Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ten posts in one evening

So let me explain! I went to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, and found one of my "deleted" blogs, and so I harvested some material that I wanted to save. And to share.

Carlo Carretto

Carlo Carretto.

On openness to change, on respect for Church hierarchy. From his book Summoned by Love (Orbis, 1977), pp 137-8.

All convinced Christians should feel that they belong to a true community of prayer.

If the parish is alive, the community is there already; if dead or on its last legs, the thing to do would be to make a fresh start, with like-minded people forming a community based on friendship and fellow-feeling, and so up, to a pooling of resources and the breaking of bread together.

And here I want to say a few words.

We must get rid of our fears.

Certain organisations believe themselves to be the unique repositories of newness.

If a community has not been born in their house, they do all they can not to recognise it.

They do the very opposite of what the Apostles did.

When the Apostles heard that there was a group of pagans who used to meet in Christ, they did not take offence, they did not impose a boycott, they sent Barnabas.

And Barnabas, 'on arrival, saw that God had bestowed grace -- and was delighted' (Ac 11:22).

Is it right to panic every time something new comes to birth in a parish?

Are we to believe that the Spirit rests uniquely on the man in charge?

And an equally sharp word must be said in the other direction: to those group-Churches which spring up without any contact with parish priest or bishop -- as though this were almost a matter of principle.

It is all too easy to lose sight of one of the fundamental aspects of the Church, and indeed the one which the Acts of the Apostles lists as the first: 'They persevered in listening to the Apostles' teaching'

And this is a serious matter, certainly not in accord with the Spirit of Christ.

For, if we want the bishops to be ever more trusting and open to what is new, 'lest the Spirit be quenched' now blowing consistently everywhere, we must encourage the various groups spontaneously springing up, to have faith in the bishops and involve them too in the great work of rebirth and communion as the post-Conciliar Church emerges from the pre-Conciliar one.

And this, not for the sake of obtaining the customary approbations or of being paid unctuous compliments, but of faithfully doing what Christ wishes us to do.

Without the bishop there is no Church, and we are certainly not doing God's will by unduly prolonging abnormal situations.

Cardinal Pellegrino has put it nicely: 'We are travelling together', and this approach seems to me a perfect modern commentary on what the Fathers used to say and what St Augustine said so well : 'With you I am a Christian, and for you I am a bishop.'

Do not despair

Do not fall into despair because of your stumblings.

I do not mean that you should not feel pain because of them, but that you should not consider them incurable.

For it is better to be wounded than dead.

There is indeed a healer : he who on the cross asked for mercy on those who were crucifying him, who pardoned murderers as he hung on the cross.

Christ came on behalf of sinners, to heal the broken-hearted and to bind up their wounds.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, he says; for that reason he has anointed me in order to proclaim good tidings to the poor. 'He has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim deliverance to the captive, recovery of sight to the blind' [Lk 4.18], and to strengthen the bruised by forgiveness.

And the Apostle says in his Letter, 'Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners' [1 Tm 1.15]. And his Lord also testifies, 'I am not come to call the righteous, for they who are in good health have no need of a doctor; only those who are sick' [Mk 2.17].

from Daily Readings with St Isaac of Syria, ed. with an introduction by A. M. Allchin (Templegate, 1990), p. 62


Frederick William Faber (1814-63), alt.

There's a wideness in God's mercy
like the wideness of the sea;
there's a kindness in his justice,
which is more than liberty.
There is welcome for the sinner,
and more graces for the good;
there is mercy with the Savior;
there is healing in his blood.

There is no place where earth's sorrows
are more felt than in heaven;
there is no place where earth's failings
have such kindly judgment given.
There is plentiful redemption
in the blood that has been shed;
there is joy for all the members
in the sorrows of the Head.

For the love of God is broader
than the measure of the mind;
and the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more faithful,
we should take him at his word;
and our life would be thanksgiving
for the goodness of the Lord.


Edwin Hatch (1835-89), alt.
from Poems of Grace: Texts of The [Episcopal] Hymnal, 1982

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
fill me with life anew,
that I may love what thou dost love,
and do what thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
until my heart is pure,
until my will is one with thine,
to do and to endure.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
till I am wholly thine,
until this earthly part of me
glows with thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
so shall I never die;
but live with thee the perfect life
of thine eternity.

