27 February 2010

When You in Silence Speak

God, do You hear our prayers

God, do You hear our prayers
Or answer what we pray?
Sometimes it feels as if we are alone today.
So now we seek to understand
Your silence and Your outstretched hand.

Waiting is not our strength
While fears or anger rise.
When illness strikes or when one of our people dies,
Our hearts are stirred by loss and grief,
And hope seems stolen by a thief.

Yet what we learned we know
And here we must proclaim
That no disaster breaks the power of that great Name
Of Jesus Christ who has endured
All that we suffered or deserved.

When You in silence speak
Help us then to rephrase
Our prayers and pattern them to follow Jesus' ways.
So now we dare as did Your Son
to pray Your perfect will be done.

Words: Copyright © 2001 by Vincent Uher.

Tune: 'LOVE UNKNOWN' by John Ireland

Meter: 66 66 44 44

Please feel free to use this in your parish or congregation reprinting it as I have written it and with my copyright notice. Also, feel free to share it with others who may find it helpful in the face of a disaster or a personal tragedy. I only ask that the text be reproduced in its entirety with my copyright. May the Lord bless us all with His peace.

+Laus Deo.

13 February 2010

A Hymn of Humble Access

In the Anglican traditional Liturgy, the Prayer of Humble Access has gone through various revisions (as well as outright substistution with a fine contemporary prayer: 'Most merciful Lord, your love compels us to come in. Our hands were unclean, our hearts were unprepared ...' -- a fine prayer that deserves use in the future formularies of the Anglican Ordinariates within the Roman Catholic Communion). This prayer of approach to the sacred mysteries is defining for the Anglican spirit as well as the Anglican patrimony.

Drawing inspiration from said Prayer of Humble Access, I decided to write a few hymn-texts to explore the themes of the prayer as well as other catholic particulars in Anglo-Catholic eucharistic theology. My intention was for this first hymn to be sung as the People came forward to kneel and receive the Sacrament. I believe within Roman Catholic use it could be sung as well by the assembly after all have received the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The text I post below became known as my Hymn of Humble Access although it is only the first of seven hymns inspired by that great prayer of priest and people. It has always been sung to 'ENGELBERG', but I encourage composers to consider it for a new tune. In publishing the text here, my hope is to share it with all Christians who would like to use it, and so I grant permission for Christian parishes or congregations to reproduce it without alteration and including my Copyright. May Christ bless the reading and singing of this hymn:

A Hymn of Humble Access

Lord, we do not presume to come to thee
As equals or as those of high degree,
But on our knees we cry and sing to thee.

Great is our Lord who heals the broken heart,
Who saves the weak and bids us do our part
To conquer evil and God's love impart.

Lord Jesus Christ, we know the time is near
For that great day when thou wilt soon appear.
By thy good Spirit help us persevere.

O help us grow in living faith and grace
Until we see thy Mercy face to face,
And with thy Saints in Glory take our place.

Words: Copyright © 1995 by Vincent Uher. All rights reserved.
Tune: Engelberg
Metre: 10 10 10 with Alleluia

+Laus Deo.

11 February 2010

Our Lady of Lourdes

Our Lady of Lourdes, intercede for us.
St. Bernadette, pray for us to the Lord.

My maternal grandmother had a profound devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes. She had two chalk statues of a kind no longer available of the Blessed Mother as Our Lady of Lourdes and the other of St. Joseph holding the Child Jesus. The two statues were given to me, and I have carried them with me. When I left my cottage because of Hurricane Ike, these two statues were among the few things I took with me. So each Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes, I thank God for my grandmother and the way she so profoundly and simply shaped my faith. And I pray for the Lord's blessings upon her soul that she may go from strength to strength in His service always beholding the Holy Face of Jesus.

Oh ever immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, Comfortess of the Afflicted, you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. Look upon me with mercy. When you appeared in the grotto of Lourdes, you made it a privileged sanctuary where you dispense your favors, and where many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. My loving Mother, obtain my request. I will try to imitate your virtues so that I may one day share your company and bless you in eternity. Amen.

For those of you, dear Readers, who are new to the story of St. Bernadette & Our Lady of Lourdes and wonder what sort of meaning this should have for you, I encourage you to read the text of the sermon by the current Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams during his pilgrimage to the Shrine at Lourdes -- the first such visit by an Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury -- and I pray his appreciation of the event of Lourdes will be a helpful first step in making Our Lady's message and miracles your own.

