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Deep Furrows


Last Build Date: Wed, 02 May 2012 23:06:15 PDT


Fri, 23 Jul 2010 02:44:00 PDT

"What causes inconstancy is the realization that present pleasures are false, together with the failure to realize that absent pleasures are vain." Pascal

Thu, 22 Jul 2010 04:38:00 PDT

"He pulled the cloth off the statue. A woman, her hands roughened by years of worthless toil, knelt, looking up. Under her poorly dressed hair her face was strong and beautiful. A whore, she faked emotion daily, but now genuine pain and loss showed through, though she tried to hide them even from herself. Her shoulders were still rough stone. That was all Anton had time to see before the sculptor threw the cloth back over her. Theophanos would have hated that statue, for his faith was in the specific Mary from the city of Magdala who witnessed the Resurrection, and Addison did not even know her" Jablokov, Carve the Sky, 213

Wed, 21 Jul 2010 06:31:00 PDT

"'The stars come down,' she thought, 'down to the hills and the darkness. The darkness lifts up to the hills and the stars. And here on the porch is a me-sized space trying to Become. It's so hard to reconcile darkness and the stars – but what else are we but an attempt at reconciliation?'"  Zenna Henderson, Pilgrimage, 165

Tue, 20 Jul 2010 06:35:00 PDT

"There are people who found all my black days full of joyful anticipation – bright jewels slipping off the thread of time! And I've been going around like a donkey dragging a weight around a stake, winding myself tighter and tighter." Zenna Henderson, Pilgrimage, 120

Wed, 14 Jul 2010 01:47:01 PDT

"If there is an experience of human maturity, it is precisely this possibility of placing ourselves in the past as if it were near, a part of ourselves." Giussani, The Religious Sense, 10

Tue, 13 Jul 2010 19:08:10 PDT

"And you had nothing to say about it and yet made the nothing up into words." Perelandra, 75

Suffering Brings About the Suffering of Our Love

Fri, 09 Jul 2010 20:15:24 PDT

"On this earth, love itself results in additional suffering. In spite of the resistance and repugnance of our nature toward suffering, love nonetheless thirsts for it because it discerns the mysterious meaning that it has for us.
In the light of the Cross of Jesus, suffering ceases to appear to be a waste of our lives, a kind of superfluous thing of no use whatsoever. No, suffering brings about, something of the highest value: the purification of our love. Suffering is not an obstacle that we should avoid as much as possible, or that we should brush out of our way. On the contrary, suffering is that very way itself. Thus, we can actually speak of a love of suffering in a way which is in no sense abnormal or neurotic or sentimental. It is the joy of being purified by the Divine Hand. An authentic love of suffering does not therefore proceed from either a hatred of life or a pessimistic attitude; it proceeds from a clear-sighted love of the life which suffering alone makes possible.
Yves de Montcheuil in Three Jesuits Speak, 50-51

I Wonder As I Wander...

Mon, 19 Jul 2010 07:07:31 PDT

Someone close to me posted on the following quote on Facebook. My response is below. "We have not the reverent feeling for the rainbow that the savage has, because we know how it is made. We have lost as much as we gained by prying into that matter. ~Mark Twain
No, the wonder is lost not in knowing, but in the presumption that we have exhausted the object in our knowledge. The rainbow or the moon or Mont Blanc can inspire wonder in us only if we recognize in it a present depth of meaning that is beyond us. Building on Aristotle, Whitehead affirmed that "Philosophy begins in wonder. And, at the end, when philosophic thought has done its best, the wonder remains."
[update 7/19/10: fixed blockquote which cut off the text in Internet Explorer]

