Sunday, October 31, 2010

Collects for Sunday, October 31

22nd after Trinity

LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy household
the Church in continual godliness; that
through thy protection it may be free from all
adversities, and devoutly given to serve thee in
good works, to the glory of thy Name; through
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

23rd after Pentecost

Almighty God,
whose chosen servant Abraham obeyed your call,
rejoicing in your promise
that in him the family of the earth is blessed,
give us faith like his,
that in us your promises may be fulfilled;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Presumptuous Sins

In my foolishness, O God, I plead with Thee for many great things. Yet am I ever mindful of my wickedness, my baseness, my vileness. Have mercy upon me. Cast me not away from Thy presence because of my presumption. Do thou rather increase in me this presumption, and grant unto me, the worst of men, to love Thee as Thou has commanded, with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind, and with all my strength, with my whole being.

~Archimandrite Sophrony Sakharov, “Prayer at Daybreak”

Friday, October 29, 2010

Note to Self!!

“Nothing is so helpful in the acquisition of interior peace as silence, and to keep conversations with others as short as possible.”

~St. Seraphim of Sarov

Monday, October 25, 2010


My good friend John once told me that it was a poor mans thanks to need another persons misery to compare yourself with. "I have alot to be thankful for: there are many far worse off than me," is how it would be expressed. This comparative thanksgiving is not really Godward. Likewise, the sin of the Pharisee in the Gospel story this past Sunday is that his righteousness was comparative rather than Godward, thus it was prideful. The Tax-collector on the other hand approached the Lord without pride or self-righteousness. I believe that Godwardness is the key to interior transformation. Our thanksgiving and our humility must find their source in the up-down, God-directed relationship. On the back-and-forth, human-directed relationship we are only to express love and mercy.

LORD Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner,


Collects for Sunday, October 24

21st Sunday after Trinity

GRANT, we beseech thee, merciful Lord, to
thy faithful people pardon and peace; that
they .may be cleansed from all their sins, and
serve thee with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen.

22nd Sunday after Pentecost

Lord God our redeemer,
who heard the cry of your people
and sent your servant Moses
to lead them out of slavery,
free us from the tyranny of sin and death,
and by the leading of your Spirit
bring us to our promised land;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Friday, October 22, 2010

But Thou Art the same LORD

I was told by a dear old man of a conversation he had with his parish priest. He asked the reverend if it would be possible to have a Communion Service as part of he and his wife's fiftieth wedding anniversary celebrations. In particular he had asked for the service to be from the Book of Common Prayer. The reverend suggested the Book of Alternative Services, because why would he want to say, "we are unworthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy table," as part of this celebration. The old gentleman replied, "Yes but reverend you must read on..'but Thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy.'"

This Sunday we shall be reading the parable of the Pharisee and the tax-collector where the tax collector says, "Lord have mercy upon me a sinner." And Jesus declares him more righteous. It is a spiritual tragedy, in my opinion, that modern spiritual efforts are directed towards enhancing self-esteem so that we feel, even believe, that somehow we are worthy in and of ourselves to receive God's love and mercy. This, quite simply is not the Gospel. We are not worthy, BUT God IS the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy, is merciful and loving. Knowing this releases the heart, soul, and body to rejoice in unbounded thanksgiving, and is the foundation of our hope and joy. Jesus has died for the ungodly. Hallelujah.

LORD have mercy, Brian

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tender Mercies

" and what is a merciful heart? It is the heart's burning for the sake of the entire creation, for men, for birds, for animals, for demons, and for every created thing; and by the recollection and the sight of them the eyes of a merciful man pour forth abundant tears. From the strong and vehement mercy which grips the heart and from his great compassion, his heart is humbled and he cannot bear to hear or see any injury or the slightest sorrow in creation. For this reason he offers up tearful prayer continually even for irrational beasts, for the enemies of the truth, and for those who harm him, that they be protected and receive mercy." (St. Isaac the Syrian)

Lord, help me to be a more merciful man towards my family, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, and all of creation. Bless you for your tender mercies towards me and all of your creation.

God sees the little sparrow fall,
It meets His tender view;
If God so loves the little birds,
I know He loves me, too.

He loves me, too, He loves me, too,
I know He loves me, too;
Because He loves the little things,
I know He loves me, too.

