Monthly Archives: March 2017

Vertical Motion

And so, O Savior, give me at least some sign that I may know my path has not veered into madness, so I may, with that knowledge, walk the most difficult road, walk as long as need be and no longer feel weariness.

What sign do you want and what knowledge? asked an elder standing by the Empty Tomb. Do you not know that any journey harbors danger within itself? Any journey—and if you do not acknowledge this, then why move? So you say faith is not enough for you and you want knowledge, too. But knowledge does not involve spiritual effort; knowledge is obvious. Faith assumes effort. Knowledge is repose and faith is motion.

But were the venerable not aspiring for the harmony of repose? asked Arseny.

They took the route of faith, answered the elder. And their faith was so strong it turned into knowledge.

I want only to know the general direction of the journey, said Arseny. The part that concerns me and Ustina.

But is not Christ a general direction? asked the elder. What other kind of direction do you seek? And how do you even understand the journey anyway? As the vast expanses you left behind? You made it to Jerusalem with your questions, though you could have asked them from the Kirillov Monastery. I am not saying wandering is useless: there is a point to it. Do not become like your beloved Alexander who had a journey but had no goal. And do not be enamored of excessive horizontal motion.

Then what should I be enamored of? asked Arseny.

Vertical motion, answered the elder, pointing above.

In the center of the church’s cupola there gaped a round, black opening reserved for the sky and stars. Stars were visible but they were fading from sight. Arseny understood day was breaking.

Eugene Vodolazkin ‘Laurus’


Developed prayer within infusion

Prayer of Quiet

The prayer of quiet is a type of mystical prayer in which the intimate awareness of God’s presence captivates the will and fills the soul’s arid body with ineffable sweetness and delight. The fundamental difference between the prayer of quiet and that of infused recollection, apart from the greater intensity of contemplative light and more intense consolations, is that the prayer of quiet gives the soul an actual possession and joyful fruition of the sovereign Good.

Nature of the Prayer of Quiet

Infused contemplation principally affects the intellect, which is withdrawn from the other faculties, but the prayer of quiet especially affects the will. Although the intellect and the memory are now tranquil, they still remain free to realize what is occurring, but the will is completely captivated and absorbed in God. For that reason, the prayer of quiet as its name indicates, tends to contemplative silence and repose. Since the other faculties remain free, however, they can be occupied with the work of the active life, and they may do so with great intensity. The will does not lose its sweet quietude, but the activities of Martha and Mary begin to merge in a beautiful manner, as St. Teresa points out. Yet the perfect blending of the active and contemplative life will not be achieved until the soul has reached the state of union with God.

St. Teresa describes the prayer of quiet in the following way: “From this recollection there sometimes proceeds an interior quiet and peace that are full of happiness because the soul is in such a state that it does not seem to lack anything, and even speaking (I refer to vocal prayer and meditation) wearies it; it wishes to do nothing but love. This state may, last for some time and even for long periods of time.”

Father Jordan Aumann ‘Spiritual Theology’



Be silent.
Be still.
Alone. Empty.
Practice. Prayer.
Before God.
Say nothing.
Ask nothing.
Be silent.
Be still.
Be healed.
Over time change.
Patient. Waiting.
A psychic reformation.
Divine abrasion.
Smoothed away.
Contrite. Content.
Habituation. Pain.
Emergence. Acceptance.
Transformation. Allow.
Let God observe.
That is all.
Enough is enough.
God knows.
God understands.
God loves.
An immense LOVE.
God wants to observe.
Knowingly present.
Through, with, and in LOVE.


Jesus’ Exodus

“Lent lives within this dynamic: Christ precedes us with His exodus and we cross the desert, thanks to Him and behind Him…penance and even mortification…a time of hope…renew our baptismal identity…This whole path is fulfilled in hope, the hope of reaching the (Promised) Land and precisely in this sense it is an ‘exodus,’ a way out from slavery to freedom…Every step, every effort, every trial, every fall and every renewal has meaning only within the saving plan of God, who wants for His people life and not death, joy and not sorrow.” –Pope Francis Lenten message.

Forty Days And Forty Nights

Forty days and forty nights
Thou wast fasting in the wild;
Forty days and forty nights
Tempted, and yet undefiled.

Sunbeams scorching all the day;
Chilly dew-drops nightly shed;
Prowling beasts about Thy way;
Stones Thy pillow; earth Thy bed.

Should not we Thy sorrow share
And from worldly joys abstain,
Fasting with unceasing prayer,
Strong with Thee to suffer pain?

Then if Satan on us press,
Jesus, Savior, hear our call!
Victor in the wilderness,
Grant we may not faint nor fall!

So shall we have peace divine:
Holier gladness ours shall be;
Round us, too, shall angels shine,
Such as ministered to Thee.

Keep, O keep us, Savior dear,
Ever constant by Thy side;
That with Thee we may appear
At the eternal Eastertide.


