Tuesday, September 30, 2008


all must go to their eternal home ...
and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the breath returns to God who gave it
-- Ecclesiastes 12:5, 7

Monday, September 29, 2008

in the evening

In the evening of our lives, we shall be judged on love.
-- St. John of the Cross

Sunday, September 28, 2008

This is the day ...

 This is the day that the Lord has made; 
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
-- Psalm 118:24

Saturday, September 27, 2008

identity deficit

[Natan Sharansky in] "The Case for Democracy" argued that totalitarian regimes are inherently aggressive, while democratic societies are the opposite, since democratic leaders need to provide citizens with that which they value most - their own lives. "Defending Identity" adds the caveat that individuals and societies that value nothing above life cannot summon the resources to defend themselves against aggressive enemies.

IN PRISON, those with the strongest identity - such as Pentacostals - were the least likely to be broken by the KGB. For those with a strong personal identity, the fear of betraying that identity and thereby rendering one’s life worthless was greater than the fear of death.

-- Jonathan Rosenblum, http://www.cross-currents.com/

Friday, September 26, 2008


The star, Regulus, to the left of the crescent Moon this morning.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

Take care, then, how you hear

Listen in silence. It is because your heart is brimful of a thousand things that you are unable to hear God's voice in it. But as soon as you set about listening to God's voice in a peaceful heart, it becomes full of God. This takes many sacrifices. If we think we want to pray then we have to prepare ourselves for it. Without delay. I am only referring to the first steps towards praying but unless we carry them out with determination we shall never reach the final step, the presence of God.

That is why our training has to be perfect from the start: we begin listening for God's voice in our heart and, in the heart's silence, God begins to speak. Then, out of the fullness of the heart there rises up what the mouth must say. That is where the connection lies. In the silence of the heart God speaks while you have only to listen. Then, once your heart has reached its plenitude because it finds itself filled with God, filled with love, filled with compassion, filled with faith, it falls to your mouth to speak.

Bear in mind that, before speaking, you need to listen and only then, from the depths of a receptive heart, can you speak and be heard by God.

-- Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

following the right path

Every morning for years, at about 11:30, the telephone operator in a small Sierra-Nevada town received a call from a man asking the exact time.

One day the operator summed up nerve enough to ask him why the regularity. 
"I'm foreman of the local sawmill," he explained. "Every day I have to blow the whistle at noon so I call you to get the exact time." The operator giggled, "That's really funny," she said. "All this time we've been setting our clock by your whistle." 

In a recent Gospel reading, Jesus says, "Can a blind man follow another blind man?  Will they not both fall into a pit?" It is true, when we follow our own whims, we are likely to go astray, but when we follow the Gospel and the teachings of the Church, we are not following that which cannot see, but we are following the light of life.

-- Abbot Thomas, Blue Cloud Abbey

Saturday, September 20, 2008

This & yesterdays post were taken at Crex Meadows, Wisconsin. For more photos from Crex, see my birding/photo blog.

Friday, September 19, 2008

more creation

Thursday, September 18, 2008

forgiveness of sins

May our hope in God's mercy uphold us amidst the tumult of passions and contradictions. Let us run confidently to the sacrament of penance where Our Lord is always waiting for us with infinite tenderness. And once our sins have been forgiven we should forget about them because Our Lord has already done so before we do. Even if you were to confess you had committed all the sins in the world, yet the Lord assures you: "Your many sins have been forgiven because you loved much."
Lord Jesus, you are all sweetness: how could I possibly live without you? Come, Lord, take sole possession of my heart.
-- Saint [Padre] Pio de Pietrelcina (1887-1968), Capuchin friar

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

more creation

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Monday, September 15, 2008

need for the Church

For where the Church is, there also is the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of God is, there also is the Church and every grace. But the Spirit is Truth (1Jn 5:6). Hence those who turn away from it are not nourished at their Mother's breasts either, so that they might gain life, nor do they have any share in the clear spring flowing from Christ's body (Jn 7:37) but "have dug for themselves leaky cisterns" (Jer 2:13)... Strangers to the truth, inevitably they slide into error and are tossed about by it, nor do they ever possess a firmly established teaching since they prefer to become quibblers with words than disciples of truth. For their foundations are not on the one Rock but on sand.
-- Saint Irenaeus of Lyons (c.130-208)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sacred Heart Music Center, Duluth, MN

Friday, September 12, 2008


If the Master does not judge, why are you judging? He came not to judge the world (Jn 12:47), but to take pity on it. What he is saying, then, is this: "If I do not pass judgment, neither must you, my disciple. You may be even more guilty of the faults of which you accuse another... Why do you look for the speck in your brother's eye?"
-- Saint Cyril of Alexandria (380-444)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

a small portion of the damage to the Abbey on 7/31

... but the little ones survive

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Blue Cloud Abbey's Gertie

The Abbey's Gertie has numerous tumors, but, according to the vet, is not in pain and has already out-lived earlier estimates by several years. She still likes to accompany visitors on walks but is reluctant to chase rabbits or wild turkeys.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

simplify, simplify, simplify ...

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness. 
-- Henry David Thoreau

Monday, September 08, 2008


Our progress in holiness depends on God and ourselves - on God's grace and on our will to be holy. We must have a real living determination to reach holiness. 'I will be a saint' means I will despoil myself of all that is not God; I will strip my heart of all created things; I will live in poverty and detachment; I will renounce my will, my inclinations, my whims and fancies, and make myself a willing slave to the will of God.
-- Teresa of Calcutta

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Prairie Churches

This afternoon I watched a wonderful program -- Prairie Churches -- on Public TV. It included churches of many denominations in the Dakotas, Minnesota & Canada. 
Fascinating & greatly recommended!
It will be rebroadcast in the Twin Cities area on Ch.17, this Thursday at 7 p.m.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Friday, September 05, 2008

the Abbey's bees (hornets/wasps?)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Abbey grounds at sunset

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Blue Cloud Abbey

If you have been following the bird posts on my other blog, you know that I spent six days at Blue Cloud Abbey last month. While many of the days were spent taking photos, evenings were often spent visiting with the monks. Here Br. Benet is coming to join me for a view of the valley from the bench.

Monday, September 01, 2008


Namaan, the Syrian, went down into the water seven times according to the Law; but you have been baptized in the name of the Trinity. You have confessed your faith in the Father; you have confessed your faith in the Son and your faith in the Holy Spirit. Keep hold of this succession of events. In this faith you are dead to the world, raised up for God.
-- St. Ambrose (c.340-397), Bishop of Milan

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