Wednesday, December 31, 2008
This is a pen and ink that I entered into an annual competition held locally for the horse track. I've entered this competition numerous times, and this piece was the first. Because of my age at the time it went into the youth category. It got first. Sorry, some of the bottom half is cut off. It's hard to get it all in and have it viewable. I find it a rather precocious sort of composition now, and at one point had to resist the temptation to cut off and keep the top portion just for its own picture. Thank goodness for cameras. (Click top one to enlarge)
This one's from a sketch book. The horse strikes me as mysterious, and perhaps a little threatening; brooding.
Two details from an oil painting that is not yet finished. I have a bunch that have been waiting too long.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Guinness & Stein, By Timothy Jones
Timothy Jones who blogs at Old World Swine has officially launched his Daily Painting Blog!
Tim writes about it:
"Now, "daily painting" doesn't mean necessarily a painting a day... it just means I plan to paint daily, and I'll offer that work on the new blog (via e-bay). In practice I look for this to shake out at about 3 paintings a week, though that may increase as things progress.
These are mainly small - even miniature - pieces, but made with all the care I would give to any of my larger artworks.
I will also soon be offering some very special pricing on some of the art from my old fine art website, as I move into this new strategy.
Up until very recently, making a living in original fine art was mainly a matter of finding gallery representation (in viable commercial galleries) and building a reputation (and generating income) that way. Finding publicity through art competitions and art publications could help to make you more attractive to these galleries. But the whole process of vetting and courting galleries - in addition to actually trying to get any work done - has been like hiking through molasses. One needs almost to work full time just on marketing, scheduling competitions, hob-nobbing and the like. It doesn't help that I'm such an intense introvert.
With the advent of the internet, though, there are now more and more artists taking their work directly to the public. It's a transition I've been turning over in my mind for some time, but hesitated to jump into.
I have now made the jump. That means that the prices I had on a lot of my artwork will be reduced because I no longer need to consider the requirements of a third party (the galleries) or worry so much about impressing collectors that might drop by. So, in addition to the small daily painting pieces, watch for some larger work as well.
The long and short is that I would rather paint - and make my living from painting - than not. If that means pricing my work so that it will be more accessible to a wider audience, then that is a change I am happy to make. It could even be seen as very Chestertonian... a Distributist approach to fine art..."
For fine original art, especially of Tim's bent (which requires much more than passing words on this post to describe/praise/critique), the prices are a steal.
Be sure to head on over there often (Timothy Jones' Daily Painting Blog), as new work will be appearing every week...and you just don't know if there's going to be a piece that you just have to have.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
From Father Anthony Ho:
"Joseph had to work at his trade to earn a living; even the divine hands toiled at the artisan’s calling. Surely then we need not wonder that wise men who were rich, cast their wealth aside willingly, and chose poverty in company with Jesus, Mary and Joseph." ---POPE LEO XIII.
If you consider subscribing to this magazine/literary arts journal that is brimming and crackling with both established and emerging talent, then write the President or Editors, dance a little jig and I'm sure they'll send you a free copy to get a sense of what it's all about.
With this latest I noticed they are blocking access to more of the pieces on-line, which is good. It's good the on-line version is getting more geared as an extension of the physical paper, and not vice-versa.
Of the pieces that can be read on-line, John Zmirak's feature Nearer My Dogs To Thee follows the writer's history of owning dogs due to the advice of his spiritual director, who between mouthfuls of pasta, tells him: “You wanna know pure and unconditional love, the kinda love God has for every human soul? Get a dog.” The piece is charming and down-to-earth, whose message is as enfleshed and made concrete as the spiritual director's advice, "Get a dog". I like how it has no "spiritual lesson" tagged on at the end.
