CHRIST THE SAVIOUR MONASTERY - Christminster
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR)
New York, USA
January-March 2014

JANUARY 2014

Christmas Eve Festivities (1/7/14)

Our Christmas Eve Liturgy was splendid, with the presence of friends, Canadian and American, and the music of the Schola of the Gregorian Institute of Canada, under the direction of Dr. William Renwick. The weather, at least locally, was atrocious, with bitter winds and white-out conditions. The food and fellowship afterward were appreciated and were an antidote to the fierce weather outside. Special thanks to the Schola members, and to Archbishop Peter for his invaluable help and support, and to Dr. Andrew and Elizabeth Adkins for their help with the festive meal afterwards. The monks extend to all our friends everywhere warmest wishes for a blessed Christmas season and a happy new year.

Dom James
Abbot of Christminster
25 December/7 January
========
World Watch List on Persecuted Christians - - (1/11/14)

Perhaps this article may serve as a wake-up call to complacent Christians, and at least as a summons to pray for these nameless brothers and sisters in Christ:

Washington D.C., Jan 9, 2014 / 04:51 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Nearly twice the number of Christians were reported as dying for their faith in 2013 than the previous year, according to a new study by an organization monitoring global religious persecution.

The World Watch List, issued by Open Doors USA each year, documents oppression of Christians throughout the world. Based on data from the past year, it ranks the 50 countries that are home to the worst treatment of Christians.

Along with the release of the 2014 report, Open Doors USA also offered information about global Christian persecution on its website, explaining that it had gathered evidence of 2,123 Christians who were killed for their faith in 2013, up from 1,201 such martyrdoms in 2012.

“This is a very minimal count based on what has been reported in the media and we can confirm,” said Frans Veerman, head of research for the organization, according to Reuters. He explained that the actual numbers could be much higher.

The Open Doors USA report estimated that around 100 million Christians were persecuted for their faith in 2013.

North Korea, which ranked as the worst offender on the 2013 World Watch List, remains the most dangerous country for Christians in 2014 as well, solely because of the national government's targeting of religious believers.

“The God-like worship of the rulers leaves no room for any other religion,” the report said, explaining that any “reverence not concentrated on the Kim dynasty will be seen as dangerous and state-threatening.”

It is estimated that between 150,000 and 200,000 Christians in the country are imprisoned in forced labor camps. Immediate family members of Christians are also targeted, often being placed in “re-education camps,” Open Doors USA said.

Conditions have also deteriorated in Somalia, which moved from the fifth most dangerous to the second most dangerous country for Christians in the past year. The report explained that within public society, leaders “maintain that there is no room for Christianity, Christians and churches,” an attitude that is “upheld and reinforced on different levels” throughout society.

This problem is compounded by the tribal social structure, which creates a fracturing of society, allowing “Islamic extremism, via groups like al-Shabaab, to flourish in Somalia.”

To gain access to “basic necessities, such as basic social services, education or justice,” the report stated, “Somali Christians have to hide their belief,” with Church life and community existing in secret.

A spike in persecution also occurred in Syria, which accounted for more than half of the total Christian martyrdoms recorded by Open Doors USA in the past year.

Syria was ranked as 36th worst offender on the World Watch List in 2012. Two years later, in 2014, it has risen to become the world's third most dangerous country for Christians.

The report noted that while the government was totalitarian and persecuted some Christians before the country's civil war, the ongoing conflict has given rise to great social instability and militant Islamist groups with ties to al-Qaeda throughout the country.

“As indeed the conflict is becoming more and more sectarian, targeted violence against Christians has increased,” it said. “The sectarian dimension of the conflict is indeed a factor that has made Christians, as a religious/ethnic minority, more vulnerable.”

Since 2011, the “four main groups of Christians” present in Syria have faced great trials, with many leaving to seek refuge in other nations. Because of this, the Christian population in the country has dropped from 1.7 million people one year ago to an estimated 1.3 million today.

Among the other countries on the World Watch List were Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Colombia and China. Added to the list this year were the Central African Republic, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

========
Prayer request - - (1/11/14)

We ask your prayers for Fr. Joel Logan, an OCA priest and friend of Christminster, who reposed yesterday after a long illness. Please remember also his Matushka in your prayers also.

========
Short Videos from Christmas Mass - - (1/11/14)

While we were not able to video the whole service, we do have two brief videos, one of the words of consecration in the Canon, and one of the school rehearsing the Saint-saens Tollite Hostias. These can be seen on the Christminster Facebook page or by the following links.

Choir Rehearsal - Christmas at Christminster 2014

Consecration at Christmas Mass at Christminster 2014
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

FEBRUARY 2014

Recommended Reading - - (2/1/14)

For those busy folk looking for solid yet digestible spiritual reading -- those who, like most people, have busy schedules -- I recommend a new book by a friend of Christminster, Professor James R. Payton, Jr. Dr. Payton teaches history and patristics at Redeemer University in Hamilton, Ontario. He is also the author of LIGHT FROM THE CHRISTIAN EAST: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE ORTHODOX TRADITION. His new book, ideal for daily reading of the eastern and western Fathers of the ancient church, is A PATRISTIC TREASURY: EARLY CHURCH WISDOM FOR TODAY. In a very helpful introduction, he reviews the history of these early fathers in general, and the importance of each in particular. The book itself consists of many carefully culled passages from their writings and provides a welcome pilgrimage through their extensive works. The book is available in paperback, and in eBook format (Kindle) for easy portability. This is a "keeper" you will want to keep handy and use daily, to delve into over many months and years for its solid nuggets of healthy and nourishing wisdom from the days of the undivided Church.

Dom James, Abbot
Christminster
=======

Calendar - February 1 to Ash Wednesday - - (2/1/14)

DAYNCOCF/AOBSERVANCE
SAT119St Mark of Ephesus, BC, III
SUN220EPIPHANY II, Sts. Fabian & Sebastian, MM, IV
MON321St. Agnes, VM, III; St. Maximus, MK, IV
TUE422St. Timothy, BM, III
WED523F/A*
THU624St. Xenia of St. Petersburg, II
FRI725Conversion of St. Paul, II
SAT826St. Polycarp, BM, III
SUN927EPIPHANY III; All New Russian Martyrs, II; St John Chrysostom, BCD, III
MON1028St. Cyril of Alexandria, BCD, III
TUE1129
WED1230F/A
THU1331
FRI141F/A*St. Bridget, AB, IV
SAT152PRESENTATION, I (Blessing of Candles): St. Ignatius of Antioch, BM, III
SUN163SEPTUAGESIMA; St. Blaise, BM, IV; (Blessing of throats); St. Nicholas of Japan, BC, IV
MON174
TUE185St. Agatha, VM, IV
WED196F/ASt. Photius, BC, IV
THU207St. Romuald, AB, III
FRI218F/A
SAT229
SUN2310SEXAGESIMA; St. Scholastica, AB, II; St. Caedmon, MK, IV
MON2411St. Benedict of Aniane, AB, IV
TUE2512
WED2613F/A
THU2714St. Valentine, BM, IV
FRI2815F/A
SAT116St. Simeon of Jerusalem, B, IV; St. Colman of Lindisfarne, MK, III
SUN217QUINQUAGESIMA
MON318
TUE419
WED520F/AASH WEDNESDAY


=======
Notice - - (2/5/14)

We are aware that some people prefer not to use Facebook. Therefore, beginning today our Facebook postings will also appear on the news page of our web site. While what we post is usually not technically news, it is, with some exceptions, as much news as you are going to get from a monastery.

Patristic Reading - - (St Clement of Rome):

"It is better for you to be found small but included in the flock of Christ than to have a pre-eminent reputation and yet be excluded from His hope."

"Grant us, Lord, on Your name, which is the primal source of all creation, and open the eyes of our hearts, that we may know You."

"Finally, may the all-seeing God and Master of spirits and Lord of all flesh, who chose the Lord Jesus Christ, and us through Him to be His own special people, grant to every soul that has called upon His magnificent and holy name faith, fear, peace, patience, steadfastness, self-control, purity, and sobriety, that they may be pleasing to His name through our High Priest and Guardian, Jesus Christ, though whom the glory and majesty, might and honor,both now and forever and ever."

++++++
[Short prayer to the Mother of God - - From: Old English Prayers]

O holy Mother of Christ, extend thy help to those who in sorrow fly to thee for aid; assist and cherish all who trust in thee; pray for thy suppliants in this world; plead in behalf of the clergy, intercede for monks, entreat for womankind, O Mary, Mother of God.

======
FROM THE ABBOT’S DESK: 6 February 2014
FROM THE ABBOT’S DESK: 6 February 2014

Two things have lately turned my thoughts to the subject of martyrdom. The first is the coming feast of the New Russian Martyrs (celebrated this coming weekend). The second arises from my recent reading of two excellent novels dealing with the period of the English Reformation.

In thinking of the new Russian martyrs, I am always reminded of Father Seraphim Rose’s stories of them in his book Russia’s Catacomb Saints. Their torments are as horrific as their witness is inspiring. But above all do I remember Father Seraphim’s epigraph at the beginning of the book: “Today in Russia. Tomorrow in America.” Those words have haunted me for years.

Also strangely haunting are the two novels I recently read – novels I heartily recommend for their literary and spiritual merits. The first, recently published, is TREASON by Dena Hunt; the second, from the early twentieth century, is the classic COME RACK! COME ROPE! By Robert Hugh Benson.

Both of these, through compelling plots and interesting characters, help one to live for a while in an atmosphere and world of actual persecution and of imminent martyrdom, a world of savage persecution of Christians by Christians in both cases.

But why would one want to live, even imaginatively, in such a world? Isn’t this just a tad morbid and unrealistic? Surely the modern world has learned from these past crimes and horrors. Father Seraphim’s words suggest otherwise – that tomorrow in America to which he refers is our today.

I would suggest that the most pertinent and practical question today for a Christian to ponder – and answer – is this: Are you willing and ready to die for Christ? The answer, if honest, will separate and distinguish true Christians from self-alleged Christians. And why is this distinction important? Because, as the two novels mentioned demonstrate, when real persecution begins these two parties of Christians will take sides – one ready to kill, the other to die. As the world reckons, the martyrs, willing to die for their faith, will look like fools. The others, clever and practiced in the art of compromise, will, as the world judges, appear to have made the wise and reasonable choice.

We would all like to think that when such a day comes for choosing, we will be on the right side. But the day of choosing is now, here, today. Do you – now – love Christ enough to die for him, to suffer the loss of all things if only Christ be gained? Do you even love him enough today to do as he asks and love your neighbor? That neighbor is the one actual and concrete opportunity you have right now to exercise your choosing, to practice your love of God. Your choices in a time of persecution are not likely to differ from the choices you make today. So we need not flatter ourselves by falsely counting ourselves among those willing to die for Christ.

As a closing note to our Orthodox brethren, I would refer you to the mutual bickering, recriminations and persecution one often finds on the internet. It takes little imagination to figure that Christians who treat one another so crassly and uncharitably in cyberspace will have little will or capacity for loving in a great day of judgement.

