Tuesday, August 28, 2007

To Honor Saint Augustine

In honor of his feast day, I offer this famous quote from one of our church fathers, known to some as the "Doctor of Grace." He is the forerunner of all who have had dramatic conversions from a pagan lifestyle.

"For behold, you were within me, and I outside; and I sought you outside and in my unloveliness fell upon those lovely things that you had made. You were with me, and I was not with you. I was kept from you by those things, yet had they not been in you, they would not have been at all. You called and tried to break open my deafness: and you sent forth your beams and shone upon me and chased away my blindness: you breathed fragrance upon me, and I drew in my breath and I do now pant for you: I taste you, and now hunger and thirst for you: you touched me, and I have burned for your peace."

Friday, August 24, 2007

From Bernard of Clairvaux

Someone else had a reference on their blog to Bernard, so I thought I'd add this hymn. Is it just the old-fashioned translation, or do these older songs and poems just seem more intense than much of what we get today?

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
How pale Thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish, which once was bright as morn!

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Book Review

Jesus of Nazareth, by Pope Benedict XVI.

This book is aimed at the educated masses, with enough academic credibility to be respected in that world, while maintaining a nice level of readability. Certainly not a light read, or an easy read, but an interesting read.

This first volume of the Pope’s study on the life of Christ covers the period from the baptism to the transfiguration. This is nice symmetry, as these are two times where the Father speaks audibly to and about His Son. This slice of Jesus’ life covers much familiar territory, including the Sermon on the Mount and the Lord’s Prayer, two events that are covered phrase by phrase. Very interesting coverage of familiar passages. There is also a nice section of the Prodigal Son, which the Pope prefers to title the Parable of the Two Sons.

If you are a non-Catholic who can look past the couple places where the analysis is specifically Catholic (it’s the Pope, after all), I recommend this.

As a matter of fact, if you are a non-Catholic who can’t look past the specifically Catholic passages, you should probably be the first to read it.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Neat prayer

This is in a devotion/prayer book I am reading through. It is credited as coming from the Church of the Province of the West Indies.

Since without you we can do no good thing:
May your Spirit make us wise;
May your Spirit guide us;
May your Spirit renew us;
May your Spirit strengthen us;

So that we will be:
Strong in faith,
Discerning in proclamation,
Courageous in witness,
Persistent in good deeds.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

lo-fi living in a hi-fi world

It’s been about 6 weeks since I returned from Cornerstone, and what has stayed with me is an interest in the “suburban monastic” – perhaps an answer to some who like me were discouraged by the books Death by Suburb and The Suburban Christian.

Two organizations that I ran across at the fest were the Anchor Fellowship and Monk Rock. These guys are trying to live out the monastic virtues (charity, humility, solitude) while not retreating from the world. The Monk Rock guys call it “lo-fi living in a hi-fi world.” This mix of modern and ancient intrigues me.

I don’t know quite how to work it into my life just yet, but it intrigues me.