Friday, July 30, 2010

the Peace

The peace of joys, 
The peace of lights, 
The peace of consolations. 
The peace of souls, 
The peace of heaven, 
The peace of virgins. 
The peace of the fairy bowers, 
The peace of peacefulness, 
The peace the everlasting.

Translated from the Gaelic by Alexander Carmichael

Thursday, July 29, 2010

William Wilberforce (1759- 1833)

William Wilberforce

Let us not despair; it is a blessed cause, and success, ere long, will crown our exertions. Already we have gained one victory; we have obtained, for these poor creatures, the recognition of their human nature, which, for a while was most shamefully denied. This is the first fruits of our efforts; let us persevere and our triumph will be complete. Never, never will we desist till we have wiped away this scandal from the Christian name, released ourselves from the load of guilt, under which we at present labor, and extinguished every trace of this bloody traffic, of which our posterity, looking back to the history of these enlightened times, will scarce believe that it has been suffered to exist so long a disgrace and dishonor to this country.
William Wilberforce,
speech before the House of Commons, 18 April 1791

A British politician, a philanthropist and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. A native of  Kingston upon hull, Yorkshire,  Wiberforce was a small sickly delicate child with poor eye sight. In 1776 the deaths of his grandfather and uncle left him independently wealthy.In stead of applying himself to his studies he pursued a hedonistic lifestyle. He was extremely popular.
He began his political career in 1780 and became the independent member of parliament for Yorkshire (1784–1812). In 1785, he underwent a conversion experience and became an Christian, resulting in major changes to his lifestyle and a lifelong concern for reform

He headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty-six years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act 1807.

 Wilberforce advocated legislation to improve the working conditions for chimney-sweeps and textile workers, engaged in prision reform, and supported campaigns to restrict capital punishment and the severe punishments meted out under the Game Laws. He recognized the importance of education in alleviating poverty, and when Hannah More and her sister established Sunday school for the poor in Somerset and the Mendips, he provided financial and moral support as they faced opposition from landowners and Anglican clergy.

Wilberforce was generous with his time and money, believing that those with wealth had a duty to give a significant portion of their income to the needy. Yearly, he gave away thousands of pounds, much of it to clergymen to distribute in their parishes. He paid off the debts of others, supported education and missions, and in a year of food shortages gave to charity more than his own yearly income. He was exceptionally hospitable, and could not bear to sack any of his servants. As a result, his home was full of old and incompetent servants kept on in charity. Although he was often months behind in his correspondence, Wilberforce responded to numerous requests for advice or for help in obtaining professorships, military promotions, and livings for clergymen, or for the reprieve of death sentences.

 On 26 July 1833, Wilberforce heard of government concessions that guaranteed the passing of the Bill for the Abolition of Slavery. The following day he grew much weaker, and he died early on the morning of 29 July at his cousin's house in Cadogan Place, London. One month later, the House of Lords passed the Slavery Abolishion Act, which abolished slavery in most of the British Empire from August 1834.

Various churches within the Anglican Church commemorate Wilberforce in their liturgical calendars.. Wilberforce is honored together with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church on July 30.

Living Water link to Patrick's Letter to Coroticus

This Letter is an especially important document because it shows St. Patrick as the first to speak out against slavery and in defense of women.

Living Water links to Justice Issues articles

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Friday, July 23, 2010

John Cassian (360-435)

For Holy Scripture supports the freedom of the will where it says: “Keep thy heart with all diligence,”  Prov. iv. 23. but the Apostle indicates its weakness by saying “The Lord keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Phil. iv. 7. David asserts the power of free will, where he says “I have inclined my heart to do Thy righteous acts,”   Ps. cxviii. (cxix.) 112. but the same man in like manner teaches us its weakness, by praying and saying, “Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies and not to covetousness:”   Ib. ver. 36. Solomon also: “The Lord incline our hearts unto Himself that we may walk in all His ways and keep His commandments, and ordinances and judgments.”   1 Kings viii. 58. The Psalmist denotes the power of our will, where he says: “Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips that they speak no guile,”   Ps. xxxiii. (xxxiv.) 14. our prayer testifies to its weakness, when we say: “O Lord, set a watch before my mouth, and keep the door of my lips.”   Ps. cxl. (cxli.) 3. The importance of our will is maintained by the Lord, when we find “Break the chains of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion:”   Is. lii. 2. of its weakness the prophet sings, when he says: “The Lord looseth them that are bound:”  and “Thou hast broken my chains: To Thee will I offer the sacrifice of praise.”   Ps. cxlv (cxlvi.) 7; cxv. (cxvi.) 16, 17. We hear in the gospel the Lord summoning us to come speedily to Him by our free will: “Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you,”  S. Matt. xi. 28. but the same Lord testifies to its weakness, by saying: “No man can come unto Me except the Father which sent Me draw him.”   S. John vi. 44. The Apostle indicates our free will by saying: “So run that ye may obtain:”   1 Cor. ix. 24. but to its weakness John Baptist bears witness where he says: “No man can receive anything of himself, except it be given him from above.”   S. John iii. 27. We are commanded to keep our souls with all care, when the Prophet says: “Keep your souls,”  Jer. xvii. 21. but by the same spirit another Prophet proclaims: “Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”    Ps. cxxvi. (cxxvii.) 1. The Apostle writing to the Philippians, to show that their will is free, says “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” but to point out its weakness, he adds: “For it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."

Conference, Chapter IX. Of the power of our good( free) will, and the grace of God

Saturday, July 17, 2010

pacafism and nonviolence (3)

Martin Luther King on the power of Love and non violence

The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage that they didn't know they had. Finally, it reaches the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality.

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that.

We must meet hate with creative love.

Love is the most durable power in the world. Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.

The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.

Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Litany of the Celtic Saints (2)

John, beloved disciples of the Lord:
pray with us.
Fathers and mothers of the Desert,
people of prayer and bringer of wisdom:
pray with us.
Martin, saint of Tours,
builder of communities of hermits,
living simply, loving God;
Martin, soldier of Christ:
pray with us.
Ninian of Whithorn,
apostle and example:
pray with us.
Patrick of Britain,
missionary to the land of Ireland:
pray with us.
Brigid, compulsive giver,
lover of the poor, Brigid of Kildare:
pray with us.
Columba of Iona, exiled from Ireland,
abbot and scribe, lover of Christ;
Columba now the gentle;
Columba of the Church:
pray with us.
Oswald, king and saint,
willing interpreter of the Gospel truth;
Oswald, man of prayer:
pray with us.
Aidan, emissary from Iona;
gentle and straightforward;
torchbearer; liberator of slaves;
Aidan of Lindisfarne:
pray with us.
Hild of Whitby,
firm leader of both men and women;
renowned for your counsel and insight,
releasing others in their giftedness;
Hild, woman of courage and faith:
pray with us.
Cuthbert of Northumbria,
hermit and joyous worshipper;
man of prayer and spiritual warfare;
patient minister of reconciliation;
Cuthbert of the people:
pray with us.

 the graphic: found among the many stone carvings and ornaments in the ruins of Jerpoint Abbey, County Kilkenny.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Peace Between Neighbours

Peace between neighbors, 
Peace between kindred, 
Peace between lovers, 
   In love of the King of life.   
Peace between person and person, 
Peace between wife and husband, 
Peace between woman and children, 
The peace of Christ above all peace. 
Bless, O Christ, my face, 
    Let my face bless everything; 
Bless O Christ mine eye, 
    Let mine eye bless all it sees.

Translated from the Carmina Gaelic by Alexander Carmichael