The crib becomes an altar: therefore dies No ox nor sheep; for in their fodder lies The Prince of Peace, who, thankful for his bed, Destroys those rites in which their blood was shed. ~Sir John Beaumont, from Of The Epiphany The Christian season of Epiphany has almost faded into obscurity. How ironic. The word […]
A SILENT PROMISE JAY EMERSON JOHNSON Light comes back as it always does just before Christmas Day like finding a treasured keepsake forgotten in attic recesses and I start to think about Hoovering up brittle evergreen needles, fingering the stubborn ones out from a wooly carpet’s fibers. Light comes back slowly tracing an ancient arc […]
UPON THE CIRCUMCISION JOHN MILTON YE flaming Powers, and wingèd Warriors bright, That erst with music, and triumphant song, First heard by happy watchful Shepherds’ ear, So sweetly sung your joy the clouds along, Through the soft silence of the listening night,— Now mourn; and if sad share with us to bear Your fiery essence […]
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
Help me. help me, help me.
Pain’s only valuable lesson is that we are insufficient.
Spiritual truth is difficult for the rational mind to grasp. The Bible says the Holy Spirit will guide us to all truth and indeed, absent God’s intrusion our modern minds gravitate to only that which is reasonable – and reason is a hobbled teacher. We understand this most directly in matters of love, for as Pascal […]
Suicide violates the imago Dei, the image of God with which we are created, and that is simply idolatry.
But once again, even in considering the possibility, I am trying to even the score.
What we often think of as Christ-like love is actually something quite sinister.
No amount of Herculean intellect and wit is enough.
ON THIS DAY I COMPLETE MY THIRTY-SIXTH YEAR Lord Byron ’TIS time this heart should be unmoved, Since others it hath ceased to move: Yet, though I cannot be beloved, Still let me love! Had she lived to an old age, Marilyn Monroe would have turned 91 last week. That’s hard to imagine. She shares […]
Tess of the D’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy ‘Forgive me as you are forgiven! I forgive YOU, Angel.’ ‘You—yes, you do.’ ‘But you do not forgive me?’ ‘O Tess, forgiveness does not apply to the case! You were one person; now you are another. My God—how can forgiveness meet such a grotesque-prestidigitation as that!’ He […]
Tess of the D’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy ‘I cannot help associating your decline as a family with this other fact—of your want of firmness. Decrepit families imply decrepit wills, decrepit conduct. Heaven, why did you give me a handle for despising you more by informing me of your descent! Here was I thinking you a new-sprung […]
Tess of the D’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy If an offense come out of the truth, better is it that the offense come than that the truth be concealed. College years have always been a challenge to young people. The newness of independent living combined with an environment designed to stretch their understanding and awareness is often […]
Tess of the D’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy . . . he now began to discredit the old appraisements of morality. He thought they wanted readjusting. Who was the moral man? Still more pertinently, who was the moral woman? The beauty or ugliness of a character lay not only in its achievements, but in its aims and […]
“A human being is a vessel that God has built for himself and filled with His inspiration so that his works are perfected in it” Hildegard von Bingen, O.S.B., the twelfth century mystic, theologian, poet, and composer/playwright lived so long ago that it warrants a timeline of sorts to see just how ahead of her […]
Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë He was the first to recognize me, and to love what he saw. What does it mean to find your voice? Among other things, the phrase has come to mean to expression of one’s true self. It is no simple task. For many, the path to discovery is through expressive writing. […]
Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë “I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.” Rejection is tough at any age but it is especially painful in adolescence. At a time when peer pressure is an overwhelming force, young people will often do things outside of […]
Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë I do not think, sir, you have any right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time and experience. The word “docile” has […]
Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë “Mr. Rochester, I no more assign this fate to you than I grasp at it for myself. We were born to strive and endure – you as well as I: do so. You will forget me before I forget you.” Centuries ago, children were considered grown whenever they could reproduce. There […]
Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will. This week we turn our attention to Charlotte Brontë’s classic nineteenth century novel Jane Eyre. First published in 1847, the book follows the life of an orphan who learns the value of […]
Great Expectations Charles Dickens After I had turned the worse point of my illness, I began to notice that while all its other features changed, this one consistent feature did not change. Whoever came about me, still settled down into Joe. I opened my eyes in the day, and, sitting on the window-seat, smoking his […]
Great Expectations Charles Dickens You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then. You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since-on the river, on the sails […]
Great Expectations Charles Dickens There was a long hard time when I kept far from me the remembrance of what I had thrown away when I was quite ignorant of its worth. Our lives, like the characters of Dickens’ finest novel, are filled with great expectation. We likewise are often disappointed – in spite of […]
“Art is a distinct and irreplaceable way of knowing the world because it alone unlike science or philosophy uses and engages the fullness of our humanity” ~Dana Gioia “But surely arrested development consists not in refusing to lose old things but in failing to add new things.” ~CS Lewis To grow ourselves in the art […]
Charlotte’s Web E.B. White You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping […]
