30 March 2017

from the Benedictional of St Ethelwold


WE beseech thee, O Lord, open to us thy heavens, and open our eyes to thee; that from thence thy gifts may descend to us and from hence our hearts look back to thee. 

May thy treasuries be laid open to us, while we receive the benefits which we implore; may our minds be laid open to thee, while we offer thee the service which is enjoined to us. 

Look down from heaven, O Lord, behold and visit this vine which thy right hand hath planted. Strengthen the weak, relieve the contrite, confirm the strong. Build them up in love, cleanse them with purity, enlighten them with wisdom, keep them with mercy. 

Lord Jesus, Good Shepherd, who didst lay down thy life for the sheep, defend the purchase of thy Blood. 

Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, seek the lost, convert the wandering, bind up that which is broken. 

Put forth thine own hand from heaven, and touch the head of each one here. May they feel the touch of thy hand, and receive the joy of the Holy Spirit, and abide in thy peace for evermore. Amen.

from The Benedictional of St Ethelwold

Eucharistic Prayers from the Ancient Liturgies
Chosen and Arranged
Evelyn Underhill
Longmans, Green and Co.

29 March 2017

Austin Farrer: Of Heaven and Resurrection [Anglican Patrimony]


The following is an excerpt from Austin Farrer's classic Saving Belief :

1. To hope for heaven has nothing particularly selfish about it.  No one ever thought he could keep heaven to himself.

2. Heaven is not a cash payment for walking with God; it's where the road goes.

3. Heaven isn't an optional extra; our belief is nonsense without it.

4. Our reason for believing it isn't that nature points to it, but that it leads us to itself.

I should like to develop the last point a bit.  Heaven is nothing that created nature produces; it is a new creation.  Two consequences follow from this.  The first is, that we have no interest in trying to isolate a piece of us called 'soul', which tends to outlive the body's collapse.  Our immortality is the new gift of God, not the survival of our old nature, whether in whole or in part.  It was pagan Greeks who talked about immortal soul; and with reason; for (to put it shortly) they thought the human spirit was a piece of godhead, able to guarantee immortal being to itself.  The religion of the Bible teaches no such doctrine.  God alone can give us a future.  It is better, then, to talk about the resurrection of man than about the immortality of 'soul'.  Belief in resurrection is belief not in ourselves, but in God who raises us.  It is in fact the acid test, whether we believe in God or not.  A God who raises the dead is a real power; he is not just a fanciful name for the order of nature, whether physical or moral.  A God so identified with the natural order that he adds nothing to it is difficult to distinguish from the world he rules, or from the laws which govern it.

Old Indian thought evaded the issue by making the cycle of the soul's rebirths a part of nature, like the seasons and the tides.  And as the lazy mind need not distinguish the God of the tides from the tides, neither need it distinguish the cycles of rebirth from the God of the cycles.  But when we realise that man's person, the living image of God, is bound to be sucked down in the whirlpool of decay, unless God rescues it; then faith in God begins to mean something.  It alters the whole picture.

Austin Farrer
Austin Farrer
Saving Belief .
pp. 120-121
Library of Anglican Spirituality, Susan Howatch, ed.

“Born in 1904, the son of a Baptist minister, Austin Farrer was ordained an Anglican priest and served in Oxford as chaplain and fellow of both St Edmund’s Hall and Trinity College before becoming Warden of Keble College, a post he held until his death in 1968. Austin Farrer was a renowned preacher, philosopher and biblical scholar as well as being regarded for his humour, originality, eloquence and deep spirituality. His life was rooted in prayer. He wrote, ‘Prayer and dogma are inseparable. They alone can explain each other’.” — from The Diocese of Oxford, Church of England.

King's Chapel, Boston: "O Lord and heavenly Father"


King's Chapel (est. 1686) in Boston, Massachusetts is a most unique congregation.  The Church is Unitarian Christian theologically, Congregational in polity, and its style of worship is self-described as Anglican. The congregation publishes an extremely handsome edition of their prayer book i.e., The Book of Common Prayer 1986 According to the Use in King's Chapel, Boston. And one would be very hard pressed to characterise their prayer book as anything outside of the Anglican norms for liturgy of course excepting the unitarian christian theological position. After being out of print for a number of years, the book is now in print again and is available via the King's Chapel website  for US$52.50. 

