12 September 2018

The Newly Consecrated Mother Abbess Cecilia


Let us rejoice in the consecration of Mother Cecilia as the first Benedictine abbess in US American history to be consecrated according to the Ancient Usage (Usus Antiquior) of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.

Since she is now a female prelate of the Church, she is shown in the photograph holding her crozier and wearing her abbatial pectoral cross. She will remain a consecrated Abbess for life.

May God bless her reign as Mother Abbess, and may her household increase to the glory of God.

The Lady Abbess is a graduate of the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University, Houston, Texas. Her religious community, The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, Priory (now Abbey) of Our Lady of Ephesus is world famous for award-winning recordings of Gregorian chant.

07 September 2018

8 September: The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary


The eighth of September is the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In other words it is the Birthday of Our Holy Mother Mary.

Illustrations by Enid Chadwick of blessèd memory
in her book 'The Church's Year'

The following are some of the collects and prayers in use for celebrating this feast day:

O ALMIGHTY God, who didst endue with singular grace the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Lord: Vouchsafe, we beseech thee, to hallow our bodies in purity, and our souls in humility and love; through the same our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen
The Book of Common Prayer, 1929, Scotland

Impart to your servants, we pray, O Lord, the gift of heavenly grace, that the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin may bring deeper peace to those for whom the birth of her Son was the dawning of salvation. 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. 
Roman Missal, 3rd ed.

Almighty and everlasting God,
who stooped to raise fallen humanity
through the child-bearing of blessed Mary:
grant that we, who have seen your glory
revealed in our human nature
and your love made perfect in our weakness,
may daily be renewed in your image
and conformed to the pattern of your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Common Worship, Church of England

God most high,
whose handmaid bore the Word made flesh:
we thank you that in this sacrament of our redemption
you visit us with your Holy Spirit
and overshadow us by your power;
strengthen us to walk with Mary 
the joyful path of obedience
and so to bring forth the fruits of holiness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Common Worship, Church of England

17 August 2018

Assumptiontide: Sing we of the blessed Mother


Text: George B. Timms (1910 - 1997)
 Tune: Abbot's Leigh
Music: Cyril Taylor (1941-1991)

09 August 2018

St Winefride's Well: the story of a Saint


Saint Winefride, pray for us.

For a story on the BBC website 
concerning the Shrine of St Winefride in Wales: click here

A Litany for the Spirit of Jesus


Jesus, unveiling the glory of the Eternal in the workshop of the carpenter,
Renew thy spirit in us.

Jesus, who didst love the common folk, Jesus, ever feeding the multitude with the bread of life that came down from heaven, Jesus, rejoicing with them that did rejoice, and weeping with them that wept,
Renew thy spirit in us.
Jesus, who for our sakes didst become poor, Jesus, rejoicing in the Father's will, Jesus, rejoicing in the lilies and the birds and the companionship of men,
Renew thy spirit in us.

Jesus, loving the simple and the childlike, and using the weak things to confound the strong, Jesus, persecuted by the priests, mocked by the scholars, slain by the politicians, Jesus, who lovedst thine own unto the end,
Renew thy spirit in us.

Jesus, agonizing for the lost, Jesus, calling men to forsake all, that, having thee, they might possess all things, Jesus, by thy terrible love on Calvary. Jesus, by thy victorious love at Easter,
Renew thy spirit in us.

Jesus, who didst inspire love's heroism in all great saints and lovers, Jesus, who hast promised men a peace and joy that no one can take from us, Jesus, who hast revealed thy great power in those whom the world has held of no account, 
Renew thy spirit in us.

O Lord, hear our prayer;
And let our cry come unto thee. Amen.

from The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory
An American Edition of The Grey Book
The Episcopal Church of the USA 

No, Bishops Investigating Bishops Won't Do


I have not wanted to say anything of my own concerning events within the episcopate in the Catholic Church in the USA, but there are 2 items online now that speak far better than I could:

(1) Here is a link to a post on Elizabeth Scalia's blog The Anchoress: LINK

Scalia's article is a bit of a prelude to an article by Professor Dawn Eden Goldstein found at The Catholic Herald UK online:

"Something very important is missing from every statement issued by US bishops thus far in the wake of the allegations against ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. It is something needed not only for the restoration of the bishops’ credibility but also, and more importantly, for the healing of the Church.

