And first, O Lord, I praise and magnify thy Name
For the Most Holy Virgin-Mother of God,
who is the Highest of thy Saints.
The most Glorious of thy Creatures.
The most Perfect of all thy Works.
The nearest unto Thee in the Throne of God.
Whom thou didst please to make
Daughter of the Eternal Father,
Mother of the Eternal Son.
Spouse of the Eternal Spirit,
Tabernacle of the most Glorious Trinity.
Mother of Jesus.
Mother of the Messias.
Mother of him who was the Desire of all Nations.
Mother of the Prince of Peace.
Mother of the King of Heaven.
Mother of our Creator.
Mother and Virgin.
Mirror of Humility and Obedience.
Mirror of Wisdom and Devotion.
Mirror of Modesty and Chastity.
Mother of Sweetness and Resignation.
Mirror of Sanctity.
Mirror of all Virtues.
The most illustrious Light in the Church,
wearing over all her beauties the veil of Humility
to shine the more resplendently in thy Eternal Glory.
Thomas Traherne, 1636-1674
There came to me assistance,
Mary fair and Bride;
As Anna bore Mary,
As Mary bore Christ,
As Eile bore John the Baptist
Without flaw in him,
Aid thou me in mine unbearing,
Aid me, O Bride!
As Christ was conceived of Mary
Full perfect on every hand,
Assist thou me, foster-mother,
The conception to bring from the bone;
And as thou didst aid the Virgin of joy,
Without gold, without corn, without kine,
Aid thou me, great is my sickness,
Aid me, O Bride.
from the Carmina Gadelica, 1900
translated from the Gaelic by Alexander Carmichael, 1832-1912
O God, who to the blessed Abbess Brigid gavest grace to imitate Christ in his poverty, and with humble heart to follow him in the end: grant that all who enter the path of Gospel perfection may neither look back nor go astray from the way; but hastening to thee without stumbling, may attain the crown of eternal life whereunto thou dost call them; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
‘That the First Charles does here in triumph ride,
See his son reign where he a martyr died,
And people pay that reverence as they pass,
(Which then he wanted!) to the sacred brass,
Is not the effect of gratitude alone,
To which we owe the statue and the stone;
But Heaven this lasting monument has wrought,
That mortals may eternally be taught
Rebellion, though successful, is but vain,
And kings so killed rise conquerors again.
This truth the royal image does proclaim,
Loud as the trumpet of surviving Fame’.
‘On the Statue of King Charles I at Charing Cross in the Year 1674’
by Edmund Waller, 1606-1687
Most gracious God, who didst call thy servant Anthony to sell all that he had and to serve thee in the solitude of the desert: grant that we, through his intercession and following his example, may learn to deny ourselves and to love thee before all things; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal
Diary of a Church Mouse
Here among long-discarded cassocks,
Damp stools, and half-split open hassocks,
Here where the Vicar never looks
I nibble through old service books.
Lean and alone I spend my days
Behind this Church of England baize.
I share my dark forgotten room
With two oil-lamps and half a broom.
The cleaner never bothers me,
So here I eat my frugal tea.
My bread is sawdust mixed with straw;
My jam is polish for the floor.
Christmas and Easter may be feasts
For congregations and for priests,
And so may Whitsun. All the same,
They do not fill my meagre frame.
For me the only feast at all
Is Autumn’s Harvest Festival,
When I can satisfy my want
With ears of corn around the font.
I climb the eagle’s brazen head
To burrow through a loaf of bread.
I scramble up the pulpit stair
And gnaw the marrows hanging there.
It is enjoyable to taste
These items ere they go to waste,
But how annoying when one finds
That other mice with pagan minds
Come into church my food to share
Who have no proper business there.
Two field mice who have no desire
To be baptised, invade the choir.
A large and most unfriendly rat
Comes in to see what we are at.
He says he thinks there is no God
And yet he comes...it’s rather odd.
This year he stole a sheaf of wheat
(It screened our special preacher’s seat),
And prosperous mice from fields away
Come in to hear the organ play,
And under cover of its notes
Ate through the altar’s sheaf of oats.
A Low Church mouse, who thinks that I
Am too papistical, and High,
Yet somehow doesn’t think it wrong
To munch through Harvest Evensong,
While I, who starve the whole year through,
Must share my food with rodents who
Except at this time of the year
Not once inside the church appear.
