With a computer crash plus lots of other stuff, yes time has flown. As the old joke goes, “One frog said to the other, “Time sure is fun when you are having flies!”
Now we need to back up to Christmastide! On a more serious level here is something from retired Pope Benedict XVI on the subject of the praise of God at the Nativity:
‘Christianity has always understood that the speech of angels is actually song… And so from that moment, the angels’ song of praise has never gone silent… it resounds ever anew at the celebration of Jesus’ birth.’
A prayer from ancient Eastern Orthodoxy at Christmas Vespers:
‘What shall we offer you O Christ, who for our sake has appeared on earth as man? Every creature made by you offers you thanks. The angels offer you a hymn; the heavens a star; the Magi, gifts; the shepherds their wonder; the earth, it’s cave; the wilderness, the manger; and we offer you a virgin mother.’
From the modern Western tradition we have the Christina Rossetti poem which takes it further: there she ponders that only the Virgin Mother can offer Him a kiss. Of our own, what can we possibly offer? ‘My heart.’ Dare we fail our part?
A thought from a saint – “The year is worn out: spring, summer, autumn, each in turn have brought their utmost, but they are over and the end is come. All is past and gone, all has failed…and the austere weather which succeeds, though ungrateful to the body, is in tone with our feelings, and acceptable. Thus the soul is cast forward upon the future…and does it rejoice that there are new heavens and a new earth to come. These are feelings of holy men waiting earnestly for the Advent of Christ.”
The holy man John Henry Newman penned these words. Winter is indeed “ungrateful to the body” yet let us not fear to be cast forward and dare to wait – with holy ones who will walk with us into the Light.
“Almighty God, give us grace, that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility….” (from the old Episcopal prayer for First Sunday of Advent)
The wise householder, the good Book says, pulls out treasures both old and new. For this blessed Feast, here is an old treasure from the Anglican trove:
“O Almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son, Christ our Lord: Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys which thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love thee: through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Modern spell check rejects “unfeignedly” – poor dear, well, it means in an “unfeigned” manner, no pretense, – just the real deal. What a rich image, being “knit together” like fractured bones! There is hope in that one fellowship and one mysterious Body. Love is the ticket.
This Sunday morning (13 October) the brilliant yet modest priest, John Henry Newman will become – what he always was – a SAINT. Which is to say that the Bishop of Rome, Francis, will officially “raise” Blessed Cardinal Newman “to the Altar.” Newman profoundly shook the English Church world by his conversion to the Roman Church in 1845. There are some wonderful pieces (short and long) available at the You Tube channel of Bishop Robert Barron which help explain the importance of this holy man. https://www.youtube.com/user/wordonfirevideo/videos
Here is the Jesus Prayer attributed to Newman:
“Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your fragrance wherever I go. Flood my soul with Your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that my life may only be a radiance of Yours. / Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus! / Stay with me and then I will begin to shine as You shine, so to shine as to be a light to others. The light, O Jesus, will be all from You; none of it will be mine. It will be You, shining on others through me. / Let me praise You in the way which You love best, by shining on those around me. Let me preach you without preaching, not by words but by example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears for You. Amen.”
While hardly brief, this prayer radiates a holiness we should aspire to. With that hanging participle, we leave you to look up the Newman link we shared above !
Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, 2nd October
“Angel of God my guardian dear, To whom God’s love commits me here, Ever this day be at my side, To light, to guard, to rule, to guide. Amen.”
St Basil the Great (+378) taught that every member of the faithful has an Angel Guard for life. St Bernard of Clairvaux (+1153) promoted this devotion in medieval times. In the book of Exodus (23:20) we read that the LORD raises up an Angel guard for his people – a fearsome Angel not to be taken lightly. In old and modern times there are Jewish teachings regarding angel guards. I tend to believe that all living things have some sort of “angel” but only humans have THIS sort of Angel along the lines mentioned in Exodus or in Psalm 91. We mostly keep our angel very busy in the course of life; also I believe that our personal angel is there at our mortal ending to escort us along that last mysterious journey to bring us “to the place prepared.” Probably (this is just me thinking) that even if we have a purifying journey (call it what you will) our Angel guard will not leave us. When the journey is FINALLY over, we two can whoop it up. The Vatican does not teach this! Just my hunch about it all. TODAY is your Hard Working Angel Appreciation Day!
Don’t you hate them? None of the Sisters know beans about “blogging” and we could not remember our password! Sound familiar? Now we are here. But not sure how we got here! Sound familiar? Well, if you are of a certain generation, yes. If you are younger, lucky you, because this is all just natural to you. We look forward to being more intelligent in the near future, but for now, we will just try to POST ! With some luck and a few prayers, you will hear more from us. Meanwhile, God Bless!
The 2017 Baltimore Orioles are …. well, not good. They started off great and as soon as fans began to dream of the World Series in Baltimore, the road got bumpy. And bumpier.
They have just finished the first half of the season and still half of 162 games are left to play. Let’s see what happens at the end. Maybe better than expected, maybe not.
The reality is any team, any player, goes through rough patches. You may be saying, “Look what Zach Britton accomplished last year”! He was so good for the whole season – 47 saves out of 47 opportunities and his ERA a minuscule 0.54! Then look what happened this year. He injured himself and could hardly even play during the first half of the 2017 season. There; up and down.
But a down period can be a springboard for a plateau that one has never reached before. Our realization that we are in a pit can prompt our effort to get back up and gives us the opportunity to reach a plane higher than ever before.
Doesn’t this apply to our life in spirit also?
Sometimes we go through a dry well experience in prayer. Everything seems blah and lifeless. We feel like we are in an endless stretch of desert land. But, enter St. John of the Cross, when we are stuck in the dry well, we are receiving an invitation from God to scale a high summit we have not seen.
So we go up and down, sometimes desperately calling out: “Lord, you’ve got to help me outahere!” And surely our Holy Mother will help with her prayers.
At the end of the baseball season there will be a World Series champion team who will be adorned with a trophy. Jesus doesn’t settle with just one trophy: He gives an imperishable crown of glorious life to everyone who perseveres in the Christian race.
In the meantime, you’d better win some more games, Orioles!