LORD have mercy, Brian+

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Collects for Sunday, October 17th

The 20th Sunday after Trinity (BCP)
O ALMIGHTY and most merciful God, of
thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech
thee, from all things that may hurt us; that we,
being ready both in body and soul, may cheerfully
accomplish those things that thou wouldest
have done; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The 21st after Pentecost (BAS)
Almighty and everliving God,
increase in us your gift of faith,
that forsaking what lies behind
and reaching out to what is before,
we may run the way of your commandments
and win the crown of everlasting joy;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Heavenly Sphere of Doxology

Those who have selfless, humble love, because they move within the heavenly sphere of doxology, joyfully accept their trials as well as their blessings, and glorify God for them. Thus, from everything they are continuously receiving God’s blessing and are melting internally out of gratitude towards God, which they express in every spiritual way possible, like children of God.
~Elder Paisios of Athos (Thanks to Christ is in our Midst)

Some Doxologies to move within:

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Glory to God,
whose power, working in us,
can do infinitely more
than we can ask or imagine.
Glory to God from generation to generation,
in the Church and in Christ Jesus,
for ever and ever. Amen. (St Paul)

Through Jesus
Christ our Lord, by whom and with whom, in
the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory
be unto thee, O Father Almighty, world without
end. AMEN

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has become His counselor?”
“Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?”
For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. (St. Paul)

Make me Worthy

Make me worthy, O Lord, to know you so as also to love you, not with knowledge arising from study's exercise and joined to the intellect' dispersion; but make me worthy of that knowledge whereby the intellect, in beholding you, glorifies your nature in divine vision which steals the awareness of the world from the mind. Account me worthy to be lifted above the will's wandering eye which begets imaginings and to behold you in the constraint of the cross's bond in the second part of the intellect, whose liberty ceases from the activity of its thoughts by abiding in Your continuous vision which surpasses nature. (St. Isaac the Syrian)

I WANT TO KNOW YOU By Charlie Peacock

Lord teach me to pray.
Not what to say
Not how to get what I want
Lord you understand what I am
asking I know that you do
I want to know You not just about You
Teach me secrets such as these
Lord send them my way starting today
I want to know You
I want to know You

Lord, it scares me, like a holy fear, to ask you this morning that you might make me more aware of my soul's yearning love to be in union with you. Yet casting selfish fear aside, this is my prayer: May I be content with nothing less than You.

LORD have mercy, Brian+

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mother Mary - Let it Be

“Whatever has taken place in the history of salvation – whatever was done by Christ, the Father, and the Holy Spirit – must also take place within me. That’s what it means for me to participate in the life of God. For example, to the extent that I have emptied myself (cf. Phil. 2.7), I experience what the Mother of God felt when she said to the angel: Let it be done to me according to your word. I experience, in other words, her total self-surrender to that which was beyond her capacity to understand. How shall this be? she asked; How can I give birth, since I am a virgin and have not known a man? Was there anything she could understand? The angel replied: The Spirit will overshadow you and you will give birth (cf. Lk. 1.34-38). Did she understand anything? Nothing at all. That is what is meant by Let it be done to me according to your word, which means: ‘whatever you say, just as you said it. Even though I cannot understand it, let it happen just as you say.’”

- Elder Aimilianos, The Way of the Spirit, p. 36

O Theotokos and Virgin,
Rejoice, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee,
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
for thou hast born for us the Saviour of our souls.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Collects for Harvest Thanksgiving

From the BCP

O ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who
crownest the year with thy goodness, and
hast given unto us the fruits of the earth in their
season: Give us grateful hearts, that we may
unfeignedly thank thee for all thy loving-kindness,
and worthily magnify thy holy Name; through
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From the BAS

Creator of the fruitful earth,
you made us stewards of all things.
Give us grateful hearts for all your goodness,
and steadfast wills to use your bounty well,
that the whole human family,
today and in generations to come,
may with us give thanks for the riches of your creation.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen

Saturday, October 9, 2010

But Above All...

But above all for thine inestimable
love In the redemption of the world by
our Lord Jesus Christ; From the BCP General Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everybody. Brian+

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving… be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.
(Psalm 100:4 KJV)

The mouth which is continuously giving thanks receives blessing from God. In the heart that always shows gratitude, grace abides.
~St. Isaac the Syrian, 7th century

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

I give You thanks,
to me You are a light that knows no evening,
a sun that never sets.

