Friday, February 26, 2010

Keeping the spirit of Lent alive

Go on, give it a go, and with meaning. After all it is Lent.

LORD have Mercy, Brian

The Litany from the Book of Common Prayer

O GOD the Father, Creator of heaven and
earth : have mercy upon us.
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 Son, Redeemer of the world : have
mercy upon us.

O God the Holy Ghost, Sanctifier of the faithful:
have mercy upon us.
O God the Holy Ghost, Sanctifier of the faithful :
have mercy upon us.

O holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, three
Persons and one God : have mercy upon us.
O holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, three Persons
and one God : have mercy upon us.

REMEMBER not, Lord, our offences, nor the
offences of our forefathers; spare us, good Lord,
spare thy people, whom thou hast redeemed with thy most precious blood.
Spare us, good Lord.
FROM all evil and mischief; from sin, from the
crafts and assaults of the devil; from thy wrath,
and from everlasting condemnation,
Good Lord, deliver us.
From all blindness of heart; from pride, vain-
glory, and hypocrisy; from envy, hatred, and
malice, and all uncharitableness,
Good Lord, deliver us.
From all uncleanness in thought, word, and
deed; and from all the deceits of the world, the
flesh, and the devil,
Good Lord, deliver us.
From lightning and tempest; from earthquake,
fire, and flood; from plague, pestilence, and
famine; from battle and murder, and from sudden
Good Lord, deliver us.
From all sedition, conspiracy, and rebellion;
from all false doctrine, heresy, and schism; from
hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word
and Commandment,
Good Lord, deliver us.
BY the mystery of thy holy Incarnation; by
thy holy Nativity; by thy Baptism, Fasting, and
Good Lord, deliver us.
By thine Agony and bloody Sweat; by thy
Cross and Passion; by thy precious Death and
Good Lord, deliver us.
By thy glorious Resurrection and Ascension;
by thy sending of the Holy Spirit; by thy heavenly
Intercession; and by thy Coming again in glory,
Good Lord, deliver us.
In all times of tribulation; in all times of
prosperity; in the hour of death, and in the day
of judgement,
Good Lord, deliver us.
WE sinners do beseech thee to hear us, O Lord
God: and that it may please thee to rule and
govern thy holy Church universal in the right
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To keep and strengthen in the true worshipping
of thee, in holiness of life, and in devotion
to her people, thy servant ELIZABETH, our
most gracious Queen and Governor,
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To be her defender and keeper, giving her the
victory over all her enemies,
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To bless and preserve all the
Royal Family,
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To give to all Bishops, Priests, and Deacons,
true knowledge and understanding of thy Word;
and that both by their preaching and living they
may set it forth and show it accordingly,
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To send forth labourers into thy harvest; to
prosper their work by thy Holy Spirit; to make
thy saving health known unto all nations; and
to hasten thy kingdom,
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To bless the people of our Country and
the Commonwealth, and to endue those set in
authority with grace, wisdom, and understanding,
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To bless and guide the judges and Magistrates,
giving them grace to execute justice, and to maintain
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To bless and keep the Queen’s forces by sea,
and land, and air, and to shield them in all
dangers and adversities,
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To give to all nations unity, peace, and concord,
that they may serve thee without fear,
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To bless and protect all who serve mankind
by their labour and learning,
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To preserve all that travel, all women labouring
of child, all sick persons and young children; and
to show thy pity upon all prisoners and captives,
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To defend, and provide for, all widows and
orphans, and all who are desolate and oppressed,
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To bless and keep all thy people,
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To give to all thy people increase of grace, to
hear meekly thy Word, and to receive it with pure
affection, and to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit,
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To bring into the way of truth all who have
erred and are deceived,
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To strengthen such as do stand; to encourage
the faint-hearted; to raise up those who fall; and
finally to beat down Satan under our feet,
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To succour, help, and comfort all that are in
danger, necessity, and tribulation,
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To have mercy upon all men,
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To give and preserve to our use the kindly
fruits of the earth, so that in due time we may
enjoy them,
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers,
and to turn their hearts,
We beseech thee, good Lord.
To give us true repentance; to forgive us all
our sins, negligences, and ignorances; and to
endue us with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, to
amend our lives according to thy holy Word,
We beseech thee, good Lord.
SON of God, we beseech thee to hear us.
Son of God, we beseech thee to hear us.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of
the world;
Have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of
the world;
Grant us thy peace.
O Christ, hear us.
O Christ, hear us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

OUR Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be
thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be
done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this
day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against
us; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver
us from evil. Amen.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Relationship with God: Legal or Personal?

