Tomorrow my vacation officially begins. We’re going up to Chicago for another niece’s wedding (I fear these will never end!!!), and then Marjorie and I are going downtown for a few days–sans kiddos–to celebrate our tenth anniversary. Not looking forward to the drive, but I am looking forward to being away and all the fun.
Consequently, I do not plan on posting much, if it all here. See you when I get back!
But after the heavenly fire, the fire of the Holy Ghost, had poured down in a heavenly rain upon the Apostles, and warmed with its fire them no less cold as well as dark hearts of mortal men, the Woman, that is the Church, lift her lamp, that is, the power of vision of her soul, the enlightened eyes of your heart (Ephesians 1:18). She therefore lift her lamp and through the subsequent labor of the Apostles turned upside down that Judaic house that was blind with the darkness of ignorance, until she finds in Christ the silver piece that was lost from the 10….
St. Cyril of Alexandria
And now reflect together with me, beloved, upon the extent of the Kingdom of our Savior, and upon the wondrous wisdom of his divine purposes. For, he says, the number of the sheep is 100; here referring to the full and perfect number of the rational beings subject to him. The number of hundred is ever the perfect number, made up of 10 decades. From the inspired Scripture we learned that a thousand thousands minister to him, and ten thousand times a hundred thousand surround his throne (Dan. 7:10).
A hundred therefore is the number of his sheep, of whom one wondered from the flock, namely, the race of men, and for which the Supreme Pastor of all goes searching, leaving the rest, that is, the remaining 99, in the desert; that is, in a remote and lofty place that is full of peace. Was he then neglecting the greater number, and concerned only for this one? He was far from neglecting them. How is this? Because they remain in total security, sheltered within the right hand of the Almighty.
I love thunderstorms. The darkening skies, the eerie greenish tinge, thunder steadily growing louder and louder until it all comes crashing in, the trees whipping, the Armageddon flashes of light and sound. It’s wonderful.
Of course, I grew up in the country outside of Kansas City, MO, and would stand on the front porch watching the thunderheads march over the horizon straight to the hill upon which our house perched. We had a basement and I was too young or stupid to fear tornadoes.
In regions where thunderstorms are rare they can be a real fright, a sign of divine displeasure or curse. But I can’t relate. Only the most severe of storms give me pause. The fact is, only the rarest of storms produce any kind of damage. The vast majority of mountainous clouds, blackened like Mt. Sinai and flashing purple lightening are mostly show.
Hurricanes, on the other hand, pretty much guarantee destruction. I was about to say count me out of those…but if my shutters were installed and I had a shelter or basement to which I could retreat, I might interested in waiting one of those out.
And so it was not without design that the holy Luke places in order before us the three parables: that of the sheep that strayed and was found, that of the silver piece that was lost and also was found, that of the son who was dead (through sin) and who returned to life; so that sustained by this threefold cure we may seek to cure our own wounds: for a triple rope does not break.
Who are these three persons: the shepherd, the woman, father? Is not Christ the Shepherd, the church the woman, and God the Father? Christ who took upon himself our sin bears you upon his own body; the church searches for you; the Father receives you back. As a Shepherd he brings us back, as a mother he looks for us, as a Father he clothes us. First, mercy, second, intercession, third, reconciliation; each to each; the Redeemer comes to our aid, the Church intercedes for us, the Creator restores us to himself. It is the same Divine Mercy in each operation; but Grace varies according to our merits.
Augustine: and why are they spoken of as five yoke of oxen? Because it is through the senses of the body that earthly things are sought for. For oxen till the earth. There are men without faith, given over to earthly things, taken up with the things of the body, and they will not believe anything unless what they can discover by the fivefold perception of the body. They regard these five senses as the sole norm of their decisions. I do not believe, such a man will say, except what I can see. Here is what I know; I am sure of this: this is white, this is black, this is round, this is square, it is this color or that color; I know this, I perceive this, I understand this. Nature itself teaches me. I am not forced to believe what you cannot show me. Here is a voice; I hear it, that is a voice: it sings, well or badly, or sweetly or hoarsely. I know, I have learned of this, it comes to me. I thing smells well, or smells unpleasantly; I know this, I perceive it. This is sweet, this is better, this is salty, this is tasteless. What more can you tell me? By touch I know it is hard, what is soft, what is rough, with smooth, what warms, what cools. What more can you show me?
