08 October 2015

Keeping Friday in Union with Christ

These devotions below come from an older form and translation of the Maronite Catholic Office of Good Friday.  I commend them to you especially for use on Thursday after sunset through sunset on Friday (the Hebrew keeping of the day).  Many of you are too busy to say the Stations of the Cross, but every Friday needs a special recollection, contemplation, and devotion to Our Lord in His Suffering for our sake, our salvation, and the reconciliation of Creation with His Father the Creator of All. 

Very few engage in any act of self-denial on Friday since Vatican II; however, it was easy to understand how simply not eating meat (or eating loads of fish at the parish fish fry) did little to instill a deep devotion and solidarity between us and Our Lord in the memory of His suffering to death upon the Cross.  Something more was needed, but nothing of sufficient form or function came forward -- not surprising given the predilections of those involved in chopping, slicing, and dicing the liturgical and devotional life of the Church after Vatican II.

So .... I offer these Maronite prayers hoping that for some of you they will become a part of your Friday devotions to unite yourself with Our Lord in His suffering by specific recollection as well as self-denial. 

The Head
O Head of my Saviour and my God, dearer and more worshipful art thou to me crowned with thorns than adorned with a royal diadem. O wounds of the sacred Head, I believe and I confess that from you flow all blessing and all grace ; through you the true water of life is outpoured on all mankind. The piercing thorns have dared to tear the head of their Creator, and for the sins of men is he thus hideously used. O loving Saviour, forgive us those sins and grant us thy grace, for the sake of that precious Blood spilled for our salvation. Amen.

The Hands
O mighty Hands of my Saviour, by whose touch sight was given to the blind, Love stretched you on the cross that men should be drawn nearer to the divine heart. But for his will the cruel tormentors of earthly power were too weak to drive the nails. Woe to us, that by our sins we scorn thy love and renew thy bitter pains. Forgive me, O divine Saviour, and grant us for the sake of thy wounded hands the grace of perfect sorrow and strong will to flee all sin and its occasions, that we may keep our hands from wickedness. Amen.

The Feet
O loving Jesus, our Saviour and our God, thy sacred feet have walked only for out salvation, treading the stony paths in search of thy sheep lost and entangled in the thorns of sin. For this wert thou nailed to the cross by wicked men, and we have earned infinity of punishment. But infinite too is the divine mercy and love for men, and thou hast borne their punishment, praying thine Heavenly Father from the cross to forgive them, for they know not what they do. We wash thy feet with tears, as once did Mary Magdalen, that for the sake of their wounds we may hear thee say, 'Thy sins are forgiven thee.' Bind our feet, lest they enter on sinful ways ; guide them by thy grace, that they stumble not on stones and fail not for weakness, but reach thine eternal kingdom, where with thy saints we may praise thee for ever and ever. Amen.

From the older form of the Maronite Office of Good Friday

Prayers before Holy Communion

from The Wells Office Book, 1896
        O Most Merciful GOD, grant me so to receive the Body of Thy Only-Begotten SON, our LORD JESUS CHRIST, and His most Precious Blood, that I may be incorporated in His mystical Body, and ever reckoned among His members. And, O most Loving FATHER, grant me that Him Whom I now purpose to receive under a veil I may at length behold with open face, even Thy Belovèd SON, Who, with Thee and the HOLY GHOST, liveth and reigneth ever one GOD, world without end. Amen.

+ + +

                  Almighty and everlasting GOD
                  behold I approach the Sacrament 
                  of Thy Only-Begotten SON, our LORD JESUS CHRIST.
As sick, I come to the Physician of life :
As unclean, to the Fountain of mercy :
As blind, to the Light of eternal splendour :
As needy, to the LORD of Heaven and earth :
As naked, to the King of glory :
A lost sheep, to the Good Shepherd :
A fallen creature, to its Creator :
Desolate, to the kind Comforter :
Miserable, to the Pitier :
Guilty, to the Bestower of pardon :
Sinful, to the Justifier :
Hardened, to the Infuser of grace.
I implore therefore the abundance
of Thine Infinite Majesty,
That Thou wouldest vouchsafe
To heal my sickness, to wash my foulness,
To lighten my darkness, to enrich my poverty,
And to clothe my nakedness,
That I may receive the Bread of Angels,
The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords,
With such reverence and fear,
Such contrition and love,
Such faith and purity,
Such devotion and humility,
As is expedient for the welfare of my soul.

