Monday, July 30, 2007

Ending of "A Little Saying" Posts

It was just brought to my attention that Norman Vincent Peale attained the 33rd degree in Freemasonry in his life. While I am not an authority on Freemasonry and know very little, I will nonetheless cease the posting of quotes from his book Treasury of Courage and Confidence as The Church forbids membership in Masonic Lodges.

I will leave the posts on indefinitely, as a personal reminder to me of spirituality not sanctioned by the Church, or rather, in this case, spirituality which the Church warns about, can be benign and actually good. But as I get to know me a little better, I know that I can easily be deluded and I am painfully learning to tread the path our Great God and Savior has established once and for all in the giving of the Faith to us.

Also, I believe I have gotten a more significant glimpse as to what strata and sub-strata the Enemy may be directing his assault towards us and frankly, if I am anywhere near correct on this glimpse, I am scared. Really scared. But this throws me back upon our Holy Faith with greater desperation.

To me the challenge lies therein: How do I learn to circumscribe the entirety of my life with this Faith? What fences must be built and patrolled? How do I deepen repentance as all the while the love for this world tugs at me in one direction and the desire for loving Him grows- then flickers-then grows again and leads me toward Him once again in the other direction?

Perhaps there is only one way: in the plea for mercy to Him that I, a sinner, may be found in Him and revealed in Him on that Day.

May it be so, amen.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Little Saying: Sunday 7-29-07

Today I read Psalm 108.

The snippet is:

Man must be arched and buttressed from within, else the temple wavers to the dust.

-Marcus Aurelius

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Little Saying: Saturday 7-28-07

Today I read Psalm 107.

The snippet is:

Norman Vincent Peale sets up the following passage as follows: "Make prayer a regulative and a regular part of your daily life, and it will change things that need changing."

At one time the sculptor, Rodin, was approached by an extremely enthusiastic tourist who had viewed his major works in Paris. "Oh, Mr. Rodin," she fluttered. "Is it difficult work to sculpt?"

"Not at all, Madam," replied the master. "You simply buy a block of marble and chip away what you don't want." Simple? Yes! Easy? No!

Each of us must realize that, within our own block of marble, imprisoned by the fogs of our making that hem us in and stand between us and our true Self, stands the Son of God, just as surely as if the magnificent statues of Rodin were already complete both within his material and in the mind of the sculptor. The process then is one of freeing this Self which was made in the image and likeness of God. This will not be accomplished overnight for the reason that our prayer techniques will not be perfected overnight. Demons, doubts, unwanted bits and pieces must be chipped away, sacrificed gladly to Love's healing power through prayer as soon as recognized, until we stand free.

Prayer is simple, yes, but it is not an easy art-except sometimes for little children who are completely trusting. For most of us this most rewarding skill, as with all others, will never be mastered on a hit or miss basis. Prayer must be made a regular and regulative part of life...

We must be patient with ourselves if we would master prayer. Dedication and deep desire reinforce our will and carry us through arid periods when prayer does not come easily and we had rather not. If we are tempted to abandon regular prayer in moments when we are feeling fine or, conversely, when inspiration is lacking and we feel we have no talent for it, we can recall the little girl who fell out of bed during the night.

Her mother heard the crash, rushed in alarm and picked her up, crooning sympathy. "I'm all right. Mommy," said the child. "I just fell asleep too close to where I got in."

We must pray regularly not only to develop skill but so that it becomes a regulative part of our lives and we do not fall asleep too close to where we got in. No psychiatrist or psychologist or any other therapist would expect a patient to be helped if he came to the clinic irregularly or only a few times. Very probably he would dismiss the patient. There is a follow through, a gradual enfoldment, in all therapeutics.

Regular prayer helps one to identify oneself gradually with the spirit of Love-the spirit of Christ-the mind that was in Christ Jesus. It establishes internal controls which begin to give us spontaneously the responses we need. for this reason we must bring as much sincerity as we now possess to our prayers.

By praying regularly the last thing at night before retiring, and the first thing in the morning, always with an emphasis on Love, our prayer power will begin to increase measurably. Even in our present imperfect condition, still in the "presence of our enemies"-our doubts and demons-we will find we are growing toward that most Holy state which Brother Lawrence called "the practice of the Presence of God."

