Friday, January 29, 2010

Juniper (died 1258)

Not much is known about Juniper before he joined the St Francis in 1210. Francis sent him to establish "places" for the friars in Gualdo Tadino and Viterbo. Several stories revealings Junpiers simplity and generousity are written in  the Little Flowers of St. Francis.

 Juniper had been commanded to quit giving part of his clothing to the half-naked people he met on the road. Desiring to obey his superior, Juniper once told a man in need that he couldn’t give the man his tunic, but he wouldn’t prevent the man from taking it either. In time, the friars learned not to leave anything lying around, for Juniper would probably give it away.

see Junipers living water Bio

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You are the Peace

You are the peace of all things calm
You are the place to hide from harm
You are the light that shines in dark
You are the heart's eternal spark
You are the door that's open wide
You are the guest who waits inside
You are the stranger at the door
You are the calling of the poor
You are the light, the truth, the way
You are my Saviour this very day.

celtic oral tradition - 1st millennium

graphic: The oldest surviving panel icon of Christ Pantocrator  c. 6th century.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The First Sabbath

The First Sabbath

Six days the heavenly host, in circle vast,
Like that untouching cincture which enzones
The globe of Saturn, compass'd wide this orb,
And with the forming mass floated along,
In rapid course, through yet untravell'd space,
Beholding God's stupendous power, — a world
Bursting from chaos at the omnific will,
And perfect ere the sixth day's evening star
On Paradise arose.  Blessed that eve!
The Sabbath's harbinger, when, all complete,
In freshest beauty from Jehovah's hand,
Creation bloom'd; when Eden's twilight face
Smiled like a sleeping babe.  The voice divine
A holy calm breathed o'er the goodly work;
Mildly the sun, upon the loftiest trees,
Shed mellowly a sloping beam.  Peace reign'd,
And love, and gratitude; the human pair
Their orisons pour'd forth; love, concord, reign'd.
The falcon, perch'd upon the blooming bough
With Philomela, listen'd to her lay;
Among the antler'd herd, the tiger couch'd
Harmless; the lion's mane no terror spread
Among the careless ruminating flock.
Silence was o'er the deep; the noiseless surge,
The last subsiding wave, — of that dread tumult
Which raged, when Ocean, at the mute command,
Rush'd furiously into his new-cleft-bed, —
Was gently ripping on the pebbled shore;
While, on the swell, the sea-bird with her head
Wing-veil'd, slept tranquilly.  The host of heaven,
Entranced in new delight, speechless adored;
Nor stopp'd their fleet career, nor changed their form
Encircular, till on that hemisphere, —
In which the blissful garden sweet exhaled
Its incense, odorous clouds, — the Sabbath dawn
Arose; then wide the flying circle oped,
And soar'd, in semblance of a mighty rainbow
Silent ascend the choirs of Seraphim;
No harp resounds, mute is each voice; the burst
Of joy and praise reluctant they repress, —
For love and concord all things so attuned
To harmony, that Earth must have received
The grand vibration, and to the centre shook;
But soon as to the starry altitudes
They reach'd, then what a storm of sound tremendous
Swell'd through the realms of space! The morning stars
Together sang, and all the sons of God
Shouted for joy! Loud was the peal; so loud
As would have quite o'erwhelmed the human sense;
But to the earth it came a gentle strain,
Like softest fall breathed from AEolian lute,
When 'mid the chords of the evening gale expires.
Day of the Lord! creation's hallow'd close!
Day of the Lord! (prophetical they sang,)
Benignant mitigation of that doom
Which must, ere long, consign the fallen race,
Dwellers in yonder star, to toil and woe!

Rev. James Grahame

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pacifism and Non Violence (2)

Leo Tolstoi on Non-Violence

A Christian does not quarrel with any one, does not attack any one, nor use violence against one; on the contrary, he himself without murmuring bears violence; but by this very relation to violence he not only frees himself, but also the world from external power.

