Monday, February 28, 2005

a penitential prayer of the blessed lancelot andrewes

"I will confess my sins,
and the sins of my fathers,
for I have transgressed and trespassed against
Thee, O Lord,
and walked contrary unto Thee.
Set not, O Lord, set not my misdeeds
before Thee,
nor my life in the light of Thy countenance,
but pardon the iniquity of Thy servant,
according to Thy great mercy;
as Thou hast been merciful to him from a child,
and even until now.

I have sinned, what shall I do unto Thee,
O Thou Preserver of men?
Why hast Thou set me as a mark against Thee,
so that I am a burden to myself?
Oh, pardon my transgression,
and take away mine iniquity.
Deliver me from going down to the pit,
for Thou hast found a ransom.

Have mercy on me, Son of David;
Lord, help me.
Yea, Lord, even the dogs eat of the crumbs
which fall from their master's table.
Have patience with me, Lord,
yet I have not wherewith to pay,
I confess to Thee;
forgive me the whole debt, I beseech Thee.

How long wilt Thou forget me, O Lord?
for ever?
How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me?
How long shall I seek counsel in my soul,
and be so vexed in my heart day and night?
How long shall mine enemies triumph over me?
Consider and hear me, O Lord my God;
lighten mine eyes that I sleep not in death,
lest mine enemy say I have prevailed against him,
for if I be cast down, they that trouble me
will rejoice at it.
But my trust is in Thy mercy." Amen.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

edward bouverie pusey

Good Jesu,
too late have I loved thee,
nor ever yet have I wholly followed thee;
make me now at last wholly to love thee,
and out of the fullness of thine infinite love
give me all the love I might have had, had I always loved thee.
O dearest Lord, too late have I loved thee, too late have I loved thee,
too late is it always, not always to have loved thee wholly.
Now, too, I cannot love thee as I would.
O dearest Lord, who art love,
give me thine own love,
that therewith I may wholly love thee. Amen.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

archbishop williams

One of the things I am most grateful for, in light of the outcome of the Primates' Meeting, is the attitude of Archbishop Williams. He does not seem to have thrown in his lot with the Activists, despite his generally being considered a theological liberal. We ought to remind ourselves of who it was that chaired and mediated at the Primates' Meeting, namely Rowan Cantuar. And that he was able to put aside his personal views and preferences for the sake of fairness (and in recognition of the genuine work of the Holy Spirit in the exercise of Episcopal prerogatives) seems to have required a good deal of Christian charity and humility on his part. I am thankful to God for what I take to be the Godly use of Apostolic authority by Archbishop Williams.

Friday, February 25, 2005

ecce agnus dei

I wonder whether there is any warrant, either in the rubrics, or the canons, to include the injunction before the Communion:

Behold the Lamb of God.
Behold him who takes away the sin of the world.
Happy are they who are called to his supper.

Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,
but only say the word, and I shall be healed.

Does anyone know? I have definitely heard it used before, but I'm not sure that it is strictly licit. I hope it is, because I think it is a wholesome bidding and prayer.

penitential context for daily prayer during lent


1 Consider that a few years ago you were not in the world at all, that you were nothing. Where was your soul then? The world had already lasted so long and you were not known.

2 God has raised you from this nothingness and made you what you are, purely out of his goodness. He had no need of you.

3 Consider what nature God has given you; the highest in the visible world, capable of eternal life and perfect union with Him.

Spiritual Acts and Resolutions

1 Humble yourself

Humble yourself before God, saying in your heart with the psalmist:

My lifetime is as nothing in your sight. What is man, that you should be mindful of him? (Psalm 39.5; 8.4)

My soul, I was in the depths of nothingness and would still be there had not God drawn me out. If I were still there, what could I have done?

2 Give thanks to God

My good and great Creator, how much I owe you! In your mercy you decided to raise me from my nothingness to make me what I am. What can I possibly do to give you worthy praise or thank you enough for your immeasurable goodness?

3 Acknowledge your sinfulness

My Creator, instead of uniting myself to you in loving service, my disordered desires have made me a rebel and I have cut myself off from you. I have preferred sin and dishonored you, forgetting that you are my Creator.

4 Kneel down in worship

Know, my soul, that the Lord is God: it is he that has made us and we are his.

5 Resolve anew

From now on I will no longer put myself first: by myself I am nothing. What have I to glory in? I am dust and ashes, and even less than that! What have I to be proud of? In order to humble myself I will take the necessary steps, bear with humiliation, and change my life. I shall follow my Savior, honor the nature he has given me, align myself with his will, and, in obedience, accept the guidance of my spiritual director.

(From A Manual of Anglo-Catholic Devotion)

the most rev'd frank tracy griswold

Thursday, February 24, 2005

pray for the holy father

VATICAN CITY, Feb. 24 - Pope John Paul II underwent surgery today to ease his breathing after he suffered a relapse of the flu and respiratory trouble, the Vatican said.

The chief Vatican spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, said the half-hour tracheotomy procedure at a Rome hospital was successful. The surgery involves cutting a hole in the windpipe to allow for a breathing tube to be inserted.

Read the whole article.

O God, the shepherd and ruler of all the faithful,
look down favorably upon your servant John Paul,
whom you have been pleased to appoint pastor over your Church;
grant, we bessech you, that he may benefit both by word and example
those over whom he is set,
and thus attain life eternal,
together with the flock committed to his care.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

May our Lord Jesus Christ,
present with us now in his risen power,
enter into the body and spirit of John Paul,
take from him all that harms and hinders him,
and fill him with healing and peace. Amen.

st. polycarp and us: my sermon at matins yesterday

“Fourscore and six years have I served Him, and he has done me no harm. How then can I curse my King that saved me.”

In the name of the + Father….

