17 April 2018

A Coptic Prayer at the Offertory

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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. 
Amen.

16 April 2018

A Prayer for the Mission of the Church

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Swiebodzin, Poland


LORD JESUS CHRIST  
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)

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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'

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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