One thing the law could not do was to give eternal life, for eternal life is to know God and Him whom He sent, Jesus Christ (Jn. 17:3), but not from the outside as the Pharisee knew Him, the Almighty Law-giver, but within the intimate relation of a common life (‘I in you and you in Me,’ Jn. 14:20).

The Pharisee knows all about action, but nothing about being. In all his life of righteousness there is one thing he has never come across, never perceived: that between God and him there can be a relationship of mutual love. He never sought it and never met the God of Isaiah… He believes that between God and His creatures there is a relation that is fixed, fossilized, immutable. He has never discerned in the Scriptures the love story of God and the world He created and so loved that He would give His only-begotten Son that it might be saved… Of God he knows the law – not the Person.

~Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh Meditations


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Seek God Daily

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God,
1 Corinthians 6.19 NRSV

I was fascinated recently to learn that the Greek word used for 'temple' in this passage is naos, which does not refer to the whole temple as such, but rather to the sanctuary. It is the difference between the main body of the church building as compared to the area behind the altar rail. This, as we Anglicans know, is a very holy place. And the body is this holy place and its altar is the heart. In the Old Testament Temple the sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, was a very holy place where we are told that the LORD would commune with the high priest from above the altar.

Imagine now that our bodies are the Holy of Holies and that the LORD communes with us there. Well, imagine is not the right word: realize now that our bodies are the Holy of Holies, and the LORD communes with us there in our hearts!! I can imagine that on that holy day of atonement when the high priest entered into the Holy of Holies, it was very quiet and the Priest would be listening intently for the communing presence of the LORD. May we respect our bodies as this Holy of Holies, and may we be attentive to the communing of God in our hearts. He is there! Listen!!

“Seek God daily. But seek Him in your heart, not outside it. And when you find Him, stand with fear and trembling, like the Cherubim and the Seraphim, for your heart has become a throne of God. But in order to find God, become humble as dust before the Lord, for the Lord abhors the proud, whereas He visits those that are humble in heart, wherefore He says: “To whom will I look, but to him that is meek and humble in heart?”

~St Nektarios of Aegina

LORD have mercy, Brian+

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hiding in Jesus

Saint Paul in his letter to the Colossians says, "For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." (3.3) It is a wonderful image that Paul gives us to help us understand our life as a Christian disciple: to be hidden, hidden in Christ. This is the goal of the born-again life, the sanctified life. Paul says it another way when writing the Church at Rome: "...reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus." (Romans 6.11)

When we are hidden in Christ we are protected from the hard temptations of the devil, and the hard knocks of life. That is not to say there will not be temptations, or hard knocks; rather it is to say that we shall not be overcome by them. Jesus himself faced many a hard knock and temptation. Tempted by the devil in the desert, tempted by the sorrow of the tragic lives and circumstances surrounding his world 2000 years ago. Tempted by the hard knocks of betrayal, torture, and death. But he showed that if one keeps their eyes affixed upon the Father and His purposes even to the point of death, then you shall be raised up to Glory.

I like the man in the snowball because I think it illustrates what might happen when we do not hid completely in Christ. The mans arms, legs and head are sticking out and if it was a real circumstance then as the ball rolled down the hill the poor guy would experience broken limbs, and bruised face. Presuming he could breath inside the ball, if we was totally IN the ball these breaks and bruises would not occur in the same way. (Are you working with me here?)

How do we know we are not in Christ? When our hearts, minds, and bodies (and our egos) are constantly being bruised and banged about by the temptations and hard knocks of life! We hold feelings of anger, unforgiveness, hopelessness, impatience, envy, greed, pride, and the like.