Within the human world I know
Such goings-on could not be so,
For human beings only do
What their religion tells them to.
They read the Bible every day
And always, night and morning, pray,
And just like me, the good church mouse,
Worship each week in God’s own house,
But all the same it’s strange to me
How very full the church can be
With people I don’t see at all
Except at Harvest Festival.
Sir John Betjeman CBE, 1906-1984
Kings should offer gold, rich, royal men –
And I am poor and no red gold have I;
Must I stay in the cold, sad shadows then,
While kings in light spread splendours splendidly?
Saints should offer incense, holy men –
My shabby soul is soiled and stained with sin;
Must I wait, shut without the stable then,
While saints join kings to offer gifts within?
Lo, I am not alone, but round me here
In the wan shadows, waiting wistfully
With nothing else to bring but only myrrh,
Stands silent, shy, a grey-clad company.
’Tis well for us, we of the common crowd,
That we may bring sad symbollings of myrrh,
Where God lies sleeping ’neath a stable shroud
Of common straw, and leave our offerings there.
We will be glad the incense makes a veil
To hide us somewhat, and the saint’s pure prayer
Goes with the golden gifts where we must fail;
Yet we will dare to bring our meed of myrrh.
Father Andrew SDC, 1869-1946
‘Come along, shepherds’, the Angels cried,
‘Come along, every one!
For great things happen on earth to-night,
And you shall see a wondrous sight –
In bed of straw, on napkin white,
Come down to earth from heaven’s height
God’s own Eternal Son’.
‘Come along, comrades’, the Shepherds cried,
And quick those men did run,
And in they pressed through the humble door,
And low they knelt on the stable floor,
Where Mary and Joseph, as poor as poor,
In rich contentment did adore
God’s own Eternal Son.
‘Come along, Christians’, the bells ring out,
‘Ding-a-dong, come along, come along!’
For round the Altar tapers shine,
Where waits our Saviour, yours and mine,
Veiled ’neath the mystic Bread and Wine,
And every soul should be a shrine
For God’s Eternal Son.
Father Andrew SDC, 1869-1946
O Lord Jesus Christ, who by thy wondrous holiness didst adorn a human home, and by thy subjection to Mary and Joseph didst consecrate the order of earthly families: grant that we, being enlightened by the example of their life with thee in thy Holy Family, and assisted by their prayers, may at last be joined with them in thine eternal fellowship; who livest and reignest with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
The photos above show the Church of St John the Evangelist, Calgary, in the Canadian province of Alberta, whose Feast of Title it is today. It was my very great privilege to be able to serve this parish for almost nine years as both the Anglican priest-in-charge and, six months later, the Catholic parish priest, a feat that was only possible on account of the courage and faith of the people in accepting, all the way back in 2010, the gracious invitation of Pope Benedict XVI to enter into the fulness of Catholic communion under the provision of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus. It was a document that gave life and hope for the future to this historic Anglo-Catholic Prayer Book parish in the Anglican Diocese of Calgary (second only in age to the cathedral). Happy feast day, St John’s clergy and parishioners!
Hosanna! yet again,
Another glorious day,
Ye cherubs sing and play,
Ye seraphs swell the strain.
Hail! highly favour’d man,
Thy name and lot transcend
All praise that e’er was penn’d
Since first the verse began.
O dear to Christ supreme,
His bosom friend declar’d,
And yet for all he car’d
With tenderness extreme.
As Benjamin was blest,
When he to Egypt came,
By Joseph full of fame,
And honour’d o’er the rest.
But Christ was meek and poor,
No chariot his to ride,
No Goshen to divide,
No favours to procure.
Yet in his realms above,
Which are the highest heav’n,
First of th’ elect elev’n,
Thou claim’st thy master’s love.
Christopher Smart, 1722-1771
Merciful Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of light upon thy Church: that she being enlightened by the doctrine of thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John, may so walk in the light of thy truth, that she may at length attain to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
A Nocturnal Upon St Lucy’s Day
Teach me to tarry till Thou bidst me go,
Waiting in patience, listening quietly,
Resting contented, sleeping dreamlessly
Like Samuel of old, for well I know
That Thou wilt call me when ‘’Tis time to go’.
