Saturday, January 28, 2012

Why We Remember our Patron Saint

St. Timothy's is named after a man who lived two millennia ago in a place very far from here. He never met us, nor have we met him. He did not speak English, and had no idea Oregon existed. What binds us together with him is a common faith and a common humanity. 

Timothy was a disciple of St. Paul and learned the Christian faith from him. As he matured in that faith, Timothy became more and more fully himself. His potential was unlocked; capabilities he had previous not known were revealed; limitations were overcome; he grew into what his mentor Paul called "the full stature of Christ." He was a person in the fullest sense of that word.

And this is, after all, one of the main reasons we commemorate the saints. Wrapped in the glory and joy of the nearer presence of God as they are, the saints do not benefit one jot by our songs of praise. Rather, they hold out for us tangible signs that the adventure of Christian discipleship is both exciting and possible. 

The saints also remind us that Christianity is not an institution or a system but a personal relationship: God the Holy Trinity (One Being in Three Persons) is relationship in God's own Self. We, made in the Image of God, can only become fully alive when we are persons in the fullest sense--and that means communion with God, each other, and the Creation. It means freedom and fulfillment.

For too long, Christianity has been associated not with fullness of personhood, but a masking of the person with institutional, cultural, or ideological overlays. Rather than liberation, many see the Gospel as bringing enslavement. And given some of what has been done in the name of the Gospel throughout the ages (as well as currently), who is to blame them?

The recovery of Christian witness where this has happened can only begin when the members of the Church know and radiate this truth: "Through communion with God, I am fully alive, fully become myself." Only such people are free to see and value the Other as holy and worth everything. 

We remember St. Timothy because for us he is deeply real, deeply and personally present as a witness to the work of God in human life, in our own lives here in 21st century Salem, Oregon. By recalling this one person, we are making clear the truth that all people have a validity and a potential that communion with God the Holy Trinity makes possible. It is to live and share that life for which we exist.

O Holy Timothy, pray for us!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The blessing of fatigue...

This poem by Vaughan speaks of both our human desire for continual activity (not a new phenomenon), and the blessing of fatigue, something that God has given us as a way to "come to ourselves," as the Parable of the Prodigal puts it, so that we might return to God's embrace. Something to ponder in our ever-more technological society.

The Pursuit
By Henry Vaughan (1621-1695)

  Lord! What a busy, restless thing
                        Hast thou made man!
  Each day and hour he is on wing,
                        Rests not a span;
  Then having lost the Sun and light
                        By clouds surprised
  He keeps a commerce in the night
                        With air disguised;
  Hadst thou given to this active dust
                        A state untired,
  The lost son had not left the husk
                        Nor home desired;
  That was thy secret, and it is
                        Thy mercy too,
  For when all fails to bring to bliss,
                        Then, this must do.
Ah! Lord! And what a purchase will that be
To take us sick, that sound would not take thee!

“… commerce in the night” –A reference to our study of the stars, or work by artificial light

“The lost son…” –A reference to the parable of the Prodigal Son, Luke 15

Friday, January 20, 2012

Intercessions during Natural Disasters

Salem and surrounding areas have just gone through a time of flood. Below is an adaptation of a litany drafted for times of natural disaster. This, along with the Great Litany and the Supplication in the Book of Common Prayer, are good prayer resources for such times.

A Litany in Response to a Natural Disaster

O God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth,
Have mercy upon us.

O God the Son, redeemer of the world,
Have mercy upon us.

O God the Holy Spirit, Sanctifier of the faithful,
Have mercy upon us.

Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, One God
Have mercy upon us.

Remember not, Lord Christ our offenses, neither reward us according to our sins.  Spare us, good Lord, spare your people, whom you have redeemed by your cross and passion, and by your mercy preserve us forever.
Spare us, good Lord.

From all natural disasters, from hurricanes, fires, tornados, earthquakes, tsunamis, blizzards and floods,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From all disease and sickness, from famine and violence,
Good Lord, deliver us.

