CANTICLE OF LOVE

On this day, feast day of Thérèse of Lisieux, here’s a song for your prayerful listening.

How great and tender is our God who has smiled on the lowly.
Eternally my heart will sing a new canticle of love.

Come, all who hunger, all who thirst, all who long for fulfillment.
The God of mercy waits for you as a mother her child.
Oh come to the living water, fear not your weakness,
Forever trusting in God’s merciful love.
Through the shadows of the night, love will be my guiding light. 
(Only for today.)
Presence hidden from my sight, ‘til the clouds are put to flight.
(Just for today.)

Beneath your gaze I’ve blossomed forth, as a rose in the sunshine.
With joyful heart I’ve given all to the myst’ry of love.
In peace I will come before you with empty hands,
relying solely on your merciful love.
Through the veil your face appears, beauty shrouded bathed in tears.
(Only for today.)
Bread of sinners I will share, rose unpetalled ev’rywhere.
(Just for today.)

Ah, my God, I will sing of your love for this one eternal day,
for this one eternal today, eternal today.

Transformed in Love’s consuming fire, lifted up in glory,
her fragrance filling all the earth, drawing us after her.
Until, in eternity we join in one chorus, 
forever singing of God’s merciful love—

Canticle of love, this eternal day I will sing, sing of your love. 

"Canticle of Love"- Sr. Marie Therese Sokol, OCD 
Taken from the writings and spirituality of Thérèse of Lisieux 

THE BEAUTY OF LITTLENESS
Here’s one quotation to pray with on this day, the 1st of October, feast-day of Thérèse of Lisieux.

"I had wondered for a long time why God had preferences and why all souls did not receive an equal amount of grace […] Jesus saw fit to enlighten me about this mystery. He set the book of nature before me and I saw that all the flowers He has created are lovely. The splendour of the rose and whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. I realised that if every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness and there would be no wild flowers to make the meadows gay.
It is just the same in the world of souls — which is the garden of Jesus. He has created the great saints who are like the lilies and the roses, but He has also created much lesser saints and they must be content to be the daisies or the violets which rejoice God’s eyes whenever God glances down. Perfection consists in doing God’s will, in being that which God wants us to be.

Thérèse of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul. (New York: Double Day, 2001) pages 2-3.
 

THE BEAUTY OF LITTLENESS

Here’s one quotation to pray with on this day, the 1st of October, feast-day of Thérèse of Lisieux.

"I had wondered for a long time why God had preferences and why all souls did not receive an equal amount of grace […] Jesus saw fit to enlighten me about this mystery. He set the book of nature before me and I saw that all the flowers He has created are lovely. The splendour of the rose and whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. I realised that if every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness and there would be no wild flowers to make the meadows gay.

It is just the same in the world of souls — which is the garden of Jesus. He has created the great saints who are like the lilies and the roses, but He has also created much lesser saints and they must be content to be the daisies or the violets which rejoice God’s eyes whenever God glances down. Perfection consists in doing God’s will, in being that which God wants us to be.

Thérèse of LisieuxThe Story of a Soul. (New York: Double Day, 2001) pages 2-3.

 

LOST FOR WORDS

A shy young man fell in love, but he was utterly tongue-tied whenever he was with the girl. A friend offered some advice: “Just memorize some great lines, expressing your total admiration. Something like, ‘When I see your face, time stands still.’”

It made sense, so for weeks the young man practiced: “When I see your face, time stands still.”Finally he was ready. He took her to a romantic…

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MORE THAN WORDS CAN TELL
"I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell."
Play “contradiction” for a little while, and speak or write some of the divine things "more beautiful than words", you believe Whitman could be hinting at. Then rest with those words, wordless, in silence. 

Source |  Walt Whitman, The Complete Poems, from “Song of the Open Road”

Photo | Philip Chircop sj 

MORE THAN WORDS CAN TELL

"I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell."

Play “contradiction” for a little while, and speak or write some of the divine things "more beautiful than words", you believe Whitman could be hinting at. Then rest with those words, wordless, in silence. 

Source |  Walt Whitman, The Complete Poems, from “Song of the Open Road”

LISTEN TO THE PLURAL
When it comes down to it, all criticism (and praise) is just feedback. And as I see it, feedback doesn’t mean anything until we really listen to what is being said, with no filters, and apply our own personal beliefs and meanings to what is being said.
Being open to feedback, being able to entertain it and being able to accept or reject it is the place where a free person stands, fearlessly.
CONSIDER THIS
A slightly different rendition of the same proverb goes like this, "If one person calls you a horse’s ass, be curious. If three people call you a horses ass be reflective. After five people call you a horse’s ass, buy a saddle.” 
And another, "If one person calls you an ass, ignore them. If two people call you an ass, ignore them. If three people call you an ass, check your head for long ears."
How teachable are you?

LISTEN TO THE PLURAL

When it comes down to it, all criticism (and praise) is just feedback. And as I see it, feedback doesn’t mean anything until we really listen to what is being said, with no filters, and apply our own personal beliefs and meanings to what is being said.

