04 September 2015

Joseph Martin Kronheim's Scriptural Art

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The Sunday at Home: A Family Magazine for Sabbath Reading, 1880 [collected volume]
There was a time when many Christians in northern Europe and the British Empire cherished such prints of Sacred Scripture.  They appeared in the magazines of the 19th century and early 20th century, and many families would frame these prints to adorn the walls in the family home.  These were often the icons of devout Protestant homes.

The electronic scan of such an artwork by Joseph Martin Kronheim (found above) does not fully communicate the beauty of the print using the George Baxter process.  And yet even in this form one can see that it is beautifully rendered (even if it isn't one's cup of tea).  

The quotation from The Revelation to St. John in the Authorised Version (King James) translation was given an artistic treatment that invites the reader to contemplate the scripture "in a different voice" from the plain text in the normative printing of the Holy Bible.  The scripture itself becomes a thing of Beauty.

If you like, dear Reader, you may click on the image above, and 'God willing and the creek don't rise' you will open up a larger version.  And perhaps you will want to adorn the 'wall' of your computer screen background image with this Kronheim print.  God bless!
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The Four Ends of the Mass

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23 August 2015

Jesus' First Message to Segatashya

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This 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.

Emmanuel Segatashya
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17 August 2015

From Traherne, on Blessed Mother Mary

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Previously I posted a phrase from the saintly Thomas Traherne that I thought worth committing to memory on the Solemnity of the Assumption and the octave following.  Today, dear Reader, please allow me to share a bit more of this mid-seventeenth century Anglican Priest-Poet's praise of God for the Holy Virgin.  

Keep in mind that this is written by an Anglican priest in the Church of England a number of centuries ago,  but is it not an expression of praise at the very heart of the teachings of the Apostolic, Catholic, and Orthodox Church of those early centuries after the Out-Pouring and Indwelling of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost?  Is it not one with the same heart of devotion as found in the writings of St. Ephrem, the prayerful petitions of the Litany of Loreto, and the praises of the Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos?


Thomas Traherne writes:

"And first, O Lord, I praise and magnify thy Name
For the Most Holy Virgin-Mother of God,
who is the Highest of thy Saints.
The most Glorious of thy Creatures.
The most Perfect of all thy Works.
The nearest unto Thee in the Throne of God.

Whom thou didst please to make
Daughter of the Eternal Father,
Mother of the Eternal Son.
Spouse of the Eternal Spirit,
Tabernacle of the most Glorious Trinity.
Mother of Jesus.
Mother of the Messias.
Mother of him who was the Desire of all Nations.
Mother of the Prince of Peace.
Mother of the King of Heaven.
Mother of our Creator.
Mother and Virgin.
Mirror of Humility and Obedience.
Mirror of Wisdom and Devotion.
Mirror of Modesty and Chastity.
Mother of Sweetness and Resignation.
Mirror of Sanctity.
Mirror of all Virtues.
The most illustrious Light in the Church,
wearing over all her beauties the veil of Humility
to shine the more resplendently in thy Eternal Glory ..."


Assumption of the Mother of God by Francesco Botticini

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15 August 2015

Ruminating upon the Assumption

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On this Feast of the Dormition and Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary,   I have been enjoying a blog post entitled Blessed are the Pure in Heart by Dr. Peter Howard on the Spiritual direction.com website that I especially appreciate.  It also includes an image of the Assumption of Mary by Corbert Gauthier that may appeal to those who do not usually relate to the typical Roman Catholic paintings of the same.  Click here for the article by Dr. Howard wherein one may find the beautiful Gauthier painting.

I am spending most of this day ruminating upon the Falling-Asleep (Dormition) and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and how my Anglo-Catholic background leads me to think and feel about this solemnity.  But chiefly I am contemplating how I relate to and love St. Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, who is our own Mother through Christ Jesus.


There is a short but passionate phrase from Thomas Traherne (the catholic-minded Anglican Priest-Poet of the mid seventeenth century) that is found in his 'Church's Year Book' which I think is worthy to pray and contemplate many times during the day of the Assumption and during the octave of the great feast which I knew once upon a time as Assumptiontide.