Here then is the conclusion of Dr. Williams' homily at Lourdes:

True mission is ready to be surprised by God ­ 'surprised by joy', in the lovely phrase of C. S. Lewis. Elizabeth knew the whole history of Israel and how it was preparing the way for God to come and visit his people ­ but she was still surprised into newness of life and understanding when the child leapt in her womb. Bernadette's neighbours and teachers and parish clergy knew all they thought they needed to know about the Mother of God ­ and they needed to be surprised by this inarticulate, powerless, marginal teenager who had leapt up in the joy of recognition to meet Mary as her mother, her sister, bearer of her Lord and Redeemer. Our prayer here must be that, renewed and surprised in this holy place, we may be given the overshadowing strength of the Spirit to carry Jesus wherever we go, in the hope that joy will leap from heart to heart in all our human encounters; and that we may also be given courage to look and listen for that joy in our own depths when the clarity of the good news seems far away and the sky is cloudy.

But here today, with Elizabeth and Bernadette, we say, in thankful amazement, 'Why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?' And we recognise that our heart's desire is met and the very depth of our being stirred into new life.

It strikes me that we all need to remember how Our Lord Jesus prayed before His crucifixion that we may be one. So let there be joy all around that through His Blessed Mother many find their way to Christ and His Holy Church. Likewise, let us rejoice that others in denominations once hostile to the Church of Rome find themselves drawn every more closely to the Roman Catholic Church through the humility of St. Bernadette and the tender mercies of Christ made known through His beautiful Mother, Our Lady of Lourdes, at that Shrine where physical miracles and miracles of faith discovered and rediscovered join together as flowers for the Mother of God.

+Laus Deo.

07 February 2010

Two Poems

As we approach Lent, two of my old poems in very different styles have come to mind this week, and I would like to share them with you, dear Reader. May God bless your reading of them.

Ash Wednesday

Harsh is the judgement I deserve
But I for mercy plead.
(No merit, grace do I preserve
Should I deny my need.)

I need thee Jesus as my breath,
My water, and my food.
I need thee, Lord. Save me from death
From bitter solitude.

My sins like mountains bury me.
My cowardice is real.
I cast off help you mean for me
And other’s joy I steal.

Forgive me, Lord, sweet Jesus King.
Your subject I would be.
Behold my tears, my cries and grief,
My broken agony.

What can I give but pain and sin,
My empty heart and hand?
With these I give thee all within
Though none may understand.

To ashes let my sins fall now –
Thrust them in deepest seas.
Brand me with thee upon my brow
While I fall on my knees.

Copyright © 2000 by Vincent Wm Uher III


sins and virtues

but not together

one sculpts tatting
for a wedding dress

one braids
a hangman’s noose

you decide
which is which

which is yours

Copyright © 2000 by Vincent Wm Uher III

+Laus Deo.

04 February 2010

Large Stack of Messages

My apologies to those who have written to me. I will get through the stack of email when I am feeling a bit better. In the meantime I beseech you for your prayers for me especially for my right eye. If you are Roman Catholic, please ask St. Lucy to help me.

Although I have been very weak, I have also been extremely close to the Lord, the Holy Family, and the Saints and Angels. It is not easy to explain. I feel a bit like I am here confined to my bed, but I am also someplace else where there is a larger place, a place of perfect peace where heavenly company comforts and encourages me.

I have so much still to do, and I pray God that I may complete the work. I am so grateful to God for three friends who have blessed my life in so many ways: Mrs. Irma More', Father Mark Daniel Kirby, and Noel Jones. May God bless these three good souls and bless all their apostolates and endeavours. How good God has been to let me collaborate with them in different ways for the life of the world and strengthening of Holy Church.

Finally, I need to acknowledge my parents who take care of me, Mary-Rose and V.W. Uher. Those who know them know that they are Saints of God with a capital "S". They would object to this characterisation being such humble people. But through them I have experienced Love Incarnate time and time again. Without them, their prayers, their vigils when I am in distress, I do not know what I would do. So, dear reader, please pray for them and their health. In spite of their age they are two of the most vibrant, young-at-heart souls I have ever known, but because of their age they suffer from various problems and could use prayers to maintain their good health.

God bless you for reading this. Soon I will be posting here a few poems for Lent that I thought I had lost in the flood waters of Hurricane Ike that destroyed my home and my neighbourhood ('Bayou Shore') on Galveston Island. A back-up Data CD disk was found that was not submerged in the waters and on it I have found a number of hymn texts and poems that I thought were lost.

+Laus Deo.