Being open to feedback, being able to entertain it and being able to accept or reject it is the place where a free person stands, fearlessly.

CONSIDER THIS

A slightly different rendition of the same proverb goes like this, "If one person calls you a horse’s ass, be curious. If three people call you a horses ass be reflective. After five people call you a horse’s ass, buy a saddle.” 

And another, "If one person calls you an ass, ignore them. If two people call you an ass, ignore them. If three people call you an ass, check your head for long ears."

How teachable are you?

UBER CONNECTED?
We live in an uber-connected world. At the click of a button one can be connected to anything and anyone, anywhere in the world. There are many blessings in being “connected”. But can there also be dangers? Here’s one paragraph from Paul Theroux’s “Fresh Air Fiend” to reflect upon. 

"Connected" is the triumphant cry these days. Connection has made people arrogant, impatient, hasty and presumptuous. I am old enough to have witnessed the rise of the telephone, the apotheosis of TV and the videocassette, the cellular phone, the pager, the fax machine, and e-mail. I don’t doubt that instant communication has been good for business, but it has done nothing for literature, and might even have harmed it.  In many ways connection has been disastrous.  We have confused information (of which there is too much) with ideas (of which there are too few). I found out much more about the world and myself by being unconnected.

When does “being connected” become a hindrance to being really connected to what and who really matters?
The author uses the word “unconnected”. Often we speak of “disconnected”. What do you think is the difference, if any?
Paul Theroux, Fresh Air Fiend: Travel Writings (Mariner Books, 2001) page 4. 

UBER CONNECTED?

We live in an uber-connected world. At the click of a button one can be connected to anything and anyone, anywhere in the world. There are many blessings in being “connected”. But can there also be dangers? Here’s one paragraph from Paul Theroux’s “Fresh Air Fiend” to reflect upon. 

"Connected" is the triumphant cry these days. Connection has made people arrogant, impatient, hasty and presumptuous. I am old enough to have witnessed the rise of the telephone, the apotheosis of TV and the videocassette, the cellular phone, the pager, the fax machine, and e-mail. I don’t doubt that instant communication has been good for business, but it has done nothing for literature, and might even have harmed it.  In many ways connection has been disastrous.  We have confused information (of which there is too much) with ideas (of which there are too few). I found out much more about the world and myself by being unconnected.

When does “being connected” become a hindrance to being really connected to what and who really matters?

The author uses the word “unconnected”. Often we speak of “disconnected”. What do you think is the difference, if any?

Paul TherouxFresh Air Fiend: Travel Writings (Mariner Books, 2001) page 4. 

GOOGLE CLASSIC
I liked this “Google Classic” postcard the moment I first saw it. We live in a world of quick searches and instant answers. I dream of a search engine that can help us find not answers, but better questions. And that takes time and deep practice.
Imagine you search for something and there’s a popup message that reads "Please allow 30 days for search results." How would you react?
Remember that Google does not have all the answers. In fact, as I see it, many of the essential answers lie within us, and to tap into those answers takes time and disciplined, daily tuning in.

GOOGLE CLASSIC

I liked this “Google Classic” postcard the moment I first saw it. We live in a world of quick searches and instant answers. I dream of a search engine that can help us find not answers, but better questions. And that takes time and deep practice.

Imagine you search for something and there’s a popup message that reads "Please allow 30 days for search results." How would you react?

Remember that Google does not have all the answers. In fact, as I see it, many of the essential answers lie within us, and to tap into those answers takes time and disciplined, daily tuning in.

THE OLDER I GET, THE BETTER I WAS
I saw this sign as a walked the streets of the  Southend of Boston.  Read the words slowly … very slowly … pronounce each single word distinctly and listen to the sound …  "The Older I Get The Better I Was"!
How does it sound? What does it mean to you at this present stage in your life? If it means that as you age you no longer have an amazing, and penetrating vision on things or that you are giving up on life how can you reimagine aging differently, in a life-giving way? 
Here’s one quotation that might shed some light:
“Elders serve as conduits between the divine realm and the mundane world, making the abstract truths of spirituality accessible to the community by embodying them in their everyday behaviour ” |  Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, From Age-Ing to Sage-Ing: A Profound New Vision of Growing Older
Quote on poster | Attributed to Van Dyke Parks

THE OLDER I GET, THE BETTER I WAS

I saw this sign as a walked the streets of the  Southend of Boston.  Read the words slowly … very slowly … pronounce each single word distinctly and listen to the sound …  "The Older I Get The Better I Was"!

How does it sound? What does it mean to you at this present stage in your life? If it means that as you age you no longer have an amazing, and penetrating vision on things or that you are giving up on life how can you reimagine aging differently, in a life-giving way? 

Here’s one quotation that might shed some light:

“Elders serve as conduits between the divine realm and the mundane world, making the abstract truths of spirituality accessible to the community by embodying them in their everyday behaviour ” |  Zalman Schachter-ShalomiFrom Age-Ing to Sage-Ing: A Profound New Vision of Growing Older

Quote on poster | Attributed to Van Dyke Parks

THE KING AND THE BEGGAR

As I went begging today from door to door they cried, “He is coming! He draws near!” And seeing the dust of your gorgeous chariot, I thought, “Who can this be but a king among kings?”

