Sunday, April 30, 2017

Jesus Is Risen! Let Us Sing!

Jesus is risen! Let us sing!
Praise to the ever-living King!
     Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise him in song, ye Seraphim!
Praise him with joy, ye Cherubim!
     Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

On this most holy day of days,
Let us together sing his praise!
     Alleluia! Alleluia!
Raise joyful voices to the sky!
Sing out, ye heavens, in reply:
     Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

To God the Father let us sing,
To God the Son, our risen King!
     Alleluia! Alleluia!
And equally let us adore
The Holy Spirit evermore!
     Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Tune: Laßt Uns Erfreuen L.M. with alleluias
Music: Auserlesene Catholische Geistliche Kirchgesänge, Köln, 1623
Text: Compilers, 1978

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Saint Francis and the Sow

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;  
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;  
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch  
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow  
began remembering all down her thick length,  
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,  
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine  
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering  
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

~Galway Kinnell

Friday, April 28, 2017

Acts 5:34-42

A Pharisee in the Sanhedrin named Gamaliel,
   a teacher of the law, respected by all the people,
   stood up, ordered the Apostles to be put outside for a short time,
   and said to the Sanhedrin, “Fellow children of Israel,
   be careful what you are about to do to these men.
Some time ago, Theudas appeared, claiming to be someone important,
   and about four hundred men joined him, but he was killed,
   and all those who were loyal to him
   were disbanded and came to nothing.
After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census.
He also drew people after him,
   but he too perished and all who were loyal to him were scattered.
So now I tell you,
   have nothing to do with these men, and let them go.
For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin,
   it will destroy itself.
But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them;
   you may even find yourselves fighting against God.”
They were persuaded by him.
After recalling the Apostles, they had them flogged,
   ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus,
   and dismissed them.
So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin,
   rejoicing that they had been found worthy
   to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.
And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes,
   they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Bridge


(Picture found here)
Most of my life was spent
building a bridge out over the sea
though the sea was too wide.
I’m proud of the bridge
hanging in the pure sea air. Machado
came for a visit and we sat on the
end of the bridge, which was his idea.
Now that I’m old the work goes slowly.
Ever nearer death, I like it out here
high above the sea bundled
up for the arctic storms of late fall,
the resounding crash and moan of the sea,
the hundred-foot depth of the green troughs.
Sometimes the sea roars and howls like
the animal it is, a continent wide and alive.
What beauty in this the darkest music
over which you can hear the lightest music of human
behavior, the tender connection between men and galaxies.
So I sit on the edge, wagging my feet above
the abyss. Tonight the moon will be in my lap.
This is my job, to study the universe
from my bridge. I have the sky, the sea, the faint
green streak of Canadian forest on the far shore.

~Jim Harrison
  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Follow Jesus Christ

“Made for spirituality, we wallow in introspection. Made for joy, we settle for pleasure. Made for justice, we clamor for vengeance. Made for relationship, we insist on our own way. Made for beauty, we are satisfied with sentiment. But new creation has already begun. The sun has begun to rise. Christians are called to leave behind, in the tomb of Jesus Christ, all that belongs to the brokenness and incompleteness of the present world ... That, quite simply, is what it means to be Christian: to follow Jesus Christ into the new world, God’s new world, which he has thrown open before us.”
~N. T. Wright

Monday, April 24, 2017

Ritual

“The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility; rather it proves the offender’s inability to forget himself in the rite, and readiness to spoil for every one else the proper pleasure of ritual.”
~C. S. Lewis

Sunday, April 23, 2017

All Ye That Seek The Lord Who Died

All ye that seek the Lord Who died,
Your God for sinners crucified,
Prevent the earliest dawn, and come
To worship at His sacred tomb.
Bring the sweet spices of your sighs,
Your contrite hearts, and streaming eyes,
Your sad complaints, and humble fears;
Come, and embalm Him with your tears.

While thus ye love your souls t’employ,
Your sorrow shall be turned to joy:
Now, let all your grief be o’er!
Believe, and ye shall weep no more.
An earthquake hath the cavern shook,
And burst the door, and rent the rock;
The Lord hath sent His angel down,
And he hath rolled away the stone.

