Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Eve (3)

'Long ere the lingering dawn of that blithe morn
Which ushers in the year, the roosting cock,
Flapping his wings, repeats his larnun shrill;
But on that morn no busy flail obeys
His rousing call; no sounds but sounds of joy
Salute the year—the first-foot's entering step,
That sudden on the floor is welcome heard,
Ere blushing maids have braided up their hair;
The laugh, the hearty kiss, the good new year
Pronounced with honest warmth. In village, grange,
And borough town, the steaming flagon, borne
From house to house, elates the poor man's heart,
And makes him feel that life has still its joys.
The aged and the young, man, woman, child,
Unite in social glee; even stranger dogs,
Meeting with bristling back, soon lay aside
Their snarling aspect, and in sportive chase,
Excursive scour, or wallow in the snow.
With sober cheerfulness, the grandam eyes
Her offspring round her, all in health and peace;
And, thankful that she's spared to see this day
Return once more, breathes low a secret prayer,
That God would shed a blessing on their heads.'

Rev. JAMES GRAHAME (1765 1611)
excerpt from  "British georgics"  
graphic: the firstfooter

Sunday, December 27, 2009

John the Beloved

The Apostle, John, was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of James the Greater. The brothers were fishermen on the Lake of Genesareth. They were called by Christ to become His disciples. John was called the "beloved disciple". He founded many churches in Asia Minor and is the Patron Saint of Asia Minor. St. John The Evangelist wrote three Epistles, the fourth Gospel, and the Book of Revelation.

   Russian Orthodox icon of the Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, 18th century

St Stephens Day

The book of acts tells the story of how Stephen was tried by the Sanhedrin  for blasphemy  and speaking against the temple and the Law (see also Antinomianism). He was stoned to death (c. A.D. 34–35) by an infuriated mob encouraged by Saul of Tarsus, the future St. Paul "And Saul entirely approved of putting him to death". Stephen's final speech was presented as accusing the Jews of persecuting prophets who spoke out against their sins:
'"Which one of the Prophets did your fathers not persecute, and they killed the ones who prophesied the coming of the Just One, of whom now, too, you have become betrayers and murderers." 
Saint Stephen's name is simply derived from the Greek Stephanos, meaning "crown", which translated into aramaic as Kelil. Traditionally, Saint Stephen is invested with a crown of martyrdom for Christianity; he is often depicted in art with three stones and the martyrs' palm. In Eastern Christian iconography, he is shown as a young beardless man with a tonsure, wearing a deacon's vestments, and often holding a miniature church building or a censer.

Graphic: Byzantine icon

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day (2)


Almighty God,
who has poured upon us the new light of your Incarnate Word;
grant that the same light enkindled in our hearts
may shine forth in our lives;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

graphic: PIERO Della FRANCESCA's Nativity

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve (2)

Loving God, Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.
Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake. Amen.

Robert Louis Stevenson

painting: Sandro Botticelli's mystical Nativity (ca. 1500)

Awaiting the Morning: an Advent Reflection

Below is an Advent Reflection i was invited to included on  Christine Sine's God Space Blog. Thanx  Christine. I tweeked the article a bit for posting here.

I am very fond of Christmas.  Particularly Christmas morning. I always have been.  Even as the festivities are winding down I’m already longing for  next year’s celebrations.

Before I go any further I want to make it clear that I’m not a morbid death wish kind of guy.  I love life. Every day is a gift. Each breath is a miracle. It astounds me to know the Creator of everything seen and unseen thought to make food taste good and sex feel great. “L’Chaim, To Life”.

Still, part of me groans waiting to be delivered. Early on in the human story a Leviathan of darkness entered Gods world of wonder, pillaged the human heart and left in its wake, a trail of selfishness, despair, brokenness and oppression.  As C S Lewis put it, “we are bent”, desperately bent, crooked little folk in our crooked little world.

Theologian George Eldon Ladd, spoke of the tension of the already not yet. The Kingdom is proclaimed. Redemption is here. The Incarnation has arrived, yet we a wait the fullness. “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”, I get it. I watch. I wait. We watch. We ache.

