Monday, January 30, 2006

more on st. charles

Some of my more thoroughly reformed brethren have expressed surprise and dimay that there should be a cult of King Charles, that he should be revered as a saint. My devotion to St. Charles, and their dismay, though unfortunate, is to my mind not really surprising. It merely reflects the variegated expressions of the love of Christ among Christians, a variegation that is at bottom of the scandal of disunity -- and indeed at bottom of the English Civil War and the death of King Charles. Broadly (and religiously) speaking, the tension is that between a reformed view of Christianity and a catholic one (the two terms being understood as exclusive of one another). King Charles was unequivocally catholic in this respect, while his enemies were unequivocally reformed. To (over)simplify, King Charles understood the Church, the State, and his place within both as hierarchical in an unreformed sense. And on this point (within the English context) I am with him. That is not to say that the opposition are not Christian, but just that they are not catholic Christians -- again, "catholic" being understood in this slightly technical, exclusive way. And it is a cause for celebration that, in anglo-american society, reformed and catholic Christians seem to have gotten over the urge to kill one another.

It seems to me that we ought to embrace the Christian commonality of the two worldviews. As, for example, I am ready to embrace those very significant elements of of Jonathan Edwards or Kierkegaard wich are Christian, without being exclusively reformed (or lutheran or whatever). Likewise, just as I would uphold the courageous and sacrifical spirit, in imitation of Christ, of Latimer and Ridley, without agreeing with much of their theological project, I think the same attitude can be found by folks in the Puritan tradition for people like King Charles. (Only, I think the theological basis for many of his actions as King was correct as well. But I don't expect the reformed-minded to agree about that.)

I note, finally, the following fact as explanatory of King Charles' being regarded by some as a martyr: he was offered his life if he would abandon episcopacy in the Church of England. He refused, and so he died.

For general edification, I paste below the second nocturn from Matins from the Anglican Breviary for January 30th. I posted it last year on the Feast of St. Charles too. It was obviously written by devotees of St. Charles (i.e. and not by devotees of Cromwell), but as I count myself as an observer of the caroline cult, perhaps it will better explain my perspective.

Lesson iv
"Charles Stuart, known to secular history as King Charles I of England, and popularly called The Royal Martyr, was born in 1600, and crowned King of England on Candlemas Day in 1626. His father, who had been James VI of Scotland and afterwards became James I of England, was an ardent convert from Scottish Calvinism, and laboured diligently throughout all his dominions to exalt the doctrines of the priesthood and the sacraments, which the Calvinists had denied. In particular he restored the apostolic ministry to Scotland, with the hope of thereby gradually supplanting the new system with the ancient heritage of our religion. And when Charles acceded to his father's throne, he also was diligent in all these matters. But when he attempted to impose liturgical worship on Scotland, the Calvinists became alarmed, and stirred up an irreverent mob to prevent the use of it; and thereafter the opposition grew until it was evident that the Scots as a nation could not be reconciled to the Church in this fashion. Nevertheless, the succession of the Catholic priesthood, which had been instituted in his father's reign, continued its labours, whereof the Scottish Church of today is the fruit. Meanwhile Charles, with the help of his Chancellor, William Laud, the Archbishop of Canterbury, introduced numerous ecclesiastical reforms in England, and enforced the discipline of the Church, whereby great antagonism was stirred up against them, as a result of which they both were finally brought to martyrdom."

Lesson v
"For this was the time when the Commons first began the struggle for a constitutional monarchy, which same was contrary to the King's prerogatives as they had hitherto been understood and as Charles tried to defend them. But it was not only because he opposed the politics of his enemies, but also because he stedfastly refused to do away with the Catholic constitution of the Church, that Parliament finally condemned him to death. Whereat he was able to shew how he had within himself the power to undergo all sorts of indignities with true greatness and serenity. For he had ever been a man conspicuous for devotion to God, and for penitence and prayer, as well as for his faithfulness to Christian duties. Therefore, even though he regarded the death sentence passed upon him as unlawful and unjust, he accepted it as a condign punishment from the mercy of God because of his own sins."

Lesson vi
From the time of his arrest he spent most of his time in prayer and contemplation. On the day of his execution he gladly made his preparation for death, with the aid of one of the Chaplains allowed to him; with whom he first recited the Office of the day, and then listened with great devotion to the reading of the Passion according to Matthew. Thereafter he received the last Sacraments; by which fortified, he went bravely and cheerily to his death. Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, who knew him well, wrote of him on this wise: He was, if ever any, the most worthy of the title of an honest man; so great a lover of justice was he that no temptation could dispose him to a wrongful action except it was so disguised to him that he believed it just; he was the worthiest gentleman, the best master, the best husband, the best father, and the best Christian, that the age in which he lived produced. Others have testified that he was marked by a virtue of purity and a practice of prayer that shone wonderfully amidst the temptations and distractions to which he was exposed. He was well known for his strict sobriety with food and clothes, and he ever shewed a noble insensibility to flattery. All who knew him were impressed with a certain innocence in him, for even his bitter enemies said of him: He is God's silly vassal. At his execution he affirmed that he was a faithful member of the Catholic Church; which same took place on January 30th, 1649. Afterwards his body was laid in Saint George's Chapel, Windsor; but at the command of his enemies he was buried without the Church's rites, for their hatred of him and of the priesthood was not satisfied, even when they had accomplished his destruction and he is venerated because he gave his life for the things which men of such minds are unable to perceive."