We need to pull ourselves into the heart of Christ and allow His grace and mercy surround us, to give us His peace and contentment. And I think this is done when we surrender our lives (ie hide ourselves in Christ, reckoning ourselves to be dead to sin) to the fullness of God's presence though genuine humility. An since that was good enough for Christ, the Son of God, I suppose it should be good enough for me. How about you?

LORD have mercy, Brian

Friday, February 19, 2010

Repentance Renewed

An excellent thought on Repentance from HERE

After reading Fr Stephen's illuminating post, The Instinct of Repentance, I wanted to blog a brief examination of the difference between the Greek original and the Latin (and Western Christian) translation of the word Repentance, but there is not much to say, and Fr Stephen says it all in this post…

A large measure of the language of repentance is found in the word repentance itself. It is a Latin cognate (coming into English through the French). Rooted in the Latin word paenetentia, repentance has long held associations with crime and punishment. Our prisons are penitentiaries, though repentance of a true sort is rarely their result. To be given a penance also has had a sense of a punishment given for sins forgiven.

This differs greatly from the original language of the New Testament in which repentance is metanoia, a change in the mind (nous). The word nous, in Eastern Christian tradition, is often used interchangeably with the word heart. Repentance is an inner change of heart. Repentance is not concerned with clearing our legal record but with being changed – ultimately into the likeness of Christ.

Lenten Discipline

A couple of Quotes on Lenten Discipline:

The disciplines of Lent have to do with abstaining from the ways we normally distract ourselves from spiritual reality—the reality of our sin and the deeply patterned behaviors that keep us from our calling to follow Christ. It has to do with allowing some of the external trappings and internal compulsions of our lives to be stripped away so that we can return to a truer sense of ourselves in God’s presence. It has to do with acknowledging the subtle temptations to which we are prone, rather than pretending we are beyond temptation.

The disciplines of fasting and other kinds of abstinence help us to abstain from that which distracts us and numbs our awareness so that we can become more finely attuned to what is really going on in our lives spiritually and the invitations that are there for us. Allowing ourselves to experience the necessary grief or remorse (not shame or morbidity) about what we are seeing and knowing in ourselves helps us to get in touch with some sort of willingness to be led in a new and everlasting way.

Ruth Haley Barton

A discipline won’t bring you closer to God. Only God can bring you closer to Himself. What the discipline is meant to do is to help you get yourself, your ego, out of the way so you are open to His grace.
James Kushiner


A powerful definition of what it means to repent.

Precisely because God is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness (just as the Prophet Joel tells us), God also calls out to us and says, “Turn ye even unto me, with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning.” What Joel describes here is “human repentance,” a miraculous invitation from God to become like him in the only way that we can: by submitting to the power of his grace, by turning away from everything in our life that is disobedient, sinful, and false, and by turning to the one and only Living God.

By his invitation to repentance, God gives us the opportunity to imitate him as loving children. He allows us to recall and to repudiate the sentence of death that we have imposed upon ourselves by sinning, and to replace it with a life of grace. By his Son’s death and resurrection, he gives us the supernatural power to take on his holy commandments, not as strokes of the lash, but as the blueprint for our reconstruction and rehabilitation in his own image and likeness.

Fr. Louis Tarsitano

Hat Tip: Lent and Beyond

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Litany of Penence

The celebrant and people say together,
Most holy and merciful Father,
we confess to you, to one another,
and to the whole communion of saints
in heaven and on earth,
that we have sinned by our own fault
in thought, word, and deed;
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.

The celebrant continues,
We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and
strength. We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. We
have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven.
Have mercy on us, Lord.
We have been deaf to your call to serve as Christ served us.
We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved
your Holy Spirit.
Have mercy on us, Lord.
We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the pride,
hypocrisy, and impatience of our lives,
We confess to you, Lord.
Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of
other people,
We confess to you, Lord.
Our anger at our own frustration, and our envy of those more
fortunate than ourselves,
We confess to you, Lord.
Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and our
dishonesty in daily life and work,
We confess to you, Lord.
Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to
commend the faith that is in us,
We confess to you, Lord.
Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done: for
our blindness to human need and suffering, and our
indifference to injustice and cruelty,
Accept our repentance, Lord.
For all false judgements, for uncharitable thoughts toward our
neighbours, and for our prejudice and contempt toward those
who differ from us,
Accept our repentance, Lord.
For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of
concern for those who come after us,
Accept our repentance, Lord.
Restore us, good Lord, and let your anger depart from us;
Hear us, Lord, for your mercy is great.