The following prayer is taken from the First Order for Holy Communion on Page 79 of the King's Chapel Book of Common Prayer 1986:

O Lord and heavenly Father, we thy humble servants earnestly desire thy fatherly goodness, mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, beseeching thee to grant that looking unto Christ and entering into the fellowship of his suffering, we may be changed into his likeness and with him pass from death into life. And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice, humbly beseeching thee, that all we who are partakers of this holy communion may be filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, according to thine abundant mercies in Christ Jesus our Lord; through whom all honor and glory be unto thee, O Father almighty, world without end. Amen.


28 March 2017

Eric Milner-White: Lord, bless to me this Lent


Laetare Sunday is now done and dusted, the Simnel Cake consumed, and the rose-coloured vestments tucked away till next Advent. Yet for some it feels as if this Lent is not quite what it should be. A friend wrote, "I feel somehow I got off on the wrong foot this Lent."

It is never too late to consecrate anew your Lenten journey at this very moment for what is left of the Season. To that end I share a well-known prayer of Eric Milner-White (1884-1963) that appeared in the 1967 edition of My God, My Glory:

LORD, bless to me this Lent.

Lord, let me fast most truly and profitably,
by feeding in prayer on thy Spirit:
reveal me to myself
in the light of thy holiness.

Suffer me never to think
that I have knowledge enough to need no teaching,
wisdom enough to need no correction,
talents enough to need no grace,
goodness enough to need no progress,
humility enough to need no repentance,
devotion enough to need no quickening,
strength sufficient without thy Spirit;
lest, standing still, I fall back for evermore.

Shew me the desires that should be disciplined,
and sloths to be slain.
Shew me the omissions to be made up
and the habits to be mended.
And behind these, weaken, humble, and annihilate in me
self-will, self-righteousness, self-satisfaction,
self-sufficiency, self-assertion, vainglory.

May my whole effort be to return to thee;
O make it serious and sincere
persevering and fruitful in result,
by the help of thy Holy Spirit
and to thy glory,
my Lord and my GOD.

The Very Reverend Dr  Eric Milner-White 
My God, My Glory
SPCK: London

Karl Adam: 'So Completely Does Jesus Disclose Himself'


Karl Adam writes:

Sacred Heart Chapel
Our Lady of the Atonement, San Antonio
For so completely does Jesus disclose Himself to His disciples, so profound is the action of His grace, that He gives Himself to them and enters into them as a personal source of grace. 

Jesus shares with His disciples His most intimate possession, the most precious thing that He has, His own self, His personality as the God-man. We eat His Flesh and drink His Blood. 

So greatly does Jesus love His community, that He permeates it, not merely with His blessing and His might, but with his real Self, God and Man; He enters into a real union of flesh and blood with it, and binds it to His being even as the branch is bound to the vine. We are not left orphans in this world. 

Under the forms of bread and wine the Master lives amid His disciples, the Bridegroom with His bride, the Lord in the midst of His community, until that day when He shall return in visible majesty on the clouds of heaven. 

The Sacrament of the Altar is the strongest, profoundest, most intimate memorial of the Lord, until He come again. And therefore we can never forget Jesus, though centuries and millennia pass, and though nations and civilizations are ever perishing and rising anew. 

And therefore there is no heart in the world, not even the heart of father or mother, that is so loved by millions and millions, so truly and loyally, so practically and devotedly, as is the Heart of Jesus.

Karl Adam
The Spirit of Catholicism

Confession from a trial order for Compline (Anglican Church of North America)


The following is a new form of Confession found in the new Compline liturgy of the Anglican Church of North America (which has nothing to do with the Anglican Church of Canada or the Episcopal Church USA). As I understand it the new liturgies of ACNA are provisional in nature and are part of their groundwork for a new edition of The Book of Common Prayer for their own communities and parishes.