"This man esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches that the wealth of the world. For it is better for us to die, rather than to behold the calamities of our people and sanctuary."

today is the feast of st charles, king of england and martyr, and patron of this blog

Charles I, King of England, was martyred by the Roundheads in 1649, after the king's forces were defeated by the usurper, Oliver Cromwell. Charles was an ardent defender of the Anglican Catholic faith in the lands by the grace of God under his dominion. His reign saw the defense of the faith, with the aid of Archbishop William Laud, the restoration of altars which had been torn out by 'reforming' zeal. Most of all, King Charles was a man of unimpugnable devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose service he forfeited his life.

To his son, later King Charles II, he said before his death:

I pray God blesse You, and establish Your Kingdomes in righteousnesse, Your Soule in true Religion, and Your honour in the love of God and Your people.

And if God will have disloyalty perfected by My destruction; let My memory ever, with My name, live in you; as of Your Father, that loves You: and once a KING of three flourishing Kingdomes; whom God thought fit to honour, not onely with the Scepter and Government of them, but also with the suffering many indignities, and an untimely death for them; while I studied to preserve the rights of the Church, the power of the Lawes, the honour of My Crowne, the priviledge of Parliaments, the liberties of My People, and my owne Conscience, which, I thank God, is dearer to Me than a thousand Kingdomes.

I know God can, I hope he yet will restore Me to My Rights. I cannot despaire either of his mercy, or of My Peoples love and pity.

At worst, I trust I shall but go before You to a better Kingdome, which God hath prepared for Me, and Me for it, through My Saviour Jesus Christ, to whose mercies I commend You and all Mine.

Farewell, till We meet, if not on Earth, yet in Heaven.

O Lord we offer unto thee all praise and thanks for the glory of Thy grace that shined forth in Thine anointed servant Charles; and we beseech Thee to give us all grace. by a careful studious imitation of this Thy blessed Saint and Martyr, that we may be made worthy to receive benefit by his prayers, which he, in communion with the Church Catholic, offers up unto Thee for that part of it here Militant, through Thy Son, our Blessed Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Holy Charles, pray for us!

the angelical doctor and the brother angelical

January 28th was the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelical Doctor. On January the 27th MM and I were in New York City looking at the Fra Angelico pictures at the Met. Fra Angelico, like Thomas Aquinas, was a member of the order of the Friars Preachers, the Dominicans. He came to be called the Angelical Painter by way of comparison of his paintings with the teachings of the Angelical Doctor. Fra Angelico's paintings are to be understood as sermons, as proclamations of the Gospel. And that is abundantly clear at the exhibition at the met. My favorite picture there is a drawing of our Lord's crucifixion, in black and white, with only the blood from our Lord's wounds is colored in red. On the reverse of the drawing of the crucifixion, at the exhibition, is displayed a drawing of Justice. Above is a Fra Angelico painting of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Here is a prayer for students attributed to St. Thomas Aqunias:

Creator of all things, true source of Light and Wisdom, lofty source of all Being, graciously let a ray of your brilliance penetrate into the darkness of my understanding and take from me the double darkness in which I have been born, sin and ignorance. Give me a sharp sense of understanding, a retentive memory, and the ability to grasp things correctly and fundamentally. Grant me the talent of being exact in my explanations, and the ability to express myself with thoroughness and charm. Point out the beginning, direct the progress, and hel the completion. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

deus caritas est

However, he said the church wants to be involved in political life by helping "form consciences in political life and stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice as well as greater readiness to act accordingly, even when this might involve conflict with situations of personal interest."

He said the church was "duty-bound" to offer such a contribution, and that the lay faithful, who as citizens of the state, are duty-bound to carry it out through works of charity.

While stressing that the church has no direct political role, he did offer a prescription for what the state should do.

"We do not need a state which regulates and controls everything, but a state which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need," he wrote.

The Holy Father's new Encyclical. Read more about it here. Read it elsewhere.

Monday, January 23, 2006

the eucharistic center of the daily office

I kid not. Take, for example, the following, from Hosea (14.1-2). I have mentioned this before, elsewhere:

O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.

Remember that metonymically, the Church can often be taken, in prophecy, as the object of prophecies concerning Israel. Thus, from Hosea:

O Israel, return to the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.

