Abide Not Hide

By Sr. Nun Other

I love when the Holy Spirit brings new understanding to a familiar scripture. This week, I found inspiration in words from Psalm 11 — In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me, “Flee like a bird to your mountain. For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings.” I think of my many mountains. Some are actual objects, like ice cream in the freezer, a good book, or newspaper where the news is worse than my own. But more often, it’s an inward mountain of my own construction. When I’m anxious, uncomfortable, hurt, or ashamed, I’m adept at remaining physically present, but emotionally far away. It takes courage to say (and mean it), “In the Lord I take refuge.” It requires standing firm while the enemy within tells you it’s safer to head for the shadows. Why choose a lonely place, when life and healing are a simple prayer away?

The Community of Jesus

 

Gregorian Chant: The Eternal Song

By Sr. Fidelis

The Summer Hymns for Lauds 

The weekday hymn for Lauds has a new text for each day of the week.  The season is indicated by a different tune for winter and summer; but the text remains the same for each day.  Right now we are chanting the summer tune, which we began right after Pentecost.  We will continue to use this tune until after the autumnal equinox toward the end of September, when we will switch to the winter tune.

The Lord’s Day Lauds hymn however has a completely different tune as well as different text for each of the seasons of Ordinary Time.  As one might expect, the text of the summer hymn begins with reference to longer days. It is attributed to Alcuin, who died in 804.

Behold, already the shadow of night is diminishing, the dawn of light is gleaming red:  Let us all keep on with every effort beseeching the Almighty.

May our compassionate God drive away all our anguish, bestow health, and give us by the lovingkindness of the Father, the kingdom of the heavens.

Grant us this, O blessed Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and also of the Holy Spirit, whose glory resounds in all the world.  Amen.

The Community of Jesus

 

Gregorian Chant: The Eternal Song

By Sr. Fidelis

“Not so Ordinary” Time

At the close of Pentecost, we enter into Ordinary Time. Taken from the Late Latin word ordinalis, Ordinary denotes order, or place of succession. The Latin term for this period is Tempus per annum — time through the year. There are two periods of Ordinary Time in the church Calendar; the first is from the Feast of the Baptism of Christ, through to Ash Wednesday, and the second period, extends from the Monday after Pentecost to the First Sunday of Advent. So we are in a season of counted weeks! This second period is a much longer one, and will take us through the summer into the last weeks of autumn. The Propers for these weeks are becoming familiar “friends” as we revisit them year after year; each with a distinct melody, text and modal framework. But each annual repetition brings with it new revelation and inspiration – proof that these chants were inspired by the moving of the Holy Spirit!

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Divine Flame

By Sr. Nun Other

At our church, this past Sunday, Pentecost was commemorated by a profusion of color. Streaming swaths of red, orange, and yellow fabric hung from the church ceiling and embraced stone columns. Everywhere one looked — both inside and out — were reminders of the extraordinary energy that was and is Pentecost. It began as “Pentekostos,” a Greek word meaning fifty. This Judaic feast, some 1500 years old, was celebrated exactly fifty days after each Passover. God chose this same day for His new church to be born. And it wasn’t a quiet birth; it arrived amidst a noisy commotion of dramatic signs and sounds. The holy Spirit, whom Jesus called another Comforter, befriended us in “make no mistake about it” confidence and strength. The color of flame, of sunrise and sunset, he remains with us always.

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Improbably Possible

By Melodious Monk

What if Today,
the Holy Spirit will cleanse in me that which is unclean
water in me that which is dry
heal in me that which is wounded

What if Today,
the Holy Spirit’s fire will bend that which is inflexible,
fire that which is chilled
correct what goes astray

What if Today,
by His Grace I am granted the reward of virtue
granted the deliverance of Salvation
and granted eternal Joy

We have available in us a limitless grace that we have no comprehension of its capability.

Therefore Today,
Come Holy Spirit
send forth the Heavenly radiance
of your light.

