29 August 2016

Caryll Houselander: The Risen Christ

An Excerpt from the Chapter "The Prayer of the Body"

Before Christ died he literally gave us his sacramental body in his own hands. Day after day he is born in the consecrated hands of the priest ; in a man's hands he is lifted up and offers himself to the Father. It is fitting, then, that so often our offering of self through the body must be made literally with our hands.

Caryll Houselander
What an expression of himself a man's hands are. When he comes to die, what a story his hands tell. They have taken on the shape and colour and texture of his work. They are the story of his life. When Madame Curie lay dead, the most beautiful testimonial to her life's work was in her hands lying simply on the coverlet, scarred with burns of radium.

Long before Christ gave us his body in his own hands they were hardened by toil, beautiful with the line and muscle and sinew of the hands of an artisan, and hollowed out by the wooden mallet to cup the chalice and hold the nail. But in the consummation of his self-giving, these hands which had given   in so many ways were helpless, fastened back, immovable, to a plank.

At that moment his body was broken, the heart was broken, the flesh and blood separated. Every day the suffering of the Lord's body is shown in the breaking of the bread.

Sooner or later, our prayer of the body too becomes the helpless hands, the falling away of self, the breaking of the bread.  Sickness, old age, death ; these must come, and when they come it seems that our service is ended. There is exhaustion which makes it first an effort, then an impossibility, to lift the hand up to make the sign of the cross; no more liturgical acts in daily life, gestures and symbols that worship God and give Christ's love to men.

Everything falls away from us, even memories— even the weariness of self. This is the breaking of the bread, the supreme moment in the prayer of the body, the end of the liturgy of our mortal lives, when we are broken for and in the communion of Christ's love to the whole world.

But it is not the end of the prayer of the body. To that there is no end. Our dust pays homage to God, until the endless morning of resurrection wakens our body, glorified.

Caryll Houselander
The Risen Christ
Sheed and Ward, New York


Bulgakov: The Holy Ghost and the Blessed Mother


I have been reading in Bulgakov's contraversial works on Divine Wisdom, and the following quotation stood out for me as expressing especially well part of his theological position concerning the Blessed Mother Mary and the person and work of the Holy Ghost:

The veneration of our Lady in Orthodoxy is such that those outside may well ask the question, Is not this frankly exaggerated? Does it not introduce into Christian doctrine the figure of a goddess? Such a misapprehension may be dissipated by the simple consideration that our Lady, however exalted may be the honour paid her, is not divine, is not even theandric. Her human nature and personality subsist in spite of her complete deification.  Though she, upon whom the Holy Ghost reposes, is therefore spirit-beraing, yet for all that she remains a woman, however fully deified. The Holy Ghost is not personally incarnate like the Son. In conformity with his personal nature he blesses, sanctifies, penetrates, and vivifies, and that is all. And yet his fullest and loftiest manifestation is nevertheless effected in the spirit-bearing "blessed" Virgin Mary. She is, in personal form, the human likeness of the Holy Ghost. Through her, with her human form become entirely transparent to the Holy Ghost, we have a manifestation and, as it were, a personal revelation of him. 

The person of the Holy Ghost remains hidden from us even in his descent at Pentecost, which conferred immediately only the gifts of the Spirit. But there is a human person to whom it is given to manifest the Holy Ghost himself, and that is the most holy Virgin, Mary, the heart of the Church. And yet this manifestation of the Holy Ghost—let us emphasise the fact that it is precisely a manifestation, not an incarnation—remains for us in this life beyond our understanding.

Father Sergei Bulgakov
The Wisdom of God: A Brief Summary of Sophiology
Excerpted from 'The Veneration of Our Lady'
Williams and Norgate, Ltd.
London, 1937

27 August 2016

An important quotation from St. Maximilian Kolbe


Saint Maximilian Kolbe is one of the 20th centuries most notable martyrs and Marian saints.  The following is a quotation from Father Kolbe that is especially noteworthy:

Whoever does not wish to have Mary Immaculate as his Mother will not have Christ as his Brother either; the Father will not send his Son to him; the Son will not descend into his soul; the Holy Spirit will not make him a member of the mystical body of Christ; for all these mysteries of grace take place in Mary full of grace, and in her alone. No other creature is or will ever be immaculate like her, or full of grace, or capable of being so intimately united to the Lord as was the Immaculate Virgin. And since the first born Son, the Man-God, was conceived only through the specific consent of the Most Blessed Virgin, the same holds true of all other humans, who must imitate in all things their primary model, Christ. 

