Friday, December 31, 2010
For many of us although a new year is full of hope and promises, it is sometimes hard to reach beyond discouragement and truly live in hope and perseverance of your dreams.
To all of my friends and family who have endured challenges, hardships, discouragement, and disappointment this year, this is for you. Your strength and perseverance is truly an inspiration to me. Keep on keeping on.
In 2011, continue to "do it anyway", and you may just see mountains move, and veils lifted before your very eyes.
by Ben Jonson
I sing the birth was born tonight,
The Author both of life and light;
The angels so did sound it,
And like the ravished shepherds said,
Who saw the light, and were afraid,
Yet searched, and true they found it.
The Son of God, the eternal King,
That did us all salvation bring,
And freed the soul from danger;
He whom the whole world could not take,
The Word, which heaven and earth did make,
Was now laid in a manger.
The Father's wisdom willed it so,
The Son's obedience knew no "No,"
Both wills were in one stature;
And as that wisdom had decreed,
The Word was now made Flesh indeed,
And took on Him our nature.
What comfort by Him do we win?
Who made Himself the Prince of sin,
To make us heirs of glory?
To see this Babe, all innocence,
A Martyr born in our defense,
Can man forget this story?
Thursday, December 30, 2010
by Thomas Hardy
Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
"Now they are all on their knees,"
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.
We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.
So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
"Come; see the oxen kneel
"In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,"
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
by G.K.ChestertonThere fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.
For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.
A child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost---how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky's dome.
This world is wild as an old wife's tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.
To an open house in the evening
Home shall all men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.
Day 4 The Holy Night
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
We sate among the stalls at Bethlehem;
The dumb kine from their fodder turning them,
Softened their horned faces
To almost human gazes
Toward the newly Born:
The simple shepherds from the star-lit brooks
Brought their visionary looks,
As yet in their astonied hearing rung
The strange sweet angel-tonge:
The magi of the East, in sandals worn,
Knelt reverent, sweeping round,
With long pale beards, their gifts upon the ground,
The incense, myrrh, and gold
These baby hands were impotent to hold:
So let all earthlies and celestials wait
Upon thy royal state.
Sleep, sleep, my kingly One!
Moonless darkness stands between
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Moonless darkness stands between.
Past, the Past, no more be seen!
But the Bethlehem-star may lead me
To the sight of Him Who freed me
From the self that I have been.
Make me pure, Lord: Thou art holy;
Make me meek, Lord: Thou wert lowly;
Now beginning, and alway:
Now begin, on Christmas day.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
by George Herbert
The shepherds sing ; and shall I silent be?
My God, no hymne for thee?
My soul ’s a shepherd too : a flock it feeds
Of thoughts, and words, and deeds.
The pasture is thy word ; the streams, thy grace
Enriching all the place.
Shepherd and flock shall sing, and all my powers
Out-sing the day-light houres.
Then we will chide the sunne for letting night
Take up his place and right :
We sing one common Lord ; wherefore he should
Himself the candle hold.
I will go searching, till I finde a sunne
Shall stay, till we have done ;
A willing shiner, that shall shine as gladly,
As frost-nipt sunnes look sadly.
Then we will sing, and shine all our own day,
And one another pay :
His beams shall cheer my breast, and both so twine,
Till ev’n his beams sing, and my musick shine.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
A Christmas Poem
by Catherine Doherty
You who are
from all men.
Into the silence
Surrender to it.
You who are
Come to the
You who are
Child in it
Is what you seek.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
In a way that is entirely unique to the thoughtful atmosphere that a solitary road trip provides, taking an airplane ride always seems to provoke a singular sense of reflection and introspection for me.
Last night I think I put my finger on why. Flying high above the houses and hills, trees and clouds, being able to see the earth beneath you for miles and miles gives you a superhuman perspective. Both literally and figuratively.
