Friday, April 24, 2015

Good Friday, Great Friday (6)




O my all-merciful God and Lord,
Jesus Christ, full of pity:
Through Your great love You came down
and became incarnate in order to save everyone.
O Savior, I ask You to save me by Your grace!
If You save anyone because of their works,
that would not be grace but only reward of duty,
but You are compassionate and full of mercy!
You said, O my Christ,
"Whoever believes in Me shall live and never die."
If then, faith in You saves the lost, then save me,
O my God and Creator, for I believe.
Let faith and not my unworthy works be counted to me, O my God,
for You will find no works which could account me righteous.
O Lord, from now on let me love You as intensely as I have loved sin,
and work for You as hard as I once worked for the evil one.
I promise that I will work to do Your will,
my Lord and God, Jesus Christ, all the days of my life and forever more.
 
Prayer of St. John Chrysostom

graphic: Crucifix, T J Walsh 


living water reprint 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A W Tozer (1897-1963)


Born on a small farming in western Pennsylvania, Tozer became a follower of Christ as a teenager in Akron, Ohio while listening to a street preacher.

Five years after his conversion, and without formal theological training, He accepted his first pastorate, a small storefront church in Nutter Fort, West Virginia. This began 44 years of ministry in association with the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Tozer served as pastor for 30 years at South side Alliance Church, in Chicago (1928 to 1959. The final years of his life were spent in Toronto Canada as Pastor of the Avenue Road Christian and Missionary Alliance Church.


Along with being editor of the Alliance Weekly magazine Tozer penned more than 40 books. At least two of which are considered Christian classics: The Pursuit of God and The Knowledge of the Holy. His books impress on the reader the possibility and necessity for a deeper relationship with God. He has become a protestant connection to the rich stream of Christian Mysticism and a spiritual mentor to many.

Tozer and his wife Ada Cecelia Pfautz had seven children, six boys and one girl. Living a simple and non-materialistic lifestyle they never owned a car and preferring bus and train travel. Tozer gained notoriety as a writer and speaker yet He signed away most of his royalties to the poor.

He is buried in Ellet Cemetery, Akron, Ohio. A simple epitaph marking his grave: "A. W. Tozer - A Man of God."

living water classic reprint from 2009

Monday, April 13, 2015

Holy Thursday




Is this a holy thing to see
In a rich and fruitful land,
Babes reduced to misery,
Fed with cold and usurous hand?

Is that trembling cry a song?
Can it be a song of joy?
And so many children poor?
It is a land of poverty!

And their sun does never shine,
And their fields are bleak and bare,
And their ways are filled with thorns:
It is eternal winter there.

For where'er the sun does shine,
And where'er the rain does fall,
Babes should never hunger there,
Nor poverty the mind appall.

                          William Blake

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cuthbert of Lindisfarne (634-687)

 HOW CUTHBERT WAS RECOVERED FROM SICKNESS, AND BOISIL, ON HIS DEATH-BED, FORETOLD TO HIM HIS FUTURE FORTUNES

MEANWHILE, as every thing in this world is frail and fluctuating, like the sea when a storm comes on, the above-named Abbot Eata, with Cuthbert and the other brethren, were expelled from their residence, and the monastery given to others. But our worthy champion of Christ did not by reason of his change of place relax his zeal in carrying on the spiritual conflict which he had undertaken; but he attended, as he had ever done, to the precepts and example of the blessed Boisil. About this time, according to his friend Herefrid the priest, who was formerly abbot of the monastery of Lindisfarne, he was seized with a pestilential disease, of which many inhabitants of Britain were at that time sick. The brethren of the monastery passed the whole night in prayer for his life and health; for they thought it essential to them that so pious a man should be present with them in the flesh. They did this without his knowing it; and when they told him of it in the morning, he exclaimed, " Then why am I lying here ? I did not think it possible that God should have neglected your prayers: give me my stick and shoes." Accordingly, he got out of bed, and tried to walk, leaning on his stick; and finding his strength gradually return, he was speedily restored to health: but because the swelling on his thigh, though it died away to all outward appearances, struck into his inwards, he felt a little pain in his inside all his life afterwards; so that, as we find it expressed in the Apostles, " his strength was perfected in weakness."
 
