Acquire the spirit of peace and a thousand souls shall be saved around you.

St. Seraphim

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I.

find a sparse place that humbles you, leaves you leaner so you might know beauty and bend like a reed in the wind but never break/find your comfort and warmth in a stack of blankets/no need for public acclaim, ambition or success

find the pure act, your pure act

play well your best gift so others may do the same/live the natural, ineffable flow/improvise/unique harmony follows

God as pure act

II.

many languish in potential, living a muffled, unrealized yearning for is-ness/being that is God

be immediate, in the moment/fully present

III.

Time as nearness to God: in the minute RIGHT NOW/every minute/physical, mental, emotional, social, intellectual, interpersonal acuity = spiritual existence/every breath

the essence of God in the essence of pure act in immediate time, time after time

Trusting God, time, you, other, The Whole

live to edge closer to pure act, no intervening person, event, task – BEING/ be a loving presence/allow for exile

IV.

Time is best consumed inside and alone – minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, month after month, year after year

V.

Vocation?  Lover, Friend, Monk

see the world without, and within

VI.

share but never shout/settle in yourself/help others to that place

breathe and write for yourself/do each every day – the former more than once each day

faith and art are the same/they occupy a life well lived

VII.

Gift?  You fully alive, shared quietly in gentle voice, few words, soft shades.

Shalom.

Note: Robert Lax was a friend and classmate of Thomas Merton.  A Jew, he converted to Catholicism and abandoned American life for the Greek islands and a solitary life of poetry.  He lived life as pure act so others might as well.

This blog is inspired by the words of Michael N. McGregor in his excellent article about Robert Lax in the Winter edition of Notre Dame Magazine, Winter 2015-2016. 

My heart and flesh cry out for the living God.

Ps 84:3

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Our entire being “with all its sorrows, fears and sadness” seeks the Good, seeks God.

Yes, we need not deny the injuries, the setbacks, the betrayals for they, as much any anything we experience, bring us to the agony of Christ and union with our God.

No life is without its troubles, its slights and its suffering, but none are too great to keep us from God.  Hence our heart and our flesh cry out for God.

No injury is larger than our God.  Nothing keeps us from God.

Fear not.  We all walk the Pilgrim Road.

The Lord withholds no good thing from those who walk without reproach.

Ps. 84:12

Walk, Pilgrim.  Never stop.  Never turn away.  Never quit.

Shalom.

Meditation Moment – Imagine that you are at your core of being rooted in one thing – the desire for God, to know God and be known by God, to live in the ambit of the central thing that defines you and all others.  And then imagine you live in a culture and political environment that denies you that which is your central identity.

Do you understand chaos and confusion?  Illness and sadness you see?  Do you see what makes you whole and at peace?  What makes you certain, stable and joy-filled?  Are you denied your identity?

Share this post with those you love and those in need.

Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. (Emphasis added.)

1 Jn 4:8

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As we approach Valentine’s Day, we do well to stop and consider our love of another, the passionate love of another that can overwhelm us, come upon us like a sudden summer storm or cultivate in time like the seeds in the fields of plenty in this great fertile land.

Passion.  How does one explain it?

God creates each person to be ordered to the greatest blessings, to the greatest happiness and joy.  We can say we are ordered to the beatitudes; yes, ultimately to God and, since God is Love, to love itself – love of what is good, and those who manifest good in our life.

Our passions or deepest feelings at their best stimulate emotions, our sensitivities, and appetites to seek what is good and reject what is evil.

In our better selves we are attracted to who and what is good, and courageously oppose what is evil – no matter the cost.  Yes, the hero fights and dies for love just as the man and woman celebrate love in fidelity and embrace.

Our love and its passion is an attraction to what is good.  Yes, the best of our powerful attractions to another rest in this: we see the good in another and seek to be with it, to honor it – indeed what we experience in this other and their good is God, God’s work in them, God’s presence in them.  Love is, it follows, heavenly.

Likewise the love we have for another would have us sacrifice all for their benefit, their growth, their health, their prosperity, their welfare, their comfort, their happiness, their enrichment, their opportunity, their maturity, their contentment, their pleasure.

