Give us the mind of Jesus, something of his brave heart, as we sail over the waters of experience. And days of sunshine. And favouring winds. And stars to be our guide when the sun is set. Yet this is but half our asking. Lord of pity, when trouble rises, as a storm, turning our trust to fear, bring us into the quiet place of thy presence and be our haven. From Hebridean Altars by Alistair Maclean. Wherever we are, let us follow the guidance of a star as surely as the fisherman away up in the islands. Let us pray for the grace to be quiet in God's haven, letting him turn our fears into trust.
Tag Archives: star
6 March, Lenten Pilgrimage III: Bring us into your haven.
Filed under Daily Reflections, Laudato si', PLaces, poetry
19 February: Spring In The West
Soon amid the inviolable places
Will green, rustling steeples chime again
With the sweet, glassy bell-notes of the wren.
Soon the plain shall lie beneath blue spaces–
Bold and broad and ruddy in the sun,
Long and lean to the moon when day is done.
Soon will come the strange, heart-lifting season
When through the dark, still dawns, where nothing was,
Steals the mysterious whisper of growing grass;
And a joy like pain possesses the soul, without reason,
Between the budding of day and the lapse of night,
With the clear, cold scent of wet starlight.
‘Soon’: a word of promise. Observe the signs of the times: the wren singing amid the brambles, the red, ploughed soil, blue sky. Soon will come joy so intense it hurts. Let’s try to see the signs of the times this Lent, and look out for Easter Joy.
From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. (Matthew 24:33)
Sometimes we have to trust that the dawn will come, despite the seemingly endless dark night. The orchid and bluebells in the picture were putting out roots through the winter to be able to flower in the Spring.
Filed under Daily Reflections, Laudato si', Lent, poetry, Spring
25 December: Through Angels’ Eyes
Through Angels’ Eyes
This dusty angel is in York Minster with his improbably long-chained censer. Strength to your arm, Angel!
The winter night knows many a star,
But the Angels have found one brighter far
Than any that ever has shone before;
They float and fall through the silent snow
Like birds of God, to settle below;
To find our earth the Angels go.
A poor little planet, a poor little town,
A poor little cradle, not lined with down,
A particular absence of all renown;
Angels must be peculiar things,
Who float and fall with wheeling wings
To seek in such for the King of kings.
If we were heaven-taught we should know
That what we think high God might yet think low,
And straight to Bethlehem singing go;
For this earth of ours is still the Star
Whither the Angels flew from far,
Where the Christ-child and His Mother are.
More bright than the star that Wisdom led,
To Angels’ eyes shone the cattle-shed,
Where the little Christ once laid His head;
And ‘twixt the tapers, just the same
As when to Bethlehem once they came,
To Angels’ eyes must the altar flame.
Filed under Advent and Christmas, Christian Unity, Daily Reflections, Laudato si', winter
A Christmas message from Pope Francis and the Synod.
|General Secretariat of the Synod|
www.synod.va – email@example.comView this email in your browser
|Buon Natale! Merry Christmas! ¡Feliz Navidad! |
Joyeux Noël ! Feliz Natal!
« …Christmas reminds us that a faith that does not trouble us is a troubled faith.
A faith that does not make us grow is a faith that needs to grow.
A faith that does not raise questions is a faith that has to be questioned.
A faith that does not rouse us is a faith that needs to be roused.
A faith that does not shake us is a faith that needs to be shaken.
Indeed, a faith which is only intellectual or lukewarm is only a notion of faith.
It can become real once it touches our heart, our soul, our spirit and our whole being.
Once it allows God to be born and reborn in the manger of our heart.
Once we let the star of Bethlehem guide us to the place where the Son of God lies,
not among Kings and riches, but among the poor and humble. ».
(Pope Francis, Address to the Roman Curia 2017)
Filed under Advent and Christmas, Justice and Peace, Laudato si', Mission
15 December, Advent Light XV: Lovelight.
Another of the Anglican Franciscan Father Andrew’s Advent and Christmas poems. Some of those we are sharing this Advent were composed for parish mystery plays, so are simple in language and construction. This one is more reflective. Love came for you and me.
Once down some steep old Syrian stair,
A dim, sweet vision in the night,
Stepped Mary with her Blossom fair,
While God’s soft stars gave candle-light.
