Monday, March 24, 2014

Oscar Romero (1917-1980)

 The Violence of Love

“We have never preached violence, except the violence of love, which left Christ nailed to a cross, the violence that we must each do to ourselves to overcome our selfishness and such cruel inequalities among us. The violence we preach is not the violence of the sword, the violence of hatred. It is the violence of love, of brotherhood,the violence that wills to beat weapons into sickles for work.” 

 “When we struggle for human rights, for freedom, for dignity, when we feel that it is a ministry of the church to concern itself for those who are hungry, for those who have no schools, for those who are deprived, we are not departing from God’s promise. He comes to free us from sin, and the church knows that sin’s consequences are all such injustices and abuses. The church knows it is saving the world when it undertakes to speak also of such things.” 

 “For the church, the many abuses of human life, liberty, and dignity are a heartfelt suffering. The church, entrusted with the earth’s glory, believes that in each person is the Creator’s image and that everyone who tramples it offends God. As holy defender of God’s rights and of his images, the church must cry out. It takes as spittle in its face, as lashes on its back, as the cross in its passion, all that human beings suffer, even though they be unbelievers. They suffer as God’s images. There is no dichotomy between man and God’s image. Whoever tortures a human being, whoever abuses a human being, whoever outrages a human being abuses God’s image, and the church takes as its own that cross, that martyrdom.” 

 “I don’t want to be an anti, against anybody. I simply want to be the builder of a great affirmation: the affirmation of God,who loves us and who wants to save us.” 

 “We must overturn so many idols, the idol of self first of all, so that we can be humble, and only from our humility can learn to be redeemers, can learn to work together in the way the world really needs. Liberation that raises a cry against others is no true liberation. Liberation that means revolutions of hate and violence and takes away lives of others or abases the dignity of others cannot be true liberty. True liberty does violence to self and, like Christ, who disregarded that he was sovereign becomes a slave to serve others.” 

All quotes from  the Violence of Love by Oscar Romero

Cuthbert of Lindisfarne (634-687)

Cuthbert and the Otters

Late at night, after all of the monks had fallen asleep, he would sometimes sneak out of the monastery and head out to the sea, where he would wade into the water up to his neck, raise his arms to the sky, and pray with the rhythm of the waves. Although the monks realized that his bed was often empty, they were not entirely clear about what he did during his late-night adventures. One night, a monk decided to follow him discreetly, hoping that he would not be caught.
This is what he saw: Cuthbert waded deep into the sea, praying in his customary fashion. He prayed all through the night, and at the first light of dawn he returned to the shore and knelt for more prayer. When Cuthbert emerged from the sea he wasn't alone. He was followed by two otters, who panted on Cuthbert's feet to dry them, and snuggled against his body to try to warm him with their fur.

 The otters stayed with Cuthbert as he completed his prayer, kneeling before him in the sand. They did not depart until he offered them his blessing. The monk who had witnessed this remarkable sight was terrified. He could barely walk and stumbled several times on his way back to the monastery. There he watched Cuthbert pray the morning hours with the brother monks, and he knew he had to confess.

That morning, he fell on the ground before Cuthbert, weeping. St. Cuthbert said, “What is it, brother? What have you done?” The monk confessed to having followed him. St. Cuthbert offered his forgiveness on one condition — that he not share what he had seen until after his death. The monk agreed to this and kept the secret for all of Cuthbert's days. After the saint died in 687, the monk shared the story with anyone who would listen.

Link to Cuthberts Living Water from an acient well thumbnail Bio 

Monday, March 17, 2014

A old Celtic Blessing

May the blessing of light be on you
light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you
and warm your heart
till it glows like a great peat fire.

St Patrick (387-460)

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; and

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.

from St Patricks Confession

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Penitential 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

The Patrick, David Connection

The following story is taken from Rhygyvarch's "Life St David".