     Almighty God and Father, we confess to you,
     to one another, and to the whole company of heaven,
     that we have sinned, through our own fault,
     in thought, and word, and deed,
     and in what we have left undone.
     For the sake of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ,
     have mercy upon us, forgive us all our sins,
     and by the power of your Holy Spirit
     raise us up to serve you in newness of life,
     to the glory of your Name. Amen.


Litany of Our Lady of Sorrows [Anglican Patrimony]

An Anglo-Catholic litany

Be merciful, O Lord, to us sinners, and at the pleading of thy mother, sorrowing in thine agony and sharing in thy bitter cup, O Jesus mercy.
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
Be merciful O Lord, to us sinners and at the pleading of thy mother, suffering in thy sufferings and bruised with thy stripes, O Jesus mercy.
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
Be merciful, O Lord, to us sinners, and at the pleading of thy mother, who saw thee crowned with thorns and robed with shame, O Jesus mercy.
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
Be merciful, O Lord, to us sinners, and at the pleading of thy mother, whose love unvanquished trod thy way of sorrows, O Jesus mercy;
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
Be merciful, O Lord, to us sinners, and at the pleading of thy mother, whose soul was pierced beneath thy Cross, O Jesus mercy.
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
Eric Milner-White

"Jesu, Jesu, Jesu, have mercy on me."
Saint Margaret Clitherow

A Pleading of the Passion [Anglican Patrimony]

The following Litany is an example of the extraordinary treasury of Anglican litanies and prayers that are almost entirely forgotten or unused.  I hope, dear Reader, that you may find this a worthy devotion to use ...especially on Fridays and weekdays in Lent... in order to draw nearer to Our Lord Jesus Christ.

ORD, have mercy upon us.
...........Christ, have mercy upon us.
........................LORD, have mercy upon us.


O Saviour of the world, who by the Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us ;
Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

JESUS, who to thine awed disciples didst foreshow thy body broken, and thy blood shed ;
Have mercy upon us.

JESUS, who in an agony of prayer, didst take the cup of pain ;
Have mercy upon us.

Jesus, betrayed by a kiss ;
Have mercy upon us.

Jesus, forsaken by thy friends ;
Have mercy upon us.

Jesus, denied by Peter ;
Have mercy upon us.

Jesus, who bound before Caiaphas,
didst confess thyself the Son of God ;
Have mercy upon us.

Jesus, blindfolded, struck, and spat upon ;
Have mercy upon us.

who while thine enemies were instant
with loud voices before the governor,
wast silent ;
Have mercy upon us.

Jesus, whom Herod mocked and arrayed in a gorgeous robe ;
Have mercy upon us

Jesus, crowned with thorns ;
Have mercy upon us

Jesus, brought forth that all might behold their king ;
Have mercy upon us.

Jesus, acclaimed by the people, "Crucify him crucify" ;
Have mercy upon us.

Jesus, rejected for Barabbas ;
Have mercy upon us.

Jesus, condemned to death ;
Have mercy upon us.

Jesus, scourged ;
Have mercy upon us.

Jesus, who wast led forth in shame along the way of sorrow ;
Have mercy upon us.

Jesus, falling beneath the Cross ;
Have mercy upon us.

Jesus, who amid uproar and weeping didst come to Calvary ;
Have mercy upon us.

Jesus, stripped naked before men ;
Have mercy upon us.

Jesus, laid on the cross ;
Have mercy upon us.

By the nails through hands and feet ;
Good Lord, deliver us.

By thy parched lips ;
Good Lord, deliver us.

By thy ears filled with ribaldry and scorn ;
Good Lord, deliver us.

By the forgiveness of thy foes ;
Good Lord, deliver us.

By thy promise to the penitenet ;
Good Lord, deliver us.

By thy love to thy beloved ;
Good Lord, deliver us.

By thy broken heart ;
Good Lord, deliver us.

By thy soul all desolate ;
Good Lord, deliver us.

By thy spirit rendered to the Father ;
Good Lord, deliver us.