And first O Lord I praise and magnify thy Name
For the Most Holy Virgin-Mother of God, 
who is the Highest of thy Saints.
The most Glorious of thy Creatures.
The most Perfect of all thy Works.
The nearest unto Thee in the Throne of God ...


Perhaps like me you will commit this to memory so that a prayer learnt by heart will become a prayer of the heart.  Today and the week ahead is a good time to engrave this act of praise in our hearts and souls so that daily we may say the same to God Most High.

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13 August 2015

Mercy

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When the Year of Mercy begins on December 8th, the Vatican has chosen the following hymn by Paul Inwood to serve as the official hymn of the holy year:



It is mercifully not the happy-clappy song that I was expecting.   It has the feel of a chant from Taizé.  It is not in any sense a hymn of procession.  (I hope liturgists around the globe realise that this sort of hymn is not a processional.) It is suitable for Adoration or during the sharing of the Blessed Eucharist at Mass.  It may not be your cup of tea, but to my tired ears it is a merciful relief, a worthy companion to prayerful contemplation of the Living Lord and the Father's Mercy.

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My own sense is that this Year of Mercy will be more of one in which the peoples' of the world will turn to God and beg for and cry out "Mercy!  Lord, mercy! Please!  Have mercy upon us."  

My eyes keep looking forward a bit to the Feast of St. Pio (Padre Pio Santo as I say here in my hermitage).  My calendar has a big red circle around his feast day this September 23rd.     So each day as we move forward I am wanting to move forward in prayer and intercession for humanity with Padre Pio Santo.  I feel as though we desperately need his intercession with God the Most Highest.

There is much more I would like to say, but the sudden return of psoriatic arthritis in my body makes typing insanely painful at the moment.  ...  Then why post anything at all today?  Because we need God's Mercy now.  We need to beseech the Holy Trinity for His Mercy right now and each day.  And we need a prayer partner in Heaven as we pray before the Year of Mercy, and I am convinced that it is St. Pio, Padre Pio Santo, who should be that intercessor for me ... and possibly for you, dear reader, today and every day for the immediate future.

Lord, may thy Kingdom come.

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10 August 2015

10 Year Old plays Chopin's “Fantasie Impromptu“

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This is the sort of revelation that renews one's hope for humanity and the future:



Jeneba Kanneh-Mason, pianist
10 years old



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08 August 2015

T.S. Eliot: The Song of the Women

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We praise thee, O God, 
for thy glory displayed in all the creatures of the earth.
In the snow, in the rain, in the wind, in the storm;
in all of thy creatures, both the hunters and the hunted.
For all things exist only as seen by thee, 
only as known by thee, all things exist
Only in thy light, and thy glory is declared 
even in that which denies thee;
the darkness declares the glory of light.
Those who deny thee could not deny, if thou didst not exist;
and their denial is never complete, 
for if it were so, they would not exist.
They affirm thee in living; all things affirm thee in living;
the bird in the air, both the hawk and the finch;
the beast on the earth, both the wolf and the lamb.
Therefore we, whom thou hast made to be conscious of thee,
must consciously praise thee, in thought and in word and in deed.


Canticle: The Song of the Women 
T. S. Eliot
A New Zealand Prayer Book


I have had to break the lines above as they were written 
so this text could fit pleasingly on the small blog space allotted.
My apologies to the poet and the reader.

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07 August 2015

Stop and Pray

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Stop what you are doing and pray for the many Christians who have just been captured and kidnapped by ISIS/ISIL/Daesh in Syria.  

Click on the link below for the story from the Catholic Herald:

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/08/07/dozens-of-christians-kidnapped-by-isis-gunmen-after-capture-of-syrian-town/

Remember we are praying the Novena for the Assumption.  

Pray. Pray. Pray.  

The world is in the grip of a terrible darkness.  

May Christ Jesus, the Light of the world, shine upon us all. 

Hallelujah!  Shine, Lord, shine!

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22 July 2015

From the Syrian Orthodox Church

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Traditional configuration of the Syrian Orthodox Bema and Altar

The following hymn is one of those that may be sung when the curtain is drawn across the Sanctuary in the Divine Liturgy of the Syrian Orthodox Church:

I was a lost and wandering sheep.