As snow behold his garment white,
His countenance as lightning bright:
He sits, and waves a flaming sword,
And waits upon his rising Lord.
The third auspicious morn is come,
And calls your Savior from the tomb,
The bands of death are torn away
The yawning tomb gives back its prey.

The Lord of Life is risen indeed,
To death delivered in your stead;
His rise proclaims your sins forgiv’n,
And show the living way to Heav’n.
Go tell the followers of your Lord
Their Jesus is to life restored;
He lives, that they His life may find;
He lives, to quicken all mankind.

~Words: Charles Wesley & Music: Wenzel Müller

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Town of Spring Once Again

“Spring is always like what it used to be.”
Said an old Chinese man.
Rain hissed down the windows.
Longings from a great distance.
Reached us.

~Anne Carson

Friday, April 21, 2017

Story in Icons


(Weeping Outside of Paradise - found here)

(Harrowing of Hades - found here)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bright Week

Bright Week, Pascha Week or Renewal Week (Greek: Διακαινήσιμος Ἑβδομάς) is the name used by the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Rite Catholic Churches for the period of seven days beginning on Pascha (Easter) and continuing up to (but not including) the following Sunday, which is known as Thomas Sunday.

The entire week following Pascha is to be set aside by Orthodox Christians for the celebration of the Resurrection. “...from the holy day of the Resurrection of Christ our God until New Sunday (i.e. Thomas Sunday) for a whole week the faithful in the holy churches should continually be repeating psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, rejoicing and celebrating Christ, and attending to the reading of the Divine Scriptures and delighting in the Holy Mysteries. For in this way shall we be exalted with Christ; raised up together with Him.”

The entire week is considered to be one continuous day. The name of each day of the week is called “Bright” (e.g., “Bright Monday”) and the week's services are unique, varying greatly from those during the remainder of the year.

During all of Bright Week the Holy Doors on the Iconostasis are kept open—the only time of the year when this occurs. The open doors represent the stone rolled away from the Tomb of Christ, and the Epitaphios (Slavonic: Plashchanitza), representing the burial clothes, is visible through them on the Holy Table (altar). The doors are closed before the Ninth Hour on the eve of Thomas Sunday. However, the Afterfeast of Pascha will continue until the eve of the Ascension. (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bright_Week)

("Resurrected Christ" - St. Isaac's Cathedral, St. Petersburg, Russia - found here)

(St. Isaac's Cathedral, St. Petersburg, Russia - found here)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Divine Mysteries

“Those to whom Christ has given light as He has risen, to them He has appeared spiritually, He has been shown to their spiritual eyes. When this happens to us through the Spirit He raises us up from the dead and gives us life. He grants us to see Him, who is immortal and indestructible. More than that, He grants clearly to know Him who raises us up (Eph. 2:6) and glorifies us (Rom. 8:17) with Himself, as all the divine Scripture testifies. These, then, are the divine mysteries of Christians. This is the hidden power of our faith, which unbelievers, or those who believe with difficulty, or rather believe in part, do not see nor are able at all to see.”
~St. Symeon

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

On the Lord’s Resurrection

“Let God’s people then recognize that they are a new creation in Christ, and with all vigilance understand by Whom they have been adopted and Whom they have adopted. Let not the things, which have been made new, return to their ancient instability; and let not him who has ‘put his hand to the plough’ forsake his work, but rather attend to that which he sows than look back to that which he has left behind. Let no one fall back into that from which he has risen, but, even though from bodily weakness he still languishes under certain maladies, let him urgently desire to be healed and raised up. For this is the path of health through imitation of the Resurrection begun in Christ, whereby, notwithstanding the many accidents and falls to which in this slippery life the traveller is liable, his feet may be guided from the quagmire on to solid ground, for, as it is written, ‘the steps of a man are directed by the Lord, and He will delight in his way. When the just man falls he shall not be overthrown, because the Lord will stretch out His hand.’”
~St. Leo the Great