"Given that the bishops form a college in continuation of the Apostles’ own, they need to take the initiative in summoning themselves, as a body, to public acts of penance for (1) the sins of bishops and all clerics, and (2) those who enabled or failed to act against such wrongdoers."

I highly encourage your reading of Professor Goldstein's article at this L I N K.

Bishop Robert Barron has also written an article here: click link.

06 August 2018

Transfiguration Day


O God, who on the holy mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses thine Only Begotten Son wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may be permitted to behold the King in his beauty; who with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

A collect for the Feast of the Transfiguration
The Book of Common Prayer 1928

O God, who in the glorious Transfiguration of your Only Begotten Son confirmed the mysteries of faith by the witness of the Fathers and wonderfully prefigured our full adoption to sonship, grant, we pray, to your servants, that, listening to the voice of your beloved Son, we may merit to become co-heirs with him. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Roman Missal of John Paul II, 3rd ed.

O God who before the passion of thine only-begotten Son didst reveal his glory upon the holy mount: Grant unto us thy servants that in faith beholding the light of his countenance we may be strengthened to bear the cross and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

The Church of England

Father in heaven,
whose Son Jesus Christ was wonderfully transfigured
before chosen witnesses upon the holy mountain,
and spoke of the exodus he would accomplish at Jerusalem:
give us strength so to hear his voice and bear our cross
that in the world to come we may see him as he is;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. 
Transfiguration of the Lord
Common Worship 
The Church of England

O God,
in the transfiguration of your Son
you confirmed the mysteries of the faith
by the witness of Moses and Elijah;
and in the voice from the cloud
you foreshadowed our adoption as your children.
Make us, with Christ, heirs of your glory,
and bring us to enjoy its fullness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you 
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
one God, now and forever. Amen.
 Transfiguration of the Lord
(observed on the Sunday before Lent)
Book of Common Worship 1993
The Presbyterian Church (USA)
Cumberland Presbyterian Church

O God, who before the passion of your only-begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect for the Last Sunday after the Epiphany
The Sunday before Lent
The Book of Common Prayer, 1979

Miles Yates: Our Bounden Duty


There were a variety of individual efforts among members and clergy of the Episcopal Church in the USA to provide resources and aids to communicants who desired something more than was found in The Book of Common Prayer.  One such effort was Miles Lowell Yates' Our Bounden Duty: A Manual of Devotion for Communicants.  It was published by Oxford University Press in New York in 1951.  This little book may be regarded as a restrained Anglo-Catholic volume.  It includes quotations from The Imitation of Christ and many short prayers that one could learn by heart.  It is for ordinary lay-folk.

Yates writes that his rationale for the small book had a twofold aim: "(1) to help communicants of the Episcopal Church to interpret the Holy Communion as the solemn Action by which they do their 'bounden duty' in the worship God; and (2) to suggest a method of praying the Liturgy that may help to stress, for each and every Churchman, its inner significance and unifying power."

I do not know if such devotional manuals are even on the radar of the Liturgical Commissions of the Episcopal Church (USA), the Anglican Church in North America, or the Ordinariates in the Roman Catholic Church which make selective use of the Anglican patrimony, but I would like to suggest that there may be some treasure worth considering in these manuals which stretch back to the Prymers, Lancelot Andrewes' Preces Privitae, and many other devotional works and manuals of prayer —some for the learnèd, some for the simple, some for ordinary lay people who desired something more to help them grow in faith and worship beyond what was found in the words of the various editions of The Book of Common Prayer.

