Monthly Archives: January 2017

Temporal truth

This (original sin) was the primal laps of the rational creature, that is his first privation of the good. In train of this there crept in, even without his willing it, ignorance of the right things to do and also an appetite for noxious things. And these brought along with them, as their companions, error and misery. When these two evils are felt to be imminent, the soul’s motion in flight from them is called fear. Moreover, as the soul’s appetites are satisfied by things harmful or at least inane—and as it fails to recognize the error of its ways—it falls victim to unwholesome pleasures or may even be exhilarated by vain joys. From these tainted springs of action—moved by the lash of appetite rather than a feeling of plenty there flows out every kind of misery which is now the lot of rational natures.  –St Augustine ‘Handbook on Hope, Faith, and Love’


Hope is the Thing with Feathers

Emily Dickinson

‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I’ve heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.


Sunday a holy day

A free day from work, a pleasant day relaxing. The Master Cleanse is complete and I am back to eating solid food after thirteen days of fasting. For some reason, maybe getting old, this fast really wore me down, several times exhaustion completely overwhelmed me, three times during Mass. All said and done, I feel good, exercise now taking precedence. The elliptical machine—a clearance item from Sears, a fifteen-hundred-dollar floor model with slight cosmetic damage, was delivered last week. All total, costing me under six hundred dollars. During my stay at Highland Springs, Dr. Farivar spoke to me about a thyroid issue. He asked me if I felt tired and like crap quite a bit. I laughed and said, “Now that you mention it. I thought I was just getting old and out-of-shape”. I am not clear on details, understanding the closed-loop process of my thyroid may be a bit defective, too much of something being called for. He stressed there was nothing to worry about, although I should make an immediate appointment with my personal physician for greater attention. This Thursday, I will meet for the first time a physician I was referred to, a woman from the country of Georgia. I recall once researching the cave monastery of Vardzia in Georgia. If all goes well, she will become my personal physician. Today, I left St Paul Shrine immediately after Mass. A full itinerary planned, I wanted to start my day, heading for the west side of Cleveland. Social activity at the Shrine was to be avoided, although I did make plans with Father Roger for a one-on-one session this coming week. We have not spent personal time together for months. I look forward to the conversation. I am finding peace in a solitary life, although coalescing with a deeper comfort in an expanded prayer life is the realization of anger entrenched within my soul. I recall words from one of my poems, something about “I can feel the wrath of my father breathing through the blood in my eyes”. With no bitterness, embracing love and compassion, I am positive the angry spirit is one passed on by my father. There were things that happen to him as a child that created intense hurt and thus his response of anger. Anger is difficult to get rid of once it takes hold, an obstinate wound festering. Frustration and explosions of temper were my father’s way. Yet within that stubbornness was a determination to be an outstanding father and dedicated husband, a man committed to his family, taking his wife and children to Mass every Sunday. My father was a good man, yet his legacy of anger I am positive I inherited. I accept it, while trying to grow beyond it, allowing it to exercise itself until it has tired itself out. It is a process, and I humbled when experiencing grace tending to the severity. My plans for the day were centered upon an exploration of the Lakewood library. My card expired several months ago, calling for a personal visit to renew it. The library is a favorite due to their expansive music and film collection. I am enamored with the Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, discovering the Lakewood library has a handful of his DVDs. Wonderfully, his first film ‘The Steamroller and the Violin’, a children’s movie some relate to the French ‘Red Balloon’—a huge influence on my childhood, was one of the films. I am pleased Tarkovsky is revealed to me at this time. I am intrigued how God keeps in reserve encounters, saving someone like Tarkovsky for my elder years. It is soul comforting to find an artist who broadens my interest in life. I have also taken to listening to poetry while driving, exploring the words of Emily Dickinson. Her life was truly interesting, living with her parents all her life in a conservative Puritan Christian home and community. Her and her sister rarely left their childhood home, socially encountering few, while all the time she grew immensely as a poet. I will be posting some of her poems in the near future, at this time absorbing. I will post this photo of her as I find her appearance intriguing, a simple soul who seemingly remained in a state of innocence, while also managing to mature spiritually.