Accomplish in us, O God,
the work of your salvation,
People That we may show forth your glory
in the world.

Celebrant By the cross and passion of your Son, our Lord,
People Bring us with all your saints
to the joy of his resurrection.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lent - Just do It

I love the season of Lent, for in entering the joyful rigors of the holy season we are able to enter into the joyful Alleluia's of Easter. Most of us do not take the Lenten call of the Church with much seriousness anymore, and the Church is less for it. Taking the rhythm of the Church Year seriously invites the heart into the seriousness of 'working out your salvation.' And the our here is, I believe, plural. I cannot work out my salvation alone, nor can anybody else. I work it out with you and with God, together. So when I ignore the we of Church, we are all weakened. The culture that we live in is not interested in the rigors of the holy discipline of the Church. I wonder if I am interested in the rigors of the Holy Church? Are you? Are we? Lent reminds us of the call to follow Jesus, to pursue holiness, to take up our cross and follow Jesus. That very prospect should be exciting to any Christian Family. So Lenten devotions should not be met with WOE, but in the pursuit of Jesus, the devotions should be met with WOW.

LORD have mercy, Brian+

Let us joyfully begin the all-hallowed season of abstinence; and let us shine with the bright radiance of the holy commandments of Christ our God, with the brightness of love and the splendor of prayer, with the purity of holiness and the strength of good courage. So, clothed in raiment of light, let us hasten to the Holy Resurrection on the third day, that shines upon the world with the glory of eternal life…
by Theodore, Lenten Triodion, Matins for Monday of the First Week of Great Lent

Let us hasten to tame the flesh through the fast and abstinence… Were I to imagine the punishments all my sins deserve, I would fall into despair, O Lord My Savior: I have disobeyed your high commands, wasting my life in extravagance. Wherefore I beseech You: cleanse me with showers of forgiveness and strengthen me with fastings and supplications, for You alone are compassionate. Reject me not, All-Bountiful One whose goodness exceeds every measure.
~Stichera of the Triodion, Monday of Great Lent, Vespers Sunday Evening

Monday, February 15, 2010

O Lamb of God how I Praise You

Evangelical repentance is repentance of sin as sin: not of this sin nor of that, but of the whole mass. We repent of the sin of our nature as well as the sin of our practice. We bemoan sin within us and without us. We repent of sin itself as being an insult to God. Anything short of this is a mere surface repentance, and not a repentance which reaches to the bottom of the mischief. Repentance of the evil act, and not of the evil heart, is like men pumping water out of a leaky vessel, but forgetting to stop the leak. Some would dam up the stream, but leave the fountain still flowing; they would remove the eruption from the skin, but leave the disease in the flesh. --Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Thus the great ancient hymn says 'sin', not 'sins.'

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the
world: have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the
world: have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the
world: grant us thy peace.

A moment of Confession from the BCP

Let us confess our sins to Almighty God.
O ALMIGHTY Father, Lord of heaven and
earth, We confess that we have sinned against
thee in thought, word, and deed. Have mercy
upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us after thy
great goodness; According to the multitude of
thy mercies do away our offences; Wash us
throughly from our wickedness, And cleanse us
from our sins; For Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

LORD, have mercy, Brian

Friday, February 12, 2010

More Than We Can Ask or Imagine

In the Doxology of the BAS we say with St. Paul,
"Glory to God,
whose power, working in us,
can do infinitely more
than we can ask or imagine."

I came across this quote recently.

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
~ C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity

Sometimes I find it difficult to imagine that 'hard times' might be tools in God's formation kit. Yet, when I am honest with myself, it is almost always the case that the 'hard times' drove me deeper into the heart of Christ than the 'good times.' I'm not anxiously looking forward to more 'hard times' but perhaps I might be more patient when struggles come along, and more quickly run to the heart of Christ.

