Life in a small town

Morning Prayer …

The Beatitudes”, from the album “Biscantorat – The Sound Of The Spirit From Glenstal Abbey” – The Monks of Glenstal Abbey – (2009)

Just a couple of morning prayers, or useful anytime to maintain the presence of God and to stay focused on our purpose in life. The first is a binding prayer taken from the Auxilium Christianorum, found here, or in this book, or on my post here, for part 1, or here continued in part 2.

So, the prayer:

“In the Name of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and God, we ask Thee to render all spirits impotent, paralyzed and ineffective in attempting to take revenge against anyone of the members of the Auxilium Christianorum, our families, friends, communities, those who pray for us and their family members, or anyone associated with us and for whom the priests of the Auxilium Christianorum pray.

We ask Thee to bind all evil spirits, all powers in the air, the water, the ground, the fire, under ground, or wherever they exercise their powers, any satanic forces in nature and any and all emissaries of the satanic headquarters. We ask Thee to bind by Thy Precious Blood all of the attributes, aspects and characteristics, interactions, communications and deceitful games of the evil spirits. We ask Thee to break any and all bonds, ties and attachments in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Amen.

The second prayer is simply to say “Yes!” to living in God’s Will. I found this prayer in a Mark Mallett post “Our Lady’s Little Rabble” and it spoke to me since I have been often asking, in my head, exactly the same question. The part of the post starts with “This is all to say that Our Lady’s Little Rabble is not necessarily special… just chosen. And she is inviting you. What must you do? The first thing is to simply, right now, say “yes”—fiat.

… and to pray something like this (I modified it slightly for reading comfort):

“Lord, I present myself to You right now, as I am.

And my “as I am” ( is more ) is like Matthew as he sat at his table collecting taxes; or like Zacchaeus hiding up in a tree; or like the adulterous (woman) laying accused in the dirt; or like the good thief, hanging by a thread; or like Peter declaring, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

To each of these, You accepted their “Take me as I am.” And so, with a firm act of my will, I offer You now all that I am, as I am. In this way, I also take Mary as my Mother, she whom You have placed, after You, at the head of Your Celestial army.

With that, Lord, I pray: “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” (to be living in “the Will of God”)”

From Mark Mallett’s “Our Lady’s Little Rabble” post.

Cheers

Joe

The Angelus, JEAN FRANÇOIS MILLET (Museo_de_Orsay, 1857-1859)

Just us peasants here in the Shire, “fly-over country” any-town, any-where.

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Life in a small town

Palm Sunday, and Holy Week … (without churches)

The Beatitudes”, from the album “Biscantorat – The Sound Of The Spirit From Glenstal Abbey” – The Monks of Glenstal Abbey – (2009)

Glenstal Abbey House

Yesterday I traveled around to various small shops in our local area. Found, to my surprise, that there is a common silver lining to this pandemic panic, that being that, courtesy of all the “nonessential services” being closed in all the larger centers.

Folks are returning to the shops which they used to frequent decades ago before everyone decided to go to the nearest city to visit McDonalds, and Timmy’s, and Wendy’s, and Superstore, and Walmart, and so on and so forth.

Social distancing and restricted access have left folks without a “activity” destination.

Of course, I still have a problem with Church and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass being classed as a “non-essential” service along with night clubs and sports events, while liquor stores and marijuana shops are staying open as “essential”.

Seems deeply perverted from where I sit, but that is the Canadian way, eh? Maybe it’s because the Liquor stores and Marijuana shops are government sponsored avenues of moral dissolution but church worship is the enemy … that’s very Canadian as well, isn’t it?

Just listen to Justin and the rest, and do whatever you are told and everything will be OK, right? So between his Chinese contacts and his Soros instructions he should have all the answers about controlling his population during this Red Bat Flu epidemic.