                         Grant me, I beseech Thee, 
                         to receive not only the Sacrament 
                         of the LORD's Body and Blood, 
                         but also the Virtue of this blessèd Sacrament. Amen.

The Wells Office Book, 1896
The Wells Theological College 
Wells Cathedral
The Diocese of Bath and Wells
The Church of England 

'The Liturgy forms man in wakefulness'

Dietrich von Hildebrand:

The man formed by the Liturgy is the man who is awake in the highest sense of the word. He is not only inwardly open to hearing the voice of God; he is not only aware of the ultimate Truth, but he also looks on all earthly goods in their true light. Far removed from all bluntness, indifference, stoic insensibility, and passiveness, his awakened ear is open to every created thing in its mysterious message from above and in its God-given meaning. His heart is open to the precious and noble character of created things such as water, for instance, as disclosed in the blessing of the baptismal water.

What a contrast to the blunt, obvious conceptions of earthly goods received from God's paternal hand is found int he liturgical "Benedicite!" What constantly awakened gratitude! "The eyes of all wait upon Thee, O Lord, and Thou givest them their meat in due season (Oculi omnium in te sperant, Domine, et tu das escam illorum in tempore opportuno )." "Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts which we are about to receive from Thy bounty (Benedic, Domine, nos et haec tua dona, quae de tua largitate sumus sumpturi )." "We give Thee thanks, O almighty God, for all Thy mercies (Agimus tibi gratias omnipotens Deus, pro universis beneficiis tuis )." At the same time, everything is organically placed into relation with the supernatural so that our spirit can rejoin again and again the unique and eternal, the goal of our hope: "May the King of eternal glory make us participate in the divine banquet (Mensae caelestis participes faciat nos Rex aeternae gloriae)."

The man formed by the Liturgy watches, so to speak, with a "burning lamp in his hand," and "with girt loins," for the advent of the Lord. His life is a life of longing, hope, gratitude, solemn emotion, and openness to the mysteries of being. We see how deeply wakefulness is linked with reverence, with the consciousness that an adequate response is due to value, and with the sense of the right gradation of values. The awakened man is also conscious of the ultimate tie which binds him to all men before God; he sees Christ in his neighbor; he lives in the truth of the Mystical Body of Christ. To the extent that a man is awakened in this sense, he exists fully as a person; he genuinely lives; his life is true; he is a personality in the original sense of the word.

Today it is particularly important to stress this point. In a legitimate reaction against an analytical, self-reflective consciousness, many have fallen into the cult of a naive unconsciousness, a childish unwakefulness. This is a falling into Charybdis in order to avoid Scylla. A wrong self-consciousness is, of course, disastrous, whether it takes the form of a squinting at the accomplishment of our life (in a curious looking backward at our actions and attitudes just in the living moment instead of focusing on the object) or whether it takes the form of an intellectual analysis and dissection of the world and ourselves in which we no longer see the woods for the trees. In either case, it is a hypertrophy of the analytical attitude which leaves no room for a contemplative possession of an obejct. But the unconscious man also is incomplete; he is an inauthentic half-man.

True consciousness, an indispensable element of personality and an essential part of transformation in Christ, is nothing but wakefulness. It means emerging from all the mists of the vital and the unconscious into the brightness of the logos; it means being irradiated by the lumen Christi. It also means the ripening toward that full wakefulness which we shall actually possess only in eternity when we shall be flooded by the lumen gloriae, when we no longer see through a glass in an obscure manner but face to face, and when we no longer know in part but know as we have been known.

The great motto of this earthly life must be, "Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour!"

