Grousing at God, Barking at Saints, and a Constant Renewal

Image by Mayovskyy Andrew, courtesy of shutterstock.com

Not to keep talking about about me, me, me, but here I go:In my column at The Catholic Answer magazine, I relate a little of what a crank I become when I am stressed out:Recently, I began the day very badly.I opened my eyes and was immediately stressed about my life, largely because I am so recalcitrant and backward. Even before my feet hit the floor I was grousing at God and barking orders at the saints.Then I shuffled into my oratory, lit my candles, covered my head and … [Read more...]

You have here no lasting city…not even a lasting nation.

imitation christ

In today's Office of Readings (my favorite Office, go figure) comes this marvelously relevant, important and instructive excerpt from Thomas a'Kempis' classic, The Imitation of Christ:Turn to the Lord with your whole heart and leave behind this wretched world. Then your soul shall find rest. For the kingdom of God is the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit. If you prepare within your heart a fitting dwelling place, Christ will come to you and console you.His glory and beauty are within you, … [Read more...]

The Coin of God and of the World

Divine Office

Today's Office of Readings from the beginning of a letter to the Magnesians by Saint Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr:"All things have an end, and two things, life and death, are side by side set before us, and each man will go to his own place. Just as there are two coinages, one of God and the other of the world, each with its own image, so unbelievers bear the image of this world, and those who have faith with love bear the image of God the Father through Jesus Christ. Unless we are … [Read more...]

God in the Balance; Loving Dark and Light

shutterstock_128909486 fallencrucifix

Regardless of our religion -- whether we are Catholics or Evangelicals or Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist -- the spiritual life challenges us to find balance. One of the reasons I was attracted to the Rule of Saint Benedict was because in ora et labora there is a prescription for balance. In the recitation of the Divine Office, we not only sanctify our time but we also set a pace for the whole day of prayer; work; prayer; work until -- if we are good Benedictines (and I am not one) it all flows … [Read more...]

Pillar of Cloud, Water of Life: All of a Healing Piece & Peace

baptismofoursavior

For a little while longer, we are still in Christmas, but every day the mysteries of the season seem to wither a little, like the leaves of the poinsettias; the expectation of Advent seems far away, and in just a few days we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, and enter -- with some sense of refreshment, because after a time we long for the comforts of what is routine and regular -- into Ordinary Time.The Baptism of the Lord is being presaged in the readings and prayers of the Divine Office. … [Read more...]

Learn the Divine Office in Lent

christian prayer breviary

Well, Day 1 of Lent was pretty rich. Got to lector at Mass for one of my favorite readings and psalms, which was neat. Got to spend more time at a doctor's office than I wanted to for something so minor, but that was good, as it gave me a chance to finish Robert Hugh Benson's Lord of the World, (free on Kindle, kids!) and I think I needed the downtime. The quiet allowed a deeper submersion into Lent, but I still haven't gotten that book recommendation post done, sorry.Speaking of deeper … [Read more...]

In your light we see light

“No destructive action…can ever corrode the substance of Creation . . . there is a divinely guaranteed Goodness of being which no amount of mischief can undermine.” -- Josef Pieper, In Tune With the WorldI saw as in letters of gold this word Goodness, which I repeated for a long while with an indescribable sweetness. I saw it, I say, written on all creatures, animate and inanimate, rational or not, all bore this name of goodness. I saw it even on the chair I was using as a kneeler. I under … [Read more...]

Prayer is ruining me for blogging…

I love my oratory. It's so nice, so restful, so mine. Going there to pray every day ("going there;" it's on the other side of my desk) just...shapes the whole day.But it's really playing hell with my blogging and the direction of the blog.I mean, here's my morning: I shower, get dressed, wrap the towel around my wet head (hey, it's a handy headcoving!) and then go to my oratory. I light tea candles, one before each Icon, one before the Crucifix, one before my little pewter statues. … [Read more...]

St. Therese & Our Own Genius

Ste. Thérèse de L'Enfant Jesus et de la Sainte FaceFrom the Responsory for today's Office of Readings:From the very beginning, O God, you came to me with your love, which has grown since my childhood - Its depths I cannot fully grasp.O Lord, how great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. - Its depths I cannot fully grasp.Coming directly after Therese's nearly ecstatic words in the second reading, the quiet acknowledgment of ongoing mystery and unplumbable depths i … [Read more...]

Crucifix on my Oratory

One of these days, I will learn how to take a picture out of a digital camera (or my phone) and post a picture of my Oratory for you.Suffice to say it is makeshift. I have a cushion for sitting or kneeling (it's big). I've pushed a glass-topped credenza to the wall, leaned four Icons against it, and I have these solid brass angel/candleholders I picked up for cheap some years ago at an antique shop. Tealight candles scattered among a few smaller Icons - it's very restful and very simple, … [Read more...]


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