In all times of sorrow, in all times of joy; in the hour of death and at the day of judgment,
Good Lord, deliver us.

Hear our prayers, O Christ our God,
O Christ, hear us.

For the + repose of the souls of our brothers and sisters in Christ who have died in this disaster, that your holy angels may welcome them into Paradise,
O Christ, hear us.

Console all who grieve: those whose loved ones have died, whose families are torn; whose homes have been destroyed, whose possessions have been ruined, who are now unemployed.
O Christ, hear us.

Heal those who suffer from injury and illness, emotional and spiritual distress. Give them hope and encouragement to meet the days ahead.
O Christ, hear us.

Give food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty.
O Christ, hear us.

Give rest to the weary and peace to the restless.
O Christ, hear us.

Give strength to the governments of affected regions and all others in authority and leadership; grant them wisdom and power to act in accordance with your will.
O Christ, hear us.

Bless the clergy and people in areas of danger and destruction who strive to do your service in the midst of their own grief and pain.  Give them fortitude to serve as you would serve.
O Christ, hear us.
Grant your people grace to witness to your word, to open their hearts in love, and to give generously from their abundance, that they may bring forth the fruits of your Spirit.
O Christ, hear us.

Forgive us Lord, for all negligence and hardheartedness, for an over-reliance on technology and a lack of preparedness that result in bitterness and strife, in injury and death.
O Christ, hear us.

In the midst of loss, grant us eyes that see, ears that hear and hands that work so that we may discern how you would have us respond.
O Christ, hear us.

We give you thanks, Lord God for all agencies and individuals who assist in relief efforts; continue in them the good work you have begun, through them your presence is made known.
We thank you O, Lord

You are our refuge and strength
Our very present help in trouble

In you Lord is our Hope
And we shall never hope in vain

Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.
Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever.

O merciful Father, you have taught us in your holy Word that you do not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men: Look with pity upon the sorrows of your people [especially _______, for whom our prayers are offered]. Remember them, O Lord, in mercy, nourish their souls with patience, comfort them with a sense of your goodness, lift up your countenance upon them, and give them peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Potential of Doubt

What follows is a lecture given by Metropolitan Anthony in 1987. This lecture continues to challenge and inspire me as a disciple of Christ and as a priest of his sacred mysteries. It is a read of the Church's history that notes the move from experience to observation, from the full integration of the human person in God through Christ to the "self-sufficient intellect," detached from God, from the Creation, from integrated experience of life. 

As we speak of renewal, re-structuring, and mission in the Church, one cannot help but feel that the groundwork done is of a very functional, non-introspective nature. By focusing on "fixing" various perceived "problems" alone, the necessary attention to assumptions about First Things is ignored. If we merely change the facade of the building while the structure continues to rot, nothing is actually accomplished. The Church in the U.S.A. must abandon both its fixation with institutional success AND its fantasies of relevance gained through chasing the culture. Its power and authority have always been found through utter transparency to Christ's work of liberation from sin and death in all its forms. 

Metropolitan Anthony's thinking disturbs any and all complacency in the Church. It also reminds us that we must look at the world around us with an eye of curiosity, hope, and openness--not tossing out the essentials of the Faith for a lazy and ultimately trivial "relevance," but listening to the experience of the Other while sharing the fruit of a truly lived faith, not the museum faith resulting from living in the intellect alone.

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

The Church of the Councils:
the “onslaught of the intellect” and the potential of doubt


'That which we have seen with our eyes'

It is important to remember that a first generation of the Church's members knew Christ as a person, and some of them from very early days. Nazareth, Capernaum and Cana are little towns or villages distanced from one another by a few miles; it is not inconceivable that those who later became Christ's apostles and disciples had even met the Lord when he was a boy, a youth, a young man, and had thus discovered him in an exceptionally gradual manner. In due course we can see disciples gathering around him, discovering in him a unique friend, a guide and an adviser, then a leader. Eventually they are to discover him as he truly was: as God who had come to them, who had come into the world.