Death, we don’t much like to talk about it, let alone think about it. The moment we are born we are moving toward our physical death. We can’t escape the fact that death is a constant companion. Early celtic culture understood life and death as two parts of the same journey. Death is not the end.  Unless a seed fall in the ground and die…This is the rhythm until Christ returns.

Peter Marshall the Scottish Presbyterian Minister who in later life was theChaplin of the US Senate used to share a story about a wee lad who dying andafraid of the unknown fearfully asks his mother ‘What is it like to die”. Shecomforts him by explaining that death is like turning out the lights, going to sleep and awakening to a brand new day. On his death bed Peter Marshall turned to his wife Catherine and said “see you in the morning.”

Like a child anticipating the splendor of Christmas morn, I a wait, to a wake in His likeness.  I a wait the dawning of a new day when the sting of death has disappeared, tears have ceased, sickness vanished, injustice, exploitation and oppression abolished, and we practice war no more. When finally, Empire gives way and “the kingdoms of this world become the Kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ and He will reign for ever and ever”…and we will wait no more.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

O Antiphons 7

December 23: O Emmanuel (God with us)

O Emmanuel, God with us, our King and Lawgiver, the Expected of nations and theirSaviour; come and save us, O Lord our God! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

O Antiphon 6:

December 22: O Rex Gentium (King of the Gentiles)

OKing of Nations and Desired of All, You are the cornerstone that binds two into
one. Come, and save poor man  whom You fashioned out of clay!

Graphic: cry of the Masses, Josef Váchal,  was a phenomenal Czech printmaker, painter, poet and prose writer

Monday, December 21, 2009

O Antiphon 5

December 21: O Oriens (Orient)

O Rising Dawn, Radiance of the Light eternal and Sun of Justice; come and
enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

O Antiphon 4:

December 20: O Clavis David (Key of David)

O Key of David, and Sceptre of the House of Israel, You open and no man closes;
You close and no man opens. Come and deliver him from the chains of prison who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death!

see Living water O Antiphon Day 4 2008

Saturday, December 19, 2009

O Antiphon 3:

December 19: O Radix Jesse (Root of Jesse)

O  Root of Jesse, You stand for an ensign of mankind; before You kings shall keep
silence,and to You all nations
shall have recourse. Come, save us and do not delay!

Friday, December 18, 2009

O Antiphon 2

O Adonai (Lord)

OLord and Ruler of the house of Israel, You appeared to Moses in the burning bush
and on Mount Sinai gave him Your Law. Come and with outstretched arm redeem us!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

O Antiphon 1

O Sapientia (Wisdom)
Wisdom. You came forth from the mouth of the Most High and reaching from beginning to end, You ordered all things mightily and sweetly. Come and teach us the way of prudence!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