Then Patrick, polished with Roman learning and teeming with excellences, having been made a bishop, sought the people from whom he had lived in exile, among whom he might by unwearied toil replenish the lamp of fruitful endeavor by a double portion of the oil of charity, unwilling to place the same under a bushel, but on a stand that it might shine on all to the glory of the universal Father. 

He came to the country of the people of Ceredigion, wherein he sojourned a little while. He enters Demetica rura, the country of Dyved, and there wandering about arrived at length at the place which was named Vallis Rosina; and perceiving that the place was pleasant, he vowed to serve God faithfully there. But when he was revolving these things in his mind, an angel of the Lord appeared to him. "God," said he, "has not disposed this place for you, but for a son who is not yet born, nor will he be born until thirty years are past." On hearing these words Saint Patrick grieved and was confounded, and in anger he exclaimed, "Why has the Lord despised his servant who has served him from his infancy with fear and love? Why has he chosen another not yet born into this light nor will be born for thirty years?" 

And he prepared to fly, and to abandon his Lord, Jesus Christ, saying, "Inasmuch as my labour is reduced to nothing in the sight of my Lord, and one is preferred before me, who is not yet born, I will go and submit no longer to such toil." But the Lord loved Patrick much, and sent to him his angel to coax him with kindly words, saying to him, "Rejoice, Patrick, for the Lord hath sent me to you that I may show you the whole of the island of Ireland from the seat which is in Vallis Rosina," which now is named "the Seat of Patrick." And the angel says to him, "Exult, Patrick, for you shall be the apostle of the whole of that island which you see, and you shall suffer many things in it for the name of the Lord your God, but the Lord will be with you in all things which you shall do, for as yet it has not received the word of life; and there you ought to do good; there the Lord has prepared a seat for you; there you shall shine in signs and miracles, and you shall subdue the whole people to God. Let this be to you for a sign. I will show you the whole island. Let the mountains be bent; the sea shall be made smooth; the eye bearing forth across all things, looking out from [this] place, shall behold the promise." At these words he raised his eyes from the place in which he was standing, which now is called "the Seat of Patrick," and beheld the whole island. 

At length the mind of Patrick was appeased, and he cheerfully quitted the sacred spot for holy David; and preparing a ship in Porth Mawr, he raised from the dead a certain old man, Criumther by name, who for twelve years had lain buried by that shore; and Patrick sailed for Ireland, taking with him the man he had just raised from the dead, who afterwards was made a bishop.

Graphic: ...

a living Water from an ancient well reprint from 2009

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Penitentials Psalms (2)


Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
When I declared not my sin, my body wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
I acknowledged my sin to thee,
and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord";
then thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin.
Therefore let every one who is godly
offer prayer to thee;
at a time of distress, in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
Thou art a hiding place for me,
thou preservest me from trouble;
thou dost encompass me with deliverance.
I will instruct you and teach you
the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
else it will not keep with you.
Many are the pangs of the wicked;
but steadfast love surrounds him who trusts in the Lord.
Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! Glory...

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Blessing to be said on rising

Christ be with me,
be after me,
be before me,
and be at my right and left hand.
May everything I do be for Christ.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

the Penitential Psalms (1)

 There are seven psalms that are particularly expressive of repentance and  remorse of sin. They are known as the  Penitential or  Confessional Psalms.  These are Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143   The name Penitential Psalm was  originally associated  the fifty-first Psalm  which was used in the morning office.  Around four hundred four Psalms were identified as penitentials by Augustine of Hippo. Traditionally they are often associated with Lent.