The Church responded, saying:
I was scattered and dispersed,
Lo! My Shepherd went out 
in search of me, and found me.

He carried me and put me on His shoulder,
And brought me into His fold of Life,
He set before me the Table of Life:
His atoning Body and Blood,
So that, wherewith, 
my children and I together be always sustained.

Therefore, my children and I, 
with one accord,
Cry out unto Him, saying:

Holy, holy, holy are You,
O Son, Who gave us His Body and Blood.
Holy are You, O Son of God;
Blessed be Your honor from Your dwelling place.



Below is a recording made in Aleppo, Syria in A.D. 2007 of the Lord's Prayer in Syriac sung in the Syrian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Ephrem:




Of your mercy please pray  for the Christians of the Middle East and North Africa who are suffering under the affliction of warfare and terrorism.  

May those Christians who have been executed for their Christian faith  receive the Martyr's Crown at the Hand of God and likewise be embraced by the Lord Jesus Christ and welcomed into the kingdom of His light and truth.

Pray also for those non-Christians who are also being targeted for abuse and execution by Daesh/ISIL/ISIS. 


May the Blessed Trinity in all of His infinite mercy give a "Damascus Road" experience to all of the terrorists and supporters of ISIL/ISIS/Daesh.  May the Holy Ghost come upon them and drive them to total remorse, repentance, amendment of life, and true faith in God the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ the  Righteous.


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11 July 2015

Heart of Jesus, Think of Me

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HEART OF JESUS, think of me.
Eyes of Jesus, look on me.
Face of Jesus, comfort me.
Hands of Jesus, bless me.
Feet of Jesus, guide me.
Arms of Jesus, hold me.
Body of Jesus, feed me.
Blood of Jesus, wash me.
Jesus, make me thus thine own.
Here and in the world to come. Amen.


Saint Augustine's Prayer Book
Order of the Holy Cross
USA

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JADE HELM ?

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You may be like me and have only recently heard mention of military exercises to take place within the 'homeland' of the USA code named JADE HELM.  Many in Texas are deeply concerned -- including the Governor of Texas -- and so I think it worth while to make mention of it for my readers in the U.S. American Southwest who will be in the target zone of these military exercises.

I have been advised by friends to prepare the cupboard/pantry with food, water, and drinks as if I were preparing for a hurricane.  I have been told by a retired military friend to be prepared for cuts in electrical power ... so I have batteries and candles but I imagine others who have back-up generators should see to it that they have enough fuel to run their generators.  

An Episcopalian religious of many years acquaintance contacted me concerned that as a hermit I would not be aware of the potential problems with the military exercises, and she advised me to be sure to have cash taken out of the bank in case banks are closed. 

Let me repeat that I know nothing first hand, but prudence would dictate that those of us living within this zone who live in areas the U.S. military has designated 'Hostile' (such as the region where I live) should at least mentally prepare ourselves for a disruption in normal activities.  

My nearest neighbours are leaving the area to go to visit family in the northeast of the USA and others to Canada for their summer holiday.  Well timed, I think.  

Here is a link to a video of some sort of news broadcast questioning JADE HELM: click here.  It is one of thousands out there it seems, but it does raise very specific questions about what has transpired in Big Spring, Texas with regard to the upcoming military exercises:  https://youtu.be/G7rmt5089Mo

As an armchair sleuth, I am not much good, but I do thank my friends who have been concerned that I would be caught unawares in a situation that could cause me enough stress to have a heart attack or another stroke.  Without forewarning I would not have reacted well to parachuting troops on the front lawn or tanks blocking roadways ... 'tis true.

May God be merciful and may the innocent be sheltered from all harm.

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05 July 2015

A Prayer of Eucharistic Longing for Christ

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A very rare image of Christ found in an English church.


MOST DEAR LORD JESUS CHRIST,
graciously fill me with true charity,
that I may ever hunger after thee, 
the Bread of Angels,
the refreshment of holy souls.

Grant that I may ever long to feed upon thee,
and that my inmost soul may be filled
with a desire for thy goodness.