Never leave home without Him, and never build a home without Him!!

Lord have mercy, Brian+

Unworthy as We Are

A favourite prayer found in the BCP.

BE mindful, O Lord, of thy people bowed
before thee, and of those who are absent
through age, sickness, or infirmity. Care for the
infants, guide the young, support the aged, encourage
the faint-hearted, collect the scattered,
and bring the wandering to thy fold. Travel with
the voyagers, defend the widows, shield the orphans,
deliver the captives, heal the sick. Succour
all who are in tribulation, necessity, or distress.
Remember for good all those that love us, and
those that hate us, and those that have desired
us, unworthy as we are, to pray for them. And
those whom we have forgotten, do thou, O Lord,
remember. For thou art the Helper of the helpless,
the Saviour of the lost, the Refuge of the
wanderer, the Healer of the sick. Thou, who
knowest each man’s need, and hast heard his
prayer, grant unto each according to thy merciful
loving-kindness and thy eternal love; through
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

No More Blogging?

Some thoughts on SILENCE from Henri Nouwen's book, "The Way of the Heart."

A second, more positive meaning of silence is that it protects the inner fire. Silence guards the inner heat of religious emotions. This inner heat is the life of the Holy Spirit within us. Thus, silence is the discipline by which the inner fire of God is tended and kept alive.

Diadochus of Photiki offers a very concrete image: "When the door of the steambath is continually left open, the heat inside rapidly escapes through it; likewise the soul, in its desire to say many things, dissipates its remembrance of God through the door of speech, even though everything it says may be good. Thereafter the intellect, though lacking appropriate ideas, pours out a welter of confused thoughts to anyone it meets, as it no longer has the Holy Spirit to keep its understanding free from fantasy. Ideas of value always shun verbosity, being foreign to confusion and fantasy. Timely silence, then is precious, for it is nothing less than the mother of the wisest thoughts."

These words of Diadochus go against the grain of our contemporary lifestyle, in which 'sharing' has become one of the greatest virtues. We have been made to believe that feelings, emotions, and even the inner stirrings of our soul have to be shared with others.

...What needs to be guarded is the life of the Spirit within us. Especially we who want to witness to the presence of God's Spirit in the world need to tend the fire within with utmost care. It is not so strange that many ministers have become burnt-out cases, people who say many words and share many experiences, but in whom the fire of God's Spirit has died and from not much more comes forth than their own boring, petty ideas and feelings.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Everything you read in this post goes against my will. Well, not entirely, but the 'enemy' part at least. I read somewhere among the Church Fathers that a Christian has no enemies: a silly statement at first glance but profound and challenging when deeply considered. Jesus tells us to love our enemies so obviously we do have enemies.

But what I think the Ancients are getting at is that from my heart to all other hearts, I am never to hate another or be an enemy in attitude towards another. This is the love of Christ. We are told that we were once enemies of Christ, yet He has loved us. Christ was never our enemy. The command of Christ and the Church is that we pray for our enemies: well, if you cannot identify an enemy then at least pray for those who you are having a difficult time with, until you know that YOUR heart has changed enough that you love them despite their dislike of you. So we are to be an enemy to no one, even if they are an enemy towards us.

From the Great Litany

"To forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers,
and to turn their hearts,
We beseech thee, good Lord."

LORD have mercy, Brian+

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Agesima's

For over 18 centuries the Church has has a period of preparation for the Great Fast of Lent. The three Sunday's leading into Lent in the BCP are called Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima. In England, the wisdom of preparing for Lent is preserved, but the Latin names, the 'agesima's' are given their English meanings; The 3rd Sunday before Lent, The 2nd Sunday before Lent, The Sunday before Lent.

This lead-in period to psychologically prepare for the discipline of Lent is important. The wisdom of this period of preparing should not be lost. We rightly prepare for tests: for important undertakings. Understanding Lent as a discipline to strengthen our 'Yes," to Jesus, and our "No," to Satan; understanding Lent as a time to intentionally and with holy seriousness to lean upon divine grace; understanding Lent as a time of renewal of surrendering self-will to god's will; to refocus upon the victory of the Cross and hope of the resurrection is a test. This 'test' of Lent calls us to refocus our hearts.

