Saturday, April 19, 2014

What Shall We Behold?

'Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb.  They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first.  He bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter, following him, also came up, went into the tomb, saw the linen cloths lying on the ground and also the cloth that had been over His head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in.  He saw and he believed.'  (John 20:3-8)

Have a blessed Easter.

Painting:  Eugene Burnand, John and Peter

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Oh, What a Serious Thing

'Oh, what a serious thing sin is, 
for it was enough to kill God with so many sorrows!  
And how surrounded You are by them, my God!  
Where can You go that they do not torment You? 
Everywhere mortals wound You... 
what extraordinary ingratitude, my King!'

St. Teresa of Avila 

 Painting:  Colijn de Coter, The Mourning Mary Magdalene

Friday, April 11, 2014

When Your Light is Scorned

'O Jesus, You are the light 
for those who open their eyes to see You;
but for those who shut their eyes,
You are a stumbling block 
against which they break themselves....

'You would have enlightened them 
with Your truth if they had humbly
asked You, but in their pride 
they did not welcome Your light... 

'When Your light is scorned, 
we no longer heed it; 
a dense fog covers it, and our passions 
completely hide it from our eyes.' 

Jacques Bossuet

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Just One of Your Words

'O Lord, all my greatness is in listening to You: hearing You in the external word of Your law, and hearing You in the interior inspiration of Your Spirit, in the multi-faceted ways by which Your Providence speaks....

'It is more precious and more important to hear just one of your words, and to establish with You a current of interior attraction, than the many things that my love would like to offer You.'

G. Canovai, 'Suscipe Domine'

Painting:  Edmund Tarbell

What Will Faith Not Find?

You are good, Lord,
to the soul that seeks You.
Make me seek You with desire,
follow You with deeds,
find You through faith.
What is there that faith will not find?
It reaches inaccessible realities,
discovers the unknown,
embraces the immeasurable,
takes possession of the eternal,
and finally, in a certain manner,
contains eternity itself
with its vast expanse.'

St. Bernard

Painting: Szinyei Merse, Poppies in the Field, 1902;
in US public domain due to age

Saturday, April 5, 2014

In Every Moment

'Great works 
do not
come our way, 
but in 
every moment, 
we may 
do little ones; 
that is, 
with a
great love.'

St Francis de Sales

Painting:  Désiré François Laugée

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Very Air

'This is the earth He walked on;
The air we breathe, He breathed - the very air
that took the mould and music of His high
and Godlike speech.  Lo!  The sun that shone
on Him, shines now on us; when day is gone,
the moon of Galilee comes forth again,
and lights our path as His; an endless chain
of years and sorrows makes the round world one.'

(from Fervorinos From Galilee's Hills, 
compiled by a Religious, Pelligrini, Australia, 1936, p. 22)

Painting:  Gustav Bauernfeind, Wailing Wall

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tasting the Divine

'If we have a taste for divine things, worldly things will no longer excite our appetite.'

St. Francis de Sales

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Loving Absurdity

"Let worldly wisdom go on constituting what it considers excellency in worldly glory if it wants to. The true Christian, who is tending toward perfection, should, contrary to all the reasonings of human prudence, place all his perfection in the folly of the Cross." (St. Francis de Sales)

"The message of the cross is complete absurdity to those who are headed for ruin, but to us who are experiencing salvation it is the power of God.  Scripture says, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and thwart the cleverness of the clever.'" (1 Corinthians 1:18-19) 

Painting by Giovanni Gioseffo dal Sole

Monday, March 31, 2014

It's Only Write

I like the fact that this blog is a mixture.  Here, I can share antics of my amazing (you know I'm not biased) grandchildren, Bunny, Linus and Doodlebug.  Here, I've told you about my first day of school, and my first date, and that day when I went swimming and the dog died.  Snippets of my spiritual journey are here to be seen.  I enjoy matching artwork with prayers; my soul soars as I do so.

After two and a half years of doing it, I can honestly say:  I love to blog.  

