Jesus Christ

POETRY: Eleven Addresses To The Lord — 1 by John Berryman

December 8, 2017

Master of beauty, craftsman of the snowflake, inimitable contriver, endower of Earth so gorgeous & different from the boring Moon, thank you for such as it is my gift. I have made up a morning prayer to you containing with precision everything that most matters. “According to Thy will” the thing begins. It took me off & on two days. It does not aim at eloquence. You have come to my rescue again & again in my impassable, sometimes despairing years. You have allowed my brilliant friends to destroy themselves and I am still here, severely damaged, but functioning. Unknowable, as I am unknown to my guinea pigs: how can I “love” you? I only as far as gratitude & awe confidently & absolutely go. I have [...]

PRAYER: The Empty Chair (an exercise in prayer) by Anthony de Mello

November 27, 2017

I developed this exercise as a result of hearing the story of a priest who went to visit a patient in his home.  He noticed an empty chair at the patient’s bedside and asked what it was doing there.  The patient said, “I had placed Jesus on that chair and was talking to him before you arrived.  For years I found it extremely difficult to pray until a friend explained to me that prayer was a matter of talking to Jesus.  He told me to place an empty chair nearby, to imagine Jesus sitting on that chair, and to speak with him and listen to what he says to me in reply.  I’ve had no difficulty praying ever since.” Some days later, so the story goes, the daughter of the patient came to the rectory to inform the priest [...]

POETRY: The King of Love my Shepherd Is by Henry W. Baker

November 14, 2017

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23) The King of love my Shepherd is, Whose goodness faileth never, I nothing lack if I am His And He is mine forever. Where streams of living [...]

PRAYER: Four Prayers by Frances Caryll Houselander

November 13, 2017

Descend, Holy Spirit of Life! Come down into our hearts, that we may live. Descend into emptiness, that emptiness may be filled. Descend into the dust, that the dust may flower. Descend into the dark, that the light may shine in the darkness. Amen. Be born in us, Incarnate Love. Take our flesh and blood, and give us your humanity; take our eyes, and give us your vision; take our minds, and give us your pure thought; take our feet and set them in your path; take our hands, and fold them in your prayer; take our hearts and give them your will to love. Amen. By your heaviness and fear in Gethsemane, comfort the oppressed and those who are afraid By your loneliness, facing the Passion while the Apostles slept, comfort those who face evil alone [...]

SPIRITUALITY: Divine Presents, The Sacramental Mysteries—The Sacramental Mystery of Baptism by Gregory Collins

November 11, 2017

From Meeting Christ in His Mysteries O useful element and clear! My sacred wash and cleanser here, My first consigner unto those Fountains of life, where the Lamb goes! What sublime truths and wholesome themes, Lodge in thy mystical, deep streams! Such as dull man can never find Unless that Spirit lead his mind, Which first upon thy face did move, And hatched all with his quick’ning love. (Henry Vaughan) In holy scripture this mystery has such an overwhelming significance that a great variety of images and metaphors are used to describe it such as illumination (Ephesians 5:8), rebirth and renewal (2 Titus 3:5), and clothing with Christ (Galatians 3:27).  One of the most suggestive images, the one which has most influenced [...]

POETRY: The Invisible Seen by Saint Athanasios

November 8, 2017

When our dull wits had so declined as to set us mid the squalor of the merely sensible creation, the Very God consented to become a body of His own, that He as one among us might gather our dim senses to Himself, and manifest through such incommensurate occasion that He is not simply man, but also God, the Word and Wisdom of the One. Thereafter, He remained His body, and thus allowed Himself to be observed. His becoming joined to us performed two appalling works in our behalf: He banished death from these our tendered frames, and made of them something new and (take note here) [...]

POETRY: Thou Hidden Love of God by Gerhard Tersteegen

November 1, 2017

Thou hidden love of God, whose height, Whose depth unfathom’d no man knows, I see from far thy beauteous light, Inly I sigh for thy repose; My heart is pain’d, nor can it be At rest, till it finds rest in thee. Thy secret voice invites me still, The sweetness of thy yoke to prove: And fain I would: but tho’ my will Seem fix’d, yet wide my passions rove; Yet hindrances strew all the way; I aim at thee, yet from thee stray. ’Tis mercy all, that thou hast brought My mind to seek her peace in thee; Yet while I seek, but find thee not, No peace my wand’ring soul shall see; O when shall all my wand’rings end, And all my steps to thee-ward tend! Is there a thing beneath the sun That strives with thee my heart to share? Ah! tear it [...]

POETRY: Temple by John Donne

October 21, 2017

With his kind mother who partakes thy woe, Joseph turn back; see where your child doth sit, Blowing, yea blowing out those sparks of wit, Which himself on the doctors did bestow; The Word but lately could not speak, and lo, It suddenly speaks wonders, whence comes it, That all which was, and all which should be writ, A shallow seeming child, should deeply know? His Godhead was not soul to his manhood, Nor had time mellowed him to this ripeness, But as for one which hath a long task, ’tis good, With the sun to begin his business, He in his age’s morning thus began By miracles exceeding power of [...]