And from the Daily Office of the BCP, we (i.e. we in the Church as inheritors of the promises to Abraham - Cf. Galatians 3.7ff) confess God's just judgments about us, that we have turned away from our God and fallen by our iniquity, that we have

erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep, we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts, we have offended against thy holy laws, we have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.

And we ask for mercy. But with regard to the Daily Office in general, it is sacramental. Just as the Eucharist is the offering and the receiving of the body and blood of the incarnate Word of God, so is the Daily Office the offering (on our lips) and receiving (in our ears and hearts) of the written Word of God, in the lections and psalms, as I said earlier. Thus Hosea says:

Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.

The Daily Office is the rendering of the calves (that is, sacrifices) of our lips. Because it is prayer offered to God. And just as the Eucharist is an acceptable sacrifice, because it is the Body and Blood of our Lord, offered in the power of the Lord Jesus' own High Priesthood, that is because it is not merely some work of human hands; so is the Daily Office, acceptable to God, because the content of the offices are God's own words. In the Eucharist, we offer what we have received; and in the offices, we speak what has been spoken to us. In the words of Hosea, we take with us words and turn to the Lord. We ask him to take away our iniquity by recounting to him his own promise of salvation, fulfilled, as in the Gospel, in the sacrifice of his Son for our iniquities.

We offer sacrifice out of obedience to God's command. In Leviticus 9.2 Moses (the Law) commands Aaron (the Priest) to offer a bull calf for sin. But only a rigteous sacrifice is accetable (Sirach 35.7) and there is none righteous (Romans 3.10), for only God is good (Luke 18.19).

Following the exegetical sylogism: we are commanded to offer to God sacrifice, but only God can offer an acceptable sacrifice -- which he does in his Incarnate Word. Jesus was the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. He is in that sense the essence and apogee of Scripture (Cf. John 1.45, Luke 24.44, Matthew 5.17, Romans 3.21)). Jesus, in a sense, is Secripture. Everything in the Old Testament pointed to him, Israel found her perfection in Him; the Gospels recount Him; the Epistles exaplain Him; and the Church again finds her perfection in Him.

When we pray the offices, God himself opens our lips ("O Lord, open thou our lips"). We take on our lips what God has spoken (Psalms and Lections), and he has spoken nothing but His Word - and that Word is solitary and unific, variegated only in the domain of creation, for our sake: it is a Word made man of the purity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. If we acceptably open our mouths to show forth his praise, we do so by opening our mouths (and ears and hearts) to receive his Word within us. Take this, all of you, and eat it.

On a practical note: it is appropriate to make the sign of the cross (with your thumb) on your lips as you say the opening versicles:

O Lord + open thou our lips.

It is appropriate because with those lips you proclaim and affirm in the office the Holy Narrative of Salvation, fulfilled for our sakes on calvary by the Incarnate Word of God.

a mystical soldier is born

On January 4th, the Octave of the Holy Innocents, a dear friend of Fr. WB's, Br. Benedict, professed his solemn vows as a monk of the Monastery of St. Benedict in Norcia, Italy. The brothers there are the custodians of the Basilica of Saints Benedict and Scholastica, built over the house where the holy twins were born. These men are worthy of your support. They do good work. I can attest to that. Pray for them if you think of it. Send them some money, if you can (see their website for details on how).

Here are some pictures from the occasion:

Saturday, January 21, 2006

more on prayer in general and the offices in particular

Good, good. Thanks to everyone for thoughtful responses to the prayer post. More. MORE!!!

Praying the Offices really is challenging, but I view it as a clerical obligation, and over the past few years it has become THE center of my devotional life, my "walk with the Lord" to use Evangelical Speak. I am reminded of the fact that to this day (I am told) it is technically against the law for C of E clerks in major orders NOT to say the offices every day, publicly if possible. Of course its not enforced, and I imagine its largely ignored. But the fact does point to the centrality of the offices in the life of the Church, and particularly in the life of Her ministers, who are meant to be (and who NEED to be) signposts for the laity.

Incidentally, it is my view that the vowed religious served primarily this signpost function in the Church until the Reformation (and still do among Catholics and the Orthodox). But there is a long tradition of anti-monasticism in Anglicanism, from the very beginning, and that has left a vacuum in our Communion's devotional life. Just think: at any hour of the day, there are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of monks and nuns praying for the life and ministrations of the Roman Catholic Church. Our Communion has nothing like that. Nor do we have a visible pattern of Christian prayer for the laity. I mean there IS the BCP, but I don't think I've EVER met a layman who actually says the offices in ECUSA. Maybe one or two. And my impressions is that ECUSA clerks don't really say them either.

My main point is this: it is important for Christians to pray, and to pray in THIS WAY. That is, saying the Daily Office, in some form. It has been the standard of Christian prayer since, as far as anyone can tell, the VERY BEGINNING. (It has its roots in the daily prayers of the Jews and was likely the daily pattern of prayer for our Lord himself prayed.) Is it necessary for all Christians to say the offices every day? Of course not; but it ought, in my view, to be the standard from which some people, inevitably, deviate. That is not the case now. Certainly not in the Anglican Communion - so far as I can tell, even among the clergy, for whom it should be considered obligatory. And its probably not the case elsewhere. It looks to me like the rosary has replaced the offices in the lay devotional life of Roman Catholicism. I don't know much about the East, but I'd bet the conscientious layman in the East uses a chotki more than anything.

