Blog posts

POETRY: Blessed Is The Man, by Marianne Moore

June 6, 2017

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2) who does not sit in the seat of the scoffer— the man who does not denigrate, depreciate, denunciate; who is not “characteristically intemperate,” who does not “excuse, retreat, equivocate; and will be heard.” (Ah, Giorgione! there are those who mongrelize and those who heighten anything they touch; although it may well be that if Giorgione’s self-portrait were not said to be he, it might not take my fancy. Blessed the geniuses who know that egomania is not a [...]

THE LORD’S PRAYER: Prevenience, by Evelyn Underhill

June 5, 2017

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  May that strange directive power of which from time-to-time we are conscious as the controlling factor of life have pity on our weakness and lead us out of confusion into peace. This abject confession of helplessness seems at first sight to be meant for the untried and bewildered neophyte, in whom the gifts of the Spirit have not yet had time to grow.  Actually, it is the culmination of the prayer which was given to the Church of God in the persons of her Apostles; those through whom the sanctification of human history was to be set going, the handful of men to whom we owe our Christian inheritance.  It is this picked band, these channels of the Spirit, already surrendered to the [...]

JESUS: God’s Choice, by Mark G. Boyer

June 5, 2017

  Scripture:Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you Corinthians were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.  But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.  He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. (1 Corinthians 1:26-30) Reflection:In his First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells the Corinthians that they would not have called fellow Corinthians, but [...]

JESUS: Finding Another, by Mark G. Boyer

June 4, 2017

  Scripture:Jesus decided to go to Galilee.  He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”  Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.  Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus, son of Joseph from Nazareth.”  Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (John 1:43-45) Reflection:John the Baptist is the model of pointing out Jesus to others.  Philip is the model of finding another and bringing him or her to Jesus.  It is important to notice the pattern: Jesus finds Philip, who finds Nathanael.  Once Philip has found Nathanael [...]

BLESSING: Blessing To Prepare For Pentecost, by Peter John Cameron

June 3, 2017

Word of God To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. (1 Corinthians 12:7) Blessing of the Manifestation of the Holy Spirit Before the Holy Spirit came, the humanity of Christ, to which human affection clung, needed to be taken away from before the eyes of the disciples.  We were not able to receive both Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and neither could we endure the presence of both. (Saint Augustine) Come, Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, finding us in a state of deformity, restores our original beauty and fills us with his grace, leaving no room for anything unworthy of his love. (Didymus of Alexandria) Come, Holy Spirit. The presence of the gift of the Holy Spirit is the fuller the greater a person’s [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Nine, Self Control, by Philip Bochanski

June 3, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit Hymn: Veni Creator Spiritus Come, Holy Ghost, Creator, come from thy bright heav’nly throne; come, take possession of our souls, and make them all thine own. Thou who art called the Paraclete, best gift of God above, the living spring, the living fire, sweet unction and true love. Thou who art sevenfold in thy grace, finger of God’s right hand; his promise, teaching little ones to speak and understand. O guide our minds with thy blest light, with love our hearts inflame; and with thy strength, which ne’er decays, confirm our mortal frame. Far from us drive our deadly foe; true peace unto us bring; and through all perils lead us safe beneath thy sacred wing. Through thee may we the Father [...]

JESUS: Lamb Of God, by Mark G. Boyer

June 3, 2017

  Scripture:The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!”  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.  One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah,” (which is translated Anointed).  He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon, son of John.  You are to be called Cephas (which is translated Peter). (John 1:35-37, 40-42) Reflection: After Andrew hears John the Baptist declare Jesus to be the Lamb of God, he immediately answers the [...]

