Thursday, December 10, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I am participating in the 2010 Art History Reading Challenge. There are a variety of such reading challenges on the web. This one requires reading 6 fiction or nonfiction books dealing with art history during 2010. I will soon post the list of books I have chosen. Find a challenge which matches or stretches your current reading, and enjoy!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Verse of the Day
For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me, and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. . . . I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith.
Voice of the Day
Joy because we die not into dust, into nothingness; we die into life, life more complete, more intense, more satisfying than anything we now experience, life face to face with God. Life without end. Joy because we die into love.
Walter Burghardt, S. J. To Be Just Is to Love, p.49
Prayer of the Day
Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the way for your Son. By his coming give us strength in our conflicts and shed light on our path through the darkness of this world; in the name of Christ our Lord. Amen.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
The artwork is an Advent Cross
Verse of the Day
Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up hither!" And in the sight of their foes, the two prophets went up to heaven in a cloud. Revelation 11:12
Voice of the Day
A common temptation of religious people who claim to be prophets is to speak at a level of generality that ignores the specificity of context and situation. Christian speakers are too often quick with a general comment, manifesting a vagueness that floats over a situation at a sufficiently uncontroversial and nonthreatening level. This ignores one of the major elements of prophecy, the necessity of commenting on specific matters.
The New Interpreter's Bible, Vol XII, p. 646
Prayer of the Day
O God of Compassion, you come to be with us in our humanity. Enable us to move beyond our stagnant places to embrace your life giving waters of new birth. We ask you to bless us in the name of the Eternal Word, who was, who is, and who will always be. Amen.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Voice of the Day
How can I maintain access to the spiritual in myself while living a life of relative affluence and awful money tensions that leave me feeling at times dead and at times in doleful exile from myself? How can I justify wanting and having money when people are starving? How can I let go of my fears about money which totally absorb my thoughts? Why should I want more when I have enough? Why does spending money cause me so much pain?
Prayer of the Day
Set me free, O God, to go off with you today on one wild, specific tangent after another, immersed and amazed in the wonder and even terror of your immense creative beauty. Amen
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Verse of the Day
When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and put him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong. Luke 4:28-29
Voice of the Day
For different purposes we belong to different groups and we live by our loyalties, among which loyalty to the search for truth does not rank as high as it ought. The secret of a good life is to have the right loyalties and to hold them in the right scale of values. The value of dissent and dissenters is to make us reappraise those values with supreme concern for the truth. Norman Thomas, Great Dissenters, p.13
Prayer of the Day
In the silence before time began, in the quiet of the womb, in the stillness of the morning is your beauty. At the heart of all creation, at the birth of every creature, at the center of each moment is your splendor. Rekindle in me the sparks of your beauty that I may be part of the blazing splendor that burns from the heart of this moment. J. Philip Newell, Sounds of the Eternal, p.38
Monday, November 16, 2009
I would have younger widows marry, bear children, rule their their households, and give the enemy no occasion to revile us. 1 Timothy 5:14
Voice of the Day
We need the vision of interbeing -- we belong to each other; we cannot cut reality into pieces. The well-being of "this" is the well-being of "that," so we have to do things together. Every side is "our side"; there is no evil side. Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step, p. 14
Prayer of the Day
Your gift of life is a source of joy for us, O God, but the challenge to grow often weighs us down. Give us the courage to live responsibly in all the areas of our lives. Let all that we do radiate our faith and hope in your love for us. Bless all who encourage us on the way, as together we strive for the unity that is yours, Creator, Word, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
As the pace of activities picked this this fall, it became increasingly difficult for me to post regularly with the present format of the blog. I am in the process of rethinking the ways I can be most helpful and also be a good steward of my time.
So the blog is not going away. I hope that in a few days I can switch to a format which is manageable on a daily basis. Any suggestions you may have about how I can be most helpful to you are welcomed! Please leave them in the Comment section below.
Let us encourage one another.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
The haiga form of artwork originated in Japan. In observing everyday life, haiga juxtaposes an image, from painting to photography, and zen-like or haiku poetry
The Call to Prayer
Let everything that has breath
praise the Lord. Hallelujah!
The Morning Psalm - 29
Ascribe to the Lord, you powers of heaven, •
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the honour due to his name; •
worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;
the God of glory thunders; •
the Lord is upon the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is mighty in operation; •
the voice of the Lord is a glorious voice.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees; •
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon; He makes Lebanon skip like a calf • and Sirion like a young wild ox.7
The voice of the Lord splits the flash of lightning;
the voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; •
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe
and strips the forests bare; •
in his temple all cry, ‘Glory!’
The Lord sits enthroned above the water flood; •
the Lord sits enthroned as king for evermore.
The Lord shall give strength to his people; •
the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace.
A Reading from Job 40:1-24
As we pause to remember your faithfulness to us, O God, Source of Life, continue to abide with us this day. We give thanks for all people working for justice and peace, and we ask you to give your people courage and strength. In the name of Jesus, who gave his life in the cause of justice. Amen.
Monday, October 12, 2009
~ Pedro Salinas ~
that follows the quietness of the heart
The quiet heart in the storm of injustice
the quiet heart when the poor cry out
the quiet heart that knows goodness and joy
the quiet heart that feels gentle love
Help me to seek a way today
in your presence and your goodness
the gentle love of your quiet heart
and the stillness of your strong being
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Naturally, an exhortation follows: Get busy so you can enter into this great rest. Do not think you can hide anything from God: God’s word is sharp; it penetrates everywhere. Everything lies open and bare to God, to whom we must give an account.
