Monday, February 28, 2011

Hippolytus on the Incarnation (7)

Hippoolytus on the Incarnation
St. Hippolytus, Incarnation, Advent, Christmas, Early CHurch Father

There is only one God, brethren, and we learn about him only from sacred Scripture. It is therefore our duty to become acquainted with what Scripture proclaims and to investigate its teachings thoroughly. We should believe them in the sense that the Father wills, thinking of the Son in the way the Father wills, and accepting the teaching he wills to give us with regard to the Holy Spirit. Sacred Scripture is God’s gift to us and it should be understood in the way that he intends: we should not do violence to it by interpreting it according to our own preconceived ideas.

God was all alone and nothing existed but himself when he determined to create the world. He thought of it, willed it, spoke the word and so made it. It came into being instantaneously, exactly as he had willed. It is enough then for us to be aware of a single fact: nothing is co-eternal with God. Apart from God there was simply nothing else. Yet although he was alone, he was manifold because he lacked neither reason, wisdom, power nor counsel. All things were in him and he himself was all. At a moment of his own choosing and in a manner determined by himself, God manifested his Word, and through him he made the whole universe.

When the Word was hidden within God himself he was invisible to the created world, but God made him visible. First God gave utterance to his voice, engendering light from light, and then he sent his own mind into the world as its Lord. Visible before to God alone and not to the world, God make him visible so that the world could be saved by seeing him. This mind that entered our world was made known as the Son of God. All things came into being through him; but he alone is begotten by the Father.

The Son gave us the law and the prophets, and he filled the prophets with the Holy Spirit to compel them to speak out. Inspired by the Father’s power, they were to proclaim the Father’s purpose and his will.

So the Word was made manifest, as Saint John declares when, summing up all the sayings of the prophets, he announces that this is the Word through whom the whole universe was made. He says: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Through him all things came into being; not one thing was created without him. And further on he adds: The world was made through him, and yet the world did not know him. He entered his own creation, and his own did not receive him.

This excerpt from St. Hippolytus’ treatise against the heresy of Noetus (Cap. 9-12: PG 10, 815-819) 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Polycarp (69-155)

Polycarp Speaks
As a young man Polycarp was  a disciple and personal companion of John the beloved and was probably ordained bishop of Smyrna by John.  If the term "The angel of the church" in Revelation was referring to the bishops appointed to those churches then the "angel of the church at Smyrna" would have been none other than Polycarp himself.  (See Revelation 1:20-2:8)  Polycarp lived to be about 87 years old and was martyred around 155 AD.  We have one document written by Polycarp His Letter to the Phillipians.

"Polycarp declared, 'Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me injury. How can I blaspheme my King and Savior?" ( Martyrdom of Polycarp 9 c. AD 156)

But may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ Himself, who is the Son of God, and our everlasting High Priest, build you up in faith and truth, and in all meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, forbearance, and purity; and may He bestow on you a lot and portion among His saints, and on us with you, and on all that are under heaven, who shall believe in our Lord and God Jesus Christ, and in His Father, who "raised Him from the dead (Letter to the Philippians)

I have greatly rejoiced with you in our Lord Jesus Christ, because ye have followed the example of true love [as displayed by God], and have accompanied, as became you, those who were bound in chains, the fitting ornaments of saints, and which are indeed the diadems of the true elect of God and our Lord.  (Letter to the Philippians, Chapter I) 

 But He who raised Him up from the dead will raise up us also, if we do His will, and walk in His commandments, and love what He loved, keeping ourselves from all unrighteousness, covetousness, love of money, evil speaking, falsewitness; "not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing," or blow for blow, or cursing for cursing ( Letter to the Philippians, Chapter II)  