My former spiritual director used to talk about the importance of spending a set amount of time every day in prayer. I can't agree with him more about the importance of this. And I think the Daily Office is the best practice. It is the practice recommended by the whole Church throughout the centuries.

It is difficult, to be sure. But there isn't much that's worth doing that isn't difficult. It is important, I think, is to pray early. Both in the morning and in the evening. I find that if I don't say Evensong before dinner, chances are I won't say it. And I agree with J-tron that the noon office is a challenge. But maybe that's why there is no provision in the BCP for it (originally). Compline is nice, but makes little sense as an addition to Matins and Evensong. I.e. it follows Evensong too closely. Also, it is more of a challenge, in my mind, to interrupt myself throughout the day to pray, than it is to set aside half an hour in the morning and at evening to pray (which is challenge enough).

With regard to intercession, I was curious to know at what point in the office people put it. But even more: I know that some people have a weekly intercession scheme, whereby (for example) they pray for their family on Monday, their friends on Tuesday, the Church on Wednesday, Civil Authorities on Friday, etc. etc. Does anyone do that? I think that such a scheme might help.

Lastly: I encourage everyone, especially clerks in major orders, and those of you aiming at such an estate, to form a habit of praying the BCP offices every day. I do believe it is important to take time (a lot of time by today's standards) to spend with the Lord in prayer. It seems to me the time it takes to say the offices is a good minimum standard. And it is also important to spend time with the Lord in the KIND of prayer that the offices, in essence, are. I.e. in the Word of God. By praying the offices, as I mentioned before, God's own Word becomes your words. You attune yourself to his voice -- the Verbum Domini. Its spiritual training in that sense. And (I believe), as a sacrifice, it draws you into the mystery of the whole narrative of salvation. On the one hand, you are listening to that story (in the Psalms and, primarily, in the Lections). And on the other hand, by vocalizing the Psalms and Lections, you are yourself telling that story, proclaiming God's redemption, and affirming it. (I.e. the Readings are not just READINGS -- in the context of the Office, they are PRAYERS).

Friday, January 20, 2006

ora et labora

As some know, I am a firm believer in the grounding of Christian life in the intentional practice of daily prayer -- in saying the Offices. And I am a big fan of Matins (Morning Prayer) and Evensong (Evening Prayer) according to the BCP. Indeed I believe that the Daily Office as in the BCP will be one of the greatest, if not THE greatest legacy of Anglicanism to the Church Catholic, long after Anglicanism has passed away. That is my hope, anyway. (And to that end, the Book of Divine Worship is a hopeful development.) The Daily Office grounds one's own life and one's own speaking in the Word of God: there is hardly a sentence of the Offices that are not taken directly from Scripture. And this appropriation of God's Word as our own words, by taking the scripture as the content of our own prayer, is a profoundly sacramental expression of the essence of Christian living.

I've done this before, but with little response. What I wonder is this: do you have a daily practice of prayer? If so (and I hope you do), in what does it consist? And also, for those of you who say the office, a specific question: how do you incorporate intercessory prayer? I know some of you have intercession schemes (different themes on different days, etc.). What are they? Intercession has always been the most challenging aspect of my prayer life, in that I find it difficult to intercede methodically and consistently.

So the question is: what is your daily habit of prayer, and how do you incorporate intercession into it?

Below is my method of reciting the office. It is how I said Matins today, verbatim. I normally say intercessions either as announcements of "intentions" as the very first thing, i.e. before the office; or I include them after the collect for mission, just before "Let us bless..." (at the end) or before the General Thanksgiving, if I say it. (I usually don't say it.) So here is the office as I pray it (some of it is Latin):

Open thou, O Lord, my mouth to bless thy holy Name; cleanse also my heart from all vain, evil, and wandering thoughts; enlighten my understanding; enkindle my affections; that I may say this Office worthily, with attention and devotion, and so be meet to be heard in the presence of thy divine Majesty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Lord, in union with that divine intention wherewith thou thyself on earth didst render thy praises to God, I desire to offer this my Office of prayer unto thee.

In the Name of the Father +, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

I will give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest by my salvation unto the end of the earth.

Let us humbly confess our sins unto Almighty God.

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti, beatae Mariae semper Virgini, beato Michaeli Archangelo, beato Joanni Baptistae, sanctis Apostolis Petro et Paulo, et omnibus Sanctis, quia peccavi nimis cogitatione verbo, et opere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, beatum Michaelem Archangelum, beatum Joannem Baptistam, sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Paulum, et omnes Sanctos, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum Nostrum. Amen.