In the little book by Yates that I am considering, the text from the Book of Common Prayer is arranged on the left-hand page, and the private devotions are to be found on the right facing page.  On Page 77 there is appended to the Liturgy for Holy Communion a number of prayers that one could pray as one waits to go forward to receive the Lord in the Sacrament:


While waiting to go to the altar, as there is time,

   We wait for thy loving-kindness, O Lord, in the midst of thy temple.

God himself is with us,
Let us all adore him . . .
Now his own
Who have known
God, in worship lowly,
Yield their spirits wholly.

    LORD, let me not make this Communion amiss,
But reverently and rightly, to my soul's health.

     LORD, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof, but speak the word only, and my soul shall be healed.

COME, LORD JESUS, in thy compassion,
with light for my mind when it is dark,
with warmth for my heart when it is cold,
with strength for my will when it is weak,
be thou my Saviour.

COME, LORD JESUS, in thy power,
and bind us together for unselfish service
in the Church which is thy Body
in the world where thou hast walked.


Gloria in excelsis Deo +

21 July 2018

Prayers from Various Anglican Prayer Books


There are many prayer books to be found among the Anglicans.  There are official editions of The Book of Common Prayer, there are alternative resources published officially for use with or in place of The Book of Common Prayer, and there are private efforts which are meant to be used with or to augment the provisions of The Book of Common Prayer.  The prayers below show some examples of such prayers at different times although not the present day.  As a matter of faith  all Anglican prayer makes reference to the Sacred Scriptures either by direct quotation or indirect reference albeit an indirect reference that remains recognisable as to its source and inspiration.

Although many Anglicans and other Christians today are content with prayers of a more free-form origin, in its classical form Anglican prayer is never far from the Holy Bible which is of course the Catholic heritage of the Church from its earliest days.  Today many Roman Catholics and Anglicans are unaware that the texts of the Holy Mass reference again and again the Sacred Scriptures of the Church as they are the most certain foundation for all worship of and prayer to God.


Almighty God, whose loving hand hath given us all that we possess: 
Grant us grace that we may honour 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. 

The Book of Common Prayer


O FATHER, Lord of heaven and earth, to Thee do we turn now in this time of affliction. We are unworthy of the least of Thy mercies, but for the Saviour’s sake hear us.

Give us grace with all humility to recognise Thy loving hand at this season, and to glorify Thee by more entire dedication of ourselves, and all we possess, to Thy service.

We know not what the morrow may bring forth, but to Thee, who cares for the very least creatures of Thy hand, we would now commit all our anxieties. Oh, fill our hearts with Thy peace.

We pray also for all who are visited with like afflictions. Look with Fatherly love on them, and may Thy chastisements draw us all nearer to Thee, for the Redeemer’s sake. Amen.

from Daily Litanies for Family Worship
by a Layman
London: Longmans, Green, Reader, & Dyer
1867, p. 64.

[Read in Holy Scripture 1 KINGS VIII. 35.]

ALMIGHTY GOD, who art the ruler of all things, and who doeth what pleaseth Thee in the heaven above and in the earth beneath, we approach Thee with deep humility through the merits of thy Son. Thou has bidden thy people to come boldly unto the throne of thy grace, through that great High Priest who is passed into the heavens ; and we come to Thee pleading thy promise. 

Hast Thou not said, that whatsoever we ask believing, we shall receive ?   Lord, we believe ; help Thou our unbelief ; and at this time do for us exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think.

Thou hast laid thine afflicting hand upon thy servants, O Lord, and hast commanded the clouds that they give no rain. The heaven is shut up ; the skies are as brass over our head, and the earth as iron beneath our feet. The fields yield no meat, and the flock is cut off from the fold. We call upon Thee for mercy. 

Thou makest a fruitful land barren for the wickedness of them that dwell therein ; and again, Thou turned the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into water springs.  We confess that we have grievously sinned against Thee, and have justly provoked thy wrath and indignation against us. But stay thine avenging hand, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and have pity upon us. 

Cover the heaven with clouds, and prepare rain for the earth. Send us the early and the latter rain, and so preserve for us the kindly fruits of the earth, that in due time we may enjoy them. For thy Son’s sake, spare us, O Lord, who confess our sins unto Thee.  Hear us, for thy mercy is great ; and in the multitude of thy mercies look upon us. We humble ourselves beneath thy mighty hands, O Thou most Holy. 