Notes on the Time Before the Passion in Luke

Tue, 29 Jun 2010 20:48:50 PDT

"All the parables contain an indirect Christology; they speak 'in code' about Christ and therefore about the kingdom that is now entering the world. [...] it can be discerned by the attentive reader, especially if he takes account of the events that form the context of the respective parable. This context is an altogether indispensable aid for finding the key to the parables. The parables belong with the events; they are not merely addressed to the hearers and thinkers but lead us into that event which, in the end, is the theme of all the parables – entry into the kingdom of God that comes with Jesus. In this sense, they make a totally concrete claim: they are invitations to discipleship. In order to understand these parables, we must share Christ's existence." Joseph Ratzinger, Gospel, Catechesis, Catechism: 49-50.Looking over this section of Luke: from when Jesus sets his face resolutely toward Jerusalem until the Passion, there's an interesting sequence of events.  9:51-55 A Samaritan town turns Jesus away. When James and John suggest calling fire from heaven to destroy the town, Jesus rebukes them.  10:1-16. Jesus sends the 72 throughout Judea to announce that 'the kingdom of God is near you' with both words and healing signs. See especially verses 13-15 which name towns which will reject the announcement, and compares them with places of wickedness which would have embraced it. 10:25-37. A lawyer tries to justify himself before Jesus, and Jesus responds by telling the parable of the lousy priest and Levite and the hospitable Samaritan.  The Samaritan town rejected Jesus without hearing a word or seeing a sign, but his own people will reject Jesus after hearing many words and seeing many signs. To the lawyer, Jesus proposes a sense of neighbor beyond his rubrics. But to the disciples, he communicates something more. These Samaritans you would have destroyed with fire may end up saving you. If you would have them destroyed for their prejudice and ignorance, what then for those who should know better?  [...]

Timing Is Everything

Mon, 28 Jun 2010 20:35:35 PDT
In reading the Gospel from last Sunday, I was struck by the line: "Now it happened that as the time drew near for him to be taken up, he resolutely turned toward Jerusalem." (New Jerusalem: Luke 9:51). The Twelve have already been selected, John the Baptist has been beheaded, Peter has proclaimed Jesus the Christ, and Jesus has prophesied his passion twice. From the time that Jesus resolutely turns until he reaches Jerusalem, there are about 10 chapters. It's almost as if time slows down from this point until the third prophesy of the Passion in 18:31. So much happens in between these two points. A Samaritan town is inhospitable to him; James and John suggest fiery judgment, but instead Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan. The 72 are sent to all of Israel. Jesus visits Martha and Mary. Jesus teaches the Lord's Prayer (11:1ff) and to be persistent to the point of repetitiveness in prayer (18 all). Jesus tells many parables, including the great three which Peguy loved: the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the prodigal son.(image)

The Paths of the Lake

Wed, 16 Jun 2010 20:03:04 PDT

A couple of weeks ago, I felt a twinge of concern as I walked around the lake. It looked about a foot or so low, and I heard a couple of fish splashing in the shallows near bank. I imagined that they were struggling because of the low water. A few days later it rained. In the evening, I walked to the lake to see one brilliant orange puffball cloud and the lake filled to the brim. A friendly man and his girlfriend walked a quarter of the way around the lake with me. He had never walked around the lake before, but he made me feel right at home.

Last week I felt a bit suffocated at work, but as I napped in my car on lunch, I had a thought: stop flopping around like a fish in the shallow water, the rains are coming soon. Since then, we've had a series of thunderstorms here, and the lake has not only brimmed but also run over. One day, a third of the path around the lake was swamped. Another day, half of the path was swamped. It stormed again today, but when I went to the park, the path was clear. The sun had just set, but the clouds domed above with the texture of abalone and a rosy blush above the lake – the west clouds were already gray but the east clouds still caught the sun. All sky blue around the edges with the crescent moon like a pearl. As I walked, the roses and oranges shifted but remained strong. As I rounded the east end of the lake, I turned my back to the rosy clouds. When I looked up after heading east again, all was gray, with just a faint orange in the west catching the sun's light. The lake water was calm enough for me to notice the little soft peaks of the waves. I also noticed a couple of flat ribbons in the water. At first I thought these were a trick of the light, but then I saw that they were heading from one opening in the bank to the other. It's the current I saw – because of the great volume of water draining. Yes, the waters brimmed, and yes, the overflow runs off because there are paths in the lake.(image)

Wed, 16 Jun 2010 19:31:46 PDT

"Whatever the case may be, the Christian never lives following a rule which has either been self-invented or agreed to by a collectivity. He lives on the Word of the Lord, a Word which makes it possible in the first place for him to encounter his fellow man as a neighbor in the Lord's sense, and to meditate to this neighbor what is the Lord's. He lives in a humility that makes him bow down before the gift of grace he is supposed to radiate."
Adrienne von Speyr. They Followed His Call, p110

Sat, 12 Jun 2010 08:02:37 PDT

"The Christian in the world, on the other hand, is restless because he wishes to find God in all things, which as such are not God: and precisely in this yearning search, he is made to hear, and also to feel, the blessing of those who hunger and thirst for justice."
Balthasar, The Laity and the Life of the Counsels, 182

Thu, 03 Jun 2010 21:38:14 PDT

"But it always seems that it is a long road from the ear to the will and to love."
Adrienne von Speyr, They Followed His Call, 13