Dietrich von Hildebrand

Liturgy and Personality:
The Healing Power of Formal Prayer
Sophia Institute Press, 1993
pp. 101-103


JESUS gave a boy a MESSAGE


The following is the first message that the Lord Jesus Christ gave to Segatashya to share with the world while he was still a young boy in his native Rwanda in Africa:

“Jesus Christ sent me here today to tell you, 
and all men to renew your hearts. 
The day is coming 
when things will really get hard for humanity. 

You must change your heart while there is still time. 

Soon those who have refused to repent 
will not be able to do so. 

Let those who know that I set foot on earth, 
know that I am on my way back 
to take those who have worked well for Me 
to heaven for their eternal reward.”

Neither Segatashya nor his parents had ever been in a school or a church. While not yet approved by the Catholic Church, I am a firm believer in the veracity of Emmanuel Segatashya and all that he said and did in his too short life.  

Jesus loves you.  Turn to Him and do not delay.

Emmanuel Segatashya, pray for us.

07 October 2015

Coptic Ikon of Christ Pantokrator


Msgr. Benson: IX. Christ in the Sinner


IX. Christ in the Sinner
The Friendship of Christ
by Robert Hugh Benson

This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them. -- LUKE xv: 2.

WE have considered how Christ approaches us, offering us His Friendship, under various forms and disguises, placing within our reach, that is to say, certain aspects, or even virtues and graces, of Himself which we cannot otherwise apprehend. He extends, for instance, His Priesthood to us in His human priest, and His Holiness in the saint.

Robert Hugh Benson
Both these particular disguises of His are simple enough. To those who know anything of His Reality as God, it is actually only through some extraordinary prejudice or blindness that they fail to recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd in the words which His priest is authorized to pronounce, or the Sanctity of the Most Holy in the superhuman lives of His closest intimates. It is not so easy to recognize Him in the Sinner; as the Sinner, it would seem, is the one character that He could not possibly assume. Even his dearest disciples seem to have at least been tempted to fail Him when, on the Cross, and yet more in Gethsemane, He "that knew no Sin, for us" was "made Sin."{II Cor. v: 21.}

I. First, however, it is clear that among His most marked characteristics, as recorded in the Gospels, were His Friendship for sinners, His extraordinary sympathy for them, and His apparent ease in their company. It was, in fact, for this very thing that fault was found with Him, who claimed, as He did, to teach a doctrine of perfection. And yet, if we think of it, this characteristic of His is one of His supreme credentials for His Divinity; since none but the Highest could condescend so low -- none but God would be so human. On the one side there is no patronage as from a superior height -- "This man receiveth sinners."{Luke xv: 2.} He is not content to preach to them: He "eateth with them" as if on their level. And, on the other, not a taint of the silly modern pose of unmorality: His final message is always, "Go, and now sin no more."{John viii: 11.}

So emphatic, indeed, is His Friendship for sinners that it seems, superficially, as if comparatively He cared but little for the saints. "I am not come to call the just," He says, "but sinners."{Matt. ix: 23.} Three times over in a single discourse He drives this lesson home to souls that are naturally prejudiced the other way -- since the chief danger of religious souls lies in Pharisaism -- in three tremendous parables.{Luke xv.} The piece of silver lost in the house is declared more precious than the nine pieces in the money-box: the single wilful sheep lost in the wilderness more valuable than the ninety-nine in the fold: the rebellious son lost in the world more dear than the elder, and the heir, safe at home.

See, too, how He acted on what He said. It is not merely a vague benevolence that He practises towards sinners in the abstract; but a particular kindness towards sinners in the concrete. He chooses out, it seems, the three types of all sin and unites them in a special manner to His company.

To the careless, reckless, thick-skinned villain He promises Paradise; to the hot-blooded, passionate, sensitive Magdalene He gives absolution and praises her love; and even that sinner most repulsive of all -- the deliberate, cold-hearted traitor who prefers thirty shillings to His Master -- He greets even in the very moment and climax of his treachery with the tenderest title of all -- "Friend," says Jesus Christ, "whereto art thou come?"{Matt. xxvi: 50.}

One lesson emerges, then from the Gospel story clearly enough. We cannot know Christ in His most characteristic aspect until we find Him among the Sinners.

