Commonplace Book: June 2003 Archives

Continuing from this morning's post on prayer, this passage from the Psalms for the office of readings for the Feast of the Sacred Heart:

Sin speaks to the sinner
in the depths of his heart.
There is no fear of God
before his eyes.

(psalm 36)

If we do not hold His word in our hearts, then it is most likely that we must number ourselves among those derided in this Psalm. Where His Word does not dwell, emptiness is enthroned. And we all know that nature abhors a vacuum--so that emptiness will soon be filled either by cares of the world, or more likely, by sin. And then, rather than contemplating His Word and hiding it in our heart, we are conversing with our sins and seeking clothing behind fig-leaves.

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From the Intercessions in this


From the Intercessions in this Morning's Magnificat

If nothing can separate us from the love of God made manifest in the human heart of Jesus Christ, then nothing is too small or too great for His concern.

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This brief passage, excerpted from a letter of Sophia Hawthorne may give some indication of why Rose Hawthorne Lathorp was able to develop in the way she did. For the complete work, look here

from Memories of Hawthorne Compiled and annotated by Rose Hawthorne Lathorp

We breakfast about nine o'clock, because we do not dine till three; and we have no tea ceremony, because it broke our evenings too much. I break my fast upon fruit, and we lunch upon fruit, and in the evening, also, partake of that paradisaical food. Mr. Emerson, with his sunrise smile, Ellery Channing, radiating dark light, and, very rarely, Elizabeth Hoar, with spirit voice and tread, have alone varied our days from without; but we have felt no want. My sweet, intelligent maid sings at her work, with melodious note. I do not know what is in store for me; but I know well that God is in the future, and I do not fear, or lose the precious present by anticipating possible evil. I remember Father Taylor's inspired words, "Heaven is not afar. We are like phials of water in the midst of the ocean. Eternity, heaven, God, are all around us, and we are full of God. Let the thin crystal break, and it is all one." Mr. Mann came to Concord to lecture last week. He looked happiest. What can he ask for more, having Mary for his own? Hold me ever as Your true and affectionate friend,


I love the image of "phials of water in the midst of the ocean." We cannot see what surrounds us even though it is at the same time within us.

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I've been reading Thich Nhat Hanh's marvelous book Anger. In doing so, this passage leapt off the page:

Thich Nhat Hanh

Punishing the other person is self-punishment. That is true in every circumstance. Every time the United States Army tries to punish Iraq, not only does Iraq suffer, but the U.S. also suffers. Every time Iraq tries to punish the U.S., the U.S. suffers, but Iraq also suffers. The same is true everywhere; between the Israeli and Palestinian, between the Muslim and HIndu, between you and the other person. It has always been like that. So let us wake up; let us be aware that punishing the other is not an intelligent strategy.

What I am sometimes amazed by, more often encouraged by, is the wisdom that echoes of Christianity found in nearly any sincere practitioner of his or her faith. This echo, this strain, reminds me of the passage in the creed: "One holy, apostolic, and Catholic Church." It casts new meaning on "no salvation outside the Church." It would seem to me that Christ reaches out from the heart of the Church to embrace people who are looking for Him though they may not know His name. Nhat Hanh certainly knows His name, having written several books in which Buddhism and Christianity are laid side by side and explored. But there are a great many Buddhists for whom Christ is unknown. Jesus still reaches out to these people through the truths of their faith. These are sheep that hear His voice and know it, but who have never seen the Shepherd and do not know His name. Or so I think--naturally, I have no proof of this, and I do believe that they would be even better off were they to know the fullness of the Catholic Faith. But sometimes people are born into a place where that is not a possibility--I believe that even in those circumstances the voice of Jesus is heard. I pray for the salvation of all, that all may be brought into the fullness of faith by our loving Father.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Commonplace Book category from June 2003.

Commonplace Book: May 2003 is the previous archive.

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