Monday, April 17, 2017

A New Spring

“...Their poor ointments, with which they meant to preserve from corruption Him who Himself keeps the heavens from decay, and with which they desired to anoint Him from whom the heavens take their fragrance! O most fragrant Lord, the only fragrance of the human being and human history; how wondrously didst Thou reward these devoted and faithful souls who did not forget Thee dead in Thy tomb! Thou didst make the Myrrh-Bearing Women the bearers of the tidings of Thy Resurrection and Thy glory! They did not anoint Thy dead body, but Thou didst anoint their living souls with the oil of gladness. The mourners of the dead became the swallows of a new spring.”
~St. Nikolai Velimirovic

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday Hymn

Thine Is The Glory

Thine is the glory,
Risen, conqu’ring Son;
Endless is the victory,
Thou o’er death hast won;
Angels in bright raiment
Rolled the stone away,
Kept the folded grave clothes
Where Thy body lay.

Refrain:
Thine is the glory,
Risen conquering Son,
Endless is the victory,
Thou o’er death hast won.

Lo! Jesus meets us,
Risen from the tomb;
Lovingly He greets us,
Scatters fear and gloom;
Let the church with gladness,
Hymns of triumph sing;
For her Lord now liveth,
Death hath lost its sting.

Refrain

No more we doubt Thee,
Glorious Prince of life;
Life is naught without Thee;
Aid us in our strife;
Make us more than conquerors,
Through Thy deathless love:
Bring us safe through Jordan
To Thy home above.

Refrain

~Words: Edmond Budry (Translated from French to English by Richard Hoyle) & Music: George F. Handel

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Holy Saturday

My brothers, it was to us that this message of salvation was sent forth. The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their rulers failed to recognize him, and in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets which we read sabbath after sabbath. Even though they found no charge against him which deserved death, they begged Pilate to have him executed. Once they had brought about all that had been written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. Yet God raised him from the dead.
~Acts 13:26-30

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday Hymn

Jesus, Our Savior, Lord Of All the Nations

Refrain:
Hear us, almighty Lord, show us your mercy
Sinners, we stand here before you.

Jesus, our Savior, Lord of all the nations,
Christ our Redeemer, hear the prayers we offer,
Spare us and save us, comfort us in sorrow.

Refrain

Word of the Father, keystone of God’s building,
Source of our gladness, gateway to the Kingdom,
Free us in mercy from the sins that bind us.

Refrain

God of compassion, Lord of might and splendor,
Graciously listen, hear our cries of anguish.
Touch us, and heal us where our sins have wounded.

Refrain

Humbly confessing that we have offended,
Stripped of illusions, naked in our sorrow,
Pardon, Lord Jesus, those your blood has ransomed.

Refrain

Innocent captive, you were led to slaughter,
Sentenced by sinners when they brought false witness.
Keep from damnation those your death has rescued.

Refrain:
Hear us, almighty Lord, show us your mercy
Sinners, we stand here before you.

Tune: Attende Domine 11.11.11 with Refrain
Music: Gregorian, Mode V
Text: Latin, tenth century
Translation: Ralph Wright, OSB, 1938-

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sonnet for Maundy Thursday

Here is the source of every sacrament,
The all-transforming presence of the Lord,
Replenishing our every element
Remaking us in his creative Word.
For here the earth herself gives bread and wine,
The air delights to bear his Spirit’s speech,
The fire dances where the candles shine,
The waters cleanse us with His gentle touch.
And here He shows the full extent of love
To us whose love is always incomplete,
In vain we search the heavens high above,
The God of love is kneeling at our feet.
Though we betray Him, though it is the night.
He meets us here and loves us into light.

~Malcolm Guite

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Cost

“It cost God nothing, so far as we know, to create nice things: but to convert rebellious wills cost Him crucifixion.”
~C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Cross


                              The Cross
                               The form
                                Of Love
                                 Is still
                    A King dead upon a hill.
            Oh what is Love that yet does kill!
                                So fierce
                                In bloom:
                               That Love
                                 Which
                                  broke
                              The tomb!