II. What, however, does this mean? Again and again the world revolts. We can recognize our Priest when he ministers at His altar; our King of Saints when He is transfigured; we can even recognize Him, in a manner, ministering to sinners -- since He ministers to ourselves -- but is there any intelligible sense in which we can say that He identifies Himself with them, in such a sense that we are to seek Him in them, and not merely amongst them?

Yet the example of the saints is clear and unmistakable. Souls that are wholly united to Christ seek nothing except Christ; and, if one thing is plain, it is that such souls, whether they retire from the world to labour in penance and prayer or plunge into the world in effort and activity, are seeking not merely things alien to Christ that they may make them His, but Christ Himself, in a sense, alien to Himself, that they may reconcile them. . . .

After all it is very simple; since Christ is the "Light which enlighteneth every man coming into this world,"{John i: 9.} and it is the Presence of Christ, and that only, that makes a human soul of any value. Certainly in one sense, the soul lost in sin has lost Christ -- His Presence is no longer in the soul by grace; yet in another sense, and an appallingly real and tragic one, Christ is there still. If a sinner merely drove Christ away by his sin, we could let such a soul go; it is because, in St. Paul's terrifying phrase, the sinful soul holds Christ still, "crucifying" Him and "making Him a mockery,"{Heb. vi: 6.} that we cannot bear to leave him to himself. 

Such a soul has not yet entered Hell; nor yet lost, finally and eternally, the Presence of God; she is still in a state of probation, and therefore still holds her Saviour in mystical bonds and fetters. There, then, our Friend is not merely pleading with the soul externally, but, in a manner, internally too: there in the half-stifled voice of conscience is the Voice of Jesus Christ entreating through lips bruised once again. There lies the Light of the World, crushed to a glimmering spark by a weight of ashes; the Absolute Truth, half-silenced by Falsehood; the Life of the World to come pressed to the brink of death by a life still in this world, and of it.

From such a soul, therefore, our Lover cries with the bitterest pathos of all -- "Have mercy on me, 0 my friends. . . . In the words of my priest I can still perform actions of wonder and mercy; in the lives of my Saints I can live again a holy life on earth; by every soul in grace I am at least tolerated and left in peace, if not actually welcomed. But in the soul of this sinner I am powerless. I speak, but I am not heard; I struggle and am struck down. . . . 'Attend, and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow.'{Lam. i: 22.}. . . Behold, 'I thirst'. . ." {John xix: 28.}

There then is Christ, in the disguise of one who has rejected Him.

III. Now this recognition of Christ in the Sinner is the single essential to our capacity for helping the sinner. We must believe in his possibilities. And his only "possibility" is Christ. We have to recognize, that is to say, that beneath his apparent absence of faith there is still, at any rate, a spark of hope; beneath his hopelessness, at least a glimmer of charity. Mere pleading and rebuke are worse than useless. We have to do, on the level of our own capacities, something of what Christ did in His Omnipotent love -- identify ourselves with the sinner, penetrate through his lovelessness and his darkness down to the love and light of Christ Who has not yet wholly left him to himself. We have, in a word, to make the best of him and not the worst (as our Lord does for ourselves every time He forgives us our sins), to forgive his trespasses as we hope that God will forgive our own. To recognize Christ in the sinner is not only to Christ's service, but to the sinner's as well.

Yet how pitiable is the failure of Christians to understand this -- or, at any rate, to act upon it! It is easy enough to persuade men to take part, let us say, in a liturgical function where Christ is evidently honoured; to adore Him in the Blessed Sacrament; to reverence Him in His priests; to celebrate the feast of a saint. But it is terribly difficult to persuade them to engage in work whose material lies in Christ's dishonour -- to support, let us say, Rescue Societies, or guilds for the conversion of the heathen. We are terribly apt to hug ourselves in our own religion, to leave sinners to themselves, to draw the curtains close, to make small cynical remarks, and to forget that a failure to recognize the claim of the heathen and the publican is a failure to recognize the Lord whom we profess to serve, under the disguise in which He most urgently desires our friendship.