This progress reaches the kind of culmination to which the words of Philip point early in the Gospel of St John: 'We have found him of whom Moses and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth'. And what I said about its early stages may well explain the response of Nathaniel, 'Can there anything good come out of Nazareth?' For if you were to be told that somebody you have known practically from childhood, an inhabitant of a minute town round the corner from your village is declared to be the Messiah, the Saviour of the world, you would probably have reacted in much the same way.

The first disciples had such a direct experience of Christ, and it was important for the world that the first witnesses should be people who had been with him from the beginning, had step by step discovered him for who he was. Indeed, when Judas died his tragic death and the disciples wanted to elect an apostle to take his place, they made it quite clear that they wanted someone who had been with them from the beginning and gone through this gradual process of discovery. Thus they could all speak directly of Christ's days in the flesh as the days in the flesh of the incarnate God.

'That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you' .

The years passed, the apostles preached and proclaimed what they knew in the deepest and most personal way. Later — several decades later — the New Testament writings took shape. Fr Georges Florovsky once noted the importance of the fact that these scriptures were not produced as immediate, spontaneous, lyrical descriptions of what the disciples had undergone. Otherwise one could have doubted the validity of writings produced under the effect of strong emotion and deeply shaking events. Thirty, forty, sixty years later, these written testimonies appear as a mature reflection of people who had known Christ in the flesh, discovered the Christ of the Spirit and proclaimed an experience that could no longer be suspected of being merely an emotional response to friendship, love, bereavement or hallucination. Rather could it be seen as something deeply considered and true, not only autobiographically, but objectively. It could be seen as God's own truth about Christ.

With the passage of centuries these scriptures are received, are lived by, are experienced not only as the object of scholarship but as the means of communing in the experience which they convey. And not only they. To this day believers are able to assert, 'I know that God exists because I have met him': 'I know that Christ is risen, because within my experience I know the living Christ'. It may be through prayer, it may be at moments of particular illumination, it may be through the sacraments. One way or another, it is a direct conviction.

But at the same time there was a watering down of the experience in the life of many. It is easy to understand that in the heroic times when the Church was persecuted, when to be a Christian was not only costly but entailed the risk of torture and death, only the few were Christians: those who were prepared on the ground of an experience they had lived, an experience which they could not deny without denying themselves. But when the Church was permitted to exist openly, and later became the Church of the empire, floods of people came into it who would never have thought of joining the Church when it was a question of life and death. This dilution of commitment gave rise to several different factors.

On the one hand monasticism was born as a reaction against the anaemic Christian society which was taking shape. It began as a protest not against the world, but against the Church which had become weak and unsure in many of its members. It involved an exodus away from the weaklings of the Church.

It was not an escape into the desert of people who were afraid of living in the city. It was a migration into the battlefield with Satan. It was an exodus of those who wanted to fight the true fight rather than live a comfortable life of devotion within the framework of religion while yet possessed of a secular world-outlook.

The 'onslaught of the intellect'

At that stage another phenomenon came to the fore. It was what Daniel-Rops has called the 'great onslaught of the intellect'. The intellect marks the period of the Councils. People submit the faith to the criteria of their intellectual acceptance or rejection. Is it possible to believe this and that? Is it possible to accept such and such realities testified by the apostles and proclaimed by the Church? Can one reasonably be a Christian?