So spoke St. Polycarp to the men who arrested him and urged him to apostacize and save his life, according to a letter from the church at Smyrna. St. Polycarp bore witness to the gospel of our Lord and King by imitating the Savior’s total self-offering. The martyrology of St. Polycarp describes how his killers meant to burn him to death, but seeing that the flames would not consume him: “they commanded an executioner to go near and pierce him through with a dagger. And on his doing this, there came forth a dove, and a great quantity of blood, so that the fire was extinguished.” After St. Polycarp died, his body was pushed into the fire and burned. And when it was burned, according to the letter of the church at Smyrna, “we afterwards took up his bones, as being more precious than the most exquisite jewels, and more purified than gold, and deposited them in a fitting place, whither, being gathered together, as opportunity is allowed us, with joy and rejoicing, the Lord shall grant us to celebrate the anniversary of his martyrdom, both in memory of those who have already finished their course, and for the exercising and preparation of those yet to walk in their steps.”

Stop and think about this for a moment: We here today, you and I, claim to be members of the same Body that gathered the precious bones of the holy Polycarp, we claim membership in the Catholic Church. The Lord has granted us to celebrate the anniversary of St. Polycarp’s martyrdom. And we, the living members of the Body, what is sometimes called the Church Militant, are those yet to walk in the steps of the holy martyrs; we are those for whom the commemoration of the death of St. Polycarp was meant to be “the exercising and the preparation” so that we might, when the time comes, bear witness to the gospel of our King who saved us.

Lent is perhaps the most appropriate time to consider our exercise and our preparation. This morning’s reading from Jeremiah reminds us of our call, as the Church: the firm but gentle call of the Bridegroom, our spouse, who loves us and submitted himself to death for us, a call which we repeatedly ignore. In the words of Jeremiah, we continually treat our whoredom lightly. Archbishop Michael Ramsey spoke of ancient Israel being summed-up or epitomized in the body of the crucified Messiah. He also spoke of the Church being born of the water and the blood, flowing from the side of Christ. There is therefore a sense in which Israel and the Church are one and the same thing, for both find their identity in the Body of Jesus. I take this as warrant for reading the prophecy of Jeremiah as directed at us, at the Church: “Return, O faithless children, says the LORD, for I am your master; I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”

May we spend the rest of Lent contemplating our faithlessness as members of the Body. May we mark the injunctions from Holy Matrimony to mutual submission, and submit ourselves to Him who submitted Himself to death for us, and who calls us patiently to return to Him, confident in His promise that he will bring us even to Zion, to the presence of God, that at the end our witness may be counted with the witness of all the saints who have gone before us as more precious than the most exquisite jewels, more purified than gold, in union with the witness of the glory of God in the cross of our Lord, to whom be glory, honor, majesty, and an everlasting throne, from generation to generation. Amen.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

a lenten wittgensteinianism

The Christian religion is only for the man who needs infinite help, solely, that is, for the man who experiences infinite torment.

The whole planet can suffer no greater torment than a single soul.

The Christian faith -- as I see it -- is a man's refuge in this ultimate torment. Anyone in such torment who has the gift of opening his heart, rather than contracting it, accepts the means of salvation in his heart.

Someone who in this way penitently opens his heart to God in confession lays it open for other men too. In doing this he loses the dignity that goes with his personal prestige and becomes like a child. That means without official position, dignity or disparity from others. A man can bare himself before others only out of a particular kind of love. A love which acknoweldges, as it were, that we are all wicked children.

We could also say: Hate between men comes from our cutting ourselves off from each other. Because we don't want anyone else to look inside us, since it's not a pretty sight in there.

Of course, you must continue to feel ashamed of what's inside you, but not ashamed of yourself before your fellow-men.

No greater torment can be experienced than One human being can experience. For if a man feels lost, that is the ultimate torment.

(Ludwig Wittgenstein in Culture and Value)

the man who, as much as any, brought me seriously to consider the claims of the catholic faith

I read: "No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." -- And it is true: I cannot call him Lord; because that says nothing to me. I could call him "the paragon', 'God' even -- or rather, I can understand it when he is called thus; but I cannot utter the word 'Lord' with meaning. Because I do not believe that he will come to judge me; because that says nothing to me. And it could say something to me, only if I lived completely differently.

What inclines even me to believe in Christ's Resurrection? It is as though I play with the thought. -- If he did not rise from the dead, then he decomposed in the grave like any other man. He is dead and decomposed. In that case he is a teacher like any other and can no longer help; and once more we are orphaned and alone. So we have to content ourselves with wisdom and speculation. We are in a sort of hell where we can do nothing but dream, roofed in, as it were, and cut off from heaven. But if I am to be REALLY saved, -- what I need is certainty -- not wisdom, dreams or speculation -- and this certainty is faith. And faith is faith in what is needed by my heart, my soul, not my speculative intelligence. For it is my soul with its passions, as it were with its flesh and blood, that has to be saved, not my abstract mind. Perhaps we can say: Only love can believe the Resurrection. Or: It is love that believes the Resurrection. We might say: Redeeming love believes even in the Resurrection; holds fast even to the Resrurrection. What combats doubt is, as it were, redemption. Holding fast to this must be holding fast to that belief. So what that means is: first you must be redeemed and hold on to your redemption (keep hold of your redemption) -- then you will see that you are holding fast to this belief. So this can come about only if you no longer rest your weight on the earth but suspend yourself from heaven. Then everything will be different and it will be "no wonder" if you can do things that you cannot do now. (A man who is suspended looks the same as one who is standing, but the interplay of forces within him is nevertheless quite different, so that he can act quite differently than a standing man.)

(Ludwig Wittgenstein in Culture and Value)

"non serviam"


The Reverend Richard Kirker says,

"The Primates Meeting has only been in existence since 1978 and in no small way we feel the responsibility for the current impasse is due to the failure of this newly created group," he said in a statement today.

"It is amazing to us that we should now be looking to the Primates to solve a crisis that is mostly of their own making."