His marriage is a failure … but we trust him to run the country, and handle the pandemic? hmmmm

And if you have the slightest doubts about anything, just ask my sister, whose current big city opinion is that “This whole thing is really serious and it is caused by people (that would be us rurals) not taking isolation seriously.

She watched a televised 3 hour Ontario government press conference on the weekend and now knows everything that anyone needs to know. She has stopped talking about how she got stranded in Roatan for a while because it turned out that her opinion at that time about the seriousness of the pandemic was wrong.

I guess that is what it takes to get through the BS. All the restaurants closed and no one at the resort, and multiple teams of Honduran military men in surgical masks and armed with automatic weapons, ordering everyone out of the water and off the beaches and off the streets.

Oh well, that was then and it doesn’t matter now. Now it is all the fault of all those little people out there who never left the country for their vacation, who are not taking it seriously, because it can’t be travelers going on their vacations in spite of all the warnings. Oh, and also … The Chinese have stopped it cold and everyone is recovering over there because they are able to force their population to comply with the isolation restrictions. Good Job  and kudos to the Chinese Communist Party for keeping all the little prolls in line.

Meanwhile, back here in The Shire, for local meat shops, and small country stores, and rural CO-OPs, and family farm businesses, the pandemic has provided a welcome shot in the economic arm as the customers return in droves and are surprised that we have what they are looking for (mostly) or a close equivalent, and they don’t have to spend hours driving and $50 bucks or so on gas to go shopping in a city somewhere.

And things are pretty much unchanged in the rurals, with no line-ups, no serious shortages, and personal attention from people you actually know, and no problems. The smaller the town the safer it is, if your biggest fear is catching the latest plague from some coughing plague carrier. Yes, “The Shire” really is the best place to live. Just ask Baggins.

We Happy Few …

So life in the country goes on pretty much as normal except for the proliferation of plastic counter barriers and a lot of people wearing nitrile gloves because their hands are drying out from using hand sanitizer so often. As my dad would remark, if a meteor struck Toronto nothing would change in the slightest in the rurals. I guess he was right.

On the other hand, as noted earlier, my family relatives in the big cities across the country have started blaming the pandemic on “people not taking isolation seriously” courtesy of the important wisdom and “factual” information from televised government press conferences and the latest terror being passed on by various Health “Authorities” on their local TV channels. So now the Red Bat Flu (RBF) is our fault for not taking their fear seriously, in between blaming everything on Trump.

As I posted previously, we now have a golden God given opportunity to LOVE. Love like never before as humans. This brief opportunity we have before us right now is to pray for the conversion of those who have rejected God’s Love in pursuit of their worship of self, of the “goods and gods” of this world, now showing to be frighteningly thread-bare in the face of the Red Bat Flu.

So how to deal with the scorn and approbation of our relatives and contacts and the rest of our “Betters”? Well, accept the cross. We are being given an opportunity not to act like the elder brother in that parable who is bitter toward his prodigal brother and would prefer justice. No, let us fast and pray that the lost will be found and the blind may see again!

I feel compassion right now for my big city sisters and the rest of the big city relates who know best what everyone else “should be doing”, and all the Social Media opinion makers, the Facebook Monkey Tribes, and all the artists, and writers, and actors, and entertainers, and yes, even all the talking heads and experts so in love with themselves and their own opinions, even if their “original” thoughts come out of a script written by someone much further up the food chain. They seem to be, well, just scared out of their nickers.

I want them to know, if any are reading this, that they are loved with an eternal love. God loves you all. God knew you before He formed you in your mother’s womb, and even though your medical system kills a hundred thousand of you every day, He knew that you would be one of the survivors. I want you to know that God the Father wants to wrap you in His enormous tender arms. Soon, the masks and facades will all fall away and God is going to ask not who you were, but WHO ARE YOU?

Cheers

Joe

its all so crazy making …

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The Inner Struggle

The Resurrection of Christ Jesus … Meaning and Communication?