By way of fiction, I'm not sure whether I liked Lauren Schott's The Strawberry Effect more than Katy Carl's The Convert. As far as characterization, the inner world, goes, The Convert is remarkable for its wanna-be stoic protagonist who finds his only change can come about through God's grace - namely and firstly through confession, and not (thank you dear author) through castration. But you know, I liked the idea behind The Strawberry Effect, and sometimes think Catholic writers would do well to set out and write stories like this that risk sentimentality. We need to take up writing with this kind of made-to-measure lightness, like one finds in the crisp levity of Kafka's language, without any dissembling that would cover the fact the writer simply took his pen and started writing on the paper. It's similar in quality to Dena Hunt's story The Salvation of Glorianne in the last Mary Queen of Angels issue. After all, the universality that is Catholicism must needs take up all aspects of life. I like The Strawberry Effect because every ounce of one's being wants to say that the concept is far-fetched, but the wee kernel of that concept holds this irrefutable weight, before which one must be in awe.
For poetry, what stood out for me was R.S. Mitchell's The Creek and The Afterglow Candidate, Michael Schorsch's Saint Catherine's Wheel, and because I'm a sucker for solid metrical poetry with solid conclusions, sonnets not excepted, Michael Miller's Embers.
I was also struck by this last stanza from Joseph O'Brien's Four Calling Birds:
And between love and silence, the song itself seems light enough to bear.
But listen to the darkness here. It’s an echo swallowing itself up;
A broadcast of coins revolving in on their own orbits across
A sanctuary floor; the night’s last bells wobbling the twelfth chime
With the dull richness of sadness; a pigeon calling out a moment later.
And though I am still disinclined to Gabriel Olearnik's language style (though am quite taken with the poetical lurch that he suddenly leaves you in) I found Steam to be quite powerful. Presumably it's about some homosexual encounter between two men.
In the realm of review, Meredith Wise gives us two books: Exiles and Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Life. From the author of the latter:
"To realize that a tradition of Christian poetics is out there, fresh and invigorating and new, that a Sacramental poetics which might illuminate our world is not a fantasy but a real possibility, and that Hopkins did this, showed us the way, that he reinvigorated the language and--more--might reinvigorate us and our world so that we could see it as if for the first time--that is something worth pursuing."
Aside from Matthew Alderman's Agnes, all the art in this issue is the photography of Patrick Anderson. Incidentally, this issue has what is my favourite photograph so far: Anderson's Tomb of the Black Knight. I know it is Dappled Things thing to have for an issue's cover what is inside that particular issue, but I hope they use this photograph sometime for a future issue. It deserves it. There's something about the weighty yet light feeling of the hands put together in beseeching prayer upon this knight's death. All that armour of fighting the good fight in this world now gets abandoned in the ascent of the soul, yet remains as a testament.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. --John 19:25-27
Today is the Feast of St. John the Beloved Apostle.
From Father Anthony Ho:
"The Church recognizes two lives which Divinity himself has revealed and recommended. One is the life of faith, the other the life of vision; one the life of pilgrimage, the other life in the mansions of eternity; one the life of labor, the other the life of rest; one the life of journey, the other the life of home; one the life of action, the other the life of contemplation. The one avoids evil and does good, the other knows no evil to avoid, but only a great good to enjoy. The one fights with the enemy, the other, having no enemy, reigns….Wherefore one life is good, but as yet full of sorrows; the other is better, yea even blessed. The first is typified by the Apostle Peter, the other by John." ---ST. AUGUSTINE.
Friday, December 26, 2008
And the high priest said, "Is this so?"
And Stephen said: "Brethren and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopota'mia, before he lived in Haran,
and said to him, `Depart from your land and from your kindred and go into the land which I will show you.'
Then he departed from the land of the Chalde'ans, and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living;
yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot's length, but promised to give it to him in possession and to his posterity after him, though he had no child.
And God spoke to this effect, that his posterity would be aliens in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and ill-treat them four hundred years.
`But I will judge the nation which they serve,' said God, `and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.'
And he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.
"And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him,
and rescued him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him governor over Egypt and over all his household.
Now there came a famine throughout all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction, and our fathers could find no food.
But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent forth our fathers the first time.
And at the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph's family became known to Pharaoh.