My hopes soared, and I stood waiting for alms to be given and wealth scattered in the dust. Your chariot stopped right before me, you looked down with a smile, and I knew that the luck of my days had come. Until…

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KISS THE JOY AS IT FLIES
Life is in a constant state of flux and becoming - becoming more human, more alive, and more fully ourselves. For believers, there is a God who “makes all things new”. Everything changes. Everything evolves, manifests, expands and contracts. Nothing remains the same. Here’s where this short, magical poem by William Blake comes in.



He who binds himself a joyDoes its winged life destroy.But he who kisses the joy as it fliesLives in Eternity’s Sunrise.



As I recall, I was first introduced to this poem many years ago during a philosophy class. The topic for the day was “healthy attachments and necessary detachments.”
How willing am I to act and do what needs to be done, detaching myself from the outcome?
How can I practice a healthy, life-giving attachment by embracing all that I have and love with a habitually relaxed grasp?
Poem | "Eternity" by William Blake (1757-1827)Art | John Pearson, photographer | Liz Lamson, calligrapher

KISS THE JOY AS IT FLIES

Life is in a constant state of flux and becoming - becoming more human, more alive, and more fully ourselves. For believers, there is a God who “makes all things new”. Everything changes. Everything evolves, manifests, expands and contracts. Nothing remains the same. Here’s where this short, magical poem by William Blake comes in.

He who binds himself a joy
Does its winged life destroy.
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in Eternity’s Sunrise.

As I recall, I was first introduced to this poem many years ago during a philosophy class. The topic for the day was “healthy attachments and necessary detachments.”

  • How willing am I to act and do what needs to be done, detaching myself from the outcome?
  • How can I practice a healthy, life-giving attachment by embracing all that I have and love with a habitually relaxed grasp?

Poem | "Eternity" by William Blake (1757-1827)
Art | 

REALITY

A guy is riding in the first-class cabin of a train in Spain and to his delight, he notices that he is sitting next to Pablo Picasso. Gathering up his courage, he turns to the master and says,

“Senor Picasso, you are a great artist, but why is all your art, all modern art, so screwed up? Why don’t you paint reality instead of all these distortions?”

Picasso hesitates for a moment and asks, “So…

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SILENCE THAT SPEAKS VOLUMES
"The uttering of a single word can damage or repair a relationship, it can destroy or encourage a person’s confidence, it can hurt or heal emotions. Likewise, silence can work both ways: there is the sullen, resentful silence which can make conversation difficult if not impossible; there is the “silent treatment” of someone nursing a grudge, or the empty silence of the empty-headed. But silence can be enriching. We may well long for the gentle silence of the Spirit, the silence of peace and companionship, the silence of lovers, even the silence of God: “for while gentle silence enveloped all things, and night in its swift course was now half gone, your all-powerful word leapt from Heaven, from the royal throne” (Wisdom of Solomon 18:14-15). This we can call sacred silence.”
Source | "Silence that Speaks Volumes" by Sean Wales in "The Tablet", 23rd August 2014, page 14.

SILENCE THAT SPEAKS VOLUMES

"The uttering of a single word can damage or repair a relationship, it can destroy or encourage a person’s confidence, it can hurt or heal emotions. Likewise, silence can work both ways: there is the sullen, resentful silence which can make conversation difficult if not impossible; there is the “silent treatment” of someone nursing a grudge, or the empty silence of the empty-headed. But silence can be enriching. We may well long for the gentle silence of the Spirit, the silence of peace and companionship, the silence of lovers, even the silence of God: “for while gentle silence enveloped all things, and night in its swift course was now half gone, your all-powerful word leapt from Heaven, from the royal throne” (Wisdom of Solomon 18:14-15). This we can call sacred silence.”

Source | "Silence that Speaks Volumes" by Sean Wales in "The Tablet", 23rd August 2014, page 14.

SOUND OF SILENCE

Here’s the  Simon & Garfunkel song, “Sounds of Silence” as rendered by Gregorian Masters of Chant.

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted
In my brain still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
'Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of
A neon light that split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share and no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

Fools said I, you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon God they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the signs said, ‘The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls and tenement halls’
And whispered in the sounds of silence.

HOLY DARK
Today, as night approaches, take some time to compose your own short ode to darkness.
Source |  William Fitgerald, “Blessings from the Holy Dark”, in Praying, November – December, 1997, page 15
HOLY DARK
Today, as night approaches, take some time to compose your own short ode to darkness.
Source |  William Fitzgerald, “Blessings from the Holy Dark”, in "Praying", November – December, 1997, page 15
Word art | Philip Chircop sj

HOLY DARK

Today, as night approaches, take some time to compose your own short ode to darkness.

Source |  William Fitgerald, “Blessings from the Holy Dark”, in Praying, November – December, 1997, page 15

HOLY DARK

Today, as night approaches, take some time to compose your own short ode to darkness.

Source |  William Fitzgerald, “Blessings from the Holy Dark”, in "Praying", November – December, 1997, page 15

Word art | Philip Chircop sj