This is not a perspective that, unless you are a pilot or stewardess, you see on a daily basis. It is a perspective that evokes a sense of wonder and awe. In a mysterious way, it helps you to gain a more vivid sense of your place in the world. Seeing the expansive earth below me made me think about what a small part it is that I have in this universe; yet I have a totally singular part in this universe. Even more amazing, is the realization that amidst all of this vast and orchestrated creation, we were created by God to fulfill a specific role and to answer a specific call. It's marvelous.
In the midst of the metaphysical thoughts that looking out of your airplane window evokes, it also beckons one to put all of your current worries, problems, plans, and experiences in a larger perspective. In the perspective of the Eternal Creator.
Of course, it also makes you think of the heavens, feel closer to the heavens, and meditate on what heaven is like.
I think that also, it fills you with a sense of gratitude. About a half an hour before we landed in Pittsburgh, I reveled in the night scene outside my window. The billowy clouds beneath the plane looked like we were traveling above fluffy cotton candy. The sky above the clouds was hazy, and then turned into a light blue, which turned into a darker blue, leading the eye to gaze at the clear stars and the bright almost-full moon.
It looked like a scene from a storybook. But we were traveling in it. It was magnificant.
"The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor." ~ 1 Corinthians 15:41
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
"The idea of waiting is found in many of the psalms. For example, Psalm 39: "I waited, I waited for the Lord till he stooped down to me"; and Psalm 41: "Like the deer that yearns for running streams so my soul is yearning for you, my God". Listening, watching, yearning, longing, thirsting this is what prayer consists of. It does not involve complicated mental activities; it is a simple way of communicating with God. This is the way we communicate with people who are close to us; it is also the way we communicate with God who abides in our hearts. Words are totally inadequate when communicating with God. They are incapable of expressing the deep sentiments of the heart. Only simple but profound expressions of the heart like yearning and watching are able to sustain the depth and intensity of our silent, unspoken prayer.
St. Augustine has expressed this beautifully in the following passage from his Commentary on the Psalms: "All my longing is known to you". Not to men, who cannot see into the heart but to you, my God, is all my desire laid bare. Does your longing lie open to him? Then the Father, who sees in secret, will give you your heart's desire. This very longing is your prayer. Not for nothing did the Apostle tell us 'to pray without ceasing'. Did he mean that we were to be perpetually on our knees, or lying prostrate, or raising our hands? If that is our idea of prayer, I consider that unceasing prayer is beyond our capacity.
There is another kind of prayer, however, interior and continuous: the prayer of desire. Whatever else you are doing, if your desire is for the Sabbath rest, you do not cease to pray. So, then, if you do not wish your prayer to be interrupted, do not let your longing flag. Ceaseless longing will be your ceaseless cry. Let your love fail, and you will fall silent. Who are the people whose cry is silenced? Are they not those of whom it is said: 'Since iniquity has been at large, love has grown cold in the hearts of the majority of men'? Love grown cold means a heart become silent; burning love is the heart's cry. If your love is abiding, your cry will be continuous; a continuous cry is a sign of abiding desire, and abiding desire means that you are ever mindful of your heart's repose" (l9).
St. John Chrysostom teaches the same: "You should not think of prayer as being a matter of words. It is a desire for God, an indescribable devotion, not of human origin, but the gift of God's grace" (20)
Saturday, November 27, 2010
I am not going to be ready to head back on my independent adventure tomorrow morning, But for now I will store up all the family togetherness to carr with me as I embark again on my journey once more.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
"People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea,
at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular
motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering... Now, let us
acknowledge the wonder of our physical incarnation— that we are here, in these
particular bodies, at this particular time, in these particular circumstances.
May we never take for granted the gift of our individuality."
— Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
— George Herbert (1593-1633)
for that we need never cease our singing. With all our wisdom and foresight we can
take a lesson in gladness and gratitude from the happy bird that sings all night,
as if the day were not long enough to tell its joy."
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
— Charles Edward Jefferson (1860-1937)
— G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)