Every man, in refusing to take part in military service or to pay taxes to a government which uses them for military purposes, is, by this refusal, rendering a great service to God and man, for he is thereby making use of the most efficacious means of furthering the progressive movement of mankind toward that better social order which it is striving after and must eventually attain.

Violence produces only something resembling justice, but it distances people from the possibility of living justly, without violence.

This difficulty lies in the impossibility of making the Christian faith (which those who form the governments profess with particular emphasis) accord with armies composed of Christians trained to slay. However much you may pervert the Christian teaching, however much you may hide its main principles, its fundamental teaching is the love of God and one's neighbor; of God - that is the highest perfection of virtue, and of one's neighbor - that is all men without distinction. And therefore it would seem inevitable that we must repudiate one of the two, either Christianity is love of God and one's neighbor, or the State with its armies and wars.

 I know how the ancient Christians who refused military service were executed by the Romans for doing so (these refusals are described in the lives -of the saints). I know how the Paulicians were, every one of them, destroyed for the same conduct. I know how the Bogomili were persecuted, and how the Quakers and Mennonites suffered for this same cause. I know also how, at the present time, in Austria, the Nazarenes are languishing in prisons; and how people have been martyred in Russia. But the fact that all these martyrdoms have not abolished war in no way proves that they have been useless. To say that this means is not efficacious because it has already been applied for a long time and yet war still exists, is the same as to say that in spring the sun's warmth is not efficacious because the ground has not yet become bare of snow, and flowers have not yet sprung up.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Anthony of Egypt (251–356)

Two Greek philosophers ventured out into the Egyptian desert to the mountain where Anthony lived. When they got there, Anthony asked them why they had come to talk to such a foolish man? He had reason to say that -- they saw before them a man who wore a skin, who lived on bread and water. They were Greek, the world's most admired civilization, and Anthony was Egyptian, a member of a conquered nation. They were philosophers, educated in languages and rhetoric. Anthony had not even attended school as a boy and he needed an interpreter to speak to them. In their eyes, he would have seemed very foolish.

The Greek philosophers had heard the stories of Anthony. They had heard how disciples came from all over to learn from him, how his intersession had brought about miraculos healings, how his words comforted the suffering. They assured him that they had come to him because he was a wise man.

Anthony guessed what they wanted. They lived by words and arguments. They wanted to hear his words and his arguments on the truth of Christianity and the value of ascetism. But he refused tobe drawn ito debate. He told them that if they truly thought him wise, "If you think me wise, become what I am, for we ought to imitate the good. Had I gone to you, I should have imitated you, but, since you have come to me, become what I am, for I am a Christian."

 from "Life of St. Anthony" by Saint Athanasius. Translated by Sister Mary Emily Keenan, S.C.N. Copyright 1952 by Fathers of the Early Church, Inc. 

Painting:  Saint Anthony by Piero di Cosimo ca. 1480

Friday, January 15, 2010

Paul of Thebes (229- 345)

Commonly known as Paul the First Hermit or Paul the Anchorite  is regarded as the first Christian hermit. His feast day is celebrated on January 10 in the west, and on January 5 or January 15 in the east.

Paul was reportedly born in Egypt. He was orphaned by age 15.  Young Paul was learned, devout  and fluent in Greek and  Egyptian.

According to Jeome's Vitae Patrum (Vita Pauli primi eremitae) Paul fled to the Theban desert during the persecution of Decius and Valernaius in c. 250. He lived in the mountains of the Theban desert in a cave near a palm tree surviveing on fruits and water. It is said that as time passed a crow or raven brought him half a loaf of bread daily.

Jerome further relates the meeting of Anthony of Egypt and Paul, when the latter was aged 113. They conversed with each other for one day and one night. When Anthony next visited him, Paul was dead. Anthony clothed him in a tunic which was a present from Anthanasius and buried him with the help of two lions.

1st Painting: Jusepe de Ribera's St. Paul the Hermit.