Grant that my soul may ever thirst for thee,
the fountain of life,
the fountain of wisdom and knowledge,
the fountain of eternal light,
the joy and the richness of the house of God. Amen.



Saint Augustine's Prayer Book
Revised Edition 2014
Forward Movement
USA
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01 July 2015

Kitty Cleveland and Charlie Johnstonʻs song

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I stumbled across a beautiful little recording Kitty Cleveland had made of Charlie Johnstonʻs Song of Thanksgiving (regarding the Miraculous Rescue of Godʻs people that he says will take place in 2017 according to what he has received from Heaven).  It is a simple song meant to be sung over and over, and I think it especially gives the grace of encouragement through difficult moments and times.

And the People of the Kingdom
And the People of Heaven
Shall rise together
Shall rise forever

And the People of the Kingdom
And the People of Heaven
Shall Rise together
Shall rise forever

and God shall rule.



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A Prayer to Christ Our God

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O CHRIST OUR GOD, 
the wisdom, the power, and the glory of the Father, 
who dwelt among us as the Word made flesh 
and, having overcome the prince of darkness, 
returned to the eternal joys of heaven: 
Grant us, even now in the midst of this dark world, 
the full outpouring of thy splendour, 
and appoint thy holy angels to be our defenders, 
to guard our going out and our coming in, 
until by thy mercy, 
we stand in the eternal light, 
where thou dost live and reign, 
world without end. Amen.

Saint Augustine's Prayer Book 
Revised Edition,  2014
Forward Movement
USA

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29 June 2015

Return of Bethlehem's Star?

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Tonight and June 30th if one looks to the western sky at about sunset, one can see the closest conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Venus since the years 2-3 B.C.

Is this a significant astronomical event?  To scientists and believers in scientism it is nothing more than a bright light in the sky.  But for people of certain religious viewpoints it is hugely significant.

This planetary conjunction taking place within the constellation Leo is believed by many to have been the Star of Bethlehem at the time of the holy birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ from the Blessed Virgin Mary.  (Others believe that the Star of Bethlehem was a triple conjunction of Venus, Jupiter, and Regulus in Leo, but that is another story -- and someone else's DVD).

This conjunction is closest to Leo, and I understand would be reckoned as conjunct with Leo.  (I know precious little about such things).  What this conjunction in Leo meant to that class of people called Magi in Babylon and parts east of Jerusalem was that there was the birth of a king to the Hebrew people, specifically the House of Judah (the Lion).  In general, it would signify a royal birth to a nation whose emblem or sign is the Lion.

So, I add this to things to ponder in one's heart as we await the next Blood Moon.

The following is a YouTube video that is visually helpful but the commentary goes off the rails at the end with the narratrix declaring that this is not an astronomically significant event.  I have learnt over many years that when someone feels it necessary to tell the audience that something is not significant the opposite is usually true.



Psalm 148 
Laudate Dominum. 

O PRAISE the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise him, all ye angels of his: praise him, all his host. Praise him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars and light. Praise him, all ye heavens, and ye waters that are above the heavens. Let them praise the Name of the LORD: for he spake the word, and they were made; he commanded, and they were created. He hath made them fast for ever and ever: he hath given them a law which shall not be broken. Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons and all deeps; Fire and hail, snow and vapours, wind and storm, fulfilling His Word; Mountains and all hills; fruitful trees and all cedars; Beasts and all cattle; creeping things and flying fowls; Kings of the earth, and all peoples; princes, and all judges of the world; Young men and maidens, old men and children, praise the Name of the LORD: for his Name only is excellent, and his praise above heaven and earth. He shall exalt the horn of his people: all his saints shall praise him; even the children of Israel, even the people that serveth him. Praise ye the LORD.
[Coverdale, The Book of Common Prayer

May Jesus Christ be praised!


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25 June 2015

Ruminating upon LAUDATO SI'

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Spending time with LAUDATO SI' I am very impressed with the part that I see as clearly theological.  There is a lot of substance here that I expect will be lost or glossed over in favour of the political particulars and the partisan use of the sciences in the Encyclical.  

I can understand why the Pope would write in the way he has.  If there is to be a globalist board of directors running the planet, he wants to be sure that the Catholic Church and the Pope have a seat on that board of directors.  Pope Benedict wrote in similar ways with a clear intent to keep the Church on the inside of such deliberating bodies rather than being excluded from the functions of European and world governments.  There are varieties of opinions about the wisdom of such ideas in a Church that is to be in the world but not of the world.

I have come to think that the Pope regards his pontificate as one in which everyone needs to be knocked off centre, to be kicked in the pants and made to feel uncomfortable in one way or another.  As a good priest I know used to say, "May you be disturbed by the peace of Christ."  

As author of the text the Pope is clearly not a scientist writing about science. He is a theologian writing as Vicar of Christ.  I do not get to excited about the way he uses the sciences or politics.  My view on some of those things is that has been ill-advised and misguided by those assisting him.  But that does not in any way negate the theological template he offers us which is a form of catechesis for a world that knows nothing about the rights and claims of God our Father upon this world and what God's original design of and for humanity is meant to be.

At this point I think of a beautiful collect from the Anglican Prayer Book tradition:

O heavenly Father, 
who hast filled the world with beauty: 
Open our eyes to behold 
 thy gracious hand in all thy works; 
that, rejoicing in thy whole Creation, 
we may learn to serve thee with gladness;
for the sake of him through whom all things were made, 
 thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

And it is in the spirit of prayer (rather than taking apart parts of the Encyclical that I find misguided) that I prefer to ruminate upon those portions that are clearly part of the deposit of faith being applied by the Holy Father to celebrate and elevate the view of the human being as God's own creation.  So... I am simply going to quote below a few paragraphs that I am spending time contemplating this week and weekend. 

I pray, dear Reader, the following paragraphs will draw forth your spiritual attention and engage your prayerful consideration in ways that are salutary for you and your faith. (If one clicks on the footnote, the reader will be taken to the Vatican website to the English text.  Click on your browser's 'back' button in order to return to this page.):


 
Pope Francis writes:

65. Without repeating the entire theology of creation, we can ask what the great biblical narratives say about the relationship of human beings with the world. In the first creation account in the Book of Genesis, God’s plan includes creating humanity. After the creation of man and woman, “God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good” (Gen 1:31). The Bible teaches that every man and woman is created out of love and made in God’s image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26). This shows us the immense dignity of each person, “who is not just something, but someone. He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons”.[37] Saint John Paul II stated that the special love of the Creator for each human being “confers upon him or her an infinite dignity”.[38] Those who are committed to defending human dignity can find in the Christian faith the deepest reasons for this commitment. How wonderful is the certainty that each human life is not adrift in the midst of hopeless chaos, in a world ruled by pure chance or endlessly recurring cycles! The Creator can say to each one of us: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jer 1:5). We were conceived in the heart of God, and for this reason “each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary”.[39]


66. The creation accounts in the book of Genesis contain, in their own symbolic and narrative language, profound teachings about human existence and its historical reality. They suggest that human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbour and with the earth itself. According to the Bible, these three vital relationships have been broken, both outwardly and within us. This rupture is sin. The harmony between the Creator, humanity and creation as a whole was disrupted by our presuming to take the place of God and refusing to acknowledge our creaturely limitations. This in turn distorted our mandate to “have dominion” over the earth (cf. Gen 1:28), to “till it and keep it” (Gen 2:15). As a result, the originally harmonious relationship between human beings and nature became conflictual (cf. Gen 3:17-19). It is significant that the harmony which Saint Francis of Assisi experienced with all creatures was seen as a healing of that rupture. Saint Bonaventure held that, through universal reconciliation with every creature, Saint Francis in some way returned to the state of original innocence.[40] This is a far cry from our situation today, where sin is manifest in all its destructive power in wars, the various forms of violence and abuse, the abandonment of the most vulnerable, and attacks on nature.