Above all, sanctify our national trouble to the removal of our national sins. Grant us, we beseech Thee, the supply of our need, and all things that Thou sets necessary, both for our souls and for our bodies, for the sake of thy dear Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

[and for when there has been too much rainfall]
[Read Genesis IX. 8-17.]

ALMIGHTY GOD, our Heavenly Father, who makest the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, let it please Thee of thy great mercy to forgive the iniquity of thy people, and be favourable to this our land. Remember, O God, thy covenant, that while the earth remaineth, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease. And so increase our faith that we may trust in Thee, who givest us all things richly to enjoy, and whose tender mercies are over all thy works.

O God, who bindest up the waters in the thick cloud, and the cloud is not rent under them, be pleased to stay the clouds of heaven, that it may not rain, and grant such weather as that the ground may give its increase ; that our fields may yield the precious fruits brought forth by the sun ; and that our barns being filled with plenty, we may eat and bless Thee, the Lord, in whom we live, and move, and have our being ; and whose hand is ever open to supply the wants of every living thing.

We praise Thee, O God ; we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord, in whose hand are all things, and who workest all things after the counsel of thine own will. Let it please Thee of thine infinite goodness so to fill our hearts with thy Grace, that we may take no thought for the morrow ; but having food and raiment, may we therewith be content. Mercifully remove our unbelief, and disappoint our fears, that we confiding in the promises of thy Word and the bountifulness of thy providence, may pass our days in peace and quietness, knowing that we have our treasure in heaven and an inheritance that fadeth not away.

We humbly confess, O God, that we are not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which Thou hast showed unto thy servants ; but we plead the merits of thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Hear us at this time, and bless us, O our God and Father, for His sake.  Amen. 

from The Family Prayer Book
or, Morning and evening prayers
for every day in the year,
Edited by The Reverend Edward Garbett, M.A.,
and The Reverend Samuel Martin,
London: Cassell, Petter, and Galpin, 1864,
p. 388.


O God, in your love you have given gifts which our forebears neither knew or dreamed of.   Mercifully grant that we may not be so occupied with material things that we forget the things which are spiritual and thus,  even though we have gained the whole world, lose our souls; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Eric Milner-White  (1884-1963)
Daily Prayer

26 May 2018

Prayer for Memorial Day, USA

based upon a prayer by Leslie D. Weatherhead

We give you thanks, O Lord, for all who have died that we may live, for all who endured pain that we might know joy, for all who made sacrifices that we might have plenty, for all who suffered imprisonment that we might know freedom. Turn our deep feeling now into determination, and our determination into deed, that as men and women died for peace, we may live for peace for the sake of the Prince of Peace, even Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Daily Novena Prayer in Hurricane Season


The following prayer was written by the late Bishop Schexnayder of Lafayette, La Louisiane after the tragedy of Hurricane Audrey.  In subsequent years it became a daily novena prayer prayed in St. Mary's Catholic Cathedral Basilica on Galveston Island, Texas.  A new pastor at the Cathedral eliminated the novena prayer, and in that same year Hurricane Ike struck Galveston causing untold suffering and loss.  Few would want to draw a direct correlation, but many ordinary folk believed there was one.  

I do not know if this sprayer is going to be prayed daily during Hurricane Season by any church or cathedral, but I commend it to all of us who live on the Gulf Coast, the Atlantic Coast, and those who live in the Caribbean believing we have a need of praying this daily on our own.  If possible encourage your pastor, to add the daily novena prayer to be said at sometime during or after Daily Mass and Sunday Mass.