-William R. Parker and Elaine St. Johns Dare

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Little Saying: Friday 7-27-07

Today I read Psalm 106.

The snippet is:

Norman Vincent Peale asks:" Why should we pray? What good does it do?"

To which he provides the answer in the following passage:

In the first place, prayer is a way of increasing our sensitivity to the spiritual aspects of life. From this point of view, it is very much like exercise. A man's muscles become responsive by training...Exercise of any sort enlarges the capacity to understand, to appreciate, to react.

The soul is stretched and enlarged by prayer just as the body is stretched and enlarged by physical exercise. "O Lord, open my eyes that I may see truth and beauty in all Thy world, and Thy spirit in all things."

In the second place, prayer is good because it helps us conquer and control our appetites.

And, finally, prayer is a way of aspiration. It is a way of lifting ourselves, of getting a higher look, of transcending self. For when a man looks at life only from inside himself, or only from within the walls of his home, or profession, seeing the world as though it were all in terms of his special interests, then he is "too full of himself to have any room for God." But in prayer, he sees life as God sees it, and relates his own little life and his own little needs to the needs and life of humanity. He lifts himself by prayer, and achieves a high spiritual stature.

-Robert I. Kahn

The Shining spoof-Deception can be funny...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

(ahem!) "Formal" adding of a couple of friends' blogs

Hey Tyson and Erin!!!

Can life get any better than to be on this blog page? I didn't think so. Welcome aboard. I put your links under Other Blogs I Visit.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Little Saying: Wednesday 7-25-07

Today I read Psalm 105.

The snippet is:

All of us need to touch Christ for some reason or other.
As the Church offers this wonderful new life-this peace of mind and heart-this healing of mind and soul and body in Christ's name-perhaps she ought more and more to give instruction with her soul medicine.
You are justified in looking for directions on the lid or some instructions for taking a manual of operation.
Perhaps I can make some suggestions which will be helpful.
First, give God a chance. Take your problem, whatever it may be, to Him in prayer. Tell Him all about it-just as if He didn't know a thing. In the telling be absolutely honest and sincere. Hold nothing back...
Then the second step is to believe that God will hear you. Remember that He heard the poor woman who only touched the hem of His garment. Believe with all your faith that He cares what happens to you. You must believe that. You can't doubt it when you look at the Cross.

Next, you must be willing to wait patiently for the Lord. He does not answer every prayer on Sunday afternoon! You may have to wait until Friday. But wait. God is never in a hurry.
Then, when He speaks to you-as He will-do what He tells you. He may not tell you audibly. You may not hear your voices-as did Joan of Arc. You may not see any writing in the sky or have any unusual experience. God could, if He wanted, send you messages in that way, but that is not His usual method.
It generally comes through your own conscience-a sort of growing conviction that such and such a course of action is the One He wants you to take. Or it may be given you in the advice of friends of sound judgement-those who love you most.
God speaks sometimes through our circumstances and guides us, closing doors as well as opening them.
He will let you know what you must do, and what you must be.
He is waiting for you to touch Him.
The hand of faith is enough. Your trembling fingers can reach Him as He passes.
Reach out your faith-touch Him,
He will not ask, "Who touched me?"
He will know.

-Peter Marshall
*personal note-this snippet I would not have kept had I been collecting today; yet it contains some value so I posted it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Little Saying: Tuesday 7-24-07

To clarify a bit, during this time when I collected these sayings, I would read one a day from "The Treasury of Courage and Confidence". The ones in the book that stuck out to me are the ones I am posting. These particular ones, also, I would write down and then post all over my office to read at appropriate times of need.

The ones I will be posting are only a tiny portion from this book and for whatever reason at the time, they jumped out at me and I recorded them. There were many days that I did not make note of the writing. As I mentioned on yesterday's post, along with these sayings, I would read a Psalm a day and some of these Psalms made such an impression on me that they would become my "saying" or "snippet" for the day. So I have put these into my rotation of daily(at work) readings alongside the other ones.

I mention this because today's snippet is Psalm 77.

Today I read Psalm 104.