Let us then continually persevere in our hope, and the earnest of our righteousness, which is Jesus Christ, “who bore our sins in His own body on the tree,” who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth,” but endured all things for us, that we might live in Him.  Let us then be imitators of His patience; and if we suffer for His name’s sake, let us glorify Him.  For He has set us this example in Himself, and we have believed that such is the case.   (Letter to the Philippians, Chapter 8)
 I am deeply grieved, therefore, brethren, for him (Valens) and his wife; to whom may the Lord grant true repentance! And be ye then moderate in regard to this matter, and “do not count such as enemies,” but call them back as suffering and straying members, that ye may save your whole body. For by so acting ye shall edify yourselves. (Letter to the Philippians, Chapter 11)
 From the Apostolic Fathers edited by Jack N Sparks Letter to the Philippians translated by William Schodeal

read the living water ancient well bio of Polycarp

graphic: Saint Polycarp,   Michael Burghers (1650-1721)

a celtic farewell blessing

You are going home to your home of winter,
To your home of autumn, of spring, and of summer;
You are going home to the Land of the Living,
To the restful havens of the waveless Sea.
Peace of the Seven Lights be upon you, beloved,
Peace of the Seven Joys be upon you, beloved,
Peace of the Seven Loves be upon you, beloved,
On the breast of the Mother of Blessings,
In the arms of the Father of Peace.
Slán agus beannacht leat
a beautiful liturgy of remembrance for loved ones who has passed beyonf the veil

This is one of the most popular posts on the site. Please feel free to leave comments.  Also if you found this helpful or encouraging would appreciate if you'd consider following and  informing others about this blog.  Deep peace ... Brad

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Simone Weil Speaks (1909 –1943)

A doctrine serves no purpose in itself, but it is indispensable to have one if only to avoid being deceived by false doctrines.

A hurtful act is the transference to others of the degradation which we bear in ourselves.

A mind enclosed in language is in prison.

A science which does not bring us nearer to God is worthless.

A self-respecting nation is ready for anything, including war, except for a renunciation of its option to make war.

A test of what is real is that it is hard and rough. Joys are found in it, not pleasure. What is pleasant belongs to dreams.

All sins are attempts to fill voids.

An atheist may be simply one whose faith and love are concentrated on the impersonal aspects of God.

As soon as men know that they can kill without fear of punishment or blame, they kill; or at least they encourage killers with approving smiles.

Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached.

Beauty always promises, but never gives anything.

Charity. To love human beings in so far as they are nothing. That is to love them as God does.

Culture is an instrument wielded by teachers to manufacture teachers, who, in their turn, will manufacture still more teachers.

Difficult as it is really to listen to someone in affliction, it is just as difficult for him to know that compassion is listening to him.

Equality is the public recognition, effectively expressed in institutions and manners, of the principle that an equal degree of attention is due to the needs of all human beings.

Every perfect life is a parable invented by God.

Every time that I think of the crucifixion of Christ, I commit the sin of envy.

Evil being the root of mystery, pain is the root of knowledge.

Evil, when we are in its power, is not felt as evil, but as a necessity, even a duty.

For when two beings who are not friends are near each other there is no meeting, and when friends are far apart there is no separation.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines Day

Lovers In A Dangerous Time

Don't the hours grow shorter as the days go by?
We never get to stop and open our eyes.
One minute you're waiting for the sky to fall
Next you're dazzled by the beauty of it all.

Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

These fragile bodies of touch and taste
This fragrant skin, this hair like lace
Spirits open to thrust of grace,
Never a breath you can't afford to waste.

Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

When you're lovers in a dangerous time,
Sometimes you're made to feel as if your loves a crime.
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight
You gotta kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight.

Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

Bruce Cockburn

though this isn't ancient  it is mystical,  beautiful and fitting

graphic:death of St sabastian

Friday, February 11, 2011

Invocation for Justice

I will go in the name of God,
In likeness of deer, in likeness of horse,
In likeness of serpent, in likeness of king,
Stronger am I than all persons.

The hand of God keeping me,
The love of Christ in my veins,
The strong Spirit bathing me,
The Three shielding and aiding me,
The Three shielding and aiding me;
The hand of Spirit bathing me,
The Three each step aiding me.

Ancient Celtic prayer collected by Alexander Carmichael (1832-1912), published in Carmina Gadelica (Edinburgh: Floris Books, 1992). These are prayers, hymns, and incantations collected in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland in the 18th century.

graphic: entrance to Dublin Castle. The scales of justice on right and Clock Tower on left. Since the statue of Justice is facing inwards towards the Castle citizens of Dublin joked that 'Justice had turned her back on the city'.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

St. Brigid's Blessing for a home

May Brigid bless the house where you dwell,
every fireside door and every wall;
every heart that beats beneath its roof,
every hand that toils to bring it joy,
every foot that walks its portals through.
may Brigid bless the house that shelters you.

grahic: celtic knot art

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Feast of the presentation

All-powerful Father,
Christ Your Son became man for us
and was presented in the temple.
May he free our hearts from sin
and bring us into your presence.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen

First Reading: Malachi 3:1-4
"Behold, I send My messenger to prepare the way before Me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to His temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, He is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of His coming, and who can stand when He appears?
"For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap; He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the Lord. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Second Reading: Hebrews 2:14-18
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death He might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. For surely it is not with angels that He is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham. Therefore He had to be made like His brethren in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. For because He Himself has suffered and been tempted, He is able to help those who are tempted.