++++++

We celebrate today the feast of St. Xenia of St Petersburg, a fool for Christ. How wonderful it is that the church, in wisdom tinged with irony, should honour this shabby woman with the following words from her office: "This woman is beautiful among the daughters of Jerusalem." [Psalm antiphon at vespers and Lauds]

++++

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. [Proverbs 31: 10-11, Chapter from the common of Holy Women not Virgins]

++++

"He [Christ] had mercy upon us and in His compassion He saved us when we had no hope of salvation except that which comes from Him, and even though he had seen in us much deception and destruction. For He called us when we did not exist, and out of nothing he willed us into being.... He Himself says 'whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father' [Matt 10:32]. This, then, is our reward, if we acknowledge Him through whom we were saved. But how do we acknowledge Him? By doing what He says and not disobeying His commandments, and honoring Him not only with our lips but with all our heart and all our mind [Mark 12:30]." [Patristic Reading (St Clement of Rome, second letter)]

=====
Daily Posting: January 25/February 7 - Conversion of St. Paul

From: OLD ENGLISH PRAYER

O ye blessed Apostles, free me from my bondage, defend me in peril, strengthen me in the hour of trial, and bring me at length into the Kingdom of Life.

+++++

From the Fathers... (II Clement)

"This age and the one that in coming are enemies. This one is given to adultery and corruption and greed and deceit, but that one renounces these things. So we cannot be friends of both; we must renounce this one in order to experience that one."

"What assurance do we have of entering the kingdom of God if we fail to keep our baptism pure and undefiled?"

"While we are still on earth, let us repent. ... While we still have time to be healed, let us place ourselves in the hands of God the physician."

+++++

O God, who hast taught the whole world by the preaching of blessed Paul the Apostle: grant unto us, we beseech thee, that we who on this day celebrate the Conversion may, by following his example, advance in the way that leadeth unto thee. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Conversion of St Paul, January 25/February 7]

+++++

O by thy doctrine, Paul, thou sage illustrious,
Guide us in virtue, raise our spirits heavenwards;
Till perfect knowledge stream on us abundantly,
And that which only is in part be done away.

[From Vesperal Hymn (Doctor egregie Paule), Conversion of St Paul, January 25/February 7]

+++++

O holy Apostle Paul, thou preacher of the truth and Doctor of the Gentiles, intercede for us unto God, who hath chosen thee. [Magnificat antiphon, second Vespers, Conversion of St Paul, January 25/February 7]

=======
Daily Posting: January 26/February 8

From the Fathers... (II Clement)

"When the pagans hear from our mouths the oracles of God, they marvel at their beauty and greatness. But when they discover that our actions are not worthy of the words we speak, they turn from wonder to blasphemy,saying that it is a myth and a delusion."

"Since we have received no small opportunity to repent, let us, while we still have time, turn again to God who called us, while we still have One who accepts us."

"Let us help one another to restore those who are weak with respect to goodness, so that we may all be saved, and let us admonish and turn each other back."

++++

A prayer to the Mother of God from: OLD ENGLISH PRAYERS

O Mary, holy and immaculate Virgin Mother of God! Thou art the most merciful and most loving Mother of my Lord; Thou art most glorious and exalted above the stars of Heaven, for thou alone, without any equal, hast found favour with Christ, and, coming to the aid of a fallen world, hast brought to it salvation. Unspotted and most worthy Virgin of virgins; most powerful of all creatures; Lady exalted above all women; to thee nothing is difficult to obtain from God; come to mine aid who am a wretched sinner, full of sin and a man with many iniquities. O thou who didst bring forth the Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world, come, I beseech thee, to mine aid, unworthy and sinful though I am. I acknowledge mine iniquity, I know mine offenses, I confess my sins, I proclaim my unworthiness, I see my soul stained with all pollution. But, O Virgin Mary, who art incomparable in thy love, do thou by thy holy prayers soften and turn aside the just wrath of the Lord my God.

++++

We wish that today you would remember in your prayers the repose of the soul of Fr. Deacon Robert (Polycarp) Sherwood, benefactor of this monastery on this his name day.

O God, who makest us glad by the yearly solemnity of blessed [Polycarp], thy Martyr and Bishop: mercifully grant that we who honour his birthday may rejoice in his protection. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect from Common of One Martyr out of Paschaltide - - Feast of St. Polycarp, January 26/February 8]

=======
Daily Posting: January 27/February 9

O God of unspeakable mercy, who didst enable thy holy Russian Martyrs to overcome their enemies by dying for Thy name: deliver us, We beseech thee, at their intercession from slavery to sin: that with them we may come to thy perfect freedom in the heavenly fatherland. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, New Martyrs of Russia]

++++

Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities, and in all our dangers and necessities stretch forth thy right hand to help an defend us. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, third Sunday after Epiphany]

++++

We beseech thee, O Lord, let thy heavenly grace continually increase thy church: which thou hast vouchsafed to enlighten by the gracious doctrine and example of blessed John Chrysostom, thy Confessor and Bishop. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. John Chrysostom, January 27/February 9]

======
Daily Posting: January 28/February 10

From the Fathers... (St. Cyril of Alexandria)

"The holy body of Christ endows those who receive it with life and keeps us incorrupt when it is mingled with our body. For it is not the body of anyone else, but the body of Him who is life by nature, since it has within itself the entire power of the Word that is untied with it, and is endowed with His qualities, or rather is filled with His energy, through which all things are given life and maintained in being."

"Let us approach the divine and heavenly grace, and go up to the holy partaking of Christ. For that is precisely the way in which we shall overcome the deceits of the devil, and 'having become the partakers of the divine nature', shall ascend to life and incorruption."

++++

O God, who didst make blessed Cyril, thy Confessor and Bishop, an invincible defender of the divine motherhood of the blessed Virgin Mary: grant at his intercession, that we who believe her to be indeed the Mother of God may be saved by her maternal protection. Through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest for ever. Amen. [Collect, St. Cyril of Alexandria, January 28/February 10]

======
PRAYER REQUEST (2/11/14)

Your prayers are requested for two monks, Abbot David of Holyrood in Florida, and Father Joseph here at Christminster. Father David has been suffering from a brain tumour and has returned to the hospital for perhaps the last time. Father Joseph, also suffering from cancer, is scheduled for treatment at the Roswell cancer facility in Buffalo on Tuesday, 11 February. Please bring the two brothers, friends and colleagues in your prayers before the throne of God's mercy. Holyrood and Christminster are the two daughter-houses of the Monastery of Our Lady of Mount Royal under the late Abbot Augustine Whitfield, a western-rite Orthodox Benedictine community whose roots date back more than a century to 1910.

=======
Daily Posting: January 30/February 12

From the Fathers ... (St. Ignatius of Antioch)

"Pray continually for the rest of humanity as well, that they may find God, for there is in them hope for repentance. Therefore allow them to be instructed by you, at least by your deeds. In response to their anger, be gentle; in response their boasts, be humble; in response their slander, offer prayers; in response their errors, be steadfast in the faith; in response their cruelty, be gentle; do not be eager to retaliate against them. Let us show ourselves their brothers and sisters by our forbearance, and let us be eager to be imitators of the Lord."

++++

A prayer on the Resurrection from: OLD ENGLISH PRAYERS

O Lord Jesus Christ, hope of the sorrowful; health of the sick; life of the dying; resurrection of the dead! Rendering thee my thanks, I beseech Thee, O most high God, that Thou who, breaking the bonds of death, didst rise from the grave in power and in joy, wouldst grant me, wretched mortal that I am, a share in the first resurrection by forgiving my sins, and in the second resurrection by bestowing on me a never-ending life with Thy saints in Heaven. Amen.

=======
Daily Posting: January 31/February 13

From the Fathers ... (St. Ignatius of Antioch)

“For the work [Christianity] is not a matter of what one promises now, but of persevering to the end in the power of faith.”

“It is better to silent and be real, than to talk and not be real.”

[Regarding the celebration of the Eucharist:] “We break one bread, which is the medicine of immortality, the antidote we take in order not to die but to live forever in Jesus Christ.”

++++
[From: PRAYERS OF OLD ENGLAND - - A Prayer to All the Saints]

Again and again, yea always, will I turn to you, O all ye holy saints; come to mine aid; take pity on me; raise me up when I err. Through your intercession may I be granted a pure conscience, a salutary sorrow, an upright life, and an ending precious in God's sight; that through you I may come to the company of the blessed through the mercy of Him who reigneth, One God and Three Persons, for ever and ever. Amen.

========
Daily Posting: February 1/February 14

Hear us, O God our Saviour: and grant that as we rejoice in the festival of blessed Bridget, thy Virgin, so we may be brought to perfect holiness by the love of piety and devotion. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Bridget, February 1/February 14]

+++++

The ancient carried the Infant, but the Infant governed the ancient: he whom a Virgin bare, and after bearing, remained virgin, the same was worshipped by her who bare him. [Magnificat antiphon, First Vespers: The Purification of Saint Mary the Virgin]

=========
Daily Posting: February 2/February 15

From the Fathers ... (St. Ignatius of Antioch)

"Just as there are two coinages, the one of God and the other of the world, and each of them has its own stamp impressed upon it, so the unbeliever bears the stamp of this world, but the faithful in love bear the stamp of God the Father through Jesus Christ."

"Let no one regard his neighbor in merely human terms but in Jesus Christ love one another."

"If God were to imitate the way we act, we would be lost."

+++++

O wondrous interchange! The Creator of mankind, taking upon him a living body, vouchsafed to be born of a Virgin: and proceeding forth as Man, without seed, hath made us partakers of his Divinity. [First Vespers, Antiphon, The Purification of Saint Mary the Virgin, February 2/February 15]

+++++

And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, then Simeon took him up in his arms, and blessed God, saying: Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace. [Benedictus antiphon: The Purification of Saint Mary the Virgin, February 2/February 15]

+++++

Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech thy Majesty; that, as thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in substance of our flesh, so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts, by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect: The Purification of Saint Mary the Virgin, February 2/February 15]

+++++

To-day the blessed Virgin Mary presented the Child Jesus in the Temple; and Simeon, filled with the Holy Spirit, received him into his arms, and blessed God for ever. [Second Vespers, Magnificat antiphon: The Purification of Saint Mary the Virgin, February 2/February 15]

=======
Daily Posting: February 3/February 16

The Lord said unto Adam, Of the tree which is in the midst of the garden thou shalt not eat: for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. [Magnificat antiphon, Saturday before Septuagesima]

+++++

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard, saith the Lord. [Benedictus antiphon, Septuagesima Sunday]

+++++

O Lord, we beseech thee favourably to hear the prayers of thy people; that we, who are justly punished for our offenses, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Septuagesima Sunday]

+++++

The householder saith unto the labourers, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right, I will give you. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Septuagesima Sunday]

=======
Daily Posting: February 4/February 17

It is a central part of Christian vocation to learn to recognize the voices that whisper attractive lies, to distinguish them from the voice of God, and to use the simple but direct weapon provided in scripture to rebut the lies with truth. The Christian discipline of fighting temptation is not about self-hatred, or rejecting parts of our God-given humanity. It is about celebrating God's gift of full humanity and, like someone learning a musical instrument, discovering how to tune it and play it to its best possibility. At the heart of our resistance to temptation is love and loyalty to the God who has already called us his beloved children in Christ, and who holds out before us the calling to follow him in the path which leads to the true glory. In that glory lies the true happiness, the true fulfillment, which neither world, nor flesh, nor devil can begin to imitate." [From: LUKE FOR EVERYONE / by N. T. Wright]

+++++

These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. [Magnificat antiphon, Monday, week of Septuagesima]

=======
Daily Posting: February 5/February 18

The blessed Agatha, standing in the midst of the prison, with outstretched hands entreated the Lord: O Lord Jesus Christ, my gracious Master, I give thanks unto thee, who hast enabled me to overcome the torments of the executioner: bid me now, O Lord, joyfully to enter into thine unending glory. [Magnificat antiphon, first and second Vespers, St. Agatha, February 5/18]

+++++++

The multitude of the heathen, fleeing to the tomb of the virgin, took thence her veil to defend them from the fire: that the Lord might shew himself a deliverer from the burning, by the intercessions of Agatha his blessed Martyr. [Benedictus antiphon, St. Agatha, February 5/18]

+++++++

O God, who among other miracles of thy power hast bestowed the victory of martyrdom even upon women: mercifully grant that we who honour the birthday of blessed Agatha, thy Virgin and Martyr, may through her example walk in the way that leadeth unto thee.

