Thursday, May 30, 2013

Anam Cara ( Part 4b)

Seven Characteristics of Soul Friendship gleaned from the lives of the Celtic Saints (5-7)

5th Soul friendship is centered on God, the soul friend in whom all other friendships are united.

True soul friends do not depend on each other alone, but root their relationship in God. All the stories of the saints refer to this spiritual dimension, but one story in the Life of Findbarr is symbolically the most explicit. In it we find intimations not only of this need for reliance on God, but also of those qualities earlier identified: affirmation, mutuality, and deep love:

After the death of Bishop MacCuirv, Findbarr was much concerned at being without a soul friend. So he went to visit Eolang, and God revealed to Eolang that Findbarr was coming to see him. Eolang immediately knelt before Findbarr, and said the following, "I offer to you my church, my body, and my soul." Findbarr wept openly, and said, "This was not my thought, but that it would be I who would offer my church to you." Eolang said, "Let it be as I have said, for this is the will of God. You are dear to God, and you are greater than myself. One thing only I ask, that our resurrection will be in the same place." Findbarr replied, "Your wish will be fulfilled, but I am still troubled about the soul friendship." Eolang told him, " You shall receive today a soul friend worthy of yourself." This was done as he said, for Eolang in the presence of the angels and archangels placed Findbarr's hand in the hand of the Lord.

6th soul friendship survives geographical separation, the passage of time, and death itself.

In the early stories, even after Columcille moves to Iona to bring Christianity to the Scots, he continues to long for Derry and his friends in Ireland and they for him; Brendan consistently returns to Ita for advice after his journeys to foreign lands; Lasrianus and Maedoc, in response to God, separate and go their own ways but never forget what each has meant to the other. In the latter's Life, in particular, we find reference not only to the lasting ties of friendship with Lasrianus, despite the geographical distance between them, but to the continuity of another soul friendship, despite death:

Sometime later Maedoc was teaching a student by a high cross at the monastery of Ferns. The student saw him mount a golden ladder reaching from earth to heaven. Maedoc climbed the ladder, and when he returned sometime later, the student could not look in his face because of the brilliance that transfused his countenance... "Columcille has died," Maedoc told him, "and I went to meet him with the family of heaven. He was my own soul friend in this world, so I wanted to pay him my respects." The student told this story only after Maedoc's death, when he had become an adult and a holy man himself.

7th Soul friendship facilitates the lifelong process of reconciliation, of making peace with oneself, with others, and with all of creation in preparation for one's death.

As the stories of Kevin and Ciaran, and of Maedoc and Columcille, have already intimated, soul friends help each other make this transition, through death, to God. A story about Saint Declan of Ardmore, a fourth-century Irish missionary-bishop to whom, we are told, "thousands of men and women" came for spiritual guidance, clearly reflects a spirituality that values both friendship and solitude, being active in ministry and having a cell:

When Declan realised that his last days were at hand and that the time remaining to him was very short, he summoned to him his own spiritual son, MacLiag who was residing in the monastery which is on the eastern side of the Decies close to the Leinstermen. MacLiag was summoned in order that, at the hour of death, Declan might receive the Body and Blood of Christ and the sacraments of the church from his hands. Declan then foretold to his disciples the day of his death and he commanded them to bring him to his own city, for it was not there he dwelt at the time but in a small venerable cell that he had ordered to be built for him between the hill called Ardmore Declain and the ocean. That narrow place at the brink of the sea is called Disert Declain, and a small shining stream, surrounded by trees and bushes, flows down from the hill above. From there to the city is only a short mile. The reason Declan used to go there was to avoid turmoil and noise so that he might be able to read and pray and fast. Indeed, it was not easy for him to stay even there because of the multitude of disciples, paupers, pilgrims, and beggars who followed him. Declan, however, was generous and very compassionate, and on that account it is recorded by tradition that a great following of poor people generally accompanied him. The little cell that was his was very dear to him for the reason we have given, and many devout people have made it their practice to dwell within it.


adapted from material by Edward Snellar

Ed Sellner is a professor of pastoral theology and spirituality. He is director of the Master of Arts in Theology at the College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, Minnesota. He has written numerous articles on Celtic Spirituality, and is the author of Mentoring: the Ministry of Spiritual Kinship; Soul-Making, Wisdom of the Celtic Saints , and most recently, Father and Son.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Creeds (6)

 by Brian McClaren

We have confidence in Jesus

Who healed the sick, the blind, and the paralyzed.
And even raised the dead.
He cast out evil powers and Confronted corrupt leaders.

He cleansed the temple.

He favored the poor.
He turned water into wine,

Walked on water, calmed storms.
He died for the sins of the world,

Rose from the dead, and ascended to the Father,Sent the Holy Spirit.
We have confidence in Jesus

Who taught in word and example,Sign and wonder.
He preached parables of the kingdom of God
On hillsides, from boats, in the temple, in homes,
At banquets and parties, along the road, on beaches, in towns,
By day and by night.
He taught the way of love for God and neighbor,

For stranger and enemy, for outcast and alien.
We have confidence in Jesus,

Who called disciples, led them,
Gave them new names and new purpose
And sent them out to preach good news.
He washed their feet as a servant.
He walked with them, ate with them,
Called them friends,

Rebuked them, encouraged them,
Promised to leave and then return,
And promised to be with them always.
He taught them to pray.