Indulgentiam + absolutionem, et remissionem peccatorum nostrorum, tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus. Amen.

O Lord, open thou my lips.
And my mouth shall show forth thy praise.

Glory 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.

Praise ye the Lord.
The Lord's Name be praised.

The Lord hath manifested forth his glory: O come, let us adore him.

Be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands; *
serve the Lord with gladness
and come before his presence with a song.

Be ye sure that the Lord he is God; *
it is he that hath made us and not we ourselves;
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.

O go your way into his gates with thanksgiving
and into his courts with praise; *
be thankful unto him and speak good of his Name.

For the Lord is gracious;
his mercy is everlasting; *
and his truth endureth from generation to generation.

Glory 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.

The Lord hath manifested forth his glory: O come, let us adore him.

[Psalm 102]

LORD, hear my prayer, and let my cry come before you; *
hide not your face from me in the day of my trouble.
Incline your ear to me; *
when I call, make haste to answer me,
For my days drift away like smoke, *
and my bones are hot as burning coals.
My heart is smitten like grass and withered, *
so that I forget to eat my bread.
Because of the voice of my groaning *
I am but skin and bones.
I have become like a vulture in the wilderness, *
like an owl among the ruins.
I lie awake and groan; *
I am like a sparrow, lonely on a house-top.
My enemies revile me all day long, *
and those who scoff at me have taken an oath against me.
For I have eaten ashes for bread *
and mingled my drink with weeping.
Because of your indignation and wrath *
you have lifted me up and thrown me away.
My days pass away like a shadow, *
and I wither like the grass.
But you, O LORD, endure for ever, *
and your Name from age to age.
You will arise and have compassion on Zion,
for it is time to have mercy upon her; *
indeed, the appointed time has come.
For your servants love her very rubble, *
and are moved to pity even for her dust.
The nations shall fear your Name, O LORD, *
and all the kings of the earth your glory.
For the LORD will build up Zion, *
and his glory will appear.
He will look with favor on the prayer of the homeless; *
he will not despise their plea.
Let this be written for a future generation, *
so that a people yet unborn may praise the LORD.
For the LORD looked down from his holy place on high; *
from the heavens he beheld the earth;
That he might hear the groan of the captive *
and set free those condemned to die;
That they may declare in Zion the Name of the LORD, *
and his praise in Jerusalem;
When the peoples are gathered together, *
and the kingdoms also, to serve the LORD.
He has brought down my strength before my time; *
he has shortened the number of my days;
And I said, "O my God,
do not take me away in the midst of my days; *
your years endure throughout all generations.
In the beginning, O LORD, you laid the foundations of the earth, *
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
They shall perish, but you will endure;
they all shall wear out like a garment; *
as clothing you will change them,
and they shall be changed;
But you are always the same, *
and your years will never end.
The children of your servants shall continue, *
and their offspring shall stand fast in your sight."

Glory 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.

[Psalm 103]

Bless the LORD, O my soul, *
and all that is within me, bless his holy Name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, *
and forget not all his benefits.
He forgives all your sins *
and heals all your infirmities;
He redeems your life from the grave *
and crowns you with mercy and loving-kindness;
He satisfies you with good things, *
and your youth is renewed like an eagle's.
The LORD executes righteousness *
and judgment for all who are oppressed.
He made his ways known to Moses *
and his works to the children of Israel.
The LORD is full of compassion and mercy, *
slow to anger and of great kindness.
He will not always accuse us, *
nor will he keep his anger for ever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins, *
nor rewarded us according to our wickedness.
For as the heavens are high above the earth, *
so is his mercy great upon those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west, *
so far has he removed our sins from us.
As a father cares for his children, *
so does the LORD care for those who fear him.
For he himself knows whereof we are made; *
he remembers that we are but dust.
Our days are like the grass; *
we flourish like a flower of the field;
When the wind goes over it, it is gone, *
and its place shall know it no more.
But the merciful goodness of the LORD endures for ever on those
who fear him, *
and his righteousness on children's children;
On those who keep his covenant *
and remember his commandments and do them.
The LORD has set his throne in heaven, *
and his kingship has dominion over all.
Bless the LORD, you angels of his,
you mighty ones who do his bidding, *
and hearken to the voice of his word.
Bless the LORD, all you his hosts, *
you ministers of his who do his will.
Bless the LORD, all you works of his,
in all places of his dominion; *
bless the LORD, O my soul.

Glory 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.

A reading from the Book of Genesis.

Now these are the descendants of Terah. Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran was the father of Lot.

Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chalde'ans.
And Abram and Nahor took wives; the name of Abram's wife was Sar'ai, and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and Iscah. Now Sar'ai was barren; she had no child.

Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sar'ai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chalde'ans to go into the land of Canaan; but when they came to Haran, they settled there.

The days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran.

Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.

And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves."