Teach me to tarry till the light doth shine,
Knowing full well there is no night with Thee;
And if I cannot work, then tranquilly
Offer my worship in my prison here
Till in the East some stretch of dawn appear.
Teach me to tarry till the fight be done,
And to die fighting though I seem to fail
With dented helm and broken hand and mail,
All hewn and tarnished, so my poor life’s loss
May life where falls the Shadow of Thy Cross.
Teach me to tarry till Thou bidst me come;
Teach me to tarry till my heart is pure,
Trusting thy love for me Thy purpose sure:
Lord, Thou wilt fit me for Thy Father’s Home,
Teach me to tarry, but yet bid me – Come!
Father Andrew SDC, 1869-1946
O day of life, of light, of love!
The only day dealt from above!
A day so fresh, so bright, so brave,
’Twill show us each forgotten grace,
And make the dead, like flowers, arise
Youthful and fair to see new skies.
All other days, compared to thee,
Are but Light’s weak minority;
They are but veils, and cypress drawn
Like clouds, before thy glorious dawn.
O come! arise! shine! do not stay,
Dearly lov’d day!
The fields are long since white, and I
With earnest groans for freedom cry;
My fellow-creatures too say “Come!”
And stones, though speechless, are not dumb.
When shall we hear that glorious voice
Of life and joys?
That voice, which to each secret bed
Of my Lord’s dead,
Shall being true day, and make dust see
The way to immortality?
When shall those first white pilgrims rise,
Whose holy, happy histories
– Because they sleep so long – some men
Count but the blots of a vain pen?
Dear Lord! make haste!
Sin every day commits more waste;
And Thy old enemy, which knows
His time is short, more raging grows.
Nor moan I only – though profuse –
Thy creature’s bondage and abuse;
But what is highest sin and shame,
The vile despite done to Thy name;
The forgeries, which impious wit
And power force on Holy Writ,
With all detestable designs,
That may dishonour those pure lines.
O God! though mercy be in Thee
The greatest attribute we see,
And the most needful for our sins;
Yet, when Thy mercy nothing wins
But mere disdain, let not man say
“Thy arm doth sleep”, but write this day
Thy judging one: descend, descend!
Make all things news, and without end!
Henry Vaughan, 1621-1695
This is that blessed Mary, pre-elect
God’s virgin. Gone is a great while, and she
Dwelt young in Nazareth of Galilee.
Unto God’s will she brought devout respect,
Profound simplicity of intellect,
And supreme patience. From her mother’s knee
Faifthul and hopeful; wise in charity;
Strong in grave peace; in pity circumspect.
So held she through her girlhood, as it were
An angel-watered lily, that near God
Grows and is quiet. Till, one dawn at home,
She woke in her white bed, and had no fear
At all – yet wept ’til sunshine, and felt awed:
Because the fulness of the time was come.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1828-1882
Almighty and everlasting God, who by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost didst prepare the body and soul
of the glorious Virgin Mother Mary to be a dwelling-place for thy Son: grant that we who rejoice in her Presentation
may at her tender intercession be kept unspotted, and made a pure temple for his dwelling;
who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Divine Worship: The Missal
Remembrance Sunday this year marks the centenary of the Armistice on 11 November 1918, which brought to an end the Great War. The following photographs were taken at the war memorial in the village of Hollingworth, Cheshire, on the edge of the Peak District, in the week leading up to today's commemoration. We give thanks to Almighty God for all those who, in war and conflict, fought for their nation, their monarch, for freedom and liberty, and for a better tomorrow for their sons and daughters. May their memory not fade, nor their example be lost on us in the midst of the comfort and complacency of our time. And we pray, too, especially, for the repose of the souls of all the Faithful Departed who fell in battle. Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them. May they rest in peace.
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
Laurence Binyon CH, 1869-1943
They are flocking from the East
And the West,
They are flocking from the North
And the South,
Every moment setting forth
From realm of snake or lion,
Swamp or sand,
Ice or burning;
Greatest and least,
Palm in hand
And praise in mouth,
They are flocking up the path
To their rest,
Up the path that hath
Up the steeps of Zion
They are mounting,
Throngs beyond man's counting;
With a sound
Like innumerable bees
Where flowering trees
All alike abound
With honey, -
With a swell
Like a blast upswaying unrestrainable
From a shadowed dell
To the hill-tops sunny, -
With a thunder
Like the ocean when in strength
Breadth and length
It sets to shore;
More and more
Waves on waves redoubled pour
Leaping flashing to the shore
(Unlike the under
Drain of ebb that loseth ground
For all its roar.)