By thy death ;
Good Lord, deliver us.

From all evil and mischief; from sin, from the crafts and assaults of the devil; from thy wrath, and from everlasting damnation ;
Good Lord, deliver us.

From all blindness of heart; from pride, vain-glory, and hypocrisy; from envy, hatred, and malice, and all uncharitableness ;
Good Lord, deliver us.

From fornication, and all other deadly sin; and from all the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil ;
Good Lord, deliver us.

From all dread of thy service, and distrust of thy love; from enmity to thy cross and scorn of thy passion ;
Good Lord, deliver us.

Let us confess our sins, saying together :

We confess to God Almighty, 
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, 
before the whole company of heaven, 
that we have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed, 
through our fault, our own fault, our own most grievous fault; 
wherefore we pray God to have mercy upon us. 
May God Almighty have mercy upon us, 
forgive us our sins, 
and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

Almighty God have mercy upon you, and forgive you all your sins, deliver you from all evil, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and bring you to everlasting life. Amen.

The Almighty and merciful Lord grant unto you pardon, absolution, and remission of all your sins, time for true repentance, and the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Now unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood and hath made us kings, and priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Cambridge Offices and Orisons
E. Milner-White, B.T.D. Smith

Prayers from The Saint Ambrose Prayer Book [Western Rite Orthodox]

GOD, who resistest the proud, and givest grace to the humble: grant us the virtue of true humility, whereof Thine Only-begotten showed in Himself a pattern for Thy faithful; that we may never by our pride provoke Thine anger, but rather by our meekness receive the riches of Thy grace. Amen.

O GOD, who rejectest none that come unto Thee, but in loving-kindness art appeased even with the greatest sinners who repent: mercifully regard our prayers in our humiliation, and enlighten our hearts that we may be able to fulfil Thy commandments.   

O GOD, who justifiest the ungodly, and willest not the death of a sinner: we humbly entreat Thy Majesty to protect Thy servants, who trust in Thy mercy, with Thy heavenly assistance, and preserve them by Thy continual protection; that they may constantly serve Thee, and by no temptation be separated from Thee. Amen.

ALMIGHTY and most Merciful God, who didst cause a fount of living water to spring out of a rock for Thy people in their thirst: draw forth tears of compunction from our stony hearts; that we may weep over our sins, and by Thy mercy deserve to obtain pardon for the same. Amen.

SAINT Joseph, defender and father of Virgins, unto whose faithful guardianship were committed Christ Jesus, very Innocence, and Mary, Virgin of virgins: I pray and beseech thee by Jesus and Mary, thy dearly beloved charge, that thou wouldst preserve me from all uncleanness; and make me with undefiled mind, and in purity of heart and boy, ever to serve Jesus and Mary in perfect chastity. Amen.

from The Saint Ambrose Prayer Book

The Very Revd Father John G. Winfrey, editor
First Edition, 2008

27 March 2017

2 Videos: Silverstream Priory on RTE in Ireland; The London Oratory Schola Cantorum Boys Choir


It was wonderful to hear that RTE had shown a wee visit to Silverstream Priory and Dom Mark Kirby in County Meath, Ireland. The community was recently canonically erected as a new Traditional order of Benedictine Monks

There are also two articles recently published on the web regarding the Benedictine Monks of Silverstream Priory: National Catholic Register & Catholic News Agency(In the English-speaking world Dom Mark Kirby is the only expert of whom I am aware on Mother Mectilde de Bar whose mystical writings are largely unknown outside of France. But she and her words are so very important for the Church! )

Also, there is a beautiful video concerning The London Oratory Schola Cantorum Boys Choir who have recently released a very, very fine CD:

When so much in the world and the Church seems uncertain and provoking of deep anxieties, it is more important than ever to embrace the lights that shine and support them with our prayers and if we are able with our finances.  

The world shall be saved by the Beauty of holiness, a friend of mine often says. Another friend always replies, Rather the world shall be saved by the holiness of Beauty.