Disprove the illusion of Death

The monk said nothing and walked on. Arseny and Ambrogio began following behind him, feeling for the uneven floor with their feet. Dawn and summer were sparkling overhead, outside, but only three candles tore into the darkness here. Darkness slipped away from the candles, though rather uncertainly and not very far. It would stay still under lo arches only an arm’s length away and then swirl, ready to close in again. It was already hot outside at this early hour but cool reigned here.

Is it always so cool here? asked Ambrogio.

Here there is never the frost nor the heat that are the manifestation of extremes, answered the monk. Eternity is tranquil and so it is characterized by coolness.

Arseny drew a candle toward the inscription near one of the shrines.

Salutations, O beloved Agapit, Arseny quietly uttered. I had so hoped to meet you.

To whom are you wishing health? asked Ambrogio. This is the Venerable Agapit, an unmercenary physician. Arseny dropped to his knees and pressed his lips to Agapit’s hand. You know, Agapit, all my healing, it is such a strange story… I can’t really explain it to you. Everything was more or less obvious, as long as I was using herbal treatments. I treated and knew God’s help came through the herbs. Well then. Now, though, God’s help comes through me, just me, do you understand? And I am less than my cures, far less, I am not worthy of them, and that makes me feel either frightened or awkward.

You want to say you are worse than herbs, asked the monk.

Arseny raised his eyes to the monk.

It means one must consciously rid oneself of sins, shrugged the monk. And that’s all there is to it. One must be more like God, you know, not expound on things.

The three men walked on and were met by ever more new saints. The saints were not exactly moving or even speaking, but the silence and immobility of the dead were not absolute. There was, under the ground, a motion that was not completely usual, and a particular sort of voices rang out without disturbing the sternness and repose. The saints spoke using words from psalms and lines from the lives of saints that Arseny remembered well from childhood. they drew the candles closer, shadows shifted along dried faces and brown, half-bent hands. The saints seemed to raise their heads, smile, and beckon, barely perceptibly, with their hands.

A city of saints, whispered Ambrogio, following the play of the shadow. They present us the illusion of life.

No, objected Arseny, also in a whisper. They disprove the illusion of death.

–Eugene Vodolazkin ‘Laurus’


She’s gone to a peaceful night

“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”

A reflection on a video complimenting the viewing of Ingmar Bergman’s ‘The Virgin Spring’.  The wise old professor, a world weary soul, elicits a confession from the young shepherd boy, one of three brothers who have murdered and raped the young virgin princess.  The boy is innocent of the crime of his brothers, yet a participant by proxy, unable to stop his siblings from their sin and brutality.  He has become a haunted tormented boy, possessing no parents, family only to brothers who have proved atrocious in deed, a soul alone.  The professor perceives the truth and ministers.  This video is an edited alteration, slowed in motion, a soundtrack filling, a Youtube creation–it settled nicely with ruminations and lasting effects of the film.


A quiet morning of reflection, after a hectic busy weekend

And now the soldier advances, lance in hand, and, with all his strength, plunges it into the bare chest of the Savior.  The cross shakes in the air with the force of the blow, and there gushes forth water and blood for the healing of the world’s sin.  O river flowing out from Paradise, and inundating all the earth with Thy screams!  O wound in the sacred side, caused by love for men rather than by the iron of the lance!  O gateway of heaven, and avenue of paradise, refuge, and fortified tower, sanctuary of the just, lasting resting place of the pilgrim, nest for the spotless doves and flowered bed of the Spouse of Solomon!  Hail!, O wound in that precious side, which rends devout hearts; wound, which pierces the souls of the just; rose of beauty unspeakable; ruby of priceless worth; door into the heart of Christ; witness of his love and pledge of eternal life!


That holy woman (Mary Magdalene), a sinner once, wept also, and embracing the Savior’s feet exclaimed: “O light of my eyes and healing of my soul, wearied with sin, as you see me, who will now receive me, who will heal my wounds, who will answer for me, who will defend me from the Pharisees?  O how different were these feet when I washed them, and you welcomed me as I knelt!  O beloved of my heart, who will tell me that I may die with you?  O life of my soul, how can I say I love you, since, though holding you dead before my eyes, I yet live?”

Thus all that holy company wept (at the foot of the Cross) and lamented, bathing and cleansing with their tears this sacred body.  As the moment of burial approached, they enveloped the holy body in a white winding-sheet, covered the head with a linen cloth, and then placing it on a stretcher, made their way towards the tomb.  There they laid this precious treasure.  The sepulcher was closed with a stone, and the virgin Mother’s heart with a dark cloud of sorrow.  There, for the second time, she (Mary) separates herself from her Son and, once again, feels her loneliness, there she sees herself despoiled of all her good; there, where her treasure is, her heart lies buried.  –St Peter of Alcantara ‘Treatise on Prayer & Meditation’