He adds that previous experience has shown the primates to be unable of "setting a good example of how to engage positively with lesbian and gay Christians", and that this lends the meeting a "doubtful value".

Lesbian and Gay Anglicans are not expecting much of this meeting. We hold to our position that we will not be the sacrificial lambs in the pursuit of some short term unity," Kirker said.

This article amazes me. I am continually reminded of the insidiousness of the gay agenda. Note I said "gay agenda" and not "homosexuals" nor even "homosexual activity" or whatever. It is the attitude of the activists within the Church that I take to be so sinful. And this attitude is not the exclusive prerogative of Christian homosexuals, nor even mainly their prerogative. This sin is primarilly that of the (largely) heterosexual hierarchy.

Fr. Kirker says that the primates have proven themselves incapable of setting an example of how to "engage positively with lesbian and gay Christians." What could he mean apart from "the primates have not adopted my position,"? Therefore no position or action is acceptable until it is conformed to our own. Is this a Christian attitude? Is this an attitude of humility and obedience?

The language of refusal to be a "sacrificial lamb" is, I think, most telling. Isn't being a sacrifical lamb exactly that to which our Lord calls us? May we specify under what conditions we are willing to offer ourselves? May we say "I will offer myself if I deem the cause just,"? Was that the attitude of our Lord on the cross? May we hold back those portions of our lives, our sexualities, to which we are particularly attached?

Today is the feast of the martyrdom of St. Polycarp. His witness in dying ought to be borne in mind, for he held nothing back, even though the cause of those who demanded his life was anything but just. St. Polycarp did not assent to the agenda of those wicked men who killed him, and yet he offered himself willingly. Here, then, is the prayer he prayed when he was bound and brought to be burnt:

O Lord God Almighty, the Father of thy beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the knowledge of Thee, the God of angels and powers, and of every creature, and of the whole race of the righteous who live before thee, I give Thee thanks that Thou hast counted me, worthy of this day and this hour, that I should have a part in the number of Thy martyrs, in the cup of thy Christ, to the resurrection of eternal life, both of soul and body, through the incorruption [imparted] by the Holy Ghost. Among whom may I be accepted this day before Thee as a fat and acceptable sacrifice, according as Thou, the ever-truthful God, hast fore-ordained, hast revealed beforehand to me, and now hast fulfilled. Wherefore also I praise Thee for all things, I bless Thee, I glorify Thee, along with the everlasting and heavenly Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son, with whom, to Thee, and the Holy Ghost, be glory both now and to all coming ages. Amen.

If it was not too much for blessed Polycarp to pray that his burned-up flesh might be "accepted this day before Thee as a fat and acceptable sacrifice," how can it possibly be too much to offer one's political agenda, to say nothing of one's sexuality?

The progressives have got to stop acting so shocked and offended at the response of the traditionalists. The progressives have got to realize what they are asking of the traditionalists: to abandon two thousand years of consistent teaching, not only about right behavior, but about the source and nature of Godly authority. The progressives need to understand, in short, that they are progressive, and that what they are asking, even assuming that their cause is just, is no easy thing. Therefore if they are really seeking to follow the example of our blessed Lord, let them begin with patience and humility, sincerely trying to understand what it is they are asking of their brothers and sisters on "the other side," rather than arrogantly assuming the rightness of their own cause and the intractable wickedness of their interlocutors. For it is this latter attitude of arrogance and self-righteousness, much more than any sexual behavior, in my mind, that shows them to be bound to this world and its conception of justice-as-selfishness.


Does anyone want a gmail invite? If so, post a comment with your email address.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

rcl collect

The Revised Common Lectionary Collect for 2 Advent:

"Almighty God,
you show to those who are in error the light of your truth,
that they may return to the way of righteousness:
grant to all those who are admitted
into the fellowship of Christ’s religion,
that they may reject those things
that are contrary to their profession,
and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same;
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.”


(Thanks Fr. Harmon.)

the church's obligation to the poor

There is no question that one of our Lord's main concerns was for the poor. It seems, though, that many Christians perhaps get mixed up about what our Lord actually commanded. For example, today I read this from Oscar Romero, in the context of an advertisement for some event or other at my school:

The church would betray its own love for God and its fidelity to the gospel if it stopped being... a defender of the rights of the poor... a humanizer of every legitimate struggle to achieve a more just society... that prepares the way for the true reign of God in history.

It strikes me that this is a bit wrong-headed. First of all, it doesn't seem that the Church is called to defend anyone's rights, as such. Nor does it seem that she is meant to be a "humanizer" in just about any respect. What our Lord did command was that we preach the gospel to the poor (Matthew 11.5, Luke 4.18), that the poor are blessed (Mark 12.42, Luke 6.20 and 14.13), and that we give liberally to the poor (Mark 10.21, Matthew 19.21).

But giving to the poor and preaching the gospel to the poor seems to me a very different thing than being a defender of rights, and a fighter for a more just society. And its not to say that defending the rights of the poor and fighting for a more just society are by any means bad things. Its just that they are not necessarily deducible from the actual injunctions of the gospel that we should ourselves give liberally to the poor. My concern is that the gospel becomes politicized when it is translated into the the language of civil rights and social justice, and that our concern for the latter can cloud our concern for the proclamation of and obedience to the actual gospel. "Social Justice" and "civil rights" can, in other words, become idols of our own making.

I think one of the central messages of the gospel is that the civil society's standards of measurement are hopelessly flawed. For it is in embracing our Lord's own poverty that we are made rich (2 Corinthians 8.9).

And for the record, I believe that the Church's members (myself included) do a pitiful job in obeying our Lord's actual mandates, both of proclaiming the gospel to the poor, and of giving materially to them.

john donne, the annunciation and good friday

It has been called to my attention that this year the feast of the Annunciation falls on Good Friday. What does this mean? Well, I suppose it means that the Annunciation is transferred. But maybe it has a more metaphysical meaning. Apparently this happened before, on March 25, 1608. Here is what blessed John Donne (my patron) had eloquently to say about it (thank you Mark and Ryan):

by John Donne

Tamely, frail body, abstain to-day; to-day My soul eats twice, Christ hither and away.