                       ~a Carthusian monk
  

Monday, April 10, 2017

Indifference


(Picture found here)
When Jesus came to Golgotha
They hanged Him on a tree,
They drave great nails through hands and feet,
And made a Calvary.
They crowned Him with a crown of thorns;
Red were His wounds and deep,
For those were crude and cruel days,
And human flesh was cheap.

When Jesus came to Birmingham,
They simply passed Him by;
They never hurt a hair of Him,
They only let Him die.
For men had grown more tender,
And they would not give Him pain;
They only just passed down the street,
And left Him in the rain.

Still Jesus cried, “Forgive them,
For they know not what they do.”
And still it rained the winter rain
That drenched Him through and through.
The crowds went home and left the streets
Without a soul to see;
And Jesus crouched against a wall
And cried for Calvary.

~G. A. Studdert Kennedy
   

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Stranger of Galilee

In fancy I stood by the shore, one day,
Of the beautiful murm’ring sea;
I saw the great crowds as they thronged the way
Of the Stranger of Galilee;
I saw how the man who was blind from birth,
In a moment was made to see;
The lame was made whole by the matchless skill
Of the Stranger of Galilee.

Refrain 1-3:
And I felt I could love Him forever,
So gracious and tender was He!
I claimed Him that day as my Savior,
This Stranger of Galilee.

His look of compassion, His words of love,
They shall never forgotten be;
When sin-sick and helpless He saw me there,
This Stranger of Galilee;
He showed me His hand and His riven side,
And He whispered, “It was for thee!”
My burden fell off at the pierced feet
Of the Stranger from Galilee. [Refrain]

I heard Him speak peace to the angry waves,
Of that turbulent, raging sea;
And lo! at His word are the waters stilled,
This Stranger of Galilee;
A peaceful, a quiet, and holy calm,
Now and ever abides with me;
He holdeth my life in His mighty hands,
This Stranger of Galilee. [Refrain]

Come, ye who are driven and tempest-tossed,
And His gracious salvation see;
He’ll quiet life’s storms with His “Peace, be still!”
This Stranger of Galilee;
He bids me to go and the story tell—
What He ever to you will be,
If only you let Him with you abide,
This Stranger of Galilee.

Refrain 4:
Oh, my friend, won’t you love Him forever?
So gracious and tender is He!
Accept Him today as your Savior,
This Stranger of Galilee.

Author: Mrs. C. H. Morris (1893)
Tune: [In fancy I stood by the shore, one day]

Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Photographer


(Picture found here)
It may be best to start recalling the origin of this word.
In Greek, “photo” meaning light.
And “graphein” was writing, drawing.
A photographer is literally someone drawing with light.
Someone who writes and rewrites the world with light and shadow.
~Sebastião Salgado
 

Friday, April 7, 2017

More Wisdom from the Desert

“Abbot Pastor was asked by a certain brother: How should I conduct myself in the place where I live? The elder replied: Be as cautious as a stranger; wherever you may be, do not desire your word to have power before you, and you will have rest.”
~Desert Fathers

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Falsehood

“Falsehood – and only falsehood – separates us from God ... false thoughts, false words, false feelings, false desires – Behold the aggregate of lies that leads us to non-being, illusion, and rejection of God.”
~St. Nicholas of Serbia

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

If the Son frees you, then you will truly be free

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him,
“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
   and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham
   and have never been enslaved to anyone.
How can you say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
   everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.
A slave does not remain in a household forever,
   but a son always remains.
So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free.
I know that you are descendants of Abraham.
But you are trying to kill me,
   because my word has no room among you.
I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence;
   then do what you have heard from the Father.”

They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.”
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children,
   you would be doing the works of Abraham.
But now you are trying to kill me,
   a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God;
Abraham did not do this.
You are doing the works of your father!”
So they said to him, “We were not born of fornication.
We have one Father, God.”
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me,
   for I came from God and am here;
   I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”

~John 8:31-42

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Bad Days

When Passion week started and Jesus
Came down to the city, that day
Hosannahs burst out at his entry
And palm leaves were strewn in his way.

But days grow more stern and more stormy.
No love can men's hardness unbend;
Their brows are contemptuously frowning,
And now comes the postscript, the end.