Yes, these others who are the object of our love are many: the mother and the child, the father and his children, the husband and his wife, the wife and her husband, the brother or sister for their siblings, children for their parents and grandparents, friends for one another, neighbors for one another, the soldier for his brothers in arms, the commander for his troops, Jesus for his flock, God for all his children.

Yes, our loving affection for another is just as St. Thomas Aquinas says: “To love is to will the good of another.”

In love at its best, you heart moves to what is good, and in this to God – the God within you joins the God in another.  Hence, the all-surpassing joy.

In coming to understand love, think earnestly about this – and you will be changed for the best, closer to God and humbled by the gift of love, that which is to be given and received.

Shalom.

Brothers and Sisters, please share this post with others, so we might all know love, and God.

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in love.

Jn 15:9

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For the Christian charity is the most important theological virtue for Jesus makes of it our central commandment – to love God above all else, and love your neighbor as yourself.

In this one instruction is Christianity.

In this one instruction we are Christians … in this one instruction we live as Christ lived.  In one instruction we love as Christ loved.

In this loving we come to know that love is patient and kind, but neither jealous nor boastful, nor arrogant or rude.  In this loving we come to know that love does not seek its own way, that it is not irritable or resentful, that it rejoices in what is good and not what is wrong.

This is the love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes in all things, and endures all things.

In this love we come to know that without love we have nothing.  

A Christian knows that love holds all things together in harmony for it is both the source and goal of Christian existence.  In this Christian love we meet the perfection that is divine love, the love that is God.

In this love Christians are the free children of God, no longer slaves to mere human nature and all of life’s mortal concerns, uncertainties and worries.

In this love, we know joy, and peace, and mercy; in it we find friendship and community.

Living the Christian theological virtue of love is living in the pursuit of happiness. In living this, mortal life becomes life in the full, and eternal life awaits.

Shalom.

As your part in discipleship, please share this message with others.  In a troubled world, we are all witnesses.

Hope, O my soul, hope.

St. Teresa of Avila

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We often say, or hear someone say that they “hope” for something – like a sunny day, a raise in pay, or the cessation of a problem that they face.  This is merely hope not in something but for something.  It is a meaningless hope -really only an expression of a desire.

The theological virtue of hope is far more than that, far more specific.  A Christian’s hope relies on, and trusts, the promises of Christ and the help of the Holy Spirit and its central object is to realize eternal life.

God places the desire for happiness in all human hearts.  Our hope expresses that desire for happiness, especially the happiness of eternal life.

Our hope inspires us to what is good.  Our hope purifies our actions.  Rises our life above what is common, base, lowly, mundane.  It purifies and gives us a life of meaning, purpose, contentment.

A Christian’s hope wards off discouragement, sustains us when we are abandoned by others, hurt by others, for a Christian’s hope is in God.

A Christian’s hope extinguishes selfishness and opens us to the happiness that flows from love – loving others and life, loving God and being loved by God and others.

In imagining hope, imagine Abraham’s hope  – he who desired a child and yet childless believed God’s promise that he would make of Abraham the father a great people.

In imagining hope think of Jesus, and know that our hope is “the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul … that goes where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.” (1 Thess 5:8)

A Christian’s hope allows the experience of joy in life’s trial.  Our hope is certain, concrete.  It affords us patience.  It is present in the prayer of the Our Father.

A Christian’s life of hope leads to eternal life.  Yes, a Christian’s hope brings happiness to mortal life as a prelude to it in eternal life.

Shalom.

” … I am not ashamed of the gospel … in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The one who is righteous by faith will live.'”  (Emphasis added.)

St. Paul, Rom. 1: 16,17*

*[The title of this passage is “Humanity Lost without the Gospel.]

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The theological virtues of faith, hope and charity (love) adapt the human person to the experience of, and participation in, divine nature.  They do so because these three virtues relate directly to God.  Indeed, these three evidence the presence of the Holy Spirit in each of us and equip each of us to live as Christian people.

These three virtues are the foundation of Christian morality.  They are infused in our soul and, while they must govern our life, they are each under attack in present day America’s secular culture.  Their loss or diminishing explains our unhappiness, our ills and confusion, the chaos and divisions that have been created and the uncertainty and fear we now experience.