Look at the Crucifix. Then turn and look at the Sinner. Both are, in themselves, repulsive and horrible to the eyes of cold and godless perfection: both are lovely and desirable, since Christ is in both: both are infinitely pathetic and appealing, since in both He "that knew no sin" is "made sin."{II Cor. v: 21.} . . . For the crucifix and the Sinner are profoundly, and not merely superficially, alike in this -- that both are what the rebellious self-will of man has made of the Image of God; and therefore should be the object of the deepest devotion of all who desire to see that Image restored again to glory -- of all who pretend even to any sympathy with Him who not only is the Friend of Sinners, but chooses to identify Himself with them.

To fail to recognize Christ, therefore, in the sinner is to fail to recognize Christ when He is most fully and characteristically Himself. All the devotion in the world to the White Host in the monstrance; all the adoration in the world to the Stainless Child in the arms of His Stainless Mother -- all this fails utterly to attain to its true end, unless there accompanies it a passion for the souls of those who dishonour Him, since, beneath all the filth and the corruption of their sins, He who is in the Blessed Sacrament and the Crib dwells here also, and cries to us for help.

Lastly, it is necessary to remember that if we are to have pity on Christ in the Sinner, we must therefore have pity on Christ in ourself. . . .

The Friendship of Christ
Robert Hugh Benson

Robert Hugh Benson, son of the Archbishop of Canterbury, became a Roman Catholic priest, a novelist, and a prominent writer of apologetics.  He reposed in the Lord in his forty-third year.

To JESUS the Life of Our Flesh


     To JESUS the life of our flesh,
     Who quickeneth whom He willeth :
     To JESUS the life of our soul,
     Who came that we might live more abundantly:
     To JESUS the life of His Church,
     Who loved her and gave Himself for her :
     Let all mankind in earth and in paradise,
     Reconciled by His death, and saved by His life,
     Give glory and honour, worship and praise,
     Now and for ever and ever.

from Sursum Corda
A Handbook of Intercession and Thanksgiving
W.H. Frere and A.L. Illington

O Jesus, Lover of Humanity, 
Remember us in the Great Day of Thy Kingdom, 
O Thou Anointed Son of God Most High.


'Pregnant Mountain'


    Please click here to read about this stunning sculpture "Pregnant Mountain" in Santo Domingo, Colombia.  The link will take you to an article on LifeSiteNews.com about the sculpture and the remarkable young Christian artist Dubian Monsalve.

   From the article, Dubian Monsalve says:

   "Do not be afraid," he said, referring to other artists who struggle to express their faith. "It is something Jesus taught us, we can't remain silent. I really enjoyed doing this piece because it encompasses a universal message about life, a message to protect life from its beginning until its end and it's not worth it to give up simply because of worldly prejudices and criticism."

     Finally, he said that for him it was all about "strength, being brave and taking a chance on standing by your thoughts, your ideas, and being a Christian artist."

• • • • •

In spite of the stigma Colombia has still today, it is one of the best places for Catholics to live in many ways and for retired Catholic Canadians and Americans it makes great sense to relocate to a city like Medellín and make their home there.

I have seen too many people in retirement suffering in the USA and Canada because they simply cannot afford the cost of living, and they do not wish to live in a nation that has become godless and increasingly anti-religious if not anti-Christian.

Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Chile provide many options for ex-pats looking for a cheaper cost of living in a predominately Catholic nation.  Perhaps this post is God's word to someone to consider leaving the USA and Canada for parts South.  Perhaps this post is meant for you, dear Reader, to consider as well as to be encouraged by the stunning witness of the young sculptor and his amazing work on the mountainside in Colombia.