And Joseph sent and called to him Jacob his father and all his kindred, seventy-five souls;
and Jacob went down into Egypt. And he died, himself and our fathers,
and they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
"But as the time of the promise drew near, which God had granted to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt
till there arose over Egypt another king who had not known Joseph.
He dealt craftily with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants, that they might not be kept alive.
At this time Moses was born, and was beautiful before God. And he was brought up for three months in his father's house;
and when he was exposed, Pharaoh's daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son.
And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds.
"When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel.
And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking the Egyptian.
He supposed that his brethren understood that God was giving them deliverance by his hand, but they did not understand.
And on the following day he appeared to them as they were quarreling and would have reconciled them, saying, `Men, you are brethren, why do you wrong each other?'
But the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside, saying, `Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?
Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?'
At this retort Moses fled, and became an exile in the land of Mid'ian, where he became the father of two sons.
"Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush.
When Moses saw it he wondered at the sight; and as he drew near to look, the voice of the Lord came,
`I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.' And Moses trembled and did not dare to look.
And the Lord said to him, `Take off the shoes from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.
I have surely seen the ill-treatment of my people that are in Egypt and heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.'
"This Moses whom they refused, saying, `Who made you a ruler and a judge?' God sent as both ruler and deliverer by the hand of the angel that appeared to him in the bush.
He led them out, having performed wonders and signs in Egypt and at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years.
This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, `God will raise up for you a prophet from your brethren as he raised me up.'
This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living oracles to give to us.
Our fathers refused to obey him, but thrust him aside, and in their hearts they turned to Egypt,
saying to Aaron, `Make for us gods to go before us; as for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.'
And they made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol and rejoiced in the works of their hands.
But God turned and gave them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: `Did you offer to me slain beasts and sacrifices, forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?
And you took up the tent of Moloch, and the star of the god Rephan, the figures which you made to worship; and I will remove you beyond Babylon.'
"Our fathers had the tent of witness in the wilderness, even as he who spoke to Moses directed him to make it, according to the pattern that he had seen.
Our fathers in turn brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations which God thrust out before our fathers. So it was until the days of David,
who found favor in the sight of God and asked leave to find a habitation for the God of Jacob.
But it was Solomon who built a house for him.
Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made with hands; as the prophet says,
`Heaven is my throne, and earth my footstool. What house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest?
Did not my hand make all these things?'
"You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.
Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered,
you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it."
Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth against him.
But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God;
and he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God."
But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together upon him.
Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.
And as they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
And he knelt down and cried with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Ezra Levant, The Interim's Person of the Year, wishes you a Merry Christmas.
"The church commences at the manger, a scene fraught with human messiness and hardly engaging at first glance. Yet this is the dawn of the church: transcendence indwelling the most ordinary of human events; a birth; a love-struck God going to great ends to get in on life with us in the most intimate way possible; a family driven to a shabby stable by the demand of emerging life; a newborn's wail; mystery in the night sky; wise people looking beyond their wealth, power, and knowledge for something more.
Every one of them are struck by wonder, knocked to their knees by Holiness that takes their breath away.... Transcendent Power breaks into our agendas with audacious vulnerability, needing shelter, human love, nurture, and reverence. And miracle of miracles, through revealing its need of us, we are the ones transformed."
"We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God's coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God's coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us. The coming of God is truly not only glad tidings, but first of all frightening news for everyone who has a conscience.
Only when we have felt the terror of the matter, can we recognize the incomparable kindness. God comes into the very midst of evil and of death, and judges the evil in us and in the world. And by judging us, God cleanses and sanctifies us, comes to us with grace and love. God makes us happy as only children can be happy. God wants to always be with us, wherever we may be---in our sin, in our suffering and death. We are no longer alone; God is with us. We are no longer homeless; a bit of the eternal home itself has moved into us...."
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
O sun of truth, rise upon the Earth
Rise upon your darkened land, o Lord
Raise the stubborn curtain of the night
The morning is most beautiful o God
Your people wait, your people yearned of old,
The dawn is hushed while you have yet to see
Belovèd, with your eye of purest gold
How desolate without your light are we
Come then, sun of truth, raise up your face
Father, sun of purity, your grace
Bears the double death, betrayal's ice,
O living flame from the sacred heart of Christ.
