POETRY: The Liar’s Psalm—Repentance by Andrew Hudgins

September 12, 2018

I repent the actual. It has never got me anywhere. It is nothing against principalities, against powers. My father will die and I will carry on. I dread his death more than mine because it will come sooner—knowledge I repent. In lies he will outlive the liar. And that’s me. The lie itself will carry on, is itself a child, a separate life, a blow against the gods of objects. Who are not happy with me or with their densities. They are not worth their flawed kingdoms. And neither do I love them. They are dangerous. They are too stupid to be insignificant, too proud of their ability to blister my hands and make them raw. I repent letting them, and I repent logic, which has no god: it will do anything, it will go anywhere. Tell it your [...]

POETRY: The Road To Damascus: 6 by Tania Runyan

March 13, 2017

I have sinned, I said. I want eternal life, I said. That was the moment. I wanted nothing but God. I wanted a cheeseburger. I wanted nothing at all. Finally, I wanted it all settled. I folded by hands and spoke To the carpet. I folded my hands and spoke to the Lord. I woke up and felt no different. I woke up and my life came to an [...]

POETRY: E Tenebris by Oscar Wilde

March 8, 2017

Come down, O Christ, and help me! reach thy hand, For I am drowning in a stormier sea Than Simon on thy lake of Galilee: The wine of life is spilt upon the sand, My heart is as some famine-murdered land, Whence all good things have perished utterly, And well I know my soul in Hell must lie If I this night before God’s throne should stand. “He sleeps perchance, or rideth to the chase, Like Baal, when his prophets howled that name From morn to noon on Carmel’s smitten height.” Nay, peace, I shall behold before the night, The feet of brass, the robe more white than flame, The wounded hands, the weary human [...]

LENTEN MEDITATION: My Messy House by Kathleen Norris

March 6, 2017

From: Amazing Grace When I’m working as an artist-in-residence at parochial schools, I like to read the psalms out loud to inspire the students, who are usually not aware that the snippets they sing at Mass are among the greatest poems in the world.  But I have found that when I have asked children to write their own psalms, their poems often have an emotional directness that is similar to that of the Biblical Psalter.  They know what it’s like to be small in a world designed for big people, to feel lost and abandoned.  Children are frequently astonished to discover that the psalmists so freely express the more unacceptable emotions, sadness and even anger, even anger at God, and all of this is in the Bible that they hear [...]

APOSTLES: Peter And Paul As Preachers Of Repentance, by Finn Damgaard

September 15, 2016

From Peter in Early Christianity As often noted, the concept of repentance plays a crucial role in Luke-Acts.  In the gospel, the call to repentance occurs frequently in the preaching and teaching of Jesus.  While Jesus in Mark and Matthew claims that he has “not come to call the righteous, but sinners,” Luke significantly adds that Jesus has come to call the sinners “to repentance.”  This undoubtedly programmatic statement has a crucial impact on the way Luke recasts the figure of Peter.  While Mark’s portrayal of Peter time and again focuses on Peter’s misunderstanding of Jesus’s person and mission and his weakness and fear, and only hints at his remorse and perhaps repentance at the end, [...]

POETRY: Repentance by George Herbert

August 24, 2016

Lord, I confess my sin is great; Great is my sin. Oh! gently treat With thy quick flow’r, thy momentany bloom; Whose life still pressing Is one undressing, A steady aiming at a tomb. Man’s age is two hours’ work, or three: Each day doth round about us see. Thus are we to delights: but we are all To sorrows old, If life be told From what life feeleth, Adam’s fall. O let thy height of mercy then Compassionate short-breathed men. Cut me not off for my most foul transgression: I do confess My foolishness; My God, accept of my confession. Sweeten at length this bitter bowl, Which thou hast pour’d into my soul; Thy wormwood turn to health, winds to fair weather: For if thou stay, I and this day, As we did rise, we [...]

POETRY: Adventures In New Testament Greek—Metanoia by Scott Cairns

August 24, 2016

Repentance, to be sure, But of a species far less likely to oblige sheepish repetition. Repentance, you’ll observe, glibly bears the bent of thought revisited, and mind’s familiar stamp —a quaint, half-hearted doubleness that couples all compunction with a pledge of recurrent screw-up. The heart’s metanoia, on the other hand, turns without regret, turns not so much away, as toward, as if the slow pilgrim has been surprised to find that sin is not so bad as it is a waste of [...]

POETRY: At The Round Earth’s Imagined Corners, by John Donne

March 16, 2016

Divine Meditations: VII At the round earth’s imagined corners, blow Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise From death, you numberless infinities Of souls, and to your scattered bodies go, All whom the flood did, and fire shall o’erthrow, All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies, Despair, law, chance, hath slain, and you whose eyes, Shall behold God, and never taste death’s woe. But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space, For, if above all these, my sins abound, ‘Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace, When we are there; here on this lowly ground, Teach me how to repent; for that’s as good As if thou hadst sealed my pardon, with thy [...]