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

Resurrection, Romolo Tavani

Resurrection, Romolo Tavani

Acts 10:34a, 37-43 Peter proceeded to speak and said: “You know what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.

He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.

They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.

He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”

“Quid hoc ad aeternitatem,” as old Saint Bernard of Clairvaux used to mumble when faced with the usual parade of travail, “what does it matter in the light of eternity?” Well, it turns out that the Resurrection matters rather a lot. St. Bernard had it right concerning all the trials of our daily lives as they relate to eternity, but THE most important thing in all of human history is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Why is it so misunderstood and ignored?

I like the term “praxis” meaning “that which people do habitually, characteristically and usually unreflectively“, as a wonderfully concise summary of our polite daily narrative. It gives me a nice handle on the state of action, conversation and thought, or the lack of same, in our social media society.

I have had an on-again, off-again, love/hate relationship with the use of our English language as a means of alleged “communications” for at least 40 years now. I have found that the world shows a distressing lack of precision and understanding of the meaning of common words, used every day, and in the communication of thoughts which when examined, have no relation whatsoever to the words in use to express the “feelings” of the speaker except perhaps in some vague syllabic sort of way, the more syllables the better.

That the speakers lack a basic understanding of what the words they use moment by moment actually mean in English is a never ending source of distress and misunderstanding. Should one raise any objection to this misuse of the language one is immediately vilified as a “pedant”, supposing that term exists in the speakers lexicon, and worse if the vocabulary is lacking. Even questioning “What do you mean?” invites a snarky retort along the lines of “What’s the matter with you don’t you understand plain English?” To which the obvious answer is “Well, yes, but … ”  don’t go there … really, no joy down that  track.

And so we find ourselves back at the start of the trail, with another pair of tracks in front of us added to the ones before … and then someone remarks “Another couple of Heffalumps have joined the herd!” … So goes debate and discussion in polite society.

As I remarked in a previous post, the gateway to Belief is flanked and supported by the two pillars of reality, the Incarnation and the Resurrection supporting the lintel of Faith …  but how can one express such a reality to any person confined to, imprisoned in, secular material reality? How are we to describe color to the blind or music to the deaf? How to communicate when we don’t even have a common language?

How is one to explain “Faith” without a common language, and even the brightest of  us seem to assign rather different meanings to rather common ideas and words. I am still reading “The Resurrection of the Son of God V3: Christian Origins and the Question of God” by N.T. Wright, from “Fortress Press” . It is a joy to read, what I have in the past referred to as “Brain Candy”, but not a ripping page turner. I I read a bit when I  am finished daily meditations, along with several others on my list in the same class of books.

And Dr. Wright spends a significant part of the first 70 pages or so clarifying this exact problem of meaning and the need for clarity in the context of historical writing and theology …  and that same confusion is equally prevalent in daily social exchange and is arguably more important, since in the immediate sense, history is only important to historians.

N.T. Wright writes: “What, though, do we mean by ‘historical’?  ‘History’ and its cognates have been used, within debates about Jesus and the resurrection, in at least five significantly different ways.

First, there is history as event. If we say something is ‘historical’ in this sense, it happened, whether or not we can know or prove that it happened. The death of the last pterodactyl is in that sense a historical event, even though no human witnessed it or wrote about it at the time, and we are very unlikely ever to discover when and where it took place. Similarly, we use the word ‘historical’ of persons or things, to indicate simply and solely that they existed.

Second, there is history as significant event. Not all events are significant; history, it is often assumed, consists of the ones that are. The adjective that tends to go with this is ‘historic’; ‘a historic event’ is not simply an event that took place, but one whose occurrence carried momentous consequences. Likewise, a ‘historic’ person, building or object is one perceived to have had particular significance, not merely existence. Rudolf Bultmann, himself arguably a historic figure within the discipline of New Testament studies, famously used the adjective “geschichtlich” to convey this sense, over against “historisch” (sense 1).