Faith is the virtue that allows us to believe in God and know and act on His Truth.  In faith, we commit our life to God.

Yet, faith alone is not sufficient for us to be one with Christ for He lives in us today when faith is united with hope and love.

With these three in union, we to carry Christ living in us and show by our words and deeds, our temperament, our judgment, insight, wisdom and sacrifice that He is the Son of God, our Lord and Savior.  Indeed in this, we show the world that we are Christians, we are His People.

Faith leads to hope and to love and to our life anew in greater peace and joy, and to Truth and its certainty, to our purpose and our meaning.  It is because of faith’s power and progression that secularism drives faith away so that we might more easily submit to the force of man, and forsake the love of God.

… whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”

Mt 10:33

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Faith.  Do not let anyone or anything deprive you of it, for to do so reduces you and prepares you for enslavement.

Shalom.

You are a Believer, please share this post with others so that they might find their way, and also believe.

Postscript – You might find it interesting that living in a family that is short of these three theological virtues: faith, hope and love – creates the same debilitating disorder that we find in secular culture.  Think about that as you look and observe families devoid of faith, hope and love.  They are punishing and barren battlegrounds where long-lasting wounds abound.

His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power.  Through these, he has bestowed on us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine natureafter escaping from corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.  (Emphasis added.)

2 Pet 1:3-4

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Though we now live in daily chaos on a scope that I have never seen in this land, we have been given the gift of sharing in divine nature – a way to escape the corruption that evil brings in endless varieties.

You see numbers of people everywhere, across Christian denominations and among our Jewish brothers and sisters, who manifest uncertainty, concern, confusion, even fear. They see what is happening and they wonder: What can be done?  They wonder what has happened to this nation and those who occupy leadership positions.  Yes, they ask what can be done?

The answer and its execution is quite simple: return to God.  As a Christian, it means return to Jesus and seek and follow the Holy Spirit – our divine guide in the mortal world with Evil at the ready.

Do you wish peace, peace of soul and the fellowship of community, a life of kindness and friendship?  Do you wish to see excellence and live it?  Live in hope?  Know love?  Receive it in all its forms?  And give it easily?  Do you wish a life in which you can trust others and the institutions we need to govern and survive in a hostile and violent world?

Return to God.  Return to Christ.  Live in the company and command of the Holy Spirit. To do so: start by reading Chapter One in The Second Letter of Peter – that is, 2 Pet. 1: 1-11, which is entitled “Exhoration to Christian Virtue.”

There is nothing wrong with this land that cannot be corrected by simply living in virtue. Likewise, there is nothing in this land that can be corrected without Christian virtue.

Shalom.

Please share this post with others.  We are all called to witness.

TOMORROW – The Christian Virtue of Faith.

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.  There is only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

Lk 10: 41-42

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In the above quote Jesus is addressing Martha in the wonderful, instructive, short story in which Jesus visits the home of Martha and her sister Mary and Martha undertakes to prepare a meal for Jesus as Mary sits at Jesus feet listening to him while Martha is working.

In the story Martha has just complained that Mary is not helping her and asks for Jesus to say something to Mary.  Jesus response tells Martha and all of us – that worry and anxiety need not govern us – rather that we need only God who provides all that we need in life, and whose governance of life is absolute provided we seek His care.

We all can easily be engaged in so many tasks each day.  Sometimes the volume of tasks creates anxiety and worry, sometimes it is simply the weight of one or two things – but this need not be.

Yes, some things have a grave quality.  Yet, when we face these things do we face them with God?  Do we fell His presence?  Are we confident of His love of us?  Do we know that He will walk with us in all that we encounter?  Do we live daily, moment after moment with Him?  Do we speak to God in prayer?

Truth is – you are never alone, never neglected.  Bring God into your life.  It is not necessary that you become anxious and worry.  You are not responsibile for all things and all good outcomes.

O almighty God, whose wise and kind providence watches over every human event, be my light and my counsel in all my undertakings …

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Shalom.

