A Short Road to Perfection

September 27, 1856 John Henry Newman

{285} IT is the saying of holy men that, if we wish to be perfect, we have nothing more to do than to perform the ordinary duties of the day well. A short road to perfection—short, not because easy, but because pertinent and intelligible. There are no short ways to perfection, but there are sure ones.

I think this is an instruction which may be of great practical use to persons like ourselves. It is easy to have vague ideas what perfection is, which serve well enough to talk about, when we do not intend to aim at it; but as soon as a person really desires and sets about seeking it himself, he is dissatisfied with anything but what is tangible and clear, and constitutes some sort of direction towards the practice of it.

We must bear in mind what is meant by perfection. It does not mean any extraordinary service, anything out of the way, or especially heroic—not all have the opportunity of heroic acts, of sufferings—but it means what the word perfection ordinarily means. By perfect we mean that which has no flaw in it, that which is complete, that which is consistent, that which is sound—we mean the opposite to imperfect. As we know well what imperfection in {286} religious service means, we know by the contrast what is meant by perfection.

He, then, is perfect who does the work of the day perfectly, and we need not go beyond this to seek for perfection. You need not go out of the round of the day.

I insist on this because I think it will simplify our views, and fix our exertions on a definite aim. If you ask me what you are to do in order to be perfect, I say, first—Do not lie in bed beyond the due time of rising; give your first thoughts to God; make a good visit to the Blessed Sacrament; say the Angelus devoutly; eat and drink to God’s glory; say the Rosary well; be recollected; keep out bad thoughts; make your evening meditation well; examine yourself daily; go to bed in good time, and you are already perfect.

Three Americans among dead in Palestinian attack on Jerusalem synagogue & a Prayer

via Three Americans among dead in Palestinian attack on Jerusalem synagogue | Fox News.

“Three Americans were among four worshipers killed in a Jerusalem synagogue Tuesday by two Palestinians wielding meat cleavers and a gun and shouting “Allahu Akbar” in a brutal attack that prompted a vow from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “respond harshly.”

The American citizens — identified by the State Department as Mosheh Twersky, Aryeh Kupinsky and Cary William Levine — were killed along with a Briton when the assailants, identified as cousins, stormed the building and began attacking people. Police said those killed were all immigrants to Israel and held dual citizenship.

Eight others were injured — one critically — before the attackers were killed in a shootout with police. The Times of Israel cited witnesses who said the attackers stormed the synagogue, in the ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighborhood in the western part of Jerusalem, shouting “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is Great,” and creating a horrific scene of bloody carnage.

“I tried to escape. The man with the knife approached me. There was a chair and table between us … my prayer shawl got caught. I left it there and escaped,” a man who identified himself as Yossi, who was praying at the synagogue at the time of the attack, told Israeli Channel 2 TV. He declined to give his last name.

The attack was the deadliest in Israel’s capital since 2008, when a Palestinian gunman shot eight people in a religious seminary school.

Netanyahu vowed that Israel will “respond harshly” to the attack, which he denounced as a “cruel murder of Jews who came to pray and were killed by despicable murderers.” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he spoke to Netanyahu after the assault and denounced it as an “act of pure terror and senseless brutality and violence.”

via Three Americans among dead in Palestinian attack on Jerusalem synagogue | Fox News.

Let us pray:

Jesus the Lord of Armies

by John Henry Cardinal Newman

Let us pray for the whole Church Militant here upon earth.

O Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the root of David, who fightest the good fight, and hast called on all men to join Thee, give Thy courage and strength to all Thy soldiers over the whole earth, who are fighting under the standard of Thy Cross. Give grace to every one in his own place to fight Thy battle well. Be with Thy missionaries in pagan lands, put right words into their mouths, prosper their labours, and sustain them under their sufferings with Thy consolations, and carry them on, even through torment and blood (if it be necessary), to their reward in heaven. Give the grace of wisdom to those in high station, that they may neither yield to fear, nor be seduced by flattery. Make them prudent as serpents, and simple as doves. Give Thy blessing to all preachers and teachers, that they may speak Thy words and persuade their hearers to love Thee. Be with all faithful servants of Thine, whether in low {187} station or in high, who mix in the world; instruct them how to speak and how to act every hour of the day, so as to preserve their own souls from evil and to do good to their companions and associates. Teach us, one and all, to live in thy presence and to see Thee, our Great Leader and Thy Cross—and thus to fight valiantly and to overcome, that at the last we may sit down with Thee in Thy Throne, as Thou also hast overcome and art set down with Thy Father in His Throne. {188}

 

Prayer and the Indwelling Christ

Your gaze have made it very easy,
Praying, that is.
Yet, for such as me,
It’s still very hard,
Not seeing You across the table.

Your eyes follow me.
I know You hear me.
“It’s not You, it’s me”,
As faulting lovers say.

Your gaze never leaves me,
I can feel it
In the depths of my being.
I am never alone.

You wait,
As I turn to trifles,
Or beat down troublesome giants.
You dwell upon my last words,
Feeling my joy or pain
Through every season of my soul.

Though my words can stop mid-sentence
Or conversation cease,
Still You know the whole.
With the patience of eternity, my God waits.

Eventually, I turn back to You.
Your eyes sear my soul,
O, that my heart
Could return that gaze.

On the best of days,
Unless You bind me to You, I flit.
A thousand trumpets vie for my ear
And I am torn.

New love has a magic,
Erasing the world, and becoming all.
Re-ignite that flame in me
To shut out causes, fears and strife.

Your Presence felt is strength and consolation,
Your tug is joy,
And Your conversation sweetness.
If pain be the messenger
That draws me back to You,
So be it.
Better to feel the torment
Of an earthly purgatory,
Than the foretaste of hell.

If it seems I sit at our table alone,
The note of sadness betrays the truth.
I miss you and the missing is from You.
You beckon anew.

Sup with me.
Dwell with me.
Gaze on me.
I am not alone.
My Christ is with me.
©2011 Joann Nelander