Now some of my friends are entering a month-long exercise of "blogging the alphabet."  What a fun way to get into a daily habit of writing!  I actually considered taking this up myself.  But then, reality hit.

You know, Reality.  That 'thing' that slaps us square in the face and wakes us up to, well - to Itself.  The fact is, I never know what's going on from one day to the next (just like everyone).  But (and this is the kicker), if something were to slide while my life got busier, that thing just might be - prayer.

Oh, I hate to admit that.

So, I'm not doing the official challenge (whatever it's called) of signing on to blog the alphabet in a month.  After all, how silly would that be for a person who already has two ongoing, very active blogs?!

I have, instead, done something utterly Logical.

I've begun another blog.

Will that one last more than a few weeks?  I don't know.  For now, it will be a place to plop a bit of writing, where I can try blogging the alphabet at a ponderous pace.  Where I won't care if I'm still talking about bananas while everyone else is sharing stories of ladybugs and lunch.  I just might tell about the first thing I remember writing ('Heaven, Hell and Prigatory'), or that handsome boy called Eiknarf who rode the city bus.

In the meantime, this blog will continue with pictures and quotes and the occasional story - as always.  'The Cloistered Heart' will keep looking into what its analogies mean to us who live for God in the midst of the world.

And 'It's Only Write' will become...... whatever it's meant to be.

God willing, I'll be back here tomorrow with something for us all to ponder.  And if you have a minute, stop in at .

I am much more curious than you are to see what might happen over there. 

Painting:  Albert Anker Junge Frau einen Brief schreibend 1903

Thursday, March 27, 2014

What is the Nothing?

                      'Let me ask myself to whom my thoughts turn oftenest - God or self?
                      As I go about my daily tasks, passing from one place to another,
                      thinking, so to say, of nothing -
                      What is the nothing?
                      What is the subject of my daydreaming and castle-building?
                      Is it how I might help Christ to save souls and defeat satan, or
                      how I shall add to my personal comfort and happiness?' 
                             (from Fervorinos from the Lips of the Master, compiled by a Religious, Pelligrini, Australia, 1940, p. 57)

                             Painting:  Ethel Porter Bailey, Reflections

Monday, March 24, 2014

Have I Seen Errors in the World's Propaganda?

'We... afraid of being left behind in contemporary thought, assent too readily to the conclusions of a humanist and materialist society...

'The movement of the world slides over our preference for spiritual things, and we wake up to find that we have accepted earthly things at the world's valuation.  

'It is only the wisdom of the Spirit that can show up the more hidden errors contained in the world's propaganda, and to possess our share of this wisdom, we have to pray. 

'Prayer alone assures both the light to see and the strength to resist.'

(Dom Hubert Van Zeller, the Yoke of Divine Love, Templegate, 1957, p.  36)

Painting:  Edward Burne-Jones, 
Study for the Garden Court

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Morning Exercise

Today I re-read the following advice from one of my favorite saints.  It is so practical, so concise, that I might just print it out and tape it to my mirror.  And to the bedroom door.  And to the window.  And to the computer screen (in case I forget to look everywhere else).

In his "Spiritual Directory," St. Francis de Sales proposes a simple morning exercise.  He counsels us to keep this prayer "brief and fervent..."

A.  Think.  Thank God and adore Him...

B.  Consider:  The gift of the present day is a preparation for eternity.  Make a firm resolution to use the day well for this intention.

C.  Look Ahead:  Foresee opportunities in which to serve God.  Anticipate whatever temptations might occur.  Prepare yourself by a good resolution to avoid carefully whatever might be against God's glory and your salvation.  Then consider how you plan to carry out this resolution. 

D.  Humble Yourself:  Acknowledge your dependence upon God.  Hold your heart in your hands and offer it to His love, together with your good intentions.  Ask His protection, His strength, that you be successful in His service.  (from In the Midst of the World by Sister Joanna Marie Wenzel VHM, Visitation Sisters, Brooklyn NY) 

St. Francis de Sales, ora pro nobis!