Today the sun dawned over the blue mountains.  It appeared in a delicate tangerine – the lightest of pastels and glazed the snow covered fields.  Who can think there is no God?

From someone who has a hammer all problems look like a nail.  The same is true of someone who has an instrumentally rational view of the world.

Charles Taylor

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Charles Taylor is one of the most esteemed philosophers alive today.  He is a Canadian, a Catholic and the author of the deservedly highly-praised A Secular Age.

In A Secular Age, he explores the proposition that it is no longer axiomatic that people in the West believe – that is, in a secular age one’s goal becomes earthy, human flourishing however that may be defined and pursued.

Obviously, the stakes are high when all meaning resides in the immanent – the here and now.  In such a state, we see among us many who cannot prosper under that burden.  We see them as the habitually addicted, those of inter-generational poverty, those enslaved in government dependence, those living without initiative, confidence or sense of responsibility and value.

Tragically, none of our would-be political leaders or public intellectuals seem to grasp what Taylor sees.  Debates and conversations reflect no particular appreciation for how secularism perpetuates through government and public conversation that is devoid of useful insight as to the problems of those who burden without belief.

On the contrary, no one in the public arena seems able to comprehend that absent belief we do not flourish, we lose meaning and the capacity to be fully human.  Yes, sickness multiplies as do the fatalities.

In an interview, Taylor was asked to identify the intellectual adversaries of belief today. In response he named those of instrumental rational thinking which attempts to understand human existence in mechanistic categories linked ideologically with control over nature (institutions, ideas and others).

To these people – all problems are a nail and their ideology is a hammer.  Enter the nonsense of Bernie Sanders, socialism and the Big Government types both Democrats and moderate Republicans, income redistribution to “solve” all manner of things from health care to entrance into the middle class via unearned and unwarranted subsidies.  Likewise the painfully dumb state of all things intended to address racism, sexism and any other “ism” that allows a preferred group to piggy back on the wealth and hard work of others. And, of course, the never ceasing growth of the federal government at the expense of debt we cannot afford, security we forfeit, liberty we lose and foolishness geometrically expanded.

Yet, nothing said as to belief and its abandonment in a nation that was founded on it.

Does any one read anymore?  Think?  Look around and ponder what is occurring before their very eyes, or commented upon by the brightest people in our midst?

It seems our public life looks exactly like a Marx Brothers romp … and that is only funny until a nation and civilization is lost.

Shalom.

Today’s post is a decent piece of writing … at least decent for a first draft.  

If you agree, pass it along so we can get people thinking and understanding.

There is no true holiness without humility.

Thomas Fuller, in Gnomologia

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Early morning rise.  Late start.

Notes to my Dear Friend sweet McGillis and my old New England law school pal Irish Marty, and cleaning the house top to bottom in the chilling winter with its wind and open blue skies and its snow-covered ground, a cold that says “you are alive, make it mean something no matter how frigid.”

Van Morrison singing Hymns to the Silence.  Hot tea in hand.

Humility.

Life is like one-on-one schoolyard basketball – you and God and He beats you every time, everyday.  But you never miss a game.  In it – humility.  Life – humility.  You learn day upon day that there is a God and you are not God.

There is a restful tranquility in humility, a release – a license to live and space for God and God’s love and mercy.  In humility, you need not “do it all.”  No, we are far less and much more than we know.  Humility.  It teaches like nothing can.

My best days are spent helping God’s special ones know that they matter and are far better than they realize.  Yes, it is incredible – we are more than we even know or can effect on our own because we have a loving God.

Oh, so many never know this.  So many doubt this and submit to those who conspire to say – even in acts of intended help – this: “You are less and always will be because I am more.”

Nonsense.  Life is one-on-one basketball.  You and God.  He beats you and in time you get better.  Humility.

Glory be to God.

Tell be a story now, now that its over, wrap it in glory for one Irish Rover.  Tell me you’re wiser now, tell me you’re older – wrap it in glory for one Irish Rover.

Van Morrison

Humility tells you this: your life is not about you but those who love you along the way, and most importantly those you love in turn.

Seek humility and all is exquisite and oh so satisfying.

Shalom.

 

 

 

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