Jesus Christ

HUMILITY: Humility In The Life Of Jesus by Andrew Murray

April 19, 2018

From Humility The only hope of a decreasing self is an increasing Christ. (F. B. Meyer)   I am among you as one who serves. (Luke 22:27) In the gospel of John we have the inner life of our Lord laid open before us.  Jesus spoke frequently of his relationship to the Father, of the motives by which he was guided, of his consciousness of the power and Spirit in which he acted.  Though the word humble does not occur in scripture, the humility of Christ is clearly revealed.  We have already said that this virtue is nothing but the simple consent of the creature to let God be all, the surrender of itself to his working alone.  In Jesus we see how both as the Son of God in Heaven and the Son of Man on Earth, he took the place of entire [...]

PRAYER: Easter by Adam of St. Victor

April 16, 2018

I see flames of orange, yellow, and red shooting upwards to the sky, piercing the whole clouds. I see the clouds themselves chasing the flames upwards, and I feel the air itself reaching for the heavens. Down below I see great, grey rocks beating against the earth, as if they were pushing their way down to hell. At your resurrection that which is light and good rises up with you, and that which is heavy and evil is pushed downwards. At your resurrection goodness breaks from evil, life breaks free from death. [...]

HYMN: Loving Shepherd Of Thy Sheep by Jane Elizabeth Leeson

April 15, 2018

1 Loving Shepherd of Thy sheep, Keep Thy lamb, in safety keep; Nothing can Thy power withstand; None can pluck me from Thy hand. 2 Loving Savior, Thou didst give Thine own life that we might live; And the hands outstretched to bless Bear the cruel nails’ impress. 3 We would praise Thee every day, Gladly all Thy will obey, Like Thy blessed ones above Happy in Thy precious love. 4 Loving Shepherd, ever near, Teach Thy lambs Thy voice to hear; Suffer not our steps to stray From the strait and narrow way. 5 Where Thou leadest we would go, Walking in Thy steps below, Till before our Father’s throne We shall know as we are known. [...]

HUMILITY: The Secret Of Redemption by Andrew Murray

April 12, 2018

From Humility If you are looking for an example of humility, look at the cross. (Thomas Aquinas) Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on the cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name. (Philippians 2:5-9) No tree can grow except on the root from which it sprang.  Through all its existence it can only live by the life that was in the seed that gave it being.  The full [...]

POETRY: Eastern River by Peter Huchel

April 11, 2018

Do not look for the stones in water above the mud, the boat is gone. No longer with nets and baskets the river is dotted. The sun wick, the marsh marigold flickered out in rain. Only the willow still bears witness, in its roots the secrets of tramps lie hidden, their paltry treasures, a rusty fishhook, a bottle full of sand, a tine with no bottom, in which to preserve conversations long forgotten. On the boughs, empty nests of the penduline titmice, shoes light as birds. No one slips them over children’s [...]

POETRY: In A Country Church by R. S. Thomas

April 6, 2018

To one kneeling down no word came, Only the wind’s song, saddening the lips Of the grave saints, rigid in glass; Or the dry whisper of unseen wings, Bats not angels, in the high roof. Was he balked by silence? He kneeled long, And saw love in a dark crown Of thorns blazing, and a winter tree Golden with fruit of a man’s [...]

HUMILITY: The Glory Of The Creature by Andrew Murray

April 5, 2018

From Humility Humility is the proper estimate of oneself. (Charles Spurgeon) They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being. (Revelation 4:10-11) When God created the universe, it was with the objective of making those he created partakers of his perfection and blessedness, thus showing forth the glory of his love and wisdom and power.  God desired to reveal himself in and through his creatures by communicating to them as much of his own goodness and glory as they were capable of receiving.  But this communication was not meant to give created beings something they could possess [...]

POETRY: John 21 by Katherine James

April 4, 2018

Poignant musht in a balm of fishy-charcoal, sand still cold from the night. The charred wood could write volumes on the hearts of 12, no, 11 men in tunics, veins busting from skin salty with ocean and sweat. The loved one cannot write the words, though try as he does. It’s the smell of morning and the peopled wooden boat that prevent him; anything white becomes radiant in early dawn. He hangs back and listens to words exchanged that will travel centuries, and even then settle uneven in the hearts of men. It’s all too wonderful to expect such things, but he must, so he chooses the third person as though he were someone [...]

SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST: Seventh Word, Witness—Margaret Mary Alacoque by Charles M. Murphy

March 31, 2018

From Eucharistic Adoration It is finished. (John 19:30) Bernard Haring, the Redemptorist priest who sought to renew moral theology by delivering it from the categories of canon law to the language of the gospel, wrote this regarding the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus inspired by the life and witness of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque: History shows that devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and a great love of the Eucharist are inseparable.  Jesus, who gave us this memorial of his sacrificial and atoning love, is now present in the Eucharist to bestow on us the wonderful pledge of the love of his heart.  It is especially in the Eucharist that he offers us an exchange of heart, conforming our hearts to his heart. The life of Margaret [...]

SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST: Sixth Word, Witness—Mother Teresa of Calcutta by Charles M. Murphy

March 30, 2018

From Eucharistic Adoration I thirst. (John 19:28) Mother Teresa recalled that it was on a train journey to Darjeeling, on September 10, 1946, that she received a second vocation within religious life, “a vocation to give up even Loreto where I was very happy and to go out in the streets to serve the poorest of the poor.”  In 1928 she had left her home in Albania to join the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland who, at her request, assigned her to teach in India.  She felt an overwhelming desire not just to teach the poor in school and then send them home but also to go live among them and experience herself the poverty in which they lived.  September 10 is observed as “Inspiration Day,” the true beginning of the Missionaries of Charity [...]

SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST: Fifth Word, Witness—Bless John Paul II by Charles M. Murphy

March 29, 2018

From Eucharistic Adoration Woman, this is your son. Son, this is your mother. (John 19:27) As the second millennium of the birth of Christ drew near, Pope John Paul II issued a reflection upon the Mother of the Redeemer.  Citing the Second Vatican Council, he recalls that the church in the course of history “proceeds along the path already trodden by the Virgin Mary who ‘advanced in her pilgrimage of faith and loyally persevered in her union with her son unto the cross.’”  There, he says, “Mary’s motherhood is a gift, a gift which Christ himself makes personally to every individual.” Karol Wojtyla’s life was characterized by devotion to the mother of God who, he believed, saved him when he lost his own mother at the age [...]

SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST: Fourth Word, Witness—Blessed John XXIII by Charles M. Murphy

March 28, 2018

From Eucharistic Adoration Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. (Luke 23:46) Behind the genial smile and peasant simplicity of Angelo Roncalli, Pope John XXIII, was a closely guarded secret, his soul and the constant soul work in which he was so seriously engaged all his life.  From 1895, when he was fourteen, until 1962, a few months before his death at eighty-one – a span of almost seventy years – he kept a daily journal to which he later gave the title Il Giornale dell’ Anima (The Journal of a Soul).  In it he was constantly talking with God and placing himself at God’s disposal. His life was a public one and far removed from the contemplative sphere: secretary to his bishop in Bergamo, spiritual director at the local [...]

SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST: Third Word, Witness—Dorothy Day by Charles M. Murphy

March 27, 2018

From Eucharistic Adoration Today you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43) Dorothy Day, with the French exile Peter Maurin, founded the Catholic Worker movement with its houses of hospitality for feeding and sheltering the poor and homeless.  They also began a monthly newspaper, The Catholic Worker, to communicate the church’s social teachings.  The Catholic Worker, true to its mission, still sells for a penny a copy.  Day and Maurin preached and practiced a “radical” Christianity of social justice, charity, and pacifism – radical in the sense of going to the roots of our beliefs and living out the consequences.  Voluntary poverty and direct, one-on-one love of the poor are expected of all members.  Dorothy always credited [...]

SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST: Second Word, Witness—St. Teresa Blessed by the Cross (Edith Stein) by Charles M. Murphy

March 27, 2018

From Eucharistic Adoration Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:32-34) Hannah Arendt and Edith Stein were philosophy students in Germany before World War I.  Arendt studied with Martin Heidegger, Stein with Edmund Husserl.  Though Jewish, both women were strongly attracted to Christianity.  Arendt wrote her doctoral dissertation on Saint Augustine’s concept of love, and Stein wrote hers on the idea of empathy.  Arendt eventually made her way to the United States and had a distinguished academic career.  Her five-part article, “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil,” written for the New Yorker magazine in 1963, caused great controversy. After some years as a Roman Catholic, Stein was [...]

SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST: First Word, Witness—Simone Weil by Charles M. Murphy

March 25, 2018

From Eucharistic Adoration My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46) The cry of desolation and abandonment of Jesus from the cross surely is one of the saddest verses in all of scripture.  Another, and comparable to it, is a passage from the Book of Genesis, a book that begins with God’s celebration of all his works as “good” and of creation of the first human as “very good.”  But later, surveying the extent of human wickedness, God “regretted having made human beings on Earth and was grieved at heart,” (Genesis 6:6).  It was then that God decided to “rid the surface of the Earth of human beings whom I have created,” and everything else. (Genesis 6:7). Simone Weil, the brilliant French philosopher and [...]

POETRY: Fifth Sunday In Lent by Blessed John Keble

March 18, 2018

And Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” (Exodus 3:3) Th’ historic Muse, from age to age, Thro’ many a waste heart-sickening page Hath trac’d the works of Man: But a celestial call to-day Stays her, like Moses, on her way, The works of God to scan. Far seen across the sandy wild, Where, like a solitary child, He thoughtless roam’d and free, One towering thorn was wrapt in flame; Bright without blaze it went and came: Who would not turn and see? Along the mountain ledges green The scatter’d sheep at will may glean The Desert’s spicy stores: The while, with undivided heart, The shepherd talks with God apart, And, as he talks, adores. Ye too, [...]

PRAYER: A Prayer Against Violence by Cecil Kerr

March 12, 2018

Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you that through your death on the Cross you disarmed the powers of evil. Help us, we pray you, to enter into your victory and to stand in your authority against all evil. Send forth your light and your truth, O Lord. Bring to light the deeds of darkness and let plans of violence and murder be revealed. By the power of your Holy Spirit convict those who have allowed their minds to be dominated by evil. Lead them, O Lord, to true repentance that they may receive your new life and rejoice in your forgiving love. [...]

SERMON: A Sermon Of Saint Augustine On The Gospel For The Fourth Sunday In Lent

March 11, 2018

Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. And the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. When Jesus then lift up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” (And this he said to prove him; for he himself knew what he would do.) Philip answered him, “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, “There is a lad here, which [...]

WANDERING: Banished (part one) by A. J. Swoboda

March 10, 2018

From The Dusty Ones Return, O Wanderer, to thy home, Thy Father calls for thee; No longer now an exile roam In guilt and misery; Return, return Return, O wanderer, to thy home, ‘Tis Jesus calls for thee: The Spirit and the bride say, Come; Oh now for refuge flee; Return, return. Return, O wanderer, to thy home, ‘Tis madness to delay: There are no pardons in the tomb And brief is mercy’s day. Return, return. (Thomas Hastings, “Return, O Wanderer”)   “In the beginning God….” (Genesis 1:1). As we’ve been discussing, that’s the beginning of creation – four words that capture the essence of everything from the sunset to raccoons to the very book in your hands.  Before everything, was God.  Sure, God eventually gets [...]

PRAYER: Lent by Bernard of Clairvaux

March 5, 2018

Let me hold fast to you, beautiful Lord, whom the angels themselves yearn to look upon. Wherever you go, I will follow you. If you pass through fire, I will not flinch, I fear no evil when you are with me. You carry my griefs, because you grieve for my sake. You passed through the narrow doorway from death to life, to make it wide enough for all to follow. Nothing can ever now separate me from your love. [...]

SERMON: The Dumb And Deaf Spirit by John Keble

March 4, 2018

He was casting out a devil, and it was dumb, and it came to pass that when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake. (Luke 11:14) As the holy time of Lent begins with the remembrance of our Lord overcoming Satan, so during the course of it we are warned by the church, again and again, of our warfare with the same evil spirit. Last Sunday we heard of an unclean devil being cast out of the daughter of a Canaanitish woman; and by and by, as the week of Christ’s Passion comes on, we shall hear more and more of Satan entering into Judas, and continuing to do Christ all the mischief he could. And on the third Sunday again we are told of a very remarkable case, a very signal blow struck in the warfare betwixt our Savior and our enemy. Jesus was [...]

POETRY: Third Sunday In Lent by Blessed John Keble

March 3, 2018

When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he shall come upon him and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. (Luke 11:21-22) See Lucifer like lightning fall Dash’d from his throne of pride; While, answering Thy victorious call, The Saints his spoils divide, This world of thine, by him usurp’d too long, Now opening all her stores to heal thy servants’ wrong. So when the first-born of thy foes Dead in the darkness lay, When thy redeem’d at midnight rose And cast their bonds away, The orphan’d realm threw wide her gates, and told Into freed Israel’s lap her jewels and her gold. And when their wondrous march was o’er, And they [...]

SERMON: Homily For Lent by The Venerable Bede

February 25, 2018

Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshiped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto [...]

