30 November 2015

Fr. Oakeley: Great Saint Andrew


Fr. Frederick Oakeley is remembered for his translation of "O come, all ye faithful" but very little is remembered of his hymns and poems.  He had been an Anglican priest, but he gave it all up and entered the Catholic Church eventually becoming a priest of the Roman Catholic Church.  

With the last few hours of St. Andrew's Day drawing to a close in North America, I share a very fine hymn for the day by Fr. Oakeley:

1. Great Saint Andrew, friend of Jesus,
lover of his glorious cross,
early by his voice effective
called from ease to pain and loss,
strong Saint Andrew, Simon’s brother,
who with haste fraternal flew,
fain with him to share the treasure
which, at Jesus’ lips, he drew.

2. Blest Saint Andrew, Jesus’ herald,
true apostle, martyr bold,
who, by deeds his words confirming,
sealed with blood the truth he told.
Ne’er to king was crown so beauteous,
ne’er was prize to heart so dear,
as to him the cross of Jesus
when its promised joys drew near.

3. Loved Saint Andrew, Scotland’s patron,
watch thy land with heedful eye,
rally round the cross of Jesus
all her storied chivalry!
To the Father, Son, and Spirit,
fount of sanctity and love,
give we glory, now and ever,
with the saints who reign above.

And before I forget it, here is a tune much loved by Episcopalians of the Brotherhood of Saint Andrew, but I believe it is rarely sung today by other Episcopalians:

And lest I forget it:

Saint Andrew Christmas Novena

Hail and blessèd be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

Our Lady of Haddington - St Andrew's Day


As Saint Andrew's Day draws to a close, I am mindful of Our Lady of Haddington.

Our Lady of Haddington, Mother of God, Mother of Scotland, and our own Mother, pray for us to thy little Child Jesus that He in His great love for us may forgive us and save us and that we may be ready for that great Day of His appearing when He cometh to judge the quick and the dead. Amen.

Altar of the Blessed Virgin and the Three Kings, 
Lauderdale Aisle of Collegiate Church of St. Mary the Virgin, 
Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland

Due to the inspiration of Fr. Alfred Hope Patten and the dedication of Patrick Maitland, the 17th Earl of Lauderdale, the Shrine of Our Lady was rebuilt by the Earl of Lauderdale in its present location and reconsecrated in 1978 in the presence of dignitaries from the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Church of Scotland, the Catholic Church, and the Orthodox Church. 

The Honourable Patrick Maitland, Master of Lauderdale —a past Guardian of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, Norfolk— entered into the nearer presence of the Lord on 2 December 2008.  May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

Note of Interest:  At what was the Catholic Church of St. Mary, Haddington, a certain man was ordained priest.  His name was John Knox, and he would go on to destroy the Catholic Church in Scotland in the name of his religious revolution. 

Saint Andrew Christmas Novena

Hail and blessèd be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

Pacelli: The Prayer for the Family


I thank Wendy Cukierski for sharing this Prayer for the Family by Pope Pius XII on her blog:

O Lord, God of goodness and mercy, 
Who in the midst of an evil and sinful world 
hast presented to the society of the redeemed
the Holy Family of Nazareth
as a spotless mirror of piety, justice and love,
behold how the family is being undermined on all sides,
every effort being made to desecrate it
by stripping it of faith, religion and morals.

Regard the work of Thy own hands.
Safeguard in our homes the domestic virtues,
for these alone will ensure us harmony and peace.

Come and stir up the champions of the family.
Bestir the modern apostles so that in Thy Name,
bearing the message of Jesus Christ
and exhibiting holiness of life,
they may revive the doctrines 
of conjugal fidelity for married couples,
the exercise of authority by parents,
obedience on the part of children
and modesty on the part of girls.
Grant also through the efforts of these apostles,
that the home favored by Thee with many blessings
may again become an object of esteem and love
in the minds and hearts of all.

It is through the examples of the Divine model of Nazareth
that the Christian family is to be restored in Jesus Christ
and to recover its former respect and dignity.
Then every home will again become a sanctuary
and in every household will be rekindled the flame of faith
to teach patience in adversity
and moderation in prosperity
and to promote order, peace and harmony in all things.