She sees Him man, so like God made in this, That of them both a circle emblem is, Whose first and last concur; this doubtful day Of feast or fast, Christ came, and went away.

She sees Him nothing, twice at once, who's all; She sees a Cedar plant itself, and fall; Her Maker put to making, and the Head Of life, at once, not yet alive, yet dead.

She sees at once the Virgin Mother stay
Reclused at home, public at Golgotha;
Sad and rejoiced she's seen at once, and seen At almost fifty, and at scarce fifteen.

At once a Son is promised her, and gone; Gabriell gives Christ to her, He her to John; Not fully a mother, She's in orbity; At once receiver and the legacy.

All this, and all between, this day hath shown, Th' abridgement of Christ's story, which makes one-- As in plain maps, the furthest west is east-- Of th' angels Ave, and Consummatum est.

How well the Church, God's Court of Faculties Deals, in sometimes, and seldom joining these!

As by the self-fix'd Pole we never do
Direct our course, but the next star thereto, Which shows where th'other is, and which we say --Because it strays not far--doth never stray; So God by His Church, nearest to Him, we know And stand firm, if we by her motion go; His Spirit, as His fiery pillar, doth Leade, and His Church, as cloud; to one end both.

This Church, by letting those days join, hath shown Death and conception in mankind is one; Or 'twas in Him the same humility, That He would be a man, and leave to be; Or as creation He hath made, as God, With the last judgement, but one period, His imitating Spouse would join in one Manhood's extremes: He shall come, He is gone; Or as though one blood drop, which thence did fall, Accepted, would have served, He yet shed all, So though the least of His pains, deeds, or words, Would busy a life, she all this day affords; This treasure then, in gross, my soul, uplay, And in my life retail it every day.

lenten prayer, in light of the primates meeting

It is Lent, and therefore a particularly good time for contrition and penitence. The Primates are also meeting this week in Ireland. A good way of supporting their meeting is to pray for them, with them, and on their behalf. I wish that everyone in the Episcopal Church (and all Christians) would spend this Lent profitably, which means with a mind to repentence. It is therefore good to examine ourselves as sinners belonging to our Lord. Let us examine ourselves for the sake of our errant part of the Church.

Love of God

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. Mark 12.30

Do I love God?
Do I make an idol of money, poessessions, or sex?
Do I blaspheme by taking the name of the Lord in vain?
Do I study and listen to the Word of God and try to obey God's commandments?
Do I go to Mass regularly on Sundays and holy days?
Do I keep Sunday as a holy day?
Do I say my prayers regularly?

Love of Neighbor

Love your neighbor as yourself. Mark 12.31

Have I hated others?
Do I love my family and friends?
Have I been faithful to my spouse?
Have I been kind and helpful to my children?
Have I honored my mother and my father?
Do I contribute my share to the Church?
Do I contribute generously to good causes?

Have I lived up to the commission I received at confirmation?
Am I a peacemaker and an example to others of Christian living?
Do I keep my conscience in good repair?
Do I hunger and thirst for righteousness and speak up for my beliefs and principles?
Have I respected the integrity of creation -- animals and natural resources?
Do I encourage my family and children to live a Christian life?
Do I visit the bereaved and the lonely, the sick and the imprisoned?

Have I stolen from others?
Have I cheated my spouse, my employer, my employees or others?
Have I made restitution of what I have stolen?
Have I damaged others' good name?
Have I been quarrelsome?
Have I thought ill of others and used others for my own ends?
Have I exploited others sexually?

The Way of Perfection

Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5.48

Do I fast and practice self-control?
Have I followed what my conscience tells me?
Have I tried to acquire habits of wisdom and understanding?
Have I wallowed in self-pity?
Have I allowed myself to be consumed by ambition, bitterness, or disappointment?
Have I wasted money?
Have I kept my word?

Have I been proud?
Have I coveted other people's possessions or spouse?
Have I indulged impurity or unchastity?
Have I been envious of others?
Have I been greedy?
Have I been angry?
Have I been lazy?

"My God,
I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong
and failing to do good,
I have sinned against you
whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with your help,
to do penance,
to sin no more,
and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.

"My Savior Jesus Christ
suffered and died for me.
In his name, my God, have mercy. Amen."

Monday, February 21, 2005

directorium anglicanum

In celebration of a new link, added to the "links" section to the right. Check it out. It is eddifying.

a litany for the primates

Here is a Litany for the primates. It is a good thing to pray while they are meeting this week.

Let us pray.

Let us ask the holy, blessed and glorious Trinity
To send mercy and grace upon our church and especially
Upon our Primates gathered in conference at this time.

God the Father,
have mercy upon us.

God the Son,
have mercy upon us.

God the Holy Spirit,
have mercy upon us.

Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity,
have mercy upon us.

We repent our failure to honour you O Lord
and seek renewal of our lives and church;
good Lord, deliver us.

From all evil and mischief;
from pride, vanity and hypocrisy;
from envy, hatred and malice;
and from all evil intent,
good Lord, deliver us.

From sloth, worldliness and love of money;
from hardness of heart;
from fear of difference;
from the cruelty of intolerance
and from failure to discern your presence
good Lord, deliver us.

From narrowness of mind;
from arrogance and ambition;
from all that defaces your image;
good Lord, deliver us.

Hear our prayers, O Lord our God.
Hear us, good Lord.

Remembering your boundless love for all humanity;
especially your saving acts in Jesus Christ,
we seek your deliverance:

By the mystery of your holy incarnation;
by your birth, childhood and obedience;
by your baptism, fasting and temptation,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your ministry in word and work;
by your mighty acts of power;
and by your preaching of the kingdom,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your agony and trial;
by your cross and passion;
and by your precious death and burial,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your mighty resurrection;
by your glorious ascension;
and by your sending of the Holy Spirit,
good Lord, deliver us.

