Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Evelyn Underhill

The spiritual life is a stern choice. It is not a consoling retreat from the difficulties of existence, but an invitation to enter fully into that difficult existence, and there apply the Charity of God, and bear the cost.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Infant St. John, The Baptist

O sweeter than the breath of southern wind
With all its perfumes is the whisper'd prayer
From infant lips, and gentler than the hind,
The feet that bear
The heaven-directed youth in wisdom's pathway fair.

And thou, the early consecrate, like flowers
Didst shed thy incense breath to heaven abroad;
And prayer and praise the measure of thy hours,
The desert trod
Companionless, alone, save of the mighty God.

As Phosphor leads the kindling glory on,
And fades, lost in the day-god's bright excess,
So didst thou in Redemption's coming dawn,
Grow lustreless,
The fading herald of the Sun of Righteousness.

But when the book of life shall be unsealed,
And stars of glory round the throne divine
In all their light and beauty be revealed,
The brightest thine
Of all the hosts of earth with heavenly light shall shine.

~ Nathan Covington Brooks

Saturday, August 28, 2010

St. Augustine

"People travel to wonder
at the height of the mountains,
at the huge waves of the seas,
at the long course of the rivers,
at the vast compass of the ocean,
at the circular motion of the stars,
and yet they pass by themselves
without wondering. "

"Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead, He set before your eyes the things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that?"

"Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace."

Saturday, August 21, 2010

As a Person

"Fanaticism refuses to look at another man as a person. It regards him only as a thing. He is either a 'member' or he is not a member. He is either part of one's own mob, or he is outside the mob. Woe to him, above all, if he stands outside the mob with the mute protest of his individual personality! That is what happened at the Crucifixion of Christ. Christ, the Incarnate Son of God, came as a person, seeking the understanding, the acceptance of the love of free persons. He found Himself face to face with a compact fanatical group, that wanted nothing of His Person. They feared HIs disturbing uniqueness. It was necessary, as Caiphas said, that this 'one man should die for the nation'--that the individual Person, and about all this Person, should be sacrificed to the collectivity. From its very birth, Christianity has been categorically opposed to everything that savors of the mass-movement." ~ Thomas Merton (DISPUTED QUESTIONS, page 132)

with thanks to the Thomas Merton group's "Words of Merton" .. this one was too profound not to share via blog (or via megaphone for that matter!!!)

Friday, August 20, 2010


"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

~Hebrews 13:2

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge-
That is curiosity.

There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others-
That is vanity.

There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve-
That is love. ~~~

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mirror of Eternity

“Place your mind before the mirror of eternity! Place your soul in the brilliance of glory! And transform your entire being into the image of the Godhead Itself through contemplation."

St. Clare of Assisi

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." 14 "I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity".

Jeremiah 29:11-14

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010

We Draw Near

When he took the three disciples to the mountainside to pray
His countenance was modified, his clothing was aflame
Two men appeared; Moses and Elijah came
They were at his side
The prophecy, the legislation spoke of whenever he would die

Then there came a word
Of what he should accomplish on the day
Then Peter spoke, to make of them a tabernacle place
A cloud appeared in glory as an accolade
They fell on the ground
A voice arrived, the voice of God
The face of God, covered in a cloud

What he said to them
The voice of God: the most beloved son
Consider what he says to you, consider what's to come
The prophecy was put to death
Was put to death, and so will the Son
And keep your word, disguise the vision till the time has come

Lost in the cloud, a voice: Have no fear! We draw near!
Lost in the cloud, a sign: Son of man! Turn your ear!
Lost in the cloud, a voice: Lamb of God! We draw near!
Lost in the cloud, a sign: Son of man! Son of God!


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Amy Carmichael (1867-1951)

River of God

O River of God, Thy quickening streams
Cause me to bud again;
My winter past as one who dreams
I see my Summer reign.
For my bare height fresh pasture yields,
Where never grass did grow;
And in the borders of my fields
I see fair lilies blow.

My glowing sand becomes a pool
And all around is green,
And all is restful, quiet, cool,
As in a deep ravine.
O for a worthy song to sing
Thy goodness unto me.
Lord Jesus, my eternal Spring,
All glory be to Thee.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mystery of Iniquity

We say to each other that we need some solitude in our lives. What we really are thinking of, however, is a time and a place for ourselves in which we are not bothered by other people, can think our own thughts, express our own complaints, and do our own thing, whatever it may be.

For us solitude most often means privacy. We have come to the dubious conviction that we all have a right to privacy. Solitude thus becomes a spiritual property for which we can compete on the free market of spiritual goods. But there is more. We also think of solitude as a station where we can recharge our batteries, or as the corner of a boxing ring where our wounds are oiled, our muscles massaged, and our courage restored by fitting slogans. In short, we think of solitude as a place that we gather new strength to continue the ongoing completion of life.

But that is not the solitude of St. John the Baptist, of St. Anthony or St. Benedict, of Charles de Foucauld or the brothers of Taize. For them solitude is not a private therapeutic place. Rather, it is the place of conversion, the place where the old self dies and the new self is born, the place where the emergence of the new man and new woman occurs...

It is the struggle to die to the false self. But this struggle is far, far beyond our own strength. Anyone who wants to fight his demons with his own weapons is a fool. The wisdom of the desert is that the confrontation with our own frightening nothingness forces us to surrender ourselves totally and unconditionally to the Lord Jesus Christ. Alone, we cannot face "the mystery of iniquity" with impunity. Only Christ can overcome the powers of evil. Only in and through Him can we survive the trials of our solitude.

~ Henri J.M. Nouwen

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sooner or Later

There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passerby only see a whisp of smoke coming through the chimney, and go along their way. Look here, now what must be done? Must one tend the inner fire, have salt in oneself, wait patiently yet with how much impatience for the hour when somebody will come and sit down-- maybe to stay? Let him who believes in God wait for the hour that will come sooner or later.

~ Vincent van Gogh

Monday, August 2, 2010

Presence of the Angel

We can keep faith in a bubble of belief so that we don't see it having direct relevance in day-to-day living. I've worked with several people who are very devoted to religion and pride themselves on their faith. But they have no trust in themselves, and they don't entrust themselves to life. In fact, they use their belief system to keep life at a distance. Their belief in religion is absolute, it is the whole of life; but when they are asked to trust a person or a new development in their own lives, they run for cover.

Belief can be fixed and unchanging, but faith is almost always a response to the presence of the angel, like the one who stirs the waters. Or it could be the angel who appears to the Virgin Mary and demands absurd faith in his message that she is pregnant with a divine child. "Fiat mihi," she says to the angel, "Let it happen to me even though I don't understand."

This angel, Gabriel, appears more often than you might think, telling us that we are pregnant with a new form of life that we should accept and trust.

~Thomas Moore

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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