Third, there is history as provable event. To say that something is ‘historical’ in this sense is to say not only that it happened but that we can demonstrate that it happened, on the analogy of mathematics or the so-called hard sciences. This is somewhat more controversial. To say ‘x may have happened, but we can’t prove it, so it isn’t really historical’ may not be self-contradictory, but is clearly operating with a more restricted sense of ‘history’ than some of the others.

Fourth, and quite different from the previous three, there is history as writing-about-events-in-the-past. To say that something is ‘historical’ in this sense is to say that it was written about, or perhaps could in principle have been written about. (This might even include ‘historical’ novels.) A variant on this, though an important one, is oral history; at a time when many regarded the spoken word as carrying more authority than the written, history as speaking-about-events-in-the-past is not to be sneezed at.

Fifth and finally, a combination of (3) and (4) is often found precisely in discussions of Jesus: history as what modern historians can say about a topic. By ‘modern’ I mean ‘post-Enlightenment’, the period in which people have imagined some kind of analogy, even correlation, between history and the hard sciences. In this sense, ‘historical’ means not only that which can be demonstrated and written, but that which can be demonstrated and written within the post-Enlightenment worldview. This is what people have often had in mind when they have rejected ‘the historical Jesus’ (which hereby, of course, comes to mean ‘the Jesus that fits the Procrustean bed of a reductionist worldview’) in favour of ‘the Christ of faith’.

If the “authorities”  cannot agree on the meaning of “historical” then what hope for the rest of us on any topic. We are left with “Feelings”?

Anyway, eh? Enough serious stuff for tonight …here is something from around here amongst the frozen chosen:

Cheers

Joe

A Psalm of David: The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

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The Inner Struggle

Peace To Men of “Good Will” … Humility & Good Will

The Beatitudes”, from the album “Biscantorat – The Sound Of The Spirit From Glenstal Abbey” – The Monks of Glenstal Abbey – (2009)

Peace to “Men (and Women) of Good will”. What is this “Good Will” which is the prerequisite to attaining peace? Some translations have it as “Men of Good Will”, others have it as “men with whom He (GOD) is pleased”. It all comes down to the same thing in the end … what is pleasing to GOD is Good Will, so what are we going on about here?

At Bethlehem the angels announced two things: glory to GOD and peace to men; the one corresponds to the other. No one glorifies GOD as much as that little Babe lying on the straw. He alone, being the eternal Word, can give GOD the perfect, infinite praise that is worthy of Him.

And no one more than Jesus, our Savior, brings peace to men; making reparation for sin, He reconciles man the creature with GOD his Creator, and establishes a new covenant between them: the Creator becomes Father and the creature becomes His child.

So how do we understand this in our daily reality? It seems to me obvious that those who obey GOD’s law enjoy peace; observing the divine law they also glorify GOD. The glory of GOD corresponds perfectly to the peace of men and that peace comes only through Jesus, from His grace.

It also seems obvious that we seek in vain for that peace from any other source, from the transient things and creatures of this world which is passing away before our very eyes. If we are lacking in peace in our daily life then it seems inevitable that we are somehow not corresponding with GOD’s will.

We can dress it up in all kinds of ways and look at it from all kinds of angles and blame any number of others but in the end we are only fooling ourselves and the peace we seek remains absent.

Aphorisms

Peace, Rule of Law, and Good Government, are conditions of the desirable life, the desirable society, and we often observe in the world around us that absent any of those three we have nothing but misery, death and destruction.

Our media are full of the bad results of the absence of Peace, Rule of Law, and Good Government, think about “If it bleeds it leads” and other such aphorisms. Remember Aphorisms?

An aphorism is a concise, terse, laconic, and/or memorable expression of a general truth or principle. They are often handed down by tradition from generation to generation.

In many ways, “Peace” and “Good Will” are ideas or concepts, like “Quality”, which are easy to identify when they are right before us but difficult to describe and define, absent the thing in question. References to “Peace” and “Good Will” have become figures of speech like “Sorry”.

