Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday (3)

Almighty and everliving God,
in your tender love for humanity
you sent Jesus to take our nature upon him,
and to suffer death upon the cross,
giving us an example of great humility:
Mercifully grant that we too may walk in the way of the cross, and share in the resurrection;
through the one who is our Saviour and Redeemer
and who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.  

an ancient Palm sunday collect from the Sacrementary dateing  back to the 7th or 8th century

graphic: orthodox  Icon depicting the entry into Jerusalem

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Celtic Blessing of Protection

May Christ and His saints 
stand Between you and harm.
Mary and her Son.
St. Patrick with his staff.
Martin with his mantle.
Bridget with her veil.
Michael with his shield.
And God over all with His strong right hand. 

Graphic: Minature from the Gospels of MacDurnam

Friday, March 26, 2010

God to Enfold Me

God to enfold me,
God to surround me,
God in my speaking,
God in my thinking.
God in my sleeping,
God in my waking,
God in my watching,
God in my hoping.
God in my life,
God in my lips,
God in my soul,
God in my heart.
God in my sufficing,
God in my slumber,
God in mine ever-living soul,
God in mine eternity.

Celtic oral traditions - Carmina Gadelica

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Oscar Romero (1917-1980)

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. 
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

A Prayer of Oscar Romero

Archbishop Oscar Romero served the people of El Salvador and was assainated while he was saying mass in San Salvador.

See the Living Water thumb nail Bio for Oscar Romero 

graphic: a modern Icon of Oscar Romero

The Glory of These forty Days

The glory of these forty days
We celebrate with songs of praise;
For Christ, by Whom all things were made,
Himself has fasted and has prayed.
Alone and fasting Moses saw
The loving God Who gave the law;
And to Elijah, fasting, came
The steeds and chariots of flame.
So Daniel trained his mystic sight,
Delivered from the lions' might;
And John, the Bridegroom's friend, became
The herald of Messiah's Name.
Then grant us, Lord, like them to be
Full oft in fast and prayer with Thee;
Our spirits strengthen with Thy grace,
And give us joy to see Thy face.
O Father, Son, and Spirit blest,
To thee be every prayer addressed,
Who art in threefold Name adored,
From age to age, the only Lord.

Words Attributed to Gregory I, 6th century

Monday, March 22, 2010

Lindisfarne Abbey

OSWALD, King of Northumbria, gave to Bishop Aidan, a monk of Iona, and a man noted for his piety, the island of Lindisfarne, and from the sanctity of the opposite monastery and the monks it obtained the name of Holy Island.
The island is separated from the mainland by a narrow neck of sand which can be crossed on foot at low water.

"For, with its flow and ebb, its style
Varies from continent to isle;
Dry-shod, o'er sands, twice every day,
The pilgrims to the shrine find way;
Twice every day, the waves efface
Of staves and sandalled feet the trace."
The castle is of great antiquity. From its summit may be seen, at seven miles, distance southward, the romantic rocks on which stands Bamborough Castle.
The abbey, an extensive and beautiful ruin, stands on the mainland at the extremity of the sandy track that leads to Holy Island.

Lindisfarne Abbey
St. Cuthbert was at one time Bishop of Lindisfarne, and a strange superstition respecting him is not even yet quite forgotten there. It is, that on dark and gloomy nights, when the waves rose high and the wind roared, the spirit of St. Cuthbert sat on a fragment of rock on the shore of Holy Island, veiled in the sea-mist, and forged beads for the faithful. The sound of his hammering was heard through the storm, and on the shore next day numbers of the beads were sure to be found. They are sometimes seen now, and are in reality the fossil remains of sea animals called crinoids - ancient dwellers in the deep. Scott tells us:

"On a rock by Lindisfarne,
St. Cuthbert sits, and toils to frame
The sea-born beads that bear his name
Such tales had Whitby's fishers told,
And said they might his shape behold,
And hear his anvil sound;
A deafening clang, - a huge, dim form,
Seen but, and heard, when gathering storm
And night were closing round."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Penitential Psalms (7)

