philosophy

Untitled, 4/12/18


Palm Tree

Crescent Moon

Come, Lord Jesus, Come

Magnify My Life

Carolina Marsh

Chameleon Changes Color

Can I Enter The Garden

Can I Walk Around

 

I Know I’m Not Clean Enough

Not Pure Enough

Not Holier Enough

But Your Grace Is So Strong

So Overwhelming

So Inviting

May I Enter

Please

 

Cuckoo Birds Fly Diagonal

Palm Moons

Crescent Trees

Absolutely No Wind

We Speak No Sound

Eyes

Looks

Slight Nods

 

A Slow Walk

Feet Don’t Move

Locations Change

A Little Hut

White With A Window

Father

Holy Father

Can I Stay


 

—Howard Hain

 

(April/2018)

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philosophy

Waging Peace

by Howard Hain

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“The Decent into Limbo”, Circle of Andrea Mantegna, mid-15th Century, The Met


I have been practicing a new offense. For I am often ambushed at night, by ugly dreams and even uglier and terrifying thoughts. I awake. I arise. I calmly identify the area the sniper is attempting to exploit, the area the spy is trying to infiltrate—for by attacking he terribly weakens himself—for he reveals his position. The horizon is spanned. And with the prudent and wise counsel of the Holy Spirit the weakling is located and isolated, dispelling the smoke screen that once concealed his actual tininess. I peacefully choose my weapon: the virtue that most purifies and converts the “ugly” and “fearful” thought that has been thrown aimlessly at my fortification built on and of rock. I then rally all of God’s holy angels, saints, virtues, gifts, and glory around this single point of infinite power. We announce God’s majesty. The sky is illuminated, entirely. The glory of God builds beyond this particular field of battle, putting to utter rest not only the “ugliness” and “fear” currently at hand but all ugliness and all fear that could ever be. For Heaven reigns. On Earth. As in Heaven.

All quiet on the Western Front.

Good night. Sleep well. See you in the morning. When even the rooster rests.

The break of a new day, that never ends.

Praise be to God.


 

Web Link: “The Descent into Limbo”, Circle of Andrea Mantegna, The Met

 

(July/2017)

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philosophy

Over Easy

by Howard Hain

A run-of-the-mill bakery.

A hand truck full of eggs.

A handful of women from Latin America.

Neither load is fragile.

A woman’s strength may appear as a delicate shell, and if poorly handled she too may break.

But strength is not a matter of not breaking.

It’s a matter of showing up, chipped, broken, sometimes even shattered.

It’s a matter of overcoming.

Of producing.

Of providing.

Of letting go.

One buttered roll at a time.

Preparing the day “café con leche” by “café con leche”.

The eggs slowly disappear.

The ladies change names.

Mary, the Mother of God, remains.

———

“Holy Mother, pierce me through, in my heart each wound renew, of my Savior crucified.”

———

It’s a matter of believing. Of dreaming. Of seeing what can’t be seen. Of loving who can’t be loved.

It’s a matter of hope that never ends, of hope that sustains the very faith from which it came.

It’s a matter of saying “yes” to each and every hour—for someone must be present to serve God’s promise of daily bread.

———

She who stands closest to the foot of the cross most resembles the man being crucified. She must embody Compassion. She still hears His breath, expanding and contracting deep within. Suffering is not be feared. Being without the source of all consolation and peace is just too terrifying.

The “fear of the Lord” keeps us within the grasp of Jesus’ hand.

It “is the beginning of wisdom.”

Mary is there to begin.

She remains till the end.

Wisdom begets Wisdom.

And she most often looks like a little unpresuming lady working behind a busy breakfast counter.

She is a lady nonetheless.

She is the mother of all I hope for.

———

“Pray for us, O holy Mother of God; that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.”


 

(Aug/2017)

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philosophy

On the Cutting Edge of Boredom

by Howard Hain

vincent-van-gogh-the-stone-bench-in-the-garden-at-saint-paul-hospital-1889

Vincent van Gogh, “The Stone Bench in the Garden of Saint-Paul Hospital” (1889)


There is so much “excitement” in the world.

Politics. Sports. Entertainment.

Even in the simple act of kids going back to school there is so much hoopla.

We can’t just do things simply. Everything has to be planned, announced, delved into, broadcast into something “grand”, “life-changing”, “utterly profound.”

But the more we need to insist that something is the case, the less in reality it usually is. For excitement, like authority, is something that by its very nature announces itself—and it decreases in direct proportion to the need to have it proclaimed.

In other words, just because we make “a big deal” about everything doesn’t mean it is. In fact, it is normally quite the opposite.

———

I remember when a child’s birthday party was composed of eight or ten kids sitting around a kitchen table, wearing silly pointy hats, and eating a Duncan Hines cake made the day before by a stay-home mom.

Even catechism lessons seemed a whole lot more straight forward, and effective. For me they took place around that same kitchen table, with those same neighborhood friends, and were taught by that same mom who baked the birthday cake. Now, catechists are expected to act like game-show hosts. And preachers? We’ll they’re expected to be downright celebrities.

Well, there is an answer to all this triviality: The Bench. Whether it’s in the park, in front of your house, or even under one of those little bus-stop canopies on the side of the road.

Sit. Listen. Do nothing. Especially when you are tempted by “boredom”. For that’s exactly what boredom is, a temptation. A temptation to deny the existence of God. For if we are conscious of God’s presence we can never be bored. Every nook and cranny of every “meaningless” daily act and encounter has profound, truly profound significance, if we are conscious of God’s omnipresence and His perfect will.

Sit there peacefully, resting quietly on the cutting edge of boredom. You never know how much good God might do through you: what poor widow you may accompany, what orphan you might help find a home, what angel you may entertain, what authentic prayer you might offer up—now that God and not self-image is in control.

———

Truth flips things on their head. I think it is Saint Bernard who says something along these lines: If we really think about how radical a call the Christian life is, as compared to the way the rest of the world lives, we realize it’s almost the equivalent of us walking down the street on our hands.

If it isn’t Saint Bernard that I’m paraphrasing, well then it is one of God’s other saints, and that is all that matters. For in God’s Kingdom the only credit that is given comes from and returns to God, and God alone. All wisdom is His.

And there it is, there is the crux of it: We have become obsessed with being “original”, with being “special”, with being “one-of-a-kind”—which of course we all are, tremendously so in fact—that is until we stop and think about it, or even worse, try to achieve it through our own means.

Trying to be “original” is the end of all originality. Wanting to be “special” is the death of a truly special purpose.

Pure existence on the other hand can only result in true originality—and it is always special, no matter what Tom, Dick, or Harry it is taking place within.

———

When a human being is existing as God wills, the result is vigorous, powerful, truly exciting.

And God never wills for us to believe and act as if we are God and He is not.

Put to death once and for all the need to self-promote, to self-proclaim, to self-worship.

Sit on a bench instead.

Be still.

Exist.

You just may be surprised how cool you really are.


 

(Sept/2016)

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