When that servant of the Lord, Boisil, saw that Cuthbert was restored, he said, " You see, my brother, how you have recovered from your disease, and I assure you it will give you no further trouble, nor are you likely to die at present. I advise you, inasmuch as death is waiting for me, to learn from me all you can whilst I am able to teach you; for I have only seven days longer to enjoy my health of body, or to exercise the powers of my tongue." Cuthbert, implicitly believing what he heard, asked him what he would advise him to begin to read, so as to be able to finish it in seven days. "John the Evangelist," said Boisil. "I have a copy containing seven quarto sheets: we can, with God's help, read one every day, and meditate thereon as far as we are able. " They did so accordingly, and speedily accomplished the task; for they sought therein only that simple faith which operates by love, and did not trouble themselves with minute and subtle questions. After their seven days' study was completed, Boisil died of the above-named complaint; and after death entered into the joys of eternal life. They say that, during these seven days, he foretold to Cuthbert every thing which should happen to him: for, as I have said before, he was a prophet and a man of remarkable piety. And, moreover, he had three years ago foretold to Abbot Eata, that this pestilence would come, and that he himself would die of it; but that the abbot should die of another disease, which the physicians call dysentery; and in this also he was a true prophet, as the event proved. Among others, he told Cuthbert that he should be ordained bishop. When Cuthbert became an anchorite, he would not communicate this prophecy to any one, but with much sorrow assured the brethren who came to visit him, that if he had a humble residence on a rock, where the waves of the ocean shut him out from all the world, he should not even then consider himself safe from its snares, but should be afraid that on some occasion or other he might fall victim to the love of riches.

 from Bede's : The Life and Miracles of St. Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindesfarne

Link to the Living Water From an Ancient Well Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne Bio

Monday, March 2, 2015

Ash Wednesday


In the Western Christian calendar, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and occurs forty-six days (forty days not counting Sundays) before Easter. It is a moveable feast, falling on a different date each year because it is dependent on the date of Easter. It can occur as early as 4 February or as late as 10 March.


A Liturgy for Ash Wednesday
(Use all or part, add hymns, readings etc as you see fit)

Opening Prayer

Give thanks to the Lord of all creation
 ALL: His love endures forever
Into your presence we come,

in a busy world
that demands our attention
Breathe on us now
that we might know your presence
and your power
to see this day though


A reading from psalm 51 for three voices

 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out   my transgressions

 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse  me from my sin.

 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.


Confession and Forgiveness

In the blazing light of your love
our short comings are illuminated
our failure to give 
our failure to love
our failure to serve
our failure to forgive
our failure to be the people
you would have us be.
Forgive us and renew us.
You know our nature
know our failings
Enfold us in your arms
that we might daily know
your forgiveness and healing love.
The Lord is full of compassion and mercy, slow to anger and of great kindness. Psalm 103.8

 
The Lord’s Prayer

We say together the words of the Lord's Prayer.
All: Our Father…

Reading - Matthew 6:1-21
Lord, grant us simplicity of faith
And a generosity of service
That gives without counting cost
A life overflowing with Grace
Poured out from the One
Who gave everything
That we might show
The power of love
To a broken world
And share the truth
From a living Word
Lord, grant us simplicity of faith
And a yearning to share it

Affirmation

May we know the love of the heavenly Father deep in our hearts
May we understand our significance in the centre of His family,
May we know the ever present Spirit


May we understand the lengths that He was prepared to go for all mankind
and freely respond in the Today which he has given for us to cherish.

All: Amen
Let us bless the Lord.
ALL: Thanks be to the three fold friendship of the living god










Sunday, January 25, 2015

Henry Suso (c. 1300 - 1366)

Bl. Henry Suso (c. 1300 - 1366) studied theology under Meister Eckhart in Cologne. But Eckhart was more than a teacher to him: there is a touching account in Suso's autobiography of how he went to Eckhart when his hypersensitive conscience was tormenting him, and how Eckhart gave him complete peace. He entered the Dominican Order in his native Constance. Some years later he had a profound religious experience which he described in great detail. It was the beginning of a great love story, told with impressive literary skill in the tender language of courtly love. 'Eternal Wisdom [a feminine noun in German, as in most languages with noun-gender] offers herself in the Holy Scriptures very affectionately, as a fair beloved who adorns herself beautifully in order to be well pleasing to all men, speaking gently in the guise of a woman, in order to incline all hearts to herself.'
    The language of chivalry, parodied in a later century in Don Quixote, was still viable in Suso's century. 'Your young unruly heart,' he said to himself, 'can scarcely endure to be without a special object of love.' So he often 'meditated about her, thinking of her lovingly, and liking her full well with all his heart and soul.' The mediaeval knight delighted to suffer for the lady he worshipped.
    Two of his books are written as dialogue, a favourite literary form in the 14th century. The dialogue is between himself ('the disciple') and God ('Eternal Truth', which, like 'Eternal Wisdom', is a feminine noun). The theme is the death of the ego.