JOHN CHRYSOSTOM's Nativity Sermon

I behold a new and wondrous mystery!
My ears resound to the shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but loudly chanting a heavenly hymn!
The angels sing! The archangels blend their voices in harmony!
The cherubim resound their joyful praise! The seraphim exult 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 salvation, dwells here below; and we, who were lowly, are exalted by divine mercy.
Today Bethlehem resembles heaven, hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices and, in the place of the sun, witnessing the rising of the Sun of Justice!
Ask now how this was accomplished, for where God wills the order of nature is overturned. For He willed He has the power. He descended. He saved. All things move in obedience to God.
Today, He Who is born. And He Who Is becomes what He was not. For when He was God, He became man - while not relinquishing the Godhead that is His.
And so the kings have come and they have seen the heavenly King that is come upon the earth, not bring with Him angels, nor archangels, nor thrones, nor dominations, nor powers, nor principalities, but treading a new and solitary path, He has come forth from a spotless womb.
Yet He has not forsaken His angels, nor left them deprived of His care, nor because of His incarnation has He ceased being God.
And behold the kings have come that they might serve the Leader of the Hosts of Heaven;
Women, so that they might adore Him Who was born of a woman so that He might change the pains of child birth to joy;
Virgins, to the Son of the Virgin . . .
Infants that they might adore Him Who became a little child, so that out of the mouths of infants He might perfect praise;
Children, to the Child Who raised up martyrs through the rage of Herod;
Men to Him Who became man hat He might heal the miseries of His servants;
Shepherds to the Good Shepherd Who has laid down His life for His sheep;
Priests, to Him Who has become a High Priest according to the order of Melchisidech;
Servants to Him Who took upon Himself the form of a servant that He might bless our stewardship with the reward of freedom;
Fishermen to the Fisher of humanity;
Publicans, to Him Who from among them named a chosen evangelist;
Sinful women to Him Who exposed His feel to the tears of the repentant woman;
And that I may embrace them all together, all sinners have come, that they might look upon the lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world!
Since, therefore, all rejoice, I too desire to rejoice! I too wish to share the choral dance, to celebrate the festival! But I take my part, not plucking the harp, nor with music of the pipes nor holding the torch, but holding in my arms the cradle of Christ!
For this is all my hope! This is my life! This is my salvation! This is my pipe, my harp!
And bearing it I come, having from its power received the gift of speech, I too, with the angels sing: "Glory to God in the Highest," and with the shepherds: "and on earth peace to men of good will."

Monday, December 14, 2009

St. John of the Cross (1542-1591)

John of the Cross Speaks

“If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.”

“In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone.”

 “He who interrupts the course of his spiritual exercises and prayer is like a man who allows a bird to escape from his hand; he can hardly catch it again.”

“Abide in peace, banish cares, take no account of all that happens, and you will serve God according to his good pleasure and rest in him.”

“Desolation is a file, and the endurance of darkness is preparation for great light.”

“In tribulation immediately draw near to God with confidence, and you will receive strength, enlightenment, and instruction.”

“Beloved, all that is harsh and difficult I want for myself, and all that is gentle and sweet for thee”

read the John of the Cross thumnail bio

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

Thomas Merton in his Own Words

Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience. Thomas Merton

Advertising treats all products with the reverence and the seriousness due to sacraments.

Be good, keep your feet dry, your eyes open, your heart at peace and your soul in the joy of Christ.

Every moment and every event of every man's life on earth plants something in his soul.

Just remaining quietly in the presence of God, listening to Him, being attentive to Him, requires a lot of courage and know-how.

To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell.

Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward.

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.

The first step toward finding God, Who is Truth, is to discover the truth about myself: and if I have been in error, this first step to truth is the discovery of my error.

The tighter you squeeze, the less you have.

The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God's mercy to me.

We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have - for their usefulness.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Old Sarum Rite

Old Sarum is the site of the earliest settlement of Salsbury  in England. The site contains evidence of human habitation as early as 3000 BC. Old Sarum is mentioned in some of the earliest records in the country. It sits on a hill about two miles north of modern Salisbury.

Various parts of Britain and Ireland developed local variants of the Western Liturgy: The Sarum Rite was originally the local form used in the Cathedral and Diocese of  Salsbury.  It later became prevalent throughout much of the British Isles, particularly in southern England.

Although abandoned after the 16th century, the Sarum rite was the original basis of the liturgy in the Anglican Book of common Prayer. This is most evident in its sequence of  Sundays in Advent, which vary considerably from those used in the Roman Tridentine Rite. It also inspired the counting of Sundays after Trinity rather than Pentecost. One may also take note of the marriage rite and the Sarum custom of "plighting troths".

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The O Antiphons (2)

In some liturgical traditions the O Antiphons are used in the evening office (the hours, the daily office) during the last week leading up to Christmas Eve.

Each antiphon is a name of Christ, one of his attributes mentioned in Scripture.