The quotation above by Father Kolbe was part of an outline of materials he was collecting for a book in 1940.

25 August 2016

From Thomas Traherne on Blessed Mother Mary


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


Sacramental Hymn • Catholic Apostolic Church (Irvingite)

At the request of kind reader, I am reposting the following article once again:

Note:  The term "Irvingite" is almost always appended to the name of the Catholic Apostolic Church, and I have done so many times for the sake of clarity.  But the members of that Church rejected the name "Irvingite" as they insisted they were not a personality cult.
Christ the King, Gordon Square

One of my chief interests in the history of the English denomination named the Catholic Apostolic Church (CAC or CathAp) is in the two editions of its Hymnal compiled and edited by Edward Wilton Eddis, a poet who held the office of Prophet in the CAC.  He co-authored the hymnal with Apostle John Bate Cardale, the architect of Catholic Apostolic liturgical worship.

Of the liturgical worship many wrote that the hymns of the Catholic Apostolic Church had a great deal to do with its success.  Those hymns, compiled and edited by E.W. Eddis and Cardale, were printed without tunes  A separate book entitled Hymn Tunes by Edmund Hart Turpin came slightly later as well as a tune book for the singing of the Psalter to Gregorian plainsong.

Many of the remembrances of Catholic Apostolic worship are of the strong, vibrant, vigorous singing of all the members.  It was expected that all would sing, and all did sing.  The liturgy was fixed with prayers intoned, and anything marked by rubric to be sung had to be sung.  The Anglican manner of speaking things meant for singing was forbidden.  Some of the early discussion about the success of this denomination focused upon the original hymns written by members of this Church and the enthusiastic manner in which the community sang to God.

Below you will find a scan of one of E.W. Eddis' finest hymns for the Eucharist.  The second verse is not by Eddis but is consistent with his thought and the teaching of the CAC.

Following the hymn immediately a doxology was to be sung to the same tune, and the 2nd Edition of the hymnal provided the following text. 

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Another text by E.W. Eddis worth sharing is one he wrote for Good Friday and Easter Eve.  It expresses well the theology of this Church:

                    Our sins, our sorrows, Lord, were laid on Thee;
                    Thy stripes have healed, Thy bonds have set us free;
                    And now Thy toil is o’er, Thy grief and pain
                    Have passed away; the veil is rent in twain.

                    Now hast Thou laid Thee down in perfect peace

                    Where all the wicked from their troubling cease,
                    And tranquil Sabbath in the grave to keep;
                    Thy Father giveth His Belovèd sleep.

                    Yet in Thy glory, on the throne above,

                    Thou wast abiding ever, Love of Love,
                    Eternal, filling all created things
                    With Thine own presence, Jesus, King of kings!

                    E’en now our place is with Thee on the throne,

                    For Thou abidest ever with Thine own;
                    Yet in the tomb with Thee, we watch for day;
                    O let Thine angel roll the stone away!

                    O, by Thy life within us, set us free!

                    Reveal the glory that is hid with Thee!
                    Glory to God the Father, God the Son,
                    And God the Holy Spirit, ever One.


Alarming Message from the German Government


Many already know about the alarming document from the German government that has many in Germany wondering if they should flee the country.

I will quote from an email sent to me:

Earlier this week the German government leaked a frightening 69-page memo entitled “Concept for Civil Defense.” 
Citing multiple terrorist attacks, cybercrime, and a host of other threats, the report states that Germans should prepare for an event that could “threaten our existence.” 
The report proposes a number of mandatory countermeasures, including that Germans should stockpile food and water. 
There’s also peculiar language about “civil support for the armed forces” suggesting a possible return to mandatory military service, in addition to potential plans for emergency nationalization of food production and distribution.

