Sunday, September 21, 2014

Henri J. M. Nouwen ( 1932 - 1996 )

A split between divinity and humanity has taken place in you. With your 
divinely endowed centre you know God's will, God's way, God's love. 
But your humanity is cut off from that. Your many human needs for 
affection, attention, and consolation are living apart from your divine 
sacred space. Your call is to let these two parts of yourself come 
together again.

You have to move gradually from crying outward - crying out for 
people who you think can fulfil your needs - to crying inward to the 
place where you can let yourself be held and carried by God, who 
has become incarnate in the humanity of those who love you in 
community. No one person can fulfil all your needs. But the community 
can truly hold you. The community can let you experience the fact that, 
beyond your anguish, there are human hands that hold you and show 
you God's faithful love.
 
 From: 'The Inner Voice of Love' by Henri  J. M. Nouwen

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

King Oswald (605-42)

Oswald in a wall painting in Durham Cathedral


Lord God almighty, who so kindled the faith of King Oswald with your Spirit that he set up the sign of the cross in his kingdom and turned his people to the light of Christ: grant that we, being fired by the same Spirit, may always bear our cross before the world and be found faithful servants of the gospel; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

A Collect (prayer) from the memorial Mass of King Oswald

Saturday, June 28, 2014

IRENAEUS (120-202)


" the greatest way to glorify God is with a life well lived"

Born in Asia Minor, probably Smyrna. He was a disciple of Polycarp who had been mentored by John the beloved. He studied in Rome then became a priest at Lyons at the invitation of the Ponthinus the first bishop of Gaul.

He was sent back to Rome with a message and on his return to Lyons found that Ponthinus had been killed in the persecution. Irenaeus was made the new bishop of Gaul. He remained in the West and died there.
Irenaeus made a later journey to Rome to plead for leniency toward the Montanists and for those Eastern Christians who were threatened with excommunication because they did not observe the Roman date for Easter.

His writings were important in the early development of Christian theology and the development of the Canon. Irenaeus also provides the first explicit witness to a four-fold gospel canon. He was the earliest Father of the Church to systematize the Christian beliefs that would later they the foundation for orthodox doctrine. He is frequently cited by later theologians.

Only two of his works survive—neither in the original Greek. The five-volume Against Heresies establishes Christian doctrine against the Gnostics and incidentally supplies much of our present information on Gnosticism. And the Epideixix or the Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, which is a concise exposition of Christian doctrine.

He is recognized as a Saint by both the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches.

Monday, June 9, 2014

St. Columba

Kindle in our hearts, O God,
The flame of that love
which never ceases,
That it may burn in us,
giving light to others.
May we shine forever
in Thy holy temple,
Set on fire with Thy eternal light,
Even Thy son, Jesus Christ,
Our Savior and Redeemer.

attributed to Columba of Iona

Columba



O Lord, grant us that love which can never die, which will enkindle our lamps but not extinguish them, so that they may shine in us and bring light to others. Most dear Savior, enkindle our lamps that they may shine forever in your temple. May we receive unquenchable light from you so that our darkness will be illuminated and the darkness of the world will be made less. Amen.

                                                     St Columba

Madame Jeanne Guyon (1648-1717)


Love of God

All are indebted much to thee,
But I far more than all,
From many a deadly snare set free,
And raised from many a fall.
Overwhelm me, from above,
Daily, with thy boundless love.


What bonds of gratitude I feel
No language can declare;
Beneath the oppressive weight I reel,
'Tis more than I can bear:
When shall I that blessing prove,
To return thee love for love?


Spirit of charity, dispense
Thy grace to every heart;
Expel all other spirits thence,
Drive self from every part;
Charity divine, draw nigh,
Break the chains in which we lie!


All selfish souls, whate'er they feign,
Have still a slavish lot;
They boast of liberty in vain,
Of love, and feel it not.
He whose bosom glows with thee,
He, and he alone, is free.