So are we thinking about getting serious about renewing our Love for the LORD and each other? I pray we are.

Dear friends in Christ,
every year at the time of the Christian Passover
we celebrate our redemption
through the death and resurrection
of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Lent is a time to prepare for this celebration
and to renew our life in the paschal mystery.
We begin this holy season
by remembering our need for repentance,
and for the mercy and forgiveness
proclaimed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I invite you therefore, in the name of the Lord,
to observe a holy Lent
by self-examination, penitence, prayer,
fasting, and almsgiving,
and by reading and meditating on the word of God.
Let us kneel before our Creator and Redeemer.

From the Book of Alternative Services - Ash Wednesday Service

The Symptom called Sorrow

I have come to like the Eastern Christian emphasis on sin as a symptom of sickness, rather the dominant legal failure model of our Western Christianity. In saying this I do not wish to diminish the seriousness of sin. Sin is serious, very serious indeed, and as a Christian I know this because of the great sacrifice paid by Christ to overcome it. That being said, I find that viewing sin as a sickness very helpful.

When I think, say, or do something that I know is wrong I realize that it is an indication that I am sick with sin. And the solution to this is to go to the Physician - Jesus. Our general encounter with sin, whether ours or others leads to what St. Paul describes as sorrow. Or as my wife sometimes says, "I'm sick of being sick!" In 2 Corinthians 7.10 Paul says, "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death." In other words when we take our sinful feelings to the LORD there is substantial healing leading to life in Christ, but if we turn to find solutions in the world (self-centered solutions) it only leads to greater difficulties.

So where are you going to turn today when you realize you are sick with sin, even if you realize somebody you love is sick with sin? Let's turn to the Great Physician, the healer of our souls: Jesus. May He cure all our sin and sorrows.

LORD have mercy, Brian+

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Collects for Sexagesima/4th after Epiphany

From the Book of Common Prayer

O LORD God, who seest that we put not our
trust in any thing that we do: Mercifully
grant that by thy power we may be defended
against all adversity; through Jesus Christ our
Lord. Amen.

From the Book of Alternative Services

Living God,
in Christ you make all things new.
Transform the poverty of our nature
by the riches of your grace,
and in the renewal of our lives
make known your glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. AMEN

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Prayer Advise

From the book~ Father Arseny: A Cloud of Witnesses

“I will say a few words on the subject of how we must pray. To separate yourself from the world around you and enter into the words and spirit of prayer is difficult for those who lack long prayer experience. You pray, trying to concentrate on your prayer, but the prayer comes absentmindedly. In tandem with the prayer you have earthly thoughts and you are unable to let go of them. To overcome this, you must pray more and more often; it is important in the beginning to pray aloud, if this is possible.

“Often do priests say and write that absentminded and distracted prayer is unacceptable to God and is even sinful because the one who prays does not give his soul fully to God and in that way he sins. Of course, such prayer is not of full value. The one praying tries to gather his will and put the soul in a prayerful mode, but due to his weakness is unable to do it, but at least he did try to do it. Only God can decide on the sincerity and the spiritual value of such prayer. But, as far as I am concerned, I believe that, if the prayer was sincere but, due to reasons unknown to us, the person was unable to achieve a warm and sincere prayer, he did still pray. He did not forget to pray his rule of prayer at his regular time – that is already an offering, an effort held up to God – and God will accept this prayer having weighed the spiritual state and the sincerity of the one praying. Many people, and even many priests will not agree with me, but this is what I think, and I have found some indirect confirmation of my words in spiritual literature and even in old ‘Lives of the Fathers of the Church.’”

Thanks to Christ in Our Midst

Training for war: Together

In the Letter to the Hebrews we are told,

"Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." (Heb 12.11)

Often we think of 'chastening' as something unfair from those other nasty people or hardships in life. Such thinking more often than not leads to a false sense of self-righteousness. I think Paul is speaking more of a chastisement of self-discipline, like an athlete, who is focused upon the goal of living in the presence of God and for His glory. I know that every day I must chastise my own self-will, to choose the will of the LORD. And if the LORD uses another person, whether it be my wife, or a stranger to reveal that I have been unkind, or prideful, then as we say I have to 'suck it up.' This is the chastisement that I need in order to prune my self-will, to allow God's will to grow the fruit of the Spirit in me. None of this is easy, but it is not a coincidence that St. Paul reminds us at the beginning of the chapter that...

