Wednesday, December 13, 2017

St. John Baptist (Thomas Merton)

 When, for the fifteenth year, Tiberius Caesar 
Cursed, with his reign, the Roman world, 
Sharing the Near-East with a tribe of tetrarchs, 
The Word of God was made in far-off province: 
Deliverance from the herd of armored cattle, 
When, from the desert, John came down to Jordan. 
But his prophetic messages 
Were worded in a code the scribes were not prepared to understand. 
Where, in their lexicons, was written:  Brood of vipers, 
Applied, that is, to them? 
Who is this Lamb, Whose love 
Shall fall upon His people like an army: 
Who is this Savior, Whose sandal-latchet 
This furious Precursor is afraid to loose? 

To read the rest of Thomas Merton’s poem, 
St. John Baptistclick here.

Image source:  El Greco, St. John the Baptist, ca. 1600, Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco
See also:

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Prepare ye the way (Handel)

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. 
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness; prepare ye the way of the Lord;  make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 
Ev’ry valley shall be exalted, and ev’ry mountain and hill made low; the crooked straight and the rough places plain. 
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together:  for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it… 

To hear this passage from Handel’s Messiah, click on the video below.  It begins right after the overture, at 5:10.

To read more about Handel's Messiah, click here.

Image source:  The Preaching of St. John the Baptist, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1566).  To read more about this painting, click here.  
See also: 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Living in a state of preparedness (Henri Nouwen)

   Everything that comes from God asks for an open and faithful heart.  We cannot live with hope and joy in the end-time unless we are living in a state of preparedness... Jesus says, Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to hold your ground before the Son of Man (Luke 21:34-36).  That’s what living in the Spirit of Jesus calls us to.
--Henri Nouwen

Image source:  Greek icon of the Second Coming, ca. 1700

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Prepare my heart, O Lord (Jeanne Kun)

Prepare the way of the Lord,  
make his paths straight.  
Prepare my heart, O Lord, 
and pave the way for your coming. 
Invade and flood me with your Spirit, 
and fill the space you carve out in me with your own presence. 
Every valley shall be filled. 
Fill in those depressions dug so deeply in the heart 
by distrust 
or desperation 
or dreams that only disappoint. 
Every mountain and hill shall be brought low. 
Cast down those peaks that loom over me 
of pride 
and pettiness 
and promises broken or unkept by me. 
The crooked shall be made straight. 
Make whole and straight what is out of shape: 
the truth that’s bent by my little lies, 
the troubled thoughts that wind their way 
so tortuously through my mind, 
and the timidity that deforms my heart 
(and cheats others of my love). 
The rough ways shall be made smooth; 
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. 
Remove the stones that block my way 
and make level a path for my feet 
that I not stumble as I run to you! 

--Jeanne Kun, Prepare the Way of the Lord 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Prepare the way (Fr. Greg Boyle)

   Prepare the way, not so that you can get to God, but that God’s peace and joy and tenderness can get to you.  

--Fr. Greg Boyle, 
Homeboy Industries 
Facebook, December 9, 2016