+++++++

The householder answered and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way. [Magnificat antiphon, Tuesday, week of Septuagesima]

======
Daily Posting: February 6/February 19

From the Fathers ... [St. Ignatius of Antioch]

"By gentleness the ruler of this age is destroyed."

"Christianity is greatest when it is hated by the world."

"It is better for me to die for Jesus Christ than to rule over the ends of the earth. Him I seek, who died on our behalf; Him I long for who rose again for our sake."

"Do not talk about Jesus Christ while you desire the world."

+++++

Take that thine is and go thy way: because I am good, saith the Lord. [Magnificat antiphon, Wednesday, week of Septuagesima]

=======
Daily Posting: February 7/February 20

From the Fathers ... [St. Ignatius of Antioch]

"God does not dwell where there is division and anger."

"Wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the catholic Church."

"Wait expectantly for Him who is above time; the Eternal, the Invisible, who for our sake became visible; the Intangible, the Unsuffering, who for our sake suffered, who for our sake endured in every way."

"Let your baptism serve as a shield, faith as a helmet, love as a spear, endurance as armor."

+++++

Is it not lawful for me to do what I will? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? saith the Lord. [Magnificat antiphon, Thursday, week of Septuagesima]

========
Daily Posting: February 8/February 21

From the Fathers ... [St. Polycarp]

"Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal High Priest Himself, the Son of God Jesus Christ, build you up in faith and truth in all gentleness, in all freedom from anger, in forbearance and steadfastness and patient endurance and purity, and may He give you a share and a place among His saints, and to us with you, and to all those under heaven who will yet believe in our Lord and God Jesus Christ and in His Father who raised Him from the dead."

+++++

So the last shall be first, and the first shall be last: for many are called, but few are chosen. [Magnificat antiphon, Friday, week of Septuagesima]

========
Daily Posting: February 9/February 22

From the Fathers ... [The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles]

"You shall not hate anyone; instead you shall reprove some, and pray for some, and some you shall love more than your own life."

"Accept as good the things that happen to you, knowing that nothing transpires apart from God."

"You shall not turn away from someone in need, but shall share everything with your brother or sister, and not claim that anything is your own. For if you are sharers in what is imperishable, how much more so in perishable things.

+++++

The Lord said unto Noah: The end of all flesh is come before me: make thee an ark of gopher wood, that therein the seed of all flesh may be saved. [Magnificat antiphon, Saturday before Sexagesima]

=======
Daily Posting: February 10/February 23

O Lord God, who seest that we put not our trust in anything that we do; Mercifully grant that by thy poer we may be defended against all adversity. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in twhe unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Sexagesima Sunday]

+++++

When much people were gathered together to Jesus, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: A sower went out to sow his seed. [Benedictus antiphon, Sexagesima Sunday]

+++++

Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven: but to others in parables, said Jesus to his disciples. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Sexagesima Sunday]

+++++

Let all the multitude of the faithful exult in the glory of the gracious virgin Scholastica: and chiefly let the company of virgins be joyful, celebrating her Solemnity; for she besought the Lord, pouring forth her tears, and of him received greater power, because her love was greater. [Magnificat antiphon, First Vespers, St. Scholastica, February 10/23]

+++++

O how illustrious are the merits of blessed Scholastica! O how great the power of her tears! through which the renowned virgin, out of sunny darkness, drew down from the air a mighty flood of rain. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, St. Scholastica, February 10/23]

+++++

O God, who didst reveal in a vision the soul of blessed Scholastica thy Virgin entering heaven in the likeness of a dove, that thou mightest shew the way of the undefiled: grant us by the aid of her intercession and prayers so innocently to live, that we may worthily attain unto joys eternal. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Scholastica, February 10/23]

+++++

To-day the holy virgin Scholastica, in the likeness of a dove, went forth with all gladness to the heavenly places: to-day she was found worthy to enjoy for ever the bliss of celestial life beside her brother. [Magnificat antiphon, Second Vespers, St. Scholastica, February 10/23]

=======
Daily Posting: February 11/February 24

We urge our readers to ponder serious and prayerfully the following sober words of Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of the Moscow Patriarchate.

+++++

Presentation by the Chairman of the Department of External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk at the Christian Values In An Age of Globalization Symposium

London, February 21, 2014

Dear participants of the symposium,

Today the topic of Christian values acquires special relevance. The modern-day secular consciousness looks upon religious values as secondary in relation to the dominant liberal democrat standards, the interpretation of which is becoming ever far removed from traditional Christian morality. Therefore the dialogue on Christian values is a most important testimony to faith in the face of contemporary society that has renounced its religious roots.

Not a single world civilization has existed without immutable spiritual and moral maxims, which we call values. The history of humankind has known various values, notions of worthy and unworthy behaviour and of a just structure of society.

For many centuries these values flowed from a religious consciousness, they were formed within the framework of the believer’s perception of the world. Within the framework of this presentation the problem of Christian values will be viewed mainly in the European context, which has direct relevance to us.

Moral and ethical values in historical retrospective possess a universal character. However, the theory that common human morality is universal by virtue of the fact that a certain moral codex common for all civilizations is inherent in all peoples and nations cannot sustain criticism.

We can indeed discover common moral norms by studying the history of ancient civilizations. And yet, while paganism was dominant in these civilizations there existed in them both human sacrifices and cannibalism, both polygamy and polyandry, and many other things which humankind renounced under the influence of monotheism.

We cannot look upon the ancient pagan cultures as evidence of a universal understanding of morality. Moreover, the continent of Europe before its illumination by faith in Christ cannot be included in the concept of universal human morality.

If, for example, we look at the legal documents of the ancient Slavs, then we notice that whoever had committed a crime could be sold into slavery by his fellow tribesmen in order to obtain greater compensation for those who have suffered. Such practices do not allow us to conclude that there is an unconditional morality rooted in human nature that has not been illumined by faith in Christ.

The Old Testament shows us how the life of the chosen people changed fundamentally after it had received the revelation of the one God and followed the path of observing the divine commandments. The ten commandments which God gave to the people through Moses became the spiritual and moral foundation upon which Israelite society was built.

This does not mean that all of the Israelite people without exception observed the ten commandments. The books of the Bible are replete with examples of non-observance of the commandments, the refusal of individuals and a whole nation to follow the divine truth. Yet this truth, this moral basis became the foundation upon which society was built, the spiritual clasp which held together the entire people and made it a single organism. Rejection of this truth was perceived as a sin and was correspondingly punished.

The same occurred in the history of the European nations when they accepted the Christian faith. Together with Christianity the European nations received both the Old Testament commandments and the New Testament morality based on the teaching of Jesus Christ. This at root changed the life of the peoples of Europe and raised them to a new level of spiritual and moral development.

Today we can often hear the argument of religion’s critics as to why, if our ancestors were so religious, was our past so scarred by so many wars, sufferings and injustice? The answer to this question is quite simple: the people were given the commandments but they did not observe them.

Indeed, in our day the majority of the world’s population – Christians, Muslims, Jews and representatives of other traditional religions – agree upon the ten commandments, and yet some of them do not observe them.

Many people in their everyday life ignore those values which form the basis of our civilization. It has been said: ‘Thou shalt not kill’, and yet people kill and even justify killing; it has been said: ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’, and yet society has created an entire industry of promiscuity.

Today on the continent of Europe there is taking place a conscious and consistent deconstruction of the system of values upon which for centuries the lives of our ancestors was built. If we turn not to public opinion and not to the position of believers but to the official documents of the European Union then we can find clear confirmation of this.

The preamble to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union states that the common values are the dignity of the human person, freedom, equality and solidarity, democracy and the rule of law. Within this list, as in other fundament documents of the European Union , there is no mention of Christian values , the contribution of Christianity to the centuries-old process which turned the barbarian tribes inhabiting the territory of Europe into a great civilization.

I recall the sincere but unsuccessful attempts by the European Christian communities to restore historical and moral justice by insisting on the mention of Christianity in the basic documents of the European Union. The authors of Europe’s future were deaf to the voice of common sense, pointing out that a reference to the Christian heritage may offend the feelings of representatives of other religions or atheists.

In fact, secularism is in no way a neutral venue for all religions. On the contrary, this is a perception of the world that is rejected by all religious traditions.

Militant secularism has declared war on the religious worldview as such as it proceeds from completely different premises and leads to completely different results.

The Church’s most important task is to help the human person in his struggle against sin and the passions which destroy the person and lay waste to his soul. The secular worldview proceeds from the fact that the concept of sin has no right to exist: there is nothing sinful in itself, what is wrong is only the impingement by one person on the rights and freedoms of another person. And as regards personal morality, then each person is free to define the scale of moral values around which he can orientate himself. What is sinful and amoral for one person maybe be justified and encouraged by another. The main thing is that everybody lives in peace and harmony.

I was born and grew up in a country where the authorities violently uprooted religion and imposed atheism. Throughout the whole expanse of the Soviet Union there was a monstrous experiment in destroying religion as such. The idea of educating a new universal human person, a citizen of the world devoid of religious prejudice was for the peoples of the Soviet Union a genuine historical experience. We paid dearly for this ideology which cost the lives of millions of people who did not fit into the Marxist-Leninist notion of the bright future.

The experiment in the deconstruction of religious values was an experiment on the very nature of the human person. It was reflected in Russian literature. Thus, the writer Mikhail Bulgakov in his story The Heart of a Dog in allegorical form depicted the formation of the new person from a dog by means of a surgical operation by transplanting a dog’s heart into a person. This experiment led to the creation of a human-looking animal which knew no moral norms. The writer used this grotesque image to convey the idea of the meaninglessness of human existence if a human does not have a human soul, if his entire life is motivated solely by instincts and passions, if he is deprived of a conscience.