2nd  Painting: Diego Velázquez. St. Anthony Abbot and St. Paul the Hermit. 

Saturday, January 9, 2010

personal greeting for 2010

Greetings all, in the kindness of the Threefold Friendship of God.

Well happy new year. Here we are 2010.  Living Water from an Ancient Well now has two full years under its belt. Many more of you are reading, gleaning from and enjoying the posts. Some of you have left comments. I greatly appreciate the feed back and diolouge. Please use what you wish. I also encourage those that would like to link to this blog to feel free to do so. would love for to just  it 
become an on going resource base.

I will continue to work at making Acient Water a rich reservoir in context of the diverse Christian faith traditions... stories, prayers, litergies, worship, spiritual diciplines, personal journey... This year the focus will be on Spiritual practice, early church teaching, and  present day application.

Along the left side you'll notice a growing list of related links along with interactive oppurtunities to learn or practice the daily office, centering prayer, lectio divina... avariety of short pertinent videos will always be available...  along the bottom of the page you'll continue to find headlines from around the world dealing with related topics and a strip of videos that will frequainly change up. Over time the archives will hopefully create a useful resource in themselves.What will arrive here is gleaned from the rich Christian faith traditions of the past with an emphisis on the Celtic stream... some retro fitted for the present, some in context of personal journey.

I also want to encourage my facebook friends to actually beome members of the blog itself. Once again thanx  and a rich blessing to you and yours. Enjoy!!!!!

forver in the grip of grace

brad culver

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Prayer to the Holy Trinity

I am bending my knee
In the eye of the Father who created me, 
In the eye of the Son who purchased me, 
In the eye of the Spirit who cleansed me, 
    In friendship and affection. 
Through Thine own Anointed One, O God, 
Bestow upon us fullness in our need, 
    Love towards God, 
    The affection of God, 
    The smile of God, 
    The wisdom of God, 
    The grace of God, 
    The fear of God, 
    And the will of God,
To do on the world of the Three, 
As angels and saints
Do in heaven; 
     Each shade and light, 
     Each day and night, 
     Each time in kindness, 
     Give Thou us Thy Spirit.

Prayer from the Gaelic

stained glass celtic knot

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Epiphany (3)


 A Collect for the Epiphany

O God
Who on this day
through the guidance of a star
didst manifest
Thine Only-Begotten Son to the Gentiles;
mercifully grant
that we who know Thee now by faith,
may one day be brought
to the contemplation of the beauty of Thy majesty.
Through the same Christ our Lord. 

from a Benidicitne  office for Epiphany

Epiphany is the 12th day of christmas and marks the adoration of the magi

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

In Memory of John O'Donohue

A Friendship Blessing from “Anam Cara” By John O’Donohue

May you be blessed with good friends.

May you learn to be a good friend to yourself.

May you be able to journey to that place in your soul where there is great love, warmth, feeling, and forgiveness.

May this change you.

May it transfigure that which is negative, distant, or cold in you.

May you be brought in to the real passion, kinship, and affinity of belonging.May you treasure your friends.

May you be good to them and may you be there for them;

May they bring you all the blessings, challenges, truth, and light that you need for your journey.

May you never be isolated.

May you always be in the gentle nest of belonging with your anam cara.

John O'Donahue author of Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom. Died peacefully in his sleep while on holiday in France, early morning between January 3rd and 4th/08. A Poet, priest and philosopher, he was not only one of the most articulate voices of living Celtic Christianity and Celtic wisdom, but he also had a clear grasp of the beauty of Christian mysticism as well. He was a trained philosopher with a prodigious intellect. His voice is greatly missed. He had celibrated his 52nd birthday a few days prior to passing through the veil.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Beatitudes

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Day (3)

 May the new year bring
The warmth of home and hearth to you.
The cheer and goodwill of friends to you,
The hope of a childlike heart to you.
The joy of a thousand angels to you,
The love of the Son and God's peace to you.

a celtic New Year Blessing