You cannot remain hidden,
for You fill all things with your glory.
You never hide Yourself from anyone,
but we are always hiding from You,
not wishing to come near You.

For where could You hide Yourself,
since You have no place
in which to take Your rest?
Or why should You hide,
since You turn away from no one
and are afraid of none?

Pitch Your tent within me,
gracious Master;
Take up Your dwelling in me now
and remain in Your servant unceasingly,
inseparably, to the end.

At my departure from this life and afterwards,
may I be found in You and reign with You,
who are God over all.

Stay with me, Master, do not leave me alone.
When they find You dwelling within me,
my enemies who seek always to devour my soul,
will be put to flight;

They will have no more power against me,
when they see You,
who are more powerful than all,
lodging in the house of my humble soul.

You did not forget me, Master,
when I was in the world
and sunk in ignorance,
but You chose me
and separated me from the world
and set me up in the presence of Your glory.

Keep me constant and unshaken
in the interior dwelling-place
that You have made within me.

Though dead,
I live when I gaze on You;
Possessing You, though poor,
I am forever rich,
More wealthy than any ruler.

Eating and drinking You,
clothing myself in You from day to day,
I shall be filled with blessings and delight beyond all telling.

For You are every blessing
and all splendor and joy,
and to You is due glory,
to the Holy, Consubstantial and Life-giving Trinity,
worshiped and confessed by all the faithful
and adored in Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

A prayer of St. Symeon the New Theologian (11th century)

Thanks to Christ in our Midst

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Book or Person

There is a mode of reasoning which one had hoped had vanished from "educated circles" forever - that, namely, which regards Christianity as a 'religion of a book' in such a sense that it is suppose to propose for men's acceptance a volume to be received in all its parts as on the same level, and as in the same sense, divine. on the contrary, Christianity is a religioin of a Person. It propounds for our acceptance Jesus Christ, as the revealer of the Father. The test question of the church...has never been, "Dost thou believe the Bible?" but, "Dost thou believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?"... The Bible thus "ought to be viewed not as a revelationitself, but a record of the proclaiming and receiving of a revelation, by a body that is still existant, and which propounds the revelation to us; namely, the body of Christians commonly called the Church."

By Charles Gore from the preface to his book Lux Mundi

This quote resonates with me because I see the Bible as belonging to the Church, not the Church belonging to the Bible. Yet the two are so infused with each other that it would be like trying to take the tea out of the water after the teabag has been soaking in it. Thus the Bible belongs with in and entirely throughout what the Orthodox call Holy Tradition. Ever since the Reformation there has been a tendency among groups and individuals within Anglicanism to 'fundamentalize' the Bible, to pull it out of the visible church and to tacitly claim it to be above, and even the source of the true church invisible. This logic uses Biblical rationalizations to put forth one's opinions, and to discount the ancient rituals and worship of the Church. It also reduces the Church to be a book with a people, rather than a people with a book. These differences may seem small, but the approach to worship and spirituality of the Christian witness is greatly affected by this understanding.

I welcome your comments.

LORD have mercy, Brian+

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

We have a Choice

We have a choice, Thanks be to God!!

“Free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automatons --- of creatures that worked like machines --- would hardly be worth creating.”
CS Lewis

“Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24.14,15

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Collects for Sunday October 3

The 18th after Trinity (BCP)
LORD, we beseech thee, grant thy people grace
to withstand the temptations of the world,
the flesh, and the devil, and with pure hearts and
minds to follow thee the only God; through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.

The 19th after Pentecost (BAS)
Almighty God,
you have built your Church
on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone.
Join us together in unity of spirit by their teaching,
that we may become a holy temple, acceptable to you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Friday, October 1, 2010

For Spiritual Mercies

O God, who has given us life and all good things in this world: Thou hast created us for thy service, and when we have forsaken thee in our wanderings thou hast sought us out; thou hast vouchsafed to us the precious treasure of the Gospel; thou hast ordained that we should be born in the bosom of thy church; thou hast revealed to us thy exceeding great riches in Jesus Christ our Lord. For all these gifts of thy grace, and for benefits which we remember not, we thine unworthy servants do give thee thanks, and bless thy holy name for ever and ever. Amen

A prayer by Eugene Bersier