O God, Master of this passing world, hear the humble voices of your children. The Sea of Galilee obeyed Your order and returned to its former quietude. 
You are still the Master of land and sea. We live in the shadow of a danger over which we have no control: the Gulf, like a provoked and angry giant, can awake from its seeming lethargy, overstep its conventional boundaries, invade our land, and spread chaos and disaster.
During this hurricane season we turn to You, O loving Father. Spare us from past tragedies whose memories are still so vivid and whose wounds seem to refuse to heal with passing of time.
O Virgin, Star of the Sea, Our beloved Mother, we ask you to plead with your Son on our behalf, so that spared from the calamities common to this area and animated with a true spirit of gratitude, we will walk in the footsteps of your Divine Son to reach the heavenly Jerusalem, where a stormless eternity awaits us.
Our Lady of Prompt Succour, hasten to help us!

07 May 2018

Rogationtide: Rogation Monday


In a church of my childhood, the priest's vestments for Rogationtide were a dark violet with dark green trim.  There is, of course, a more technical name for the trim, but right now I am thinking of how appropriate it was to mix the two hues in the vestments for these days.

Today is Rogation Monday.  There is no appointed Collect in The Book of Common Prayer, 1662, but Bishop Cosin proposed a most excellent Collect for Rogationtide:

Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth, in whom we live, move and have our being, who doeth good unto all men, making thy sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sending rain on the just and the unjust; favourably behold us thy people, who do call upon thy name, and send us thy blessing from heaven, in giving us fruitful seasons, and filling our hearts with food and gladness; that both our hearts and mouths may be continually filled with thy praises, giving thanks to thee in thy holy Church, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect for Rogation Monday in The Book of Common Prayer, 1979 (USA) is a collect for fruitful seasons:

Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth: We humbly pray that thy gracious Providence may give and preserve to our use the harvests of the land and of the seas, and may prosper all who labour to gather them, that we, who constantly receive all good things from thy hand, may always give thee thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Although few Catholic, Anglican, and Methodist churches and chapels still observe Rogation Monday, we can certainly observe it at home by praying the Collect and a Litany (such as The Litany on page 188 in The Book of Divine Worship) and by especially thanking God for the abundance of the earth as well as praying for God's blessing upon those whose labour gathers in God's bounty for us to enjoy.


02 May 2018

The Narrative is the Thing


Robert Jenson: https://www.firstthings.com/article/1993/10/how-the-world-lost-its-story

"Late antiquity suffered and lamented the same blindness with which postmodernity is afflicted, the same inability to see any Fulfillment up there before us. Gradually, as the church worked out the theology, the church made herself a place of such seeing. She did this with the icons of the East and the windows and statues of the West. Protestantism supposed that folk in the civil society already envisioned glorious Fulfillment, and needed no specific churchly envisioning, and therefore Protestantism for the most part eliminated the images and even where it retained them forgot how to use them. Protestantism’s reliance on the world was here too an illusion, but here too an illusion it got away with for modernity’s time. That time is over.

"If we are in our time rightly to apprehend the eschatological reality of the gospel promise, we have to hear it with Christ the risen Lord visibly looming over our heads and with His living and dead saints visibly gathered around us. Above all, the church must celebrate the Eucharist as the dramatic depiction, and as the succession of tableaux, that it intrinsically is. How can we point our lives to the Kingdom’s great Banquet, if its foretaste is spread before us with all the beauty of a McDonald’s counter?"  — Professor Robert Jenson

Fr. Stephen Freeman:  https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/glory2godforallthings/2018/04/24/do-you-ever-think-about-being-a-hobbit/

"We live in a story that calls itself the “modern world.” It is about the “time” we live in. It invented terms such as the “Classical Period,” the “Dark Ages,” and the “Middle Ages,” naming history in such a way that it inevitably yielded modernity. It is the story of progress and evolution, not the unfolding of a divine plan, but the successive work of increasing understanding, science and compassion.

"It is not surprising that the “modern” world plays host to a growing number of people who identify as atheists or non-religious. The narrative of modernity has no place for religion, other than a condescending tolerance for people who “like that sort of thing.” Religion is frequently cast as the villain of the “Middle Ages,” and, thus, something that does not belong to our own day and age.

