31 May 2019

The Visitation according to Houselander


Caryll Houselander
Caryll Houselander writes of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Elizabeth in her magnificent book The Reed of God:

Sometimes it may seem to us that there is no purpose in our lives, that going day after day for years to this office or that school or factory is nothing else but waste and weariness. But it may be that God has sent us there because but for us Christ would not be there. If our being there means that Christ is there, that alone makes it worthwhile. 

There is one exquisite incident in our Lady’s Advent in which this is clearly seen: the Visitation. 

And Mary rising up in those days went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda.(Luke 1:39) How lyrical that is, the opening sentence of St. Luke's description of the Visitation. We can feel the rush of warmth and kindness, the sudden urgency of love that sent that girl hurrying over the hills. "Those days" in which she rose on that impulse were the days in which Christ was being formed in her, the impulse was his impulse. 

Many women, if they were expecting a child, would refuse to hurry over the hills on a visit of pure kindness. They would say they had a duty to themselves and to their unborn child which came before anything or anyone else. 

The Mother of God considered no such thing. Elizabeth was going to have a child, too, and although Mary's own child was God, she could not forget Elizabeth's need — almost incredible to us, but characteristic of her. 

She greeted her cousin Elizabeth, and at the sound of her voice, John quickened in his mother's womb and leapt for joy. 

I am come, said Christ, that they may have life and may have it more abundantly (John 10:10). Even before he was born his presence gave life. 

If Christ is growing in us, if we are at peace, recollected, because we know that however insignificant our life seems to be, from it he is forming himself; if we go with eager will, in haste, to wherever our circumstances compel us, because we believe that he desires to be in that place, we shall find that we are driven more and more to act on the impulse of his love. And the answer we shall get from others to those impulses will be an awakening into life, or the leap into joy of the already wakened life within them. 

It is not necessary at this stage of our contemplation to speak to others of the mystery of life growing in us. It is only necessary to give ourselves to that life, all that we are, to pray without ceasing, not by a continual effort to concentrate our minds but by a growing awareness that Christ is being formed in our lives from what we are. We must trust him for this, because it is not a time to see his face, we must possess him secretly and in darkness, as the earth possesses the seed. We must not try to force Christ’s growth in us, but with a deep gratitude for the light burning secretly in our darkness, we must fold our concentrated love upon him like earth, surrounding, holding, and nourishing the seed. 

We must be swift to obey the winged impulses of his Love, carrying him to wherever he longs to be; and those who recognize his presence will be stirred, like Elizabeth, with new life. They will know his presence, not by any special beauty or power shown by us, but in the way that the bud knows the presence of the light, by an unfolding in themselves, a putting forth of their own beauty.

Caryll Houselander
The Reed of God

30 May 2019

Introit for the Ascension of the Lord


'Ascension of the Lord' mosaic in Monreale, Sicily

Gregorian Chant: Viri Galilaei

The Ascension Introit from Liber Usualis (1961), pp. 846-847
Schola Cantorum - Wiener Hofburgkapelle

A Collect for the Feast of the Visitation

The Kalendar of the Western Church prior to Vatican II observed the Feast of the Visitation on the 2nd of July, Today most Western Churches follow the post-Vatican II calendar with the feast observed on the 31st of May.

Abridged from the Sarum Collect for July 2

O GOD, who didst prompt the most holy Virgin Mary, the Mother of thine only begotten Son, to visit the blessed Elisabeth, for a mutual joy and strengthening in thee, mercifully grant, that being protected from all adversities and in the bonds of faith with thy whole Church, we may enjoy the grace of thy perpetual visitation ; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The People's Missal
(Anglican drawing from Sarum and other Uses)
The Revd E. A. L. Clarke, A.K.C

29 May 2019

Patrick Gowers: 'Viri Galilaei'


Patrick Gowers: Viri Galilaei for chorus and organ

Finzi: God Is Gone Up

In the Anglican tradition "Holy Thursday" is Ascension Thursday :
The Celebration of the Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Gerald Finzi: 'God Is Gone Up'
The Choirs of Wells Cathedral

27 May 2019

Prayers appropriate for the USA's Memorial Day Observance


The Episcopal Church in the United States of America provides 2 prayers especially appropriate for Memorial Day in the USA:

O Judge of the nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy. Grant that we may not rest until all the people of this land share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines. This we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

 The Book of Common Prayer, 1979, USA

God the King of Glory, in whose hands are the living and the dead: We give you thanks for all those who have laid down their lives in the service of our country. Grant them your mercy and the light of your presence; give us a sense of your will and purpose, that we may understand that the work you have begun in them will be perfected through Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, in whom all strife is resolved. Amen

Enriching Our Worship 3, The Episcopal Church

Memorial Day: "FOR THE FALLEN"


Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), published on 21 September 1914.

