Christianity

POETRY: Sunday After Ascension, by John Keble

May 28, 2017

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (Peter 4:10) The Earth that in her genial breast Makes for the down a kindly nest, Where wafted by the warm south-west It floats at pleasure, Yields, thankful, of her very best, To nurse her treasure: True to her trust, tree, herb, or reed, She renders for each scatter’d seed, And to her Lord with duteous heed Gives large increase: Thus year by year she works unfeed, And will not cease. Woe worth these barren hearts of ours, Where Thou hast set celestial flowers, And water’d with more balmy showers, Than e’er distill’d In Eden, on th’ ambrosial bowers— Yet nought we yield. Largely Thou givest, gracious [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Two, Joy, by Philip Bochanski

May 27, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit Hymn: Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest, And in our souls take up your rest; Come with your grace and Heavenly aid To fill the hearts which you have made. O Comforter, to you we cry, O Heavenly gift of God Most High, O fount of life and fire of love, And sweet anointing from above. You in your sevenfold gifts are known; You, finger of God’s hand we own; You, promise of the Father, you Who do the tongue with power imbue. Kindle our senses from above, And make our hearts overflow with love; With patience firm and virtue high The weakness of our flesh supply. Far from us drive the foe we dread, And grant us your peace instead; So shall we not, with you for guide, Turn from [...]

POETRY: Ascension, by Malcolm Guite

May 27, 2017

We saw his light break through the cloud of glory Whilst we were rooted still in time and place As Earth became a part of Heaven’s story And Heaven opened to his human face. We saw him go and yet we were not parted He took us with him to the heart of things The heart that broke for all the broken-hearted Is whole and Heaven-centered now, and sings, Sings in the strength that rises out of weakness, Sings through the clouds that veil him from our sight, Whilst we ourselves become his clouds of witness And sing the waning darkness into light, His light in us, and ours in him concealed, Which all creation waits to see revealed [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day One, Love, by Philip Bochanski

May 26, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit Hymn: Veni Creator Spiritus Come, Holy Ghost, Creator, come from thy bright heav’nly throne; come, take possession of our souls, and make them all thine own. Thou who art called the Paraclete, best gift of God above, the living spring, the living fire, sweet unction and true love. Thou who art sevenfold in thy grace, finger of God’s right hand; his promise, teaching little ones to speak and understand. O guide our minds with thy blest light, with love our hearts inflame; and with thy strength, which ne’er decays, confirm our mortal frame. Far from us drive our deadly foe; true peace unto us bring; and through all perils lead us safe beneath thy sacred wing. Through thee may we the Father [...]

POETRY: Ascension, by John Donne

May 25, 2017

Salute the last, and everlasting day, Joy at the uprising of this Sun, and Son, Ye whose true tears, or tribulation Have purely wash’d, or burnt your drossy clay. Behold, the Highest, parting hence away, Lightens the dark clouds, which He treads upon; Nor doth He by ascending show alone, But first He, and He first enters the way. O strong Ram, which hast batter’d Heaven for me! Mild lamb, which with Thy Blood hast mark’d the path! Bright Torch, which shinest, that I the way may see! O, with Thy own Blood quench Thy own just wrath; And if Thy Holy Spirit my Muse did raise, Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Praying To The Holy Spirit, by Philip Bochanski

May 25, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit The Fruits of the Holy Spirit Gathered with his Apostles in the Upper Room, Jesus reminded them that he had chosen and appointed them to “go and bear fruit that will remain.” (John 15:16)  At that same Last Supper, he promised them that they would not be alone in accomplishing this mission: “I will ask the Father,” he said, “and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit.” (John 14:16-17)  The story of the early church related in the Acts of the Apostles shows just how Jesus kept his promise: the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles at Pentecost, and they went out to accomplish great things in the mission of evangelizing the world. Although we [...]

POETRY: Stanzas On The Psalms, by Thomas Warton the Elder

May 24, 2017

Not the songs that nobly tell, How Troy was sacked, and Rome began, Not the numbers that reveal The wars of Heaven to falling man; Can boast that true celestial fire, That equal strength and ease, Or with such various charms conspire, To move, to teach, to please. Those complaints how sadly sweet, White weeping seraphim repeat; Those prayers how happily preferred, Which God himself inspired and heard. Ye partial wits no longer boast Of Pindar’s fire in David’s lost! Who to the Hebrew harp must yield, As Jove by great Jehovah is [...]