So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

And Abram took Sar'ai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions which they had gathered, and the persons that they had gotten in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan,
Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.
Then the LORD appeared to Abram, and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.
Thence he removed to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD.

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

+ Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, *
for he hath visited and redeemed his people;
And hath raised up a mighty salvation for us *
in the house of his servant David,
As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, *
which have been since the world began:
That we should be saved from our enemies, *
and from the hand of all that hate us;
To perform the mercy promised to our forefathers, *
and to remember his holy covenant;
To perform the oath which he sware to our forefather Abraham, *
that he would give us,
That we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies *
might serve him without fear,
In holiness and righteousness before him, *
all the days of our life.

And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest, *
for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord
to prepare his ways;
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people *
for the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God, *
whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us;
To give light to them that sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death, *
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Glory 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.

Credo in Deum Patrem omnipoténtem, Creatórem cæli et terræ. Et in Iesum Christum, Fílium eius únicum, Dóminum nostrum, qui concéptus est de Spíritu Sancto, natus ex María Vírgine, passus sub Póntio Piláto, crucifíxus, mórtuus, et sepúltus, descéndit ad ínfernos, tértia die resurréxit a mórtuis, ascéndit ad cælos, sedet ad déxteram Dei Patris omnipoténtis, inde ventúrus est iudicáre vivos et mórtuos. Credo in Spíritum Sanctum, sanctam Ecclésiam cathólicam, sanctórum communiónem, remissiónem peccatórum, carnis resurrectiónem, + vitam ætérnam. Amen.

Dominus Vobiscum.
Et cum Spiritu tuo.


Kyrie eleison.
Christe eleison.
Kyrie eleison.

Pater noster, qui es in cælis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie. Et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem: sed libera nos a malo. Quoniam tibi est regnum et potestas et gloria in saecula. Amen.

V. O Lord, save thy people and bless thine heritage;
R. Govern them and lift them up for ever.
V. Day by day we magnify thee;
R. And we worship thy name for ever, world without end.
V. Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin;
R. O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us.
V. O Lord, let thy mercy be upon us;
R. As our trust is in thee.
V. O Lord, in thee have I trusted;
R. Let me never be confounded.

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that thy people, illumined by thy Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ's glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Almighty Father, whose blessed Son before his passion prayed for his disciples that they might be one, even as thou and he are one: Grant that thy Church, being bound together in love and obedience to thee, may be united in one body by the one Spirit, that the world may believe in him whom thou didst send, the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

O God, who art the author of peace and lover of concord, in knowledge of whom standeth our eternal life, whose service is perfect freedom: Defend us, thy humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in thy defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries; through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day: Defend us in the same with thy mighty power; and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that we, being ordered by thy governance, may do always what is righteous in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of thy faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers which we offer before thee for all members of thy holy Church, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and godly serve thee; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

+ May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

+ The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.

+ In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

To God Most Holy, in his Divine Majesty of Trinity in Unity;
To Jesus Christ, our Lord and God made man and crucified for us;
To blessed Mary Ever-Virgin, from whose glorious purity he took flesh;
And to the entire Company of the Saints of God, in heaven;
Be praise, honour, power, and glory, from every creature on earth:
And likewise to us sinners may there be full remission of all our sins:
Throughout all ages, world without end.
R. Amen.

V. Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which bore the Son of the everlasting Father.
R. And blessed are the paps which gave suck to Christ the Lord.

Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. Amen.

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.

+ In Nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

ANGELUS Domini nuntiavit Mariae,
Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum; benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

Ecce ancilla Domini,
Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum; benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

Et Verbum caro factum est.
Et habitavit in nobis.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum; benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genitrix.
Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

Gratiam tuam, quaesumus, Domine, mentibus nostris infunde; ut, qui, angelo nuntiante, Christi Filii tui incarnationem cognovimus, per passionem ejus et + crucem, ad resurrectionis gloriam perducamur. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

+ In Nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

fr. al kimel on ecusa's endorsement of the 'right' to abortion

A Christian community that supports the unconditional legal right to abortion has ceased to be Christian; it has ceased to be Church. A Church that is not willing to stand against the evil of abortion cannot be the Church that Jesus Christ founded. The lampstand has been taken away.

If you belong to the Episcopal Church and if you believe that abortion is unjust killing, how can you in good conscience remain in communion with it? How can you remain an Episcopalian? The Episcopal Church has ceased to be “neutral” in this moral battle. It has joined the forces of darkness. Flee, for your soul’s sake!

Very early in my life as an Episcopalian, I think that I supported legal abortions in extreme circumstances. At least I think I did. My memory is hazy. I remember arguing that 97% of abortions are morally unjustifiable and therefore should be made illegal. I’m not sure where I got that 97% figure. But I figured that if we could eliminate 97% of abortions our society would become a dramatically more humane society. We could talk about the hard cases later.