POETRY: Meditation Seven by Edward Taylor

October 17, 2017

My  heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever. (Psalm 45:1-2) Thy human frame, my glorious Lord, I spy. A golden still with Heavenly choice drugs filled Thy holy love, the glowing heat whereby The spirit of grace is graciously distilled. Thy mouth the neck through which these spirits still; My soul thy vial make, and therewith fill. Thy speech the liquor in thy vessel stands, Well tinged with grace, a blessed tincture, lo, Thy words distilled grace in thy lips poured, and Give graces tincture in them where they go. Thy words in graces [...]

MYSTICISM: Simone Weil—Encounters With Christ

October 11, 2017

From Waiting for God and The Notebooks of Simone Weil In 1938 I spent ten days at Solesmes, from Palm Sunday to Easter Tuesday, following all the liturgical services.  I was suffering from splitting headaches; each sound hurt me like a blow; by an extreme effort of concentration I was able to rise above this wretched flesh, to leave it to suffer by itself, heaped up in a corner, and to find a perfect and pure joy in the unimaginable beauty of the chanting and the words.  This experience by analogy enabled me to get a better understanding of the possibility of divine love in the midst of affliction.  It goes without saying that in the course of these services the thought of the passion of Christ entered into my being once and for all. [...]

POETRY: What The Figtree Said by Denise Levertov

September 28, 2017

Literal minds! Embarrassed humans! His friends were blurting for Him in secret: wouldn’t admit they were shocked. They thought Him petulant to curse me!—yet how could the Lord be unfair?—so they looked away, then and now. But I, I knew that helplessly barren though I was, my day had come. I served Christ the Poet, who spoke in images: I was at hand, a metaphor for their failure to bring forth what is within them (as figs were not within me). They who had walked in His sunlight presence, they could have ripened, could have perceived His thirst and hunger, His innocent appetite; they could have offered human fruits—compassion, comprehension— without being asked, without being told of need. My absent fruit stood for their barren [...]

POETRY: The Darkness by Angela of Foligno

September 27, 2017

When I enter that darkness I cannot recall a bit about anything human, or about the God-man, or anything owning specific form. Nonetheless, I see all and I see nothing. As this that I have spoken of withdraws—though not completely, as it seems to stay with me—I see the God-man. He draws my soul with utmost gentleness and maybe He whispers You are I and I am you. I see, then, those eyes and that face go gracious and attractive as He leans to draw me to Himself. In short, what proceeds from those eyes and what descends from that face is what I said I saw in that previous darkness rising from within, and which delights me so that I can say nothing much about it. When I am in the God-man, then my soul is alive. And I am in the God-man much [...]

SPIRITUALITY: Divine Presents, The Sacramental Mysteries—The Sacramental Mystery of Holy Scripture, by Gregory Collins

September 23, 2017

From Meeting Christ in His Mysteries The fathers, with the light of faith to guide them, saw everywhere – in the law, the prophets, the acts of Old Testament kings and saints, here more clearly, there less – the figure of Jesus, glowing in the half-darkness, until it emerges in the gospel’s brightness.  What the ancients gradually and wearily came to was as clear as noonday when the world’s own light shone: the keys to all mysteries were in Christ; when this unfailing instrument, the Key of David, is put to the explaining of scripture, the whole beauty, depth, and clarity of Christian allegory is seen for what it really is in the liturgy.  Its heart is the redeeming work of Christ and everything we read and pray in these [...]

POETRY: Do People Moulder Equally by Emily Dickinson

September 16, 2017

For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.  Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom. (Matthew 16:27-28) Do People moulder equally, They bury, in the Grave? I do believe a Species As positively live As I, who testify it Deny that I—am dead— And fill my Lungs, for Witness— From Tanks—above my Head— I say to you, said Jesus— That there be standing here— A Sort, that shall not taste of Death— If Jesus was sincere— I need no further Argue— That statement of the Lord Is not a controvertible— He told me, Death was [...]

POETRY: Sacred Heart 2 (A Fragment—) by Thomas Merton

September 15, 2017

Geography comes to an end, Compass has lost all earthly north, Horizons have no meaning Nor roads an explanation: I cannot even hope for any special borealis To rouse my darkness with a brief “Hurray”! O flaming Heart, Unseen and unimagined in this wilderness, You, You alone are real, and here I’ve found You. Here will I love and praise You in a tongueless death, Until my white devoted bones, Long bleached and polished by the winds of this Sahara, Relive at Your command, Rise and unfold the flowers of their everlasting [...]