HEALING: Finding Glory In Our Torment

June 2, 2017

I am not a grey-haired someone who sits back and is impressed by how well I have surmounted the very hairy challenges in my life. Instead, I am a grey-haired somebody who walks about being very impressed by how I have managed to survive God all my life. I have these periods when God taps me on the shoulder and whispers, Julia, got a minute?  Let’s heal something in you. As do other people, I realize. Each and every time I go through a let’s-get-healed period I think, Ah, ha.  This is it.  I’ve gotten to the bottom of it all at last! But, no. Not only do these very real spiritual strippings occur on a regular basis. They get worse every time. The pain is more profound.  The discovery more exacting and excruciating. And [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Eight, Gentleness, by Philip Bochanski

June 2, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit Hymn: Hymn To Saint Philip This is the saint of gentleness and kindness, Cheerful in penance, and in precept winning; Patiently healing of their pride and blindness Souls that are sinning. This is the saint who, when the world allures us, Cries her false wares, and ope’s her magic coffers, Points to a better city, and secures us With richer offers. Love is his bond; he knows no other fetter, Asks not our all, but takes whate’er we spare him, Willing to draw us on from good to better, As we can bear him. When he comes near to teach us and to bless us, Prayer is so sweet that hours are but a minute; Mirth is so pure, though freely it possess us, Sin is not in it. Thus he conducts by holy paths and pleasant [...]

JESUS: Suffering, by Mark G. Boyer

June 2, 2017

  Scripture:Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.  If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you.  Yet if any of you suffers as a Christian, do not consider it a disgrace, but glorify God because you bear this name.  Therefore, let those suffering in accordance with God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator while continuing to do good. (1 Peter 4:12-14, 16, 19) Reflection: Just [...]

VIRTUES: Getting Your Life Back by Gary L. Thomas

June 1, 2017

From: The Glorious Pursuit Once you let God into you, you have God in you. And God is a dynamo. (Peter Kreeft) On August 20, 1949, a rather bizarre headline appeared on the front page of the Washington Post: “Priest Frees Mount Ranier Boy Reported Held in Devil’s Grip.”  Though the exorcism took place in St. Louis, the story made top billing in the Post because the thirteen-year-old boy was a native of Mount Ranier, Maryland, a small town in the shadow of Washington, DC. The boy, “Robbie,” had developed a close relationship with a spiritualist aunt.  After the aunt died, objects started flying around the room in Robbie’s presence.  Robbie’s family turned to their priest, Father Luther Miles [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Seven, Faithfulness, by Philip Bochanski

June 1, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit Hymn: Veni Creator Spiritus Come, Holy Ghost, Creator, come from thy bright heav’nly throne; come, take possession of our souls, and make them all thine own. Thou who art called the Paraclete, best gift of God above, the living spring, the living fire, sweet unction and true love. Thou who art sevenfold in thy grace, finger of God’s right hand; his promise, teaching little ones to speak and understand. O guide our minds with thy blest light, with love our hearts inflame; and with thy strength, which ne’er decays, confirm our mortal frame. Far from us drive our deadly foe; true peace unto us bring; and through all perils lead us safe beneath thy sacred wing. Through thee may we the Father [...]

JESUS: Cross, by Mark G. Boyer

June 1, 2017

Scripture:For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  Where is the one who is wise?   Where is the scribe?  Where is the debater of this age?  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe.  For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Six, Goodness, by Philip Bochanski

May 31, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit Hymn: Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest, And in our souls take up your rest; Come with your grace and Heavenly aid To fill the hearts which you have made. O Comforter, to you we cry, O Heavenly gift of God Most High, O fount of life and fire of love, And sweet anointing from above. You in your sevenfold gifts are known; You, finger of God’s hand we own; You, promise of the Father, you Who do the tongue with power imbue. Kindle our senses from above, And make our hearts overflow with love; With patience firm and virtue high The weakness of our flesh supply. Far from us drive the foe we dread, And grant us your peace instead; So shall we not, with you for guide, Turn from [...]

JESUS: Count The Cost, by Mark G. Boyer

May 31, 2017

Scripture:Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.  Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.  For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?  Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider, whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand?  So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. (Luke 14:26-33) Reflection:The author of Luke’s gospel portrays Jesus as stating [...]