For this world in suffering


O God, the Father of all look down in pity on those who suffer, and heal the anguish of the world; release from the prison-house all held in the bondage of fear and set free such as are bound by the fetters of disease, whether of soul or body. Do Thou care for the desolate, give rest to the weary, comfort the sorrowful, watch by the sleepless, and to those who lie untended in their sickness grant the gentle ministry of angels, to supply their needs and relieve their pain. Visit with Thy great compassion all in their last agony and bring them in peace and safety into Thy Paradise of love. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


04 October 2015

From the Nigerian Anglican Church


Week after week many Anglicans and Roman Catholics now pray the most tepid of prayers as a form of Universal Prayer, the Prayer of the Faithful, or the Prayer of the People of God.  Many times these prayers are so brief and anemic as to be an embarrassment before the throne of God. Surely there must be something better to offer up to so generous a God especially when we are in such need of His grace and intervention in our lives.

Below please find two excellent prayers from the 1996 Liturgy of the Anglican Communion's Church in Nigeria.  They are best prayed aloud in my opinion:

Be mindful, O Lord, of Your people present here before You, and of those who are absent through age, sickness or infirmity. Care for the infants, guide the young, support the aged, encourage the faint-hearted, gather the scattered, and bring back the wandering to Your fold. Travel with the voyagers, defend the widows, shield the orphans, deliver the captives, heal the sick. Succour all who are in tribulation, necessity or distress. Remember for good all those that love us, and those that hate us; and those that have desired us, unworthy as we are, to pray for them. And those whom we have forgotten, please O Lord, remember. For You are the Helper of the helpless, the Saviour of the lost, the Refuge of the wanderer, the Healer of the sick. You who know each person’s need, and hear prayers, grant to each person according to Your merciful loving-kindness and Your eternal love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, we praise You for all that You have done for us as a nation. Deepen the root of our national life in Your everlasting righteousness, let not Your blessings be withdrawn from us. Make us equal to our high trusts, reverent in the use of freedom, just in the exercise of power, and generous in the protection of the weak. Inspire the people who direct this local government, this state and this country, that they may guide us wisely and well; give insight and faithfulness to our legislators and judges both at the state and federal levels; and may our deepest trust ever be in You, the Lord of nations and the King of Kings; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Jesus Living in Mary

Written by the hand of Theophilia

O Jesu vivens in Maria
Veni et vive in famulis tuis,
In spiritu sanctitatis tuae,
In plenitudine virtutis tuae,
In perfectione viarum tuarum,
In veritate virtutum tuarum,
In communione Mysteriorum tuorum;
Dominare omni adversae potestati,
In Spiritu tuo ad gloriam Patris.

Fr Jean Jacques Olier, S.S. 


03 October 2015

A Collect: Ste. Thérèse of the Child Jesus


O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast said, Except ye become as little children ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven: Grant us, we beseech thee; in meekness and lowliness of heart to follow the footsteps of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, thy holy virgin, and so at last to come unto thine everlasting kingdom; where thou livest and reignest, with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

O good Saint Thérèse, 
thou Little Flower of Christ, 
intercede for us 
and for the Church in need.


Archibshop Hindo denounces CIA presence & support of Muslim Terrorists in Syria

Hassaké (Agenzia Fides) - Archbishop Hindo: "US Senator John McCain protested saying that the Russians are not bombing the positions of the Islamic State, but rather the anti-Assad rebels trained by the CIA. I find these words are disturbing. They represent a blatant admission that behind the war against Assad there is also the CIA". 

This is what Syrian Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo says to Agenzia Fides with regards to recent developments in the Syrian conflict, marked by the direct intervention of Russian military forces against the positions of the jihadi militias. 

"Western propaganda", said Archbishop Hindo "keeps talking about moderate rebels, who do not exist". According to Syrian Catholic Archbishop, "there is something very disturbing about all this: there is a superpower (read: USA) that since September 11 protests because the Russians hit the militias of al-Qaeda in Syria. What does it mean? Al-Qaeda is now a US ally, just because in Syria it has a different name? But do they really despise our intelligence and our memory?

In the interview with Fides, Archbishop Hindo repeats that "the Syrians will decide if and when Assad has to go away, and not the Daesh or the West. And it is certain that if Assad goes away now, Syria will become like Libya". 