  • December 17: O Sapientia (O wisdom)
  • December 18: O Adonai (O Adonai)
  • December 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
  • December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
  • December 21: O Oriens (O Morning Star)
  • December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations)
  • December 23: O Emmanuel (O Emmanuel)

The exact origin of the "O Antiphons" is not known. Boethius (480–524/5) made a slight reference to them, by suggesting their use. At the Benidictine abbey in  Fleury (now St Benoit-sur-Lorie), these antiphons were recited by the abbot and then a gift was given to each member of the community. By the eighth century, they were in use in the Advent liturgy. The usage of the "O Antiphons" was so prevalent in monasteries that the phrases "Keep your O" and "The Great O Antiphons" were common parlance. One may thereby conclude that in some fashion the "O Antiphons" have been part of Western liturgical tradition since the very early Church ( Father Willam Saunders, "What are the O Antiphons?")

 These antiphons were arranged with a definite  purpose in mind. If  you start with the last title and take the first letter of each one—Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia—the Latin words ero cras are formed.They mean, "Tomorrow, I will come". Jesus, whose coming is at the  heart of Advent and who has been  addressed in these seven Messianic titles,speaks to the celibrant: "Tomorrow, I will come."  The " O Antiphons" not only engage the heart in Advent preparation, but bring a joyful conclusion as well.

complied from serveral sources 

the last week O antiphons (1) article

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Advent Wreath

During the cold December darkness of  eastern Europe, pre-Christian Germanic peoples gathered boughs of evergreen and lit fires as a sign of hope in a coming spring and the renewing of light.

By the middle ages German Christians adapted the tradition of  forming an evergreen wreath  and lighting candles as part of their spiritual preparation for Advent. The lighting of the Candles symbolized. Christ as the "light that came into the world" to dispel the darkness of sin bring Gods truth, light and love into the world (Jn. 3:19-21).

By the 16th century Lutheran's throughout Germany had  these symbols to celebrate their Advent hope in Christ, the everlasting Light. From  Germany the tradition spread to Scadinavia and then on the rest of Protestant Europe. In time Catholic Europe adapted the Advent wreath a well. 

The four candles represented the four weeks of Advent. Three candles were purple and one candle was rose.This is the color of penitence and fasting as well as the color of royalty to welcome the Advent of the King.  The purple of Advent is also the color of suffering used during Lent and Holy Week.  This points to an important connection between Jesus’ birth and death. The nativity, the Incarnation, cannot be separated from the crucifixion. The purpose of Jesus’ coming into the world, of the "Word made flesh" and dwelling among us, is to reveal God and His grace to the world through Jesus’ life and teaching, but also through his suffering, death, and resurrection.

To reflect this emphasis, originally Advent was a time of penitence and fasting, much as the Season of Lent and so shared the color of Lent. In the four weeks of Advent the third Sunday came to be a time of rejoicing (in some traditions it is called Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin word for "rejoice"). The shift from the purple of the Season to pink or rose for the third Sunday Advent candle reflected this lessening emphasis on penitence as attention turned more to celebration of the season.

Each day at home, the candles are lite, perhaps before the evening meal or before bed-- one candle the first week, and then another each succeeding week until December 25th. The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding  Christ first coming into the world and the anticipation of His second coming

A short prayer may accompany the lighting of the candles. Mary and i recite the short Celtic Advent Liturgy as we light the candle each evening.

Some modern day adaptions include a white candle placed in the middle of the wreath, which represents Christ and is lit on Christmas Eve. Another tradition is to replace the three purple and one rose candles with four white candles, which will be lit throughout Christmas season.

the grapics is of a  modern celtic advent wreath  a fresh evergreen advent wreath

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Prayer for the Day

                                                                O God

Thanks to Thee, O God, that I have risen today, 
    To the rising of this life itself; 
May it be to Thine own glory, O God of every gift, 
     And to the glory of my soul likewise. 
O great God, aid Thou my soul 
     With the aiding of Thine own mercy; 
Even as I clothe my body with wool, 
    Cover Thou my soul with the shadow of Thy wing. 
Help me to avoid every sin, 
    And the source of every sin to forsake;
And as the mist scatters on the crest of the hills, 
    May each ill haze clear from my soul, O God. 

Old Celtic Prayer from the Gaelic

Monday, November 30, 2009

Candles and Incense (1)

Candles and incense have been used in Christian worship for centuries.The scripture is full of  God as light and fire and of incense as symbolic of prayer and presence.