POETRY: My Silence Is The Lord, by Paul Quenon

May 24, 2017

My silence is the Lord, I listen, his silence speaks at all time. When I listen not, my hearing is filled with words and my tongue takes to rambling. My resting place is the Lord a hideaway on a mountain height. The lonely seek and find him. My resting place is the Lord, a low valley by the runlet. All humble steps lead there. “Turn in to my place and sit quietly. Drink from my stream and my vintage. Cast off your shoes, discard your hardships and listen to my evening song: “I seek a heart that is simple. With the peaceful I spread my tent. I will wash your feet and dry them, my silence will be their perfume. “In your quiet steps I will follow. None will know whence we come and where we go. To the world you will be my [...]

PSALMS: Congregational Worship And The Psalms, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

May 23, 2017

In many churches the Psalms are read or sung every Sunday, or even daily, in succession.  These churches have preserved a priceless treasure, for only with daily use does one appropriate this divine prayerbook.  When read only occasionally, these prayers are too overwhelming in design and power and tend to turn us back to more palatable fare.  But whoever has begun to pray the Psalter seriously and regularly will soon give a vacation to other little devotional prayers and say: “Ah, there is not the juice, the strength, the passion, the fire which I find in the Psalter.  It tastes too cold and too hard.” (Luther) Therefore, wherever we no longer pray the Psalms in our churches, we must take up the Psalter that much more in [...]

BLESSING: The Blessings Of God’s Seasons, by Helen Steiner Rice

May 23, 2017

From: A Collection of Blessings We know we must pass through the seasons God sends, Content in the knowledge that everything ends, And, oh, what a blessing to know there are reasons And to find that our souls must, too, have their seasons— Bounteous seasons and barren ones, too, Times for rejoicing and times to be blue— But meeting these seasons of dark desolation With the strength that is born of anticipation Comes from knowing that every season of sadness Will surely be followed by a springtime of [...]

THE LORD’S PRAYER: Food, by Evelyn Underhill

May 22, 2017

In the first part of the Lord’s Prayer, we are wholly concerned with God’s glory.  We pray with angelic spirits; creatures whose purposes are completely harmonized with the Creative Will.  In the second part, we turn from the Eternal Splendor to our Earthly limitations, and bring before God the burden, neediness, and sinfulness of our state.  Give us this day our daily bread.  With the proclamation of our utter dependence, the presentation before God of the simplest and most fundamental of our needs, we pass from adoration to petitions, and enter into the full paradox of Christian prayer: the unspeakable majesty and abiding perfection of the Infinite, and because of that majesty and that perfection, the importance of the [...]

BLESSING: A Blessing For The Senses, by John O’Donohue

May 22, 2017

From: Anam Cara May your body be blessed. May you realize that your body is a faithful and beautiful friend of your soul. And may you be peaceful and joyful and recognize that your senses are sacred thresholds. May you realize that holiness is mindful, gazing, feeling, hearing, and touching. May your senses gather you and bring you home. May your senses always enable you to celebrate the universe and the mystery and possibilities in your presence here. May the Eros of the Earth bless [...]

POETRY: I Wake And Feel The Fell Of Dark, by Gerard Manley Hopkins

May 21, 2017

I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day. What hours, O what black hours we have spent This night! what sights you, heart, saw; ways you went! And more must, in yet longer light’s delay. With witness I speak this. But where I say Hours I mean years, mean life. And my lament Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent To dearest him that lives alas! away. I am gall, I am heartburn. God’s most deep decree Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me; Bones build in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse. Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see The lost are like this, and their scourge to be As I am mine, their sweating selves; but [...]

POETRY: Nothing Is Too Small Not To Be Wondered About, by Mary Oliver

May 20, 2017

The cricket doesn’t wonder if there’s a heaven or, if there is, if there’s room for him. It’s fall. Romance is over. Still, he sings. If he can, he enters a house through the tiniest crack under the door. Then the house grows colder. He sings slower and slower. Then, nothing. This must mean something, I don’t know what. But certainly it doesn’t mean he hasn’t been an excellent cricket all his [...]

BLESSING: Unnameable God, by Joyce Rupp

May 19, 2017

From: Prayer Seeds Unnameable God, I feel you with me at every moment. You are my food, my drink, my sunlight, and the air I breath. (Psalm 16; Stephen Mitchell) with each refreshing rain each slant of sunshine each beam of moonlight each whisper of wind in every spiraling thought every turning of the heart every spoken and written word every action large and small you stead, you lead you encourage, you guide you embrace, you never let go one with my soul, one with my life one with me in the first breath one with me in the last you know me now you will know me always and forever I remember I [...]

