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.”

Friday, December 26, 2014

St Stephens Day (2)

The Wren Song

(sung on St Stephen's Day, Dec. 26th)
The Wren, the Wren the king of all birds,
St. Stephenses day, he was caught in the furze.
Although he is little, his honor is great,
Rise up, kind sir, and give us a trate.

We followed this Wren ten miles or more
Through hedges and ditches and heaps of snow,
We up with our wattles and gave him a fall
And brought him here to show you all.

For we are the boys that came your way
To bury the Wren on Saint Stephenses Day,
So up with the kettle and down with the pan!
Give us some help for to bury the Wren!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christnsmas Day (7)



St. John Chrysostom: Homily on Christmas Morning

Behold a new and wondrous mystery. My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn. The Angels sing. The Archangels blend their voice in harmony. The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise. The Seraphim exalt His glory. All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He Who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.

Bethlehem this day resembles heaven; hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices; and in place of the sun, enfolds within itself on every side, the Sun of justice. And ask not how: for where God wills, the order of nature yields. For He willed; He had the power; He descended; He redeemed; all things yielded in obedience to God. This day He Who is, is Born; and He Who is, becomes what He was not. For when He was God, He became man; yet not departing from the Godhead that is His. Nor yet by any loss of divinity became He man, nor through increase became He God from man; but being the Word He became flesh, His nature, because of impassibility, remaining unchanged.

And so the kings have come, and they have seen the heavenly King that has come upon the earth, not bringing with Him Angels, nor Archangels, nor Thrones, nor Domination's, nor Powers, nor Principalities, but, treading a new and solitary path, He has come forth from a spotless womb.

Since this heavenly birth cannot be described, neither does His coming amongst us in these days permit of too curious scrutiny. Though I know that a Virgin this day gave birth, and I believe that God was begotten before all time, yet the manner of this generation I have learned to venerate in silence and I accept that this is not to be probed too curiously with wordy speech.
For with God we look not for the order of nature, but rest our faith in the power of Him who works.

What shall I say to you; what shall I tell you? I behold a Mother who has brought forth; I see a Child come to this light by birth. The manner of His conception I cannot comprehend.

Nature here rested, while the Will of God labored. O ineffable grace! The Only Begotten, Who is before all ages, Who cannot be touched or be perceived, Who is simple, without body, has now put on my body, that is visible and liable to corruption. For what reason? That coming amongst us he may teach us, and teaching, lead us by the hand to the things that men cannot see. For since men believe that the eyes are more trustworthy than the ears, they doubt of that which they do not see, and so He has deigned to show Himself in bodily presence, that He may remove all doubt.

Christ, finding the holy body and soul of the Virgin, builds for Himself a living temple, and as He had willed, formed there a man from the Virgin; and, putting Him on, this day came forth; unashamed of the lowliness of our nature.

For it was to Him no lowering to put on what He Himself had made. Let that handiwork be forever glorified, which became the cloak of its own Creator. For as in the first creation of flesh, man could not be made before the clay had come into His hand, so neither could this corruptible body be glorified, until it had first become the garment of its Maker.

What shall I say! And how shall I describe this Birth to you? For this wonder fills me with astonishment. The Ancient of days has become an infant. He Who sits upon the sublime and heavenly Throne, now lies in a manger. And He Who cannot be touched, Who is simple, without complexity, and incorporeal, now lies subject to the hands of men. He Who has broken the bonds of sinners, is now bound by an infants bands. But He has decreed that ignominy shall become honor, infamy be clothed with glory, and total humiliation the measure of His Goodness.

For this He assumed my body, that I may become capable of His Word; taking my flesh, He gives me His spirit; and so He bestowing and I receiving, He prepares for me the treasure of Life. He takes my flesh, to sanctify me; He gives me His Spirit, that He may save me.

Come, then, let us observe the Feast. Truly wondrous is the whole chronicle of the Nativity. For this day the ancient slavery is ended, the devil confounded, the demons take to flight, the power of death is broken, paradise is unlocked, the curse is taken away, sin is removed from us, error driven out, truth has been brought back, the speech of kindliness diffused, and spreads on every side, a heavenly way of life has been ¡in planted on the earth, angels communicate with men without fear, and men now hold speech with angels.