At that time I still wasn’t certain in my mind when the fetus became a human person, whether at conception or after the time of twinning or perhaps later in the pregnancy. But none of that mattered. There is one thing we know for certain: At some point in time the fetus will become a human person and thus worthy of the full protection of the law. And if this is the case, then we had better be damned sure we know when that critical point is before we employ killing violence against the fetus. If we cannot specify when personhood begins, we must always side with human life. Ignorance does not justify possible murder. As Tertullian wrote, “It is anticipated murder to prevent someone from being born; it makes little difference whether one kills a soul already born or puts it to death at birth. He who will one day be a man is a man already.” We cannot say, may never say, the fetus may or may not be a human person, so it’s all right to destroy it. A society that is willing to kill possible persons is just as evil as a society that is willing to kill real persons.

“Human life is sacred and inviolable at every moment of existence, including the initial phase which precedes birth. All human beings, from their mothers’ womb, belong to God who searches them and knows them, who forms them and knits them together with his own hands, who gazes on them when they are tiny shapeless embryos and already sees in them the adults of tomorrow whose days are numbered and whose vocation is even now written in the ‘book of life’ (cf. Ps 139: 1, 13-16). There too, when they are still in their mothers’ womb—as many passages of the Bible bear witness—they are the personal objects of God’s loving and fatherly providence” (John Paul II, Evangelium vitae).

I know how difficult this issue is for all of us. All of our lives have been touched by abortion. Women and girls dear to us have had abortions. Perhaps you have had an abortion. We all walk in the darkness. None of us are without guilt. Now more than ever moral clarity is needed. I thank God for the firm, unwavering, and courageous witness of the Catholic Church.

Read the whole thing here.

she would have made a good ecusa 'priest'

While studying at the Yale Divinity School, Jeanette Angell DIV '87 considered converting to the Episcopalian Church and becoming a priest. But when her job as a college lecturer in Boston left bills unpaid and creditors calling, Angell found a less than angelic solution — working as a $200-an-hour callgirl.

She obviously moved, with Nietzsche and Frank Griswold, into that space beyond Good and Evil. Read more here. Warning: probably not suitable for children.

Monday, January 16, 2006

the 'new monasticism'

In the little Parkdale house they share, two young families sit down to dinner — a scene that would be completely ordinary were it not for the reasons they live together.

There's a comfortable feeling as the parents and children link hands and begin their meal with a prayer. Books on the side table reveal a bit about their interests: Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book on living in a community, and The Political Theology of Paul. That's St. Paul.

Though it doesn't look like it, these two married couples — with their babies, donated furniture and Holly the dog — are living what they call the "new monasticism."

Read the whole thing here.

What do you think of this? It sounds a little bit Little Gidding-esque. The emphasis of the "New Monastics" on pacifism annoys me. Not because pacifism itself annoys me, but rather the emphasis does. As though pacifism were an unambiguously essential part of the Christian tradition. This also annoys me about Stanley Hauerwas, as many (especially MM) know.

Friday, January 13, 2006

what ecusa's executive committee did yesterday

Absolutely incredible.

+ Approved the Episcopal Church's membership in the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. The membership had caused some controversy during the last General Convention. In a related resolution (NAC-040), the council asked for a report at its March meeting regarding "membership of or on behalf of the Episcopal Church in external organizations." The National Concerns Committee is considering whether the church needs a more specific policy on membership in such organizations.

Read the whole thing here, i.e. at Episcopal News Service. Christ have mercy upon us.

the american anglican council on nbc's 'the book of daniel'

“The Book of Daniel,” a new television series featuring an Episcopal parish priest that first aired Friday, January 6, 2006 on NBC, is a travesty with no redeeming qualities. It is an affront to biblically faithful Episcopalians and Anglicans who have been devastated by the Episcopal Church’s abandonment of the apostolic faith. Tragically, it is not entirely inaccurate in its depiction of revisionist theology and doctrine adopted by a majority of Episcopal Church leadership. “The Book of Daniel” does not represent the average Episcopal Church across the United States, but it hits close to home with regard to revisionism espoused by numerous bishops, clergy, dioceses and congregations. While it is highly unlikely that one would find almost every sin and perversion of truth imaginable lived out in a single family as the show portrays, the program does offer an accurate representation of the downward spiral of the Episcopal Church over the last 30 years. The script even gives a wink and nod to the “current crisis,” with references to “a slap on the wrist from Canterbury” and “an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire.”

In the two-hour pilot, heterosexual adultery (between two bishops), homosexuality (gay and lesbian), “threesomes,” premarital sex, prescription drug addiction, possession and distribution of illegal drugs (marijuana), alcoholism (Webster’s wife is rarely seen without a martini shaker in hand), teenage sexual encounters, embezzlement, and Mafia extortion via Roman Catholic connections are glibly characterized as almost amusing foibles dismissed with a smile and head-shake by a non-confrontational, powerless and indulgent hippie-mode Jesus. The concepts of sin, repentance, forgiveness, restoration and Christian morality in general are completely absent, and in fact, the behavior of characters in the show is projected as normative – typical of the average, all-American Episcopal clergy family. Clearly this appears to be the perception of the show’s writers and producers.