Lighting a Candle (A Symbol for Christ, "the Light of the World") or some Incense can be a way of engaging our senses in worship, prayer and practicing the presence. They can also helping make our times of prayer special  and set par, enhancing  our daily rhythm and fixed hour prayer.

Advent is a wonderful time to incorporate these elements into our practice.

Scriptures referencing light: Gen.1:3, Lav.24:1-2, Ps.27:1, Ps.43:3-4, Ps.97:10-12, Ps.119:105, Pr.60:1-3, Mat.5:14-16, John8:12, 2Cor.4:5-6

Scriptures referencing fire: Ex.13:17-22, Deaut. 4:9, Jer. 20:9, Lk. 3:15-16, Acts 2:1-4
Scriptures referencing incense: Ex.30:34-36, Ps.141:1-2, Mal. 1:11, 2Cor. 2:14-17, Rev 8:4

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Columbanus and the Delopment of Monasticisim

Columbanus one of the greatest missionaries and  monastic community builders of the Celtic church initiated a revival of spirituality on the European continent. He left Ireland in 590 with 12 monks. The Merovingian king Guntram granted him land in the Vosges Mountains in Gaul, where he established several monasteries, including the great intellectual and religious house at Luxeuil (.(nearFontaine, France).

Luxeuil became a monastic hotbed. From its walls went out many who carried the Gospel and Columbanus' monastic vision  into France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. There are said to have been sixty-three such men (Stokes, Forests of France, 254). These disciples of Columbanus are accredited with founding over one hundred different monasteries (ib., 74).

Columbanus' example of monastic and missionary enterprise became the protoype so eagerly followed by such English and Irish Saints  as Killian, Virgilius, Donatus, Wilfrid, Willibrord, Swithbert, Boniface, and Ursicinus of Saint-Ursanne who  Columbanus preceded to Europe.

 He composed a comprehensive rule for monks, The Monastic Rule of St. Columbanus is much shorter than the Benedictine Rule, consisting of only ten chapters.  The first six chapters the  Benedictine and Columbian  codes cover the same issues,obidence, silence food, poverty, humility, chastity and fasting. The rule was approved by the council of Macon in 627. By 700 it was surpassed in usage by  the longer and  less austere rule of St. Benedict. For several centuries in some of the greater monasteries the two rules were observed conjointly.

Near the end of his life and travels Columbanus established a monastic community at Bibbio in Italy where he founded a library. The Bibbio community became a hub of faith and learning for all of Europe.

composed from several sources

Photos : The basilica of San Colombano in Bibbio Italy and the rish chapel of St. columbanus as St Peters Basilica

Sunday, November 22, 2009

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)

Following is an excerpt from Chapter 15 of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis) — “Deeper Magic From Before the Dawn of Time.” (after the White Witch has killed Aslan on the Stone Table)

The girls (Susan and Lucy) cleared away the remains of the gnawed ropes. Aslan looked more like himself without them. Every moment his dead face looked nobler, as the light grew and they could see it better.

In the wood behind them a bird gave a chuckling sound. It had been so still for hours and hours that it startled them. Then another bird answered it. Soon there were birds singing all over the place.
It was quite definitely early morning now, not late night.
“I’m so cold,” said Lucy.
“So am I,” said Susan. “Let’s walk about a bit.”
They walked to the eastern edge of the hill and looked down. The one big star had almost disappeared. The country all looked dark gray, but beyond, at the very end of the world, the sea showed pale. The sky began to turn red. They walked to and fro more times than they could count between the dead Aslan and the eastern ridge, trying to keep warm; and oh, how tired their legs felt. Then at last, as they stood for a moment looking out toward the sea and Cair Paravel the red turned to gold along the line where the sea and the sky met and very slowly up came the edge of the sun. At that moment they heard from behind them a loud noise–a great cracking, deafening noise as if a giant had broken a giant’s plate.
“What’s that?” said Lucy, clutching Susan’s arm.
 “I-I feel afraid to turn round,” said Susan; “something awful is happening.”