Under Thy paternal gaze, O Lord,
and with confidence in Thy Providence
and in the loving patronage of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
the family will become a sanctuary of virtue
and a school of wisdom.
It shall prove, as Christ has promised,
a haven of rest against life's burdens.
In the sight of the world it shall render glory to Thee, O Father,
and to Thy Son, Jesus, until the day when,
through Him, we shall, together with all His members,
sing the Divine praises in the eternal ages to come.  Amen.


29 November 2015

The Advent Prose


Years ago a friend in the USA gave me a version of the Advent Prose in the sacred register of English (by which I mean Prayer Book English, my friends), and it has sat in a thumb drive gathering dust. My poor mind cannot recall who sent it to me but thanks to the sender nonetheless.  

Today I thought I would share it because so few hear (or see printed) the Advent Prose during Advent.  What a pity that so few of the treasures of the Church are shared with the laity in the parishes.  There are many translations of Rorate caeli of which this is one.

If I have done things properly, dear Reader, a click or double-click on each image below should give you a much enlarged version for viewing. (After viewing each image I think you will need to use a back button to get back to the blog.) Also, I have included a treat via YouTube of the Rorate caeli chanted in Latin.

God send you a blessed Advent Season!


The Canon of the 1954 South African Book of Common Prayer


In a version of The Book of Common Prayer for Eastern Orthodox Christians, we find the following from the beautiful Eucharistic rite in the 1954 South African Book of Common Prayer:

ALL glory and thanksgiving be to thee, Almighty God our heavenly Father, for that thou of thy tender mercy didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to take our nature upon him, and to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption; who (by his one oblation of himself once offered) made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world: and did institute, and in his holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual Memory of that his precious Death, until his coming again.

Hear us, O merciful Father, we most humbly beseech thee; and grant that we, receiving these thy creatures of bread and wine, according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ's holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood:

Who, in the same night that he was betrayed, took Bread; and, when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take eat, THIS IS MY BODY WHICH IS GIVEN FOR YOU: Do this in remembrance of me.

Likewise after supper he took the Cup; and, when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of this; for THIS IS MY BLOOD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, WHICH IS SHED FOR YOU AND FOR MANY FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS: Do this, as oft as ye shall drink it in remembrance of me.

Wherefore, O Lord and heavenly Father, according to the institution of thy dearly beloved Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, we thy humble servants, having in remembrance his blessed Passion and precious Death, his mighty Resurrection, and glorious Ascension, do render unto thee most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits procured unto us by the same; and, looking for his coming again with power and great glory, we offer here unto thy divine majesty this holy Bread of eternal life and this Cup of everlasting salvation;

And we humbly beseech thee to pour thy Holy Spirit upon us and upon these thy gifts, that all we who are partakers of this holy Communion may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood thy Son, and be fulfilled with thy grace and heavenly benediction.

And we entirely desire thy fatherly goodness mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; most humbly beseeching thee to grant, that by the merits and Death of thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his Blood, we and all thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his Passion.

And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy and living sacrifice unto thee.

And although we be unworthy, through our manifold sins, to offer unto thee any sacrifice, yet we beseech thee to accept this our bounden duty and service; not weighting our merits, but pardoning our offences through Jesus Christ our Lord;

By whom, and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all Honour and glory be unto thee, O Father Almighty, world without end. Amen. 

pp. 986-987

28 November 2015



 The First Sunday in Advent
The Book of Common Prayer
USA • 1928

Pope Francis in Uganda


Two stories of Pope Francis in Uganda you should read to lift up your heart, dear Reader:

1. You are a people of martyrs, turn hate into love

2. Francis celebrates martyrs who did not give in to the King

The second story concerns his visit to the Anglican Shrine of the Ugandan Martyrs (which by all accounts stunned and amazed him) and to the Roman Catholic Shrine of St. Charles Lwanga at holy Namugongo where the martyrs blood was spilled together for the sake of Jesus the Lord.