Grey, leaden and heavy, the heavens
Were pressing on treetops and roofs.
The Pharisees, fawning like foxes,
Were secretly searching for proofs.

The lords of the Temple let scoundrels
Pass judgement, and those who at first
Had fervently followed and hailed him,
Now all just as zealously cursed.

The crowd on the neighbouring sector
Was looking inside through the gate.
They jostled, intent on the outcome,
Bewildered and willing to wait.

And whispers and rumours were creeping,
Repeating the dominant theme.
The flight into Egypt, his childhood
Already seemed faint as a dream.

And Jesus remembered the desert,
The days in the wilderness spent,
The tempting with power by Satan,
That lofty, majestic descent.

He thought of the wedding at Cana,
The feast and the miracles; and
How once he had walked on the waters
Through mist to a boat, as on land;

The beggarly crowd in a hovel,
The cellar to which he was led;
How, started, the candle-flame guttered,
When Lazarus rose from the dead...

~Boris Pasternak

Monday, April 3, 2017

On Interior Humility

“...nothing so tends to humble us before the Mercy of God as the multitude of His gifts to us; just as nothing so tends to humble us before His Justice as the multitude of our misdeeds. Let us consider what He has done for us, and what we have done contrary to His Will, and as we review our sins in detail, so let us review His Grace in the same. There is no fear that a perception of what He has given you will puff you up, so long as you keep steadily in mind that whatever is good in you is not of yourself. Do mules cease to be clumsy, stinking beasts because they are used to carry the dainty treasures and perfumes of a prince? ‘What hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?’ [1 Cor. iv. 7] On the contrary, a lively appreciation of the grace given to you should make you humble, for appreciation begets gratitude. But if, when realising the gifts God has given you, any vanity should beset you, the infallible remedy is to turn to the thought of all our ingratitude, imperfection, and weakness. Any one who will calmly consider what he has done without God, cannot fail to realise that what he does with God is no merit of his own; and so we may rejoice in that which is good in us, and take pleasure in the fact, but we shall give all the glory to God Alone, Who Alone is its Author.”
~St. Francis de Sales

Sunday, April 2, 2017

There Were Ninety And Nine

There were ninety and nine that safely lay
in the shelter of the fold,
but one was out on the hills away,
far off from the gates of gold —
away on the mountains wild and bare,
away from the tender Shepherds care,
away from the tender Shepherds care.

“Lord, thou hast here thy ninety and nine;
are they not enough for thee?
But the Shepherd made answer:
“This of mine has wandered away from me,
and although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find my sheep,
I go to the desert to find my sheep.”

But none of the ransomed ever knew
how deep were the waters crossed;
nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed thro
ere he found his sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert he heard its cry —
sick and helpless, and ready to die,
sick and helpless, and ready to die.

“Lord, whence are those blood-drops all the way
that mark out the mountains track?
“They were shed for one who had gone astray
ere the Shepherd could bring him back.”
“Lord, whence are thy hands so rent and torn?”
“Theyre pierced tonight by many a thorn,
theyre pierced tonight by many a thorn.”

But all thro the mountains, thunder-rivn,
and up from the rocky steep,
there arose a glad cry to the gate of heavn,
“Rejoice! I have found my sheep!
And the angels echoed around the throne,
“Rejoice, for the Lord brings back his own!
Rejoice, for the Lord brings back his own!”

Author: Elizabeth Clephane (1868)
Tune: [There were ninety and nine that safely lay] (Sankey)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

On Greater Humility

“Some people are proud and conceited because they ride a fine horse, wear a feather in their hat, and are expensively dressed, but who can fail to see their folly, or that if any one has reason to be proud over such things, it would be the horse, the bird, and the tailor!

...A well-conditioned mind will not throw away its powers upon such sorry trifles as rank, position or outward forms—it has other things to do, and will leave all that to meaner minds. He who can find pearls will not stop to pick up shells; and so a man who aims at real goodness will not be keen about outward tokens of honour. Undoubtedly every one is justified in keeping his own place, and there is no want of humility in that so long as it is done simply and without contention.”
~St. Francis de Sales