St Jacob of Serug: Concerning St Gabriel and the Mother of God


The Annunciation
Saint Jacob of Serug is one of the great saints like St Ephrem and St Isaac the Syrian whose words speak with an amazing power today across the barriers of Church, churches, and denominations.  I have previously included excerpts from St Ephrem - the Harp of the Holy Spirit - concerning St Mary the Virgin Mother and Bearer of God.

Today I include a quotation from St Jacob of Serug that was brought to mind by the blog of Fr Alvin Kimel (ROCOR) entitled 'Eclectic Orthodoxy'. In the portion following bear in mind that the word 'Watcher' would in Western context be translated most often as 'Angel' or 'divine Messenger'. 

The revelation went out from God
to the pure one
by means of Gabriel, the learned one, 
who teaches fine sayings. 

The man of fire was sent from God
that he might bring the message 
from the house of the Father
to the glorious one. 

From the heavenly legions,
the spiritual one went forth,
who had been sent from God
with a hidden mystery. 

He met with the maiden,
greeted her,
and revealed the mystery,
as he had been commanded by God
in the heavens above. 

He bowed to the Virgin,
the Mother of the King,
and He spoke with her in the speech of the country
such as she was able to receive: 

“Peace be with you, full of divine splendour!
Peace to you Mary, Mother of the Sun of Justice! 

“Peace be upon you,
castle of holy things and full of virtues,
harbour of mysteries and new ship full or riches. 

“Blessed of women, peace be with you!
Our Lord is with you;
you have conceived
and in your virginity you have borne a son.” 

Mary listened,
and wonder seized her at the words of the Watcher;
the message was in her ears,
and great trembling within her mind: 

“My Lord, I am a virgin
and how is it that you speak to me of conception?
Your tale is new,
speak, explain what you are saying. 

“Who has sought a harvest from the land
without sowing it?
Who has sought grapes on the vine
without cultivating it? 

“From a virgin
who would expect birth without marital union?
Tell your tale which is babbling
and concealed from the intellect. 

“How will what you say come to pass,
as you say it?
Either explain it to me
or it will not be easy for me to consent.” 

The Watcher said:
“The Holy Spirit will come to you;
descending He dwells and sanctifies you
in your virginity. 

“He looses from you the curse of Eve and blesses you;
the Power of the hidden Father comes
and in you will be clothed with a body. 

“You are going to beget a Babe
whose kingdom will have no end;
because He is a great King,
the Son of the unsearchable God.” 

Saint Jacob of Serug

A Priest's Prayer [Assyrian Church of the East]


Below please find a preparatory prayer said by the Priest Celebrant at the Divine Liturgy of the Assyrian Church of the East (which is often referred to incorrectly as the Nestorian Church). The same prayer, translated a bit differently, is also said at the Eucharistic Liturgy of the Chaldean Catholic Church. The original form of this prayer is in Syriac, a form of Aramaic, and the English below came from an Assyrian Church of the East website that no longer exists:


Glory to you, O Finder of the lost. Glory to you, O Gatherer of the dispersed. Glory to you, who bring near the far off. Glory to you, who return the erring to the knowledge of the truth. Glory to you, my Lord, for you have called me, even feeble me, in your grace, and have brought me near unto you in your compassion, and have established me as a designated member in the great body of your holy catholic church, to offer before you this living, holy, and acceptable sacrifice, which is the memorial of the passion, death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, through whom you were well-pleased and reconciled to forgive the sins of all men

J.M. Neale: Ex more docti mystico

The sainted John Mason Neale's marvellous translation of Ex more docti mystico by Saint Gregory the Great is one we should all sing at least once during the great and holy season of Lent.  

 The text and mode ii melody may be found in The English Hymnal, No. 65, if memory serves.

The fast, as taught by holy lore,
we keep in solemn course once more:
the fast to all men known, and bound
in forty days of yearly round.

The law and seers that were of old
in divers ways this Lent foretold,
which Christ, all seasons' King and Guide,
in after ages sanctified.

