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

Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Saints Day (2)

Collect for All Saints

Almighty God,
who hast knit together thine elect
in one communion and fellowship
in the mystical body of Your Son, Christ our Lord:
Give us grace so to follow Your blessed saints
in all virtuous and godly living,
that we may come
to those ineffable joys
that thou hast prepared for those
who unfeignedly love thee;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord,
who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth,
one God, in glory everlasting. Amen

Book of Common Prayer

graphic Durer's Adoration