Drawing away from others, I find the solitary life appealing, focusing more and more acutely upon a life in Vermont. A concentration upon a life of prayer and service to the Carthusians aligns with my life’s experience, a settling into contemplation. At my age, I am consoled with the idea of remaining a layperson, committing myself wholeheartedly to obedience to the community, while not swearing vows. I have been through too much to identify myself as a religious. It is more appropriate to live a life of a religious, while not calling myself a religious. Concluding my daytrip to the west side was the Benediction service with the Poor Clares Colettines on Rocky River Rd, a truly splendid prayerful practice I have not exercised in months. It was the start of a Novena to St Colette.



Poem written by St john of the Cross, formatted according to the display on my Hoopla phone app.

For I know well the spring that flows and runs, although it is night.

That eternal
Spring is
Hidden, for
I know
Well where
It has its rise,
Although it is night.

I do not know
Its origin,
Nor has it one,
That every
Origin has
Come from it,
Although it is night.

I know that
Else is so
And that the
And the earth
Drink there,
Although it is night.

I know well
That it is
And no one is
Able to
Cross it,
Although it is night.

Its clarity is
Never darkened,
And I know
That every
Light has
Come from it,
Although it is night.

I know that its
Are so brimming
They water
The lands of hell,
The heavens
And earth,
Although it is night.

I know well
The stream
That flows
From this spring
Is mighty
In compass
And power,
Although it is night.

I know the stream
Proceeding from
These two,
That neither of
Them in fact
Precedes it,
Although it is night.

The eternal
Spring is hidden
In this living
Bread for
Our life’s sake,
Although it is night.

It is here
Calling out
To creatures;
And they
Their thirst,
Although in darkness,
Because it is night.

This living spring
That I long for,
I see in
This bread of life,
Although it is night.

St John of the Cross. Euclid, Ohio.



ALTHOUGH WE SHOULD BEWARE OF ERROR WHEREVER POSSIBLE, NOT ONLY IN GREAT matters but in small ones as well, it is impossible not to be ignorant of many things. Yet it does not follow that one falls into error out of ignorance alone. If someone thinks he knows what he does not know, if he approves as true what is actually false, this then is error, in the proper sense of the term. Obviously, much depends on the question involved in the error, for in one and the same question one naturally prefers the instructed to the ignorant, the expert to the blunderer, and this with good reason. In a complex issue, however, as when one man knows one thing and another man knows something else, if the former knowledge is more useful and the latter is less useful or even harmful, who in this latter case would not prefer ignorance? There are some things, after all, that it is better not to know than to know Likewise, there is sometimes profit in error—but on a journey, not in morals. –Saint Augustine ‘Handbook on Hope, Faith, and Love’


Logical thinking

All of nature, therefore, is good, since the Creator of all nature is supremely good.  But nature is not supremely and immutably good as is the Creator of it.  Thus the good in created things can be diminished and augmented.  For good to be diminished is evil; still, however much it is diminished, something must remain of its original nature as long as it exists at all.  For no matter what kind or however insignificant a thing may be the good which is its “nature” cannot be destroyed.  There is good reason, therefore, to praise an uncorrupted thing, and if it were indeed an incorruptible thing which could not be destroyed, it would doubtless be all the more worthy of praise.  When, however, a thing is corrupted, its corruption is an evil because it is, by just so much, a privation of the good.  Where there is no privation of the good, there is no evil, there is a corresponding diminution of the good.  As long, then, as a thing is being corrupted, there is good in it of which it is being deprived; and in this process, if something of its being remains that cannot be further corrupted, this will then be an incorruptible entity (natura incorruptibilis) and to this great good it will have come through the process of corruption.  But even if the corruption is not arrested, it still does not cease having some good of which it cannot be further deprived.  If, however, the corruption comes to be total and entire, there is no good left either, because it is no longer an entity at all.  Wherefore corruption cannot consume the good without also consuming the thing itself.  Every actual entity is therefore good; a greater good if it cannot be corrupted, a lesser good if it can be.  Yet only the foolish and unknowing can deny that it is still good even when corrupted.  Whenever a thing is consumed by corruption, not even the corruption remains, for it is nothing in itself, having no subsistent being in which to exist.  –St Augustine, a letter to his son: ‘Handbook on Hope, Faith, and Love’.

But according to His promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.  Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace….grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.  Amen.  –2 Peter 3

Strive for the Immaculate,
No privation of good.