More sparing therefore let us make
the words we speak, the food we take,
our sleep and mirth, -- and closer barred
be every sense in holy guard:

Avoid the evil thoughts that roll
like waters o'er the heedless soul;
nor let the foe occasion find
our souls in slavery to bind.

In prayer together let us fall,
and cry for mercy, one and all,
and weep before the Judge's feet,
and His avenging wrath entreat.

Thy grace have we offended sore,
by sins, O God, which we deplore;
but pour upon us from on high,
O pardoning One, Thy clemency.

Remember Thou, though frail we be,
that yet Thine handiwork are we;
nor let the honor of Thy Name
be by another put to shame.

Forgive the sin that we have wrought;
increase the good that we have sought:
that we at length, our wanderings o'er,
may please Thee here and evermore.

We pray thee, Holy Trinity,
One God, unchanging Unity,
that we from this our abstinence
may reap the fruits of penitence. Amen.

26 March 2017

Thinking upon the Annunciation


As I continue to ponder the Annunciation both as an historical event and as a living Mystery, a poem came back to mind that many of you may recognise as a hymn once sung in church. Perhaps it is still sung in your community or parish:

Mary the Dawn, Christ the Perfect Day;

Mary the Gate, Christ the Heavenly Way!

Mary the Root, Christ the Mystic Vine;

Mary the Grape, Christ the Sacred Wine!

Mary the Wheat-sheaf, Christ the Living Bread;

Mary the Rose-tree, Christ the Rose blood-red!

Mary the Font, Christ the Cleansing Flood;

Mary the Chalice, Christ the Saving Blood!

Mary the Temple, Christ the temple's Lord;

Mary the Shrine, Christ the God adored!

Mary the Beacon, Christ the Haven's Rest;

Mary the Mirror, Christ the Vision Blest!

Mary the Mother, Christ the Mother's Son

Both ever blest while endless ages run. Amen.

Father Justin Mulcahy, C.P., (1894-1981)


Catholic Apostolic (Irvingite): An Evening Intercession, 1847


The former Catholic Apostolic Church in Edinburgh, Scotland
The former High Altar of this church (not pictured) is now
the High Altar of St. Mary Catholic Cathedral, Edinburgh

ALMIGHTY and Everliving God, who hast given unto Thy Son Jesus Christ power over all flesh, that He should give Eternal Life to as many as Thou hast given Him ; and hast raised Him to Thy right hand to be High Priest over the House of God, and the Angel and Mediator of the New Covenant, ever present with Thy people ; In His Name we come before Thy holy Altar, and make intercession unto Thee.

Hear, O Most Holy Lord God, the supplications and prayers of Thy people which have been made to Thee this day in Thy holy Church. Let our prayers come up before Thee as incense, and the lifting up of our hands be as the evening sacrifice.

Holy Father, keep, through Thine own Name, those whom Thou hast chosen in Christ Jesus ; preserve them from the evil that is in the world ; sanctify them through Thy truth ; let Thy love be manifested in them ; fill them with Thy Holy Spirit, that they may be one in Thee, O Father, and in Jesus Christ Thy Son ; perfect them in the hope of His Coming; Give unto them a full entrance into His eternal kingdom, and make them partakers of His glory.

Come, O Lord Jesu, be Thou exalted among all nations. Let all kings fall down before Thee, let all nations serve Thee. In every place let incense and a pure offering be offered unto Thy Name, and let the whole earth be filled with Thy glory.

These things we ask, O Heavenly Father, in patient confidence and joyful hope, being assured that we ask them according to Thy will ; that the voice of Thy Church is heard by Thee, that the intercessions of the Holy Ghost are known unto Thee, and that the mediation of Thy well-beloved Son, our Lord and Saviour, doth prevail with Thee.

Wherefore we glorify Thy Name, we fall down before Thy throne, we worship and adore Thy glorious Majesty ; evermore praising Thee and saying, 

 "Salvation be unto our God which sitteth upon the Throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever.”

"Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever." 

Evening Prayer
The Litugy and Other Divine Offices
of the Catholic Apostolic Church 
Geo. Barclay, Castle Street, Leicester Square
London, 1847