Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Prayer and Trust … letters for our times …

“A Dhia Ghleigil” (Oh Glorious God) Noirin Ni Riain & The Monks of Glenstal Abbey, from the album “Vox de Nube”, 1996

Glenstall Abbey House

Glenstall Abbey House

Today’s Gospel is about Christ’s prayer, from John 17: 13-26…

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13And now I come to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy filled in themselves.

14I have given them thy word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world; as I also am not of the world.

15I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from evil. 16They are not of the world, as I also am not of the world.

17Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth. 18As thou hast sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.

19And for them do I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

Prayer for all Believers

St. John, by Pieter Paul Rubens, Flemish, 1577-1640

St. John, by Pieter Paul Rubens, Flemish, 1577-1640

20And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me; 21That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

22And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given to them; that they may be one, as we also are one: 23I in them, and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one: and the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast also loved me.

24Father, I will that where I am, they also whom thou hast given me may be with me; that they may see my glory which thou hast given me, because thou hast loved me before the creation of the world.

25Just Father, the world hath not known thee; but I have known thee: and these have known that thou hast sent me. 26And I have made known thy name to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them.

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These days I am thinking about mortality, and sin, and the state of affairs in our current modern English society. Thinking of Christ’s prayer that all believers be one. Here is a little story from the Catholic side of my family. My line is Irish/French on my mother’s side and German/Swiss on my father’s side.

I guess you could say I am a “religious half breed”, Catholic and Methodist (United Church now, seems to be the universal catch-all for dieing denominations), which is why I see these religious things a little differently from those who come from a unified spiritual background and a single point of view with respect to religion, or, more commonly now, no spiritual background at all.

“An Taiseirl (The Resurrection)”, Noirin Ni Riain and The Monks Of Glenstal Abbey, from the album “Vox de Nube”, (1996)

Nóirín Ní Riain

By Nóirín Ní Riain official website, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php

On the East coast as a child on Sundays I would sing in church with my Catholic mother, and then an hour later sing in church with my Methodist (United Church)  grandmother. Everyone was just trying to save little Joe’s soul as best they knew. Now, as an old(er) man, I sing in church with my daughter who plays piano for our music ministry.

Anyway, here is a little story of my recent ancestors.

November 24, 1831.  “I the undersigned, having received the mutual consent of Michael Devanny, Son of Darby Devanny and Margaret Gillan, of the County of Sligo, Ireland, and Ann Magown, Daughter of James Magown and Bridget MacCown,  of the Same County, Married them in the presence of John Stewart, Patrick MacMullin and John Scollion. (signed by) J. Loughran P.P.”

Thus begins the story of my mother’s family in the new world. Before the first child was baptized the family name had been changed to DeVan, (from Belgium via the Channel Islands, as the family mythology goes, because of course “Irish need not apply”)  and they had three children baptized as DeVan before Michael’s untimely death 7 and a half years later.

The DeVan Family Bible states that Michael DeVan died 20th of May 1839 at Dartmouth from stepping on a rusty nail. St. Mary’s R.C. Registers (Halifax) Burials (1830-1842) No. 25, (PANS Reel 11506)

“I the undersigned buried Michael DeVan aged 34 years, husband of Ann McGowan, a Ship carpenter by trade and a native of Ireland. J Loughnan P.P.”

In a time when life was often short and even brutal, bigotry was more common, more overt than today, and more virulent, and literacy was not as widespread amongst the common man as our modern educational “establushment” claims we now are. Back then name spelling varied from day to day and person to person it seems.

Just an aside, I still can’t, for the life of me, understand why using Apple computers and iPhones and trinkets from the AppStore and having a Facebook account and 500 “friends”, counts as “literacy” but then again, perhaps I am just an ignorant throwback to an earlier day when party lines were the most common connection and the World Wide Web had yet to be born as ARPA net. Anyway, this post is about prayer, remember that Joe.

patrick_shamrock_0

Saint Patrick

In the early 1800’s literacy was not as widespread amongst the common man as claimed today but their prayers still survived. There were prayers still, in the time of Michael and Ann, powerful prayers, that had come down from ancient times and which are now lost to most modern sophisticated peoples, prayers abandoned along with the sacraments by we enlightened moderns.