On the lowest level, it could have been seen that way. On a higher level, for instance that of Arius, the problem was more complex and more earnest. For Arius was a man of great culture and of outstanding intelligence. And he submitted the Christian faith to the test of philosophical assessment. One may see that he is an outstanding example of what a heresy can be when the intellect is considered as empowered to judge revelation, to judge the formulations of those who possess an experience which the observer himself does not possess, either at all or to the same degree. For Arius, the problem was basically that God could not become man since an infinite God could never become the prisoner of finitude. God was eternal, and could not become the prisoner of time. And in those days (and I refer once again to Florovsky, since for me his word has enormous value) no Arius could resolve the problem. Indeed, it took centuries of philosophical and scientific reflection and research to arrive at a vision of time which can accommodate the notion of eternity and space. For the first scientific book I know which really faces the problem (Emile Borel, Le temps et l'espace) was only written at the turn of the century. Before that, there was no scientific or philosophical basis that would allow someone to make the distinction and yet to realise that there is no contradiction in eternity pouring into time and not being a prisoner of it, or in infinity being within space and not being limited by it. Time and space, eternity and infinity were simply different categories.

One could say that eternity and infinity are God, and all the rest are created. But it is possible to go further. There is a remarkable phrase of St. Maximos the Confessor in which, speaking of the Incarnation, he says that the divinity and the humanity in Christ are united to each other in the same way in which fire can pervade a sword plunged into a furnace. The sword enters the furnace cold and gray, without any brilliance; it emerges aglow with fire, resplendent. Fire remains fire, iron remains iron. But this is imagery that would not have satisfied Arius: an image does not provide an answer to a philosophical question. Nevertheless this kind of image is an adequate description of a direct experience; and in this lies its importance.

What we find in this period of the Councils is people who try to address the gospel proclaimed by the Church from the first days to their own time against the background of classical philosophy or of the various philosophies and mystery religions that had developed later. Some harm could have been done because some of the imagery could be compared with that of the gospel and could thus be used as an accusation that the gospel itself is simply a new mythology.

Doubts were engendered in the minds of many: is not Christianity simply a more elaborate and philosophically more acceptable myth, but still of the same kind (and as unreal) as the mythology of the various nations of the past? As philosophical thought developed, as philosophy taken from the ancient world acquired a new maturity, the intellect came to feel self-sufficient, no longer in need of being guided by God himself. Thus problems arose from the confrontation of a mature intellect with the problem of faith.

The nature of doubt

Perhaps I should say a few words about the nature of doubt in this context. If you consider that your intellect is the criterion and that you have a right to submit all the data of revelation and all forms of experience to the judgement of the intellect, you are bound to condemn as unacceptable everything that does not fit within the categories of your intellect at the point of development it has reached at a given moment, and in the context of the culture which is yours at this particular time. Yet this is exactly the phenomenon before us. No longer is it the experience of the Church which is the object of this onslaught of the intellect. It is the scriptural text itself which may be taken to be faulty when it does not correspond to the intellectual expectations of the reader. The text can be reinterpreted or misinterpreted in ways which can be warranted perhaps by linguistics. But this is to forget that language forms part of a spiritual tradition and must be understood within this tradition and not outside it. Not surprisingly, it becomes a commonplace to attack the text of the Gospels, to argue that it is unsatisfactory, that it must be understood in a away in which the Church never did understand it. Here, indeed, is something which is inherent to the human approach to truth, and at the root of any progress in thought or in experience.

Let me make a parallel between the doubt, or succession of doubts, which a fever can have, and the way in which a scientist confronts created reality. A scientist collects all the existing facts of which he is aware. To begin with they are disparate; they may belong together in any way. The scientist tries to group them and at a certain moment, when a number of facts are capable of being held together, a model is built that allows him to hold all these facts together and reason about in their totality. If the scientist is honest and creative, the first thing he will do is to ask himself whether his model holds, whether it is a model that has no intrinsic flaw within itself, whether it takes into account all the information possessed to date. If he is satisfied on these counts, his next move will be to look for new facts that will not fit in with his model and will explode it. For the aim of a scientist list is not to create a model for which he will be remembered in the history of science. His aim is to create temporary models, hypotheses; models that must explode in order to enlarge knowledge and to contain new knowledge. Doubt in that respect for a scientist is a creative activity, an activity which is elating because the discovery that something does not fit in a preconceived or ready-made model allows him to discover reality on a wider scale and to see that reality unfolds wider and wider, deeper and deeper, making it possible for him to discard one hypothesis after the other, one model after the other. For him reality is unshakeable and cannot be lost because the model is exploded.

