me here, WAITING in silence

I will not MOVE
I will not be SHAKEN
I will look for YOU in SOLITUDE

And WAIT for YOU

And DRAW me NEAR to your presence
CLOSE enough to FEEL the beat of your Heart
FIND me here, WAITING in silence


Guard Your Heart

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

~ Proverbs 4:23

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Hound of Heaven

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat -- and a voice beat
More instant than the Feet --
"All things betray thee, who betrayest Me."

I pleaded, outlaw-wise,
By many a hearted casement, curtained red,
Trellised with intertwining charities;
(For, though I knew His love Who followèd,
Yet was I sore adread
Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside.)
But, if one little casement parted wide,
The gust of his approach would clash it to :
Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue.
Across the margent of the world I fled,
And troubled the gold gateways of the stars,
Smiting for shelter on their clangèd bars ;
Fretted to dulcet jars
And silvern chatter the pale ports o' the moon.
I said to Dawn : Be sudden -- to Eve : Be soon ;
With thy young skiey blossoms heap me over
From this tremendous Lover--
Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see !
I tempted all His servitors, but to find
My own betrayal in their constancy,
In faith to Him their fickleness to me,
Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue ;
Clung to the whistling mane of every wind.
But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,
The long savannahs of the blue ;
Or whether, Thunder-driven,
They clanged his chariot 'thwart a heaven,
Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o' their feet :--
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.
Still with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
Came on the following Feet,
And a Voice above their beat--
"Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me."

I sought no more that after which I strayed,
In face of man or maid ;
But still within the little children's eyes
Seems something, something that replies,
They at least are for me, surely for me !
I turned me to them very wistfully ;
But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair
With dawning answers there,
Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.
"Come then, ye other children, Nature's -- share
With me" (said I) "your delicate fellowship ;
Let me greet you lip to lip,
Let me twine with you caresses,
With our Lady-Mother's vagrant tresses,
With her in her wind-walled palace,
Underneath her azured daïs,
Quaffing, as your taintless way is,
From a chalice
Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring."
So it was done :
I in their delicate fellowship was one --
Drew the bolt of Nature's secrecies.
I knew all the swift importings
On the wilful face of skies ;
I knew how the clouds arise
Spumèd of the wild sea-snortings ;
All that's born or dies
Rose and drooped with ; made them shapers
Of mine own moods, or wailful or divine ;
With them joyed and was bereaven.
I was heavy with the even,
When she lit her glimmering tapers
Round the day's dead sanctities.
I laughed in the morning's eyes.
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,
Heaven and I wept together,
And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine ;
Against the red throb of its sunset-heart
I laid my own to beat,
And share commingling heat ;
But not by that, by that, was eased my human smart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven's grey cheek.
For ah ! we know not what each other says,
These things and I ; in sound I speak--
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth ;
Let her, if she would owe me,
Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky, and show me
The breasts o' her tenderness ;
Never did any milk of hers once bless
My thirsting mouth.
Nigh and nigh draws the chase,
With unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy ;
And past those noisèd Feet
A Voice comes yet more fleet --
"Lo ! naught contents thee, who content'st not Me."

Naked I wait thy Love's uplifted stroke !
My harness piece by piece Thou hast hewn from me,
And smitten me to my knee ;
I am defenceless utterly.
I slept, methinks, and woke,
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.
In the rash lustihead of my young powers,
I shook the pillaring hours
And pulled my life upon me ; grimed with smears,
I stand amid the dust o' the mounded years --
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,
Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.
Yea, faileth now even dream
The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist ;
Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist,
Are yielding ; cords of all too weak account
For earth with heavy griefs so overplussed.
Ah ! is Thy love indeed
A weed, albeit an amaranthine weed,
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount ?
Ah ! must --
Designer infinite !--
Ah ! must Thou char the wood ere Thou canst limn with it ?
My freshness spent its wavering shower i' the dust ;
And now my heart is as a broken fount,
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever
From the dank thoughts that shiver
Upon the sighful branches of my mind.
Such is ; what is to be ?
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind ?
I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds ;
Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds
From the hid battlements of Eternity ;
Those shaken mists a space unsettle, then
Round the half-glimpsed turrets slowly wash again.
But not ere him who summoneth
I first have seen, enwound
With glooming robes purpureal, cypress-crowned ;
His name I know, and what his trumpet saith.
Whether man's heart or life it be which yields
Thee harvest, must Thy harvest-fields
Be dunged with rotten death ?

Now of that long pursuit
Comes on at hand the bruit ;
That Voice is round me like a bursting sea :
"And is thy earth so marred,
Shattered in shard on shard ?
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest me !
"Strange, piteous, futile thing !
Wherefore should any set thee love apart ?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught" (He said),
"And human love needs human meriting :
How hast thou merited --
Of all man's clotted clay the dingiest clot ?
Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art !
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
Save Me, save only Me ?
All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might'st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child's mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home :
Rise, clasp My hand, and come !"
Halts by me that footfall :
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly ?
"Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest !
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest me."

~Francis Thompson

About Me

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Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away... and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast.... be happy about your growth, in which of course you can't take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don't torment them with your doubts and don't frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn't be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn't necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust.... and don't expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”  ~ Rainer Maria Rilke