LENTEN MEDITATION: The Memory Of God by Richard Valantasis

March 3, 2016

From Centuries of Holiness One way to articulate a goal of human existence comes from a metaphor of the ascetical tradition: the remembrance of God.  The concept is relatively simple: our task as humans is to remember that God exists and that God is present in the course of daily living.  This means that, since Christians know that God exists and that God is forever present to them, they must bring the remembrance of that reality to bear in every moment.  So the remembrance of God is a kind of recollection of God in every event of the day.  As seekers bathe, eat, work, relate to others, commute to work, sit idle, watch television – whatever seekers do in a day – seekers remember that they are before God, in God’s presence: [...]

PRAYER: The Night The Angels Covered Their Ears, a story

February 2, 2015

From Angels Unawares, by Megan McKenna It was the holiest night of the Jewish Year: Yom Kippur.  The Ba’al Shem Tov was on his way to the synagogue to sing the Kol Nidre, the opening prayer.  He was looking at his own life on this holy night and reflecting on his own sin.  He thought sadly of all those that he had harmed, thought poorly of, ignored, was impatient with, and had forgotten to pray for, after telling them that he would remember them to the Almighty, blest be his name.  He thought of those he might have hurt carelessly with his fast retorts and public opinions and of all the times he had gotten angry and spoken harshly to those who needed a kind word or touch.  He made mental lists of all the people he needed to ask [...]

HOMILY: Such Love, by Bonaventure

February 1, 2015

Her many sins have been forgiven her, for she has shown great love. (Luke 7:47) First of all, let us ask. . . . Dear friends in Christ Jesus: According to the tradition of sacred scripture, when the world lost its wholeness, “woman” who had been created to help “man” became, in an important way, a stumbling-block for him.  She was involved in the loss of his integrity for, through her, man stumbled into sin; she was also involved in his delay to repent for he used her as the motive to counter his own blame.  Both were important failures.  To right the balance, in the rebuilding of the world, “woman” is also presented to us – first, as a mirror of integrity and second, as a model for repentance. [...]

FORGIVENESS: Transformation And Deliverance — Repent And Help Each Other, by Glen H. Stassen

September 4, 2014

From Living the Sermon on the Mount When he says, “Take the log out of your eye,” Jesus is calling for repentance – acknowledging our own need for change, and actually making the change.  The way of repentance is central to Jesus’s announcement that the reign of God is at hand: God is present, graciously delivering us; repent and believe the good news.  When we repent and allow Jesus to loosen our defensiveness, stop hiding our real selves from others, admit that we have a problem, and allow God’s grace to bring about a turning in our lives, that is participating in grace.  The reign of God then breaks into our lives.  When we allow Jesus to convert our judging into openness and gratitude, it really is the [...]

SERMON: A Sermon On Luke 3:7-18 by Ronald J. Allen

June 8, 2014

Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Then came also publicans to be baptized, [...]

LENTEN FIRE: Tuesday Of Holy Week

March 26, 2013

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers  As for me A brother went to Abba Matoës and said to him, “How is it that the monks of Scetis did more than the Scriptures required in loving their enemies more than themselves?” Abba Matoës said to him, “As for me, I have not yet managed to love those who love me as much as I love myself.” A torn cloak A soldier asked Abba Mius if God accepted repentance. After the old man had taught him many things, he said to the soldier, “Tell me, my dear, if your cloak is torn do you throw in away?” The soldier replied, “No.  I mend it and use it again.” The old man said to him, “If you are so careful about your cloak, [...]

LENTEN FIRE: Saturday Of The Fourth Week Of Lent

March 17, 2013

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers  Torn to pieces A brother who had renounced the world and distributed what he owned among the poor, but who kept a few things for his own purposes, went to see Abba Antony, and when the old man learned what the brother had done, he said to him, “If you want to become a monk, go to the village, buy some meat, cover your naked body with it, and come here like that.” When the brother did what Antony had commanded, the dogs and the birds cut his body to pieces.  When he went to meet the old man, Antony inquired if the brother had done as he had advised.  When that brother showed him his lacerated body, Abba Antony said, “Those who renounce the world [...]