Syrian Archbishop launches a warning: "We have received terrible news from the city of Deir al Zor, which has been besieged by Daesh for a long time. There is no more food in town, and the population is literally starving. We need to do something immediately, before it is too late". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 02/10/2015)

• • •
For readers in the USA who are unaware, there are many photographs of U.S. Sen. John McCain with Islamist terrorists in Syria who are receiving training from the CIA and funding from a strange group that includes the CIA, the Saudi royal family, Qatar, and elements of the Israeli government.   As the Archbishop says, there are no moderate Muslim rebels. Not one.  So just what is going on here?

The greater mystery is how is it that Christians in the USA stand by doing nothing politically while their federal government continues to support and train Islamist movements that seek to destroy, murder, and eradicate the native Christians of the Middle East while at the same time admitting untold numbers of Muslim refugees into the USA while denying Christian refugees the same access to entry into the USA.  Do wake up before the Lord returns please.

02 October 2015

Like Meek Lambs (Glorification for Martyrs of Libya) تمجيد لشهداء ليبيا - Mina Ghattas


Based on the Lyrics of Edward C. Yong

Like meek lambs: 
you cried out: 
with your final breath: 
‘O Lord Jesus.’
+ And like roses blooming: 
in the deserts of Libya: 
you shed your blood: 
for our Saviour.
With godly valour: 
you enlightened the whole world: 
with courage and love: 
from your steadfast faith.
+ O Pride of Minya: 
and Boast of the church of Mark: 
intercede with Christ: 
that He may save our souls.
O you new martyrs: 
Victorious and Brave: 
the faithful children: 
of the Nation of the Cross:
+ You denied not Christ: 
to save your mortal lives.
With your faithfulness,
you earned the crowns of life.
You heard the Shepherd’s Voice,
calling out to you:
“Come unto Me,
O Blessed of My Father”
+ He embraced you, 
with arms open wide,
and you found true rest,
by the shores of Paradise.
Your blood blessed the sea,
and spread throughout the earth,
planting the seed of faith,
in the hearts of the Christians.
+ You witnessed to us: 
who honour your struggle:
that the Lord gives strength: 
in the hour of trial.
By your example: 
we raise our voice and sing:
O Lord Jesus, 
be our comfort and strength!

Anscar Vonier: To See the Angels


From The Angels by Anscar Vonier, the Second Abbot at Buckfast

It is evident by all the laws of spiritual life that angelic beings must be, in one way or another, a great element in the constitution of man's eternal happiness. The bliss of the elect will be essentially this — to possess all truth, to be in contact with all reality, to see all beauty. 

To see the angels, to behold them, must of necessity constitute a source of happiness greater than anything which the visible world could afford; in fact, it is the supreme created source of happiness; God himself, clearly seen in the beatific vision, being the uncreated source of happiness. 

To be with the angels, to see them in their glory, is a most legitimate desire in the heart of man, and the saints of God have often given utterance to such a longing. We must always keep alive within us that essentially Catholic principle· of life, that the possession of the supreme Goodness, God himself, never destroys the appetite for created goodness, but, on the contrary, enhances it; to see God face to face produces in the minds of the elect a new capacity to see him in his creatures, and where is he seen to greater advantage than in the world of angels, which mirrors back, with an almost infinite power of radiation, the glory of the invisible God? 

Moreover, through the communion of supernatural grace man is allied to the angels by the bond of charity, he is not a foreigner but he is a fellow-citizen. There will be this truest exchange of love between man and the heavenly spirits: man, besides beholding the angels in their glory, will hold intercourse with them as citizens of the same kingdom, as the children of the same Father. This intercourse with the heavenly spirits will be the last thing in created love; greater love than that there could not be except man's communion with God himself.

There is, however, something deeper than this association with the angels in vision and love. It is Catholic tradition that the elect of the human race are destined to take the place of the fallen spirits, to fill up the gap made by the apostasies of the rebellious angels. This tradition profoundly modifies man's relationship to the angels; it puts him on a footing of equality with those mighty beings which is the most astonishing of all spiritual exaltations.