[Verses slightly modified from an ancient hymn
appointed for feast of Pentecost]

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Gregorian Chant: The Eternal Song

By Sr. Fidelis

Our Advocate

Known as the Golden Sequence, Veni, Sancte Spiritus is a stunning chant, sung directly after the Alleluia on the day of Pentecost. It was most likely written by Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canturbury in the early 1200’s. The text is an array of attributes of the Holy Spirit, as well as an outpouring of supplications and acknowledgment of our great need for this most gracious Guest. Listen to this prayer sung to the third Member of the Trinity.

Come, Holy Spirit, and send forth by heavenly direction a ray of your light.
Come, father of the poor, come giver of gifts, come light of hearts.

O best comforter, sweet guest of the soul, sweet refreshment.

In labor, rest; in heat, coolness; in tears, solace.

O most blessed light, fill the deepest places of the heart of your faithful.

Without your consent, there is nothing in man, nothing is innocent.

Wash what is soiled, water what is arid, heal what is wounded.

Bend what is rigid, warm what is cold, make straight what is devious.

Give to your faithful, who trust in you, the sevenfold gift.
Give the reward of virtue, give the final end of salvation; give us perennial joy. Amen.

 

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A Gift is Coming

By Melodious Monk

Even a brief watching of the nightly news shows a world in need, and inwardly, we are never far from a spiritual battle between our human natures and God’s divine purposes.  Here we are at Ascension, a time when Jesus tried to explain to his closest followers why he had to leave them.  He said, “If I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.”  The word Advocate can be derived from the Greek word Parakletos, also phrased as “one called alongside.” Or, as the NIV translates the word, “one who speaks in our defense.”  I forget regularly that Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit, our advocate, to help, to comfort, and to defend us.  As the season of Easter is fading away, we have a great gift coming from Jesus. A gift I want to learn more about. In moments of need, I want to learn to gain strength and trust by following this Advocate’s counsel.

The Community of Jesus

Gregorian Chant: The Eternal Son

By Sr. Fidelis

Transition 

Easter 6 marks a significant transitional time in our Paschal journey.  Up until now, we’ve been in a wonderful “cocoon” of intimacy with the Risen Christ, and all the ways he’s made himself known to us — in the breaking of bread, in him as the good shepherd, and true vine.

But now, all the texts for both the Divine Office and Eucharist point to his imminent departure and the promise of the Holy Spirit’s coming. He is preparing us for the future, and what we are truly called to.

The text chosen for this year’s liturgical cycle in both the Alleluia and the Communion is:  I myself have chosen you out of the world, that you should go and bear fruit, and your fruit should remain.

The connection is so clear.  We cannot do this without abiding in him for sustenance, comfort and life itself.

The Community of Jesus

 

Born Again

 

By Melodious Monk

“But the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You  must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell from where it comes or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

Thus says Jesus to Nicodemus when he asks how is it possible to be born again. There’s much mystery and depth of meaning to this 3rd chapter of John. This spring, I found a new connection with this scripture in a place I did not expect–Emily Dickinson’s poem, April.  She reminds us that Mother Nature is continually teaching us more and more of the beautifully vast depths of the mystery of the spirit, and I’m reminded that we must always be listening for this “wind” of the spirit-as we never know when or how it may come!

April    

An altered look about the hills
A Tyrian light the village fills
A wider sunrise in the morn
A deeper twilight on the lawn
A print of a vermillion foot
A purple finger on the slope
A flippant fly upon the pane
A spider at his trade again
An added strut in Chanticleer
A flower expected everywhere
An axe shrill singing in the woods
Fern odors on untraveled roads
All this and more I cannot tell
A furtive look you know as well
And Nicodemus’ Mystery
Receives its annual reply!

Emily Dickinson

 

Gregorian Chant: The Eternal Song

By Sr. Fidelis

The Alleluia for the third week of Paschaltide takes its’ verse from Luke 24: 35.

Cognoverunt discipuli Dominum Jesum in fractione panis.  The disciples knew the Lord Jesus in the breaking of the bread.

A Latin word study gives numerous enlightening meanings:  to know….to become thoroughly acquainted with, to learn by inquiring, to examine, to perceive.  One meaning implied that it required individual exertion to strive to know.  Can we imagine the enlightening of spirit, paired with the reality of the recent Last Supper, and the breaking of the bread of the body on the cross that filled the disciples when the Lord Jesus broke the bread in their presence?

Alleluia….may we know him to that depth today.