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