POETRY: Thirteenth Sunday After Trinity by John Keble

September 10, 2017

And He turned unto His disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: for I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them: and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. (Luke 10: 23–24) On Sinai’s top, in prayer and trance, Full forty nights and forty days The Prophet watch’d for one dear glance Of Thee and of Thy ways: Fasting he watch’d and all alone, Wrapt in a still, dark, solid cloud, The curtain of the Holy One Drawn round him like a shroud: So, separate from the world, his breast Might duly take and strongly keep The print of Heaven, to be express’d Ere long on Sion’s steep. There [...]

POETRY: A Word Made Flesh Is Seldom by Emily Dickinson

September 10, 2017

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. (John 1:14) A Word made Flesh is seldom And tremblingly partook Nor then perhaps reported But have I not mistook Each one of us has tasted With ecstasies of stealth The very food debated To our specific strength— A Word that breathes distinctly Has not the power to die Cohesive as the Spirit It may expire if He— “Made Flesh and dwelt among us” Could condescension be Like this consent of Language This loved [...]

POETRY: Salvator Mundi: Via Crucis by Denise Levertov

September 6, 2017

Maybe he looked indeed much as Rembrandt envisioned Him in those small heads that seem in fact portraits of more than a model. A dark, still young, very intelligent face, a soul-mirror gaze of deep understanding, unjudging. That face, in extremis, would have clenched its teeth in a grimace not shown in even the great crucifixions. The burden of humanness (I begin to see) exacted from Him that He taste also the humiliation of dread, cold sweat of wanting to let the whole thing go, like any mortal hero out of his depth, like anyone who has taken a step too far and wants herself back. The painters, even the greatest, don’t show how, in the midnight Garden, or staggering uphill under the weight of the Cross, He went through with even the [...]

SPIRITUALITY: Divine Presents—The Sacramental Mysteries, Introduction by Gregory Collins

September 2, 2017

From Meeting Christ in His Mysteries In this sacramental dispensation of Christ’s mystery, the Holy Spirit acts in the same way as at other times in the economy of salvation: he prepares the church to encounter her Lord; he recalls and makes Christ manifest to the faith of the assembly.  By his transforming power he makes the mystery of Christ present here and now.  Christian liturgy not only recalls the events that saved us but actualizes them, makes them present.  The paschal mystery of Christ is celebrated, not repeated.  It is the celebrations that are repeated, and in each celebration there is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that makes the unique mystery present. (Odo Casel) According to the clear testimony of scripture [...]

POETRY: Ikon: The Harrowing of Hell by Denise Levertov

September 2, 2017

Down through the tomb’s inward arch He has shouldered out into Limbo to gather them, dazed, from dreamless slumber: the merciful dead, the prophets, the innocents just His own age and those unnumbered others waiting here unaware, in an endless void He is ending now, stooping to tug at their hands, to pull them from their sarcophagi, dazzled, almost unwilling. Didmas, neighbor in death, Golgotha dust still streaked on the dried sweat of his body no one had washed and anointed, is here, for sequence is not known in Limbo; the promise, given from cross to cross at noon, arches beyond sunset and dawn. All these He will swiftly lead to the Paradise road: they are safe. That done, there must take place that struggle no human presumes to [...]

POETRY: The Transformation—For The Sacred Heart by Thomas Merton

August 25, 2017

Heart, in the ardor of Whose holy day The June is blazing on our world of fruit and wheat, Smile on our lives, and sanctify them with a new love’s vintage And with Your fires vivify our veins. Lo, the whole humble earth Bows and is broken with Your loads of bounty, and the trees Fail and give way as we besiege them with a score of ladders. We have no time to turn and hear the tiger-lilies all along the field, Whose outcry warns the world of Love’s immense invasion Coming to crowd our continent with full-armed shocks. And look! Those regiments are all around us! How shall we flee you? You will ‘siege us in our bursting barns And force us to a parley in our vines and garden. Lord, in this splendid season When all the things [...]

POETRY: To Surrender To Love by Elizabeth of the Trinity

August 23, 2017

Oh how good it is in silence To listen to Him over and over, To enjoy the peace of His presence, and then to surrender wholly to His love. O Lamb, so pure and so meek, You my All, my only One, How well you know that your fiancée, Your little one, hungers greatly for You. She hungers to feed upon her Master, Above all to be consumed by Him, To surrender fully to Him her whole being So she may be totally taken. Oh, that I may be possessed by You; One who lives by You alone, Yours, your living host, Consumed by you on the [...]

PSALMS: The Blessing Of Morning Prayer by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

August 22, 2017

From Psalms The entire day receives order and discipline when it acquires unity.  This unity must be sought and found in morning prayer.  It is confirmed in work.  The morning prayer determines the day.  Squandered time of which we are ashamed, temptations to which we succumb, weaknesses and lack of courage in work, disorganization and lack of discipline in our thoughts and in our conversation with other men, all have their origin most often in the neglect of morning prayer. Order and distribution of our time become more firm where they originate in prayer.  Temptations which accompany the working day will be conquered on the basis of the morning breakthrough to God.  Decisions, demanded by work, becomes easier and simpler where they [...]

