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January 25, 2009

the proverbs, the ecclesiastes, the song

It is not inconsistent with the greatness of this mystery that the Song of Solomon is placed third among his writings. The ancients asserted that there are three stages of life, the moral, the natural, and the contemplative, which the Greeks called ethical, physical, and theoretical. In proverbs, then, the moral life is set forth, where is says, “Hear my wisdom, son, and bend your ear to my knowledge.” On the other hand, it is the natural life that is set forth in Ecclesiastes – since there the tendency of all things to come to an end is made a subject of reflection, when it says, “Vanity of vanities; all things are vanity.” In the Song of Songs, however, the contemplative life is set forth, even as in it the Lord’s coming and his appearance are sought after, when the voice of the bridegroom says, “Come away from Libanus, come.” The life of the patriarchs – Abraham, that is, and Isaac, and Jacob – provides a sign of these three stages. Abraham surely by his obedience displayed the moral life. Isaac for his part figures the natural life by his well-digging, for to dig deep wells is to look closely into all things here bellow by natural reflection. Jacob, however, who saw the angels ascending and descending, held to the contemplative life. But since natural reflection does not lead to perfection unless morality is first maintained, Ecclesiastes is rightly placed after the Proverbs. Moreover, since the contemplation of the higher things is not attained unless these things here bellow, passing away as they are, are despised, the Song of Songs is rightly placed after Ecclesiastes. The first task is surely to get one’s morals right, and after that to consider all things present as though they were absent, and in the third place to look upon things exalted and interior with the pure apex of the heart. Therefore by this sequence of books Solomon constructs a sort of ladder that leads to contemplation of God.

Gregory the Great

Posted by amin at 11:16 PM

January 7, 2009

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth.

T. S. Eliot - East Coker

Posted by amin at 12:37 PM

January 5, 2009

longing for what belongs to us

All will come again into its strength:
The fields undivided, the waters undammed,
The trees towering and the walls built low.
And in the valleys, people as strong
And varied as the land.

And no churches where God
Is imprisoned and lamented
Like a trapped and wounded animal.
The houses welcoming all who knock
And a sense of boundless offering
In all relations, and in you and me.

No yearning for an afterlife, no looking beyond,
No belittling of death,
But only longing for what belongs to us
And serving earth, lest we remain unused.


Posted by amin at 2:03 PM

the day star

When you suppose that you are as it were lost, our Lord will help you, as Job says: “Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning.” That is to say, when you are brought so low by laboring in temptation that it seems there is no help or comfort for you but as if you were a man destroyed, yet pray to God, and indeed you shall suddenly spring up as the day star in gladness of heart, and have true faith in God as Job says.

Walter Hilton - The Scale of Perfection

Posted by amin at 1:55 PM

water and wine

Knowledge by itself puffs up the heart into pride, but mix it with charity and then it turns into edification. This knowledge by itself is only cold insipid water, and therefore if they were willing to offer it humbly to our Lord and prayed him for his grace, he would with his blessing turn the water into wine. That is to say, he would turn insipid knowledge into wisdom, and the cold naked reason into spiritual light and burning love by the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Walter Hilton - The Scale of Perfection

Posted by amin at 1:52 PM

January 2, 2009

i saw the light

I wandered so aimless life filled with sin
I wouldn't let my dear Saviour in
Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

I saw the light I saw the light
No more darkness no more night
Now I'm so happy no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

Just like a blind man I wandered along
Worries and fears I claimed for my own
Then like the blind man that God gave back his sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

I was a fool to wander and astray
Straight is the gate and narrow the way
Now I have traded the wrong for the right
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

Hank Williams - I Saw the Light

Posted by amin at 11:00 AM