What is tragic in the doubt which we find in a believer is that instead of saying that the model of God, of creation, of the Church, of man which satisfied him fifty years ago no longer satisfied him, can no longer satisfy his intellectual and spiritual development, he makes an either/or decision: either to retrench himself in the old or to abandon his former position altogether. Whereas the developing person who rejects the model he earlier had of God or the creation when confronted with the depths and range of science or of philosophy, is proceeding with something not only legitimate but essential. By contrast, a believer who at the age of eighteen or eighty would remain faithful to a model adequate for an eight-year-old would be spiritually and mentally backward, incapable for communing with all the vastness, depth and greatness of God and of his creation.

Doubt, creative and destructive

Doubt, then, is legitimate. It is a creative, an important part of the discovery of the depths of God and the vastness of man and of the created world. But doubt in which only the intellect is used to judge the past model or the past experience is a doubt that will be destructive. Moreover, it will be destructive not only of the model, but of the very possibility of believing in the objective reality which is the object of our contemplation, our communion or our quest. And this is what I feel did happen in the period of the Councils. It is what we find in Arius, it is what we find in all the subsequent heretics: an intellectual problem does not correspond to an anaemic, insufficient spiritual experience, and the vigour of the intellect kills the abortive spiritual experience.

What we find in the Church is the contrary. It is the primacy of the experience which must be contemplated with all the powers of man, his intellect, his heart and all the powers at his disposal. I remember two definitions of theology which are entirely alien to what theology is in all its fullness. An introductory phrase in someone's Christian Dogmatics reads, 'Theology is to God what ornithology is to birds'. But this is exactly what it is not. First of all, God is no bird. You cannot catch him in the garden or in the field. You cannot take a film of him. You cannot go around him to see what he looks like from the side and from the tail end. And, what is perhaps even more serious, you cannot make a post-mortem. So you cannot know God and do theology in the way in which you can do ornithology. Another definition of theology I came across some thirty years ago states, 'Theology consists in drawing from scripture all the conclusions one can intellectually draw'. Far from it. Theology is an increasing knowledge of God through communion. It is an act of sharing in God's life, discovering it from within this communion and sharing, and so proclaiming it — nothing less. It involves speaking of God from within the knowledge of God.

Unrealised potential

We are confronted with such problems in the period of the Councils. But has the Church of the Councils come to an end? I think not. It has not come to an end because the same onslaught of the intellect, the same onslaught of the godless approach to divine things, has continued throughout the ages. It is in action nowadays, within the Church and from without. And if we ask ourselves about heresies and heretics, what their position vis-a-vis the Church is, I would like to point out two things. First, the Church was right in condemning the heresies. But the Church which condemned the heresies from within an experience and a certainty often did so without explaining why this heresy could not be acceptable on the intellectual, rather than the spiritual plane. What I said about Arius, and the fact that in his time the distinction between time and eternity, space and infinity, was not philosophically and scientifically mature, allows people in our days to reason in the same terms. For the Church has not taken advantage of what philosophy and science have discovered and understood about these categories, has not explained what an Athanasius could not explain in his time in scientific or philosophical terms. And that could apply to every other heresy. Thus there is a task for people of our time who are conversant with philosophy or steeped in scientific knowledge. They have to reconsider the ancient heresies and ask themselves whether there is some sort of answer that can now be given from a point of view which is not simply the experiential point of view of the early centuries. For however intellectually mature that was, it failed to solve the problem on the level of the questioner who came from outside.