SPIRITUALITY: Gazing Into The Mystery Of Christ’s Saving Work by Gregory Collins

August 20, 2017

From Meeting Christ in His Mysteries Yet it is not to be understood that the Father was ever angry toward him. For how could he be angry toward his beloved Son, “in whom he was well pleased”? (John Calvin) Christ brought the idea of God’s humility to its ultimate limit: God, entering into the world, casts off the image of his glory and puts on the image of his creation (see Philippians 2:6-8).  He subordinates himself to the laws of creaturely life.  He does not violate the world order.  Nor does he strike the world with lightning or deafen it with thunder, as pagans thought (recall the myth of Zeus and Semele).  He only burns like a meek light before the world, drawing to himself his sinful and weary creation, not [...]

PSALMS: Petition For The Spirit Of Life by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

August 15, 2017

From Psalms We have taken this short stroll through the Psalter in order to learn to pray a few psalms a bit better.  It would not be difficult to arrange according to the Lord’s Prayer all the psalms mentioned.  We should have to change only slightly our arrangement of the order of the chapters.  But this alone is important, that we begin to pray the psalms with confidence and love in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Our dear Lord, who has given to us and taught us to pray the Psalter and the Lord’s Prayer, grant to us also the spirit of prayer and of grace so that we pray with enthusiasm and earnest faith, properly and without ceasing, for we need to do this; he has asked for it and therefore wants to have it from [...]

PRAYER: Devotion To The Holy Name

August 14, 2017

From the Franciscan Litany of the Holy Name. Jesu, dulcis memoria Jesu, the very thought of thee With sweetness fills my breast; But sweeter far thy face to see, And in thy presence rest. Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame, Nor can the memory find, A sweeter sound than thy blest name, O Savior of mankind! O hope of every contrite heart, O joy of all the meek, To those who fall, how kind thou art! How good to those who seek! But what to those who find? Ah! this Nor tongue nor pen can show. The love of Jesus! what it is, None but his loved ones know. Jesu, our only joy be thou, As thou our prize wilt be; Jesu, be thou our glory now, And through eternity. Wherewith I longed for thee, And left my Father’s throne; From death to set [...]

POETRY: Paradox And Promise by Clare of Assisi

August 9, 2017

Look upon Him Who became contemptible for you, and— if you choose— follow His way, becoming contemptible to the world, so long as you do so for Him. More lovely than all things, He became the lowest, despised, struck, scourged countless times and raked across His perfect Body. And then, amid the sufferings of the horrid Cross, He died. For you. If you suffer with Him, you shall reign with Him. Weep with Him and you shall rejoice with Him. Die with Him upon the cross of wretchedness, and life is yours, And, yes, your dwelling forever in [...]

PSALMS: The End by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

August 8, 2017

From Psalms The hope of Christians is directed to the return of Jesus and the resurrection of the dead.  In the Psalter this hope is not expressed literally.  That which since the resurrection of Jesus has divided itself in the church into a long line of events of holy history toward the end of all things is, from the viewpoint of the Old Testament, still a single indivisible unity.  Life in fellowship with the God of revelation, the final victory of God in the world, and the setting up of the messianic kingdom are objects of prayer in the psalms. The Old Testament is not different from the New in this respect.  To be sure, the psalms request fellowship with God in Earthly life, but they know that this fellowship is not completed in [...]

SERMON: Transfiguration by John Mason Neale

August 6, 2017

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty when we were with him in the holy mount. (2 Peter 1:16, 18) Such an evening as this should teach us something of the glorious sight we keep in mind this day. When we were looking at those long lines of dark-brown gold that lay so quietly in the west, and at the intense brightness beneath them, where the sun had gone down, we might have remembered him who was as at this time transfigured before his disciples; when his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And we might have looked on to that day when, if by God’s grace we are counted worthy to [...]

SATURDAY READING: To Sing Is A Lover’s Thing by Edith M. Humphrey

August 5, 2017

From Grand Entrance: Worship on Earth As In Heaven Can you hear them? They’re singing, singing a song as strong as the sea, as sure as the rock, as heartrending as a glimpse of sapphire sky caught through a tear in an ominous bank of clouds. Can you hear them? Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, The One who was, and who is, and who is to come… Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, To receive glory and honor and power: For thou didst create all things, And by thy will they came to be, and were created.  (Revelation 4:8, 11) The song surrounds John, directed by the cherubim who sing the thrice-holy hymn, and entered with abandon and reverence by the twenty-four elders, representative of God’s people.  Encircled by the celestial [...]