We give thanks to you, Most Holy, for the Church:
particularly for this part of the household of faith,
the worldwide Anglican Communion.
We praise you O God

We remember gratefully some of those who have given leadership
from the See of Canterbury
We praise you O God

For Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury,
We praise you O God

For Anselm, the subtle theologian,
We praise you O God

For Thomas a Becket, martyr,
We praise you O God

For Thomas Cranmer, Liturgist and martyr,
We praise you O God

For William Laud, Martyr,
We praise you O God

For Frederick Temple, reformer,
We praise you O God

For William Temple, Theologian,
We praise you O God

For Michael Ramsey, Scholar and Visionary,
We praise you O God

For the gifts of your Spirit;
for the diversity of our callings;
In hope and wonder, we praise you.

For the Saints in every age
who reflected you in their lives and ever since,
In hope and wonder, we praise you.

For all who have stood firm in faith and love,
In hope and wonder, we praise you.

For writers, artists and musicians
whose works have reflected your truth and glory;
In hope and wonder, we praise you.

For scientists and thinkers, mystics and visionaries;
for all who have dwelt on your mystery;
In hope and wonder, we praise you.

For the succession of quiet and gracious souls,
whose presence has sweetened and sanctified the world,
In hope and wonder, we praise you.

O God, Creator of all that is and is to be,
In this time of our need,
Hear us, good Lord.

O God the Son, restorer of all creation
In this time of our need,
Hear us, good Lord.

O God the Spirit, ground of all holiness,
In this time of our need,
Hear us, good Lord.

O Holy, Blessed and Glorious Trinity,
In this time of our need,
Hear us, good Lord.

Uphold and govern the Primates Conference;
direct it into love and truth;
and grant it that unity which is your will.

In this time of our need,
Hear us, good Lord.

Give our Primates such a sense of your love,
and such a vision of your purpose for all creation
that they may receive new understanding of your mercy
and, resisting schism, boldly proclaim the gospel.

In this time of our need,
Hear us, good Lord.

Enlighten Rowan, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury,
with your special grace;
grant to him wisdom, knowledge and understanding;
empower him with such gifts of reconciliation and love
that, embracing difference and diversity,
our church may joyfully proclaim your word.

In this time of our need,
Hear us, good Lord.

Give all our Primates discerning and receptive minds;
where there is anger, grant reconciliation;
where there is prejudice, grant openness;
where there is fearfulness, give serenity;
where there is ambition, give humility.

In this time of our need,
Hear us, good Lord.

Endow our Primates with clarity of thought,
generosity of mind, and charity of speech;
grant them gifts of patience and forbearance;
may they delight in the truth
and be surprised by the Spirit.

In this time of our need,
Hear us, good Lord.

Bring into the way of truth all who have erred
and are deceived.
Hear us, good Lord.

Strengthen those who stand;
comfort and help the faint-hearted;
raise up the fallen;
and finally beat down all the powers of darkness.
Holy God,
Holy and strong,
Holy and immortal,
Have mercy upon us.

Heavenly Father,
you have called us
in the Body of your Son Jesus Christ
to continue his work of reconciliation
and reveal you to humankind.
Forgive us the sins that tear us apart;
give us the courage to overcome our fears
and to seek that unity
which is your gift and your will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Most gracious God,
your son, Our Lord,
prayed for his disciples,
that they may be one.
Bless and guide
your holy church on earth;
strengthen its fellowship;
increase its stewardship
and sustain it in mission.
May the Holy Spirit govern
and kindle the hearts of
the people of the
Anglican Communion,
that in all things said and done, we may serve only Christ, crucified,
risen and glorified;
Christ alive and present in our day in his body the church.
May our unity come from living out of lives, strengthened by word and sacrament,
and our love for the Christ that we see in each other.
May we be faithful to the Risen Christ in whose name we pray. Amen.

(From Lent and Beyond: An Anglican Prayer Blog. Thank you.)

rowan cantuar on the windsor report, primate's meeting, etc.

Sometimes I feel very encouraged to have Rowan Cantuar at the helm. It seems as though he has a real sense of what the issues actually are, and as this message from him makes plain, what the costs might be. Despite numerous differences of oppinion, I really believe that Archbishop Williams is a devout Christian, and a man of prayer. And its not just the beard and the birkenstocks that convince me of this (indeed I think they might count as evidence to the contrary). He even acknowledges here that the 'ordination' of women to the priesthood was a risk, and possibly a mistake. This is an exciting time, if nothing else, to be an Anglican.

At the very end of the article Archbishop Williams says, "But isn't the ultimate distinctive counter-cultural fact about the church our capacity to live sacrificially for the sake of each other? How we do that, Windsor doesn't tell us; only the Holy Spirit does," to which I say, right. But the Holy Spirit hears within us the message of God's self-revelation in Holy Scripture, in Holy Tradition, and above all in the Passion of our blessed Lord. And those are things to which we have intellective access. Once again, Archbishop Williams has underscored a pressing fact for teh Church today: theology and prayer are joined at the hip. Its impossible to do either well, without doing the other well. It excites me, in part, because that is part of the mission and message (please God) of this Blog: Theology and Devotion.

Let us all pray heartily for the primates as they meet this week, and especially for Archbishop Williams, on whom by God's providence, falls the lion's share of the weight of contemporary Anglican disputations. Let us pray that they will be filled with a zeal for the Catholic faith, that they will not forsake their apostolic authority, and above all that they will be conformed to our Lord Jesus in his full, perfect, and sufficient oblation and satisfaction. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

zenit news agency - the world seen from rome: fr. roger haight, submitting the content of catholicity to critical scrutiny, etc.