They are thronging
From the East and West,
From the North and South,
Saints are thronging, loving, longing,
To their land
Palm in hand
And praise in mouth.
Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
The wretched Panther crys aloud for aid
To church and councils, whom she first betray’d;
No help from Fathers or traditions train
Those ancient guides she taught us to disdain.
And by that scripture which she once abus’d
To Reformation, stands herself accus’d.
What bills for breach of laws can she prefer,
Expounding which she owns her self may err?
And, after all her winding ways are try’d,
If doubts arise, she slips herself aside
And leaves the private conscience for the guide.
If then that conscience set th’ offender free,
It bars her claim to church auctority.
How can she censure, or what crime pretend,
But Scripture may be constru’d to defend?
Ev’n those whom for rebellion she transmits
To civil pow’r, her doctrine first acquits;
Because no disobedience can ensue,
Where no submission to a Judge is due;
Each judging for himself, by her consent,
Whom thus absolv’d she sends to punishment.
Suppose the Magistrate revenge her cause,
’Tis only for transgressing humane laws.
How answ’ring to its end a church is made,
Whose pow’r is but to counsel and perswade?
O solid rock, on which secure she stands!
Eternal house, not built with mortal hands!
Oh sure defence against th’ infernal gate,
A patent during pleasure of the state!
Thus is the Panther neither lov’d nor fear’d,
A mere mock Queen of a divided Herd;
Whom soon by lawful pow’r she might controll,
Her self a part submitted to the whole.
Then, as the Moon who first receives the light
By which she makes our nether regions bright,
So might she shine, reflecting from afar
The rays she borrowed from a better Star:
Big with the beams which from her mother flow
And reigning o’er the rising tides below:
Now, mixing with a salvage croud, she goes,
And meanly flatters her invet’rate foes,
Rul’d while she rules, and losing ev’ry hour
Her wretched remnants of precarious pow’r.
from The Hind and the Panther: A Poem in Three Parts, 1687
by John Dryden, 1631-1700 (the Panther is the Church of England)
For that fair blessed mother-maid,
Whose flesh redeemed us; that she-cherubin,
Which unlocked Paradise, and made
One claim for innocence, and disseized sin,
Whose womb was a strange heaven, for there
God clothed himself, and grew,
Our zealous thanks we pour. As her deeds were
Our helps, so are her prayers; nor can she sue
In vain, who hath such titles unto you.
John Donne, 1572-1631
Upon the Book and Picture of the Seraphical Saint Teresa
O thou undaunted daughter of desires!
By all thy dower of lights and fires;
By all the eagle in thee, all the dove;
By all thy lives and deaths of love;
By thy large draughts of intellectual day,
And by thy thirsts of love more large than they;
By all thy brim-fill’d bowls of fierce desire,
By thy last morning’s draught of liquid fire;
By the full kingdom of that final kiss
That seized thy parting soul, and seal’d thee His;
By all the Heav’n thou hast in Him
(Fair sister of the seraphim!);
By all of Him we have in thee;
Leave nothing of myself in me.
Let me so read thy life, that I
Unto all life of mine may die!
Richard Crashaw, 1612-1649
Merciful God, who by thy Spirit didst raise up thy servant Saint Teresa of Jesus to reveal to thy Church the way of perfection: grant that her teaching may awaken in us a longing for holiness until, assisted by her intercession, we attain to the perfect union of love in Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Here Edward king, lord of the English,
sent his soul strong in truth to Christ,
in God’s safekeeping, his holy spirit,
He in this world dwelt for a time
in kingly power and wise counsel.
Freely the king for twenty-four
winter-times shared out wealth
and prosperous times, ruler of men,
graciously governed Welsh and Scots,
And Britons also, Aethelred’s son,
with Angles and Saxons, and their warriors,
Clasped round by cold waves,
all obeyed Edward, noble king;
they heard him faithfully, his young retainers.
The blameless king was ever happy in spirit,
though he long had been deprived of land,
walked the outcast’s ways wide on the earth,
after Cnut overcame Aethelred’s kin,
And Danes ruled over the dear kingdom
of the English land, sharing its wealth
for twenty-eight winter-times.