I am fully aware that among non-believers there are people who lead a morally exemplary life, as there are among believers sinners and criminals. Religion is not a panacea for moral degradation, in the same way as atheism does not necessarily lead to a life of vice. However, there is a cardinal difference between the believer and the contemporary bearer of the secular worldview.

The former, when committing a sin, is aware of the sinful nature of his act, whereas the latter does not believe sin to be sin and elevates vice to a norm, justifying this on the basis of specially created ideological paradigms. These paradigms lay at the basis of the new moral codex which radically departs from the religious tradition and is aimed at creating a new type of person devoid of absolute moral orientations.

The humanism which modern-day secular Europe has declared is a superstructure on the Christian foundation. However, liberal thinkers prefer not to notice this. Beginning with the Age of the Enlightenment, political and philosophical thought has taken the direction of breaking with its Christian roots. Having extracted from the Christian tradition the doctrine of freedom, the enlighteners have laid down the vector of development which has led today to the abolition of Christian morality as such. Concern for human dignity, understandable in an age of absolutism and tyranny, has led over the centuries to the creation of the legal and social mechanisms for the encouragement of a sinful way of life.

The thinkers in the Age of the Enlightenment fought against the dominant ideology of the time which they believed to be dogmatic and obsolete. However, modern history has created on the basis of their teaching a dogmatized system of political standards which are intolerant of and indeed aggressive towards religion. And we Christians are already feeling this intolerance and aggression which revives in our memory the persecution of the Christians by the pagans in ancient times and the persecution of religion by the militant atheists more recently.

When Christians are forbidden from openly confessing their faith, when Christian symbols are removed from the public arena, when even wearing a cross around the neck may be interpreted as an infringement of public order, images of the recent past are revived in our memory. I remember well how in a Soviet atheist school the teacher tore the cross from around my neck as she had accidentally noticed the chain beneath my shirt collar. And today we can hear of how in democratic Europe an airline employee was forced to remove her cross, supposedly in the name of tolerance, peace and harmony in society.

I shall give concrete examples of the difference between Christian and secular morality. Both the Christian and liberal tradition speak of the dignity of the human person, of the value of human life. Yet this value is understood in different ways.

The Christian tradition declares that human life is inviolable from the moment of conception, proceeding from the fact that every embryo in nine months time will become somebody’s son or daughter. The secular consciousness, however, tends to view the embryo as a mass of chromosomes and stem cells which can be used for rejuvenation and prolonging the lives of other people by means of the destruction of the embryo itself. One may justify the manipulation of embryos by various good motives, but we should not forget that experiments on people in the National Socialist death camps also benefited science. The question is whether we need this benefit, are we ready to use the benefits which have cost human life?

It transpires that in modern-day democratic society the declared notion of the dignity of the human person and the value of human life extends only to certain categories of people. It is not extended to unborn children whom it is considered permissible to put to death without any pangs of conscience. It is not extended to seriously ill people who are offered the possibility of "exiting with dignity" by means of euthanasia – the legalized murder in a number of countries of the elderly, terminally ill adults and even children.

When speaking of dignity we must also recognize the fact that the human person may mislay or even lose his dignity. From the Christian perspective the dignity of the person is directly dependent on the person’s moral choice, his capacity for virtue or sin. "The use of freedom for the purpose of evil inevitably entails the diminution of the person’s own dignity," states The Social Doctrine of the Russian Orthodox Church On Dignity, Freedom and Human Rights. Secular ideology rejects the connection between dignity and morality, yet beyond this connection the theoretical notion of the dignity of the human person does not become practically realized, remaining merely a declared abstract value.

What is freedom? This concept has key meaning for the Christian tradition. "Brethren, ye have been called unto liberty," says St. Paul (Gal. 5: 13). However, he does not mean freedom as moral anarchy but the liberation of the human person from the power of sin, of passions, of instincts; it is the inner freedom which is founded on the observance of God’s commandments.

From the perspective of Christianity, the freedom of the human person is inseparable from moral responsibility. Human freedom possess a great power for it likens the human person to God, yet it contains an explosive potential if it goes against God. Freedom may be compared to a nuclear reaction which is of benefit only where it is active in a nuclear power station and not when it is turned into a destructive weapon. Moral responsibility is the system of spiritual security which preserves the human person from disintegration under the influence of the power of one’s own freedom.

Of course, freedom is an immutable value, yet in any religious tradition it exists in moral and ethical, national and cultural, and other contexts. Even in countries with a majority of Christians there may exist differing concepts of the framework of freedom. The universal value of freedom as such cannot be viewed as a carte blanche for committing all sorts of sinful acts.

We are obliged to note the great crisis of freedom as a value caused, among other things, by the discrepancy between the declared relationship towards the freedom of the human person and the real relationship. Thus we ought not to believe that the numerous documents on the freedom of the human person have solved the problem of slavery. According to Human Rights Watch the everyday trafficking of people as slaves may be as many as 900,000. Throughout the world there are an enormous number of people who are involved in criminal networks linked to human trafficking, drug dealing, prostitution and the procuring of sexual slaves.

Today there are a number of European countries where prostitution is legal. Its presence is justified ideologically by the person’s right to choose their sexual partner as they please and the right of the other person to make money by any means possible. I say this not in order to condemn those women who sell their bodies. If they return to the Church in repentance, as happened with St. Mary of Egypt who was transformed from a prostitute into a great saint, the Church receives their repentance and forgives their sins. Yet the Church can never agree to their way of life being elevated to a norm or recognize as normal the behaviour of those persons who use their services.

When the woman caught in adultery was brought to Christ he said to those who demanded that she be stoned to death: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." He not only did not condemn the woman but saved her from death. And yet he said to her: "Go, and sin no more" (Jn. 8: 2-11). If we are to follow the secular notions of free choice and human dignity, then the Saviour of the world ought not to have said these words but recognize her behaviour to be normal and say: "Go and continue to do the same."

In following the example of Christ the Church condemns sin but shows mercy to the sinner. In 2006, thanks to the intercession of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II, in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates a Ukrainian woman, who was threatened with criminal prosecution including the death penalty for committing an abortion, was shown mercy. In the Patriarch’s letter to it was stated that the Church does not justify abortion, believing it to be a sin, but at the same time she calls for mercy to be shown towards the woman.

Solidarity is yet another category in the list of values in the Human Rights Charter of the EU. Yet within the context of a consumer society it is very difficult to speak of genuine solidarity and brotherhood, the concepts of which were formed by Christian moral teaching. Solidarity is impossible without taking into account the interests of one’s neighbour, without the love of neighbour as commanded to us by God, and at times with sacrifice which naturally limits the free choice of the human person, his striving for comfort. Solidarity is impossible where the only limitation of the freedom of the human person is the freedom of others and their legitimate interests.

Social unity naturally presupposes love of neighbour. However, in the conditions of identity crisis many people renounce their firmly-rooted national, cultural and religious ties by being guided in communication with each other by the principle of the supermarket where each person chooses the partner that suits him most at that particular time. As a rule, this approach leads to the atomization of society. As family values disintegrate, relationships of solidarity are in a deep crisis even on the parent-child level.

An obvious example of the deconstruction of the natural ties between generations in the name of wrongly understood solidarity and freedom is when the state is encouraged to interfere in family life, known as juvenile justice. This phenomenon is based on placing parents in the position of hired workers to whom society has entrusted the guaranteeing of the rights and freedoms of children under the control of the state’s forces of law and order. It does not have to be pointed out that this approach, justified as the protection of the rights and freedoms of children, destroys the family. Society’s solidarity with children who supposedly suffer from parental abuse in many instances becomes a gross infringement of the basic rights of both children and parents and the family as a whole, when a neighbour’s reporting is sufficient for the removal of children from the family into a children’s home.

In the conditions of secularism solidarity and brotherhood lose their moral sustenance. Of course, their declaration retains their importance, yet it is impossible to make brotherhood compatible with the relations of a trade exchange which have become a part of interpersonal communion. This is witnessed by the world economic crisis. It has shown the enslavement of society, the members of which in the hope of acquiring personal wealth are ready to endanger the minimal welfare of millions of poor people around the world.

A brief examination of European values which are developing within the framework of a global world leads us to the following conclusion. These values have been violently torn, often against the wishes of many, from their moral context which for centuries was formed in a Christian civilization. Values are meant to help build up a just world, but it is impossible to build this world on the basis of an ideology that views the world without God and without faith. A world without God, without absolute moral values rooted in divine revelation, irrevocably turns into the realm of the rule of slavery and lawlessness.

The Russian Church, which has paid in millions of lives for the godless Soviet experiment, can and must testify before the adherents of militant secularism to the fact that a society torn from its spiritual roots and faith has no future.

===========================

Concluding Quotation: The Anthropological Question

"You live in a deranged age, more deranged than usual, because, in spite of great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing." —Walker Percy (1916-1990), American Catholic convert and writer, author of The Message in the Bottle and Lost in the Cosmos

+++++

If ye seek the summit of true honour, hasten to yon heavenly country with what speed ye may. [Magnificat antiphon, Monday, week of Sexagesima]

=======
Daily Posting: February 12/February 25

From the Fathers ... [The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles]

"The way of death is ... having no mercy for the poor, not working on behalf of the oppressed, not knowing Him who made them, murderers of children, corruptors of God's creation, turning away from someone in need, oppressing the afflicted, advocates of the wealthy, lawless judges of the poor."

"If you are able to bear the yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect. But if you are not able, then what you can."

+++

The seed is the word of God, but Christ is the Sower: every one that heareth him shall abide forever. [Magnificat antiphon, Tuesday, week of Sexagesima]

========
Daily Posting: February 13/February 26

From the Fathers ... [The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles]

"Just as broken bread was scattered on the mountain and then was gathered together and became one, so may your Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom; for yours is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ forever."

"You, almighty Master, created all things for your name's sake, and gave food and drink to human beings to enjoy, that they might give you thanks; but to us you have graciously given spiritual food and drink, and eternal life through your servant."

++++

But that which fell on the good ground are they which in an honest and good heart receive the word; and bring forth fruit with patience. [Magnificat antiphon, Wednesday, week of Sexagesima]

========
Daily Posting: February 14/February 27

From the Fathers ... [The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles]

"Remember Thy Church, Lord, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in Thy love; and gather it, the one that has been sanctified from the four winds into thy kingdom, which Thou hast prepared for it; for Thine in the power and the glory forever. May grace come, and may this world pass away."

++++++

Some seed fell on good ground, and brought forth fruit; some an hundredfold, and some sixtyfold. [Magnificat antiphon, Thursday, week of Sexagesima]

========
Daily Posting: February 15/February 28

Christminster Sermon - - Quinquagesima Sunday

“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem….”

As we begin Lent on Ash Wednesday this week, we need to understand just what we are being called to do. We know of course the usual details – fasting, abstaining, praying more, getting to services more often, giving to the poor.

But what lies behind all these things? What binds them all together?