Do you see the great lesson here? The Christian life is a life of day by day, hour by hour trust in the promises of God to help us and guide us and take care of us and forgive us and bring us into a future of holiness and joy that will satisfy our hearts infinitely more than if we forsake him and put our trust in ourselves or in the promises of this world. And that day by day, hour by hour trust in God's promises is not automatic. It is the result of daily diligence and it's the result of proper fear.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Today's artwork is The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck
Glory be to God who has shown us the light!
Lead me from darkness to light.
Lead me from sadness to joy.
Lead me from death to immortality.
Glory be to God!
Read 1 Corinthians 7:10-16
Paul's pattern throughout chapter 7 is to set up the ideal as the goal, but he regularly makes an accommodation to persons who for various reasons cannot attain the goal. Here the goal is conformity with Jesus' teaching that a woman not divorce her husband, but the accommodation immediately follows: "but if she does." So Paul does not forbid divorce, though to divorce is short of the ideal. In any case, divorce should not be an early step in the treatment of marriage problems.
The New Interpreter's Bible, vol. X, p. 878
Lord, help us to remember when we first met and the strong love that grew between us.To work that love into practical things so nothing can divide us. We ask for words both kind and loving. And hearts always ready to ask forgiveness as well as to forgive. Dear Lord, we put our marriage into your hands. Amen.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Millions and millions of years would still not give me half enough time to describe that tiny instant of all eternity when you put your arms around me and I put my arms around you. Jacques Prevert
Read 1 Corinthians 7:1-9
Paul's presumption is that human beings are sexual creatures for whom sexual passion, expressed in the marital context, is an appropriate part of human experience. In our own culture sex and sexuality are treated in two radically diverse ways. On the one hand, they are topics about which people seldom have serious, thoughtful discussions; they are treated in a hush-hush fashion that curiously only serves to mystify them even more and helps to make possible the commercial exploitation of sex and sexuality. On the other hand, they are used everywhere to sell everything from automobiles to toothpaste, and the entertainment media would be at a loss without them. In light of the gospel, homes and churches should be places where we could discuss human sexuality and its drives as a wholesome, even pleasurable part of life. Like anything else that is good, sex and sexuality can be perverted, but that possibility should neither prevent the discussion nor allow sexuality to be viewed as something intrinsically bad.
The New Interpreter's Bible, vol. X, p. 873
Among your good gifts, O God, is the gift of human sexuality. It not only provides pleasure, it is the means by which man and woman most intimately know each other. Forgive the church for allowing your good gift to be tainted as something less respectable. Forgive us when one partner seeks to have authority over the body of the other. Forgive those who misuse your gift to do great harm to others. Let us receive our sexuality as a cherished part of life. We thank and praise you for creating us man and woman and allowing us, through the Spirit in your church, to become one flesh. Amen.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Create in me a clean heart, O God
A Reading From Romans 8:1-11
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
What does it mean to "live according to the Spirit?" What can these words of Paul signify -- not only for Christians who believe them to be divinely inspired, but for all people of good will? To be "spiritual," or to live according to the Spirit, is to know, and then to live by the knowledge, that there is more to life than meets the eye, that there is a deeper dimension to reality than first appears.
To be "spiritual" means, beyond that, to know, and to live by that knowledge, that God is present to us -- to all of us -- as the source of ongoing personal and communal growth and renewal. Christians call this divine presence the Holy Spirit. The theological term for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us is grace, which means literally, "gift."
Grace is the gift of God's presence. And the God who is given to us as grace, the God who is present within us as grace, is the Holy Spirit. The term "spirituality," therefore, embraces everything that we are, everything that we think, and everything that we do by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Forgiving God, look not upon our sins but upon our desire to serve you and one another. Dispel our darkness, and help us to embrace our failings in living union with your goodness. Heal us that we may be a source of strength and courage for others. And may our prayer become one with the prayer of your Spirit that we may be one with you. Amen.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes! “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the hell of fire.
“ ‘Little ones’ does not only mean children, but those who humble themselves like children as Jesus described. It is a wicked thing to sin, and it is a far greater evil to lead others into sin."
What kind of drastic measures am I called to take to deal with sins in my life? What should be my motivation?
Monday, September 28, 2009
The artwork is Cutout by Matisse
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
A Reading from 1 John 2:18-25
Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. From this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But by going out they made it plain that none of them belongs to us.
But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and all of you have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and you know that no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; everyone who confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he has promised us, eternal life.
John's primary point is that if we get Jesus wrong, then we shall surely misconstrue the God who saves us; and if our understanding of God is corrupted, then the way we live will inevitably be deformed. The old saw, "It doesn't matter what you believe, so long as you're sincere" is an idea far more naive and dangerous than we imagine. It is also more cowardly because what often passes as 'tolerance' is really indifference. First John compels us to consider that some beliefs we may hold about Jesus are intolerably divergent from God's norm, that some activities in which we may engage are inescapably at odds with the One in whom we have experienced forgiveness and received new life.
Compassionate God, touch our hearts this morning with your mercy and love. Help us to be a source of love and light to those who are suffering this day. May all who die today experience the joy of being in your presence. Grant this through the intercession of all who suffered persecution for the sake of justice. Amen
Sunday, September 27, 2009
In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.