Secondly, in order to be balanced in our judgement of heresies, we should realise that the Church has been treating heresies in different way at various epochs. There is a remarkable article published more than half a century ago in The Christian East by Metropolitan Antonii Khrapovitskii, one of the narrowest traditional theologians of the Russian Church. Writing on the heresies, and in a manner contrary to what one might expect from him, he notes that the Church took an ever increasingly lenient attitude to successive heresies throughout the ages (allowing for certain exceptions when an ancient heresy was resurrected under some new guise). And he argues that one can explain this in two different ways. Either one says that the Church's sensitivity to what was true or wrong had diminished, and therefore that the Church, being less and less perceptive, accepted with ever more leniency the successive heresies. This he rejects wholeheartedly, and I think we all can and should reject it. Alternatively, the early heresies rejected elements of the Christian faith that were essential to the very existence of the Christian truth. To deny the divinity of Christ, to deny the humanity of Christ, were two heresies that denied everything that stood under the vocable of Incarnation and all that it means in terms of the nature of God, of the love of God, of the providence of God, of the nature of man, of the vocation of man, of the destiny of mankind and of the cosmos. Therefore such heresies were to be rejected without any kind of compromise as not being Christianity at all. But Antonii says that as the centuries went by, heresies attached to statements that did not hit at the very heart of the Christian faith. The monothelite discussion, or other more recent heresies of the West or of the East, were such as still accepted essentials which allow those who held them to be considered Christian. And Metropolitan Antonii uses a phrase which I find interesting: in his view every subsequent heresy or group of heretics took away with them an ever increasing amount of Christian truth and weakened it by the incompleteness of their vision of what was left. Thus were subsequent heresies more Christian and less destructive of the kernel of Christianity. So modern heresies, whichever they are - I would quote the theology of the papacy as one - would still be encompassed by the vision of the undivided Church. And this despite the fact that the teaching introduced something that was profoundly untrue as to the nature of the Church.

The Christian in his confrontation with the world

So we must again give thought to that with which we are confronted. We are confronted in the modern age with atheism. We are confronted with non-Christian religions. We are confronted with Christian heresy. We are confronted within the Church with ignorance of our faith and with an anaemic experience of the faith we hold. And all that we must examine most attentively with the same determination, courage and vision as the early Councils and the early Fathers of the Church faced their own experience. The expression they gave to this experience is something for us to heed: the way in which they could convey this experience in a way understandable to heretics or to outsiders without losing anything of the content or the quality of the message.

We should accordingly also face atheism with more understanding than is often done. For atheism - the loss of God that kills - is rampant outside the Church. It is also rampant within it to the extent to which death has power over us. When Christ identified with mankind, he identified not only with the limitations of a created world, the distortions of the fallen world, the consequences of sin, the needs of mankind in being tired, hungry and thirsty. He accepted to share with us, and not us individually but with mankind in its totality, the loss of God that kills. And when on the Cross he cried, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me', he measured in a way in which no atheist ever has or will what it means to be without God and die of it.

So if we look at the surrounding world, the alien world, the pagan world, but particularly at the atheist world, we must realise that even this world is not outside of the sacrificial, tragic, crucified experience of Christ. And we must realise that our vocation is to understand from within Christ something which the godless world cannot understand about itself. This makes us into another and different Church of the Councils.

We do not hold ecumenical councils, we are far too disorderly and too divided. But each and every Christian, each parish, diocese, denomination, is confronted with the same problem as the undivided Church when it had to face the outer world, heretical, pagan or godless. And we also need to go beyond condemnation of it in order to achieve its salvation.

* - Edited version of the Lev Gillet Memorial Lecture 1987. Sobornost. 1987. Vol. 9. N. 2. P. 6-13.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Prayer for God's Leading: A Litany of the Holy Spirit

A Litany of the Holy Spirit

Especially for Pentecost, Embertides, opening prayers of church meetings, and Thursdays (traditionally the weekday commemorating the Holy Spirit). 