Painting:  Moritz von Schwind, Early Morning

This post is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Linkup Blitz  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

If Dark Clouds Hide You

'With bold surrender, I wish to remain gazing upon You, O Lord, my divine Sun.  Nothing will frighten me, neither wind nor rain, and if dark clouds come and hide You from my gaze, I will not change my place, because I know that beyond the clouds You still shine on and Your brightness is not eclipsed for a single instant....

St. Therese of Lisieux

Painting:  Nikolai N Dubowski, in US public domain due to age

This post is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Linkup Blitz 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Do Not Forget Him in Prosperity

 'When you receive some pleasant news, do not act as certain unfaithful and ungrateful persons are wont to do.  They pray to God in adversity but forget and abandon Him in prosperity...

'Go at once to God and tell Him of your joy, praise and thank Him for it, and thus acknowledge that it is entirely a gift from His bounty.  And rejoice in this happiness, because it has been bestowed on you by His good pleasure.'

St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Painting: Charles Courtney Curran, Peonies, in US public domain due to age

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Scars of My Sins

'O most excellent and all powerful Lord, 
I consider attentively the scars of my sins, 
with which I have been wounded since childhood.  
I weep because time has gone by uselessly.  
My strength is not enough to sustain my weariness, 
because it has been exhausted in vanity.  
Since You are the source of all goodness and mercy, 
I implore You to have pity on me.  
Touch my heart with the hand of Your love, 
because you are the best doctor, 
console my soul, 
because You are the good consoler.'

St. Bridget 

Painting:  Arthur Hacker, The Drone

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Oh My Lord, What a Day

                               'Oh my Lord, what a day
                               when I shall have done once and for all with all sins,
                               and shall stand perfect and acceptable in Your sight,
                               able to bear Your presence, nothing shrinking from Your eye,
                               not shrinking from the scrutiny of angels and archangels,
                               when I stand in the midst and they around me.

                               'Oh my God, though I am not fit to see or touch You yet,
                               still I will ever come within Your reach,
                               and desire that which is not yet given me in its fullness.' 

                               Blessed John Henry Newman

                                         Painting:  Thomas Cooper Gotch, The Awakening

Monday, March 10, 2014

I Changed This Blog, and Look What Happened!

I have been busy.  Changing this blog.  Freshening its appearance.  Making the background entirely white.  Smart.  2014.  Airy.  Fresh!  Fresh!  Fresh!

Not only that, I worked on mechanics.  Took things off the sidebar.  Tried to unclutter.  Made things clean.  Sleek.  Bright.  Trendy, but not ultra.  Youthful, but not childish.  Friendly, but not too. 

And all because I'd read an article, and realized I was doing everything wrong.  EVERY. THING.  Goodness, I don't even have a single sidebar ad.  Nothing shimmers, nothing flashes, nothing moves.  Anyway, I've been looking at some really smart blogs myself lately.  You know, the ones that look like magazines.  Sooo up to date.  And I say that with admiration - I think they look pretty cool (do people still use phrases like "pretty cool?").

(have you left yet?  left me talking to myself while you google "Catholic blogs" to find something much more pretty-cool on which to spend your time?)

At least I had one thing "right" (according to the article).   Whether I'm rambling (as right now) or sharing a quote, the posts here are brief ones.  We can blame that on my own short attention span.  You might be like me, I figure, and may appreciate just a thought, a prayer, a painting.  And I must admit that I love thoughts of saints, I love prayers, I love art.  Combining an appropriate painting with a great quote is downright thrilling to me, and in that I do not exaggerate.  I love this kind of blogging.  It's like digging for treasure, and then being able to share it.

Oh - and that new stark white background?  You might have noticed that you don't see it.  It took me about five minutes to realize that my improvements were no such things. 

Let's face it.  That's a great look for lots of blogs.  But it's not such a good match for one with paintings from the 1800s and quotes from people who wrote four centuries ago.

So here I sit, still comfortable in my same beige surroundings.

And oh, I'm so happy to keep digging for treasure.

Thank you, You, for sharing the discoveries with me.

George Goodwin Kilburne painting, in US public domain due to age