Gospel Reading: Luke 2:22-40 [or Short form 2:22-32 - omit brackets]
And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons."

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Liturgy for Imbolc

Let's just spend a moment or two in quietness. Consider the winter that is drawing to a close, the bareness of trees awaiting spring's warmth, the first snowdrops to emerge and flower, fallen leaves from winter that now are taken up once again by the soil as a source of nutrients (nature's endless cycle of life and death), signs of life within our own gardens as plants that seemed dead just a month ago are now beginning to show green.

Springtime - the promise of new life
Springtime - the potential for growth
Springtime - the hope of harvests to come

‘Let us live in awe of the Lord our God,
for he gives us rain each spring and fall,
assuring us of a harvest when the time is right.’
Jer 5:24

'Where man sees but withered leaves,
God sees sweet flowers growing.'
Albert Laighton

'The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.'
Bern Williams
In the lengthening of days
Snowdrops emerging
from winter's frozen ground

In the sight of a tiny lamb
joyfully bounding
across hillside farm


Creator God, forgive our moments of ingratitude,
the spiritual blindness that prevents us
from appreciating the wonder that is this world,
the endless cycle of nature,
of life and death and rebirth.
Forgive us for taking without giving
reaping without sowing.
Open our eyes to see
our lips to praise
our hands to share
and may our feet tread lightly on the road.
Here a song, chant or hymn might be sung
Psalm 8

3 When I consider your heavens,the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?
5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet:
7 all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
A sleeping world emerges to new possibilities
Weakening winter's icy grip
And birdsong and bleating lamb
Announce to all the promise
That in due season
Creation bursts into life
And whilst leaves that fell in winter
Lie upon the ground
Soon to feed the earth
In nature's wondrous cycle
Of death and rebirth
Within the tree is a stirring of new growth
For the cycle of life
Which brings death and rebirth

A. We rejoice in the promise of Spring

For lengthening days
And sunlight's warmth upon the soil

A. We rejoice in the promise of Spring

For a snowdrop's beauty
Reflecting its Creator's artistry

A. We rejoice in the promise of Spring

For new born lambs
Their joy and exuberance

A. We rejoice in the promise of Spring

For all of creation
And the majesty of its Creator

A. We rejoice in the promise of Spring

'Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer.'
Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.
Rainer Maria Rilke

This is your garden, Creator God
A thing of beauty
Beyond understanding
A poem that is being written
Not in words
But in colours
Wind's whisper
Soaring bird
Snowdrop's petal
Gentle rain
Sunlight's warmth
This is your garden, Creator God
A thing of beauty
Beyond understanding

We bless you,
God of Seed and Harvest
And we bless each other
That the beauty of this world
And the love that created it
Might be expressed though our lives
And be a blessing to others
Now and always


photo: b culver

Bridgid (453-524)

  • St Brigid's Fire.

    Described by Giraldus Cambrensis in the 12th century, as having been tended by twenty "servants of the Lord", at the time of St Brigid; Brigid herself being the twentieth. When Brigid died the number stayed at nineteen. Each of the nineteen nuns took their turns at night and on the twentieth night the nineteenth nun puts the logs on the fire and St Brigid miraculously tends the fire, which never goes out. Although the fire had been burning for some 600 years, by the time of Giraldus, the ashes had never had to be cleaned out and had never increased. There is another legend associating Brigid with fire. When she was a child, her mother had gone out one day leaving the child asleep. The neighbours saw the house on fire but when they went to rescue the child there was no fire. there was one interruption in the 1200s when Henry of London, Norman arch-bishop of Dublin, ordered it to be extinguished as he considered the tending of the fire to be a pagan practice. It was soon re-lit, by the locals, but was finally extinguished at the Reformation.

Photo: copy right b culver