Most the time we end up with a mess of generalities while using the modifier “like” rather more than we are comfortable with … “Like, man … you know …”. “Peace” and “Good Will” seem rather to be more a desirable but mythical place than a process involving personal effort and humility on the part of the “person of Good will”.

Snow”, by Kobudo, from the album “Ototabi”  (2013).

It seems to me, observing life around me, and as reported in the media worldwide, that absent humility there is precious little Good Will on the part of anyone alive today. The absence of humility appears to be pretty much a genetic predisposition inherent in every human animal from birth. As in families, there are said to be predispositions to cancer, or to heart disease, or to blond hair, or to alcoholism, or even (heaven forbid) to intelligence or lack of same, so the whole human “family” has a predisposition to Pride, which is of course the opposite of humility.

Saint Thomas Becket, 1117-1170Anyone who actively attempts to cultivate humility is subjected to humiliation all the more, played as a sucker, or a target of ridicule, treated as a scapegoat, and we see this played out throughout history …  for example, which of the two protagonists in the following story was a “man of good will” and which was not?  Dec. 29th is the feast of Saint Thomas Becket, son of Gilbert Becket, was born in Southwark, England, in 1117.

When a youth he was attached to the household of Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, who sent him to Paris and Bologna to study law and he was ordained a deacon. His support of Henry II’s claim to England’s throne led to his appointment as royal chancellor.

He became Archdeacon of Canterbury, then Lord High Chancellor of England; and in 1160, when Archbishop Theobald died, the king insisted on the consecration of St. Thomas in his stead. St. Thomas refused, warning the king that from that hour their friendship would be broken. In the end he yielded, and was consecrated.

The conflict at once broke out; He was the king’s great friend until 1162, when, as the archbishop of Canterbury, he said he changed from being “a patron of play-actors and a follower of hounds, to being a shepherd of souls.” St. Thomas resisted the royal customs, which violated the liberties of the Church and the laws of the realm.

This British Library painting from circa 1200 is the earliest known portrayal of Thomas Becket’s murder in Canterbury Cathedral. (Public Domain)

He and the king clashed over many issues, notably the jurisdiction of ecclesiastical courts. After six years of contention, partly spent in. exile, St. Thomas, with full foresight of martyrdom before him, returned as a good shepherd to his Church.

On the 29th of December, 1170, just as vespers were beginning, four knights broke into the cathedral, crying: “Where is the archbishop? where is the traitor?” The monks fled, and St. Thomas might easily have escaped.

But he advanced, saying: “Here I am—no traitor, but archbishop. What seek you?” “Your life,” they cried. “Gladly do I give it,” was the reply; and bowing his head, the invincible martyr was hacked and hewn till his soul went to God.

Six months later Henry II, submitted to be publicly scourged at the Saint’s shrine, and restored to the Church her full rights. Saint Thomas Becket was also known as Saint Thomas of Canterbury and also Thomas of London.

Frederick William Faber, circa 1860

Fr. Frederick William Faber, circa 1860

“Learn from St. Thomas,” says Father Faber, “to fight the good fight even to the shedding of blood, or, to what men find harder, the shedding of their good name by pouring it out to waste on the earth.”

Dec. 30th, Sunday, is the Feast of the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I hope you are able to find many opportunities in this holy season of Christmas to give “glory to the newborn King,” as the old carol says. Today, we take a closer look at family in our lives.

God honors, upholds and rejoices in the community of family. The relationships between father and child, mother and child, or husband and wife each reflect God’s perfect love—both for us and among the Divine Persons of the Holy Trinity.

Jesus, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, nonetheless grew up within a close-knit, human family.  In today’s Gospel (30th), where Jesus gets left behind in Jerusalem after Passover, there is a surprisingly intimate look at Jesus’ family dynamics.