“They’re doing something worse to Him,” said Lucy. “Come on!” And she turned, pulling Susan round with her.
The rising of the sun had made everything look so different–all colors and shadows were changed–that for a moment they didn’t see the important thing. Then they did. The Stone Table was broken into two pieces by a great crack that ran down it from end to end; and there was no Aslan.
“Oh, oh, oh!” cried the two girls, rushing back to the Table.
“Oh, it’s too bad,” sobbed Lucy; “they might have left the body alone.”
“Who’s done it? cried Susan. “What does it mean? Is it more magic?”
“YES!” said a great voice behind their backs. “It is more magic.” They looked round. There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane stood Aslan himself.
“Oh, Aslan!” cried both the children, staring up at him, almost as much frightened as they were glad.
“Aren’t you dead then, dear Aslan?” said Lucy.
“Not now,” said Aslan.
“You’re not–not a–?” asked Susan in a shaky voice. She couldn’t bring herself to say the word ghost. Aslan stooped his golden head and licked her forehead. The warmth of his breath and a rich sort of smell that seemed to hang about his hair came over her.
“Do I look it?” he said.
“Oh, you’re real, you’re real! Oh, Aslan!” cried Lucy, and both girls flung themselves upon him and covered him with kisses.
 “But what does it all mean?” asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer.
 “It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who has committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.”

visit  C.S. Lewis'  Living  water thumbnail bio

painting:  Susan Lucy and Aslan  by Paula Novak
photo: a still from the Movie, The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe

Friday, November 20, 2009

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Celtic Advent Begins

a short liturgy to be prayed each evening of Advent up until the 17th of December
Can be accompanied by the lighting of an advent candle.

* God of the watching ones,
give us Your benidiction.

* God of the waiting ones,
give us your good word for our souls

*God of the watching ones
the slow and the suffering ones
give us Your benidiction,
Your good word for our souls
that we might rest.

* God of the watching ones,
the waiting ones,
the slow and the suffering ones,

* and the angels in heaven,

* and the child in the womb,

give us your benidiction,
your good word for our souls,
that we might rest and rise
in the kindness of your company

* indicates a change in reader
bold types to be repeated together

taken from Celtic Daily Prayer of the Northumbria Community

see Celtic Advent Litugy

Hilda of Whitby and the development of Celtic Monasticism

compiled from various source

Graphic: Orthodox Icon of Hilda

living water link to monasticism a brief History.of Iona

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Advent (2)

The Liturgical year begins with advent. Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” Advent the tme when God breaks in on us.This is the season we celebrate the birth of Jesus and His first Advent 2000 years ago, as well as expect of is second Advent.   This is meant to be not only a season of refreshment and renewal but also of reflection and refocusing, as we anticipate the birth of the one who brings life and meaning to what we are and do.  We await the coming of Christ in quiet expectation.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Martin of Tours (316-397)

Martin of Tours Retires from   Military service

IN the meantime, as the barbarians were rushing within the two divisions of Gaul, Julian Cæsar,[12] bringing an army together at the city[13] of the Vaugiones, began to distribute a donative to the soldiers. As was the custom in such a case, they were called forward, one by one, until it came to the turn of Martin. Then, indeed, judging it a suitable opportunity for seeking his discharge--for he did not think it would be proper for him, if he were not to continue in the service, to receive a donative--he said to Cæsar, "Hitherto I have served you as a soldier: allow me now to become a soldier to God: let the man who is to serve thee receive thy donative: I am the soldier of Christ: it is not lawful for me to fight." Then truly the tyrant stormed on hearing such words, declaring that, from fear of the battle, which was to take place on the morrow, and not from any religious feeling, Martin withdrew from the service. But Martin, full of courage, yea all the more resolute from the danger that had been set before him, exclaims, "If this conduct of mine is ascribed to cowardice, and not to faith, I will take my stand unarmed before the line of battle tomorrow, and in the name of the Lord Jesus, protected by the sign of the cross, and not by shield or helmet, I will safely penetrate the ranks of the enemy." He is ordered, therefore, to be thrust back into prison, determined on proving his words true by exposing himself unarmed to the barbarians. But, on the following day, the enemy sent ambassadors to treat about peace and surrendered both themselves and all their possessions. In these circumstances who can doubt that this victory was due to the saintly man? It was granted him that he should not be sent unarmed to the fight. And although the good Lord could have preserved his own soldier, even amid the swords and darts of the enemy, yet that his blessed eyes might not be pained by witnessing the death of others, he removed all necessity for fighting. For Christ did not require to secure any other victory in behalf of his own soldier, than that, the enemy being subdued without bloodshed, no one should suffer death.