"Of course, the narrative that is the story of modernity is fictional. It’s power and strength come from repetition. Modernity did not end war; human suffering has changed but not disappeared; prosperity has come to some but very unevenly; democracy has created universal suffrage to little or no effect; human dignity is a popular slogan, but largely without content. Has the world truly left behind superstition and ignorance in an ageless march towards a consumer paradise?

"Modernity is only a story: it is a narrative disguised as history. The emptiness and pointlessness of the modern narrative begs for questions. I suspect it’s why our hearts ache from time to time and dream of Hobbits. The narrative of Middle Earth, though fictional, has a transcendent meaning and purpose, something that calls for the deepest courage and makes every sacrifice to be significant. That Mordor and Isengard both embody elements of the industrial revolution, endangering even the Shire, are not accidental. They intentionally represent the flaws of modernity. Tolkien’s mythology imagines that such forces can be defeated."   — Fr Stephen Freeman

17 April 2018

A Coptic Prayer at the Offertory


Receive, O Lord, the gifts of thy servants; 
the rich and the poor, 
the hidden and the manifest, 
those who offer much or little,
and of those who desired
and had not wherewithal to give; 
Grant unto them things incorruptible
in place of things corruptible, 
things heavenly for things earthly, 
things eternal for things temporal, 
and fulfill in them all manner of good
through Christ our Lord. 

16 April 2018

A Prayer for the Mission of the Church

Swiebodzin, Poland

who didst stretch out thine arms of love
upon the hard wood of the Cross,
that all men everywhere might come
within the reach of thy saving embrace:
So clothe us with thy Spirit
that we, reaching forth our hands in love,
may bring those who do not know thee
to the knowledge and love of thee;
for the honour of thy Name. Amen.

a prayer by Dr. Charles Henry Brent
The Episcopal Church  USA

John Donne: RESURRECTION (an unfinished poem)

The Resurrection by Louis C. Tiffany

Sleep sleep old sun, thou canst not have repast
As yet, the wound thou took’st on Friday last;
Sleep then, and rest; the world may bear thy stay,
A better Sun rose before thee today,
Who, not content to enlighten all that dwell
On the earth’s face, as thou, enlightened hell,
And made the dark fires languish in that vale,
As, at thy presence here, our fires grow pale.
Whose body having walked on earth, and now
Hasting to heaven, would, that he might allow
Himself unto all stations, and fill all,
For these three days become a mineral;
He was all gold when he lay down but rose
All tincture, and doth not alone dispose
Leaden and iron wills to good, but is
Of power to make even sinful flesh like his.
Had one of those, whose credulous piety
Thought, that a soul one might discern and see
Go from a body, at this sepulcher been,
And, issuing from the sheet, this body seen,
He would have justly thought this body a soul,
If not of any man, yet of the whole.

an unfinished poem by John Donne

Prayer to the Holy Ghost. (Saint Isidore of Sevilla)

Here we are before thee, O Holy Ghost.
We feel the burden of our infirmities,
but we are united all together in Thy name:
come to us, help us, enter into our hearts:
teach us what we should do,
the path to follow,
do for us what Thou askest us to do.
Be the only one to propose and guide our decisions,
because only Thou, with the Father and the Son,
hast a name that is glorious and holy.
Do not allow us to offend justice,
Thou, who lovest order and peace,
Let not ignorance lead us astray,
Let not human sympathy bias us,
Do not let people or office influence us.
Keep us intimately close to Thee
with the gift of Thy Grace,
so that we may be only one thing with Thee,
and nothing may separate us from the Truth.
Gathered in Thy Holy Name,
may we be good and firm,
so that all we do may be in one accord with Thee,
awaiting that the faithful fulfillment of our duty
may lead us to the eternal good. Amen.

San Isidoro de Sevilla

11 April 2018

Caryl Houselander: Excerpt from 'The Reed of God'

La fuga in Egitto - Giotto

Caryl Houselander wrote this during the Second World War:

Looking about us now we can see all these things which were started and lived so intensely by those unknown peasants Joseph and Mary.  We can see them happening all over the world, to everyone in the world.  We can see that the human race, with its great vocation to be the Mother of God, is experiencing the very things that Mary and Joseph experienced when Christ was still a child in the womb.

