Excerpt from Eyes Have I That See: Selected Poems by Fr. John Julian
(Available at Paraclete Press or Priory Gifts)
Soul of Christ, O, consecrate me;
Flesh of Christ, emancipate me;
Blood of Christ, intoxicate me;
Water from Christ’s side, repair me;
Sufferings of Christ, prepare me;
O good Jesu, deign to spare me;
In thy wounded bosom bear me;
From thy presence never send me;
From the Enemy defend me.
When I come to die, protect me,
And to join thee, Lord, direct me.
With thy blessed saints upraise me,
That forever I may praise thee. Amen.
The feast of Simeon is celebrated on October 8th. Simeon is one of my favorite saints. We know him only from his welcoming the infant Jesus, and his mother and father, into the temple. But the words of his welcome have become immortalized in what we know as the Nunc dimittis. For centuries the Nunc dimittis has been joined with the Magnificat to provide the outline for evening worship. Composers throughout the history of the Church have set it to different melodies to allow us to join in that very special moment of worship in the temple in Jerusalem.
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
Sunday, October 4th is the feast day of Francis of Assisi, the world’s most popular saint!
Francis was born in 1182, the son of a wealthy merchant of Assisi. His early youth was spent in harmless revelry and fruitless attempts to win military glory. He soon gave this up for a life of poverty, joyfully and literally following the sayings of Jesus. When Jesus spoke to him from a cross in the neglected chapel of San Damiano and told him to go build up His house, Frances thought this meant repairing the chapel. Over time he realized that God was speaking about the larger Church. He founded the Franciscan Order and devoted himself and his order to serving the poor. Not long before his death, he received the marks of Jesus’ wounds, the stigmata, in his own hands, feet and side. He was canonized in 1228, and the great basilica of St. Francis was built over his tomb in Assisi. His great love of nature and animals led the church to make him the patron saint of animals.
Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words. – Saint Francis
by Artist Eye
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. Hebrews12:1
Sometimes when I struggle with myself I am motivated by a picture of a crowd of watchers peering down from heaven, their smiling faces ranged around a balustrade. On a good day I imagine both the strangers and the dear departed friends cheering and laughing good naturedly. And on the bad days? Well, then I guess their faces are more earnest and intent, and perhaps some of them let their exasperation with their charge show in their faces.
I had to reconsider this image recently when someone pointed out that maybe some of that crowd might actually be very much alive, and looking up, not down. Some of the great cloud might still be a few feet shorter than me. I never imagine that the small people I know take much notice of my coming and going but who knows who is looking on. There’s nobody who sees more honestly than a perceptive child. Now there’s a new motivator to
keep up the fight.
by Melodius Monk
Over the Christmas season our church was decorated with almost life-size banners of saints. I know of at least one little girl who waves to and says hello to each of these saints, just as if she was talking to you or me. Watching her, I was reminded of a wonderful book I’d read by Madeleine L’Engle about faith in art.
In a chapter titled Probable Impossibles, L’Engle writes, “for we are called on to believe what to many people is impossible. Instead of rejoicing in this glorious “impossible” which gives meaning and dignity to our lives, we try to domesticate God, to make his mighty actions comprehensible to our finite minds.”
Isn’t this true? All things are possible with God, yet I rarely live expecting glorious impossibilities to happen. I forget that in the realm of faith, there are saints and angels to say hi to, and impossibilities and miracles to be grateful for every day.