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb 12.1,2)

Notice that his words are in the plural: we, us. So we first look to Jesus, but we also are to remember the witness of those who have gone before us, and those with us. This is the Church, training for spiritual war, that we might live in His likeness.

LORD in your Mercy, Brian+

Friday, February 5, 2010

Say it with 'Meaning'

An order for Morning Prayer, By Lancelot Andrewes

Glory be to thee, O LORD, Glory be to thee.
Glory be to thee who givest me sleep to recruit my weakness,
and to remit the toils of this fretful flesh,
To this day of all days,
a perfect, holy, peaceful, healthy, sinless course,
Vouchsafe O LORD.

Teach me to do the thing that pleaseth thee, for thou art my God;
Let thy loving Spirit lead me forth into the land of righteousness.
Quicken me, O LORD, for thy names sake,
and for thy righteousness sake bring my soul out of trouble;
remove from me foolish imaginations,
inspire those that are good and pleasing in thy sight.
Turn away mine eyes lest they behold vanity;
let mine eyes look right on,
and let mine eyelids look straight before me.
Hedge up mine ears with thorns lest they incline to undisciplined words.
Give me early the ear to hear,
and open mine ears to the instruction of thy oracles.
Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth,
and keep the door of my lips.
Let my word be seasoned with salt,
that it may minister grace to the hearers.

Brian's Translation - Thank-you LORD for a good nights rest and may this day be wonderful. Keep me in your love and protect me from my own foolishness. May I see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. May I see your grace and show it to others. AMEN

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Devout Devotions

I, like you do 'my devotions,' but this thought from one of Anglican's great spiritual writers broadens the meaning of doing devotions. All for the glory of God.

"Devotion is neither private nor public prayer, but prayers, whether private or public, are particular parts or instances of devotion. Devotion signifies a life given, or devoted to God. He, therefore, is the devout man, who lives no longer to his own will, or the way of the world, but to the sole will of God; who serves God in everything, who makes all the parts of his common life parts of piety, by doing everything in the Name of God, and under such rules as are conformable to His glory."

A Serious Call, By William Law

A Prayer from the BCP (page 729)

O God, Most high and holy, Three in one,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
We offer to Thee this day
Ourselves, our souls and bodies,
To be a reaasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto Thee;
To whom be all praise and glory. AMEN

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Christ the Surgeon

Patient: Doctor, what is the cause of all these problems I keep having?

Doctor: My son, you have an inflamed ego.

Patient: Is there any thing we can do to about it?

Doctor: I'm afraid that we shall have to remove it.

Patient: But Doctor, can I live without an ego?

Doctor: My son, you have not really lived until it is removed.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 16.24,25

Monday, February 1, 2010


I will be away on retreat for a few days with the clergy of Central Newfoundland. Bishop Mark MacDonald is our retreat leader. Please keep us in your prayers.

LORD, in your mercy, Brian+

I Commend to Thee

Pronunciation: \kə-ˈmend\
Function: verb
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French comander, from Latin commendare, from com- + mandare to entrust — more at mandate
Date: 14th century

transitive verb 1 : to entrust for care or preservation
2 : to recommend as worthy of confidence or notice
3 : to mention with approbation : praise

I commend to thee, O Lord,
my soul, and my body,
my mind, and my thoughts,
my prayers, and my vows,
my senses, and my limbs,
my words, and my works,
my life, and my death;
my brothers, and my sisters,
and all their children;
my friends, my benefactors, my well wishers,
those who have claim on me;
my kindred, and my neighbours,
my country, and all Christendom.
I commend to thee, O Lord,
my impulses, and my startings,
my intentions, and my attempts,
my going out, and my coming in,
my sitting down, and my rising up.

Lancelot Andrewes