Psalm 143

Hear my prayer, O Lord;
give ear to my supplications!
In thy faithfulness answer me, in thy righteousness!
Enter not into judgment with thy servant;
for no man living is righteous before thee.
For the enemy has pursued me;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.
I remember the days of old,
I meditate on all that thou hast done;
I muse on what thy hands have wrought.
I stretch out my hands to thee;
my soul thirsts for thee like a parched land.
Make haste to answer me, O Lord!
My spirit fails!
Hide not thy face from me,
lest I be like those who go down to the Pit.
Let me hear in the morning of thy steadfast love,
for in thee I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
for to thee I lift up my soul.
Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies!
I have fled to thee for refuge!
Teach me to do thy will,
for thou art my God!
Let thy good spirit lead me
on a level path!
For thy name's sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
In thy righteousness bring me out of trouble!
And in thy steadfast love cut off my enemies,
and destroy all my adversaries,
for I am thy servant. 

graphic: viola Song

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cuthbert of Lindisfarne (634-687)

From Bede's  The Life and Miracles of St. Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindesfarne (721)


WHILST this venerable servant of the Lord was thus during many years, distinguishing himself by such signs of spiritual excellence in the monastery of Melrose, its reverend abbot, Eata, transferred him to the monastery in the island of Lindisfarne, that there also he might teach the rules of monastic perfection with the authority of its governor, and illustrate it by the example of his virtue; for the same reverend abbot had both monasteries under his jurisdiction. And no one should wonder that, though the island of Lindisfarne is small, we have above made mention of a bishop, and now of an abbot and monks; for the case is really so. For the same island, inhabited by servants of the Lord, contains both, and all are monks. For Aidan, who was the first bishop of that place, was a monk, and with all his followers lived according to the monastic rule. Wherefore all the principals of that place from him to the present time exercise the episcopal office; so that, whilst the monastery is governed by the abbot, whom they, with the consent of the brethren, have elected, all the priests, deacons, singers, readers, and other ecclesiastical officers of different ranks, observe the monastic rule in every respect, as well as the bishop himself. The blessed pope Gregory showed that he approved this mode of life, when in answer to Augustine, his first missionary to Britain, who asked him how bishops ought to converse with their clerks, among other remarks he replied, " Because, my brother, having been educated in the monastic rule, you ought not to keep aloof from your clerks: in the English Church, which, thanks be to God, has lately been converted to the faith, you should institute the same system, which has existed from the first beginning of our Church among our ancestors, none of whom said that the things which he possessed were his own, but they had all things common." When Cuthbert, therefore, came to the church or monastery of Lindisfarne, he taught the brethren monastic rules both by his life and doctrines, and often going round, as was his custom, among the neighboring people, he kindled them up to seek after and work out a heavenly reward. Moreover, by his miracles he became more and more celebrated, and by the earnestness of his prayers restored to their former health many that were afflicted with various infirmities and sufferings; some that were vexed with unclean spirits, he not only cured whilst present by touching them, praying over them, or even by commanding or exorcising the devils to go out of them; but even when absent he restored them by his prayers, or by foretelling that they should be restored; amongst whom also was the wife of the prefect above mentioned.

There were some brethren in the monastery who preferred their ancient customs to the new regular discipline. But he got the better of these by his patience and modest virtues, and by daily practice at length brought them to the better system which he had in view. Moreover, in his discussions with the brethren, when he was fatigued by the bitter taunts of those who opposed him, he would rise from his seat with a placid look, and dismiss the meeting until the following day, when, as if he had suffered no repulse, he would use the same exhortations as before, until he converted them, as I have said before, to his own views. For his patience was most exemplary, and in enduring the opposition which was heaped equally upon his mind and body he was most resolute, and, amid the asperities which he encountered, he always exhibited such placidity of countenance, as made it evident to all that his outward vexations were compensated for by the internal consolations of the Holy Spirit.