Remove, by Your murdered Corpus, murder's stain.
Take the mother's tears to drown the echoing
Imprint of the infant beating heart's bane:
Only every ounce of each one's being, a lost child,
Needs Your in-dwelling, O Eucharistic Christ Child.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
O EMMANUEL, rex et legifer noster, expectatio gentium et salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos, Dominus Deus noster.
O Emmanuel, our king and lawgiver, hope and salvation of the peoples: come to save us, O Lord our God.
Monday, December 22, 2008
O REX gentium et desideratus earum, lapis angularis qui facis utraque unum: veni et salva hominem quel de limo formasti.
O King of the nations and their desire, cornerstone, who reunite Jews and pagans into one: come and save the man whom you formed from the earth.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
I think I've missed Mass through no fault of my own, maybe one, two times; either due to illness or weather.
In my more wretched years I purposefully missed Mass one time. I was actually on my way to Mass, and when I got to the church I just kept driving by. That one time did not sit well. Which is the way it should have sat, since it was a mortal sin.
Tonight is kind of tough though. I could have risen earlier and gone to Mass, but didn't, thinking I would go in the evening. Now I'm snowed in. I wish to get to Mass tommorrow morning.
By the by, I've never been able to enjoy life, or anyone, or anything, as I am able to as when I've been to confession. Take away confession and I'm a zombie - literally.
What sole attributes of mine that are worth remarking on at all, when said and done, are nothing other than the accumulated times I made efforts to get into the confessional.
Never have I entered into the confessional with a perfectly realized laundry list of sins to tick off one by one. The feat has always been to get into the confessional. I do get the major course of them said, and they give light to others. I've been entering into the confessional saying, "Mother Mary, give me the words to speak to your Son. Jesus, draw the words out of me; give me a good confession". They have never failed to answer this prayer.
Thus, without a doubt, my best moments are those that I cannot attribute to myself. O necessary sin of Adam! How is it that my best moments involve the dirtiest places of myself? O vital weakness that makes me dependent of Him! How can I continue without the assurance, sacramentally made in a concrete minute of time, of His forgiveness?
To know that Jesus forgives is not enough. I know He burns with love to apply that forgiveness specifically and concretely within time to a person, and to have that person experience it fully.
Jesus loves to forgive. It is impossible for Him to do it begrudgingly. But I must be sorrowful for my sins, and I must resolve never to commit them again; to make up my mind and heart in this minute of time never more to offend God - and then, step into the confessional.
How do I know these things but through my own sins, which I have been able to face only with His grace? This is what makes the devil angry: that Jesus reaches down into the darkest places of your soul (in different ways according to each soul) and makes it the best part of you. He breaks it, and yet makes it able, limber, resilient; broken in. Not snowed in.
Here's the orange tree's former pot:
It was left in the small unheated "greenhouse" late into fall. It's leaves started going yellow (I think it is an evergreen in its warmer, native habitats, but in cooler regions is deciduous. In very cool regions it's an annual. Hehe.) so I brought it inside and it dropped all its leaves and sprouted new leaders and leaves in little more than a month and a half, so that it needs to have a chopstick to hold it up.
This seedling was made somewhat hardy at a very early stage. Just after it had sprouted from seed, I left him outside in the winter cold overnight - and then some - and many of the other seedlings died. Not this one. For a young sprout the stem is very woody. His present state pictured bottom:
O ORIENS, splendor lucis aeternae et sol iustitiae: veni et illumina sedentem in tenebris et umbra mortis.
O Star who rises, splendor of the eternal light and sun of justice: come and enlighten those who lie in darkness and the shadow of death.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Look at those beauties. If I put these outside overnight they would be gone the following morning. Critters love them.
But you don't want to do that anyways. Here's the little pots prepared. One per seed. Some like to sow them in one big container, then remove them as they sprout, then put them in seperate containers. Once these sprout I will have to plant each in longer, larger pots to accomodate the tap root sent down. These are just sorts of germination pots for now. Note they are by the heat register. I'm pretty sure you don't want to apply too much heat though.