Zenit News Agency - The World Seen From Rome: "In the Preface of his book 'Jesus Symbol of God,' the Author explains that today theology must be done in dialogue with the postmodern world, but it also 'must remain faithful to its originating revelation and consistent tradition' (p. xii), in the sense that the data of the faith constitute the norm and criteria for a theological hermeneutic. He also asserts that it is necessary to establish a 'critical correlation' (cf. pp. 40-47) between these data and the modes and qualities of postmodern thought, characterized in part by a radical historical and pluralistic consciousness (cf. pp. 24, 330-334): 'The tradition must be critically received into the present situation' (p. 46).

This 'critical correlation,' however, results, in fact, in a subordination of the content of faith to its plausibility and intelligibility in postmodern culture (cf. pp. 49-50, 127, 195, 241, 273-274, 278-282, 330-334). It is stated, for example, that because of the contemporary pluralistic consciousness, 'one can no longer claim [...] Christianity as the superior religion, or Christ as the absolute center to which all other historical mediations are relative. [...] It is impossible in postmodern culture to think [...] that one religion can claim to inhabit the center into which all others are to be drawn' (p. 333).

With particular regard to the validity of dogmatic, especially Christological formulations in a postmodern cultural and linguistic context, which is different from the one in which they were composed, the Author states that these formulations should not be ignored, but neither should they be uncritically repeated, 'because they do not have the same meaning in our culture as they did when they were formulated [...]. Therefore, one has no choice but to engage the classical councils and to explicitly interpret them for our own period' (p. 16). This interpretation, however, does not in fact result in doctrinal proposals that convey the immutable meaning of the dogmas as understood by the faith of the Church, nor does it clarify their meaning, enhancing understanding. The Author's interpretation results instead in a reading that is not only different from but also contrary to the true meaning of the dogmas. "

(The above quote comes from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and its condemnation of Fr. Haight's book, "Jesus Symbol of God.")

(Thank you Fr. Harding.)

lenten prayer

Almighty God,
we pray that through this season of Lent,
by prayer and study and self-discipline,
we may penetrate more deeply into the mystery of Christ's suffering;
that, following in the way of his cross and passion,
we may come to share
in the glory and triumph of his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(From A Manual of Anglo-Catholic Devotion)

Sunday, February 20, 2005

the confiteor

I confess a preference for the traditional Confiteor, at least to the BCP Rite II Confession, and especially for private recitations of Matins and Evensong. Not that my preference for one thing or another should make a difference, but the Confiteor moves the emphasis of the confession back upon its being a confession within the context of the Church. One confesses, not just to God, but to God, the saints, the holy angels, and, in its public form, to "you my brethren." The point is that one's sins offend God and also his holy Bride, the Church. One's sins offend the blood of the holy martyrs, and it is therefore appropriate that one should confess to them too, and to ask for their prayers. Here is a version of the traditional Confiteor from St. Augustine's Prayer Book:

"I confess to God Almighty, to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and to all the Saints, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed: by my fault, by my own fault, by my own most grievous fault. Therefore I beg blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the Saints, to pray for me to the Lord our God."

Saturday, February 19, 2005

more on the franciscan crown rosary

It occurs to me that the Franciscan Crown Rosary (see below) would also be useful for contemplating the seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin. That would be a wholesome Lenten discipline. Once again, the Seven Sorrows of the BVM are:

1. The Prophecy of Simeon
2. The Flight into Egypt
3. Losing the Holy Child in Jerusalem
4. Meeting our Lord on his way to Calvary
5. Standing at the foot of the Cross
6. Jesus being taken down from the cross (the "pieta")
7. The Burial of Jesus

athos, garden of the panagia

Mt. Athos, which is called the Garden of the Panagia ("All Holy" -- the Blessed Virgin). I visited Mt. Athos in 2001. One thing that non-Orthodox have to contend with, is a very limited number of visas issued to non-Orthodox to visit the Holy Mountain. I had this problem, and after trying for several days to obtain a visa, I was told that it would not be possible, and I was about to give up hope. A friend of mine told me "You know, the Holy Mountain belongs to the Blessed Virgin, and maybe you should ask her if you may visit." So that I night I did ask her. I prayed something very simple like, "Holy Mary, Athos is yours, you know I very much would like to visit your garden. Please let me, and intercede for me with your Son and make it possible." The very next morning I got a call and was told that my visa had come through, and I set out for Athos two days later. There I spent several days at the Monastery of St. Paul. It was a great blessing.

the franciscan crown rosary

Somewhere along the way, someone gave me a Franciscan Crown Rosary. I've never really used it much, though I keep it by my bed. Here is a link to information about the Franciscan Crown Rsoary and its origins. This Rosary has seven decades, rather than the usual five, on which one is meant to contemplate the Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin:

1. The Annunication
2. The Visitation
3. The Birth of our Lord
4. The Addoration of the Magi
5. Finding the Child Jesus in the Temple
6. The Ressurection of our Lord
7. The Assumption of the BVM and her Corronation as Queen of Heaven

A good thing about the Franciscan Crown Rosary (as well as a bad thing, I guess) is that its longer than the regular Rosary, and allows one, in theory, to enter "more deeply" into the prayer.

the impending royal 'wedding' and some theologico-historical perspective from william f. buckley

Read this from William F. Buckley.

Friday, February 18, 2005

archbishop rowan williams on the church as israel

Read this from Archbishop Rowan Williams. Its an essay on covenant and the notion of the Church as Israel, and Israel as the Church. Its interesting in light, particularly, of Archbishop Michael Ramsey's talk about both Israel and the Church understood as the Body of Christ.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

sr. lucia dos santos

Here is a link to the obituary for Sr. Lucia. She was one of the three children to whom the blessed Virgin appeared at Fatima, in Portugal, six times in 1917.

May the soul of Sr. Lucia, and the souls of all the faithful, by the mercies of God rest in peace.

Thanks to Fr. Kendall Harmon for drawing my attention to it.