He rose early to pray, stole away to desolate places,
Fasted and faced agonizing temptations,
Wept in a garden,

And prayed, “Not my will but your will be done.”
He rejoiced, he sang, he feasted, he wept.
We have confidence in Jesus,

So we follow him, learn his ways,
Seek to obey his teaching and live by his example.
We walk with him, walk in him, abide in him,

As a branch in a vine.
We have not seen him, but we love him.

His words are to us words of life eternal,
And to know him is to know the true and living God.
We do not see him now, but we have confidence in Jesus.

this creed was originally shared at an Emergent Gathering in Nashville in May 2004

Monday, May 27, 2013

Peter Maurin's Reading List

The following books were recommended 
repeatedly by Peter Maurin in reading 
lists appended to his essays.

  1. Art in a Changing Civilization, Eric Gill
  2. Bourgeois Mind, The, Nicholas Berdyaev
  3. Brotherhood Economics, Toyohiko Kagawa
  4. Charles V , Wyndham Lewis
  5. Catholicism, Protestantism and Capitalism, Amintore Fanfani
  6. Christianity and Class War, Nicholas Berdyaev
  7. Church and the Land, The, Father Vincent McNabb, O.P.
  8. Discourse on Usury, Thomas Wilson
  9. Emancipation of a Free Thinker, The, Herbert E. Cory
  10. Enquiries Into Religion and Culture, Christopher Dawson
  11. Fields, Factories and Workshops, Peter Kropotkin
  12. Fire on the Earth, Paul Hanly Furfey
  13. Flight From the City, The, Ralph Borsodi
  14. Franciscan Message to the World, The, Father Agostino Gemelli, F.M.
  15. Freedom in the Modern World, Jacques Maritain
  16. Future of Bolshevism, The, Waldemar Gurian
  17. Guildsman's Interpretation of History, A, Arthur Penty
  18. Great Commandment of the Gospel, The, His Excellency A. G. Cicognani, Apostolic Delegate to the U. S.
  19. Ireland and the Foundation of Europe, Benedict Fitzpatrick
  20. I Take My Stand, by Twelve Southern Agrarians
  21. Land of the Free, The, Herbert Agar
  22. Lord of the World, Robert Hugh Benson
  23. Making of Europe, The, Christopher Dawson
  24. Man the Unknown, Dr. Alexis Carrel
  25. Nations Can Stay at Home, B. O. Wilcox
  26. Nazareth or Social Chaos, Father Vincent McNabb, O.P.
  27. Our Enemy the State, Albert Jay Nock
  28. Outline of Sanity, G. K. Chesterton
  29. Personalist Manifesto, Emmanuel Mounier
  30. Philosophy of Work, A, Etienne Borne
  31. Post-Industrialism, Arthur Penty
  32. Progress and Religion, Christopher Dawson
  33. Religion and the Modern State, Christopher Dawson
  34. Religion and the Rise of Capitalism, R. H. Tawney
  35. Revolution Personnaliste et Communautaire (La), Emmanuel Mounier
  36. Saint Francis of Assisi, G. K. Chesterton
  37. Social Principles of the Gospel, Alphonse Lugan
  38. Soviet Man Now, Helen Iswolsky
  39. Temporal Regime and Liberty, Jacques Maritain
  40. Theory of the Leisure Class, The, Thorstein Veblen
  41. Thomistic Doctrine of the Common Good, The, Seraphine Michel
  42. Things That Are Not Caesar's, Jacques Maritain
  43. Toward a Christian Sociology, Arthur Penty
  44. True Humanism, Jacques Maritain
  45. Two Nations, The, Christopher Hollis
  46. Unfinished Universe, The, T. S. Gregory
  47. Valerian Persecution, The, Father Patrick Healy
  48. What Man Has Made of Man, Mortimer Adler
  49. Work and Leisure, Eric Gill

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Bede ( 673? - 735)

Saint Bede also know as the Venerable Bede, was a Benedictine monk at the Northumbrian monastery of Saint Peter at Monkwearmouth. He is well known as an author and scholar, and his most famous work, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People gained him the title "The father of English history".
His life was externally uneventful. Apparently he travelled little, probably never outside Northumbria. He spent his life primarily occupied with monastic duties and his writing.

A story goes that when Bede was about twelve, a plague visited Jarrow and wiped out all the monks except for him and Abbot Ceolfrith. Piously, the two survivors trained lay brethren to chant in order that the monastery might continue its sung devotion to God. This piety is characteristic of Bede's life, and is exemplified especially in the story of his death.