And oh, how steep life’s stairs might be,
And oh, how dark may be the night;
Yet since Love came for you and me
Even thorns have blossomed wondrously,
And through all dark with certainty
Love leads to Light.
Filed under Advent and Christmas, Daily Reflections, Mission, PLaces
More about celebrating Fr Tom
I went back to the University of Kent last Sunday to celebrate a requiem for Fr Tom with the students. There was a good attendance and we sang ‘Amazing Grace’ – one of Tom’s favourites.
I announced the details of the funeral Mass and I think some students will attend. Unfortunately I am committed to celebrating at Southwark Cathedral that morning.
I will, though, be present for The Reception the previous night.
Fr Peter Geldard, University of Kent Catholic Chaplain, 1996-2018
Today’s extract from the Wisdom of Fr Tom is from two years ago in Advent. The previous day’s posting had been about arrangements for Advent and Christmas in Local Anglican parishes, where, when and how to hear the Word – and of course, the carols, which were recorded elsewhere before lockdown. Lord that I may see!
Tree of Life window, former Franciscan International Study Centre, Canterbury, which was also the meeting place for Kent University Catholic Chaplaincy.
Yesterday was about hearing, today we are seeing hopefully. Or should I say seeing, hopefully. I’m not talking about taking note of the raindrops and kittens that we see, but about the sense of sight.
I’ve been blessed lately with two cataract operations, and sight is suddenly not to be taken for granted. Suddenly, all is Technicolor, or as my friend Winfried would have argued, Agfacolor. He favoured the German films and prints; we disagreed about the red end of the spectrum.
Seeing hopefully: this new lease of life for my eyes inspires hope. Not quite Mine eyes have seen the coming of the glory of the Lord, but a promise that if human co-operation with creation through science can enlighten my little world, there may be better things to come.
Winfried told me that the German for a cataract in the eye translates as grey star; not a star you would want to follow.
So, I told Fr Tom Herbst (TJH in Agnellus’ Mirror) as well, soon after the first op when one eye was still under the grey star. ‘I imagine’, he said, ‘you can well relate to the ecstasy felt by the blind folks healed by Jesus!!!’
I didn’t need him to point that out, but I was glad he did. I offered this progress report: ‘Till the second eye is done it’s a mixture of ecstasy and ‘I see trees walking’. (Mark 8:24) I hope by next week the eyes will be co-ordinating freely and I’ll recognise more people!’
Tom replied, ‘Good luck with the op. As marvellous as it might be to see trees walking (other than Ents, of course, which are not technically trees), it seems recognition might be the better choice!’
Pray that we may recognise the star we are called to follow this Advent and Christmas. It may all be a little different this year!
MMB, TJH, WOH.
Filed under Christian Unity, corona virus, Daily Reflections, PLaces
18 January: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2022, Day I.
‘We Saw His Star in the East’.
In this fragile and uncertain world, we look for light. We look for the good within ourselves, but often we are so overwhelmed by our weakness that hope fails us. Our confidence rests in God, who in wisdom, enables us to hope for his mercy. We are surprised when it comes in human form: Christ is the light in our midst! God’s gift to us is a ‘spirit of power, and love’. We are drawn forward on the way to this perfect light by God’s Holy Spirit, not by relying on our own strength and ability.
In the midst of darkness, the star from the East penetrates the depths of the darkness that separates us from one another. The star’s light continues to shine and to change the face of history. Throughout the ages, by the lives of Christ’s followers, the world has come to know the hope that is inspired by the Holy Spirit.
And the Risen One continues to shine, like a beacon guiding all into this perfect light and overcoming the darkness which separates us from one another. The desire to overcome the darkness that separates us compels us to pray and work for Christian unity.
Creator of light,
illumine our path by the light of Christ who moves before us and leads us. May he be a beacon for our pilgrimage. Enlighten us and dwell within us. Raise us up and draw us to your perfect light. Guide us to discover a manger in our hearts where a great light still shines. We thank you for the gift of that unfading Star, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Heal our divisions and draw us together. AMEN
Psalm 139:1-10 Your right hand shall hold me fast
2 Timothy 1:7-10 This grace… has now been revealed through the appearing of our
Saviour Christ Jesus
Reflection: Go and do
Global: Visit the website of Embrace the Middle East and see what actions you can take to be in solidarity with Christians of the Middle East.
