Jesus Christ

HUMILITY: Humility And Death To Self by Andrew Murray

June 14, 2018

From Humility Humility is the most difficult of all virtues to achieve; nothing dies harder than the desire to think well of oneself. (T. S. Eliot)   He humbled himself and became obedient to death. (Philippians 2:8) Humility is the path to death, because in death it gives the highest proof of its perfection.  Humility is the blossom of which death to self is the perfect fruit.  Jesus humbled himself unto death and opened the path in which we too must walk.  As there was no way for him to prove his surrender to God to the uttermost or to give up and rise out of our human nature to the glory of the Father but through death, so it is with us.  Humility must lead us to die to self: so we prove how wholly we have given ourselves up to [...]

HUMILITY: Humility And Faith by Andrew Murray

June 7, 2018

From Humility Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish yourself to be. (Thomas à Kempis)   How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God? (John 5:44) In an address I heard recently, the speaker said that the blessings of the higher Christian life were often like the objects displayed in a shop window: one could see them clearly and yet could not reach them.  If told to reach out and help himself, a man would answer, “I can’t; there’s a thick pane of plate glass between me and them.”  In the same way, Christians may see clearly the blessed promises of perfect peace and rest, [...]

HUMILITY: Humility And Sin by Andrew Murray

May 31, 2018

From Humility Nothing sets a person so much out of the devil’s reach as humility. (Jonathan Edwards) Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. (1 Timothy 1:15) Humility is often identified with penitence and contrition.  As a consequence, there appears to be no way of fostering humility but by keeping the soul occupied with its sin.  But I think we have learned that humility is something else and something more than being consumed with our own sinfulness.  We have seen in the teaching of our Lord Jesus and the Epistles how often the virtue is mentioned without any reference to sin.  In the very nature of things, in the whole relationship of the creature to the Creator, in the life of Jesus as he [...]

HUMILITY: Humility And Holiness by Andrew Murray

May 24, 2018

From Humility It is no great thing to be humble when you are brought low; but to be humble when you are praised is a great and rare achievement. (Bernard of Clairvaux) All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people who say, “Keep away; don’t come near me, for I am too scared for you!” (Isaiah 65:2,5) We speak of the holiness movement in our times and praise God for it.  We hear a great deal of seekers after holiness and professors of holiness, of holiness teaching and holiness meetings.  The blessed truths of holiness in Christ and holiness by faith are being emphasized as never before.  The great test of whether the holiness we profess to seek or to attain is truth and life will be whether it is manifest in the [...]

POETRY: The Country Clergy by R. S. Thomas

May 18, 2018

I see them working in old rectories By the sun’s light, by candlelight, Venerable men, their black cloth A little dusty, a little green With holy mildew. And yet their skulls, Ripening over so many prayers, Toppled into the same grave With oafs and yokels. They left no books, Memorial to their lonely thought In grey parishes; rather they wrote On men’s hearts and in the minds Of young children sublime words Too soon forgotten. God in his time Or out of time will correct [...]

POETRY: How To Prepare For The Second Coming by Abigail Carroll

May 16, 2018

Start by recalling the absolute goodness of rain and repent for every grumble you have ever made about the weather (this will take approximately forever.) Next, you will want to commit a theft: with deft lock-picking and a shrewd hand, steal back the hours you fed to the hungry god of work, then squander them on hydrangeas, Wordsworth, voluntary sidewalk repair. Teach a child to lace a shoe (your child or another’s—any four-year old will do), and while you’re at it, set the alarm for three, and fumble through the dark to the pond to guard the salamanders as they cross the road. If, having accomplished these tasks, you wish to go on, sit at your desk and carefully design a few radical acts of grace, by which I mean murder (of a sort): [...]

HUMILITY: Humility In Daily Life by Andrew Murray

May 12, 2018

From Humility The more humble a man is in himself, the more obedient toward God, the wiser will he be in all things, and the more shall his soul be at peace. (Thomas à Kempis)   For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20) It is a solemn thought that our love for God is measured by our everyday relationships with others.  Except as its validity is proven in standing the test of daily life with our fellowmen, our love for God may be found to be a delusion.  It is easy to think that we humble ourselves before God, but our humility toward others is the only sufficient proof that our humility before God is real.  To be genuine, humility must abide in us and become our [...]