Why is this? Because God is now on earth, and man in heaven; on every side all things commingle. He became Flesh. He did not become God. He was God. Wherefore He became flesh, so that He Whom heaven did not contain, a manger would this day receive. He was placed in a manger, so that He, by whom all things arc nourished, may receive an infant¢s food from His Virgin Mother. So, the Father of all ages, as an infant at the breast, nestles in the virginal arms, that the Magi may more easily see Him. Since this day the Magi too have come, and made a beginning of withstanding tyranny; and the heavens give glory, as the Lord is revealed by a star.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

christmas eve (9)

The Darkest Midnight

(from the Kilmore Carols)
The darkest midnight in December
No snow nor hail nor winter storm
Shall hinder us for to remember
The Babe that on this night was born.
With shepherds, we are come to see
This lovely Infant's glorious charms.
Born of a Maid, as the prophet said,
 

The God of love in Mary's arms.
Ye blessed angels join our voices
Let your gilded wings beat fluttering o'er
While every sould set free rejoices
And everyone now must adore.
We'll sing and pray that he always may
Good people one and all defend
God grant us grace in all our days
A merry Christmas and a happy end.

Voices in the Mist

The time draws near the birth of Christ:
The moon is hid; the night is still;
The Christmas bells from hill to hill
Answer each other in the mist.

Four voices of four hamlets round,
From far and near, on mead and moor,
Swell out and fail, as if a door
Were shut between me and the sound:

Each voice four changes on the wind,
That now dilate, and now decrease,
Peace and goodwill, goodwill and peace,
Peace and goodwill, to all mankind.
 
                   
 By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
 
graphic: Martin Luther's family on Christmas eve 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

a Christmas chant


DUAN NOLLAIG [57]

CHRISTMAS CHANT



p. 134

p. 135
H
HOIRE! hoire! beannaicht e! beannaicht e!
Hoire! hoire! beannaicht e! beannaicht e!
      Ho! hi! beannaicht an Righ!
      Ho! hi! biodh aoibh.
Buaidh biodh air an tulaich seo,
Na chualas leibh ’s na chunnas leibh,
Air na leaca loma loinnear lair,
      ’S air na clacha corrach cuimir clair,
      Hoire! hoire! beannaicht e! beannaicht e!
Beannaich an taigh ’s na bheil ann,
Eadar chuaill is chlach is chrann
Imir do Dhia eadar bhrat is aodach,
      Slainte dhaoine gun robh ann,
      Hoire! hoire! beannaicht e! beannaicht e!
Gu mu buan mu’n tulach sibh,
Gu mu slan mu’n teallach sibh,
Gu mu liuth dul ’s ceann sguilb ’s an aros,
      Daoine tamh ’s a bhunntair,
      Hoire! hoire! beannaicht e! beannaicht e!

HAIL King! hail King! blessed is He! blessed is He!
Hail King! hail King! blessed is He! blessed is He!
      Ho, hail! blessed the King!
      Ho, hi! let there be joy!
Prosperity be upon this dwelling,
On all that ye have heard and seen,
On the bare bright floor flags,
      On the shapely standing stone staves,
      Hail King! hail King! blessed is He! blessed is He!
Bless this house and all that it contains,
From rafter and stone and beam;
Deliver it to God from pall to cover,
      Be the healing of men therein,
      Hail King! hail King! blessed is He! blessed is He!
Be ye in lasting possession of the house,
Be ye healthy about the hearth,
Many be the ties and stakes in the homestead,
      People dwelling on this foundation,
      Hail King! hail King! blessed is He! blessed is He!

p. 136

p. 137

Iobair dh ’an Ti eadar bhonn agus bhrat,
Eadar chuaill agus chlach agus chrann;
Iobair a ris eadar shlat agus aodach,
Slanadh shaoghal a dhaoine th’ ann,
      Hoire! hoire! beannaicht e! beannaicht e!
      Hoire! hoire! beannaicht e! beannaicht e!
           Ho, hi, beannaicht an Righ,
               Ho, hi, biodh aoibh!
         Beannaicht an Righ,
         Gun tus gun chrich,
         Gu suth, gu sior,
         Gach linn gu brath,
               Ho! hi! biodh aoibh!

from the CarminaGadelica

Offer to the Being from found to cover,
Include stave and stone and beam;
Offer again both rods and cloth,
Be health to the people therein,
      Hail King! hail King! blessed is He! blessed is He!
      Hail King! hail King! blessed is He! blessed is He!
           Ho, hail! blessed the King!
               Let there be joy!
         Blessed the King,
         Without beginning, without ending,
         To everlasting, to eternity,
               Every generation for aye,
               Ho! hi! let there be joy!