LENTEN FIRE: Friday Of The Fourth Week Of Lent

March 16, 2013

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers  See the sin but not the repentance An old man said, “Even if someone sins in some way in your presence, do not judge him but consider yourself more of a sinner than he is, for you have seen the sin but you have not seen the repentance.” Abba Macarius learns about true work It was said about Abba Macarius the Great that, passing through Egypt one time, he came upon a threshing floor.  He saw a heap of grain that had been threshed, its owner using it to pay wages to the workers.  When the old man wished to test the grower, wanting him to talk about the nature of his work, he said to him, “Please do me the kindness, my father, of giving me a little [...]

LENTEN FIRE: Tuesday Of The Fourth Week Of Lent

March 13, 2013

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers  Every breath we take Abba Macarius said, “Let us not slacken our resolve nor be without hope, for with every breath we take our Lord Jesus Christ gives us opportunity for repentance.” Salty water, sweet water He also said, “Let us not cause that fountain to bubble up which is salty because of its single source, that is, the well of the heart, but let bubble up without ceasing that which is sweet  all the time, that is, our Lord Jesus Christ.” (James 3:11) Close the one door, not the other A brother came to see Abba Poemen in the second week of Lent and told him about his thoughts; he obtained peace, and said to him, “I nearly did [...]

LENTEN FIRE: Monday Of The Fourth Week Of Lent

March 12, 2013

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers  Do what you can A brother in Scetis fell one time due to temptation and went to Abba Macarius the Alexandrian and told him about the temptation.  After the old man punished him with the bonds of asceticism so he would repent and not open his door for a time, the brother left; he was troubled, however, because of the temptation and was in danger and was not able to carry out the order that Abba Macarius had bound him with.  Distressed by battle, he went to the other Abba Macarius, the Egyptian.  He told him about the transgression and about his inability to carry out the order that Abba Macarius had bound him with. The old man calmed the brother’s spirit and [...]

LENTEN FIRE: Fourth Sunday Of Lent

March 11, 2013

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers  Being a witness for God Question: I want to be a witness for God. Answer: If someone bears with his neighbor during a fit of temper, it is equal to the furnace at the time of the three youth. (Daniel 3) The tunic and the patch A brother asked Abba Macarius, “My father, how can a person be free from the passions and be renewed in the Spirit?” The old man said to him, “I will give you an analogy. (1 Corinthians 13:12)  It is like a tunic: if it is torn, a patch is put on it until it is made new once again.  The tunic can be compared to the body, torn by sin and pleasure.  the patch is the repentance that our Lord Jesus Christ gives to [...]

LENTEN FIRE: Saturday Of The Third Week Of Lent

March 10, 2013

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers  Sin and penitence, love and pride Abba Elias, the minister, said, “What can sin do where there is penitence?  And of what use is love where there is pride?” A demon with a wineskin Abba Elias said, “I saw someone who was carrying a skin of wine on his arm and, in order to make the demon blush, for it was a fantasy, I said to the brother, ‘Of your charity take off your cloak.’  He took off his cloak, and was not found to be carrying anything.  I say that so you may not believe even that which you see or hear.  Even more, observe your thoughts and beware of what you have in your heart and your spirit, knowing that the demons put ideas [...]

LENTEN FIRE: Friday Of The Third Week Of Lent

March 9, 2013

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers  Forgiveness and repentance Not long before, some robbers had come at night from some distance away to attack Abba Theon.  They thought that they would find a considerable sum of gold hoarded by him, and intended to kill him.  But he prayed, and they remained at the door, rooted to the spot, until daybreak.  When the crowd came to him in the morning and proposed to burn these men alive, he was forced to speak a single sentence to them: “Let them go unharmed; if you do not, my gift of healing will leave me.”  They obeyed, for they did not dare to contradict him.  The robbers at once entered the neighboring monasteries and with the help of the monks [...]

LENTEN FIRE: Thursday Of The Third Week Of Lent

March 8, 2013

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers  Concealing and revealing A brother asked Abba Poemen, “If I see my brother’s fault, is it good to conceal it?” The old man said, “At the very moment we conceal our brother’s fault God also hides our own, and at the very moment we reveal our brother’s fault, God also reveals ours.” Sinning in thought and sinning in deed It was reported that two brothers went into a village where they had been sent, and the demon attacked the older one five times in order to make him sin.  And he contended with the attacks by saying a prayer each hour.  They returned to their father and his face was troubled and he asked his father’s [...]

LENTEN FIRE: Wednesday Of The Third Week Of Lent

March 7, 2013

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers  The brother and the dove (continued) So the brother came to himself and was restored to his right mind and he left and went into the desert and when he came to a great old man he related to him what had happened. In reply, the old man said to him, “Stay with me in my cave and fast for three weeks and I will entreat God on your behalf.”  And so the old man labored on the brother’s behalf and entreated God, saying, “I beg you, Lord, grant me this soul and accept his repentance.”  And God heard him. When the first week was completed, the old man went to the brother and asked him, “Have you seen anything?” The brother answered [...]