Anscar Vonier, Buckfast
That there will be more than mere association of men and angels in the glory of eternity is clear from our Lord's words in speaking of the elect at the resurrection: Neither can they die anymore: for they are equal to the angels and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. This equality is entirely based on grace. 

Human nature will always remain what it is, vastly inferior to the angelic nature; but such is the power of grace that the inequality of nature is bridged over, and an elect from the human race may truly become, in all literalness of language, the equal of the highest angel.

Then again there are those human beings who will be absolutely superior by the very laws of their predestination to every angelic order; the blessed Mother of God is certainly one such creature.

The all-pervading principle is this: that grace is greater than nature, greater even than the highest spirit nature, and its scope is vaster than the vastest world.


01 October 2015

Saint Isaac the Syrian, Bishop of Nineveh


Via the Reverend Canon A.M. Allchin of + Memory Eternal +

Saint Isaac the Syrian writes:

    An elder was once asked 'What is a compassionate heart?'

    He replied, 'It is a heart on fire for the whole of creation, for humanity, for the birds, for the animals, for demons and for all that exists.

    'At the recollection and at the sight of them such a person's eyes overflow with tears owing to the vehemence of the compassion which grips his heart; as a result of his deep mercy, his heart shrinks and cannot bear to hear or look on any injury or the slightest suffering of anything in creation.

    'This is why he constantly offers up prayer full of tears, even for the irrational animals and for the enemies of truth, even for those who harm him, so that they may be protected and find mercy. He even prays for the reptiles as a result of the great compassion which is poured out without measure - after the likeness of God - in his heart. '

The heart of compassion: 
daily readings with St Isaac of Syria 
(London 1989), p9. 

Holy Michael Archangel

detail from stained glass window in
Trinity Episcopal Church, Galveston Island, Texas


A Prayer of Humble Access

from the Liturgy of Comprehension A.D. 1689 

WE do not presume to come to this Thy Table,
O merciful Lord,
trusting in our own righteousness,
but in Thy manifold and great Mercies.
We are not worthy
so much as to gather up the crumbs under Thy Table.
But thou art the same Lord,
Whose property is always to have Mercy:
Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord,
so to eat the Flesh of Thy dear Son Jesus Christ
and to drink His Blood,
that our souls and bodies may be washed and cleansed
by the Sacrifice of His Most Precious Body and Blood,
and that we may evermore dwell in Him, and He in us. Amen.

Today I have returned to contemplate the above 'failed' form of The Prayer of Humble Access.  Of the several forms that exist I find this one exceptional for its unique evangelical and catholic phrases '... that our souls and bodies may be washed and cleansed / by the Sacrifice of His Most Precious Body and Blood'.  Note well the position of these phrases following after the familiar 'Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord,/so to eat the Flesh of Thy dear Son Jesus Christ/and to drink His Blood'.  The richness and genius of the prayer never ceases to move me in each of its several forms.

The more recognisable text in The Book of Common Prayer, 1662 has been hallowed by time, use, and familiarity, but I do wonder if the five forms with which I am familiar were placed side by side .. (1) which one would the average Catholic say was the 'most Catholic', (2) which one would be found the easiest to 'comprehend', and (3) which one provoked the deepest thought, contemplation, and worship of the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist.


30 September 2015

An Irvingite Act of Angelical Praise

from the (Irvingite) Catholic Apostolic Church (U.K.)

The Prayer of Saint Edmund


O Lord, into thy hands
and into the hands of thine holy angels,
I commit and entrust this day my soul,
my relatives, benefactors, friends and enemies,
and all thy Catholic people.

Keep us, O Lord, through the day,
by the merits and intercession
of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all thy saints;
keep us from all vicious and unruly desires,
from all sins and temptations of the devil,
from a sudden unprepared death,
and the pains of hell.

Illumine my heart with the grace of thy Holy Ghost.
Grant that I may ever be obedient to thy commandments.
Suffer me not to be separated from thee, O God,
who livest and reignest with God the Father 
and the same Holy Ghost. Amen.