POETRY: Ascension, by Denis Devlin

May 31, 2017

It happens through the blond window, the trees With diverse leaves divide the light, light birds; Aengus, the god of Love, my shoulders brushed With birds, you could say lark or thrush or thieves And not be right yet—or ever right— For it was God’s Son foreign to our moor: When I looked out the window, all was white, And what’s beloved in the heart was sure, With such a certainty ascended He, The Son of Man who deigned Himself to be: That when we lifted out of sleep, there was Life with its dark, and love above the [...]

PSALMS: Classification, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

May 30, 2017

We shall arrange the subjects dealt with in the Psalter prayers in the following manner: the creation; the law; holy history; the Messiah; the church; life; suffering; guilt; enemies; the end.  It would not be difficult to arrange these according to the Lord’s Prayer and to show how the Psalter is totally absorbed in the prayer of Jesus.  But in order not to anticipate this result of our observations, we want to remain with the arrangement inferred from the Psalter itself. [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Five, Kindness, by Philip Bochanski

May 30, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit Hymn: Veni Creator Spiritus Come, Holy Ghost, Creator, come from thy bright heav’nly throne; come, take possession of our souls, and make them all thine own. Thou who art called the Paraclete, best gift of God above, the living spring, the living fire, sweet unction and true love. Thou who art sevenfold in thy grace, finger of God’s right hand; his promise, teaching little ones to speak and understand. O guide our minds with thy blest light, with love our hearts inflame; and with thy strength, which ne’er decays, confirm our mortal frame. Far from us drive our deadly foe; true peace unto us bring; and through all perils lead us safe beneath thy sacred wing. Through thee may we the Father [...]

JESUS: Division, by Mark G. Boyer

May 30, 2017

  Scripture:Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the Earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.  Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39) Reflection:Another cost of discipleship is family [...]

THE LORD’S PRAYER: Forgiveness, by Evelyn Underhill

May 29, 2017

It is part of the economy of mercy, the redemptive and transforming work of God, that the Divine Charity already present within the soul should overflow to make good its shortcomings and blot out its sins.  Were this not so, our situation would be hopeless; for we share by nature in the disorder of a fallen world, its implicit resistance to the demands of love.  So here we continue our filial and confident claim on that Charity; a claim which our situation, whether as children or as creatures, compels us to make.  Forgive us our trespasses – our voluntary share in the world’s sinfulness – as we forgive them that trespass against us.  Penitence is ever the fruit of adoring vision.  “The more holy I find God,” said [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Four, Patience, by Philip Bochanski

May 29, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit Hymn: Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest, And in our souls take up your rest; Come with your grace and Heavenly aid To fill the hearts which you have made. O Comforter, to you we cry, O Heavenly gift of God Most High, O fount of life and fire of love, And sweet anointing from above. You in your sevenfold gifts are known; You, finger of God’s hand we own; You, promise of the Father, you Who do the tongue with power imbue. Kindle our senses from above, And make our hearts overflow with love; With patience firm and virtue high The weakness of our flesh supply. Far from us drive the foe we dread, And grant us your peace instead; So shall we not, with you for guide, Turn from [...]

JESUS: Deny Self, by Mark G. Boyer

May 29, 2017

  Scripture:Jesus called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35)   Reflection:A spirituality of  mission that does not examine the cost of discipleship has deceived itself.  Following Jesus costs disciples themselves.  Therefore, the first thing potential followers must do is know themselves so they know exactly what they are going to deny.  The Markan Jesus makes denying self a prerequisite of discipleship.  The author of Matthew’s gospel [...]