FURSA IN LENT: Day Nineteen by Paul Wallis

March 6, 2013

From Be Thou My Breastplate Let the vision that the people of Heaven have be in these eyes.  (Fursa’s Breastplate) This line of Fursa’s prayer has me approach God with a bold request indeed.  Today I am to ask God to enable me to see all things – my own life, the lives of others, the life of the world – differently.  It is surely impossible that I should pray these words without expecting God’s answer to do far more than merely alter my perspectives in some academic kind of way.  If God answers he will surely upset my very understanding of things, overturning my own order of priorities and values. In the letter to the Romans, I am told that it is through seeing things differently – having a “new [...]

LENTEN FIRE: Friday Of The Second Week Of Lent

March 2, 2013

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers What is sufficient Question: Is it good to possess two tunics? (Matthew 10:10; Luke 9:3) Answer: To possess two tunics and not to possess evil that stains the whole body is a good thing, for the soul has no need of evil, but the body needs clothing.  Since we have the things we need and they’re sufficient, we are satisfied with them. (Proverbs 30:8 and 1 Timothy 6:8) You can’t go inside Abba Isaac of Thebes visited a cenobium and saw a brother doing wrong and condemned him.  When he left for the desert, an angel of the Lord came and stood in front of the door to his cell and said, “I will not let you go inside.” Abba Isaac importuned him, [...]

LENTEN FIRE: Thursday Of The Second Week Of Lent

March 1, 2013

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers  The pure angelic habit Abba Macarius said, “Like the carpenter who straightens what is crooked and bends what is straight, so it is with the repentance that our Lord Jesus Christ has appointed for us: it makes straight again what is crooked and rolls in the filth of sin and makes it pure like virgins standing in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Matthew 25:1-13)  Those who turn away from their sins and repent receive the pure angelic habit that is in Heaven. The sweet of all sweets Abba Poemen said: “I was sitting one time with some brothers beside Abba Macarius.  I said to him, ‘My father, what work must a person do in order to acquire [...]

LENTEN FIRE: Wednesday Of The Second Week Of Lent

February 28, 2013

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers  A wise goldsmith A brother asked Abba Macarius, “Tell me the meaning of repentance.” Abba Macarius said to him, “Repentance does not consist only of kneeling, like the divining rod that indicates water by going up and down, but is like a wise goldsmith who wishes to craft a chain: with a link of gold and a link of silver, even with iron and lead, he lengthens the chain until he completes his work.  This too is the form that repentance takes.  All the virtues depends on it.” The child of disobedience There was an old man in Scetis who, when he fell into a very serious illness, was ministered to by the brothers.  When the old man saw how [...]

LENTEN FIRE: Saturday After Ash Wednesday

February 17, 2013

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers  Remember hell, but also remember the day of resurrection Abba Antony said, “As you sit in your cell, gather your thoughts: remember the day of your death; visualize the body’s deadness at that time.  Reflect on misfortune; accept suffering; condemn the world’s foolish vanity.  Be diligent about being gentle in your zealousness in order to maintain the same peaceful disposition at all times without weakening.  Remember also the state of things in hell and reflect on what it is like for the souls there, what sort of very bitter silence and utterly terrible groaning they endure, how great their fear and struggle, what their expectations are like as [...]

LENTEN FIRE: Friday After Ash Wednesday

February 16, 2013

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers  I am sorry for my sin A brother questioned Abba Poemen, saying, “What should I do?”  He said, “It is written, I confess my iniquity, I am sorry for my sin.” (Psalm 38:18) He will soon plant others Abba Mark asked Abba Arsenius, “Is it good to have nothing extra in the cell?  I know a brother who had some vegetables and he has pulled them up.” Abba Arsenius replied, “Undoubtedly that is good but it must be done according to a person’s capacity.  If he does not have the strength for such a practice he will soon plant others.” That is a lot A brother questioned Abba Poemen, saying, “I have committed a [...]

PRAYER: Novena To Saint John Of The Cross

December 14, 2012

Author Unknown Daily Prayer O glorious Saint John of the Cross, through a pure desire of being like Jesus crucified, you longed for nothing so eagerly as to suffer, to be despised, and to be made little of by all; and your thirst after sufferings was so burning that your noble heart rejoiced in the midst of the cruelest torments and afflictions. Grant, I beseech you, O dear saint, by the glory which your many sufferings have gained for you, to intercede for me and obtain from God for me a love of suffering, together with strength and grace to bear with firmness of mind all the trials and adversities which are the sure means to the happy attainment of all that awaits me in Heaven. Dear saint, from your most happy place in glory, hear, I [...]