POETRY: Threshold by R. S. Thomas

May 11, 2018

I emerge from the mind’s cave into the worse darkness outside, where things pass and the Lord is in none of them. I have heard the still, small voice and it was that of the bacteria demolishing my cosmos. I have lingered too long on this threshold, but where can I go? To look back is to lose the soul I was leading upwards towards the light. To look forward? Ah, what balance is needed at the edges of such an abyss. I am alone on the surface of a turning planet. What to do but, like Michelangelo’s Adam, put my hand out into unknown space, hoping for the reciprocating [...]

POETRY: Ascension by Kathleen Norris

May 10, 2018

Why do you stand looking up at the skies? (Acts 1:11) It wasn’t just wind, chasing thin gunmetal clouds across the loud sky; it wasn’t the feeling that one might ascend on that excited air, rising like a trumpet note. And it wasn’t just my sister’s water breaking, her crying out, the downward draw of blood and bone…. It was all of that, the mud and new grass pushing up through melting snow, the lilac in bud by my front door, bent low by last week’s ice storm. Now the new mother, that leaky vessel, begins to nurse her child, beginning the long [...]

POETRY: Easter Hymn by A. E. Housman

May 9, 2018

If in that Syrian garden, ages slain, You sleep, and know not you are dead in vain, Nor even in dreams behold how dark and bright Ascends in smoke and fire by day and night The hate you died to quench and could but fan, Sleep well and see no morning, son of man. But if, the grave rent and the stone rolled by, At the right hand of majesty on high You sit, and sitting so remember yet Your tears, your agony and bloody sweat, Your cross and passion and the life you gave, Bow hither out of Heaven and see and [...]

HUMILITY: Humility In The Disciples Of Jesus by Andrew Murray

May 5, 2018

From Humility God created the world out of nothing, and as long as we are nothing, he can make something out of us. (Martin Luther)     The greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. (Luke 22:26) We have studied humility in the person and teaching of Jesus; now we will look for it in the circle of his chosen companions – the twelve apostles.  If we see a lack of humility in the disciples, and a contrast between Christ and men is brought out more clearly, it will help us to appreciate the mighty change that Pentecost brought and prove how real our participation can be in the triumph of Christ’s humility over the pride Satan breathed into humankind. In the texts quoted from [...]

POETRY: Past And Future by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

May 2, 2018

My future will not copy fair my past On any leaf but Heaven’s. Be fully done Supernal Will! I would not fain be one Who, satisfying thirst and breaking fast, Upon the fullness of the heart at last Says no grace after meat. My wine has run Indeed out of my cup, and there is none To gather up the bread of my repast Scattered and trampled; yet I find some good In earth’s green herbs, and streams that bubble up Clear from the darkling ground,—content until I sit with angels before better food:— Dear Christ! when thy new vintage fills my cup, This hand shall shake no more, nor that wine [...]

PRAYER: If You Were Not Risen by Brother Roger of Taize

April 30, 2018

If you were not risen, Lord Christ, to whom would we go to discover a radiance of the face of God? If you were not risen, we would not be together seeking your communion. We would not find in your presence forgiveness, wellspring of a new beginning. If you were not risen, where would we draw the energy for following you right to the end of our existence, for choosing you again and [...]

HUMILITY: Humility In The Teaching Of Jesus by Andrew Murray

April 26, 2018

From Humility Humility must always be doing its work like a bee making its honey in the hive: without humility all will be lost. (Teresa of Ávila)     Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart. (Matthew 11:29) Whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve. (Matthew 20:27-28) We see humility in the life of Christ demonstrated in how he laid open his heart to us.  Through his teaching we hear him speak of it – how he expects his disciples to be humble as he was.  Let us carefully study the passages to see how often and how earnestly he taught it: it may help us to realize what he asks of us. Look at the commencement of his ministry. In the Sermon on the [...]

PRAYER: The Miracle Of Easter from The Gelasian Sacramentary

April 23, 2018

The moment we have longed for has come; the night of our desires is here.  What greater occupation could there be than for us to proclaim the power of your resurrection!  This was the night when you shattered the gates of hell, and you took up the victory banner of Heaven.  This was the night when you set us among the stars. When your mother Mary gave birth to you, she was overwhelmed with joy at your beauty.  Now we are overwhelmed with joy at your power.  The blood which flowed from your side has washed away our sins.  Your body rising from the tomb has promised us eternal life.  Eternal are the blessings which in your love you have poured upon us. [...]

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 [...]