BLESSING: Paradox Blessing

May 18, 2017

From Celtic Daily Prayer, Book Two May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, superficial relationships, so that you will live deep within your heart. May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you will work for justice, equity, and peace. May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war so that you will reach out your hand to comfort them and change their pain to joy. And may God bless you with the foolishness to think that you can make a difference in the world, so that you will do the things which others tell you cannot be [...]

POETRY: St. Peter, by Christina Rossetti

May 17, 2017

St. Peter once: “Lord, doest Thou wash my feet?”— Much more I say: Lord, dost Thou stand and knock At my closed heart more rugged than a rock, Bolted and barred, for Thy soft touch unmet, Nor garnished in any wise made sweet? Owls roost within and dancing satyrs mock. Lord, I have heard the crowing of the cock And have not wept: ah, Lord, thou knowest it. Yet still I hear Thee knocking, still I hear: “Open to Me, look on Me eye to eye, That I may wring thy heart and make it whole; And teach thee love because I hold thee dear And sup with thee in gladness soul with soul, And sup with thee in glory by and [...]

POETRY: The Airy Christ, by Stevie Smith

May 17, 2017

(After reading Dr. Rieu’s translation of St. Mark’s Gospel.) Who is this that comes in splendour, coming from the blazing East? This is he we had not thought of, this is he the airy Christ. Airy, in an airy manner in an airy parkland walking. Others take him by the hand, lead him, do the talking. But the Form, the airy One, frowns an airy frown, What they say he knows must be, but he looks aloofly down, Looks aloofly at his feet, looks aloofly at his hands, Knows they must, as prophets say, nailed be to wooden bands. As he knows the words he sings, that he sings so happily Must be changed to working laws, yet sings he ceaselessly. Those who truly hear the voice, the words, the happy song, Never shall need working laws to keep [...]

PSALMS: Names, Music, Verse Form, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

May 16, 2017

The Hebrew title of the Psalms also means “hymns.”  Psalm 72:20 refers to all preceding Psalms as, the prayers of David.  Both items are surprising and yet understandable.  To be sure, at first glance, the Psalms contain exclusively neither hymns nor prayers.  In spite of that the didactic poems or the songs of lament are also basically hymns, for they serve to glorify God, and even those Psalms which do not contain any address to God (e.g., Psalms 1, 2, 78) may be called prayers, for they serve to submerge in God’s will and purpose the one who prays them.  The word Psalter originally referred to a musical instrument, and was first used only in a secondary sense as a designation for a collection of prayers which were [...]

BLESSING: A Blessing Prayer For A Journey, by Edward Hays

May 16, 2017

From: Pray All Ways Blessed are You, Lord, my God, for You have created a wide and wonderful world in which I may travel. Be my ever-near companion, O Holy Guide of Travelers, each time that I journey, and spread the road before me with beauty and adventure. May all the highways ahead of me be free of harm and evil. May I be accompanied by Your holy spirits, Your angelic messengers as were the holy ones of days past. On each trip may I take with me, as part of my traveling equipment, a heart wrapped in wonder with which to rejoice in all that I shall meet. Along with the clothing of wonder, may I have room in my luggage for a mystic map by which I can find the invisible meanings of the events of this journey— of possible disappointments [...]

THE LORD’S PRAYER: The Will, by Evelyn Underhill

May 15, 2017

The graph of Christian prayer conforms very closely to the central action of the Eucharist.  First, the Sanctus, the type of all adoring worship “with angels and archangels glorifying the Holy Name” and lifting heart and mind to the contemplation of Reality.  Then the bread and wine, the ordinary stuff of life raised to the plane of scarifice and freely offered that it may be blessed and transformed by the action of the Holy, made the food and salvation of the soul.  And now we stand at the central point on which all this is poised: where the Heavenly prayer and the Earthly prayer meet.  Our Father, which art in Heaven….  Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.  That Will: that mysterious attribute of the Living [...]

BLESSING: The Blessing Of The Trinity (Celtic)

May 15, 2017

From Daily Readings from Prayers & Praises in the Celtic Tradition In name of Father, In name of Son, In name of Spirit, Three in One: Father cherish me, Son cherish me, Spirit cherish me, Three all-kindly. God make me holy, Christ make me holy, Spirit make me holy, Three all-holy. Three aid my hope, Three aid my love, Three aid mine eye, And my knee from stumbling, My knee from [...]