I would suggest that the true vision of Lent is to see it as a conscious and willing renewal of our Baptism in which we died with Christ, being buried with him in death so we might rise with him and walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3)

Lent must be illumined by that whole vision of death and resurrection. It is not a time to wallow in morose gloom, to tot up mental lists of our Lenten achievements, or to live as if for a time we pretended that the Resurrection had not happened.

Our Lord sets it out very clearly in the Gospel: we – with him – are going up to Jerusalem to be humiliated, despised and crucified; and on the third day to rise again. We must not be like the disciples “who understood none of these things.” How could they, having seen neither the crucifixion of God nor death itself being shattered by the Resurrection? But you and I do know this, and it must not be said of us “they understood none of these things.”

Christ has died and risen. Death has been conquered. So we must not let a spirit of deadliness mar our Lenten observance. Yes, it is a time for mortification – for “being made dead” – to sin, to darkness, to ignorance. It is a time for sin to die, for passions’ fires to be quenched. But, as St. Paul reminds us, even if we accomplish great mortifications, “if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give away my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” The medieval poet Langland in his Vision of Piers Plowman put it thus: “Chastity without charity shall be bound in deepest hell.”

A Lent filled with dead deeds – even pious ones – is not a Christian Lent. Unless our works are grounded and rooted in love, they are nothing worth – as today’s Collect of the Mass tells us. And God, through Zechariah the prophet, rebukes us too when he rebukes the Hebrews: “When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month…did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?” And through his prophet God thunders forth what he really looks for from his people: to show mercy and compassion; to oppress not the widow, the orphan, the poor; to stop thinking evil of your brother. “But they refused to hearken – they made their hearts hard, as an adamant stone.”

God wants your heart – your will – your fullest love, so that he can remake your heart into the image and likeness of his own. We see the pattern of this in today’s patriarch Abraham who so gave his heart to God that he was ready to slay his beloved son Isaac in sacrifice. But God did not want the sacrifice of another – he wanted Abraham’s heart. And he got it.

We see all this mystically signified in today’s Gospel. You and I, having fallen into sin, have been reduced to blindness and beggardom by the side of the road, helpless, hopeless, forlorn – but not quite. For, coming down from the heights of the Godhead, Love Himself comes down to heal and restore us. Even as he moves onward toward his own humiliation and death, he stops to raise up and heal a miserable beggar.

I am that beggar. You are that beggar.

And as the Lord of life and love wends his way to the Cross and to victory over death, he asks only that we give him, not merely our fasts, our alms and our prayer, but our hearts, our wills, ourselves – that he might transform them into burning charity: “the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee” (Collect).

We make our prayer in the words of today’s opening hymn:

Come down, O Love divine,
Seek thou this soul of mine,
And visit it with thine own ardor glowing.

O let it freely burn
Till earthly passions turn
To dust and ashes in its heat consuming.

Let holy charity
Mine outward vesture be
And lowliness become mine inner clothing.

May Easter find us clothed in such a love, and all our earthly passions turned to dust.

“Remember, O man, that dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.”

+++++
From the Fathers ... [The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles]

"On the Lord's own day gather together and break bread and give thanks, having first confessed your sins so that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one who has a quarrel with a companion join you until they have been reconciled, so that your sacrifice may be defiled. For this is the sacrifice concerning which the Lord said, 'In every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering. ... For I am a great King,' says the Lord of host, 'and My name is to be feared among the nations'."

+++++

They who keep the word of God with an honest and perfect heart bring forth fruit with patience. [Magnificat antiphon, Friday, week of Sexagesima]

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

MARCH 2014

Daily Posting: February 16/March 1

From the Fathers ... [Letter of Barnabas]


"There are three basic doctrines of the Lord: the hope of life. which is the beginning and end of our faith; and righteousness, which is the beginning and end of judgement; and love shown in rejoicing and gladness, the testimony of righteous works."

"Let us avoid ... absolutely all the works of lawlessness, lest they overpower us. And let us hate the deception of the present age, so that we may loved in the age to come."

"He Himself submitted, in order that He might destroy death and show the reality of the resurrection of the dead."

+++++

Mighty Abraham, the father of our faith, offered a burnt offering upon the altar, instead of his son. [Magnificat antiphon, Saturday before Quinquagesima]

+++++

Please remember in your prayers the monks of Christminster as they begin the observance of Lent this coming week on Ash Wednesday.

========
Calendar - March

DAYNCOCF/AOBSERVANCE
SAT116St. Simeon of Jerusalem, B, IV; St. Colman of Lindisfarne, MK, III
SUN217QUINQUAGESIMA
MON318
TUE419
WED520F/AASH WEDNESDAY
THU621F
FRI722F/A*
SAT823St. Matthias, AP, II
SUN924LENT I
MON1025F/A
TUE1126F
WED1227F/AEmber Day / St Raphael of Brooklyn, BC, III
THU1328FSt Oswald, BC, IV
FRI141F/AEmber Day, / St. David of Wales, BC, III
SAT152F/A*Ember Day, / St. Chad, BC, IV
SUN163LENT II
MON174F/A
TUE185FSt. Nicholas Velimorovich , BC, IV
WED196F/A
THU207FSts. Perpetua and Felicity, MM, IV
FRI218F/A
SAT229A*St. Gregory of Nyssa, BCD, III
SUN2310LENT III, Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, IV
MON2411F/ASt. Constantine, Protomartyr of Scotland, M, IV
TUE2512F
WED2613F/A
THU2714F
FRI2815F/ASt. Longinus, IV; St. Aristobulus, BM, IV
SAT2916A*
SUN3017LENT IV (Laetare Sunday) , St Patrick, BC, III
MON3118F/ASt. Cyril of Jerusalem,. BCD, IV


RANKS of Feasts:
I.Solemnity
II.Greater Feast
III.Lesser Feast
IV.Commemoration


Ranks I & II always have first and second Vespers; take precedence over Sundays ranked II; suspend fasting & abstinence from First Vespers through Second Vespers.

Rank III has First Vespers only and uses the psalms of the occurring feria, with proper antiphons (or antiphons from the Common).

Rank IV are commemorated only at First Vespers and Lauds, though the Mass may be of the commemorated saint(s).

See Customary for ranking of Sundays.

Abbreviations:
Ab = Abbot, AbbessK = King
AP = ApostleM = Martyr
APS = ApostlesMk = Monastic
B = BishopMM = Martyrs
C = ConfessorP = Priest, Prophet
Dc = DeaconV = Virgin
D = DoctorVV = Virgins
EV = EvangelistW = Widow
=========
Daily Posting: February 17/March 2

Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished: for he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitted on; and they shall scourge him, and put him to death; and the third day he shall rise again. [Benedictus antiphon, Quinquagesima Sunday]

+++++

O Lord, who hast taught us that all our doings without charity are nothing worth; Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee. Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ's sake. Who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Quinquagesima Sunday]

+++++

And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him, and asked him, saying: What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? Lord, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight, thy faith hath saved thee. And straightway he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God. [Magnificat antiphon, Quinquagesima Sunday]

========
Daily Posting: February 18/March 3

From the Fathers ... [Letter of Barnabas]


"By receiving the forgiveness of sins and setting our on the Name, we become new, created again from the beginning."

+++++
[From: Old English Prayers]


O almighty and most merciful God, who, when Thy chosen people thirsted, didst bring forth from the rock a fount of living water, bid tears of sorrow to well up from my hard heart, that I may truly weep for my sins, and through Thy mercy deserve to receive pardon.

+++++

And they which went before rebuked him that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Have mercy on me, thou Son of David. [Magnificat antiphon, Monday, week of Quinquagesima]

=======
Daily Posting: February 19/March 4

From the Fathers ... [Shepherd or Hermas]


"God dwells in the heavens and created out of nothing the things that are, and increased and multiplied them for the sake of His Holy Church."

"The church was created before all things ... for her the world was formed."

"Bearing a grudge produces death."

+++++

Have mercy on me, thou Son of David. What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? Lord, that I may receive my sight. [Magnificat antiphon, Tuesday, week of Quinquagesima]

+++++
[From: Old English Prayers]

Prayer Against Temptation

Spare, O Lord, spare me, a sinner, and although everlasting punishment is my due, for that I am so constantly offending Thee, grant, I beseech Thee, that what I deserve as a punishment may become the means of correction, and that I may confess it to be the effect of Thy mercy alone that the temptations of the devil, which so often have prevailed over me because of my sins, now no longer assault me.

======
Daily Posting: February 20/March 5

Ash Wednesday

REMEMBER, MAN, THAT DUST THOU ART; AND UNTO DUST SHALT THOU RETURN
+++++

When ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance. [Benedictus antiphon, Ash Wednesday]

+++++

Grant, O Lord, unto thy faithful people: that they may enter upon the venerable solemnity of the fast with fitting piety, and may pass through the same with undisturbed devotion. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Ash Wednesday]

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [another Collect, Ash Wednesday]

+++++

Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Ash Wednesday]

+++++

Look favourably, O Lord, on those who bow themselves before thy Majesty: that they who have been refreshed with the divine gift may ever be sustained by thy heavenly aid. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect at Vespers, Ash Wednesday]

From the Fathers ... [Barnabas]


"First of all, believe that God is one, who created all things and set them in order, and made out of what did not exist everything that is, and who contains all things but is Himself uncontained. Believe in Him, therefore, and fear Him, and fearing Him, be self-controlled. Keep these things, and yo0ui will cast off all evil from yourself and will put on every virtue of righteousness and will live to God, i9f you keep this commandment."

========
Daily Posting: February 21/March 6

Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the Palsy, grievously tormented. Verily I say unto thee, I will come and heal him. [Benedictus antiphon, Thursday, Lauds, week of Quinquagesima]

+++++

O GOD, who art offended by sin, and reconciled by penitence: mercifully regard the prayers of thy suppliant people, and turn away the scourge of thy wrath, which for our sins we have justly deserved. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect at Lauds, Thursday, week of Quinquagesima]

+++++

Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: but speak the word only and my servant shall be healed. [Magnificat antiphon at Vespers, Thursday, week of Quinquagesima]

+++++

SPARE us, O Lord, spare thy people: that they who are justly chastised by thy scourges, may be relieved by thy tender mercy. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect at Vespers, Thursday, week of Quinquagesima]

From the Fathers ... [Barnabas]


"Be sincere and innocent, and you will be like little children who do not the evil that destroys human life."

"Speak evil of no one, and do not enjoy listening to someone who does. Otherwise you, the listener, will be responsible for the sin of the one speaking evil."

"Slander is evil; It is a restless demon, never at peace but always at home with dissension."

"The Lord lives in patience; the devil lives in an angry temper."

