Saturday, June 26, 2010

Arguing w/ St. John Chrysostom (see previous posts)

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But St. John, even Mother Teresa is reported as having told Jesus, as she was dying, that He asks too much.

So why do you present it as being so easy?

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more from St. John Chrysostom

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...there is need of vigor, and a lofty soul, that takes in things beyond expectation, and stumbles not at appearances... You see that this is a chief characteristic of faith, ...to cast out the feebleness of calculation, and so to accept everything from the Power of God.

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St. John Chrysostom Against Whining

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Neither account the journey to be difficult. "For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved." [1674] "But this way," it will be said, "is strait and narrow." Well, but the former, through which thou hast come, is not strait and narrow only, but even impassable, and full of savage wild beasts. And as there was no passing through the Red Sea, unless that miracle had been wrought, so neither could we, abiding in our former life, have gone up into Heaven, but only by baptism intervening. Now if the impossible hath become possible, much more will the difficult be easy.

"But that," it will be said, "was of grace only." Why, for this reason especially thou hast just cause to take courage. For if, where it was grace alone, He wrought with you; will He not much more be your aid, where ye also show forth laborious works? If He saved thee, doing nothing, will He not much more help thee, working?

Above indeed I was saying, that from the impossibilities thou oughtest to take courage about the difficulties also; but now I add this, that if we are vigilant, these will not be so much as difficult. For mark it: death is trodden under foot, the devil hath fallen, the law of sin is extinguished, the grace of the Spirit is given, life is contracted into a small space, the heavy burdens are abridged.

And to convince thee hereof by the actual results, see how many have overshot the injunctions of Christ; and art thou afraid of that which is just their measure? What plea then wilt thou have, when others are leaping beyond the bounds, and thou thyself too slothful for what is enacted?

Thus, thee we admonish to give alms of such things as thou hast, but another hath even stripped himself of all his possessions: thee we require to live chastely with thy wife, but another hath not so much as entered into marriage: and thee we entreat not to be envious, but another we find giving up even his own life for charity: thee again we entreat to be lenient in judgments, and not severe to them that sin, but another, even when smitten, hath turned the other cheek also.

What then shall we say, I pray thee? What excuse shall we make, not doing even these things, when others go so far beyond us? And they would not have gone beyond us, had not the thing been very easy. For which pines away, he who envies other men's blessings, or he who takes pleasure with them, and rejoices? Which eyes all things with suspicion and continual trembling, the chaste man, or the adulterer? Which is cheered by good hopes, he that spoils by violence, or he that shows mercy, and imparts of his own to the needy?

Let us then bear in mind these things, and not be torpid in our career for virtue's sake; but having stripped ourselves with all readiness for these glorious wrestlings, let us labor for a little while, that we may win the perpetual and imperishable crowns; unto which may we all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might forever and ever. Amen. _________________________________________________________________

Friday, June 25, 2010

Just wondering...

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Where is Amazon.com, anyway? In all my driving around this country, I've never even glimpsed a single one of their warehouses or offices.

Are they underground?
In orbit?

I've never met anyone who works for Amazon, either.

Are they even real? Maybe they're a front for something quite sinister.

And what about those tiny corncob-esque entities in certain salads?--I've never seen any farms with acre upon acre of miniature corn "toe-high by the fourth of July."

Maybe it's best to refrain from checking into a lot of the "ordinary" things we take for granted...

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rupnik binge continues...(from chapter 4)

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...Since their thoughts then belong to God and they have handed themselves over to God, the Lord acts on them by acting in them. God enters into their hearts through their thoughts and feelings in a tender, kind way, seamlessly, without their feeling any force, any actions that are foreign to them, that might disturb, disquiet, sadden, or prick their consciences.

The thoughts and feelings inspired by the Holy Spirit present themselves in our hearts as an owner entering his own house, not knocking, not forcing open the door, but simply opening and entering because the house belongs to him. As a drop of water falls on a sponge and is silently absorbed without bouncing off or making noise, so the thoughts and feelings inspired by the Holy Spirit present themselves in the human heart. Or rather, they spring from the heart as an underground river simply appears. The heart recognizes these movements as its own, as belonging to it.

The enemy of human nature, on the other hand, acts in a way contrary to the Holy Spirit. He acts above all on our thoughts... The tempter pries into reason with violence, seeking to detach our throughts from this orientation [of sensing and tasting love], to make us trip up. He presents obstacles, exaggerates struggles, renunciations, and sufferings. He multiplies the reasons for not going forward...The enemy acts through disturbance, making the mind restless and provoking a certain state of fear, worry, and bewilderment. The enemy presents the journey as something strenuous and out of nowhere brings to mind dangers we had never imagined before.

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More from Rupnik

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Sin takes place within love because it is only within love that that experience of freedom is possible, and therefore also the free choice not to surrender to God.

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from Rupnik's most recent book, "Discernment..."