Oh blessedness, all bliss above,
When thy pure fires prevail!
Love only teaches what is love:
All other lessons fail:
We learn its name, but not its powers,
Experience only makes it ours.


               a poem by Madame  Guyon

taken from Thirty-seven poems by Guyon translated by William Cowper (1779) from a French collection published in 1722, Poesies et cantiques 

Visit the Living Water bio for Madame Guyon

ST Columba (521-597)

Columba was born into an Irish royal clan and trained as a priest. He travelled preaching and teaching thoroughout Ireland founding several monastries including those at Derry (546) and Durrow (556).
Columba was condemned by a Synod in 561 due to his part in a dispute over the ownership of a copy of a Gospel which resulted in the deaths of many in the battle of Cooldrevne.

Columba asked Finnian if he could make a copy of the manuscript but Finnian refused. Columba, however, was a prince of the O’Neills. A proud and independent minded man he ignored Finnian’s refusal getting up in the middle of the night Cloumba copied a small piece of the manuscript. He repeated this act every night until the cpy was completed. Fiinnian flew into a rage when he discovered what had been don, demanding the copy. Columba who refused and retreated to the country of his tribe.

Finnian appealed to the High King of Ireland who summoned both to appear before him on a set date for the judgement. When they appeared the King’s judgement was "To the cow her calf." Finnian won the judgment but Columba was was determined.

He returned home to his tribe raised an army and marched south. The High King, angry that his judgement had been defied, raised his army and marched north. There was a huge battle. Columba won but 2000 men were killed. Filled with remorse he sought the counsel of his Soul friend who told him he must leave Ireland and win as many souls for Christ as had been lost at the battle. This sentence became known as white martyrdom

In 553 he left his beloved Ireland with a group of twelve and in a self imposed excile sailed for Scotland. He reached the island off Southend on the Mull of Kintyre but he found that when he climbed to the top of the hill he could still see Ireland. As a result he sailed on to Iona. He established the now famous monastic community there and become it's first Abbot.

Blessed with powerful oratory skills and using Iona as a base Columba and his companions travelled widely on the mainland revivng Christianity among the Scots and even managed to penitrate
into Pictland.

Columba made a number of return visits to Ireland. At one such visit he attended a summit of all the kings of Ireland and managed to persuade them to exempt women from military duties
By the time of his death in 597 Columba had succeeded in making Iona the centre of a Celtic church that was very rapidly expanding through out Great Britian.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hospitality (1)

 A Familiar Stranger



I saw a stranger today.
I put food for him in the eating-place
And drink in the drinking-place
And music in the listening-place.
In the Holy name of the Trinity
He blessed myself and my family.
And the lark said in her warble
Often, often,often
Goes Christ in the stranger's guise.
O, oft and oft and oft,
Goes Christ in the stranger's guise.



Celtic proverb  

graphic: Emmaus Road 

living water reprint from 2009

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Bless to Me Oh God

Bless to me, O God, 
the moon that is above me, 
bless to me, O God, 
the earth that is beneath me, 
bless to me, O God, 
my wife
and my children
and bless, O God, 
myself
who have care of them.
                                            Bless to me
                                             my wife and my children, 
                                          and bless, O God, 
                                             myself, 
                                             who have care of them. 
                                             Bless, O God, the thing 
                                             on which my eye doth rest, 
                                             Bless, O God, the thing 
                                             on which my hope doth rest, 
                                             Bless, O God, my reason
                                             and 
                                             my purpose, 
                                             Bless, O bless Thou them, 
                                             Thou, 
                                             God of life; 
                                             Bless, O God, 
                                             my reason and my purpose, 
                                             Bless, O Bless
                                            Thou them, 
                                            Thou, God of Life


reciter: Dugall MacAulay

living water reprint from 2009

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Souls Healer




My soul's Healer,
Keep me at even,
Keep me at morning,
Keep me at noon,
On rough course faring,
Help and safeguard
My means this night.
I am tired, astray, and stumbling,
Shield me from snare and sin.

Ancient Celtic prayer collected by Alexander Carmichael (1832-1912), published in Carmina Gadelica (Edinburgh: Floris Books, 1992). These are prayers, hymns, and incantations collected in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland in the 18th century.