67. We are not God. The earth was here before us and it has been given to us. This allows us to respond to the charge that Judaeo-Christian thinking, on the basis of the Genesis account which grants man “dominion” over the earth (cf. Gen 1:28), has encouraged the unbridled exploitation of nature by painting him as domineering and destructive by nature. This is not a correct interpretation of the Bible as understood by the Church. Although it is true that we Christians have at times incorrectly interpreted the Scriptures, nowadays we must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures. The biblical texts are to be read in their context, with an appropriate hermeneutic, recognizing that they tell us to “till and keep” the garden of the world (cf. Gen 2:15). “Tilling” refers to cultivating, ploughing or working, while “keeping” means caring, protecting, overseeing and preserving. This implies a relationship of mutual responsibility between human beings and nature. Each community can take from the bounty of the earth whatever it needs for subsistence, but it also has the duty to protect the earth and to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations. “The earth is the Lord’s” (Ps 24:1); to him belongs “the earth with all that is within it” (Dt 10:14). Thus God rejects every claim to absolute ownership: “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with me” (Lev 25:23).


68. This responsibility for God’s earth means that human beings, endowed with intelligence, must respect the laws of nature and the delicate equilibria existing between the creatures of this world, for “he commanded and they were created; and he established them for ever and ever; he fixed their bounds and he set a law which cannot pass away” (Ps 148:5b-6). The laws found in the Bible dwell on relationships, not only among individuals but also with other living beings. “You shall not see your brother’s donkey or his ox fallen down by the way and withhold your help… If you chance to come upon a bird’s nest in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs and the mother sitting upon the young or upon the eggs; you shall not take the mother with the young” (Dt 22:4, 6). Along these same lines, rest on the seventh day is meant not only for human beings, but also so “that your ox and your donkey may have rest” (Ex 23:12). Clearly, the Bible has no place for a tyrannical anthropocentrism unconcerned for other creatures.


69. Together with our obligation to use the earth’s goods responsibly, we are called to recognize that other living beings have a value of their own in God’s eyes: “by their mere existence they bless him and give him glory”,[41] and indeed, “the Lord rejoices in all his works” (Ps 104:31). By virtue of our unique dignity and our gift of intelligence, we are called to respect creation and its inherent laws, for “the Lord by wisdom founded the earth” (Prov 3:19). In our time, the Church does not simply state that other creatures are completely subordinated to the good of human beings, as if they have no worth in themselves and can be treated as we wish. The German bishops have taught that, where other creatures are concerned, “we can speak of the priority of being over that of being useful”.[42] The Catechism clearly and forcefully criticizes a distorted anthropocentrism: “Each creature possesses its own particular goodness and perfection… Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God’s infinite wisdom and goodness. Man must therefore respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things”.[43]

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After contemplating the paragraph above, I invite you in joining with me in praying these collects which come from The Book of Common Prayer (USA, 1979):

Almighty God, whose loving hand hath given us all that we possess: Grant us grace that we may honor thee with our substance, and, remembering the account which we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of thy bounty, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Almighty and everlasting God, you made the universe with all its marvelous order, its atoms, worlds, and galaxies, and the infinite complexity of living creatures: Grant that, as we probe the mysteries of your creation, we may come to know you more truly, and more surely fulfill our role in your eternal purpose; in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

 Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth, you made us fellow workers in your creation: Give us wisdom and reverence so to use the resources of nature, that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

O gracious Father, who openest thine hand and fillest all things living with plenteousness: Bless the lands and waters, and multiply the harvests of the world; let thy Spirit go forth, that it may renew the face of the earth; show thy loving-kindness, that our land may give her increase; and save us from selfish use of what thou givest , that men and women everywhere may give thee thanks; through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

O God our heavenly Father, you have blessed us and given us dominion over all the earth: Increase our reverence before the mystery of life; and give us new insight into your purposes for the human race, and new wisdom and determination in making provision for its future in accordance with your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 



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24 June 2015

Nativity of S. John Baptist


Collects and Prayers
for the Nativity 
of Saint John the Forerunner of the Lord

Almighty God, by whose providence thy servant John the Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of thy Son our Saviour by preaching repentance: Make us so to follow his doctrine and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and, after his example, constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth's sake; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Anglican Use

O God, who raised up Saint John the Baptist
to make ready a nation fit for Christ the Lord,
give your people, we pray,
the grace of spiritual joys
and direct the hearts of all the faithful
into the way of salvation and peace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you 
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect for Mass
Roman Missal

Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that your family may walk in the way of salvation
and attentive to what Saint John the Precursor urged,
may come safely to the One he foretold,
our Lord Jesus Christ.
Who lives and reigns with you 
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect for the Vigil
Roman Missal


O Prophet and Forerunner of the Coming of Christ, * we who honor you with love do not know how to praise you worthily; * for through your glorious and honored birth * your mother’s barrenness and your father’s voicelessness were loosened * and the Incarnation of the Son of God * was proclaimed to the world! (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Today, she who once was barren, gives birth to the Forerunner of Christ, * and he is the fulfillment of all prophecy; * for, when he, in the Jordan, laid his hand on Him Whom the prophets foretold, * he has been shown to be the Prophet, the Herald and the Forerunner of the Word of God. (Kontakion - Tone 3)
Divine Liturgy of the
Byzantine Catholic Church

Saint Elisabeth, Mother of the Forerunner of Christ, 
pray for us to the Lord.
Saint Zechariah, intercede for us.

22 June 2015

Secretary Catherine Austin Fitts on Laudato Si'


I have read too much spin related to Laudato Si'.  There are parts of the Encyclical that I found profound and encouraging.   But there are parts that trouble me such as Paragraph 175.  In my view, the forces of evil always seek to centralise authority, power, and control into unelected hands and to twist the best intentions of people of goodwill to nefarious purpose.


Catherine Austin Fitts
There is one report on the internet that represents an intelligent response as well as a constructive engagement with the controversial Encyclical of Pope Francis.  It makes very pointed comments that would surely make many a curial and chancery official uncomfortable.  For my part, I am very comfortable in suggesting that others read that report published by former U.S. Secretary Catherine Austin Fitts.  You may read her piercing and vigorous response on her website The Solari Report.

You may click here to be taken to her website.

19 June 2015

From LAUDATO SI' of H. H. Pope Francis I: ‘For His Steadfast Love Endures For Ever‘

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H.H. Pope Francis I
Allow me to share with you, dear Reader, three sections of the ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI' OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOMEI do not expect one would find many bloggers and journalists quoting these sections, but they are profound and right worthy of study and prayerful contemplation. 

POPE FRANCIS writes:

72.
The Psalms frequently exhort us to praise God the Creator, “who spread out the earth on the waters, for his steadfast love endures for ever” (Ps 136:6). They also invite other creatures to join us in this praise:

“Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created” (Ps 148:3-5).

We do not only exist by God’s mighty power; we also live with him and beside him. This is why we adore him.

73.
The writings of the prophets invite us to find renewed strength in times of trial by contemplating the all-powerful God who created the universe. Yet God’s infinite power does not lead us to flee his fatherly tenderness, because in him affection and strength are joined.

Indeed, all sound spirituality entails both welcoming divine love and adoration, confident in the Lord because of his infinite power.

In the Bible, the God who liberates and saves is the same God who created the universe, and these two divine ways of acting are intimately and inseparably connected:

“Ah Lord God! It is you who made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you... You brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders” (Jer 32:17, 21).

“The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless” (Is 40:28b-29).

74.
The experience of the Babylonian captivity provoked a spiritual crisis which led to deeper faith in God. Now his creative omnipotence was given pride of place in order to exhort the people to regain their hope in the midst of their wretched predicament.

Centuries later, in another age of trial and persecution, when the Roman Empire was seeking to impose absolute dominion, the faithful would once again find consolation and hope in a growing trust in the all-powerful God:

“Great and wonderful are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways!” (Rev 15:3).

The God who created the universe out of nothing can also intervene in this world and overcome every form of evil. Injustice is not invincible.

75.
A spirituality which forgets God as all-powerful and Creator is not acceptable. That is how we end up worshipping earthly powers, or ourselves usurping the place of God, even to the point of claiming an unlimited right to trample his creation underfoot.

The best way to restore men and women to their rightful place, putting an end to their claim to absolute dominion over the earth, is to speak once more of the figure of a Father who creates and who alone owns the world. Otherwise, human beings will always try to impose their own laws and interests on reality.


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