There are days when I reflect
upon the moments of my history
and I taste satisfied fragrance,
like a well-aged bottle of wine.
It is easy then to ponder
the beauty of Isaiah’s God:
holding me in tender arms,
etching my name on divine palms.
There are other long-spent days
when I chew upon my memories,
only to taste the dry crumbs
of stale and molded bread.
How difficult then to perceive
the steadfast love of God;
How empty then is my longing
for a sense of divine embrace.
There are yet other days
when I sit at a great distance,
looking at the life that is mine;
threading the loom of my past
with a deep belief in faithfulness.
It is then that I see how fidelity
has little to do with fine feelings,
and everything to do with deep trust,
believing the One who holds me in joy
will never let go when sorrow sets in.
Batter my heart, three-person’d God; for You
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your forces to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town, to another due
Labour to admit You, but O, to no end;
Reason, Your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betrothed unto Your enemy;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to You, imprison me, for I
Except You enthral me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except You ravish me.
At land’s end, end of tether
where the sea turns in sleep
and my spirit fails and runs
landward, seaward, askelter
I pray you
this hireling heart
turn your face to me
-winged, majestic, angelic-
my prayer goest up-
show me your face, 0 God!
-DANIEL BERRIGAN, S.J.]]>
the world’s true sun,
ever rising, never setting,
whose life-giving warmth
nourishes and gladdens
all things in heaven and on earth:
shine in my soul I pray,
scatter the night of sin,
and the clouds of error.
Blaze within me,
that I may go my way without stumbling,
taking no part in the shameful deeds
of those who wander in the dark,
but all my life long
walking as one native to the light.
of God is veiled in a mystery. It is impossible to say
exactly what it means to have been created in the
image of God. Perhaps we may surmise the intention
was for man to be a witness for God, a symbol of
God. Looking at man, one should be able to sense the
presence of God. But instead of living as a witness,
man, in so many ways, has become an imposter;
instead of becoming a symbol, he became an idol. In
man’s presumption he has developed a false sense of
sovereignty which fills the world with terror.
RABBI ABRAHAM JOSHUA HESCHEL]]>
Hear 0 Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One.
Praised be His glorious sovereignty throughout all time.
Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, with all
your soul, with all your might. And these words which
I command you this day you shall take to heart. You
shall diligently teach them to your children. You shall
recite them at home and away, morning and night.
You shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, they
shall be a reminder above your eyes, and you shall
inscribe them upon the doorposts of your homes and
upon your gates.
The twice-daily recitation of the “Sh’ma” is one of the fundamental elements of Jewish worship. Its recitation is an affirmation of the unity of God and a reminder lovingly to infuse one’s life, in all its aspects, with God’s word.]]>
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs-
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah’ bright wings.
GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS, S]]]>
Discernment is the process of making choices, from within the context of faith, between competing alternatives that seem good. For St. Ignatius, the process involves prayer, reflection and openness to the advice of others. While the rational consideration of pros and cons is important, special attention is paid to the movements of various spirits as experienced in one’s feelings, emotions, and fundamental desires. Do they lead toward God or away from God?
For Ignatius, a prerequisite for good discernment is freedom from attachments to all things, except of course, to God. To what are you attached? Consider all the “things,” desires and assumptions that shape your life today or your ambitions for tomorrow. But consider also how attached you are to the “world” which your imagination constructs, or to your imagined “self’ — your ideas, your worldviews, your ambitions and dreams. How do these “attachments” cloud your judgment as you try to make the choices that keep you on the path to God?]]>
In prayer we shift the center of living from self-
consciousness to self-surrender. God is the center
toward which all forces tend. He is the source, and we
are the flowing of His force, the ebb and flow of
RABBI ABRAHAM ]OSHUA HESCHEL
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1901-1972), educated in Germany, emigrated to the United States in 1940, fleeing Nazi persecution. His religious philosophy brings together traditional Jewish texts and modern questions to explore the reality underlying religion, including the living and dynamic relationship between God and humanity.]]>