WANDERING: Mom’s Gazpacho by A. J. Swoboda

February 24, 2018

From The Dusty Ones The spiritual journey is not a career or success story.  It is a series of humiliations of the false self that becomes more and more profound. (Thomas Long) This book is about wandering. What does the image of wandering provoke in your mind’s eye? Wandering is a surprising image to pay attention to in the Bible.  Similar to a good many other Biblical images, wandering is an image that’s repeated with relentless consistency throughout the Good Book.  But even such a relentlessly consistent image inspired by the Holy Spirit does not guarantee that the reader will appropriately interpret the image in the way it was intended – we’ve become masters at misunderstanding Biblical images.  That an image is inspired [...]

WANDERING: Wandering And Lamaze by A. J. Swoboda

February 17, 2018

From The Dusty Ones This is what the Lord says about this people: “They greatly love to wander.” (Jeremiah 14:10) This book is about wandering. It wouldn’t be fair to say I make my final approach to the topic of wandering out of nowhere or free of baggage.  I’ve checked some heavy bags for the flight.  Indeed, I bring myself with a cargo load of luggage from my own story that’s sure to affect the way I reflect upon it.  For one, I approach the topic of wandering as a preacher.  Preaching is my trade, my vocation, and my life’s passion.  Preaching is also my paycheck – it puts food on my family’s table.  But my preaching isn’t entirely driven by economic forces alone.  I preach because I am a Christian.  And as a [...]

POETRY: Eleven Addresses To The Lord — 11 by John Berryman

February 9, 2018

Germanicus leapt upon the wild lion in Smyrna, wishing to pass quickly from a lawless life. The crowd shook the stadium. The proconsul marveled. “Eighty & six years have I been his servant, and he has done me no harm. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” Polycarp, John’s pupil, facing the fire. Make too me acceptable at the end of time in my degree, which then Thou wilt award. Cancer, senility, mania, I pray I may be ready with my [...]

SIMPLICITY: Jesus Of Nazareth by Philip Harnden

February 8, 2018

From Journeys of Simplicity Jewish carpenter whose life and teachings inspire the Christian faith. “And what I say unto you, I say unto all: Watch.” JESUS SENDS FORTH THE TWELVE Take nothing for your journey save a staff no knapsack no bread no money not two coats be shod with sandals Go, preach Heaven is at hand heal the sick cleanse the lepers raise the dead cast out [...]

POETRY: Eleven Addresses To The Lord — 10 by John Berryman

February 7, 2018

Fearful I peer upon the mountain path where once Your shadow passed, Limner of the clouds up their phantastic guesses. I am afraid, I never until now confessed. I fell back in love with you, Father, for two reasons: You were good to me, & a delicious author, rational & passionate. Come on me again, as twice you came to Azarias & Misael. President of the brethren, our mild assemblies inspire, & bother the priest not to be dull; keep us week-long in order; love my children, my mother far & ill, far brother, my spouse. Oil all my turbulence as at Thy dictation I sweat out my wayward works. Father Hopkins said the only true literary critic is Christ. Let me lie down exhausted, content with [...]

POETRY: Matins by George Herbert

February 7, 2018

I cannot ope mine eyes, But thou art ready there to catch My morning-soul and sacrifice: Then we must needs for that day make a match. My God, what is a heart? Silver, or gold, or precious stone, Or star, or rainbow, or a part Of all these things, or all of them in one? My God, what is a heart, That thou shouldst it so eye, and woo, Pouring upon it all thy art, As if that thou hadst nothing else to do? Indeed man’s whole estate Amounts (and richly) to serve thee: He did not heav’n and earth create, Yet studies them, not him by whom they be. Teach me thy love to know; That this new light, which now I see, May both the work and workman show: Then by a sunbeam I will climb to [...]

PRAYER: An Epiphany Prayer

February 5, 2018

From The Voice  Father, we thank you for revealing yourself to us in Jesus the Christ, we who once were not your people but whom you chose to adopt as your people. As ancient Israel confessed long ago, we realize that it was not because of our own righteousness, or our own superior wisdom, or strength, or power, or numbers. It was simply because you loved us, and chose to show us that love in Jesus. As you have accepted us when we did not deserve your love, will you help us to accept those whom we find it hard to love? Forgive us, O Lord, for any attitude that we harbor that on any level sees ourselves as better or more righteous than others.  Will you help us to remove the barriers of prejudice and to tear down the walls of bigotry, [...]