Monday, May 31, 2010

Kindness

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Kindness

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

--Naomi Shihab Nye

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

What Is the Opposite of Sin?

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"If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and He shall give him life..." 1 John 5:16

So it looks as though the opposite of sin isn't something abstract like "goodness" or "virtue," but LIFE.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

"And things grow new though I grow old"

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A Second Childhood

When all my days are ending
And I have no song to sing,
I think I shall not be too old
To stare at everything;
As I stared once at a nursery door
Or a tall tree and a swing.

Wherein God's ponderous mercy hangs
On all my sins and me,
Because He does not take away
The terror from the tree
And stones still shine along the road
That are, and cannot be.

Men grow too old for love, my love,
Men grow too old for wine,
But I shall not grow too old to see
Unearthly daylight shine,
Changing my chamber's dust to snow
Till I doubt if it be mine.

Behold, the crowning mercies melt,
The first surprises stay;
And in my dross is dropped a gift
For which I dare not pray:
That a man grow used to grief and joy
But not to night and day.

Men grow too old for love, my love,
Men grow too old for lies;
But I shall not grow too old to see
Enormous night arise,
A cloud that is larger than the world
And a monster made of eyes.

Nor am I worthy to unloose
The latchet of my shoe;
Or shake the dust from off my feet
Or the staff that bears me through
On ground that is too good to last,
Too solid to be true.

Men grow too old to woo, my love,
Men grow too old to wed:
But I shall not grow too old to see
Hung crazily overhead
Incredible rafters when I wake
And find I am not dead.

A thrill of thunder in my hair:
Though blackening clouds be plain,
Still I am stung and startled
By the first drop of the rain:
Romance and pride and passion pass
And these are what remain.

Strange crawling carpets of the grass,
Wide windows of the sky:
So in this perilous grace of God
With all my sins go I:
And things grow new though I grow old,
Though I grow old and die.

-G.K. Chesterton

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ascension!

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(from the OCA website:)

"To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne" (Rev. 3:21). Salvation will be consummated in the Glory. "Conceive to yourself the throne, the royal throne, conceive the immensity of the privilege. This, at least if we chose, might more avail to startle us, yea, even than hell itself" (St John Chrysostom).

We should tremble more at the thought of that abundant Glory which is appointed unto the redeemed, than at the thought of the eternal darkness. "Think near Whom Thy Head is seated...." Or rather, Who is the Head. In very truth, "wondrous and terrible is Thy divine ascension from the mountain, 0 Giver of Life." A terrible and wondrous height is the King's throne. In face of this height all flesh stands silent, in awe and trembling. "He has Himself descended to the lowest depths of humiliation, and raised up man to the height of exaltation."

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tread Lightly If At All

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Another person's estrangement from God, or nonbelief, etc., is actually holy ground, a sacred ecosystem with its idiosyncratic characteristics. It's part of that person's life mystery, and only God knows the ins and outs, the intricacies, the particular history and context(individual, generational, etc.). Only God knows what to "do"--His plan of healing for that person, and the timing of that healing. Deep listening to God, deep sensitivity to the Spirit--that's our call in these relationships, I believe, and above all, of course, love. If/when it's time to say something, only words from the heart--God's heart through ours--will serve.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Blessed Augustine on the Samaritan Woman's Wondering About A Mountain on Which to Worship God

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O for a mountain to pray on, you cry, high and inaccessible, that I may be nearer to God, and God may hear me better, for He dwells on high. Yes, God dwells on high, but He has respect to the humble. Wherefore descend that you may ascend. "Ways on high are in their heart," it is said, "passing in the valley of tears," and in "tears" is humility. Would you pray in the temple? pray in yourself; but first do you become the temple of God.

http://www.orthodox.net/osb/05sunopa-catena.html

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