========
Daily Posting: February 22/March 7

When thou doest thine alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, Friday, week of Quinquagesima]

+++++

WE beseech thee, O Lord, to accompany with thy bounteous favour the fast upon which we have entered: that the observance which we shew forth in our bodies, we may be able also to practise with sincerity of heart. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect at Lauds, Friday, week of Quinquagesima]

+++++

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father. [Magnificat antiphon at Vespers, Friday, week of Quinquagesima]

++++++
DEFEND thy people, O Lord, and mercifully cleanse them from all their sins: for no adversity will harm them over whom iniquity hath no dominion. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect at Vespers, Friday, week of Quinquagesima]

From the Fathers ... [Letter of Barnabas]


"Turn to the Lord with all your heart and ask of Him unhesitatingly, and you will know His extraordinary compassion, because He will never abandon you but will fulfill your soul's request. For God is not like humans, who bear grudges; no, He is without malice and has compassion on His creation." "Clothe yourself, therefore, with cheerfulness, which always finds favor with God and is acceptable to Him."

========
Daily Posting: February 23/March 8

Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways. [Benedictus antiphon, Saturday, week of Quinquagesima]

+++++

ASSIST us, Lord, in these our supplications: and grant that we may keep with devout service this solemn fast, ordained for the healing of both soul and body. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect at Lauds, Saturday, week of Quinquagesima]

+++++

O God, who didst join blessed Matthias to the company of thine Apostles: grant, we beseech thee, that through his intercession we may ever be conscious of thy loving-kindness toward us. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Matthias, Apostle, February 23/March 8]

From the Fathers ... [Letter of Barnabas]

"For all these things I gave thanks to the Lord; because He had mercy on all those who called upon His name, and sent forth the angel of repentance to us who had sinned against Him and renewed our spirit and, when we were already ruined and had no hope of life, restored our life."

"The name of the Son of God is great and incomprehensible, and sustains the whole world."

========
Daily Posting: February 24/March 9

Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer: thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here am I. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, First Saturday in Lent]

+++++
THE fast, as taught by holy lore,
We keep in solemn course once more:
The fast to all men known, and bound
In forty days of yearly round.

THE law and seers that were of old
In divers ways this Lent foretold,
Which Christ, all seasons' King and guide.
In after ages sanctified.

MORE sparing therefore let us make
The words we speak, the food we take,
Our sleep and mirth,--and closer barred
Be every sense in holy guard.

IN prayer together let us fall,
And cry for mercy, one and all,
A{nd weep before the Judge's feet,
And his avenging wrath entreat.

THY grace have we offended sore,
By sins, O God, which we deplore:
But pour upon us from on high,
O pardoning One, thy clemency.

REMEMBER thou, though frail we be,
That yet thine handiwork are we;
Nor let the honour of thy Name
Be by another put to shame.

FORGIVE the sin that we have wrought;
Increase the good that we have sought;
That we at length, our wanderings o'er.
May please thee here and evermore.

WE pray thee, Holy Trinity,
One God, unchanging Unity,
That we from this our abstinence
May reap the fruits of penitence. Amen.

[Hymn of Matins during Lenten season [Ex more docti]]
+++++

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil: and when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, First Sunday in Lent]

+++++

O GOD, who dost purify thy Church by the yearly observance of the Lenten fast: grant unto this thy family, that what they endeavour to obtain of thee by abstinence, they may shew forth in good works. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, First Sunday in Lent]

O LORD. who for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights; Give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may ever obey thy godly motions in righteousness, and true holiness, to thy honour and glory, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. [another Collect, First Sunday in Lent]

+++++

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation : let us therefore in all things approve ourselves as the [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, First Sunday in Lent]

=========
Daily Posting: February 25/March 10

Come, ye blessed my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, Monday after first Sunday in Lent]

++++++

Turn thou us, O God our Saviour: and that the Lenten fast may profit us, do thou instruct our minds with heavenly teaching. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Lauds, Monday after first Sunday in Lent]

++++++

That which ye have done unto one of the least mine, ye have done unto me, saith the Lord. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Monday after first Sunday in Lent]

++++++

Loose, O Lord. we beseech thee, the chain of our sins: and of thy great mercy, turn away from us the due reward of our deeds. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Vespers, Monday after first Sunday in Lent]

++++++

From the Fathers ... [Letter of Barnabas]


"If our God and Lord, who rules over all things and has authority over all His creation, hold no grudge against those who confess heir sins and is merciful, can a human being, who is mortal and full of sin, hold a grudge against someone, as though he could destroy or save him."

"The Lord lives among people who love peace, for peace is truly dear to Him, but He keeps His distance from the quarrelsome."

========
Daily Posting: February 26/March 11

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought: and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold doves. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, Tuesday after first Sunday in Lent]

+++++++

LOOK down, O Lord upon thy family: and grant that our souls, chastened by the mortifying of the flesh, may shine in thy sight with longing desire for thee. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Lauds, Tuesday, after first Sunday in Lent]

+++++++

Truly it is written, Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all nations: but ye have made it a den of robbers. And he was daily with them, teaching in the temple. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Tuesday after first Sunday in Lent]

+++++++

Let our prayers ascend unto thee, O Lord: and do thou drive away from thy Church all taint of corruption. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Vespers, Tuesday after first Sunday in Lent]

From the Fathers ... [Letter to Diognetus]


"When God sent Jesus Christ, He did so as one who saves by persuasion, not compulsion, for compulsion is no attribute of God. When He sent Him, He did so as one calling, not pursuing; when He sent Him, He did so as one loving, not judging. But He will send Him again as judge, and who will endure His coming?"

=======
Daily Posting: February 27/March 12

This crooked and perverse generation seeketh after a sign: and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, Ember Wednesday after first Sunday in Lent]

++++++

Mercifully hear our prayers, O Lord, we beseech thee: and stretch forth the right hand of thy Majesty against all things that withstand us. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Lauds, Ember Wednesday after first Sunday in Lent]

++++++

For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Ember Wednesday after first Sunday in Lent]

++++++

ENLIGHTEN our minds, we beseech thee, O Lord, with the brightness of thy glory: that we may be able to see what we ought to do, and also may have power to do those things which are right. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Vespers, Ember Wednesday after first Sunday in Lent]

From the Fathers … [Letter to Diognetus]


"For what else but His righteousness could have covered our sins? In whom was it possible for us, the lawless and ungodly, to be justified, except in the Son of God alone? O the sweet exchange, O the incomprehensible work of God, O the unexpected blessings, that the sinfulness of many should hidden in one righteous man, while the righteousness of one should justify many sinners."

++++++

O Lord, we beseech thee, hear the prayers which we offer thee on the solemnity of blessed Raphael, thy bishop and Confessor: and by the intercessions of him who worthily attained to serve thee, absolve us from all our sins. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Raphael of Brooklyn, February 27/March 12]

======
Daily Posting: February 28/March 13

From the Fathers ... [Letter to Diognetus]

"Do not be surprised that a person can become an imitator of God; he can, if God is willing. ... Whoever takes upon himself a neighbors burden, whoever wishes to benefit another who is worse in something in which he himself is better off, whoever provides to those in need things that he has received from God, and thus become a god to those who receive them, this one is an imitator of God."

++++++

Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon: and behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried, saying, Have mercy on me, thou Son of David. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, Thursday after first Sunday in Lent]

++++++

Look favourably, we beseech thee, O Lord, upon the devotion of thy people: that they who are mortified in the body through abstinence may be refreshed in mind through the fruit of good works. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Lauds, Thursday after first Sunday in Lent]

++++++

O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Thursday after first Sunday in Lent]

++++++

Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, unto all Christian people: that they may both experience the truth of that which they profess, and also love the heavenly gift which they are wont to receive. [Collect, Vespers, Thursday after first Sunday in Lent]

Prayer - - attributed to St. Benedict

Almighty God, give us wisdom to perceive thee, intellect to understand thee, diligence to seek thee, patience to wait for thee, eyes to behold thee, a heart to meditate upon thee, and life to proclaim thee, through the power of the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ.

=======
Daily Posting: March 1/14

An Angel of the Lord went down from heaven, and troubled the water, and one was healed. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, Ember Friday after first Sunday in Lent]

++++++

BE favourable to thy people, O Lord: and mercifully revive with thine abundant help those whom thou makest devoted unto thee. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Lauds, Ember Friday after first Sunday in Lent]

++++++

He that made me whole, the same commanded me: Take up thy bed and walk in peace. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Ember Friday after first Sunday in Lent]

++++++

GRACIOUSLY hear us, O merciful God: and shed forth upon our minds the light of thy grace. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Vespers, Ember Friday after first Sunday in Lent]

++++++

Grant unto us, Almighty God, that the devout intercession of blessed David, thy confessor and Bishop, may protect us: and that while we keep his feast day, we may follow his firmness in defending the Catholic Faith. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [St. David of Wales, March 1/14]

From the Fathers ... [Justin Martyr]


"With gratitude to the Maker of the universe, by invocations and hymns, we offer thanks for our creation, for all the means of health, for the various qualities of the different kinds of things, and for the changes of the season; and we present petitions before Him that we may exist again in incorruption through faith in Him."

=======
Daily Posting: March 2/15

From the Fathers ... [Justin Martyr]

"Let those who are not found living as Jesus Christ taught be understood to be no Christian, even though they profess with the lip the precepts of Christ; for not those who make profession, but those who do the works, shall be saved, according to His word: 'Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.'"

"In the resurrection we expect to receive our own bodies again, though they are dead and cast into the earth, for we maintain that with God nothing is impossible."

++++++

Almighty and everlasting God, who makest us to rejoice this day in the festival of blessed Chad, thy bishop and confessor: we humbly beseech thy mercy, that through the holy prayers of him whose feast we devoutly venerate, we may obtain the recompense of everlasting life. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [St. Chad, March 2/15]

++++++

And Jesus taketh his disciples, and goeth up into a mountain, and was transfigured before them. [Benedictus antiphon, Vespers and Lauds, Ember Saturday after first Sunday in Lent and Second Sunday in Lent]

++++++

LOOK graciously upon thy people, we beseech thee, O Lord: and mercifully turn away from them the scourges by thy wrath. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Lauds, Ember Saturday after first Sunday in Lent]

++++++

Tell the vision which ye have seen to no man, until the Son of Man be risen again from the dead. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Ember Saturday after first Sunday in Lent]

========
Daily Posting: March 3/16

O MAKER of the world, give ear;
Accept the prayer and own the tear
Towards thy seat of mercy sent
In this most holy fast of Lent.

Each heart is manifest to thee;
Thou knowest our infirmity;
Forgive thou then each soul that fain
Would seek to thee, and turn again.

Our sins are manifold and sore,
But pardon them that sin deplore:
And, for thy Name's sake, make each soul
That feels and owns its languor, whole.

So mortify we every sense
By grace of outward abstinence,
That from each stain and spot of sin
The soul may keep her fast within.

Grant, O thou blessed Trinity,
Grant, O essential Unity,
That this our fast of forty days
May work our profit and thy praise. Amen.

[Hymn of Vespers during Lenten season [Audi benigne Conditor]]
+++++

ALMIGHTY God who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Lauds, second Sunday in Lent]

+++++
Tell the vision which ye have seen to no man, until the Son of Man be risen again from the dead. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Second Sunday in Lent]

=========
Daily Posting: March 4/17

From the Fathers ... [Justin Martyr]


[On the practice of the Lord's supper] "We call this food the Eucharist, of which none is allowed to partake unless they believe that the things which we teach are true, have been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins to regeneration, and who are so living as Christ has enjoined. For we do not receive these as common bread and common drink; as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, we have been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh."