But he was so zealous in watching and praying, that he is believed to have sometimes passed three or four nights together therein, during which time he neither went to his own bed, nor had any accommodation from the brethren for reposing himself. For he either passed the time alone, praying in some retired spot, or singing and making something with his hands, thus beguiling his sleepiness by labour; or, perhaps, he walked round the island, diligently examining every thing therein, and by this exercise relieved the tediousness of psalmody and watching. Lastly, he would reprove the faintheartedness of the brethren, who took it amiss if any one came and unseasonably importuned them to awake at night or during their afternoon naps. "No one," said he, "can displease me by waking me out of my sleep, but, on the contrary, give me pleasure; for, by rousing me from inactivity, he enables me to do or think of something useful." So devout and zealous was he in his desire after heavenly things, that, whilst officiating in the solemnity of the mass, he never could come to the conclusion thereof without a plentiful shedding of tears. But whilst he duly discharged the mysteries of our Lord's passion, he would, in himself, illustrate that in which he was officiating; in contrition of heart he would sacrifice himself to the Lord; and whilst he exhorted the standers-by to lift up their hearts and to give thanks unto the Lord, his own heart was lifted up rather than his voice, and it was the spirit which groaned within him rather than the note of singing. In his zeal for righteousness he was fervid to correct sinners, he was gentle in the spirit of mildness to forgive the penitent, so that he would often shed tears over those who confessed their sins, pitying their weaknesses, and would himself point out by his own righteous example what course the sinner should pursue. He used vestments of the ordinary description, neither noticeable for their too great neatness, nor yet too slovenly. Wherefore, even to this day, it is not customary in that monastery for any one to wear vestments of a rich or valuable colour, but they are content with that appearance which the natural wool of the sheep presents.

By these and such like spiritual exercises, this venerable man both excited the good to follow his example, and recalled the vicked and perverse from their errors to regularity of life.

1st pic: St Cuthbert's Chapel in Farne
2nd pic: St Cuthbert.s statue on Lindisfarne in the grounds of the Priory
3rd pic: Icon of Cuthbert

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Penitential Psalms (6)

מִמַּעֲמַקִּים קְרָאתִיךָ    יְהוָה.
אֲדֹנָי,    שִׁמְעָה בְקוֹלִי:
תִּהְיֶינָה אָזְנֶיךָ, קַשֻּׁבוֹת--    לְקוֹל, תַּחֲנוּנָי

Psalm 130

Out of the depths I cry to thee, O Lord!
Lord, hear my voice!
Let thy ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!
If thou, O Lord, shouldst mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with thee,
that thou mayest be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities...

graphic: out of the depths i have cried to thee, in Hebrew

Thursday, March 18, 2010

the Penitentials Psalms (5)


Hear my prayer, O Lord;
let my cry come to thee!
Do not hide thy face from me
in the day of my distress!
Incline thy ear to me;
answer me speedily in the day when I call!
For my days pass away like smoke,
and my bones burn like a furnace.
My heart is smitten like grass, and withered;
I forget to eat my bread.
Because of my loud groaning
my bones cleave to my flesh.
I am like a vulture of the wilderness,
like an owl of the waste places;
I lie awake,
I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.
All the day my enemies taunt me,
those who deride me use my name for a curse.
For I eat ashes like bread,
and mingle tears with my drink,
because of thy indignation and anger;
for thou hast taken me up and thrown me away.
My days are like an evening shadow;
I wither away like grass.
But thou, O Lord, art enthroned for ever;
thy name endures to all generations.
Thou wilt arise and have pity on Zion;
it is the time to favor her;
the appointed time has come.
For thy servants hold her stones dear,
and have pity on her dust.
The nations will fear the name of the Lord,
and all the kings of the earth thy glory.
For the Lord will build up Zion,
he will appear in his glory;
he will regard the prayer of the destitute,
and will not despise their supplication.
Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord:
That he looked down from his holy height,
from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,
to hear the groans of the prisoners,
to set free those who were doomed to die;
That men may declare in Zion the name of the Lord,
and in Jerusalem his praise, when peoples gather together,
and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.
He has broken my strength in mid-course;
he has shortened my days.
"O my God," I say, "take me not hence in the midst of my days,
thou whose years endure
throughout all generations!"
Of old thou didst lay the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of thy hands.
They will perish, but thou dost endure;
they will all wear out like a garment.
Thou changest them like raiment, and they pass away;
but thou art the same,
and thy years have no end.
The children of thy servants shall dwell secure;
their posterity shall be established before thee.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St Patrick (387-493)

Ancient Saint Patrick's Day Prayer

O God,by whose providence

the blessed Patrick was chosen

to be the apostle of the Irish;

that thus the people of Hibernia,

who had gone astray in darkness

and in the errors of the Gentiles,

might be made children of the Most High

by the laver of regeneration:

Grant, we beseech thee,

that by his intercession,

we may hasten without delay

to the paths of justice.

Through Christ our Lord. 