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

25 May 2019

Blessed John Henry Newman: '... the promise of something beyond it ..'


Once only in the year, yet once, does the world which we see show forth its hidden powers, and in a manner manifest itself. Then the leaves come out, and the blossoms on the fruit trees, and flowers; and the grass and corn spring up. There is a sudden rush and burst outwardly of that hidden life which God has lodged in the material world. Well, that shows you, as by a sample, what it can do at God's command, when He gives the word. This earth, which now buds forth in leaves and blossoms, will one day burst forth into a new world of light and glory, in which, we shall see Saints and Angels dwelling. 

Who would think, except from his experience of former springs all through his life, who could conceive two or three months before, that it was possible that the face of nature, which then seemed so lifeless, should become so splendid and varied? How different is a tree, how different is a prospect, when leaves are on it and off it! How unlikely it would seem, before the event, that the dry and naked branches should suddenly be clothed with what is so bright and so refreshing! Yet in God's good time leaves come on the trees. The season may delay, but come it will at last. So it is with the coming of that Eternal Spring, for which all Christians are waiting. Come it will, though it delay; yet though it tarry, let us wait for it, 'because it will surely come, it will not tarry.' Therefore we say day by day, 'Thy kingdom come;' which means,—O Lord, show Thyself; manifest Thyself; Thou that sittest between the cherubim, show Thyself; stir up Thy strength and come and help us. 

The earth that we see does not satisfy us; it is but a beginning; it is but a promise of something beyond it; even when it is gayest, with all its blossoms on, and shows most touchingly what lies hid in it, yet it is not enough. We know much more lies hid in it than we see. A world of Saints and Angels, a glorious world, the palace of God, the mountain of the Lord of Hosts, the heavenly Jerusalem, the throne of God and Christ, all these wonders, everlasting, all-precious, mysterious, and incomprehensible, lie hid in what we see. 

What we see is the outward shell of an eternal kingdom; and on that kingdom we fix the eyes of our faith. Shine forth, O Lord, as when on Thy nativity Thine Angels visited the shepherds; let Thy glory blossom forth as bloom and foliage on the trees; change with Thy mighty power this visible world into that diviner world, which as yet we see not; destroy what we see, that it may pass and be transformed into what we believe. 

Bright as is the sun, and the sky, and the clouds; green as are the leaves and the fields; sweet as is the singing of the birds; we know that they are not all, and we will not take up with a part for the whole. They proceed from a centre of love and goodness, which is God Himself; but they are not His fulness; they speak of heaven, but they are not heaven; they are but as stray beams and dim reflections of His Image; they are but crumbs from the table . . . .

We know that what we see is as a screen hiding from us God and Christ, and His Saints and Angels. 

Bl. John Henry Newman
'The Invisible World'
Parochial and Plain Sermons
Vol.4, no. 1

24 May 2019

Office of the Holy Spirit

Tuesday at the Third Hour: The Spirit of Fellowship

Although Pentecost does not come until June this year, I thought this Office from the Anglican Patrimony worth revisiting once again in advance of Whitsunday.  

O God, make speed to save us;
O Lord, make haste to help us.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.


O HOLY Spirit, Lord of grace,
Eternal source of love,
Inflame, we pray, our inmost hearts
With fire from heaven above.

As thou dost join with holiest bonds
The Father and the Son,
So fill thy saints with mutual love
And link their hearts in one.

To God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Holy Ghost.
Eternal Glory be from man,
And from the Angel-host. Amen. [English Hymnal 453.]

The multitude of them that believed: were of one heart and of one soul.

Laetatus sum.

    I WAS glad when they said unto me : We will go into the house of the Lord.
2 Our feet shall stand in thy gates : O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is built as a city : that is at unity in itself.
4 For thither the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord : to testify unto Israel, to give thanks unto the Name of the Lord.
5 For there is the seat of judgement : even the seat of the house of David.
6 O pray for the peace of Jerusalem : they shall prosper that love thee.
7 Peace be within thy walls : and plenteousness within thy palaces.
8 For my brethren and companions' sakes : I will wish thee properity.
9 Yea, because fo the house of the Lord our God I will seek to do thee good.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost :
R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The multitude fo them that believed : were of one heart and of one soul.


WALK worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Thanks be to God.

If there be any fellwoship of the Spirit : be ye likeminded, having the same love;
If there be any fellowship of the Spirit: be ye likeminded, haveing the same love.

If any tender mercies and compassions ;

Be ye likeminded having the same love.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;

If there be any fellowship of the Spirit : be ye likeminded, having the same love.