The Poets

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-82)

O ye dead Poets, who are living still
Immortal in your verse, though life be fled,
And ye, O living Poets, who are dead
Though ye are living, if neglect can kill,

Tell me if in the darkest hours of ill,
With drops of anguish falling fast and red
From the sharp crown of thorns upon your head,
Ye were not glad your errand to fulfill?

Yes; for the gift and ministry of Song
Have something in them so divinely sweet,
It can assuage the bitterness of wrong;

Not in the clamor of the crowded street,
Not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng,
But in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.

Sonnet to the Virgin

by William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

Mother! whose virgin bosom was uncrost
With the least shade of thought to sin allied;
Woman! above all women glorified,
Our tainted nature's solitary boast;
Purer than foam on central ocean tost;
Brighter than eastern skies at daylight strewn
With fancied roses, than the unblemished moon
Before her wane begins on heaven's blue coast;
Thy Image falls to earth. Yet some, I ween,
Not unforgiven the suppliant knee might bend,
As to a visible Power, in which did blend
All that was mixed and reconciled in Thee
Of mother's love with maiden purity,
Of high with low, celestial with terrene!

Love of neighbor

Love of Neighbor

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization -- these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit -- immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously -- no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner -- no mere tolerance or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat -- the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.

~ C. S. Lewis, from The Joyful Christian : 127 Readings (Touchstone, 1996), pp 197-8

St Francis of Assisi

St Francis of Assisi (1181 or 82 - 1226).
Cantica. Our Lord Christ: of order.
Translated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-82).

Set Love in order, thou that lovest Me.
Never was virtue out of order found;
And though I fill thy heart desirously,
By thine own virtue I must keep My ground:
When to My love thou dost bring charity,
Even she must come with order girt and gown'd
Look how the tree are bound
To order, bearing fruit;
And by one thing compute,
In all things earthly, order's grace or gain.

All earthly things I had the making of
Were numbered and were measured then by Me;
And each was ordered to its end by Love,
Each kept, through order, clean for ministry.
Charity most of all, when known enough,
Is of her very nature orderly.
Lo, now! what heat in thee,
Soul, can have bred this rout?
Thou putt'st all order out.
Even this love's heat must be its curb and rein.

The Proud Heart

by Countee Cullen (1903-46)

That lively organ, palpitant and red,
Enrubied in the staid and sober breast,
Telling the living man, "You are not dead
Until this hammered anvil takes its rest,"
My life's timepiece wound to alarm someday
The body to its need of box and shroud,
Was meant till then to beat one haughty way;
A crimson stroke should be no less than proud.

Yet this high citadel has come to grief,
Been broken as an arrow drops its bird,
Splintered as many ways as veins in a leaf
At a woman's laugh or at a man's harsh word;
But being proud still strikes its hours in pain;
The dead man lives, and none perceives him slain.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Meme of gerunds

(Hat tip: Salome Ellen)


Making: coffee and a blog-post

Cooking: nothing!

Reading: re-reading some Henri Nouwen, believe it or not

Wanting: greater perseverance

Looking: at the computer screen

Playing: with words!

Wasting: time, all too often

Sewing: not at the moment

Wishing: I could go back in time 21 years and re-do (more accurately, un-do) something

Enjoying: life in the suburbs!

Praying: the Psalms; the Rosary (an hour ago)

Waiting: for October, November, and consistently cooler weather

Wondering: should I look into becoming a secular Franciscan?

Loving: my family and dear, dear friends

Hoping: to overcome a particular fault

Marveling: at God's mercy, and at the beauty of His creation

Needing: coffee, although that is using the word "need" rather elastically!

Wearing: pajamas

Following: some incredibly inspiring blogs

Noticing: that I have hundreds of books, and limited space in which to put them!

Knowing: that God is merciful to fools like me!

Thinking: of monks and monasteries; thinking also that coffee is almost as awesome as beer

Bookmarking: too many things to count

Opening: a new day!

Giggling: at the phrase "Byzantine logothete" as I try to imagine it coming from the mouth of any of today's presidential candidates. It's something that Theodore Roosevelt called Woodrow Wilson.

Feeling: a mite groggy, but happy!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Quotation of note

A theologian who does not love art, poetry, music and nature can be dangerous. Blindness and deafness toward the beautiful are not incidental; they necessarily are reflected in his theology.

~ Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Ratzinger Report (p. 130)