What this means in light of the bizarre immigration crisis forced by Chancellor Merkel's singleminded policy decision is any person's guess.  I do not look on this sort of thing in the ways that others do.

I have for years advocated being prepared for an extended crisis of three to six years in length.  It simply makes common sense ... the Joseph in Egypt kind of common sense.  If you have few resources you do what you can do, and if you are fortunate you try to work with a community of friends, neighbours, or co-religionists to prepare.

If you feel unsafe where you live and feel nudged by the Holy Ghost to move, then do not debate it: move.  You should be very sure however that you are not leaving the frying pan for the fire.

The world around us is very, very unsettled.  There are those in high places who are itching for nuclear war so they can rebuild the world in their own image.  We must pray to the Lord fervently that such persons are thwarted in their plans and by divine act are deprived of their power, position, and wealth.  

If you cannot pray for God to deal with those who would destroy you, then you simply do not understand reality.  I have heard many say that to pray against an enemy is heresy to the God of love.  Nonsense.  You can always pray for someone who wants you dead to have a Damascus Road experience like Saul did and become a St. Paul, but you also better pray in light of the reality around you that their ability to kill you, your family, and your nation is absolutely thwarted by the God of gods.  (I now descend the soap box.)

Now for how I read the "Concept for Civil Defence" memo by the German government: do not expect your government to protect you in a time of crisis. Full stop.

This is a message most of our ancestors would not need to hear or read.  They did not expect the government to play rescue agent or Nanny on steroids.  I think people in the USA increasingly understand that the government is going to take your tax money, but they will not be there to help you in any meaningful way during a crisis.  The experience of many of us who have lived through catastrophic hurricanes in the USA is precisely this: do not expect your government to protect or help you.

In the end, trust God, and do your best to be provisioned with what food, water, and resources you need to go it alone.  And, if you are blest with a large family or group of friends, then make plans to help each other through whatever the Coming Storm might be.

For many years now the Lord has told me to stop all that I am doing and pray that a certain event does not occur.  It always involves what I call "interstellar harm".  The Lord has never disclosed exactly what it all means.  Related to this, he has shown me horrendous scenes and told me to pray and sacrifice so that the specific scene shown to me does not occur.  So I pray. I pray before the Blessed Sacrament.  I pray with all my heart.

Recently, the Lord presents to me something falling through the atmosphere and striking near a huge city.  I could guess what it is, but the Lord has not told me.  He just tells me to pray that it does not happen.  So, I pray that it does not happen, and I trust the Lord God, and I go on with life in peace.

Whatever fears you may have, at some point, the best thing to do is to pray that your fears do not materialise.  Then renew your faith and trust in the Blessed Trinity, console yourself with the love of Our Blessed Mother, and go on and live your life in peace.


24 August 2016

Do Not Give A Child the HPV Gardasil Vaccine


I am a vigorous opponent of the HPV Gardasil Vaccine.  The numbers of girls and boys harmed by this vaccine should cause a vigorous outcry throughout the nations to have Gardasil banned.

Does your church or denomination have a stated position on dangerous vaccines and drugs?  Does you church organisation have a mechanism for the church to pass national resolutions against dangerous and deadly vaccines and drugs?  If so, step up and do the work so your religious community is on record against the HPV Gardasil Vaccine.

God will hold the churches and individual Christians accountable if they do not speak out against drugs and vaccines that kill, maim, and paralyse the innocent.

Earthquake: From the Monks of Norcia


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23 August 2016

Mary, Queen


Mary, Queen of Heaven, pray for us.

O God, who made the Mother of your Son
to be our Mother and our Queen,
graciously grant that, sustained by her intercession,
we may attain in the heavenly Kingdom
the glory promised to your children.
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.


21 August 2016

What have you read lately ...


A friend has got me very interested again in the very earliest era in Zoroastrianism.  I have been reading again in M.L. West's The Hymns of Zoroaster which I find to be the most satisfying treatment of the Old Avestan text in translation.  

