25 February 2016

From "The Way" by R. Somerset Ward


R. Somerset Ward has long been identified as the author of The Way which was first published in 1922.  If one were to open one of the original editions of this work, one would find that the author is simply listed as A Priest.  The priest in question was one ordained in the Church of England and was indeed The Revd Reginald Somerset Ward.  

The following is a brief illustration from a section in The Way sub-titled (ii) SELF-COMPARISON:

     From the ancient city of Jerusalem there rose a multitude of towers and turrets and spires and pinnacles, so that the beauty of that city seen from afar off was beyond mortal tongue to tell. 

     Now it came to pass on a day that two pilgrims were approaching the Holy City When he saw it from afar off, one of them burst forth into many exclamations, and presently he set himself to mark which was the highest pinnacle.  "For surely," said he, that is the one which will rise from the summit of the Temple of the most High God." 

     And first he was assured that a certain pinnacle was the highest, but anon, when the road turned and he beheld the city from a new side, he would have it that another was the highest, and then again, when the road descended into the valley, yet a third had the pre-eminence.  At each new view he must needs expound the matter to his companion, who said never a word.

     And at last, being wroth with this friend's silence, he said to him, “Have you not yet noticed how such an one is higher, or whether such an one is the highest of all?"

     "Nay," said his companion, "I have but noticed that all alike point upwards."

The Way
R. Somerset Ward
The S. Christopher Press
13 Serjeants' Inn, Fleet Street
London, 1934
pp. 47-48 

And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
Luke 21:28 (KJV)

24 February 2016

Prayers from an Orthodox Prayer Book

Jesus Christ Conquers!

        O Lord our God, forgive all the sins I have committed this day in word, deed, and thought, for Thou art good and loves mankind. Grant me a peaceful sleep, free of restlessness. Send Thy Guardian Angel to protect and keep me from all harm. For Thou art the Guardian of our souls and bodies, and to Thee we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

        O Lord our God, in Whom we believe and upon Whose Name we call more than any other name: grant relief to our souls and bodies as we go to sleep. Keep us from every fantasy and dark pleasure. Halt the rushing of passions and quench the fiery arousals of the flesh. Grant us to live chastely in word and deed. Having embraced a virtuous life, may we not fall away from Thy promised blessings, for blessed art Thou for ever. Amen.

A Prayer of Supplication by Saint John Chrysostom

For the Day

        Lord, exclude me not from Thy heavenly blessings.
        Lord, deliver me from eternal torments.
        Lord, whether I have sinned in mind 
                or thought, word or deed, forgive me.
        Lord, deliver me from all ignorance, 
                forgetfulness, cowardice, and stone like insensitivity.
        Lord, deliver me from every temptation.
        Lord, enlighten my heart which evil desires have darkened.
        Lord, as a man I have sinned: as a gracious God, 
                have mercy on me, seeing the weakness of my soul.
        Lord, send Thy Grace to my aid, 
                that I may glorify Thy holy name.
        Lord Jesus Christ, inscribe me, Thy servant, 
                in the book of life, and grant me a good end.
        Lord, my God, 
                even though I have done nothing good before Thee, 
                   grant by Thy Grace that I may make a good beginning.
        Lord, sprinkle the dew of Thy Grace into my heart.
        Lord of Heaven and earth, remember me,
             Thy sinful, shameful and impure servant, 
                        in Thy Kingdom. Amen.

For the Night

        Lord, accept me in penitence.
        Lord, abandon me not.
        Lord, lead me not into temptation.
        Lord, grant me good thoughts.
        Lord, grant me tears, 
                the remembrance of death and compunction.
        Lord, grant me the thought of confessing my sins.
        Lord, grant me humility, chastity, and obedience.
        Lord, grant me patience, courage, and meekness.
        Lord, cause the root of good to dwell in me
                — Thy fear in my heart.
        Lord, grant that I may love Thee with all my soul and mind 
                and to do Thy will in all things.
        Lord, protect me from certain people, 
                demons and passions, and from any other unseemly thing.
        Lord, I know that Thou doest as Thou wilt: 
                may Thy will be in me, a sinner, 
                        for blessed art Thou for ever. Amen.

Orthodox Daily Prayers
pp. 76-79
St. Tikhon's Seminary Press
1982 edition

In 2014 St. Tikhon's Monastery Press published a new version of Orthodox Daily Prayers edited by Sergei Arhipov which can be found via this link.

22 February 2016

Dear Lord and Father of Mankind


Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
forgive our foolish ways!
Re-clothe us in our rightful mind,
in purer lives thy service find,
in deeper reverence, praise;
in deeper reverence, praise.

In simple trust like theirs who heard,
beside the Syrian sea,
the gracious calling of the Lord,
let us, like them, without a word,
rise up and follow thee;
rise up and follow thee.

O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
where Jesus knelt to share with thee
the silence of eternity
interpreted by love!
interpreted by love!

Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace;
the beauty of thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desire
thy coolness and thy balm;
let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm;
O still, small voice of calm.

Words: John Greenleaf Whittier, 1872


A Generation of Know-Nothings


Dear Reader, you will want to read a brief essay from Patrick Deenan that opens with the following:

“My students are know-nothings. They are exceedingly nice, pleasant, trustworthy, mostly honest, well-intentioned, and utterly decent. But their brains are largely empty, devoid of any substantial knowledge that might be the fruits of an education in an inheritance and a gift of a previous generation. They are the culmination of western civilization, a civilization that has forgotten nearly everything about itself, and as a result, has achieved near-perfect indifference to its own culture.”