The Road is Beautiful for Those Who Walk

Thu, 03 Jun 2010 13:18:16 PDT

"These little coincidences, these little attentions paid us by destiny, which make the impersonal tangible: an immediate transparency of a tender love that appears to be all the nearer as its pretext to flood us is all the slimmer. We must strive to become aware of such seconds" (Balthsasar, The Grain of Wheat, 4-5). 
At the end of my morning walk around the lake, I saw a Hairy Woodpecker, flitting from tree to tree in front of me - until it was rebuffed by a robin. And then I found myself right next to a blue heron on the bank. The other day in traffic, I saw a starling-sized bird with a yellow belly and black wings, and a slightly curved beak – it must've been some kind of oriole. These birds are discreet tokens of of the infinite in my life, signposts that mark a path: "All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees. The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him, and his covenant, for their instruction." (Psalm 25).(image)

Whatever Swims the Paths of the Seas

Sun, 30 May 2010 19:35:37 PDT

Psalm 8: to me the seas seem a vast and awesome world, overwhelming and conquering all. But in this psalm, I see that the ancients knew that the sea had paths: currents and streams. Within the overwhelming vastness, there is a path, a road that can be followed. In this all-swallowing vastness, what is man that Thou art mindful of him?(image)

Communion with Christ: Posts Written and Read By Me

Sat, 29 May 2010 11:19:49 PDT

La Nouvelle Theologie: My Favorite Passage from Vatican II
Lumen Gentium 15

La Nouvelle Theologie: Notes: A Tale of Anti-Christ
Soloviev's "A Tale of the Anti-Christ," condensed.

La Nouvelle Theologie: That Christ May Be Followed
Further reflection on the ontological and sacramental unity of all Christians

Written by others:
The Glory of Everything: Knowledge and Communion
ΚΑΘΟΛΙΚΌΣ ΔΙΆΚΟΝΟΣ: "so that you may belong to another..."(image)

Viaticum: Words for the Journey

Wed, 17 Mar 2010 20:36:35 PDT

Here's a couple of quotes from books I'm reading.

"The prairie is not a topography that shows its all but rather a vastly exposed place of concealment, like the geodes so abundant in the county, where the splendid lies within the plain cover. At last I realized that I was not a man of the sea or coasts or mountains but a fellow of the grasslands. Once I understood that, I began to find all sorts of reasons why..."(PrairyErth by William Least Heat-Moon, 28).
"During the Introit the action begins to mount rather like a path that, having crossed flatlands, suddenly begins to climb. It is the beginning, the introduction. Often the Introit is seems like the sudden shining forth of God. Hitherto the Church has been striving toward God, but he now unveils himself and beams down upon his Church. On feasts of the Lord it is God's revelation itself that is unveiled. On feasts of the apostles and the Blessed Mother this revelation appears under the sign of the participation of the person specially chosen. On feasts of later saints the Introit serves to illuminate history with their vitality: each saint seems to play an especially prominent part in God's total plan of salvation. The saints are signs and milestones, foreseen in the Word of God from the outset" (The Holy Mass by Adrienne von Speyr, 24).
Intelligence: seeing through the ordinary details to a deeper, more intimate, knowledge of reality.(image)