Most people today forget that when Pope Paul VI canonised the St. Charles Lwanga and the Catholic Martyrs of Uganda he also spoke of the Anglican martyrs, and departing from script spoke in such a way that to those present it seemed he had canonised the Anglican martyrs along with the Catholic martyrs as they had died together in the Faith because of the perverse and evil king of Buganda named Mwanga II.

You really must read both stories.  Jesus is the Lord.  Hallelujah!

God bless us one and all.


26 November 2015

Thanksgiving Music - RADIO WALSINGHAM


I invite you to listen to RADIO WALSINGHAM ONLINE if you would like to hear the wonderful hymns and anthems of the USA's Thanksgiving Day.  The only way to listen without commercials from our hosting website is to purchase a VIP membership from Live365.com and then one may listen without interruption.

Our Lady of Walsingham, Houston
The music during this Friday and Saturday includes hymns, anthems, songs, and prayers that many in the USA view as essential to worship on Thanksgiving Day.  As one can imagine it is a tall order to consider the many Christian bodies and their traditions.  It is even a more difficult task to evaluate the music of worship of communities that could be seen as rising to a level of universality and excellence that all can appreciate as a musical expression of thanksgiving. 

But for me as General Manager, a national feast day like the USA's Thanksgiving Day is a delight.  The music will include a little bit of everything seeking to embrace what lifts up the heart to God through hymns, anthems, spirituals, and at least one Broadway standard. 

At RADIO WALSINGHAM we always hold in mind Our Blessed Lord's own prayer that we —all of us— may be one as a testimony to the truth of Him and His Word ... or as Fr. Paul Wattson, S.A. put it in his publications and for the Octave for Christian Unity: UT OMNES UNUM SINT. 

Click here for RADIO WALSINGHAM's page on Live365.com.  The free listing unfortunately includes Live365.com's approved commercials.  Fortunately, the VIP membership is very cheap and most who listen via computer or cell phone can afford it.  (The app for mobile phone's is a very sturdy platform, and the music quality produced on most iPhones is remarkably good.)

On behalf of RADIO WALSINGHAM ONLINE, please allow me –the chief cook and bottle washer— to wish  you and yours a most blest Thanksgiving Holy-Day.

Laudetur Jesus Christus!

25 November 2015

Thanksgiving Grace - Daughters of St. Paul



The USA Holiday of Thanksgiving to God

For Thanksgiving Day, The Book of Common Prayer 1928 (USA)

I pray God's blessings upon all those who celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday of the USA — wherever you may be — and for the United States of America and her people I pray that they will realise from the very depths of their hearts that from the beginning of this holiday it was meant as an occasion to give THANKSGIVING TO GOD for Divine Providence and all Divine Blessings and Benefits given to us through Christ Jesus our Lord.  

It is not an occasion to eat lots and watch football though we are perfectly free to do so. It is not an occasion to get the best deals at the horrendously named Black Friday sales ... though one may choose to violate the very notion of a Holy-Day and go and buy on Thanksgiving Day itself.  However, this holiday —this Holy-Day— is all about God the Lord and his providential mercies and blessings poured out upon the nation and the people who make that nation what it is.

So, this Thanksgiving holiday, dear Americans, remember God, and keep your focus where it belongs i.e., in giving thanks to God for His mercies, blessings, and the abundance of the harvest and of the earth by which we are fed.

You should especially thank God for your personal blessings, and ask for His divine protection when the world is spinning inexorably toward world war.  Beg for His divine mercy for you, your family, your loved ones, your country, and this world we share.

Almighty and gracious Father, we give thee thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labours of those who harvest them. Make us, we beseech thee, faithful stewards of thy great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. 
The Book of Common Prayer 1979, USA

23 November 2015

From the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke, in the 21st Chapter

Christus Rex
[1] And looking on, JESUS saw the rich men cast their gifts into the treasury. [2] And He saw also a certain poor widow casting in two brass mites. [3] And He said:   

Verily I say to you,
that this poor widow 
hath cast in more than they all: 
[4] For all these have of their abundance 
cast into the offerings of God: 
but she of her want, 
hath cast in 
all the living that she had.  

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God. 

21 November 2015

Uher Hymn: "O Christ the King"


The PDF of my hymn set to Noel Jones' tune may be downloaded by clicking here.

