PRAYER: Salt Of The Earth, Day 2 — Called To Be Heralds Of Joy

January 19, 2016

A Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, 2016; created by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland Starting Point Reflections from the creators of Christian programming at Latvian State Radio In the Soviet era, a Christian presence through public media was impossible in Latvia.  Since independence, Latvian State Radio broadcasts Christian programs providing a forum for leaders from diverse churches to encounter one another.  This public witness of mutual respect, love, and joy contributed to the spirit of Latvian ecumenical life. The joy of the Gospel calls Christians to live the prophecy of Isaiah: “to bring good news to the oppressed.” When we are saddened by our own suffering, we may lack the vigor to proclaim the joy that [...]

CHRISTMAS STORY: Christmas In The Tenements by Theodore Dreiser

January 2, 2016

They are infatuated with the rush and roar of a great metropolis.  They are fascinated by the illusion of pleasure.  Broadway, Fifth Avenue, the mansions, the lights, the beauty.  A fever of living is in their blood.  An unnatural hunger and thirst for excitement is burning them up.  For this they labor.  For this they endure a hard, unnatural existence.  For this they crowd themselves in stifling, inhuman quarters, and for this they die. The joys of the Christmas tide are no illusion with most of us, the strange exhibition of fancy, of which it is the name, no mockery of our dreams.  Far over the wide land the waves of expectation and sympathetic appreciation constantly oscillate one with the other in the human breast, and in the [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: The Three Counsels Considered by Evelyn Underhill

February 21, 2015

From The Fruits of the Spirit First, think of Poverty.  Even outward Poverty, a hard and simple life, the dropping for love’s sake of the many things we feel we “must have” is a great help in the way of the Spirit.  Far more precious is that inward Poverty of which it is the sacrament; which frees us from possessions and possessiveness and does away with the clutch of “the I, the Me, and the Mine” upon our souls.  We can all strive for this internal grace, this attitude of soul, and it is a very important part of the life of prayer.  The Holy Spirit is called the Giver of Gifts and the Father of the Poor; but His cherishing action is only really felt by those who acknowledge their own deep poverty – [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: The Three Counsels by Evelyn Underhill

February 20, 2015

From The Fruits of the Spirit Each person’s discipline, of course, will be different because what God wants from each of us is different.  Some are called to an active and some to a passive life, some to very homely and some to hard and sacrificial careers, some to quiet suffering.  Only the broad lines will be alike.  But no discipline will be any use to us unless we keep in mind the reason why we are doing this – for the glory of God, and not just for the sake of our own self-improvement or other self-regarding purpose.  Our object is to be what God wants of us, not what we want of Him.  So all that we do must be grounded in worship.  First lift up our eyes to the hills, then turn to our own potato field and lightly fork [...]

POETRY: The Anger That Breaks The Man Into Children by César Vallejo

November 26, 2014

(Translated from Spanish by Clayton Eshleman and José Rubia Barcia) The anger that breaks the man into children, that breaks the child into equal birds, and the bird, afterward, into little eggs; the anger of the poor has one oil against two vinegars. The anger that breaks the tree into leaves, the leaf into unequal buds and the bud, into telescopic grooves; the anger of the poor has two rivers against many seas. The anger that breaks the good into doubts, the doubt, into three similar arcs and the arc, later on, into unforeseeable tombs; the anger of the poor has one steel against two daggers. The anger that breaks the soul into bodies; the body into dissimilar organs and the organ, into octave thoughts; the anger of the poor has one [...]

MYSTICISM: Bread by Daniel Berrigan

November 21, 2014

From Love, Love at the End Want nothing small about men – except perhaps their words, modest and thoughtful and almost inaudible before their deeds.  For the rest, bigness; heart, brain.  Imagination too; let it take the world in two hands and show us what it’s like to be!  Tell us about it, we’re hungry.  Doesn’t the Bible call truth bread?  We’re starved, our smile has lost out, we crawl on a thin margin – a life, maybe, but so what?  Where’s the man who says yes, says no, like a thunderclap?  Where’s the man whose no turns to yes in his mouth – he can’t deny life, he asks like a new flower or a new day or a hero even: What more is there to love than I have loved? When I [...]

THE HOLY SPIRIT: The Sign Of Jonah And A New Monasticism, by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

August 21, 2014

From On Heart, One Soul, Mary Forman, editor I am a representative of the Rutba House, a new monastic community in Durham, North Carolina.  The celebration of one hundred fifty years at Saint John’s is a reminder to me of just how new we are.  We’ve only been around for three years.  The Rutba House takes its name from a little town in the western desert of Iraq, where my wife, Leah, and I were at the beginning of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq with a group called the Christian Peacemaker Teams.  When American friends of ours were seriously injured in a car accident, some Iraqis stopped by the roadside and picked them up.  They carried our bleeding friends to this town called Rutba.  When they got there the doctor said [...]

LENT: Monday of the First Week in Lent, by Henri J. M. Nouwen

February 18, 2013

From Show Me The Way Then the king will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my father has blessed, take as your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you made me welcome. . . .   In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.” (Matthew 23:34-35, 40) At first the word, “hospitality” might evoke the image of soft sweet kindness, tea parties, bland conversations, and a general atmosphere of coziness.  Probably this has its good reasons since in our culture the concept of hospitality has lost much of its power [...]

CHRISTMAS MEDITATION: Christ’s History, and Ours by Gustavo Gutiérrez

December 29, 2012

The Gospel of Luke tells us that “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled.  This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria.” (2:1-2)  The Gospel of Matthew adds that Jesus was born, “In Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod.” (2:1) These simple texts convey a profound message: Jesus was born in a particular place at a particular time.  He was born under Emperor Octavius, who had himself named Augustus when he reached the pinnacle of power; when Quirinius was governor of Syria; during the reign of Herod, who was traitor to his people and had sold out to the occupying power.  It was during this time that Jesus was born, a man of no importance in the [...]

CHRISTMAS MEDITATION: The Christmas Gospel by Dorothee Söelle

December 27, 2012

When the angels had left them and gone into Heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”  So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.  When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:15-20) For many years I was so disgusted by the commercialization that Christmas has endured, so sickened by the terror of consumption, the [...]