GOD 101: The Punishment Of God!, or not

May 28, 2017

This is a long life that we live.  Day in and day out. And given that we come here having been given not so much as a clue as to which end is up in terms of God and man, it’s a wonder we get through to the end at all. And not just combust spontaneously somewhere in the middle. From frustration. So why are we here again today? Well, it’s this frustration I have with people’s notions about God and his seemingly endless (well, he is eternal now, isn’t he) desire to Get Back At Us. When I listen to some people I get this picture of God, with his clipboards and dictates, taking it all down.  Looking it over.  Coming to an Ah Ha! about us. It brings to mind the question, Does God have a separate department for [...]

JESUS: Giving Life, by Mark G. Boyer

May 28, 2017

  Scripture:About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church.  He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword.  After he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also.  (This was during the festival of Unleavened Bread.)  When he had seized him, he put him in prison and handed him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending to bring him out to the people after the Passover.  While Peter was kept in prison, the church prayed fervently to God for him. (Acts 12:1-5) Reflection:James, one of the twelve apostles, was killed by Herod Agrippa I, the grandson of Herod the Great, who killed John the Baptist.  The narrator of the Acts of the Apostles tells the [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Three, Peace, by Philip Bochanski

May 28, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit Hymn: Hymn To Saint Philip This is the saint of gentleness and kindness, Cheerful in penance, and in precept winning; Patiently healing of their pride and blindness Souls that are sinning. This is the saint who, when the world allures us, Cries her false wares, and ope’s her magic coffers, Points to a better city, and secures us With richer offers. Love is his bond; he knows no other fetter, Asks not our all, but takes whate’er we spare him, Willing to draw us on from good to better, As we can bear him. When he comes near to teach us and to bless us, Prayer is so sweet that hours are but a minute; Mirth is so pure, though freely it possess us, Sin is not in it. Thus he conducts by holy paths and [...]

POETRY: Sunday After Ascension, by John Keble

May 28, 2017

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (Peter 4:10) The Earth that in her genial breast Makes for the down a kindly nest, Where wafted by the warm south-west It floats at pleasure, Yields, thankful, of her very best, To nurse her treasure: True to her trust, tree, herb, or reed, She renders for each scatter’d seed, And to her Lord with duteous heed Gives large increase: Thus year by year she works unfeed, And will not cease. Woe worth these barren hearts of ours, Where Thou hast set celestial flowers, And water’d with more balmy showers, Than e’er distill’d In Eden, on th’ ambrosial bowers— Yet nought we yield. Largely Thou givest, gracious [...]

JESUS: Philip Interprets Scripture, by Mark G. Boyer

May 27, 2017

Scripture:The eunuch (a court official of Candace, queen of Ethiopia) asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet Isaiah say this: ‘Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth,’ about himself or about someone else?”  Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus.  As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water!  What is to prevent me from being baptized?”  He commanded the chariot to stop.  And Philip baptized him.  When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Two, Joy, by Philip Bochanski

May 27, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit Hymn: Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest, And in our souls take up your rest; Come with your grace and Heavenly aid To fill the hearts which you have made. O Comforter, to you we cry, O Heavenly gift of God Most High, O fount of life and fire of love, And sweet anointing from above. You in your sevenfold gifts are known; You, finger of God’s hand we own; You, promise of the Father, you Who do the tongue with power imbue. Kindle our senses from above, And make our hearts overflow with love; With patience firm and virtue high The weakness of our flesh supply. Far from us drive the foe we dread, And grant us your peace instead; So shall we not, with you for guide, Turn from [...]

POETRY: Ascension, by Malcolm Guite

May 27, 2017

We saw his light break through the cloud of glory Whilst we were rooted still in time and place As Earth became a part of Heaven’s story And Heaven opened to his human face. We saw him go and yet we were not parted He took us with him to the heart of things The heart that broke for all the broken-hearted Is whole and Heaven-centered now, and sings, Sings in the strength that rises out of weakness, Sings through the clouds that veil him from our sight, Whilst we ourselves become his clouds of witness And sing the waning darkness into light, His light in us, and ours in him concealed, Which all creation waits to see revealed [...]