YAHWEH (with vouls) YAHWEH
YHWH (without vouls)

The Beatific ends of life

We find ourselves, more and more, in a civilization that lives as though there were no God and as though its people were soulless. Oh yes, much is made of religion everywhere. The good religions and the cults have their growing numbers. Americans are still the most religious people in the western world. Very few of us are atheists. I fear that many of us practice what I can only call a "practical atheism". Ours is an age when vulgarity and immorality are glorified and, practically speaking, though we go to our places of worship and think of ourselves as religious our words and actions deny that there is really a Holy God. I did not say that we deny there is a God: even those who use His Name profanely quite often believe in God. But hear Jesus' words, "O righteous Father, the world has not known thee, but I have known thee; and these know that thou hast sent me. I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." (John 17: 25-26) We need to know God as our Heavenly Father and that He is Holy. We must therefore learn reverence in an irreverent generation, that God is God and not some "word" or some "argument".


knowing is to that which is knowable
loving is to that which is Unknowable

(an analogy of St. Thomas Aquinas)

Thanks be unto Thee, my benevolent Creator,
for Thou hast given me a sane mind
Thou hast deeply etched upon it
those people
those things
that may be knowable;
wherefore I am,
by Thy kindness,
a knowing person ....

Within this mind Thou hast placed all
that I have loved,
my wife,
our children,
our parents
as well as
the singing birds,
the great ocean's roar,
the fragrant garden,
-- the cheerful Morning Glory --
I have loved them Lord!

For love of Thee,
their Creator

I reach out to them
either in substance
in the realms of memory.

And shall I know Thee?
My mind hath not the capacity,
But it is not to know Thee as knowing is understood!
Rather, my Lord and my God,
it is better than any "knowing"
for us to love Thee
for we are loved by Thee,
and this is divinest grace!

Oh teach us to love,
thou Lover of our souls!

Thou art my soul's Redeemer,
Thou art compassionate Love Eternal,

and Thou changest my heart,
Thou restoreth Thine Image in me,
so that I may
by Thy great goodness to me,
love Thee!

Angels in Adoration
Angels in adoration, singing . . .

The God of Abraham praise,
Who reigns enthroned above,
Ancient of everlasting days,
And God of love.
YAHWEH, the great I Am,
By earth and heaven confessed,
I bow and bless the sacred Name
Forever blest.

The God of Abraham praise,
At whose supreme command
From earth I rise and seek the joys
At His right hand.
I all on earth forsake,
Its wisdom, fame and power,
And Him my only portion make,
My shield and tower.

He by Himself hath sworn--
I on His oath depend;
I shall, on eagles' wings up borne,
To heaven ascend.
I shall behold His face,
I shall His power adore,
And sing the wonders of His grace
Forever more.

The whole triumphant host
Give thanks to God on high;
"Hail, Father, Son and Holy Ghost!"
They ever cry,
Hail, Abraham's God and mine!
I join the heavenly lays;
All might and majesty are Thine,
And endless praise.

words by Thomas Olivers, 1725-1799,
from a Hebrew melody.

And in honoring that Name, in learning in this life to adore and worship Him, we shall understand that we have souls to save. This, for all of its talk of spirituality, our pagan world really doesn't know. There is a depth of hatred down deep within the world that for all of its religiosity denies that we are more than animals with reasoning minds. The cults are little better despite their much talking about souls, for they darken the understanding of men and women who need to know God, the Author of souls-- the God who breathed our souls into us. Eden and the creation of Adam and Eve is not a history lesson but rather has to do with the creation of the human soul. It is written in an ancient style that is meant to convey not some literal story, but truths about our origins beyond the bounds of time and space. He breathed the breath of life into us. In a very wonderful sense our souls are God's breath and they were meant to make us after God's holy and noble image and likeness. (Genesis 2:7; Genesis 1:26)

Two poems and a hymn come leaping into my heart. Reverence toward the Holy God brings us intimations of what our souls are. There are longings too deep, too wonderful for this life to ever satisfy. We have, at best, but a whispered inference of the love that God has placed within us that can only be realized in loving Him. All other loves are but until death us do part and then we are left with sorrow. Elizabeth Barret Browning expressed what this innate love that comes from the soul is ... and in reading it we are thrilled not only by her love of her husband but, by the eternal possibilities of such a love; the Heaven-bound direction of it has ultimate meaning for any of us who love. For only God is Love and we love with a borrowed love until we are forever with Him:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
(Sonnet XLIII)

A bride & groom

Thus St. Paul could say to Christian souls: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her [that is, Christ's church] by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." The Christian soul is to be loved by other souls, particularly by our mates, as the holiest of places -- the church, a Cathedral. The capacity to love, the overwhelming passion of it for our beloved with its protectiveness and its deepest caring is but a mild hint of what our souls are.

And that we cannot imagine that one day we shall no longer be physically alive upon this earth is the universal mentality of all who have ever lived and died. But our longings, our aspirations, our very thoughts are those that unconsciously know that we are souls, though all about us live as if the body and its aggrandizement is all that life is really about. These words from Alfred Lord Tennyson's glorious masterpiece, "In Memoriam" speak out though our souls may not suspect what they are destined for:

Strong Son of God, immortal Love,
	Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
	By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove;

Thine are these orbs of light and shade;
	Thou madest Life in man and brute;
	Thou madest Death; and lo, thy foot
Is on the skull which thou hast made.

Thou wilt not leave us in the dust:
	Thou madest man, he knows not why;
	He thinks he was not made to die;
And thou hast made him: thou art just.

(the above is from In Memoriam A.H.H. Obit MDCCCXXXIII)

If there is a thirst for water, then there must be water for God has not created such wants in vain. If beauty thrills, though it swiftly passes, we need Beauties that cannot wither and die; for all through life we seek them yet to no avail. No, we must seek Beauty Himself. The greatest of earthly loves has but life's little day; but love comes from God alone, if only we would see it! Those earthly loves lead us to Him who is Love and love's source. If He creates such wondrous longings within our breasts how wondrous must He be, this God who made them all?

Cathedral domeThus can we sing as souls He has breathed forth:

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Fill me with life anew;
That I might love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will --
To do and to endure.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Till I am wholly Thine,
Till all this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of thine eternity.

(Robert Jackson)

And in so singing we ask God the Holy Spirit to dwell within the Cathedral of our soul, to breathe once more that breath that gave us life. And such a wondrous life is then at prayer for we are somehow in Heaven while still upon this changing earth!

We have souls and of them the great Charles Wesley wrote: "A charge to keep I have, A God to glorify; A never-dying soul to save and fit it for the sky!" That is why I speak of the Cathedral called our soul, that is why I long with you for the Beatific Vision; for in our love of beauty, our love of love, we long to adore our Holy God for ever and ever.

Our souls hold within their precincts intimations of the Divine whom we call Father. Lord, help us to learn reverence in this life that in the next we might awaken to that Vision beyond all visions, Thy Holy Love which Thou art both now and forever and ever, world without end. Amen.

Next, Cruciform

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