While early secular press reviews and Christian leaders have panned “The Book of Daniel,” the fact is that the Episcopal Church has abandoned the clear teaching of Scripture on issues of sin and repentance as well as sexuality and morality. Some Episcopal leaders simply turn a blind eye to behavior such as adulterous relationships, homosexuality and drug abuse, while others openly defend the “right” to personal choices and glorify “experience” over Scripture, tradition and reason. The real question the show raises is, who would want to be part of a church that embraces such lifestyles, theology and doctrine? And it is disturbing to note the response of the Episcopal Church. National Episcopal Church staff seems to have been caught unprepared for the fallout of the show, and the Episcopal Diocese of Washington has created a weblog for discussion, hoping it will draw people to the church – “The Book of Daniel” as an evangelism tool!

We encourage those who have watched “The Book of Daniel” to consider the church it presents and join the thousands of Episcopalians and Anglicans who uphold Scripture and stand against such clear assaults on mainstream evangelical Christianity – not only by NBC but also by revisionist leaders within the Episcopal Church. If you are displeased with “The Book of Daniel’s attack on Christianity, contact your local NBC affiliate and sponsors to convey your thoughts.

Comment on the whole thing here.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

look what planned parenthood, connecticut, sells on their website

Charming. Apparently it is meant to represent God handing Adam a condom. Amusingly, perhaps: one outcome of such a scenario, had it actually taken place, is that the people at Planned Parenthood would never have been born.

Purchase their amusing little trinkets here.

death on the haj: this seems to happen rather often lately

Dubai, Jan. 12 - A stampede of pilgrims at the annual Haj pilgrimage in Mecca killed hundreds today in the second deadly incident at the pilgrimage in less than a week.

About 345 pilgrims were trampled to death in the incident, apparently when luggage fell from a bus, tripping pilgrims who were trampled by a wave of others behind them, an official at the Saudi Ministry of Interior said, speaking on a condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak.

Read the whole thing here.

apple macintosh

For anyone out there who uses an Apple computer, and specifically who uses the OSX program I-Cal, I would be glad to send to you, free of charge, two i-cal calendars, one of Lesser Feasts and Fasts (containing all the liturgical color information, and all the readings and what not... though not the collects), and one for Sundays and Major Doubles / Red Letter Days. If you would like that, leave a comment with your email address. If you do not use a Mac, start using a Mac. If you leave your email address, I recommend you leave it in the form, for example, "myemailaddress at such-and-such-domain dot com", that is written out, so that those spam robots won't prowl through here and pick it up.

Grace is gift, like in the picture.

test of faith

WHEATON, Ill. -- Wheaton College was delighted to have assistant professor Joshua Hochschild teach students about medieval philosopher Thomas Aquinas, one of Roman Catholicism's foremost thinkers.

But when the popular teacher converted to Catholicism, the prestigious evangelical college reacted differently. It fired him.

Wheaton, like many evangelical colleges, requires full-time faculty members to be Protestants and sign a statement of belief in "biblical doctrine that is consonant with evangelical Christianity." In a letter notifying Mr. Hochschild of the college's decision, Wheaton's president said his "personal desire" to retain "a gifted brother in Christ" was outweighed by his duty to employ "faculty who embody the institution's evangelical Protestant convictions."

Mr. Hochschild, 33 years old, who was considered by his department a shoo-in for tenure, says he's still willing to sign the Wheaton faith statement. He left last spring, taking a 10% pay cut and roiling his family life, to move to a less-renowned Catholic college.

Mr. Hochschild's dismissal captures tensions coursing through many of America's religious colleges. At these institutions, which are mostly Protestant or Catholic, decisions about hiring and retaining faculty members are coming into conflict with a resurgence of religious identity.

Read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

book of daniel: 'sex, drugs, stolen money, and martinis'

I just saw the first episode of the new, facile NBC show, The Book of Daniel. I loved it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

objectively speaking: best movies of 2005

J-Tron inspired me. These are roughly in order, beginning with the best.

Grizzly Man




The Woodsman

Walk the Line

Constant Gardner


Broken Flowers

The Squid and the Whale

Batman Begins

Layer Cake

Chronicles of Narnia

Movies that I have not yet seen, but which are probably pretty good too: Downfall, Good Night and Good Luck, A History of Violence, Paradise Now, Brokeback Mountain, The Best of Youth, Darwin's Nightmare, The New World, Cache.

Good movies I saw that don't quite make the list (in no particular order): Cinderella Man, Jarhead, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, March of the Penguins, Pride and Prejudice, Serenity.

Movies that I saw, which were awful: 40 Year Old Virgin, Wedding Crashers.

PS: Happy William Laud day. In High School we were told that he was a monster. Now I know the truth. Blessed William Laud, pray for us.