from Sulpitius Serverus's Life of Martin of Tours

see Martin of Tours thumbnail bio

Pacafisim and Non-Violence (1)

Matthew 5:39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Matthew 5:44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Luke 6:27But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.

Romans 12:19-21Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Colossians 3:11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

1 Peter 3:9Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

James 4:12There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you--who are you to judge your neighbor?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Elizabeth Catez

Élisabeth Catez better known as Elizabeth of the Trinity was born into a Military family. At age 7 her father Captain Joseph Catez died unexpectedly.

Growing up she had a terribly uncotollable temper . After receiving her First Communion in 1891 Elizabeth became calmer and for her age had deep into God and the world. She began developing a profound sense and understanding of the Trinity. Elizabeth visited the sick at every chance she had. A number of young men asked for her hand in marriage, she declined them all.

Elizabeth aquired an interest in the Discalced Carmelites and although her mother strongly opposed it, Elizabeth entered the Dijon Convent on August 2, 1901.

From the very beginning Elizabeth’s favorite point of the Rule was not poverty, chastity or obedience, but silence. She identified from the start with the Order’s motto: Alone with the Alone.

Elizabeth put her thoughts and prayers to paper, as a result we have a pretty good window into her relationship with God. She wrote" I find Him everywhere, while doing the wash as well as while praying. Other entries contained such things as: "Every happening, every event, every suffering as also every joy, is a sacrament that gives God to the soul." "Prayer is a rest, a relaxation, . . . We must look at Him all the time; we must keep silent; it is so simple." "I have found my heaven on earth, since heaven is God, and God is in my soul. " "We shall not be purified by looking at our miseries, but by gazing on Him who is all purity and holiness."

In November 1904, her community renewed their vows. While reciting them, Elizabeth felt the magnetic pull of grace. Returning to her cell, she erratic penned one of the most insightful prayers in Carmelite history. She called it her Act of Oblation.

"O my God, Trinity whom I adore! Help me to become utterly forgetful of self, that I may bury myself in Thee, as changeless and as calm as though my soul were already in eternity . . . O my Three, my All, my Beatitude, Infinite Solitude, Immensity wherein I lose myself! I yield myself to Thee as Thy prey. Bury Thyself in me that I may be buried in Thee, until I depart to contemplate in Thy light the abyss of Thy greatness!"

Elizabeth died at the age of 26 of Addison's disease. Even though her illness was unbearable, She experienced a deep peace and intamacy with God. In a letter written just a few weeks before her death in the year 1906, she declared to a friend: "My beloved Antoinette, I leave you my faith in the presence of God, of the God who is all Love dwelling in our souls. I confide to you: it is this intimacy with Him 'within' that has been the beautiful sun illuminating my life, making it already an anticipated Heaven: it is what sustains me today in my suffering.'

Her last words were, "I am going to Light, to Love, to Life!"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Liturgical Year

The liturgical year, also known as the Christian year, is made up of the cycle of liturgical seasons in the Christian calendar which determines when Feasts, Memorials, Commemorations are to be observed and which portions of Scripture are to be read. Dates of the festivals vary somewhat between the different churches, though the sequence and purpose basically the same.

In both Eastern and Western traditions, the dates of many feasts vary from year to year, usually in line with the variation in the date of Easter. Protestant churches observe far fewer days than Catholic and Orthodox.regard to feasts of Primarily in regard to the Virgin Mary and the other Saints.

info sourced from wikipedia

graphic: stock photo