POETRY: What Good Shall My Life Do Me?, by Christina Rossetti

May 13, 2017

Have dead men long to wait?— There is a certain term For their bodies to the worm And their souls at Heaven gate. Dust to dust, clod to clod, These precious things of God, Trampled underfoot by man And beast the appointed years.— Their longest life was but a span For change and smiles and tears. Is it worth while to live, Rejoice and grieve, Hope, fear, and die? Man with man, truth with lie, The slow show dwindles by: At last what shall we have Besides a grave?— Lies and shows no more, No fear, no pain, But after hope and sleep Dear joys again. Those who sowed shall reap: Those who bore The Cross shall wear the Crown: Those who clomb the steep There shall sit down. The Shepherd of the sheep Feeds His flock there, In watered pastures [...]

EASTER STORY: The Death Of The Lizard, by C. S. Lewis

May 13, 2017

From: The Great Divorce: A Dream I saw coming towards us a Ghost who carried something on his shoulder.  Like all Ghosts, he was unsubstantial, but they differed from one another as smokes differ.  Some had been whitish; this one was dark and oily.  What sat on his shoulder was a little red lizard, and it was twitching its tail like a whip and whispering things in his ear.  As we caught sight of him, he turned his head to the reptile with a snarl of impatience.  Shut up, I tell you! he said.  It wagged its tail and continued to whisper to him.  He ceased snarling, and presently began to smile.  Then he fumed and started to limp westward, away from the mountains. Off so soon? said a voice. The speaker was more or less human in shape [...]

BLESSING: This Day We Say Grateful, by Jan Richardson

May 12, 2017

From: The Painted Prayerbook It is a strange thing to be so bound and so released all in the same moment, to feel the heart open wide and wider still even as it turns to take its leave. On this day, let us say this is simply the way love moves in its ceaseless spiraling, turning us toward one another, then sending us into what waits for us with arms open wide to us in welcome and in hope. On this day, in this place where you have poured yourself out, where you have been emptied and filled and emptied again, may you be aware more than ever of what your heart has opened to here, what it has tended and welcomed here, where it has broken in love and in grief, where it has given and received blessing in the unfathomable mystery that moves us, [...]

BLESSING: A Blessing Of Solitude, by John O’Donohue

May 11, 2017

From: Anam Cara May you recognize in your life the presence, power, and light of your soul. May you realize that  you are never alone, that  your soul in its brightness and belonging connects you intimately with the rhythm of the universe. May you have respect for your own individuality and difference. May you realize that the shape of your soul is unique, that you have a special destiny here, that behind the facade of your life there is something beautiful, good, and eternal happening. May you learn to see yourself with the same delight, pride, and expectation with which God sees you in every moment.   [...]

POETRY: O Deus Ego Amo Te, by Gerard Manley Hopkins

May 10, 2017

O God, I love thee, I love thee— Not out of hope of Heaven for me Nor fearing not to love and be In the everlasting burning. Thou, thou, my Jesus, after me Didst reach thine arms out dying, For my sake sufferedst nails, and lance, Mocked and marred countenance, Sorrows passing number, Sweat and care and cumber, Yea and death, and this for me, And thou couldst see me sinning: Then I, why should not I love thee, Jesu, so much in love with me? Not for Heaven’s sake; not to be Out of hell by loving thee; Not for any gains I see; But just the way that thou didst me I do love and I will love thee: What must I love thee, Lord, for then?— For being my king and God. [...]

POETRY: Unquiet Vigil, by Paul Quenon

May 10, 2017

Stale prayer from unreal depths— depths I assume are mine— are relieved by real sleep, that awakens me to my real shallows where prayer amounts to almost nothing or less. Such an infinity where almost nothing dividing endlessly never reaches nothing wherein are real depths not mine… Be kind. Myself, to myself, be [...]

THE LORD’S PRAYER: The Kingdom, by Evelyn Underhill

May 8, 2017

Having recognized and worshiped the Name, we pray next for its triumph: Thy Kingdom come.  Here man’s most sacred birthright, his deep longing for perfection, and with it his bitter consciousness of imperfection, break out with power.  We want to bring the God whom we worship, his beauty, his sovereignty, his order, into the very texture of our life; and the fundamental human need for action into the radius of our prayer.  This is the natural sequel to the prayer of adoration.  We have had a glimpse of the mystery of the Holy, have worshiped before the veils of beauty and sacrifice; and that throws into vivid relief the poverty, the anarchy, the unreality in which we live – the resistance of the world, the creature, to God, and [...]