You may click or double-click on the image for a larger version.

O Jesus, Conqueror of Death, Save Us!

O Jesus, Victor Mortis, salva nos!

The following is excerpted from Charlie Johnston's recent blog:

“In Islam, God is a distant, alien thing. There is –and can be – no kinship between man and God whatsoever. The relationship is that of master to a dog, with a master who encourages a brutal viciousness in his dogs. There is no spark of divine dignity in any human, even the holiest of Muslims. They are either good pets to their malignant master or they are not. People are ever treated like things. This is how you get “honor killings” of family members for various – mainly sexual – transgressions. But those sexual rules only apply to women. A sister who has been raped is “broken, like a plate,” as I heard one moderate Muslim man describe it. She is no good anymore and must be discarded. Islam is a religion of appetites, not transcendent aspirations. It is a religion of rules, not of principles of morality. There is no kinship between God and man. Even the supposed rewards of the afterlife are purely temporal in nature – and still treat women as things. The great Muslim warrior supposedly gets 72 virgins to do with as he will. What, precisely, does a Muslim virgin get other than a vicious man?”

Many consider him to be a Catholic prophet. 

Lawler: "Obama is Wrong"


I recommend that Christian people in the USA (especially) read Phil Lawler's article "Obama Is Wrong".  This is information to share with your Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, and other Christian friends.  

Here follows the opening two paragraphs:

With thousands of refugees from the Middle East clamoring for entry, President Obama has said that it is “shameful” to suggest that Christian refugees should be given preference. That statement is wrong: legally, politically, and morally wrong.

Although Obama condemns “religious tests” that might favor Christian refugees, the policies of his administration currently seem to work strong against Christians seeking asylum. In October, the US admitted 187 refugees from Syria: 183 Muslims and 4 Christians. Syria is (or was, before the bloodshed began) roughly 10% Christians. Last year, the Syrian refugees admitted to the US were 97% Muslim.

19 November 2015

Revisiting "Regensburg"


With the usual suspects weeping for how badly Islam is being treated in the wake of the horrors in Paris committed by Muslims ... I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the Pope Emeritus' words spoken at the University of Regensburg— words which caused such an unjustified uproar among Islamists and their apologists.

To be clear ... Pope Benedict was precisely correct in everything he said in the lecture.  In fact, I believe in retrospect he was too meek in both what he said and in the manner in which he and his officers responded to criticism.  My own opinion is that to view Islam as merely 'a religion' among religions is to miss the single most important fact about it: Islam is an ideology of world conquest wearing the costumes of religion.

I will quote only a section, but I encourage reading of the entire text at the Vatican website.  I also provide the related footnotes to this portion of the text below.  The footnotes must be read, but they are more easily read at the Vatican website's presentation of the lecture.

Pope Benedict XVI writes:

(. . .)   I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialogue carried on - perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara - by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both.[1] It was presumably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than those of his Persian interlocutor.[2] The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur'an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship between - as they were called - three "Laws" or "rules of life": the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur'an. It is not my intention to discuss this question in the present lecture; here I would like to discuss only one point - itself rather marginal to the dialogue as a whole - which, in the context of the issue of "faith and reason", I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.

In the seventh conversation (διάλεξις - controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to some of the experts, this is probably one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness that we find unacceptable, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”[3] The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably (σὺν λόγω) is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...".[4]

The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature.[5] The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality.[6] Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazm went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practise idolatry.[7]

[1] Of the total number of 26 conversations (διάλεξις – Khoury translates this as “controversy”) in the dialogue (“Entretien”), T. Khoury published the 7th “controversy” with footnotes and an extensive introduction on the origin of the text, on the manuscript tradition and on the structure of the dialogue, together with brief summaries of the “controversies” not included in the edition; the Greek text is accompanied by a French translation: “Manuel II Paléologue, Entretiens avec un Musulman. 7e Controverse”, Sources Chrétiennes n. 115, Paris 1966. In the meantime, Karl Förstel published in Corpus Islamico-Christianum (Series Graeca ed. A. T. Khoury and R. Glei) an edition of the text in Greek and German with commentary: “Manuel II. Palaiologus, Dialoge mit einem Muslim”, 3 vols., Würzburg-Altenberge 1993-1996. As early as 1966, E. Trapp had published the Greek text with an introduction as vol. II of Wiener byzantinische Studien. I shall be quoting from Khoury’s edition.