[Prayer of St. Ireneaus]


"O Lamb of God, who takest away the sin of he world, look upon us and have mercy upon us; Thou who art Thyself both victim and priest, Thyself both reward and redeemer, keep safe from evil all those whom thou hast redeemed, O Savior of the world. Amen."

+++++++

I am the Beginning, even I that speak unto you. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, Monday, second week in Lent]

+++++++

GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that thy servants who abstain from food in mortification of the flesh, may fast from sin by following after righteousness. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Lauds, Monday, second week in Lent]

+++++++

He that sent me is with me; the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Monday, second week in Lent]

+++++++

ASSIST us mercifully, Almighty God, in these our supplications: and grant that we, to whom thou hast given a full assurance of hope in thy goodness, may receive the fruit of thy wonted loving-kindness. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Vespers, Monday, second week in Lent]

=======
Daily Posting: March 5/18

From the Fathers ... [St. Augustine]

"I know, O Lord, and with all humility acknowledge myself altogether unworthy of your love; but I am sure that you are altogether worthy of mine. I am not good enough to serve you, but you have a right to the best service I can pay. Impart then to me some of that excellence, and it shall supply some of my own lack of worth. Help me to stop sinning according to your will, that I may be capable of serving you according to my duty. Enable me so to guard and govern myself, so to begin and finish my course, that, when the race of life run, I may sleep in peace and rest in you. Be with me unto the end, that my sleep may be rest indeed, my rest a perfect security, and that security a blessed eternity. Amen."

[From the Prophet Joel]


"Rend your hearts and not your garments, and return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil" [Joel 2:15]

+++++++

One is your Master, which is in heaven, even Christ the Lord. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, Tuesday, second week in Lent]

+++++++

PERFECT in us, O merciful Lord, we beseech thee, the supporting strength bestowed in this holy observance: that as by thine appointment, we know what we ought to do, so by thine effectual working we may fulfil the same. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Lauds, Tuesday, second week in Lent]

+++++++

But all ye are brethren; and call no man your father upon earth; for one is your Father, which is in heaven: neither be ye called masters; for one is your Master, even Christ. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Tuesday, second week in Lent]

+++++++

BE favourable to our supplications, O Lord, and relieve the weakness of our souls: that receiving thy forgiveness, we may alway rejoice in thy blessing. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Vespers, Tuesday, second week in Lent]

=========
Daily Posting: March 6/19

Prayer of St. Columbanus

I beseech you, merciful God, to allow me to drink from the steam which flows from your fountain of life. May I taste the sweet beauty of its waters, which spring from the very depth of your truth. O Lord, you are that fountain from which I desire with all my heart to drink. Give me, Lord Jesus, this water, that it may quench the burning spiritual thirst within my soul, and purify me from all sin. I know, O king of glory, that I am asking from you a great gift. But you give to your faithful people without counting the cost, and you promise even greater things in the future. Indeed, nothing is greater than yourself, and you have given yourself to mankind on the cross. Therefore, in praying for the waters of life, I am praying that you, the source of those waters, will give yourself to me. You are my light, my salvation, my food, my drink, my God.

From St. Ambrose ...


Let us take refuge like deer beside the fountain of waters. Let our souls thirst, as David thirsted, for the fountain. What is the fountain? Listen to David: 'With you is the fountain of life.' Let my soul say to this fountain: 'When shall I come and see you face to face?' For the fountain is God himself.

+++++++

Behold, we go up to Jerusalem: and the Son of man shall be betrayed to be crucified. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, Wednesday, second week in Lent]

+++++++

WE beseech thee, O Lord, favourably to behold thy people: and grant that those whom thou hast bidden to abstain from carnal food, may also cease from all hurtful vices. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Lauds, Wednesday, second week in Lent]

+++++++

For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Wednesday, second week in Lent]

+++++++

O GOD, the restorer and lover of innocence, direct unto thyself the hearts of thy servants: that being enkindled with the ardour of thy spirit, they may be found both steadfast in faith, and fruitful in good works. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Vespers, Wednesday, second week in Lent]

=======
Daily Posting: March 7/20

REST ETERNAL

We extend to our Orthodox brothers and sisters in the Antiochian Archdiocese our sympathies on the repose of Metropolitan Phillip and we remember him in our prayers. His passing, like his life, is a significant moment in church history in North America. We especially honor him for his faithful and dynamic support of Western-Rite missions.

+++++++
Into your hands, O Lord, we commit ourselves this day. Give to each of us a watchful, humble, and diligent spirit that we may seek in all things to know your will, and may perform it perfectly and gladly, to the honor and glory of your Name, through Christ our Lord. Amen. (Gelasian Sacramentary)
From the Fathers ... [Justin Martyr]


"Plato, the Stoics, poets, and historians - each of them spoke in proportion to the share he had of the spermatic Word. ... Whatever things were rightly said among all people are the property of us Christians."

+++++++

For theirs is the Kingdom of heaven, who despised worldly living: who have won the rewards of the kingdom, and have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. [Magnificat antiphon at Vespers and Benedictus antiphon at Lauds, Sts. Perpetua and Felicitas, March 7/20]

Thou hast crowned them with glory and honour, O Lord.
And madest them to have dominion of the works of thy hands.


Grant us, we beseech thee, O Lord our God, to venerate with unceasing devotion the triumphs of Perpetua and Felicitas, thy holy Martyrs: that we who are not able to celebrate their victories worthily in thought, at least may often recall them in humble obedience. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Sts. Perpetua and Felicitas, March 7/20]

+++++++

Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, Thursday, second week in Lent]

+++++++

GRANT us, O Lord, we beseech thee, the help of thy grace: that we, being duly given to fasting and prayer, may be delivered from the enemies of both soul and body. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Lauds, Thursday, second week in Lent]

+++++++

That rich man who refused to Lazarus a crumb of bread, desired a drop of water. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Thursday, second week in Lent]

+++++++

ASSIST thy servants, O Lord; and at their petition bestow upon them thy continual loving-kindness: whereby thou mayest gather and restore those who glory in thee their Creator and Ruler, and mayest preserve those whom thou dost restore. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Vespers, Thursday, second week in Lent]

========
Daily Posting: March 8/21

From the Fathers ... [St. Justin Martyr]


"Now it is evident that no one can terrify or subdue us who have believed in Jesus throughout all the world. For it is plain, though beheaded, crucified, thrown to wild beast, put into chains, thrown into fire, and all other kinds of torture, we do not give up our confession. The more such things happen, the more do others (and increasing numbers) become faithful, and worshipers of God through the Name of Jesus."

+++++
Prayer of St. Clement of Rome


We beg you, Lord, to help and defend us. Deliver the oppressed, pity the insignificant, raise the fallen, show yourself to the needy, heal the sick, bring back those of your people who have gone astray, feed the hungry, lift up the weak, remove the prisoner's chains. May every nation come to know that you alone are God, that Jesus Christ is your child, that we are your people, the sheep of your pasture.

+++++++

He will miserably destroy those wicked men: and wi11 let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, Friday, second week in Lent]

+++++++

GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that being cleansed by the hallowed fast, thou mayest bring us with pure minds to the holy feast which is drawing nigh. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Lauds, Friday, second week in Lent]

+++++++

When they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Friday, second week in Lent]

+++++++

GRANT unto thy people, we beseech thee, O Lord, health of mind and body: that cleaving to good works, they may ever deserve to be defended by thy mighty protection. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Vespers, Friday, second week in Lent]

========
Daily Posting: March 9/22

From the Fathers ... [Melito of Sardis]

"The Jerusalem below was precious, but it is worthless now because of other Jerusalem above; the narrow inheritance was precious, but it is worthless now because of the widespread bounty. For it is not on one place nor in a little plot that the glory of God is established, but on the ends of the inhabited earth his bounty overflows, and there the almighty God has made his dwelling through Christ Jesus; to whom be glory forever."

+++++++

A Prayer from the Leonine Sacramentary
We ask thee, O Lord, to be gracious to thy people, that we, leaving day by day the things which displease thee, may be more and more filled with the love of thy commandments, and being supported by thy comfort in this present life, may come to the full joys of life immortal; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

+++++++

O God, who gavest blessed Gregory to the people as a minster of eternal salvation: grant, we beseech thee, that we may be worthy to have him as our intercessor in heaven, whom we had as our teacher here upon earth. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Gregory of Nyssa, March 9/22]

O Teacher right excellent, O light of Holy Church, O blessed Gregory, lover of the divine law: intercede for us unto the Son of God. [Magnificat antiphon, first and second Vespers, St. Gregory of Nyssa, March 9/22]

+++++++

I will go to my father, and I will say unto him: Father, make me as one of thy hired servants. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, Saturday, second week in Lent]

+++++++

GRANT, we beseech thee, O Lord, a healthful effect to our fasts: that the chastisement of the flesh which we have taken upon us may avail to the strengthening of our souls. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Lauds, Saturday, second week in Lent]

+++++++

But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Saturday, second week in Lent]

========
Daily Posting: March 10/23

REQUIESCAT IN PACE

We received notice on Sunday morning before Mass of the repose of Abbot David Pierce of Holyrood in Jacksonville, Florida. Father David had succeeded the late Dom Augustine Whitfield, abbot of Our Lady of Mount Royal, from which both Christminster and Holyrood descend as monasteries of the Benedictine tradition in the Orthodox western rite within Russian Orthodoxy. Dom David was a dear and gentle monk and a treasured friend and colleague, and will be greatly missed. Our prayers are with him and Brother George, his fellow monk, as well as the many who received his priestly ministry. A Mass of Requiem will be offered at Christminster and we ask all the friends of Christminster to remember this beloved and dedicated monk in your prayers. May the angels lead him into Paradise and into the loving embrace of the Lord he served so faithfully. REQUIESCAT IN PACE.

+++++++

Now Christ, thou Sun of righteousness.
Let dawn our darkened spirits bless:
The light of grace to us restore
While day to earth returns once more.

Thou who dost give the accepted time,
Give, too, a heart that mourns for crime.
Let those by mercy now be cured
Whom loving-kindness long endured.

Spare not, we pray, to send us here
Some penance kindly but severe,
So let thy gift of pardoning grace
Our grievous sinfulness efface.

Soon will that day, thy day, appear
And all things with its brightness cheer:
We will rejoice in it, as we
Return thereby to grace, and thee.

Let all the world from shore to shore
Thee, gracious Trinity, adore;
Right soon thy loving pardon grant,
That we our new-made song may chant. Amen.

