Friday, March 11, 2011

Good Readings for Lent

Excerpts of what I read during my morning "Happy Hour" in front of the Blessed Sacrament today,  from My Way of Life, Pocket Edition of St. Thomas, the Summa Simplified for Everyone (all italics mine):

"THE ROAD THAT STRETCHES before the feet of a man is a challenge to his heart long before it test the strength of his legs.  Our destiny is to run to the edge of the world and beyond, off into the darkness:  sure for all our blindness, secure for all our helplessness, strong for all our weakness, gaily in love for all the pressure on our hearts.

IN THAT DARKNESS beyond the world, we can begin to know the world and ourselves, thought we see through the eyes of Another.  We begin to understand that a man was not made to pace out his life behind the prison walls of nature, but to walk into the arms of God on a road that nature could never build.

LIFE MUST BE LIVED, even by those who cannot find the courage to face it.  In the living of it, every mind must meet the rebuff of mystery.  To some men, this will be an exultant challenge: that so much can be known and truth not be exhausted, that so much is contained in the pool of a human mind.  To others, this is a humiliation not to be borne;  for it marks out sharply the limits of our proud minds.  In the living of life, every mind must face the unyielding rock of reality, of a truth that does not bend to our whim or fantasy, of the rule that measures the life and mind of a man.

IN THE LIVING OF LIFE, every human heart must see problems awful with finality.  There are the obvious problem of death, marriage, the priesthood, religious vows;  all unutterably final.  But there are, too, the day to day, or rather the moment to moment choices of heaven or hell.  Before every human heart that has ever beat out its allotted measures, the dare of goals as high as God Himself was tossed down: to be accepted, or to be fled from in terror.

GOD HAS SAID SO LITTLE, that yet means so much for our living.  To have said more would mean less of reverence by God for the splendor of His image in us.  Our knowing and loving, He insists, must be our own; the truth ours because we have accepted it; the love ours because we have given it.  We are made in His image.  Our Maker will be the last to smudge that image in the name of security, or by way of easing the hazards of the nobility of man."
... ...

"THERE ARE MEN AND WOMEN who do not know God.  They are made for happiness; every perfectly designed item of their sublime nature strains for that fulfillment which is happiness. Ignorance commits them to frustration; they have eager hearts, pushed to the breaking point by all of nature's demands for happiness, but therese hearts have only the wrong places to go.  In a very real sense, there is a kind of knowledge of God buried deep in every man, as deep as his demand for happiness.  Frustration here is basic, soul-searvhing, catastrophic.  Man makes his way to the illusory havens offered by false gods, but always through a sea of tears shed by his own individual nature."
... ...

"YET THE LITTLE  that we can see of the infinite perfection of God is an entrancing picture; to escape it, one must glue his eyes to something close, tangible, and blinding;  The infatuated see little of anything, and even less of God." 
... ...

"THE MYSTERY OF LIFE'S END, and the even grater mystery of life's beginning, the ebb and flow of things beginning and things ending, the steady succession of the sadness of Fall and the glad promise of Spring, prevent the unfettered and uncluttered mind from missing what these were meant to make clear:  a life without beginning to explain all beginnings, a life without end to explain death; an infinite Creditor of life to explain all the reckless loan of life to the living."

My Note: that last sentence goes right through my heart, our God is indeed reckless in loaning His creatures patience, mercy, and freedom.

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