Mary and Joseph demonstrate a strong, spousal partnership in their search for 12-year old Jesus who has, unbeknownst to his human parents, stayed behind in the temple.

Jesus, once found and gently questioned by His mother, Mary, “…went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.”

Can you think of a time in your own family of anxiety, then resolution, forgiveness and the restoration of family peace?

Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, (1865 – 1930)

Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, (1865 – 1930)

It appears to me that any conflict at any level has it’s root cause in the absence of humility on the part of the players in whichever drama is being considered in any venue. I have remarked before that: “It seems a hallmark of Truth that it always believes and expects the best of others and acts accordingly. It also seems a hallmark of untruth that it always believes and expects the worst of others and acts accordingly.”

My guess is that it all depends on what your starting assumptions are, one’s own motivations and default responses to events, as to how you believe others will act. This morning I prayed a litany of humility, a pius Catholic custom, and afterwards thought how the petitions of the litany encompass the entire gamut of all the underlying provocations of human conflict, in families and outside the family circle in the wider world.

All human conflict and rancor seem rooted in either fear of something or desire for something, the conflict arising from disappointed desires or realized fears.

For non Catholics, it may help to understand that a litany is a form of prayer with a repeated responsive petition, used in public liturgical services of the Catholic Church, and in private devotions of Her adherents. This then is the Litany of Humility (with emphasis on the desires and fears) :

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, Make my heart like yours.
From self-will, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being loved, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being extolled, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being honored, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being praised, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being preferred to others, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire of being approved, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire to be understood, deliver me, O Lord.
From the desire to be visited, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being despised, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being calumniated, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being suspected, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being wronged, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being abandoned, deliver me, O Lord.
From the fear of being refused, deliver me, O Lord.
That others may be loved more than I,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I go unnoticed,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,
Lord, grant me the grace to desire it.
At being unknown and poor, Lord, I want to rejoice.
At being deprived of the natural perfections of body and mind,Lord, I want to rejoice.
When people do not think of me, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they assign to me the meanest tasks, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they do not even deign to make use of me, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they never ask my opinion, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they leave me at the lowest place, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they never compliment me, Lord, I want to rejoice.
When they blame me in season and out of season, Lord, I want to rejoice.
Blessed are those who suffer persecution for justice’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Attributed by many writers to: Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, (1865 – 1930)

Cheers

Joe

The rather obvious point of this post is to imply that we should be striving for humility … how’s that working out so far, Joe? What kind of progress are we making on our quest for peace?

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The Inner Struggle

Easter Sunday – The Resurrection of Christ Jesus

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

Resurrection, Romolo Tavani

Resurrection, Romolo Tavani

Acts 10:34a, 37-43 Peter proceeded to speak and said:
“You know what has happened all over Judea,
beginning in Galilee after the baptism
that John preached,
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good
and healing all those oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him.
We are witnesses of all that he did
both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.
They put him to death by hanging him on a tree.
This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible,
not to all the people, but to us,
the witnesses chosen by God in advance,
who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
He commissioned us to preach to the people
and testify that he is the one appointed by God
as judge of the living and the dead.
To him all the prophets bear witness,
that everyone who believes in him
will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”

“Quid hoc ad aeternitatem,” as old Saint Bernard of Clairvaux used to mumble when faced with the usual parade of travail, what does it matter in the light of eternity?

Cheers

Joe

1A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

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The Inner Struggle

I Arise Today … “Atomriug indiu”

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

I am thinking about mortality, and sin, and the state of affairs in our current modern English society. 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, which is why I see these religious things a little differently from those who come from a unified  spiritual background, or no spiritual background.

On the East coast as a child on Sunday I would sing in church with my Catholic mother, and then sing in church with my Methodist 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.”

patrick_shamrock_0

Saint Patrick

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 and virulent and literacy was not widespread amongst the common man, name spelling varied from day to day and person to person it seems. 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 peoples, prayers abandoned along with the sacraments.

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

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