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts;

To the which also ye were called in one body.

The Lord be with you;

And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

VOUCHSAFE, we beseech thee, Almighty God, to grant to the whole Christian people unity, peace, and true concord, both visible and invisible : through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Lord be with you;
And with thy spirit.
Let us bless the Lord;
Thanks be to God.
Cambridge Offices and Orisons
E. Milner-White, B.T.D. Smith

21 May 2019

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


Fr Jonathan Morris to request laicisation


Father Jonathan Morris has begun the process of requesting laicisation. He is requesting from Pope Francis a release from the clerical state, but it is not known how long the process will take before his in no longer a priest of the Church.  

Fr Morris was a very visible face of the Catholic Church appearing on Fox News and other media outlets in the USA.  

I pray that once he is released from his vows by the Pope that Jonathan Morris will find both peace and joy in his life as a Catholic layman. I hope we will all keep him in our prayers.

Fr Morris has released a statement that is available as a link on the Crux website: link.

There is also an article on the Crux website concerning his decision which may be read by following this link.

13 May 2019

13 May - Feast of Our Lady of Fátima


Monday, 13 May, is the Feast of Our Lady of Fátima, and the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady Saint Mary the Virgin Mother of God at Fátima in Portugal on the 13th of May A.D. 1917. 

It is also my birthday, and I give thanks to God for granting me the favour of being born on this very significant feast day of the Church.

Before the Blessed Mother appeared to the three shepherd children, an angel appeared to them saying that he was the Angel of Peace.  He taught them to pray the following prayer:

“My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.”

Appearing one more time the Angel of God identified himself as the Guardian Angel of Portugal.  At this visit to the shepherd children the Angel taught them to pray the following prayer:

“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. And by the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.”

Our Lady of Fátima, pray for us
to the Lord of Hosts.

Our Lady, Star of Fátima,
We kneel before thy shrine
To bless thy name, to sing thy praise,
To blend our prayer with tine.
Look down on us, O merciful,
Most loving Virgin blest,
As we recite thy rosary,
Fulfilling thy request.

The enemies of holy Church,
Eternal battle wage;
The floods of sin and wickedness
With endless fury rage;
O Virgin pure, O spotless Maid,
We cry for help to thee;
As we recite thy rosary,
Gain us the victory.

Be sure to visit EWTN's beautiful Fátima Centennial website: LINK

Do not be afraid. I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me. 

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. 
I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, 
do not hope, and do not love You. 

Pray in this way. 
The hearts of Jesus and Mary are ready to listen to you.

05 May 2019

An Armenian Sanctuary Prayer



[...]  And again for peace 
let us beseech the Lord. 

Let us praise the Almighty God, 
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
who has made us worthy to stand 
in this place of glorification 
and to sing spiritual songs; 
may the Almighty Lord, our God, 
save us and have mercy upon us.

The Prayer in Sanctuary

In this holy abode and in this place of glorification, 
in this dwelling place of angels, 
and in this Temple of purification, 
before these God-accepted and resplendent holy symbols 
and before this holy sanctuary, 
we all humble ourselves and worship You with awe; 
we praise and glorify
Your holy, wondrous and triumphant Resurrection, 
and together with the heavenly hosts 
we offer You praise and glory 
together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, 
now and always forever and ever. Amen.

from The Badarak, pp. 21-22
The Sacred Music and the Divine Liturgy
of the Armenian Apostolic Church
Glendale, California, 1997


This is not a 'tweet' : this is the Truth


"You live in a deranged age, 
more deranged than usual, 
because, in spite of great scientific 
and technological advances, 
man has not the faintest idea 
of who he is 
or what he is doing." 

Walker Percy 


The Blessings of the Syro-Malabar Holy Qurbana

Click on the photo above to see an
Oshana Njayar (Palm Sunday) procession
from the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
This afternoon I am ruminating upon the Syro-Malabar rite of the Catholic Church of the Malabar Syrians and that concluding portion of the beautiful text of its Holy Qurbana (Eucharist).  

Although the Syro-Malabar rite has a long way to go in recovering its authentic Syriac chant, the text itself is profound as it is ancient.

I have always been especially impressed that this sacred liturgy has two different forms for concluding the Holy Qurbana.  One form is for everyday use, and the other is for Sundays and Feasts of the Syro-Malabar liturgical calendar.

Always deeply moving is the Celebrant's final farewell to the Holy Altar at the conclusion of the holy liturgy. The translation below is a faithful attempt at translation of the holy text.  