When one has a good grasp of that early era of Zoroaster's proclamation and prophecy, one unveils unexpected windows into the pre-Mosaic, pre-Deuteronomist Hebrew religion, into the faith as ritually observed in Solomon's Temple, as well as into the Hebrew faith tradition that found its way into Christianity but not into the rabbinical reformulation that became Judaism after the Council of Javna (Jamnia).

In musing upon these things I recall that with the Persian invasion that destroyed so many Christian churches and holy places in the Holy Land, the Persians did not destroy the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem because at that time there was a great exterior image that portrayed the Wise Men in the garb of Persian Zoroastrians or Magians.  

It is a fascinating footnote in history, but it tells us that very early in Christianity the Wise Men who came with sacred gifts for the Infant God-man Jesus were associated with one or more of the following three things: the Persians themselves, the Zoroastrians, or the community of Magi in Babylon whose roots could have been two-fold going back to Zoroaster on the one hand and going back to the Biblical prophet Daniel (Saint Daniel the Prophet if you see things as the Orthodox Christians do) on the other hand.

Apart from my readings in the astounding revelation given to Zoroaster, I have also been reading again the writings of Dr. Margaret Barker and the Rev. Dr. Laurence Hemming.  Both of these voices in the area of Temple Theology are touching upon the most essential and important questions regarding the identity of the first Christians, the faith Jesus lived and taught, and the ways in which the various divided Churches have unconsciously kept alive elements of the original faith.  

Both Barker and Hemming have done great good in their fearless approach to academic dialogue with Mormon academics on questions regarding the Temple of Solomon and Christian origins.  (In my youth there was almost no academic interaction between Mormon academics and the scholars of the various Christian Churches and Communions.) 

I have also gone back to read Dr. Barker's Isaiah essay in the Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible.  How I wish I had had that information when studying Isaiah, Enoch, and intertestamental literature years ago!  

God grant both Barker and Hemming long lives filled with good health so they can continue to uncover what I think is the most important area of Christian inter-disciplinary and inter-communal study -- Temple Theology.

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I have also begun to read the new book by Immaculée Ilibagiza entitled "The Boy who met JESUS and A MESSAGE FOR HUMANITY".  This is a new volume not to be confused with her earlier book on Segatashya emmanuel of Kibeho.  If you purchase the book from Amazon, you will likely get the first book and not this new edition.  It is safer to buy the new book from Immaculée's website: click here.  

The first book was Immaculée's telling of the conversion, ministry, and martyrdom of Segatashya Emmanuel.  This new book is Segatashya in his own words and relating the words spoken to him by the Lord Jesus Christ.  I heartily recommend both books.

As I have written before, although the Church has rendered no judgement regarding Segatashya of Kibeho and his visions and encounters with Jesus, I hold absolute personal conviction as to the veracity of his witness which was confirmed by his holy martyrdom in the satanic Rwandan Genocide.  The new book by Immaculée is slender and is meant for reading and then meditation and prayer.  It is the sort of book I would encourage giving as a gift particularly at Christmas or Epiphany.

15 August 2016

St Maximilian Kolbe Quote



Dr Margaret Barker: The Temple and the First Christians


Dr. Margaret Barker discusses the early Christians and the Temple.


11 August 2016

A Coptic Orthodox Prayer of Thanksgiving


The prayers of the Coptic Orthodox Church are many and beautiful. The Breviary of the Coptic Christians is called The Agpeya coming from ti agp meaning 'the hour.' 

The following comes from the online edition of The Agpeya:


Let us give thanks to the beneficent and merciful God, the Father of our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for He has covered us, helped us, guarded us, accepted us unto Him, spared us, supported us, and brought us to this hour. Let us also ask Him, the Lord our God, the Almighty, to guard us in all peace this holy day and all the days of our life.

O Master, Lord, God the Almighty, the Father of our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, we thank You for every condition, concerning every condition, and in every condition, for You have covered us, helped us, guarded us, accepted us unto You, spared us, supported us, and brought us to this hour.