Something which Causes Desire to Shift

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 10:52:34 PST

If you begin to experience this fulfillment of the promise, what shifts is desire: I desire this more than what I was desiring before, because it fulfills me more, and since I’m not an idiot, since I get more fullness in this thing… Would you still stick to a dish that you don’t like even after you’ve found something you like more? Does your desire shift or not? Look at experience, only out of moralism can you say, “No, I prefer to stick with this”? No! Your desire shifts. Then perhaps you have the money to pay for it or not, this is another issue, but if I could I’d always eat that, and since the “food” we’re talking about is really free, you’d be an idiot… not to take advantage of it. “Christ in His Beauty Draws Me to Him!” This is the significance of Christ’s promise, which is a promise because it’s real, and therefore it challenges our desire, to the point of shifting it. Conversion of desire: you shift your desire to somewhere else. If this isn’t the way it is, we can go on proclaiming the whole faith of the Creed, but we don’t believe. We might be orthodox down to the marrow, with correct doctrines, but we don’t believe that there was Someone in history up to the task of responding to man’s desire, and therefore Christ is not the answer, even if we’re orthodox to the marrow: orthodox, doctrinally correct, but in the end the wrong experience. You can’t live on correct doctrine, because Christianity isn’t correct doctrine. Christianity is doctrine become flesh, and I can experience it. The Logos, Beauty, became flesh, and therefore I can experience it.This is the only thing that explains that the entire human dynamic that I find within myself (called instinct, called this complex of givens) is given to me in order to adhere to that Presence which is the goal for which it was made. This complex of givens, desires, instinctivity, was all given to me in order to adhere, so that I might take and adhere: my hand was given to me for the goal of grasping, picking something up, possessing in the true sense of the term. The only issue is to discover, to be available, open to a path, in such a way that little by little you start to direct everything to this goal—precisely because of the attraction of beauty. And then you truly begin to understand: “Now I understand why instinctivity was given to me, why desire was given to me, why all this need was given to me.” Why? Because that’s how the Mystery made me. The Mystery didn’t make me like a dog with a complex of reduced needs, because He wanted me to participate in a fullness from the next world, the fullness of Him. Therefore it’s the desire for Him who, little by little, unveils Himself before our eyes. Christ reveals what the goal is by being it. It’s like someone who at a certain moment has the still confused desire of being loved, and he’s desiring, but keeps on saying, “This is not enough for me,” “This is not enough for me, nor this, nor that…” Then his beloved appears and he says, “Now I understand! Now I understand what I was desiring in all this confusion. I was still entirely in the dark, but when she (or he) appeared, responding to my need, I understood why I had this whole complex of givens, all of my humanity, completely drawn toward something else. So then all the instinctivity, all the desire, all my humanity, all of my need is ordered toward the goal.”"Christ in His Beauty Draws Me to Him,"Exercises of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, 2007[...]

My Health Plan Options for 2010

Sat, 21 Nov 2009 09:06:54 PST

(image) To the left, a pack of gum I received at work when I attended the meeting on the insurance options for 2010. We have a choice between Traditional Health Plan or Advanced Health Plan. The word traditional in reference to health plans tends to remind me ironically of Peter Maurin; the word 'Advanced' on the other hand, reminds me of 'heavy duty' batteries (which perform worse than the alkaline). Benefits gave us examples of five families to show the bottom-line difference between Traditional and Advanced. In all five examples, Advanced had a lower total cost. Both plans cover preventative care. Advanced has a higher deductible and no co-pays, but it also enables the employee to start a Health Savings Account, which was described as a medical IRA.(image)

the furrows of our personal and community existence

Sun, 15 Nov 2009 16:11:43 PST

We thank the Lord who has enabled us to carry out, yet again, this journey of faith -- old and always new -- in the great spiritual family of the Church! It is an inestimable gift, which allows us to live in history the mystery of Christ, receiving in the furrows of our personal and community existence the seed of the Word of God, seed of eternity that transforms this world from within and opens it to the Heavenly Kingdom.

Co-Bearers of Apostolic Life and Its Universal Task

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 21:32:24 PDT

Nuns and religious sisters have been in the news lately, due to a visitation of religious congregations taking place in the United States. Unfortunately, most accounts reduce the reality of religious life to institutional service, and/or a kind of professional religious lifestyle (a sort of second-class clergy). The call of the Second Vatican Council to return to the historical roots of religious life and to renew the memory of the founders of religious life seems mostly to have been forgotten. In contrast, Joseph Ratzinger reminds us of this history."An element that, while by no means absent from the movements, can easily be overlooked, now comes powerfully to the fore here: the apostolic movement of the nineteenth century was above all a female movement, in which there was a strong emphasis on caritas, on care for the suffering and the poor-we know what the new female communities meant and continue to mean for the hospitals and for the care of the needy-and a central emphasis on schools and education. Thus, the whole gamut of service of the gospel was present in the combination of teaching, education, and love. When we look back from the nineteenth century, we see that women always played an important role in the apostolic movements. Think of the bold women of the sixteenth century like Mary Ward or, on the other hand, Teresa of Avila, of female figures of the Middle Ages like Hildegard of Bingen and Catherine of Siena, of the women in the circle of Saint Boniface, of the sisters of the Church Fathers and, finally, of the women in the letters of Paul and in the circle around Jesus. The women were never bishops or priests, but they were co-bearers of apostolic life and its universal task." The Theological Locus of Ecclesial MovementsIn his 1998 address to the gathering of movements in Rome, Joseph Ratzinger, clarified the essential nature not just of ecclesial movements, but also of their precursors in monasticism. The essential task of religious orders, the various kinds of monks, nuns, brothers, sisters, and movements of the faithful is to be an apostolic ferment among the local Churches, to make the memory of the apostles present in the parishes and dioceses of the Church. [...]

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