Some evangelical friends may wonder, what is all this about our Lady of Fatima, and Mary's Sacred Heart and what not? In answer, here is what Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger has said:

"I would like finally to mention another key expression of the “secret” which has become justly famous: “my Immaculate Heart will triumph”. What does this mean? The Heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind. The fiat of Mary, the word of her heart, has changed the history of the world, because it brought the Saviour into the world—because, thanks to her Yes, God could become man in our world and remains so for all time. The Evil One has power in this world, as we see and experience continually; he has power because our freedom continually lets itself be led away from God. But since God himself took a human heart and has thus steered human freedom towards what is good, the freedom to choose evil no longer has the last word. From that time forth, the word that prevails is this: “In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). The message of Fatima invites us to trust in this promise."

devotion to the holy wounds

I have been writing a sermon for the Easter Vigil. The text is Matthew 28.1-10. In that passage, the angel addresses St. Mary Magdalene and "the other" Mary, saying "I know that you seek Jesus, who was crucified." Well, that caused a minor flash of revelation in my mind: that beginning that first Easter morning and forever thereafter, our Lord is "Jesus who was crucified." It is an intrinsic property, and the Crucifixion is not undone in the Resurrection, for our Lord still carries the marks of the nails and of the spear in his flesh.

This set me thinking on devotions to the five Holy Wounds. Such devotion is wholesome and profitable and especially appropriate during Lent. Our Lord was willing to be pierced for me. And the holy wounds that he suffered for me, he carries in his flesh even now. And of course this means that when we are appropriated by his divine life, we are appropriated by the life of Jesus, who was crucified. This may be trivial and obvious to some, but it was a new way of thinking of things for me.

Perhaps I will post my sermon at the Easter Vigil. Here is a link to a chaplet in honor of the five Holy Wounds of our blessed Lord. If you acquire a chaplet and you know a Passionist, maybe you can get it blessed.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

a meritorious signature from a friend's email

Before you lies my strength and my weakness;
preserve the one, heal the other.
Before you lies my knowledge and my ignorance;
where you have opened to me, receive me as I come in.
~ Augustine, De Trinitate (XV.51)

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

wickedness all around

A trip to the gas station tonight to buy a coke provoked metaphysical instrospection. There are two gas stations near me that are open late. One sells porn, the other is a hotspot for drug deals. I don't care to support either, but I wind up supporting both. What is one to do? I am reminded of the Psalm:

Do thou, O Lord, protect us, guard us ever from this generation.
On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the sons of men.

Not that I am a pargon of sanctity. Its just that all I wanted was a coke, and I couldn't seem to get one without (literally) buying into some kind of nefariousness. Maybe this is an instance of sin as an inescapable condition, though not strictly inescapable, but the kind of thing one means when one thinks of sin as an inescapable condition haunting the earth.

a wholesome prayer, of st. thomas aquinas, to be said before receiving communion

Almighty and ever-living God,
I approach the sacrament of your only-begotten son,
our Lord Jesus Christ.
I come sick to the doctor of life,
unclean to the fountain of mercy,
blind to the radiance of eternal light,
and poor and needy to the Lord of heaven and earth.
Lord, in your great generosity,
heal my sickness, wash away my defilement,
enlighten my blindness, enrich my poverty,
and clothe my nakedness.
May I receive the bread of angels,
the King of kings, and Lord of lords,
with humble reverence,
with the purity and faith,
the repentance and love,
and the determined purpose
that will help to bring me to salvation.
May I receive the sacrament of the Lord's body and blood,
and its reality and power.
Kind God,
may I receive the body of your only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
born from the womb of the Virgin Mary,
and so be received into his mystical body
and numbered among his members.
Loving Father,
as on my earthly pilgrimage
I now receive your beloved Son
under the veil of a sacrament,
may I one day see him face to face in glory,
who lives and reigns with you for ever. Amen.

Monday, February 14, 2005

the angelus

It seems like every year the Lenten discipline I resolve to keep gets smaller and smaller in light of my failure strictly to keep the previous year's discipline. The discipline I am failing to keep this year is the daily praying of the Angelus.

The Angelus is traditionally prayed at noon. In many Roman Catholic countries, one may hear church bells ringing at noon in a particular pattern. This is, more often than not, to remind the faithful to stop work and pray the Angelus.

Here it is:

V: The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary;
R: And she conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V: Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R: Be it done unto me according to your word.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V: And the Word was made flesh, [Here it is appropriate to reverence, in honor of the mystery of the Incarnation]
R: And dwelt among us.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V: Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
R: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Pour forth, we bessech you, O Lord, your grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, your Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by his passion and cross + be brought to the glory of his resurrection, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

lenten thought from e.b. pusey

"One who is a sinner, and knows himself to be a sinner beyond all sinners, has this one thing still left him for the short remainder of his days, to sit at the foot of the Cross, to embrace the Cross, and to refuse to know any thing else in this corrupting world, because, in being willing to suffer pain and shame, he feels that pain and shame bring him near to the infinite love of God in Christ Crucified: he loves the Cross, not because he loves pain and shame of themselves, but because they are so bound up with love: and in speaking of the Cross, he knows not how to distinguish or separate his own Cross from that of Christ; for he feels his own to be Christ's Cross, and the Cross of Christ to be his: only this he knows, that to bear the Cross himself gives him a single eye to gaze on Christ Crucified, and leads him to dwell there with more intense affection, with the hope that when Christ looks into the eye of his soul He may see something of His own Image there pourtrayed: and that when he himself, after the death of sin, shall arise after His likeness, he may be satisfied: his hunger and thirst be at length filled with His Righteousness: his mourning make him meet to be comforted of the great Comforter, and as he comes to know the dark abysses of his own soul, he may be able to fathom the depth and breadth and length of Christ Crucified."