Therefore, we ask and entreat Your goodness, O Lover of mankind, to grant us to complete this holy day, and all the days of our life, in all peace with Your fear. All envy, all temptation, all the work of Satan, the counsel of wicked men, and the rising up of enemies, hidden and manifest, take them away from us, and from all Your people, and from this holy place that is Yours.

But those things which are good and profitable do provide for us; for it is You Who have given us the authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, by the grace, compassion and love of mankind, of Your Only-Begotten Son, our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, through Whom the glory, the honour, the dominion, and the adoration are due unto You, with Him, and the Holy Spirit, the Life-Giver, Who is of one essence with You, now and at all times, and unto the ages of all ages. Amen.

Dorothy Kerin, Anglican stigmatist

A prayer by the sainted Dorothy Kerin from her own notebook:

By the bruising of my whole life,
strengthen me with sympathy
for every wounded soul,
and let my prayers be as balm 
for the wounds of thy children, 
that they may be healed.

And here is another blessing for you, dear reader, from Dorothy Kerin's vision of the Garden and of the weeds concerning which she writes:

"After some years, I was unhappy in my heart, that I had done so badly, with difficulties and how badly I had used the grace given me.

Dorothy Kerin
Anglican, healing ministry
"I was in prayer, when I found myself in the Garden. I had not been there for some time and there was a difference. It was full of flowers, and the scent more exquisite. Our Lady was there. 

She took my hand for she knew how bewildered I was about things. She led me to different plants. Her tears were still wet on them. 

Then I was alone. 

I saw a heap of weeds Our Lady must have pulled up. Then the Holy Spirit showed me everything I had done to produce these weeds, since the King made the garden. 

The stem of the Hope plant has a tendril clutching it, the weed was fear, the Charity weed was judging, the Faith plant was despair. 

Then I knelt down on the grass and confessed my faults to the King of the Garden. It is impossible to tell you the joy that forgiveness brought me."


Immigrant Crisis: What to do with the Tsunami of Immigrants

There is no government in Europe, North America, or Australia that has a proper grasp of what to do with the huge number of people who have left their nations seeking admission to other nations.


The link above is to an article that appears to be the first serious attempt to address the reality of the current situation.  

Muslim immigrants do not belong in Western nations because they refuse to assimilate, they demand the institutionalisation of Sharia law, and they intend to be part of Islam's conquest of the non-Islamic nation where they are living.    

I disagree with the author in his seemingly positive evaluation of Australian detention centres which may best be called prisons outside any rule of law.  Those Australian centres are in fact the opposite of what needs to take place as I see it, because Muslim immigrants need a solution within already existent Muslim nations.  They do not have any intention to become anything other than what they are, and many of them dream of being part of Islam's conquest of a rich, non-Muslim nation.  

If cities of haven are to be built for these refugees and immigrants, then there need to be particular cities built for the Muslims, and in another location at a great distance should cities of haven be built for other refugees.  Certainly, the largely Christian West should be willing to embrace the Christian refugees and work toward solutions for them... but nothing is that easy when refugees and immigrants can be a convenient political football.

The article linked above is a must read because the answer he is proposing is consistent with the compassionate nature of Western culture which has arisen from its Christian roots.  I would definitely have said some things differently had I written the article, but I am convinced that he has identified exactly the sort of approach that is needed.

08 August 2016

St. Augustine's Prayer Book: HEART OF JESUS


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
The Episcopal Church


07 August 2016

Ikon of the Transfiguration


During this octave of the Feast of the Transfiguration, I thought it would be salutary to prayerfully contemplate the following early 15th century ikon attributed to Theophanes the Greek (called ‘Feofan’ in Russian), the teacher of the famous iconographer Andrei Rubliev which was originally painted for the Cathedral of the Transfiguration in Pereslavl but is now in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow:

Liturgical Life and Liturgical Beauty


From a DVD by the Canons Regular of the Mother of God:


Please also see this excellent paper on The New Liturgical Movement blog: