Ron Moffat: April 2007 Archives

Arbor Vitae

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I am coming to be enthralled with the poetry of Joseph Mary Plunkett, the Irish Nationalist who was key in planning the 1926 Easter Uprising, and who faced the firing squad for his efforts.


Beside the golden gate there grows a tree
Whose heavy fruit gives entrance to the ways
Of Wonder, and the leaves thereof are days
Of desolation—nights of agony
The buds and blossom for the fruits to be:
Rooted in terror the dead trunk decays,
The burdened branches drooping to the clays
Clammy with blood of crushed humanity.

But lo the fruit! Sweet-bitter, red and white,
Better than wine—better than timely death
When surfeited with sorrow—Lo the bright
Mansions beyond the gate! And Love, thy breath
Fanning our flaming hearts where entereth
Thy Song of Songs with Love’s tumultuous light.

More Desert Fathers

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There is something more than compelling in the wisdom of the desert fathers. It might be tempting to think that their lives were hopelessly removed from ours, but I think we can learn a great deal from them. How many of us can say that we truly spend a "vigil" preparing for the Eucharist each week? How many of us take an hour to prepare?

Abba Ammonas was asked, 'What is the "narrow and hard way?" (Mt. 7.14) He replied, 'The "narrow and hard way" is this, to control your thoughts, and to strip yourself of your own will, for the sake of God. THis is also the meaning of the sentence, "Lo, we have left everything and followed you." (Mt. 19.27)

It was said of him that he had a hollow in his chest channelled out by the tears which fell from his eyes all his life while he sat at his manual work. When Abba Poemen learned that he was dead, he said weeping, 'Truly you are blessed, Abba Arsenius, for you wept for yourself in this world! He who does not weep for himself here below will weep eternally hereafter; so it is impossible not to weep, either voluntarily or when compelled through
suffering.' [i.e. the latter suffering in hell]

It was also said of him (Abba Arsenius) that on Saturday evenings, preparing for the glory of Sunday, he would turn his back on the sun and stretch out his hands in prayer towards the heavens, till once again the sun shone on his face. Then he would sit down.

By Ernest Dowson

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Amantium Irae

When this, our rose, is faded,
And these, our days, are done,
In lands profoundly shaded
From tempest and from sun;
Ah, once more come together,
Shall we forgive the past,
And safe from worldly weather
Possess our souls at last?

Or in our place of shadows
Shall still we stretch an hand
To green, remembered meadows,
Of that old pleasant land?
And vainly there foregathered,
Shall we regret the sun?
The rose of love, ungathered?
The bay, we have not won?

Ah, child! the world’s dark marges
May lead to Nevermore,
The stately funeral barges
Sail for an unknown shore,
And love we vow to-morrow,
And pride we serve to-day:
What if they both should borrow
Sad hues of yesterday?

Our pride! Ah, should we miss it,
Or will it serve at last?
Our anger, if we kiss it,
Is like a sorrow past.
While roses deck the garden,
While yet the sun is high,
Doff sorry pride for pardon,
Or ever love go by.


A Very Wise Saying of a Desert Father

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Prove your love and zeal for wisdom in actual deeds.

St. Callistus Xanthopoulos

The New Judas, by Joseph Mary Plunkett

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Thee, Christ, I sought to sell all day
And hurried to the mart to hold
A hundred heavy coins of gold
And lo! they would not pay.

But “thirty pieces of silver” cried
(Thine ancient price), and I agreed,
Six for each of the wounds that bleed
In hands and feet and side.

“Including cross and crown” we priced,
Is now their claim and I refuse,
I will not bargain all to lose,
I will not sell Thee, Christ!

A Prayer from St. Romanos

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The wicked one, on the watch, carried me off as booty as I lazily
slept.
He led my mind into error; he plundered my spirit and snatched
away
The wealth of Thy grace, this arch robber.
So raise me up, as I am fallen, and summon me, Saviour,
Thou who dost will that all men be saved.

Kontakia of St. Romanos, A Prayer.

I Hardly Ever Like These Quizes, but some . . .

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Well, maybe I am bragging just a bit.


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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Ron Moffat in April 2007.

Ron Moffat: March 2007 is the previous archive.

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