Monday, June 16, 2014


Give me the grace good Lord,
to set the world at naught;
to set my mind fast upon Thee
and not to hang upon the blast of men’s mouths.
To be content to be solitary.
Not to long for worldly company
but utterly to cast off the world
and rid my mind the business thereof.
Not to long to hear of any worldly things,
But that the hearing of worldly phantasies may be to me displeasant.
Gladly to be thinking of God,
Piteously to call for His help,
To lean unto the comfort of God,
Busily to labor to love Him.
To know mine own vility and wretchedness,
To humble and meeken myself under the mighty hand of God,
To bewail my sins passed;
For the purging of them, patiently to suffer adversity.
Gladly to bear my purgatory here,
To be joyful of tribulations,
To walk the narrow way the leadeth to life.
To bear the cross with Christ,
To have the last thing—death—in remembrance,
To have ever afore mine eye my death, that is ever at hand;
To make death no stranger to me;
To foresee and consider the everlasting fire of hell;
To pray for pardon before the Judge come.
To have continually in mind the passion that Christ suffered for me;
For His benefits uncessantly to give Him thanks,
To but the time again that I before have lost.
To abstain from vain confabulations,
To eschew light foolish mirth and gladness;
Recreations not necessary, to cut off.
Of worldly substance, friends, liberty, life and all—to set the loss at nought
for the winning of Christ.
To think my most enemies my best friends,
For the brethren of Joseph could never have done him so much good
with their love and favor as they did him with their
malice and hatred.
Thomas More

Sunday, June 15, 2014

How much?

As little as possible, remembering that you're only human and nothing might be a bit much.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

the Christ of the burnt men

"Ab illo benedicaris, in cuius honore cremaberis."

("May you be blessed by Him in Whose honor you will be burned.")

“I hear You saying to me:
"I will give you what you desire. I will lead you into solitude. I will lead you by the way that you cannot possibly understand, because I want it to be the quickest way.
"Therefore all the things around you will be armed against you, to deny you, to hurt you, to give you pain, and therefore to reduce you to solitude.
"Because of their enmity, you will soon be left alone. They will cast you out and forsake you and reject you and you will be alone.
"Everything that touches you shall burn you, and you will draw your hand away in pain, until you have withdrawn yourself from all things. Then you will be all alone.
"Everything that can be desired will sear you, and brand you with a cautery, and you will fly from it in pain, to be alone. Every created joy will only come to you as pain, and you will die to all joy and be left alone. All the good things that other people love and desire and seek will come to you, but only as murderers to cut you off from the world and its occupations.
"You will be praised, and it will be like burning at the stake. You will be loved, and it will murder your heart and drive you into the desert.
"You will have gifts, and they will break you with their burden. You will have pleasures of prayer, and they will sicken you and you will fly from them.
"And when you have been praised a little and loved a little I will take away all your gifts and all your love and all your praise and you will be utterly forgotten and abandoned and you will be nothing, a dead thing, a rejection. And in that day you shall being to possess the solitude you have so long desired. And your solitude will bear immense fruit in the souls of men you will never see on earth.
"Do not ask when it will be or where it will be or how it will be: On a mountain or in a prison, in a desert or in a concentration camp or in a hospital or at Gethsemani. It does not matter. So do not ask me, because I am not going to tell you. You will not know until you are in it.
"But you shall taste the true solitude of my anguish and my poverty and I shall lead you into the high places of my joy and you shall die in Me and find all things in My mercy which has created you for this end and brought you from Prades to Bermuda to St. Antonin to Oakham to London to Cambridge to Rome to New York to Columbia to Corpus Christi to St. Bonaventure to the Cistercian Abbey of the poor men who labor in Gethsemani:
"That you may become the brother of God and learn to know the Christ of the burnt men.

Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain

 The Christ of Burnt Men

April 15, 2004

The prophet Isaiah startles us with the image of a man, a servant of God, who is so disfigured that he doesn’t even look human. Absolutely lacking any beauty or charm to win our hearts, we avert our gaze rather than look him, who seems so “accustomed to sorrow and acquainted with grief.”
I know another such man. He was already acquainted with the bitterness of life in impoverished Haiti, before a witchdoctor completely disfigured him by pouring boiling lye on his head, as a cure for epilepsy.
Just yesterday, Daniel begged me to let him leave the poor house that serves as a makeshift hospital, so he could go home. This pitiful man, blind from searing acids, his head crowned with open wounds, wants to go “home”- where the filth, violence, heat and lack of even clean water to wash his sores will certainly spell his death. But home is always home, and has its soothing lure.
Daniel told me that he was being assailed by demons at night, and was sure that if he stayed any longer he would either lose his mind or die. Although he certainly needs medicine to calm him and therapy for his twisted heart, Daniel’s image of demons alerts us to his profound spiritual crisis. The meaning of his life has been mercilessly disfigured. He was betrayed by a “healer”. His precious life, his dreams, his hopes and even the face that mirrors his soul were all fuel for fiery lava. Now he gropes in darkness to understand what life means, and who God is, when wickedness has made you a monster. He strives to know, in the words of Thomas Merton, the Christ of burnt men.
Daniel searches deeply for answers while in the worse possible state of soul. Just as it is true that holiness is the “wholeness” of personal integrity (and this wholeness buffers us against dangerous spiritual forces), it is also true that disintegration and brokenness make us vulnerable and sensitive to the forces of evil. That is what makes the last temptation of Christ, and the present temptation of Daniel, unspeakable.
Daniel talks of demons during the holy days of Easter, the proclamation of the mystery that a Crucified Christ, who had descended even into the bowels of hell, is now gloriously alive. This truth is the very root of the Christian heart and must have practical and tangible meaning. Love will not, love can not, give up on Daniel. Not our love, nor the love of God.
We hope a cornea transplant will help Daniel’s remaining eye see the light of day. We hope skin grafts will take root on his naked skull. But mostly we pray that Daniel might have the same inner dialogue with the Risen Christ, that the Risen Christ had with his chosen ones. They had locked themselves in a room and groped in fear when He came to them, showed them His wounds transformed, and gave them the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Fr. Richard Frechette CP

From Stone to Steel

E.J. Pratt
From:   E.J. Pratt: Complete Poems. ed. Sandra Djwa and R.G. Moyles. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1989.

From stone to bronze, from bronze to steel
Along the road-dust of the sun,
Two revolutions of the wheel
From Java to Geneva run.

The snarl Neanderthal is worn
Close to the smiling Aryan lips,
The civil polish of the horn
Gleams from our praying finger tips.

The evolution of desire
Has but matured a toxic wine,
Drunk long before its heady fire
Reddened Euphrates or the Rhine.

Between the temple and the cave
The boundary lies tissue thin:
The yearlings still the altars crave
As satisfaction for a sin.

The road goes up, the road goes down —
Let Java or Geneva be —
But whether to the cross or crown,
The path lies through Gethsemane.

September-October 1932

Friday, June 6, 2014

Crazy Talk

more dagnabbit witticisms

I'm sorry but I will never know why some one continues with a conversation past the point when some one else says "You're gonna think that this sounds crazy...". The word "crazy" is usually a clue that trouble is coming next.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


There is only room for angels on the head of that pin.

God help me help myself...

... and to help others.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Curiosiously Determined

The trouble with some people is that they don't want to know, but they're determined to find out!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Looking Like Wisdom

A clever fool can pass for wise; if others don't know, then he's got them fooled.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Nature's Way

Both water & electricity find the path of least resistance.

“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”

Bill Gates

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Monday, May 5, 2014

pretending to live

They say that the living are the dead on vacation, but I suspect many of them are only pretending to live.

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