[2] On the origin and redaction of the dialogue, cf. Khoury, pp. 22-29; extensive comments in this regard can also be found in the editions of Förstel and Trapp.

[3] Controversy VII, 2 c: Khoury, pp. 142-143; Förstel, vol. I, VII. Dialog 1.5, pp. 240-241. In the Muslim world, this quotation has unfortunately been taken as an expression of my personal position, thus arousing understandable indignation. I hope that the reader of my text can see immediately that this sentence does not express my personal view of the Qur’an, for which I have the respect due to the holy book of a great religion. In quoting the text of the Emperor Manuel II, I intended solely to draw out the essential relationship between faith and reason. On this point I am in agreement with Manuel II, but without endorsing his polemic.

[4] Controversy VII, 3 b–c: Khoury, pp. 144-145; Förstel vol. I, VII. Dialog 1.6, pp. 240-243.
[5] It was purely for the sake of this statement that I quoted the dialogue between Manuel and his Persian interlocutor. In this statement the theme of my subsequent reflections emerges.

[6] Cf. Khoury, p. 144, n. 1.

[7] R. Arnaldez, Grammaire et théologie chez Ibn Hazm de Cordoue, Paris 1956, p. 13; cf. Khoury, p. 144. The fact that comparable positions exist in the theology of the late Middle Ages will appear later in my discourse. 

18 November 2015

Saved by Beauty


Fr. Uwe Michael Lang of the Oratory writes:

(Roger) Scruton is aware of the need to recover the metaphysical foundations of beauty, which were eroded in the eighteenth century, when “aesthetics” became a separate philosophical discipline, but in the end, he cannot do so and must limit himself to the judgement of taste.22 Certainly, an education of taste would go a long way, but, in the end, de gustibus non est disputandum. In other words, a well-honed aesthetic instinct cannot provide foundations stable enough or strong enough to rebuild the metaphysical underpinnings of the arts today.

Elements of a theological response to this question are found in a renewed appreciation of the Christian tradition. In a well-known passage from his novel The Idiot (1869), the same Dostoevsky has his Christ-like hero, Prince Myshkin, say, 

“I believe the world will be saved by beauty.” 

Not any beauty is meant here, but the redemptive beauty of Christ. 

In a profound reflection on this subject, written in 2002 for the annual Communion and Liberation meeting in Rimini, the then-Cardinal Ratzinger comments on Psalm 45(44), which praises the king at the occasion of his wedding and exalts his bride. In the exegetical tradition of the Church, this lyrical psalm has been read as a representation of Christ’s spousal relationship with the Church and the description of the bridegroom as “the fairest of the sons of men” as Christ himself. Where the psalm declares that “grace is poured upon [his] lips”, this is taken to refer to the beauty of his words, the glory of his proclamation.

Ratzinger notes that it is “not merely the external beauty of the Redeemer’s appearance that is praised: rather, the beauty of truth appears in him, the beauty of God himself, who powerfully draws us and inflicts on us the wound of Love”.23

Cimabue / Arezzo

This beauty attracts us and makes us join the procession of Christ’s Mystical Bride, which is the Church, going out to meet the Bridegroom. Presenting us with a stark contrast, the Church applies to the same Christ, who is praised as the “fairest of men”, the words of Isaiah 53:2: “He had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” This is done in remembrance of his Passion and shows the “paradoxical beauty” of Christ, which implies a contrast but not a contradiction.

As Ratzinger observes, we come to know that “the beauty of truth also involves wounds, pain, and even the obscure mystery of death and that this can only be found in accepting pain, not in ignoring it.”24 The totality of Christ’s beauty is revealed to us when we contemplate the disfigured image of the crucified Savior, which shows us his “love to the end” (cf. Jn 13:1). This is the beauty that will save the world, the redemptive beauty of Christ, crucified and glorified. It shines forth with particular splendor in the saints but is also reflected in the works of art the faith has generated. The masterpieces of sacred art have the power to lift our hearts to higher things and lead us beyond ourselves to an encounter with God, who is Beauty itself.