As John wrote: “and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world;

Sometimes called “The Deer’s Cry”, this is one of those prayers, translated from Old Irish around 1898, to be read aloud as a morning prayer, attributed to St. Patrick (ca 433?)

St. Patrick’s Breastplate
(“I Arise Today”)

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendour of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

Domini est salus, Domini est salus, Christi est salus. Salus tua, Domine, sit semper nobiscum. (Salvation is of The Lord, salvation is of The Lord, salvation is of Christ. May thy salvation, Lord, be always with us.)

Good Morning and may you have a blessed and peaceful day …

Cheers

Joe

coptic-desert

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

World Problems and Joy?

A part of the ancient Hadrian’s wall in northern England. Image from: http://catholicexchange.com/peace-and-security

So what does a country boy see out there in the “REAL” world? What are the “world problems” that I think might affect myself, my family and my life here in rural flyover country, what gets on the radar?

I am thinking about peace and conflict, and how I choose to drink at springs of peace or springs of conflict. After yesterday’s outburst of emotion, about observed events which I chose to observe and judge, courtesy of lots of folks with nothing to do but emote and “create content”.

“Wind of the Western Sea” Bill Douglas, from the album “Songs of Earth and Sky”, (1998)

Am I one of those “emoticons in suits”? Well, maybe an emoticon in Levis, and pretty thread bare Levis at that. No suits around here any more – that was all in a previous life, long, long ago. Don’t even have a tie anymore.

It’s 06:55 and the sun is coming up on a cool dawn. With quiet time for second thought, the truth is, there are not really any problems anywhere which directly affect my immediate life … my “real” world is full of beauty, and peace, waiting for room in my soul … if I make the time and make the room to just let it in, if I don’t fill it up with other stuff.

So, I pray for “Purity of Heart”, that purity that goes beyond simple passions and pleasures. Speaking of purity here I am intending to evoke the purity which not only implies an absence of sin but goes much further to invoke the absence of all earthly affections.

I think that is the scriptural sense of “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God” (Mt 5,8), and with this Purity of heart, this directing of my entire capacity for affection and attachment towards God alone I may achieve clearer vision of my ultimate goal.

I get glimpses of the target but they are frequently obscured by the up-welling of my passions and self-love and I frequently loose sight of the path, and the world struggles mightily to re-establish dominance in my soul … and I fall … again …

… Prayers to start the day …

O Lord, give me right sentiments about You and grant that I may seek You with a simplicity of heart. My heart says to You, ‘I will seek Your face.’ When my heart seeks You, O Lord, it is Your presence it is seeking. Your home is where You dwell, and where do You dwell, if not in Your temple? My heart is Your temple: teach me how to welcome You there. You are a spirit, and I must adore You in spirit and in truth. Come into my heart, and all the idols shall fall.”

“Now I shall listen to Your voice and learn to long for You and to prepare myself to see You. Blessed are all who see You! And if they do see You, it is not because, while they were on earth, they were poor in spirit, or because they were meek or merciful, or because they mourned or hungered and thirsted after justice, but because they were clean of heart. Humility is good for attaining the kingdom of heaven; meekness is good for possessing the land; tears are good for receiving consolation; hunger and thirst after justice, for being filled; mercy is good for obtaining mercy; but only purity of heart permits us to see You.”

My desire is to see You; what I desire is great, but it is You who tell me to wish for it. Help me to purify my heart, because what I desire to  see is pure but my means of seeing it, impure. Come to me, O God, and purify me by Your grace; purify my heart with Your aid and strength. If I receive You into my heart during this present life, after my death You will admit me into Your presence.” (St. Augustine)

and

“Come, Holy Spirit, speak to my heart; or at least, if You wish to remain silent, may Your very silence speak to me, because without You I am always in danger of following my own errors and confusing them with Your teachings” (St. Bernard)

prayers from : (Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.  from the book “Divine Intimacy” meditations on the interior life for every day of the liturgical year.pp 907)

Cheers, and have a blessed and peaceful day …

Joe

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners. Spread the Flame of Love of your Immaculate Heart over all of humanity, now and at the hour of our death, Amen

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