Then you plunk those seeds, pointy tip down, into the soil, about three quarters the seed length covered:
Tommorrow I will cover each with cheap plastic sandwich baggies. Don't have any right now.
So, what seeds are they? Try and guess. The correct answerer receives a million dollars. Okay, you get nothing but satisfaction, of the kind procured when you get an answer correct on Jeopardy.
you want hints?
Just don't get yourself too riddled over it. Doesn't a thesaurus sound like a dinosaur from the Jurassic period?
Momma, Momma Mary, we wish you joy, we wish you joy; your little boy, your little boy, soon to be our saviour.
In Christmas Song there is quoting of traditional hymns:
God rest you merry gentlemen; let nothing you dismay, for Jesus Christ our Saviour was born on Christmas Day.
And it's easy folk type music, but very English type folk (Whittaker has a good stalwart voice), if that makes any sense. No hippy stuff. Though there is a very faint echo of the 70's.
After having to hear the utter screeching crap that was playing at a store I visited the other day, The Roger Whittaker Christmas Album is, in comparison, like pure incense in a gold decanter.
O CLAVIS David et sceptrum domus Israel, qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris et umbra mortis.
O Key of David, scepter of the house of Israel, who open and no one may shut; who shut and no one may open: come, free from prison captive man, who lies in darkness and the shadow of death.
Friday, December 19, 2008
December 19 (sung at the Magnificat during vespers/evensong)
O RADIX Iesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, iam noli tardare.
O Root of Jesse, who stand as a sign for the peoples, the kings of the earth are silent before you and the nations invoke you: come to free us, do not delay.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
O ADONAI, dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extenso.
O Lord, leader of the house of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and on Mount Sinai gave him the law: come and free us with your powerful arm.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I love this one:
"For who can be properly nourished, if indeed he be of human stock, without wine? St. Paul said to someone who had consulted him (without remembering that, unlike St. Luke, he was no physician), 'Take a little wine for your stomach's sake.' But I say, take plenty of it for the sake of your soul and all that appertains to the soul: scholarship; verse; social memory and the continuity of all culture. There may be excess in wine; as there certainly is in spirits and champagne, but in wine one rarely comes across it; for it seems to me that true wine rings a bell and tells you when you have had enough. But there is certainly such a thing as a deficiency of wine; and such a deficiency is one of the most awful ravenous beasts that can fasten upon a living soul. To drink an insufficient portion of wine, leaving the whole being, body and soul, craving for a full portion, is torture. The feeling of loss will pursue a man for hours."
rampart-bound; lair built from on-the-sly-salvages.
Upon their winged arrival, wan little heads
would erupt with hectic peeps: nest-bound chicks.
They'd leave to take to air again, departure
a feathered snip so sharp the full eye of it
is mere periphery, crisper than the clean snap
the taut wrist makes of a kitchen tea towel-
but with finest feathers whose weight is light
is taut, whose tautness is light, like their flight
in the bug-buzzing air: the wide crescent swipes,
swung down so fast as harvest's sickle swing,
harvesting summer's smallest progeny.
As once I saw them through evening's plasma,
deep-pooled in air above the breathing meadow,
turning lunges, loops, electric up-thrusts
startled and not startled, dainty, and bracketing slight air
between their momentary bellies
and the shushing, slightly swaying hay grain hairs.
Bringing their two-pronged tails that fold on landing,
such utterly wild birds; such utterly
domestic birds, fusing chore and choreography,
that to have them abide above the front door
is like the fragment of wayside infinity
found in the coupling of green hedging set to be wrought
around wrought iron fence, like flame set inside
a lamp of solid glass and iron,
like water dripping on a plate of stone.
Pianola Demonstration from musanim on Vimeo.