The snippet is:

I CRIED unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me.
2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran into the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.
3 I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.
4 Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
5 I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.
6 I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.
7 Will the Lord cast off forever? and will he be favorable no more?
8 Is his mercy clean gone forever? doth his promise fail forever more?
9 Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.
10 And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.
11 I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.
12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.
13 Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?
14 Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people.
15 Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.
16 The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled.
17 The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad.
18 The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.
19 Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.
20 Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

-Psalm 77

*note* Again, I collected these during a period of my life I was experiencing intense and prolonged distress. So when I read this Psalm during my Psalm reading, it labeled itself to me "When my soul refuses to be comforted" and I like that. From a purely sentimental and therapeutic sense, this Psalm says that to me.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A Little Saying: Monday 7-23-07

In the last several years I have undergone tremendous change as I have made a conscious effort to live a spiritual life. This is not to say that I hold my life up to any kind of emulation for anyone else, but nonetheless it is the life I have lived in all its joys, sorrows, and innumerable shortcomings and sins.

During this particular period I have developed a routine for myself throughout the day which I more or less follow. Included in this routine is my daily reading after arriving at work and setting up my restaurant for the day's business. This reading is The Psalms, one a day, beginning at Psalm 1 and each day at work I read the next one. When I complete the 150 Psalms(one a day), I begin over at Psalm 1.

Along with the reading of the Psalms, I also read another piece of "inspirational" literature which have helped me through the last several years. They are not Orthodox, however, but they were of help to me.

As I look over these today, some retain their lustre; others I would not have kept had I been starting the collection today.

I will post these and hope the reader may find value too in these snippets as they have been of help to me. The majority I collected from Norman Vincent Peale's "Treasury of Courage and Confidence" in which he collects those sayings and writings which have meant something to him.

There are other miscellaneous sources from which I drew this little collection and where it is not from "Treasury of Courage and Confidence" I will make note of this. I will cite the author of each saying or snippet as well.

Today I read Psalm 103.

The snippet is:

Now I want you to think that in life troubles will come, which seem as if they would never pass away. The night and the storm look as if they would last forever, but the calm and morning cannot be stayed; the storm in it's very nature is transient. The effort of nature as that of the human heart, ever is to return to its repose, for God is Peace.

-George Macdonald

Saturday, July 21, 2007

a.. sinner prays(with pictures of "the arena")

I've been long absent from posting anything on my blog site so I think I'm about due.
I have been active on others' sites from time to time, but it's not the same as doing this. Truth be told, it feels kind of nice.
Of late, my focus has been to pray through my own personal rule. It sounds so easy yet in this I am confronted with the real enemy, me.
I posted these pictures to display my own little personal "arena". Here is where I come face to face with me. Here is where I love to be and hate to be. Never mind my old childish immature notions of how "I love to spend time with the Lord." Hogwash. Moments brief enjoyed to be sure, but there is so much going on that I'm missing out there. The world is rushing by and I'm here praying and missing it all.
There is rampant misinformation on the internet that needs just my touch and input to set right and I'm here doing this..., this..., this..., what?
I mean I'm fine, really. When God looks at me He sees His most stalwart ally, a man that only needs a little brushing off here and there("Thanks God for the help..ok I got it from here, Ill finish the brushing off now..I said I got it!")
And on and on it goes.
Life, at least for me, seems to unfold in an evening out process that does not long leave at peace such a man. That man is seemingly forced(if not by grace than by what?) to once again run out of himself and return as a child, to be handled, intimately handled by Him. Hard for a man who dislikes intimacy. And yet He bids me once more, "Come, Sophocles".
Our Holy Faith takes such a self sufficient man and pulverizes him against the Cornerstone. The old, apart from Him, undivinized, unhealed man cannot but give off a stench that will not allow the man to stay hidden.
The Physician is merciful and kind but He will do His work. He will re-create me in Him, I, dying and being reborn into Him one painful letting go experience at a time.
But the glory that is to be revealed in us as we truly die to this world, this life. Ah, but that.
It's taste penetrates into me from His World but I as a worthless sieve soon lose Him, His fragrance. But He continues to let me participate in His Uncreated Energies and I the shadow become more of a man, more truly who He wants me to be, more truly me, and I may now hope to hold that taste and fragrance a bit more.
A sinner such as I prays that I may not remain in the wisp that this world portrays as being permanent.
May I obtain mercy that always may I pray.