(From Sermon X of A course of Sermons Preached on Solomn Subjects)

Sunday, February 13, 2005

our lady of sorrows and the seven holy founders

Yesterday, according to the Anglican Breviary, was the feast of the Seven Holy Founders of The Servite Friars (one of the five original mendicant orders). Their patronal feast is Our Lady of Sorrows, traditionally on September 15th.

Its good to remind ourselves of our Lady's sorrow. Apparently the Seven Holy Founders' principle act of devotion was, in union with our Lady, to stand at the foot of the cross and share in her grief. Over time, there have developed seven sorrows of the Blessed Virgin:

1. The Prophecy of Simeon
2. The Flight into Egypt
3. Losing the Holy Child in Jerusalem
4. Meeting our Lord on his way to Calvary
5. Standing at the foot of the Cross
6. Jesus being taken down from the cross (the "pieta")
7. The Burial of Jesus

4-7 seem to me especially poignant. Can you imagine a mother's grief at watching helplessly as her son is tortured and killed?

I think these are good Lenten thoughts.

latent christian atheism

Here is a fabulous article from Crisis Magazine on the assumptions of many liberal Christians. It explains why they are hopeless, incoherent, and lack practical life. It is also linked-to at Titusonenine, which is how I found it. I highly recommend it. The general thrust is that if you deny the classical tenets of Christianity, like the last things (death, judgment, heaven, hell), then there's little reason to believe in or rely on our Lord's death and resurrection. The notions of salvation, justification, sanctification, etc. all become incoherent. Church is at best a psychological crutch, and the secular world is justified in regarding this strain of liberal Christianity with disdain, as weak and sick. Read it. There's much more.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

dr. johnson on roman catholicism and its superiority to presbyterianism

There is a fascinating exerpt at Pontifications from the "Life of Samuel Johnson" wherein Dr. Johnson propounds his theory of Roman Catholicism, which is surprisingly and pleasantly tolerant. There are discussed auricular confession, the sacrifice of the mass, purgatory, the invocation of saints, predestination, etc. etc. Its an amusing and enlightening passage, and I recommend it to you. Here is a teaser: Boswell recounting his conversation with the Doctor about God's foreknowledge, Predestination and what not:

"I did not press it further, when I perceived that he was displeased, and shrunk from any abridgement of an attribute usually ascribed to the Divinity, however irreconcileable in its full extent with the grand system of moral government. His supposed orthodoxy here cramped the vigourous powers of his understanding."

keeping a holy lent

Fr. Frank Logue at King of Peace Church in Georgia has provided helpful information about the season of Lent, and offers suggestions on how to use Lent profitably. Here is the link.

"The custom is to mark the season of Lent by giving up some things and taking on others. Both can serve to mark the season as a holy time of preparation. Some examples of things people give up for Lent include sweets, meat for all or some meals, and alcohol. In most cases, giving up something for Lent can be made more meaningful by using the money or time for another purpose. For example, meal times on fast days could be spent in prayer. Another example is that if you give up meat during Lent, the extra money that would go to meat dishes can be given to a group, such as World Vision, which works to end hunger worldwide. Some things added during Lent are daily Bible reading, fasting on Fridays, times of prayer, taking a course of study related in some way to spirituality.

Note that the season of Lent is forty days plus the six Sundays. This is because Sundays are celebrations of Jesus’ resurrection and are always an appropriate day to lessen the restrictions of Lent. So that if you have, for example, given up chocolate for Lent, you could indulge in a weekly candy bar on Sunday.

Lent is also an especially appropriate time for the sacrament of confession. While confession to a priest is not required to receive God’s forgiveness, it can be a meaningful rite of reconciliation to God."

progressive racism

Fr. Jake has posted this from Fr. John Julian. I urge you to read it. Fr. John Julian compares the orthodox in Africa with the cannibal Idi Amin. Fr. John Julian lumps his African Anglican brothers and sisters in with the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide. He suggests that the African faithful (all, presumably) share culpability for the illiteracy, disease, poverty, despotism, and death in Africa. He then observes that we are not responsible for those things in our part of the world, but are rather praiseworthy for bringing about their opposites.

Fr. John Julian anticipates cries of racism and preemptively denies them. He claims that he's just looking at facts. The disgusting and arrogant bit is his suggestion that Archbishop Peter Akinola, for example, is partly responsible for the horrors Fr. John Julian enumerates in Africa, and that Fr. John Julian claims part of the credit for social progress in the West.

Its also disconcerting that Fr. Jake (temperate by comparison to Fr. John Julian) applauds Fr. John Julian's comments.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

the martyrs of japan

Last Saturday (the day of my ordination) was the Lesser Feast of the Martyrs of Japan. Their story is a remarkable one, not least because they were deemed worthy to die in the manner of our Lord. Their feast will always have a special significance for me. Here is part of the martyrology:

"The introduction of Christianity into Japan in the sixteenth century, first by the Jesuits under Francis Xavier, and then by the Franciscans, has left exciting records of heroism and self-sacrifice in the annals of Christian missionary endeavor. It has been estimated that by the end of the century there were about 300,000 baptized believers in Japan. Unfortunately, these initial successes were compromised by rivalries among the religious orders; and the interplay of colonial politics, both within Japan and between Japan and the Spanish and Portuguese, aroused suspicion about western intentions of conquest. After a half century of ambiguous support by some of the powerful Tokugawa shoguns, the Christian enterprise suffered cruel persecution and suppression.

"The first victims were six Franciscan friars and twenty of their converts who were crucified at Nagasaki, February 5, 1597. By 1630, what was left of Christianity in Japan was driven underground. Yet it is remarkable that two hundred and fifty years later there were found many men and women, without priests, who had preserved through the generation a vestige of Christian faith."

The Collect:

O God our Father, source of strength to all your saints, you brought the holy martyrs of Japan through the suffering of the cross to the joys of eternal life: Grant that we, encouraged by their example, may hold fast the faith we profess, even to death itself; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.