[Hymn of Lauds during Lenten season [Jam Christe, sol justitiæ]]
+++++++

WE beseech thee, Almighty God, look upon the hearty desires of thy humble servants: and stretch forth the right hand of thy Majesty, to be our defence against all our enemies. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Third Sunday in Lent]

+++++++

A certain woman of the company lifted up her voice and cried, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But Jesus answered, yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Third Sunday in Lent]

=======
Daily Posting: March 11/24

From the Fathers ... [St. Irenaeus]

"This is what faith does for us, as the elders, the disciples of the apostles, have handed down to us; first of all, it admonishes us to remember that we have received baptism for the remission of sins in the name of God the Father and in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became incarnate and died and was raised, and in the Holy Spirit of God; and that this baptism is the seal of eternal life and is rebirth unto God, with the result that we are no longer merely children of mortal human beings, but of the eternal and everlasting God."

Prayer from Origen
O Lord, inspire us to read thy Scripture and meditate upon them day and night. We beg thee to give us a true understanding of what we need, that we in turn may put its precepts into practice. Yet we know that understanding and good intentions are without worth unless rooted in thy graceful love. So we ask that the words of Scripture be not mere signs on a page, but channels of grace into our hearts.

++++++++

Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, Monday, third week in Lent]

We beseech thee, O merciful Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts: that like as we do abstain from bodily food, so we may restrain our senses from every harmful indulgence. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Lauds, Monday, third week in Lent]

But Jesus, passing through the midst of them, went his way. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Monday, third week in Lent]

Let thy merciful kindness, O Lord, be present to help us: that we may ever deserve to be rescued from the imminent perils of our sins by thy protection, and also to be saved by thy deliverance. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Vespers, Monday, third week in Lent]

=========
Daily Posting: March 12/25

Prayer of St. Gregory of Nazianzus


O Word of our God, I betrayed you, the Truth, with my falsehood. I betrayed you when I promised to hallow the hours that vanish away. In overtaking me, night does not find me undarkened by sin. I did indeed pray, and I thought to stand blameless at evening. But someway and somewhere my feet have stumbled and fallen; for a storm-cloud swooped on me, envious lest I be saved. Kindle for me your light, O Christ, and restore me by your Presence.

+++++++

If two of you shall on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father, saith the Lord. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, Tuesday, third week in Lent]

HEAR us, O Almighty and merciful God: and of thy favour bestow upon us the gift of wholesome self-restraint. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Lauds, Tuesday, third week in Lent]

Where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them, saith the Lord. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Tuesday, third week in Lent]

DEFEND us, O Lord, by thy protection: and keep us evermore from all iniquity. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Vespers, Tuesday, third week in Lent]

=========
Daily Posting: March 13/26

Abbot David Pierce, of Holyrood Monastery, our companion monastery in Jacksonville, Florida, reposed in the Lord on Sunday Morning. His funeral will be held on Thursday, 27 March, in Mobile, Alabama. This morning, 26 March, Abbot James and the monks of Christminster celebrated a Requiem Mass for the repose of his his soul. We ask you to remember this good man and faithful man in your prayers.

+++++++

Hearken, and understand ye the traditions which the Lord has given you. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, Wednesday, third week in Lent]

GRANT unto us, we beseech thee, O Lord: that by the wholesome discipline of fasting and by abstaining from all hurtful offences, we may the more easily obtain thy merciful forgiveness. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Lauds, Wednesday, third week in Lent]

To eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Wednesday, third week in Lent]

Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that we who seek the grace of thy protection, may be delivered from all evils and serve thee with a quiet mind. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Vespers, Wednesday, third week in Lent]

========
Daily Posting: March 14/27

From the Fathers ... [St. Ireneaus]

"Since we were all implicated in the first formation of Adam, and we were bound to death through disobedience, it was fitting that the bond of death were loosed by the obedience of Him who was made human for us. Because death ruled over the flesh, it was necessary that it should be vanquished by flesh, and so be forced to set humanity free from its oppression. So 'the Word became flesh' in order the sin might be destroyed by means of that same flesh through which it had mastered and seized and dominated humanity. Therefore, our Lord took up the same first formation for an Incarnation, so that He might fight on behalf of His forefathers and vanquish in Adam what had struck us in Adam."

"From this earth, then, while it was still virgin, God took dust and fashioned the man, the beginning of humanity. So the Lord, recapitulating this man, reproduced the scheme of his Incarnation, being born of a virgin by the will and wisdom of God, that He might copy the incarnation of Adam and might become man, as was written in the beginning, 'according to the image and likeness of God'."

Prayer of St Jerome

Show me, O Lord, your mercy, and with it delight my heart. Let me find you whom I so longingly seek. Behold, here is the man that the robbers seized, mishandled, and left half dead on the road to Jericho. O kind-hearted Samaritan, come to my aid. I am the sheep who wandered into the wilderness; seek after me, and bring me home again to your fold. Do what you will with me what you will, that I may stay by you all the days of my life, and praise you with all those who are with you in heaven for all eternity.

+++++++

And devils also came out of many, crying out and saying: Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he, rebuking them, suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, Thursday, third week in Lent]

+++++++

GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that the holy devotion of our fast may both cleanse us, and make us acceptable unto thy divine Majesty. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Sarum Collect, Lauds, Thursday, third week in Lent]

+++++++

Whosoever had any sick, they brought them unto Jesus; and they were healed. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Thursday, third week in Lent]

+++++++

Let thy heavenly favour, we beseech thee, O Lord, increase the people that serveth thee: and make them ever to keep thy commandments. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Vespers, Thursday, third week in Lent]

=======
Daily Posting: March 15/28

Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, Friday, third week in Lent]

+++++++

Lord, we pray thee, let thy gracious favour attend upon our fast: that as in the body we abstain from food, so likewise in the spirit we may fast from sin. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Lauds, Friday, third week in Lent]

+++++++

Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Friday, third week in Lent]

+++++++

GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that we who put our trust in thy protection may by thy help overcome all things that withstand us. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Vespers, Friday, third week in Lent]

========
Daily Posting: March 16/29

David Langston Pierce, 54, of Jacksonville, FL was born in Mobile, AL. He started school in Jackson, AL before later graduating from Plymouth High School in Plymouth, NC. He received his college degree from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, an area he loved and visited often. He was a Speech Pathologist for 30 years in the Duval County School System. He touched the lives of many teachers and students with his passion and dedication for his work. David was a very talented musician, playing many instruments, and was a gifted artist as well. Fr. David was ordained as an Orthodox priest in 1997 and was Abbot of Mount Royal Monastery in Jacksonville, FL. He was well-respected for his tireless missionary activity. The family thanks his many friends in Jacksonville, including Ben Montgomery and Jim Polk, for their loving support and friendship. A beloved son and brother, David is survived by his parents, Bill and Jo Ann Pierce of Silverhill, AL, and sister, Sherrie Pierce of Atlanta, GA. He is preceded in death by grandparents Jack and Verna Elliott, Virginia and Vernon Pierce; Aunt Peggy Elliott; Uncle Cecil Pierce; First cousins Rene Mosely and Michelle McDonald. Funeral services will be held at Malbis Greek Orthodox Church, Spanish Fort, AL on Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 1:00 pm. Visitation with the family to be held one hour prior at the church with burial to follow at Gulfcrest Cemetery in Gulfcrest, AL. Freeman Funeral Services, Citronelle, AL will handle arrangements. - Published in the Mobile Register and Baldwin County from Mar. 25 to Mar. 26, 2014. See more.

++++++++
From the Fathers ... [St. Irenaeus]

"The sin wrought through the tree was undone by the obedience of the tree - - that obedience to God by which the Son of Man was nailed to the tree, destroying the knowledge of evil and bringing in and conferring the knowledge of good. ... So by the obedience He showed unto death, hanging on the tree, He undid the old disobedience wrought in the tree."

Prayer - - St Ephraim

Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ! You built your cross as a bridge over death, so that departed souls might pass from the realm of death to the realm of life. Glory to you! You put on the body of a mortal man and made it the source of life for all mortal men. You are alive! Your murderers handled your life like farmers; they sowed it like grain deep in the earth, waiting for it to spring up and raise with itself a multitude of men. We offer you the great universal sacrifice of our love, and pour out before you our richest hymns and prayers. For you offered your cross to God as a sacrifice in order to make us all rich.

+++++++

But Jesus stooped down, and wrote on the ground: If any is without sin, let him cast a stone at her. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, Saturday, third week in Lent]

+++++++

GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that they who abstain from food in mortification of the flesh, may fast from sin by followirg after righteousness. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Lauds, Saturday, third week in Lent]

+++++++

Woman, hath no man condemned thee? No man, Lord. Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Saturday, third week in Lent]

======
Daily Posting: March 17/30

O God, who didst send blessed Patrick, thy Bishop and Confessor, to peach thy glory among the nations: grant, through his intercession, that by thy mercy we may have power to perform whatsoever thou dost command. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Patrick, March 17/30]

HYMN OF [and attributed to] ST. PATRICK
I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One, and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever,
By power of faith, Christ's Incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on cross for my sa1vation;
His bursting from the spiced tomb;
His riding up the heav'nly way;
His coming at the day of doom:
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet "Well done" in judgment hour;
The service of the seraphim;
Confessors' faith, apostles' word,
The patriarchs' prayers, the prophets scrolls;
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heav'n
The glorious sun's life giving ray
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning fire,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, his might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need;
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, his shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
His heav'nly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Words: attributed to St. Patrick (372-466);
trans. Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895), 1889

When Jesus lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip: Whence shall we buy bread that these shall eat? And this he said to prove him; for he himself knew what he would do. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, IV Sunday in Lent]

Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that we who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of thy grace may mercifully be relieved; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, IV Sunday in Lent]

And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, IV Sunday in Lent]

========
Daily Posting: March 18/31

From the Fathers ... [St. Irenaeus]

"Rich in mercy, God the Father sent the creative Word, who, when he came to save us, put himself in our position, and in the same situation in which we lost life; He loosed the prison bonds, His light appeared and dispelled the darkness of the prison, and He sanctified our birth and abolished death, loosing those same bonds by which we were held. And He showed forth the Resurrection, becoming Himself the 'firstborn of the dead', and raised in Himself prostrate humanity, being lifted up to the heights of heaven, at the right hand of the glory of the Father."

Prayer (from Gelasian Sacramentary)

O God, who art the life of the faithful and the strong helper who call upon thee: listen to our supplications; and as thou plant within us a hearty desire to pray, so grant us, O most loving One, thine aid and comfort in our prayers; and may the souls that thirst for for thy promises, be filled with thine abundance; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

+++++++

Grant us, we beseech thee, Almighty God, at the intercession of the blessed Bishop Cyril: so to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent, that we may ever deserve to be numbered among the sheep that hear his voice. Through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest for ever. Amen. [Collect, St Cyril of Jerusalem, March 18/31]

+++++++

Take these things hence saith the Lord, and make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, Monday, IV week in Lent]

+++++++

GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that we who year by year devoutly renew this holy observance, may please thee both in mind and body. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Lauds, Monday, fourth week in Lent]

+++++++

Destroy this temple, saith the Lord, and in three days I will raise it up: but he spake of the temple of his body. [Magnificat antiphon, Vespers, Monday, fourth week in Lent]

+++++++

O LORD, we beseech thee mercifully to hear us: and grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire to pray, may by thy mighty aid be defended and comforted in all dangers and adversities. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Vespers, Monday, fourth week in Lent]