That you may know, brethren, that it was not the gratification of these five senses, which seduce men and pressed their delights on him, that was signified, but a certain curiosity, he did not say: I have bought a five yoke of oxen, and I go to feed them; but I go to try them. He who wishes to try, by the pairs of oxen, does not wish to be in doubt, as the holy Thomas, by means of his pairs, did not wish to be left in doubt. I wish to see, I wish to touch, I wish to put in my hand, he says. Put thy fingers into my side, says the Lord, and be not faithless. For you have I been put to death. Through the place you wish to touch I have poured out my blood, that I might redeem you. And yet you doubt of me, until you touch me? Then this too I shall give you; this also I shall reveal. Touch and believe. Look upon the place of my wound, and heal the wound of your own doubt.
Gregory: and aptly is curiosity signified by the bodily senses, for they cannot see the things of the mind, but only outward things. And as it seeks to search into the lives of others, and is incapable of knowing its own inward life, it is ever eager to know of outward things. But we must note that each who excuses himself from the supper of the Inviter, the one because of his farm, the other because he must prove his piety of oxen, mingles with his reply some words of humility; for when he says, I pray thee, there is humility in his words; but pride in the deed.
My completely and totally anecdotal observation: my blog traffic really dropped off in March of this year. I hadn’t been tracking for some time, so when I looked it up today I was surprised by how much it had fallen off.
In that month.
I had the feeling fewer were visiting, but when I saw the March dip, and the numbers remaining fairly stable since then, I began to wonder. Why then? What happened in March that made me loose about 1/2 the average day’s readers and keep the rest?
I read my March posts to see if I could get a hint. Nothing. But then I realized it was around March when I stopped reading so many blogs and began relying on Facebook and Twitter more. I certainly stopped commenting on blogs around that time.
Now, I still check the Google Reader and much of the list on the left of this page. But not like I used to. I don’t read as deliberately as I used to.
So here’s my unassailable conclusion: people like who live, work, act and look just like me do not read blogs as much as they used to.
Trying out a new series here: sermon fragments from the Church Fathers. Hope you enjoy.
Luke 14:16-24 (Trinity 2) The Parable of the Great Feast
Augustine: John, when he said: all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, begins at the point where the gospel ends. The concupiscence of the flesh: I have married a wife. The concupiscence of the eyes: I have bought five yoke of oxen. The pride of life: I have bought a farm. A part is standing for the whole, the five senses have been commemorated by the eyes alone; which hold the chief place among the senses: four sight, though properly of the eyes alone, is wont to be used of all five senses.
The girls are back from their trip to Florida! They left with my parents on May 22 and we picked them up in picturesque Henryetta, OK yesterday afternoon. It’s good to have them home.
Since the girls missed my birthday on Saturday, they insisted we wait to celebrate it until today. So it’s my second birthday today. I am opening a few presents, eating chocolate cake with penuche icing, and doing whatever I want. Nice to have a day off.
Tomorrow it’s back to work, and a busy week with several members having surgery, a few counseling appointments, a private wedding, working on the PowerPoint for Romans 8, planning a committee meeting agenda and setting that up, finishing up my GTD system with filing and general organization, the sermon, and preparing for meetings I may or may not attend because I have a late afternoon doctor’s appointment for myself and Eliana at the OKC Allergy Clinic.
In off duty hours, I will be finishing up the web page for my brother-in-law’s medical practice, doing some writing, cleaning the garage to get ready for a garage sale, and hopefully finding some time to paint molding and trim work on the never-ending kitchen remodel.
Man, I feel like I should go back to bed so I can rest up. Or scratch this day off and get busy 🙂