From the Breviary (book) of Armagh, 8th century

Monday, March 15, 2010

the Penitential Psalms (4)


Have mercy on me, O God,
according to thy steadfast love;
according to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,
and done that which is evil in thy sight,
so that thou art justified in thy sentence
and blameless in thy judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Fill me with joy and gladness;
let the bones which thou hast broken rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence,
and take not thy holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of thy salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors thy ways,
and sinners will return to thee.
Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God,
thou God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of thy deliverance.
O Lord, open thou my lips,
and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.
For thou hast no delight in sacrifice;
were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Do good to Zion in thy good pleasure;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
Then wilt thou delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on thy altar.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Liturgy from an old English Missal

A Short Liturgy from the Sarum Missal

LitanyO Lord Almighty, Father unbegotten, upon us miserable sinners,
Have mercy
O Lord, who hast redeemed the work of Thy hands by Thine only Son, 
Have mercy upon us.
O Lord, Adonai, blot out our offences, and upon They people
Have mercy

O Christ, Brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of His person, 
Have mercy upon us
O Christ, who didst save the world at the command of the Father
Have mercy upon us
O Christ, Saviour of men, eternal Life of Angels, 
Have mercy upon us

O Lord, Spirit, the Comforter, Dispenser of pardon, 
Have mercy
O Lord, Fountain of mercy and of sevenfold grace, 
Have mercy upon us
O lord, most pitiful Forgiver, proceeding from Both, 
O most bountiful Giver of gifts, Teacher, Quickener, of Thy goodness 
Have mercy upon us.

Pic: a beautiful Celtic Cross Tattoo

Saturday, March 6, 2010

the Penitentials Psalms (3)


O Lord, rebuke me not in thy anger,
nor chasten me in thy wrath!
For thy arrows have sunk into me,
and thy hand has come down on me.
There is no soundness in my flesh
because of thy indignation;
there is no health in my bones
because of my sin.
For my iniquities have gone over my head;
they weigh like a burden too heavy for me.
My wounds grow foul and fester
because of my foolishness,
I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
all the day I go about mourning.
For my loins are filled with burning,
and there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am utterly spent and crushed;
I groan because of the tumult of my heart.
Lord, all my longing is known to thee,
my sighing is not hidden from thee.
My heart throbs, my strength fails me;
and the light of my eyes -- it also has gone from me.
My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague,
and my kinsmen stand afar off.
Those who seek my life lay their snares,
those who seek my hurt speak of ruin,
and meditate treachery all the day long.
But I am like a deaf man, I do not hear,
like a dumb man who does not open his mouth.
Yea, I am like a man who does not hear,
and in whose mouth are no rebukes.
But for thee, O Lord, do I wait;
it is thou, O Lord my God, who wilt answer.
For I pray, "Only let them not rejoice over me,
who boast against me when my foot slips!"
For I am ready to fall,
and my pain is ever with me.
I confess my iniquity,
I am sorry for my sin.
Those who are my foes without cause are mighty,
and many are those who hate me wrongfully.
Those who render me evil for good
are my adversaries because I follow after good.
Do not forsake me, O Lord!
O my God, be not far from me!
Make haste to help me,
O Lord, my salvation! Glory...

the graphic: David praying a page from the psalms

Friday, March 5, 2010

Owini (?-670)

Owini was born into a noble family from East Anglia. He served. He served princess Etheldreda, when Etheldreda joined her aunt Ebba at the monastery of Coldingham, Owini joined the monastery at Lastingham under Chad.

He journeyed there on foot, earning his keep as he went.The journey was difficult and dangerous. Sometime later he went back and placed wooden crosses along the route to serve as markers for pilgrims and travelers.

At Lastingham he chose to work the land rather than study. He beacame Chad's traveling companion and biographer following him to Lichfield, where he eventually died.

Monday, March 1, 2010

David of Wales (500-589)

Rhigyfarch also spelled Rhygyvarch in His book 'Buchedd Dewi' ('Dewi's Life') claims that David cured the blindness of his tutor St Paulinius and that when he opened his eyes, he saw daffodils for the first time.

Rhigyfarch also records what has become the most famous legend surrounding St David. David was attending an important Church Synod meeting in Llanddewi Brefi near Tregaron. A huge crowd of people had gathered near the village church and many complained that they couldn't see or hear what was going on.

David placed a handkerchief on the ground and stood on it. Suddenly, a small hill is said to have risen from under his feet so that he could be seen by everyone. Some say that a dove then landed on his shoulder, a sign from God.

word carving of David of Wales