     Disciple:  Lord, what is true detachment?
   Truth: Take note with careful discrimination of these two words: oneself and leave. If you know how to weigh these two words properly, testing their meaning thoroughly to their core and viewing them with true discernment, then you can quickly grasp the truth.
    Take, first of all, the first word -- oneself or myself -- and see what it is. It is important to realise that everyone has five kinds of self. The first self we have in common with a stone, and this is being. The second we share with plants, and this is growing. The third self we share with animals, and this is sensation. The fourth we share with all other human beings: we possess a common human nature in which all are one. The fifth - which belongs to a person exclusively as his or her own - is one's individual human self…
    Now what is it that leads people astray and robs them of happiness? It is exclusively this last self. Because of it a person turns outward, away from God and toward this self, when he or she should be returning inward. Thus they fashion their own selves according to what is accidental. In their blindness they appropriate to themselves what is God's. This is the direction they take, and they eventually sink into sinfulness….
    Disciple: The truth be praised! Dear Lord, tell me, does anything (of this self) still remain in the happy, detached person?
    Truth: Without a doubt it happens that, when the good and loyal servant is led into the joy of his Lord, he becomes drunk from the limitless overabundance of God's house. What happens to a drunken man happens to him, though it cannot really be described, that he so forgets his self that he is not at all his self and consequently has got rid of his self completely and lost himself entirely in God, becoming one spirit in all ways with him, just as a small drop of water does which has been dropped into a large amount of wine. Just as the drop of water loses itself, drawing the taste and colour of the wine to and into itself, so it happens that those who are in full possession of blessedness lose all human desires in an inexpressible manner, and they ebb away from themselves and are immersed completely in the divine will. Otherwise, if something of the individual were to remain of which he or she were not completely emptied, scripture could not be true in stating that God shall become all things in all things. Certainly one's being remains, but in a different form, in a different resplendence, and in a different power. This is all the result of total detachment from self. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Years chalking

On Epiphany (or New Year) you can bless your house. You can make this as simple or as intricate as you like; include (liturgical) greeting (eg. “The Lord be with you…”), song or carol, holy water (sprinkling door, each room), reading (eg. Epiphany Gospel, start of John’s Gospel), more prayers, Lord’s Prayer, incense, assigning parts to different members of the household, collect for Epiphany. Many homes are the dwelling for one person – the blessing of a home is equally appropriate.
Take (blessed) chalk (of any colour) and mark on the lintel of your front door 20 + C + M + B + 11 saying:
The three Wise Men,
C Caspar,
M Melchior,
B and Balthasar followed the star of God’s Son who became human
20 two thousand
11 and eleven years ago.
++ May Christ bless our home
++ and remain with us throughout the new year. Amen.
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Christ, God’s incarnation, is present in the love and care we manifest to each other in our ordinary daily lives together.
Other possible prayers:
May all who come to our home this year rejoice to find Christ living among us; and may we seek and serve, in everyone we meet, that same Jesus who is your incarnate Word, now and forever. Amen.
God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only-begotten One to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who inhabit it. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our concern for others may reflect your love. We ask this through Christ our Saviour. Amen.
Loving God, bless this household. May we be blessed with health, goodness of heart, gentleness, and abiding in your will. We ask this through Christ our Saviour. Amen.
It is in the home that the first experience of love occurs; it is there that love is nurtured and grows to maturity. The Christian home is also the ground for much of people’s spiritual growth.
The ministry of Jesus occurs in many different homes. Therefore to hallow the home as an environment for nurture and renewal, is a deeply felt need by many Christian households.
The blessing of a home encourages Christians to dedicate their life at home to God and to others.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Celtic New Year Blessing


May the light of your soul guide you.
May the light of your soul bless the work you do with the secret love and warmth in your heart.
May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul.
May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light, and renewal to those who work with you and to those who see and receive your work.
May your work never weary you.
May it release within you wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration, and excitement.
May you be present in what you do.
May you never become lost in the bland absences.
May the day never burden.
May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities, and promises.
May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.
May you go into the night blessed, sheltered, and protected.
May your soul calm, console, and renew you.


- John O'Donohue

New Years (8)

The Olde Year Now Away is Fled

(sung to Greensleeves) 13th Century English
Translation By Lawrence Rosenwald
The olde year now away is fled,
The new year it is entered
Then let us now our sins downtread
And joyfully all appear
Let's be merry this holiday
And let us run with sport and play
Han sorrow, let's cast care away -
God send you a happy new year
Come, give us more liquor when I do call
I'll drink to each one in this hall
I hope that so loud I must not bawl
But unto me lend me an ear
Good fortune to my master send
And to my dame which is our friend
God bless us all, and so I end
And God send us a happy new year

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Francis de Sales 1567 1622


“It is love that gives value to all our works; it is not by the greatness or multiplicity of our works that we please God, but by the love with which we do them.”

“We have to do everything for love, not out of force.”

“All the good we do, we do for love of God, and the evil we avoid, we avoid for love of God.”

 “Nothing else purifies the intellect of ignorance and the will of depraved affections better than prayer.”

“The true and solid devotion consists in the constant will, resolve, promptness and activeness to execute what is pleasing to God.”

“If your eye is simple all of your body will be too.”

“Let us not lower our eyes without humiliating at the same time the heart; let not others think we want the last place without truly desiring it.”

“Humility perfects us in what concerns God, and meekness in what concerns our neighbor.”

“We have to allow our minds to be pierced by the thorns of difficulties, and allow our hearts to be pierced by the lance of contradiction; to drink of the bitterness and swallow the vinegar, if this is God’s will.”


“We should perform all our actions by the obligation we owe them or by the simple acceptance of God’s will, and this is to be in calm or in storm.”

“Know that the virtue of patience is what assures us the most perfection.”