Concluding Prayers

(On Sundays and Feast Days)

Lord, our God! It is right and just at every moment and in all seasons to offer praise, worship, and thanksgiving to Your Glorious name. In Your great compassion, though we are weak, You made us worthy, to relish the sweetness of Your life-giving and divine words, to glorify Your name with the angels, to partake in these holy mysteries You have given us, and to sing constantly hymns of praise and thanksgiving to You, Most High: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Lord of all, forever.

Amen, Bless us, O Lord!

Christ who is our Lord and God, King, and Savior, and Life-Giver, in His mercy has made us worthy to receive His sanctifying and precious Body and Blood. May He bless us, so that we may please Him through our thoughts, words, and deeds. Lord! In Your immense mercy, may the covenant we have received from You be for the remission of debts and for the forgiveness of sins, great hope for the resurrection of the dead and new life everlasting in heaven with all those who found favor in Your presence. Lord of all, forever.


The Mar Thoma
Nasrani Cross
(On ordinary days)

Lord, Our God! In your mercy, You have given us these glorious, holy, life-giving, and divine mysteries for the forgiveness of sins. We are bound to offer Your Most Blessed Trinity everlasting praise and honor, thanksgiving and adoration for this gift. Lord of all, the Father, the Son, and, the Holy Spirit, forever.

Amen. Bless us, O Lord!

Christ, hope of mankind! You have forgiven our debts, sins, and offences through this glorious, holy, life giving, and divine mysteries. May this adorable gift from on high be blessed! Lord of all, forever.


Final Blessing

(On Sundays, Feast Days, and days of commemoration)

Syro-Malabar priest
blessing the congregation
God, our Father, has blessed us with every grace through Jesus Christ. Our Lord has invited us to His Kingdom and has led us to imperishable and everlasting happiness. In His life-giving Gospel, He said to his disciples: "Amen. Amen. I say to you. Whoever eats my Body and drinks my Blood, will live in me and I in him. I will raise him up on the last day. He will not be subject to condemnation. Rather, he will enter from death into eternal life." In accordance with this promise, may the Lord bless and protect this congregation that has partaken of this Holy Qurbana. May we, who joyfully participated in these glorious, holy, life-giving, and divine mysteries, be crowned with glory. Now, + always and forever.

(Final Prayer on ordinary Days)

We have praised, honored, and ministered to Our Lord Jesus Christ  through these glorious, sacred, lifegiving and divine mysteries. May He make us worthy of the glory of His kingdom, eternal happiness with His holy angels, and joy in His divine presence. May He enable us to stand at His right hand  in heavenly Jerusalem. May He bestow His mercy and blessings on us, on the whole world, and on the holy Church and all her children. Now, + always and forever.


(In a low voice) Praise to you, altar of sanctification! Praise to you, the sepulchre of Our Lord! May the Holy Qurbana that I have received from you, be for me unto the forgiveness of my debts and the remission of my sins. I know not, whether I shall come again to offer another sacrifice.

(The celebrant kisses the altar).

03 May 2019

St. Cyprian: "The Day of Our Own Struggle"


Saint Cyprian writes:

"Divine Providence has now prepared us. God's merciful design has warned us that the day of our own struggle, our own contest, is at hand. 

"By that shared love which binds us close together, we are doing all we can to exhort our congregation, to give ourselves unceasingly to fastings, vigils and prayers in common.

"These are the heavenly weapons which give us the strength to stand firm and endure; they are the spiritual defences, the God-given armaments that protect us. Let us then remember one another, united in mind and heart. 

"Let us pray without ceasing, you for us, we for you; by the love we share we shall thus relieve the strain of these great trials."

02 May 2019

St. Isaac of Nineveh: The Gift of Tears


Saint Isaac the Syrian writes:

Perpetual tears during prayer 
are a sign of divine mercy 
of which the soul is deemed worthy 
because of her repentance 
which has been accepted: 
and with tears 
she begins to enter the plain of sincerity, 
the plain of purity.


Segatashya: The Boy who Spoke with Jesus


This is the first message that the Lord Jesus Christ gave to Segatashya to share with the world while he was still a young boy in his native Rwanda in Africa:

“Jesus Christ sent me here today to tell you, 
and all men to renew your hearts. 
The day is coming 
when things will really get hard for humanity. 

You must change your heart while there is still time. 

Soon those who have refused to repent 
will not be able to do so. 

Let those who know that I set foot on earth, 
know that I am on my way back 
to take those who have worked well for Me 
to heaven for their eternal reward.”

Neither Segatashya nor his parents had ever been in a school or a church. While not yet approved by the Catholic Church, I am a firm believer in the veracity of Emmanuel Segatashya and all that he said and did in his too short life.

Emmanuel Segatashya, pray for us.