heaven is reality itself

C.S. Lewis in The Great Divorce: Walking proved difficult. The grass, hard as diamonds to my unsubstantial feet, made me feel as if I were walking on wrinkled rock, and I suffered pains like those of the mermaid in Hans Andersen. A bird ran across in front of me and I envied it. It belongedContinue reading “heaven is reality itself”

Thou hast broken open the all-devouring belly of Hell and snatched me out

Here are a few of the many hymns from last night with the start of Lazarus Saturday. Toward the end, several of them break into the voice of Lazarus himself or of Hell itself. Calling Lazarus from the tomb, immediately Thou hast raised him; but Hell below lamented bitterly, and groaning, trembled at Thy power,Continue reading “Thou hast broken open the all-devouring belly of Hell and snatched me out”

you are unable to be saved alone

You are unable to be saved alone, if all others are not also saved. It is a mistake for one to pray only for oneself, for one’s own salvation. We must pray for the entire world, so that not one is lost. …I am not afraid of hell, and I do not think about Paradise.Continue reading “you are unable to be saved alone”

we know so little about life

The question is, does the system I’ve just devised help us in the evaluation of literature? Perhaps a real masterpiece cannot be crucified on a cross of this design. How about Hamlet? …But there’s a reason we recognize Hamlet as a masterpiece: it’s that Shakespeare told us the truth…. The truth is, we know soContinue reading “we know so little about life”

convinced that every innovation in the city influences the sky’s pattern

This is a scattered selection of some favorite passages in Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino: [Eusapia:] They say that every time they go below they find something changed in the lower Eusapia; the dead make innovations in their city; not many, but surely the fruit of sober reflection, not passing whims. From one year toContinue reading “convinced that every innovation in the city influences the sky’s pattern”

prayer is an education

Young man, be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education. …[E]very day, and whenever you can, repeat to yourself, “Lord, have mercy on allContinue reading “prayer is an education”

Hell took a corpse and encountered God

You that have kept the fast, and you that have not, rejoice today for the Table is richly laden! Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one. Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith. Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!Let no one grieve at his poverty,Continue reading “Hell took a corpse and encountered God”

no ancient to point the way

Thanks to colleagues for some time spent contemplating this poem by Billy Collins. Scenes of Hell We did not have the benefit of a guide, no crone to lead us off the common path, no ancient to point the way with a staff, but there were badlands to cross, rivers of fire and blackened peaks,Continue reading “no ancient to point the way”