A moving contemporary account describes how knowing he was soon to pass, Bede pressed forward with his translation of the Gospel of John. He finished it dictating the last sentence to the boy who was his scribe. He spent much time singing antiphons from the Divine Office especially that from Ascension Day. He died singing ‘Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost’.

living water reprint from 2008

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Creeds (5)

St Patrick's Creed

There is no other God,
nor ever was, nor will be,
than God the Father unbegotten,
without beginning,from whom is all beginning,
the Lord of the universe,
as we have been taught;

and His son Jesus Christ,
whom we declare to have always been with the Father,
spiritually and ineffably begotten by the Father
before the beginning of the world,
before all beginning;

and by Him are made all things visible and invisible.
He was made man, and,having defeated death,
was received into heaven by the Father;
and He hath given Him all power over all names in heaven,
on earth, and under the earth,

and every tongue shall confess to Him that Jesus Christ is Lord and God,

in whom we believe,
and whose advent we expect soon to be,
Judge of the living and of the dead,
who will render to every man according to his deeds;

He has poured forth upon us abundantly the Holy Spirit,

the gift and pledge of immortality,
who makes those who believe and obey sons of God and joint heirs with Christ;
and Him do we confess and adore,
one God in the Trinity of the Holy Name.

St. Patrick, from his Confession.

Friday, May 24, 2013

creeds (4)


Athanasian Creed

1. Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith;
2. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
3. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;
4. Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.
5. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.
6. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.
7. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit.
8. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated.
9. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.
10. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.
11. And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal.
12. As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.
13. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty.
14. And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.
15. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God;
16. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
17. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord;
18. And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord.
19. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;
20. So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say; There are three Gods or three Lords.
21. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.
22. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten.
23. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
24. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.
25. And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.
26. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.
27. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.
28. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.
29. Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
30. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.
31. God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of substance of His mother, born in the world.
32. Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.
33. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.
34. Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.
35. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God.
36. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.
37. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ;
38. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead;
39. He ascended into heaven, He sits on the right hand of the Father, God, Almighty;
40. From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
41. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies;
42. and shall give account of their own works.
43. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.
44. This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved. 

 The Athanasian Creed, also know as the "Quicumque vult", was formerly recited at the office of Prime on Sundays. It is one of the four authoritative Creeds of the Catholic Church. The Anglican Church and some Protestant Churches also hold it to be authoritative. While the Creed has always been attributed to St. Athanasius (d 373 AD), it was unknown in the Eastern Churches until the 12th century and thus it is unlikely he is the author.

St. Ambrose is one suggested author, but many authors have been proposed with no conclusive agreements reached. Current theory suggests it was composed in southern France in the 5th century. In 1940, the lost 'Excerpta' of St. Vincent of Lerins (flourished in 440: "quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est") was discovered, and this work contains much of the language of the Creed. Thus, either St. Vincent, or an admirer have been suggested as the author. The earliest known copy of the creed was included in a prefix to a collection of homilies by Caesarius of Arles (died 542).
Composed as a rigid response to heresy.The Creed contains a clear and detailed statement of the Trinity (eg. 'The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; and yet there are not three Gods but one God.’ It also upholds the full Deity and humanity of Christ, his death for sins, resurrection, ascension, second coming and final judgement.The Book of Common Prayer requires that it be read on thirteen designated occasions during the

Monday, May 20, 2013

Creeds (3)

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through Him all things were made. For us and for our salvation He came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit He became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered death and was buried. On the third day He rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father.* With the Father and the Son He is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. AMEN.

*Roman Catholics and Protestants add ‘and the Son’ at this point.

In the first three centuries, the church was often forced into secrecy and seclusion. As a result, it was fraught with theological disputes and differences, especially concerning the divinity of  Christ.

When Constantine won control of the Roman Empire in 312 A.D., he elevated Christianity to favored status. He soon discovered the fractured state of the church and what it believed. To bring a unity, he convened a council in the year 325 that met in the city of Nicaea. Out of that convention came the Nicene Creed, which is still a standard of belief for many Christian churches.

 The reference to "the holy catholic Church" in both the Nicene and Apostle's Creeds refers to the universal church, not the denomination.

Saturday, May 18, 2013



Bless to me, O God,
The earth beneath my foot.
Bless to me, O God,
The path whereon I go ;
Bless to me, O God,
The thing of my desire ;
Thou Evermore of evermore.
Bless Thou to me my rest.

Bless to me the thing
Whereon is set my mind,
Bless to me the thing
Whereon is set my love ;
Bless to me the thing
Whereon is set my hope ;
O Thou King of kings,
Bless Thou to me mine eye. 

graphic: M Culver

Friday, May 17, 2013

Creeds (2)

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; 
he descended to the dead.On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,the communion of saints.the forgiveness of sins,the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

For hundreds of years Christians believed that this the simplest and least dogmatic of the earlier creeds was composed by the the twelve apostles, so much so that  the widely known creed bears their name. According to an ancient theory, the twelve composed the creed with each apostle adding a clause to form the whole.

Today practically all scholars understand this theory of apostolic composition to be legendary. Nevertheless, many continue to think of the creed as apostolic in nature because its basic teachings are agreeable to the theological formulations of the apostolic age.

The full form in which the creed now appears stems from about 700 AD. However, segments of it are found in Christian writings dating as early as the second century. The most important predecessor of the Apostles' Creed was the Old Roman Creed, which was probably developed during the second half of the second century.