A little while ago I went to register for National Service, Compulsory Registration. A group of women were waiting outside the doors for our turn ; several carried babies in their arms ; one was pregnant (we gave her the only chair) ; one of them grumbled: "No use for us to register," she said, "for in any case those with kiddies will have to stay at home."

I looked at the pregnant woman, and I thought of that great Registration at Bethlehem, when a poor peasant woman came in obedience ; she need not have done so ; she could have claimed exemption. But Mary never claimed exemption from the common lot, from the circumstances that would be the common lot of all women for all time.

She knew it was "useful"—that those who are patient, obedient, humble, will be the mothers of Christ, will give Life back to the world.

"Be it done unto me . . ."

She spoke for all those poor women who stood with me waiting to register in the Second World War.

Everywhere the Flight into Egypt goes on : the little slain ; everywhere the refugees—Jesus, Mary and Joseph— come to us: strangers, foreigners in a strange land from Greece, Holland, France, Norway, Denmark, Malta, Gibraltar, Austria, Bavaria, Germany. For them all Our Lady has answered, long ago: "Be it done unto me."

In this great fiat of the little girl Mary, the strength and foundation of our life of contemplation is grounded, for it means absolute trust in God, trust which will not set us free from suffering but will set us free from anxiety, hesitation, and above all from the fear of suffering. Trust which makes us willing to be what God wants us to be, however great or however little that may prove.  Trust which accepts God as illimitable Love.

Caryll Houselander
The Reed of God
Pages 26-27
Copyright © 1944 by Caryll Houselander
Sheed and Ward, London

10 April 2018

The Canticle of the Lamb

Repost from 2015

For whoever believes in the power of the Blood of Jesus,
nothing is impossible.

After a rather vigorous discussion today concerning the late Mother Basilea Schlink and the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary , I was put in mind of her most important spiritual canticle — 'most important' in my humble opinion of course — a spiritual canticle to the Wounds of Jesus and the Blood of the Lamb entitled The Canticle of the Lamb.

Today I understand that the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary uses a new English translation of the Canticle, but liturgically I prefer the diction of the first translation — which one may find in Celtic Daily Prayer and printed below. 

     I praise the Wounds 
          and the Blood of the Lamb


     I praise the Wounds and the Blood of the Lamb
              that heals the weakness of my body,

     I praise the Wounds and the Blood of the Lamb
              that heals the weakness of my soul,

     I praise the Wounds and the Blood of the Lamb
               that heals the weakness of my spirit!

     Praise be to the Blood of the Lamb in His forgiving power.

     Praise be to the Blood of the Lamb in His cleansing power.

     Praise be to the Blood of the Lamb in His saving power.

     Praise be to the Blood of the Lamb in His releasing power.

     Praise be to the Blood of the Lamb in His victorious power.

     Praise be to the Blood of the Lamb in His renewing power.

     Praise be to the Blood of the Lamb in His protecting power.

     For whoever believes in the power of the Blood of Jesus,      

             nothing is impossible.

     I praise the Blood of the Lamb that covers all my sins
          so that they can no longer be seen,

     I praise the Blood of the Lamb that cleanses me from all my sins
         and makes me white as snow,

     I praise the Blood of the Lamb that has power to free me
          from all my bondages and chains of sin.

     I praise the Blood of the Lamb that is stronger
          than my own sin-infested blood
              and remoulds me into the image of God,

     I praise the Blood of the Lamb that is victorious
         over all powers that seek to oppress me,
              over every power of the enemy.

     I praise the Blood of the Lamb
          that protects me from all the devious attacks of the enemy.

     I praise the Blood of the Lamb
          that prepares for me the bridal garment.

     I praise the Blood of the Lamb
          that makes all things new.
              Hallelujah! Amen.
M. Basilea Schlink
as translated in Celtic Daily Prayer

For whoever believes 
in the power of the Blood of Jesus,
nothing is impossible.