Click here to read his precise diagnosis entitled 


18 February 2016

A Traditional Prayer of Reparation and Intercession


O JESUS, my Saviour and Redeemer, Son of the living God, behold, we kneel before Thee and offer Thee our reparation; we would make amends for all the blasphemies uttered against Thy holy name, for all the injuries done to Thee in the Blessed Sacrament, for all the irreverence shown toward Thine immaculate Virgin Mother, for all the calumnies and slanders spoken against Thy spouse, the holy Catholic and Roman Church. 

O Jesus, who hast said: "If you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it to you", we pray and beseech Thee for all our brethren who are in danger of sin; shield them from every temptation to fall away from the true faith; save those who are even now standing on the brink of the abyss; to all of them give light and knowledge of the truth, courage and strength for the conflict with evil, perseverance in faith and active charity! 

For this do we pray, most merciful Jesus, in Thy name, unto God the Father, with whom Thou livest and reignest in the unity of the Holy Spirit world without end. Amen


16 February 2016

St Ephrem of Edessa: "O Lord and Master of My Life"


Saint Ephrem of Edessa

give me not the spirit of sloth, 
lust for power, 
and idle talk. 

But grant unto me,
thy servant, 
a spirit of integrity, 
and love. 

Yea, O Lord and King, 
grant me to see my own faults 
and not judge another. 
For blessed art thou
unto the ages of ages.

Saint Augustine's Prayer Book 
Revised Edition 2014 
Forward Movement


09 February 2016

In Art and Song: Ash Wednesday


I noticed on a very fine traditional Catholic blog this bit of artwork:

The above illustration is by an Anglican illustrator and artist, the late Enid Chadwick of the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Little Walsingham, England.  This, dear Reader, is part and parcel of the Anglican Patrimony which is already enriching the Latin Rite of the Church in ways unseen and perhaps unnoticed, but it is already there ... a little leaven leavening the lump.

+   +   +

With Ash Wednesday comes the remembrance of a Presbyterian hymn a friend once sang to me as an example of the kind of religious song that filled her childhood.  I thought I would share the text of that fine hymn as it relates to today's themes for Ash Wednesday:

Mindful of our human frailty
Is the God in whom we trust;
He whose years are everlasting,
He remembers we are dust.

Man is like the tender flower,
And his days are like the grass,
Withered where it lately flourished
By the blighting winds that pass.

Changeless is the Father's mercy
Unto those who fear His name,
From eternity abiding
To eternity the same.

All the faithful to His covenant
Shall behold His righteousness;
He will be their strength and refuge
And their children’s children bless.

Isaac B. Woodbury, alt.
The Psalter, 1912
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The United Presbyterian 
Board of Publication

Finally, I wish to share with you a sort of concert from the Choir of New College, Oxford. The video below includes the music from their extremely popular CD 'Agnus Dei'.  The music begins with Samuel Barber's Agnus Dei.  May this music bless your heart, soul, and mind this Ash Wednesday and as we enter into the Great and Holy Season of Lent.


Ethiopian Nun's Setting of The Lord's Prayer


Ethiopian Orthodox nun and composer Mother Maryam Emahoy Tsegué is one of Jerusalem's precious treasures.   The following video was part of a celebration of the music of Emahoy Tsegué in A.D. 2013 in Jerusalem.  2 women sing her setting of the Lord's Prayer first in the Ethiopian Amharic language and then in Hebrew.  

Mother Maryam Emahoy Tsegué is the elderly nun seen in the video seated in the front row dressed either in black or in white.

08 February 2016

Esto mihi in Deum protectorem

The Benedictine Nuns of Notre-Dame de l'Annonciation, Le Barroux
Gregorian chant notation from the Liber Usualis (1961), p. 511. 

Be Thou unto me a Goda protector
and a place of refuge– to save me: 
for Thou art my strength and my refuge: 
and for Thy name’s sake Thou wilt lead me, and nourish me.
Ps. In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be confounded: 
deliver me in Thy justice, and save me. 

Jesus said to him: Receive thy sight. Thy faith hath made thee whole. 

The following is Telemann's cantata written for the Lutheran Church for Esto Mihi Sunday:

Cantata "Seele, lerne dich erkennen"
for soprano, recorder, and basso continuo TWV1:1258
1. Air - "Seele, lerne dich erkennen"
2. Recitative - "Ein Vogelchen, dem noch die Glieder zu zart und weich" 
3. Air - "So will ich dich mit Freuden kussen" 
Performed by Ensemble Caprice 
Featuring Monika Mauch 
Directed by Matthias Maute


06 February 2016

HILARION: Passion according to St. Matthew


Let us pray daily and fervently for the meeting of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kyrill of the Russian Orthodox Church to be held in Cuba.

The Passion according to St. Matthew
HILARION (Alfayev)

Click here for Robert Moynihan's account of the background to this historic meeting.

04 February 2016

Bishop Lopes' Ordination

Bishop Steven J. Lopes of the Personal Ordinariate
of the Chair of St. Peter (USA and Canada)

There is a very beautifully written article by Tom Perna on Bishop Steven J. Lopes' Ordination Mass in Houston, Texas.  Click here to read his reflexions on the Liturgy and Consecration of the Bishop.

The new Bishop's comments after the Mass of Ordination


02 February 2016

Byrd: Adorna thalamum tuum


The Newman Consort sings William Byrd's Adorna thalamum tuum. 
Oxford Ordinariate Group, Holy Rood Church, Candlemas 2012

A Blessed Candlemas to All

(Be sure to visit the Rorate Caeli blog for a splendid article on Candlemas in art.)