To be used either separately or as part of the Daily Office (following the Collects) or in the Holy Eucharist at the opening Procession or the Prayers of the People.

God the Father, 
     Have mercy upon us.
God the Son,
     Have mercy upon us.
God the Holy Spirit,
     Have mercy upon us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
     Have mercy upon us.

I. Spirit of God, who moved as wind over the face of the waters, bring order from the chaos of our world and our lives,
Hear us, we pray.

Breath of life, which God breathed into the dust of the ground and made man a living being, inspire us to live as his creatures.
Hear us, we pray.

Spirit of God, who gave Joseph discernment and foresight, help us to provide for the needs of others
Hear us, we pray.

Spirit of God, who strengthened Joshua to guide his people into the Promised Land, give us courage to follow your leading.
Hear us, we pray.

Spirit of God, who came upon Saul and changed him into a new man, give us the joy of finding our new selves in you.
Hear us, we pray.

Spirit of God, whose presence the psalmist recognized in all times and all places, help us to trust in you always.
Hear us, we pray.

II. Spirit of the Lord, promised to God’s gathered people, turn our hearts of stone to hearts of flesh and quicken the dry bones of our hopes.
Hear us, we pray.

Spirit of the Lord, promised to the branch from Jesse’s root, to David’s son, open our eyes to recognize the Messiah.
Hear us, we pray.

Holy Spirit, by whose power Jesus became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, visit us and prepare us daily for his coming.
Hear us, we pray.

Holy Spirit, Dove of God, who descended from heaven and anointed Jesus as Servant of the Lord, the chosen one, open our hearts to acknowledge the Messiah.
Hear us, we pray.

Spirit of God, who led Jesus to be tempted by Satan, help us and save us who are assaulted by many temptations.
Hear us, we pray.

Spirit of the Lord, who empowered Jesus to announce the fulfillment of the good news, open our mouths to proclaim the Gospel.
Hear us, we pray.

Spirit of God, by whom Jesus cast out demons, open our eyes to see the Kingdom.
Hear us, we pray.

III. Holy Spirit, by whose power we are born again in baptism and sustained in new life, grant that we may be marked as Christ’s own forever.
Come upon us and cleanse us.

One Spirit, by whom we acclaim Jesus as Lord and are baptized into one body, unite us in the bond of peace and manifest yourself in us for the common good.
Come upon us and cleanse us.

Holy Spirit, Fire of God, distributed upon the disciples, loosen our tongues to witness to the mighty works of God.
Come upon us and cleanse us.

Holy Spirit, who sent the disciples to speak the Gospel to foreigners and pagans, give us courage to seek out those strange to us.
Come upon us and cleanse us.

Spirit of Truth, Strengthener, whom the Father sends, dwell with us and in us.
Come upon us and cleanse us.

Spirit of God, Sanctifier, whose presence in us gives us freedom in the Lord, transform us into his likeness.
Come upon us and cleanse us.

Holy Spirit, Teacher, sent in Jesus’ name, bring all his words and deeds to our remembrance.
Come upon us and cleanse us.

Almighty and most merciful God, grant that by the indwelling of your Holy Spirit we may be enlightened and strengthened for your service; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Epiphany begins...

A Responsory for the Epiphany

All nations shall be blessed in him,* and do him service.
All nations shall be blessed in him,* and do him service.
All kings shall bow down before him:
And do him service.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All nations shall be blessed in him,* and do him service.

V. The kings of Tarshish and the isles shall pay tribute:
R. The kings of Arabia and Saba shall offer gifts.

Let us pray.

O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

This day, one of the Principal Feasts of the Church Year, is a day of spiritual beauty. All creation—led by the star—pays homage to its maker come to earth. The Magi, representatives of the Nations and all human wisdom, honor the source of all wisdom. The doors of true communion with God stand open to all. Only this is required--that we bow before him and do him service, the service of calling upon him as Lord and loving others as he loves us.

A joyous Epiphany to you!