Local: Organise a candle lit vigil with the churches in your area as an act of unity. It doesn’t have to be in person but each church could encourage members to put a candle in their window at an agreed day and time.
Personal: Take time this week to star gaze. Let your eyes settle on an unfading star and pause in reverence and prayer before the Creator of light. You don’t have to go outside you can search for and visit an online planetarium.
How brightly beams the Morning Star!
What sudden radiance from afar
Doth glad us with its shining,
Brightness of God that breaks our night
And fills the darken’d souls with light
Who long for truth were pining!
Thy Word, Jesu, only feeds us,
Rightly leads us,
Praise, oh praise such love o’erflowing.
Johann Schlegel, tr. Catherine Winkworth
Questions Reflecting on the past year:
Global: What could the role of the Church be in proclaiming the good news of the Gospel in a world where
there is so much injustice?
Local: Where have you seen signs of hope in your community, especially during a time of pandemic?
Personal: How have you sought ‘the light’ in the midst of darkness?
Filed under Christian Unity, Daily Reflections, Justice and Peace, Mission
17 January: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Introduction III.
The Covid-19 global pandemic; the economic crisis that has followed and the failure of political, economic and social structures to protect the weakest and most vulnerable; and the racism that blights our communities have underlined the global need for a light to shine in the darkness. The star that shone in the East, (the Middle East), two thousand years ago still leads us to the manger, to where Christ was born. It draws us to where the Spirit of God is alive and active.
After encountering the Saviour and worshipping him together, the Magi return to their countries by a different way, having been warned in a dream. The communion we share in our prayer together must inspire us to return to ourselves, our churches and our world by new ways. But what does this mean
Serving the Gospel today requires a commitment to humankind, especially the poorest, the weakest and those marginalised. It requires from the churches transparency and accountability in dealing with the world, and with each other. This means churches need to cooperate to provide relief to the afflicted, to welcome the displaced, to relieve the burdened, and to build a just and honest society.
This is a call for churches to work together so that we can all build a good future according to God’s heart, a future in which all human beings can experience life, peace, justice, and love.
Filed under Christian Unity, Daily Reflections, Justice and Peace, Mission, PLaces
16 January: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2022. Introduction, II.
Jerusalem is a powerful symbol for Christians because it is “The City of Peace”, where all humanity was saved and redeemed. But today peace is missing from the city. Even prayer in Jerusalem has become subject to political and military measures. Various parties stake their claim to it and disregard others. Jerusalem was the city of kings, indeed the city that Jesus will enter triumphantly, acclaimed as king (Luke 19:28-44). Naturally the Magi expected to find the newborn king revealed by the star in this royal city.
However, the narrative tells us that, rather than being blessed by the birth of the Saviour king, the whole of
Jerusalem was in tumult, much as it is today. Today, more than ever, the Middle East needs a heavenly light to accompany the people.
In this context Christians are called to seek the new-born king, the king of gentleness, peace and love. But where is the star that leads the way to him? It is the mission of the Church to be the star that lights the way to Christ who is the light of the world. By word and through action the Christian people are called to light the way so that Christ might be revealed, once again, to the nations. Yet divisions dim the light of Christian witness and obscure the way, preventing others from finding their way to Christ. Conversely, Christians united in their worship of Christ, and opening their treasures in an exchange of gifts, become a
sign of the unity that God desires for all of creation.
25 August: The seafarer’s chant.
We wanted to keep yesterday’s post simple for it needs no introduction, no explanation. Dr Maclean gave his own afterword to today’s prayer, so no more from your editors today.
Be Thou Thyself the guiding star above me, Lighthouse be thou for every reef and shoal, Pilot my barque upon the crest of sea-wave To where the waters make no moan or roll. Oh the restful haven of the wandering soul!
This, is it not a matchless prayer for fishers of every race and age? The Hebridean, with but a plank between him and the seabed, murmured it a thousand times. As he did so, his vision bore him to some still port far from the breaking seas, some secret haven where the green swell is dumb, and children play on the pearl-white sand.
From Hebridean Altars by Alistair Maclean, 1937.
Filed under Daily Reflections, Laudato si'