After he came forth freely bearing armour,
the best of good kings, pure and mild,
Edward the atheling defended his home,
land and people, until suddenly came
death and bitter, and took the dear one,
the atheling from the earth; the angels accompanied him,
his soul strong in truth, into the sky’s light,
The wise one therefore committed the kingdom
to one high in rank, Harold himself,
noble eorl, who at all times
faithfully obeyed his lord
in words and deeds, holding back nothing
at the need of the king of the people.
In the doorway of a low grey house,
built of stones as old as the Crusades,
a woman of Bruges
sits in the sunlight, among the flowers,
saying her Rosary.
The story of Mary is her own story,
and her son was her life’s joy
and her life’s sorrow;
and for ever
her son is her life’s glory.
In a field in Flanders,
among the red poppies, he is sleeping:
he will sleep soundly
until the day of resurrection.
She has still the patchwork quilt
made, when her hands were nimble,
for the wooden cot:
now he is sleeping, and each year
he has a new coverlet
of delicate young grass,
and at the end of his cot
a wooden cross.
The cradle of the wood,
the wood of the cross:
from cradle to cross,
like a lullaby.
The story of the woman of Bruges
is the world’s story.
it is the story
of human joy and sorrow,
woven and interlaced,
like the blue and crimson thread
in a woven cloth:
the story of birth and death,
of war and the rumours of war
and of peace past understanding,
peace in the souls that live
in the life of Christ.
In the doorway in Bruges,
sitting among the flowers,
her mind like a velvet bee
droning over a rose,
taking the honey of comfort
out of the heart of Love,
the old woman is nodding
over her Rosary.
She has lived her meditation,
like the Mother of God,
living the life of Christ:
let her sleep in Christ’s peace.
Caryll Houselander, 1901-1954
Michael, Michael: Michael of the Morning,
Michael of the Army of the Lord,
Stiffen thou the hand upon the still sword, Michael,
Folded and shut upon the sheathed sword, Michael,
Under the fulness of the white robes falling,
Gird us with the secret of the sword.
When the world cracked because of a sneer in heaven,
Leaving out for all time a scar upon the sky,
Thou didst rise up against the Horror in the highest,
Dragging down the highest that looked down on the Most High:
Rending from the seventh heaven the hell of exaltation
Down the seven heavens till the dark seas burn:
Thou that in thunder threwest down the Dragon
Knowest in what silence the Serpent can return.
Down through the universe the vast night falling
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Morning!)
Far down the universe the deep calms calling
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Sword!)
Bid us not forget in the baths of all forgetfulness,
In the sigh long drawn from the frenzy and the fretfulness
In the huge holy sempiternal silence
In the beginning was the Word.
When from the deeps of dying God astounded
Angels and devils who do all but die
Seeing Him fallen where thou couldst not follow,
Seeing Him mounted where thou couldst not fly,
Hand on the hilt, thou hast halted all thy legions
Waiting the Tetelestai and the acclaim,
Swords that salute Him dead and everlasting
God beyond God and greater than His Name.
Round us and over us the cold thoughts creeping
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the battle-cry!)
Round us and under us the thronged world sleeping
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Charge!)
Guard us the Word; the trysting and the trusting
Edge upon the honour and the blade unrusting
Fine as the hair and tauter than the harpstring
Ready as when it rang upon the targe.
He that giveth peace unto us; not as the world giveth:
He that giveth law unto us; not as the scribes:
Shall he be softened for the softening of the cities
Patient in usury; delicate in bribes?
They that come to quiet us, saying the sword is broken,
Break man with famine, fetter them with gold,
Sell them as sheep; and He shall know the selling
For He was more than murdered. He was sold.
Michael, Michael: Michael of the Mustering,
Michael of the marching on the mountains of the Lord,
Marshal the world and purge of rot and riot
Rule through the world till all the world be quiet:
Only establish when the world is broken
What is unbroken is the word.
G.K. Chesterton, 1874-1936
O everlasting God, who hast ordained and constituted the services of Angels and men in a wonderful order: mercifully grant that as thy holy Angels alway do thee service in heaven; so by thy appointment they may succour and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Fr Lee Kenyon
A Treasure to be Shared
The Acolyte’s Toolbox