Lang, Michael (2015-10-05). Signs of the Holy One: Liturgy, Ritual, and Expression of the Sacred (pp. 101-103). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.

Stroke Update


I could give a lengthy and remarkable analysis of my brain and how it functions.  The good news is that it functions for now (and I shall spare one and all the lengthy analysis).

There is an area located in the midst of what doctors believe is the speech centre of the right hemisphere of the brain.  That is where the problem is this time.  I was warned to stay vigilant on my blood-thinning protocol and to reduce "my stress".  (Lovely. "You've had a stroke. Now don't stress about it.")

The grace of God in this is that I am not 'stressing' over this.  Inside I feel quite happy and at peace.  I have had a spiritual experience of the nearness of God the Father I have never quite felt before.  An overwhelming experience.  And off and on I have the most amazing experience of the nearness of the Blessed Trinity as if they are seated around me and I am being held in the Blessed Mother's arms.  Whether vision or dream or the true reality breaking in to my situation I do not know, but I have been plunged into and overwhelmed with love, the love of God washing over me like waves passing or crashing onto the seashore.

The Lord is good to those who trust in Him.  Very few of us spend enough time to get to know Him so that in difficult times we turn to despair instead of turning our focus to see where the Lord is in the midst of it.  

We of our own cannot make out how God shall have the victory in the midst of warfare, bombs falling, terrorists blowing themselves up for the sake of a god that does not exist.  But as Our Beloved Lord Jesus Christ told the sainted Mother St. Julian of Norwich, "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well." This is Truth.

As a dearest friend reminded me (by way of the sacred Scripture), you and I shall overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the testimony of our lips.  Indeed, this is the greatest truth.  I have been washed and cleansed by the blood of that little lamb of God slain from before the foundation of the world, and in the resurrected power of that Precious Blood I proclaim that God is Love, and Love has a Name, and that holy Name is JESUS.

And in the Holy Name of Jesus ... ALL shall be well, and ALL shall be WELL, and ALL MANNER OF THING SHALL BE WELL. Amen and Amen.


17 November 2015

A body of death & the grace of the resurrection


St. Athanasius of Alexandria

"The Word perceived that corruption could not be got rid of otherwise than through death; yet He Himself, as the Word, being immortal and the Father's Son, was such as could not die. For this reason, therefore, he assumed a body capable of death, in order that it, though belonging to the Word Who is above all, might become in dying a sufficient exchange for all, and, itself remaining incorruptible through His indwelling, might thereafter put an end to corruption for all others as well, by the grace of the resurrection."

St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation

16 November 2015

Catherine Winkworth's Translation of ,,Ein feste Burg”


I was surprised to find Catherine Winkworth's translation of Luther's hymn so very different from the translation I knew in childhood.  Luther was said to have written this hymn on the road to Worms in 1530.  

His text was from the traditional Epistle for the Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity: "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

The following comes from Catherine Winkworth's laudable collection of translations entitled  Lyra Germanica:

A SURE stronghold our God is He,
A trusty shield and weapon ;
Our help He'll be and set us free
From every ill can happen.
That old malicious foe
Intends us deadly woe ;
Arm'd with the strength of hell
And deepest craft as well,
On earth is not his fellow.

Through our own force we nothing can,
Straight were we lost for ever :
But for us fights the proper Man,
By God sent to deliver.
Ask ye who this may be ?
Christ Jesus named is He,
Of Sabaoth the Lord ;
Sole God to be adored ;
'Tis He must win the battle.

And were the world with devils fill'd,
All eager to devour us,
Our souls to fear should little yield,
They cannot overpower us.
Their dreaded Prince no more
Can harm us as of yore ;
Look grim as e'er he may,
Doom'd is his ancient sway ;
A word can overthrow him.

Still shall they leave that Word His might,
And yet no thanks shall merit ;
Still is He with us in the fight,
By His good gifts and Spirit.
E'en should they take our life,
Goods, honour, children wife—
Though all of these be gone,
Yet nothing have they won,
God's kingdom ours abideth !