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Another method the ancients used to test a thought is based on the conviction that the thought to avoid comes from without and is usually accepted either because it has a certain sensory and emotional fascination on the one who considers it a priority, or because it presents itself with such vehemence and insistence that, because of the pressure caused by haste, it is chosen because it is more urgent. The ancient monks advised posing this type of questioning to the thought: "Where do you come from? Do you come from my own heart, where the Lord dwells, and are thus my own, or do you come from without and someone else has brought you? Who has brought you? What do you want?" Already by asking these questions one perceives a reaction.

Other questions are also recommended: "Why such urgency? I don't have time for you now." Or "You are forcing me to rush, to undertake this step immediately, but the saints have said that the Holy Spirit as well as the devil want me to be holy; only the devil wants this to happen immediately." To the disciple who asked what sin is, a spiritual master answered: haste.

...It is precisely with this inner attention, and with a certain disinterest for whatever assails one, that one begins to become aware of the times when a thought does not come from within, when its origins are foreign and its suggestions seem objectifying and moralistic: "you must," "it isn't right," "it's necessary to react," "you must defend," etc.

It is the powerful way in which such thoughts impose themselves, disguised with spiritual, religious, moral, and ethical labels, that contribute immensely to making us forget we are free. Thoughts of this type rob us of our freedom, blinding us to relationships, to the faces of others. They terrorize us with their sense of duty, of urgency, even to the point of disengaging us from love and making us forgetful of our free choice to surrender. The thoughts that impede us from freely surrendering and maintaining a living awareness of ourselves in relationships are thoughts introduced from outside ourselves, not from within. The Holy Spirit does not use the imperative "you must." In the Gospel passage that presents in all its absoluteness the most "programmatic" speech--the Sermon on the Mount--Christ speaks of those who are "blessed." The Gospel is a revelation, not a demand; blessed is the one who follows it. Even the Mother of God, at the moment of the Annunciation, did not respond, "Yes, I have to be the Mother of God, otherwise the world will not be saved."

When I do not pay attention to a thought, if the thought is born from the Holy Spirit, it will return because the Lord is humble, and he waits at my door and knocks...It is not necessary to be rushed into responding.

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Experiment

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It is HOT.

Here's the dilemma: in heat, I am completely worthless; in air conditioning, I feel horribly non-real.

I don't want to move to a cold place unless I have some kind of call to be there.

So today, I've turned off the air, opened the windows for cross-ventilation, and am moving very slowly and trying to talk to no one, and to be very quiet inside.

Can silence generate coolness?

So far, it seems to be working, but it's not even one p.m.

Also, it's not right to completely isolate myself from everyone!

Maybe I should start experimenting with big blocks of dry ice. I've heard that certain glaciers generate their own climates...

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...and speaking of C.S. Lewis, this book is new to me:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

from C.S. Lewis

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A certain level of good conduct comes fairly easily to you. You are not one of those wretched creatures who are always being tripped up by sex, or dipsomania, or nervousness, or bad temper. Everyone says you are a nice chap and (between ourselves) you agree with them. You are quite likely to believe that all this niceness is your own doing: and you may easily not feel the need for any better kind of goodness. Often people who have all these natural kinds of goodness cannot be brought to recognise their need for Christ at all until, one day, the natural goodness lets them down and their self-satisfaction is shattered. In other words, it is hard for those who are 'rich' in this sense to enter the Kingdom.

It is very different for the nasty people - the little, low, timid, warped, thin-blooded, lonely people, or the passionate, sensual, unbalanced people. If they make any attempt at goodness at all, they learn, in double quick time, that they need help. It is Christ or nothing for them. It is taking up the cross and following-or else despair. They are the lost sheep; He came specially to find them. They are (in one very real and terrible sense) the 'poor': He blessed them. They are the 'awful set' He goes about with - and of course the Pharisees say still, as they said from the first, 'if there were anything in Christianity those people would not be Christians.'

There is either a warning or an encouragement here for every one of us. If you are a nice person - if virtue comes easily to you-beware! Much is expected from those to whom much is given. If you mistake for your own merits what are really God's gifts to you through nature, and if you are contented with simply being nice, you are still a rebel: and all those gifts will only make your fall more terrible, your corruption more complicated, your bad example more disastrous. The Devil was an archangel once; his natural gifts were as far above yours as yours are above those of a chimpanzee.

But if you are a poor creature- poisoned by a wretched upbringing in some house full of vulgar jealousies and senseless quarrels saddled, by no choice of your own, with some loathsome sexual, perversion- nagged day in and day out by an inferiority complex that makes you snap at your best friends-do not despair. He knows all about it. You are one of the poor whom He blessed. He knows what a wretched machine you are trying to drive. Keep on. Do what you can. One day (perhaps in another world, but perhaps far sooner than that) He will fling it on the scrap-heap and give you a new one. And then you may astonish us all-not least yourself: for you have learned your driving in a hard school. (Some of the last will be first and some of the first will be last.)