Charlotte’s Web E.B. White Ever since the spider had befriended him, he had done his best to live up to his reputation. When Charlotte’s web said SOME PIG, Wilbur had tried hard to look like some pig. When Charlotte’s web said TERRIFIC, Wilbur had tried to look terrific. And now that the web said RADIANT, […]
Charlotte’s Web E.B. White How’s this?” he asked, showing the ad to Charlotte. It says ‘Crunchy.’ ‘Crunchy’ would be a good word to write in your web.” Just the wrong idea,” replied Charlotte. “Couldn’t be worse. We don’t want Zuckerman to think Wilbur is crunchy. He might start thinking about crisp, crunchy bacon and tasty […]
Charlotte’s Web E.B. White These autumn days will shorten and grow cold. The leaves will shake loose from the trees and fall. Christmas will come, then the snows of winter. You will live to enjoy the beauty of the frozen world.… Winter will pass, the days will lengthen, the ice will melt in the pasture […]
Emily Dickinson Tell all the truth but tell it slant — Success in Circuit lies Too bright for our infirm Delight The Truth’s superb surprise As Lightning to the Children eased With explanation kind The Truth must dazzle gradually Or every man be blind — Children are inquisitive and insatiable for knowledge. This can be […]
Areopagitica John Milton For who knows not that Truth is strong, next to the Almighty? She needs no policies, nor stratagems, nor licensings to make her victorious; those are the shifts and the defences that error uses against her power. Give her but room, and do not bind her when she sleeps . . . […]
Rise heart; thy Lord is risen. Sing his praise Without delays, Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise With him mayst rise. That, as his death calcined1 thee to dust, His life may make thee gold, and much more just. Awake, my lute, and struggle […]
Jesus’ body is taken down from the cross Malcolm Guite His spirit and his life he breathes in all, Now on this cross his body breathes no more. Here at the centre everything is still, Spent, and emptied, opened to the core. A quiet taking down, a prising loose, A cross-beam lowered like a weighing […]
Jesus Dies On The Cross Malcolm Guite The dark nails pierce him and the sky turns black We watch him as he labours to draw breath. He takes our breath away to give it back, Return it to its birth through his slow death. We hear him struggle, breathing through the pain, Who once breathed […]
Here is the source of every sacrament, The all-transforming presence of the Lord, Replenishing our every element, Remaking us in his creative Word. For here the earth herself gives bread and wine, The air delights to bear his Spirit’s speech, The fire dances where the candles shine, The waters cleanse us with his gentle touch. […]
Come close with Mary, Martha, Lazarus, So close the candles flare with their soft breath, And kindle heart and soul to flame within us Lit by these mysteries of life and death. For beauty now begins the final movement, In quietness and intimate encounter, The alabaster jar of precious ointment Is broken open for the […]
Come to your Temple here with liberation And overturn these tables of exchange, Restore in me my lost imagination, Begin in me for good the pure change. Come as you came, an infant with your mother, That innocence may cleanse and claim this ground. Come as you came, a boy who sought his father With […]
Jesus comes near and he beholds the city And looks on us with tears in his eyes, And wells of mercy, streams of love and pity Flow from the fountain whence all things arise. He loved us into life and longs to gather And meet with his beloved face to face. How often has he […]
Now to the gate of my Jerusalem, The seething holy city of my heart, The Saviour comes. But will I welcome him? Oh crowds of easy feelings make a start; They raise their hands, get caught up in the singing, And think the battle won. Too soon they’ll find The challenge, the reversal he is […]
Love’s as warm as tears, Love is tears: Pressure within the brain, Tension at the throat, Deluge, weeks of rain, Haystacks afloat, Featureless seas between Hedges, where once was green. Love’s as fierce as fire, Love is fire: All sorts ‒ Infernal heat Clinkered with greed and pride, Lyric desire, sharp-sweet, Laughing, […]
The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil; It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod? Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil; […]
For anyone who has woken to bitterness and misery in the small hours.
Who said that trees grow easily compared with us? What if the bright bare load that pushes down on them insisted that they spread and bowed and pleated back on themselves and cracked and hunched? Light dropping like a palm levelling the ground, backwards and forwards? Across the valley are the other witnesses of two […]
Philosophers have measur’d mountains, Fathom’d the depths of seas, of states and kings; Walk’d with a staff to heav’n and traced fountains: But there are two vast, spacious thins, The which to measure it doth more behove; Yet few there are that sound them, ‒ Sin and Love. Who would know Sin, let him repair […]
In the middle of the world, in the centre Of the polluted heart of man, a midden; A stake stemmed in the rubbish From lipless jaws, Adam’s skull Gasped up through the garbage: ‘I lie in the discarded dross of history, Ground down again to the red dust, The obliterated image. Create me.’ From lips […]
The windless northern surge, the sea-gull’s scream, And Calvin’s kirk crowning the barren brae. I think of Giotto the Tuscan shepherd’s dream, Christ, man and creature in their inner day. How could our race betray The Image, and the Incarnate One unmake Who chose this form and fashion for our sake? The Word made flesh […]
Strong Son of God, immortal Love, Whom we, that have not seen thy face, By faith, and faith alone, embrace, Believing where we cannot prove; … Our little systems have their day; They have their day and cease to be: They are but broken lights of thee, And thou, O Lord, art more than they. […]
You tell me, doubt is Devil-born. I know not: one indeed I knew In many a subtle question versed, Who touch’d a jarring lyre at first, But ever strove to make it true: Perplext in faith, but pure in deeds, At last he beat his music out. There lives more faith in honest doubt, Believe […]