O Lord, rebuke me not in thy anger,
nor chasten me in thy wrath.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is sorely troubled.
But thou, O Lord -- how long?
Turn, O Lord, save my life;
deliver me for the sake of thy steadfast love.
For in death there is no remembrance of thee;
in Sheol who can give thee praise?
I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief,
it grows weak because of all my foes.
Depart from me, all you workers of evil;
for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my supplication;
the Lord accepts my prayer.
All my enemies shall be ashamed and sorely troubled;
they shall turn back, and be put to shame in a moment.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ash Wednesday

O Lord and Master of my life,
give me not the spirit of laziness,
despair, lust of power, and idle talk. (prostration)
But give rather the spirit of sobriety,
humility, patience and love to Thy servant. (prostration)

Yea, O Lord and King,
grant me to see my own transgressions
and not to judge my brother,
for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages. Amen (prostration)

St. Ephraim the Syrian (AD 305-373)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Another Excerp from Rygyvarch's Life of David


 As his merits increased, his offices of honour increased also. For one night an angel visited him, and said to him, "Tomorrow you will gird yourself. Put on your shoes. Start to go to Jerusalem. Undertake the desired journey. But two others will I call also to be your companions on the way, to wit Eiludd," who is now commonly called Teilo, who formerly was a monk in his monastery, "and Padarn," whose life and miracles are contained in his history. The holy father, wondering at the word of command, said, "How shall this be, for the comrades whom you promise are at a distance of three days, or s many more, from us and from themselves? By no means, therefore, shall we come together tomorrow." The angel informs him, "I will go this night to each of them, and they shall assemble at the place appointed, which I now show." Saint David, making no delay, settled what was necessary for the monastery, received the blessing of the brethren, and started on his way early in the morning. He arrives at the appointed place, finds there the promised brethren, and together they enter on the journey. Their pilgrimage is on terms of equality, for none in mind is prior to another, each of them being servant, each being master. They persevere in prayer, and water the way with tears. The further the foot proceeded, the reward increased, they being one as to their mind, one in joy, one in sorrow.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

David of Wales (500-589)

Around 1090 Rhygyvarch (sometimes spelled Rhygyfarch) (1056–1099) wrote a Life of Saint David. All the surviving manuscripts of The Life of David of Wales may be traced to Rhygyvarch's text as their ultimate source.
Rhygyvarch was in a unique and ideal position to write David's Life. As the son of a bishop of the Bishop 
who occupied David's monastery, he had free access to the texts that survived the many ninth and tenth century Viking raids along the Welsh coast. Rhygyvarch says he wrote his account from the text of "very old writings" he found.

The narrative is a simple, well ordered text and a masterful hagiographer in which miracles abound and historical details are ever subordinated to them.

Below is an excerpts from  Rygyvarch's life of David

When the solemnities of Easter were over, the holy father, Saint David, goes to the refectory to a meal with the brethren. There met him his former disciple, Scutinus, who told him all the things which had been done against him and what the angel had enjoined concerning him. They joyfully recline together in the refectory, giving thanks to God. When prayer was ended, up rose the deacon, who had been wont to minister to the father, and placed on the table the bread prepared with poison, the cellarer and the prior consenting to the same. Scutinus, who has also another name, Scolanus, stood up and said, "Today, brother, you will perform no service to the father, for I myself will do it." The deacon withdrew in confusion, being conscious of the crime, and rigid with astonishment. And holy David took the poisoned bread, and dividing it into three parts, gave one to a little dog which stood outside by the door, and as soon as it had tasted the bit it died a wretched death, for in the twinkling of an eye all its hair fell off, so that its entrails burst forth, its skin splitting all over; and all the brethren who saw it were astonished. And holy David threw the second part to a raven, which was in its next in an ash, which was between the refectory and the river on the south side, and as soon as it touched it with its beak, it fell lifeless from the tree. But the third part holy David held in his hand, and blessed, and ate it with giving of thanks, and all the brethren looked at him, amazed with wonder, for about three hours. He dauntless preserved his life intact, no sign of the deadly poison appearing. And holy David told his brethren everything which had been done by the three men aforesaid. And all the brethren stood up and lamented aloud, and cursed those treasonous men, to wit, the prior, the cellarer, and the deacon, and damned them and their successors, declaring with one voice that they should never have a part in the heavenly kingdom throughout eternity.

graphic: carving of st David standing

for more see Living water from an ancient well thumb nail life of David of Wales