'Niceness'- wholesome, integrated personality - is an excellent thing. We must try by every medical, educational, economic, and political means in our power to produce a world where as many people as possible grow up `nice'; just as we must try to produce a world where all have plenty to eat. But we must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world - and might even be more difficult to save.

For mere improvement is not redemption, though redemption always improves people even here and now and will, in the end, improve them to a degree we cannot yet imagine. God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man. It is not like teaching a horse to jump better and better but like turning a horse into a winged creature. Of course, once it has got its wings, it will soar over fences which could never have been jumped and thus beat the natural horse at its own game. But there may be a period, while the wings are just beginning to grow, when it cannot do so: and at that stage the lumps on the shoulders - no one could tell by looking at them that they are going to be wings - may even give it an awkward appearance.

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

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Brethren, what is the quickest path which leads to the knowledge of God? Without a doubt, through "Christ Jesus our Lord." He is the Revealer and He is the Revelation, He is the Wise and the Wisdom, He is the Teacher and the Knowledge. Grace is from Him. Peace is from Him. He who knows God through the knowledge of created beings in nature and through the laws of nature, as the heathens do, does nothing wrong but progresses along the path in a round about manner and proceeds on an indirect path upon which many go astray and are lost. But he who comes to the knowledge of God through conscience and destiny of men, as the moralists do, does nothing wrong but that one also goes by in a round about manner and difficult path and can go astray and become lost. But he who knows God by knowing the Lord Christ is on the shortest and surest path.

Bishop Nikolai Velimirovch
The Prologue from Ohrid

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Adult Language! Adult Situations!

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mortgage

cholestorol

deductible

osteoperosis

gutters and drains

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

"I Didn't Ask To Be Born!"

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The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

Romans 8

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The Real Deal

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“Jesus, you are honey in our mouth.
You are music in our ear.
You are a leap of joy in our heart.”

--St. Bernard

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Backwards?

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I think we tend to have things backwards inasmuch as we think individualistically about the Day of Judgement.

St. Paul seems to anticipate not so much his personal spiritual attaintments of holiness, and so on, but rather, other people's growth and holiness as his crown and his reward (Philippians 4:1).

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

"Visit our infirmities"

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Our infirmities don't necessarily want to be visited.

Whenever we pray that phrase, I remember how once, one my of children (at about age 5) ran from the house and climbed a small tree in order to escape my "visiting his infirmity" (a cut on his knee) with antisceptic solution.

However, once he was in the tree, his knee was right at hand level for me, so it was even easier for me to "visit his infirmity" than it had been before he'd tried to escape!

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"The Sins of My Youth"

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It occurs to me that the phrase "the sins of my youth" isn't necessarily limited to a chronological context.

I am beginning to think of it as also meaning "the sins of my immaturity."

Different parts of us "grow up" on varying timetables. Thus, the sins of my youth can showed up (in a delayed-reaction fashion) at any age!

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Periodic Table

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http://www.everypoet.com/absurdities/elements/

It's the site for the Poetic Table of Elements!
You click an element from the list to the left of the Table or from the Periodic Table itself to read original poems about, inspired by, reminiscent of or otherwise related to that element.

You can also click a spot to submit your own! It would be nice, of course, if you chose to write about one of the (many, at the moment) hitherto unoccupied elements, but feel free to write about any or all of them, filled or unfilled. You may wish to consult the handy alphabetic listing.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Friend MJ sez...

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"Even the glorified saints in heaven somehow need us...because we're all one body..."

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Fear

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"If we are freed from the ultimate fear, that of death, we are unshackled from every other fear, even those imposed by the rules and rituals of 'religion.'"

Michael Plekon, HOLINESS IN OUR TIME

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Wikipedia Quote of the Day (in bold)

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"In the Orthodox Church and in the Eastern Catholic Churches, Sundays are all numbered after Pentecost which runs through the following year. Orthodox do not have ordinary time."

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Prediction

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"Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future."

--Niels Bohr

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Boundaries

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"In order for a child to engage in play, boundaries have to be fluid and able to expand and contract. If boundary is stuck or torn, the child is often angry and frustrated, unable to do anything but sit and glare. It is ironic that the same space we learned to play in is the space we need to go to for healing and authentic living."

"...the remedy for frozen boundary is play."

Boundarytime by John Olesnavage

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cloudy Words

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Before He Makes Each One

Before he makes each one
of us, God speaks.

Then, without speaking,
he takes each one
out of the darkness.

And these are the cloudy
words God speaks
before each of us begins:

"You have been sent out
by your senses. Go
to the farthest edge
of desire, and give me
clothing: burn like a great
fire so that the stretched-out
shadows of the things
of the world cover
me completely.
Let everything happen
to you: beauty and terror.
You must just go--
no feeling is the farthest
you can go. Don't let
yourself be separated
from me. The country
called life is close.
By its seriousness,
you will know it.
Give me your hand."

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

(Translated by Annie Boutelle, Metamorphoses Fall 2001)

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