30 October 2009

Steve Martin

29 October 2009

Christian Wiman

"I don't really think it's possible for humans to be at the same time concious and comfortable (p. 244)."

21 October 2009

Wendell Berry

From A World Lost: "But if murder is the ultimate carelessness, it is also the ultimate oversimplifier. It is the paramount act (there are others) by which we reduce a human being to the dimension of one thought (125)."

Anger, or lust, I would think, also do the same thing; any intense feeling: it narrows another person to a single perspective.

19 October 2009

Byron Wilding, New York, 1988

17 October 2009

Augustine defines true sacrifice

A true sacrifice is anything that we do with the aim of being united to God in holy fellowship – anything that is that is directed towards that supreme good and end in which alone we can be truly blessed. It follows that even an act of compassion towards men is not a sacrifice, if it is not done for the sake of God. Although it is performed by man, sacrifice is still a divine thing, as the Latin word indicates: “sacri-ficium,” “holy-doing” or “holy-making.” Man himself can be a sacrifice, if he is consecrated in the name of God, and vowed to God – a sacrifice in so far as he dies to the world in order to live to God. This is also an act of compassion: compassion of a man for himself. Thus it is written: take pity on your own soul by doing what is pleasing to God.
True sacrifices are acts of compassion to ourselves or others, done with God in mind. Such acts have no other object than the relief of distress or the giving of happiness.... (more)

15 October 2009

St. Teresa of Avila

A favourite story about St Teresa illustrates the intimate relationship that the saints have with God. When she was on one of her innumerable journeys across Spain, her horse threw her as she was crossing a river. Soaked to the skin she looked up to heaven and said, “If this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few of them!” We should bring everything to God in our prayers, even our reproaches. For a reproach, in the end, is simply our way of offering up to God our incomprehension of what he is giving us.

From today's Universalis. http://www.universalis.com/-700/today.htm

08 October 2009

There is a moment each day...

"There is a Moment in each Day that Satan cannot find." -- Blake

07 October 2009

The past and time

My carpet cleaner's wife has been afflicted with Alzheimer's and he has had to place her in a "home." As you can imagine, the emotional turmoil has been fierce for him. A counselor told him that he would have to decide whether he would live in the past or move on with his life into the future. If he chose to live in the past, the counselor said, time will seem move faster.

Is that true? If we live in the past, will time seem to move faster?

06 October 2009

From Psalm 68 [13]

"the wings of the dove shine with silver,
her feathers glow with green gold."

05 October 2009

Why we pray for all and not so much ourselves

This from St. Ambrose on the effect of praying for all people.

"Above all, you must pray for the whole people: that is, for the whole body, for every part of your mother the Church, whose distinguishing feature is mutual love. If you ask for something for yourself then you will be praying for yourself only – and you must remember that more grace comes to one who prays for others than to any ordinary sinner. If each person prays for all people, then all people are effectively praying for each.
In conclusion, if you ask for something for yourself alone, you will be the only one asking for it; but if you ask for benefits for all, all in their turn will be asking for them for you. For you are in fact one of the “all.” Thus it is a great reward, as each person’s prayers acquire the weight of the prayers of everyone. There is nothing presumptuous about thinking like this: on the contrary, it is a sign of greater humility and more abundant fruitfulness."

This ties in with the rational behind reciting the liturgy: we, in effect, begin to learn to sympathetically voice the concerns of others, taking their very words into our mouths. We become them; we escape the narrowness of me.

03 October 2009

Roger Wagner. The Harvest Is the End of the World and the Reapers Are the Angels

Characteristics of excellent writing

"We look for Fiction, Poetry and Creative Nonfiction that is well-crafted and lively, has an intelligent sense of form and language, assumes a degree of risk, and has consequence beyond the world of its speakers or narrators."

This is from the submissions page to the Chaffey Review. I think it would make an equally good criteria for preaching, especially the last two marks.

02 October 2009

The Guardian Angels

I am becoming more and more impressed by Catholic and Orthodoxy's understanding of the reality and particularity of the invisible world; that there are persons, human and angelic, that can and should be related to. Today is the feast of the Guardian Angels. This sentence came at the end of a short explanation on Universalis Today of who and what the angels do for us : "Let us use this feast to remind ourselves that each of us has an angel of our very own looking after us; and also to pray to God for our own Guardian Angel. What a bore and a burden to them some of us are. May we one day be a cause of rejoicing for them also."

From St. Bernard's homily on our angels:

... And so, that nothing in heaven should be wanting in your concern for us, you send those blessed spirits to serve us, assigning them as our guardians and our teachers.
He has given his angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways. These words should fill you with respect, inspire devotion and instil confidence; respect for the presence of angels, devotion because of their loving service, and confidence because of their protection. And so the angels are here; they are at your side, they are with you, present on your behalf. They are here to protect you and to serve you. But even if it is God who has given them this charge, we must nonetheless be grateful to them for the great love with which they obey and come to help us in our great need.
So let us be devoted and grateful to such great protectors; let us return their love and honour them as much as we can and should. Yet all our love and honour must go to him, for it is from him that they receive all that makes them worthy of our love and respect.
We should then, my brothers, show our affection for the angels, for one day they will be our co-heirs just as here below they are our guardians and trustees appointed and set over us by the Father. We are God’s children although it does not seem so, because we are still but small children under guardians and trustees, and for the present little better than slaves.
Even though we are children and have a long, a very long and dangerous way to go, with such protectors what have we to fear? They who keep us in all our ways cannot be overpowered or led astray, much less lead us astray. They are loyal, prudent, powerful. Why then are we afraid? We have only to follow them, stay close to them, and we shall dwell under the protection of God’s heaven.