Yesterday, I wrote about setting a simple blog schedule and using the Calendar to ‘fill in’ some basic, but personally significant dates.
I also mentioned how easy it was to prepare these in advance, write them up and then schedule them for publication on the desired date – that way, the ‘work’ of the writing can be done anytime prior.
Voila! Just like that, almost a third of your blog is filled.
I recommend you seriously consider it to get started.
Today, I’d like to offer something a little more… well, little. That is the pithy quotation.
Now, make no mistake. A good quote is worth a thousand ill formed thoughts put to paper. Some good one-liners are so good, adding anything will take away from their impact. Many verses of Scripture fall into this category. We can write about our own ‘take’ or appreciation of such verses, but often, they just get in the way. Of course, just posting a quote can quickly and easily be over done, but consider the value of a good quotation, during the holiday season and Nativity Fast, for those who just need a little peace, quiet, wisdom, and sometimes just good, plain sense in their daily life. A simple phrase is all that they need. Make it a good one.
Likewise, our liturgical tradition is loaded with powerfully poetic stanzas of profound theology, worthy of reproduction outside of the celebration of services. After all, how many of our people, even our very devout, regularly visit the Matins service during Nativity fast? What about the Compline service in the week leading up to Christmas? Talk about a treasure trove of theology. You could probably blog a full week about a single hymn, and never exhaust it.
You can even throw in a reflection or two of your own. After all, though we come out of seminary made up of nothing but quotations, eventually, through repentance, hard prayer and real spiritual effort, throw off a gem or two (in my case, always by mistake) and these are worthy of note. Share them.
You have some favorite quotes, as I do. Some are short, some are long, and some – well, are too long. Here are a tiny sampling of such.
‘Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ, and knowledge of it is knowledge of Him.’
– St. Jerome, Commentary on Isaiah
‘One type of watchfulness consists in closely scrutinizing every mental image or provocation; for only by means of a mental image can Satan fabricate an evil thought and insinuate this into the intellect in order to lead it astray. A second type of watchfulness consists in freeing the heart from all thoughts, keeping it profoundly silent and still, and in praying. A third type consists in continually and humbly calling upon the Lord Jesus Christ for help. A fourth type is always to have the thought of death in one’s mind. These types of watchfulness, my child, act like doorkeepers and bar entry to evil thoughts.’
– St. Hesychius, On Watchfulness and Holiness
‘The Blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the Church.’
– Tertullian of Carthage
‘The world is the general name for all the passions. When we wish to call the passions by a common name, we call them the world. But when we wish to distinguish them by their special names, we call them the passions. The passions are the following: love of riches, desire for possessions, bodily pleasure from which comes sexual passion, love of honor which gives rise to envy, lust for power, arrogance and pride of position, the craving to adorn oneself with luxurious clothes and vain ornaments, the itch for human glory which is a source of rancor and resentment, and physical fear. Where these passions cease to be active, there the world is dead; for though living in the flesh, they did not live for the flesh. See for which of these passions you are alive. Then you will know how far you are alive to the world, and how far you are dead to it.’
– St. Isaac the Syrian
‘For those wishing to major in holiness, there is special training in the Word.’
– St. Clement of Alexandria
‘Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes.’
– St. Ignatius of Antioch (d. 107 a.d.), Letter to the Smyrnaeans
Show your reader that you can find beauty, the beauty of Christ – the Way, the Truth and the Life – in many unsuspecting places. C.S. Lewis, Gerard Manley Hopkins, G.K. Chesterton; all are great sources for Christian wisdom in the contemporary idiom.
I would like to leave you with this thought, especially as it pertains to writing, and most specifically to blogging.
‘The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.’
Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life, ‘Fate,’ 1860
To this, I only add – get ready to do it.
Tomorrow, I will talk about an exercise I offer annually during the Nativity Fast to all my spiritual children and parishioners.