I wonder if the pianola represents an era, or if an "era" is repreresented in it, wherein mankind's techni-inventiveness was still bound up in certain ways with art. There are many figures throughout history (lots of them eccentric) who were artist/inventor/collector/observer/note-taker, and other things in between, like Alex Jordan, Jr. It seems to me the art that was bound with techni-invention has been removed, and with it, the invention. Now we are left with techni. Oh yes, techni that spawns its own self-fertilized progeny into countless derivatives, but it remains largely techni.
A good question is whether the boom of "technological progress" in the industrial revolution could have been a better "boom", that is, better in all ways. The question is, perhaps the start of it was a gift descending to us, but even in its descending, it was hijacked. And perhaps if we had received this gift in loving sacrifice, the technological progress not only would have been non-slave-making and non-polluting, but it would have been even more genuinely inventive, and thus, more effecient. Was the Holy Spirit inspiring inventions and technological ideas that we refused in our grab after a mere coarse, utilitarian copy?
Ai, and just as that hijacking most likely (I believe it did) occurred, we have now, in these years after 2000, something different. Just as the inspirations of invention were hijacked at the advent of the industrial revolution, now that very notion, the realization of that hijacking, has itself been hijacked - by new agers.
Grrr...I don't know about this vimeo site. If you want to watch the video, just click on "Pianola Demonstration" below the video box.
O SAPIENTIA, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.
O Wisdom, who come from the mouth of the Most High,
you extend to the ends of the earth, and order all things with power and sweetness:
come and teach us the way of wisdom.
H/T: First Things and Father Dwight
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
An Advent song
By Pavel Chichikov
Prepare the sun’s outshining disk
That Christ the child be temperate
And those afire by His glow
Illuminated blessings show
Glass and limestone and the sea
The sun reflected blinding be
Prepare the beacon of the sun
To light another light, which done
Touch the flambeau to the row
Of stable windows, let them show
The ox and donkey stalls within,
The mother’s child, her mothering
So great a flame the humble sight
His Father’s joy, and her delight
Poetry of Pavel Chichikov found at: http://users.erols.com/fishhook/
Podcasts found at: http://pavelreads.com/
A poem for Advent
By Pavel Chichikov
October’s lighted lamps are fallen
God’s lamp of trees is empty
November’s wick pinched black and cold
Look now in the monstrance of the Virgin’s womb
Where the sinless child is burning
Even through her sinless skin
She carries forth this inner lamp
Through day and night increasingly
Unceasingly for us to see Him
It is a gift to give a Gift
Returned that makes three kings
Prepare their winter journey
Light for gold, incense for a grace
Love for adoration
Life amassed from death
So on the cold skull-strewn plateau
They see the light, the beacon
Of a cradled Child
Lost within a night they find a lamp
Glowing in a bed of straw
That will not burn it
And they who touch Him
Touch the feet of fire
That will consume itself alone
Mothers know within that which they carry—
His alone to give and take
And to the Spirit marry
Pavel Chichikov's poems found at: http://users.erols.com/fishhook/
Podcasts found at: http://pavelreads.com/
Monday, December 8, 2008
If there is anyone willing to give ear to the lambasting of the obsession with gift-giving (and receiving) to the detriment of receiving Jesus the Christ Child into one's heart, it is me. But I get antsy when I hear something like this in the midst of the otherwise good awakening: "...and people spend money they do not have [I agree, tis true] on things that people don't even need..."
It's that last part: "...on things that people don't even need". Then my glitchy puritan-radar kicks in. What are gifts that we give to other people (material ones) but things that, when said and done, are things we don't really 'need'?
Among others, or perhaps others spurred by him, C.S. Lewis makes the "...on things that people don't even need" statement in one of his essays. He is wrong - insofar as the word gift is used in a mistaken way in order to heighten the deflating purpose of his otherwise true overall conclusion. As if gifts are supposed to entail necessity. The argument is hogwash. It is also, as said, puritanical as hell. Gifts are supposed to be things we don't really need. It does not require an explanation as to why.
And by the way, the Christ Child did not need the gold or the frank-incense or the myrrh. I wish otherwise intelligent people worth listening to would take that one little bit and give it the funeral it deserves.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.
Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.
You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
then you will delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.