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A Short Litany


celtic-knot

Today from the Carmina Gadelica, we have a very early Celtic litany.  There is a flavor of the Eastern Church to it, I think.  Whatever the case, it is short, beautiful and powerful.  As well, just a reminder: the study of Celtic Christianity continues this Sunday at 9:30 a.m. int he parish library.

JESU, Thou Son of Mary,
Have mercy upon us,
Amen.
Jesu, Thou Son of Mary,
Make peace with us,
Amen.
Oh, with us and for us
Where we shall longest be,
Amen.
Be about the morning of our course,
Be about the closing of our life,    [world
Amen.
Be at the dawning of our life,
And oh! at the dark’ning of our day,
Amen.
Be for us and with us,
Merciful God of all,
Amen.
Consecrate us
Condition and lot,
Thou King of kings,
Thou God of all,
Amen.
Consecrate us
Rights and means,
Thou King of kings,
Thou God of all,
Amen.

Consecrate us
Heart and body,
Thou King of kings,
Thou God of all,
Amen.
Each heart and body,
Each day to Thyself,
Each night accordingly,
Thou King of kings,
Thou God of all,
Amen.


DIA liom a laighe,
Dia liom ag eirigh,
Dia liom anus gach rath soluis,
Is gun mi rath son as aonais,
Gun non rath as aonais.

Criosda liom a cadal,
Criosda liom a dusgadh,
Criosda liom a caithris,
Gach la agus oidhche,
Gach aon la is oidhche.

Dia liom a comhnadh
Domhnach liom a riaghladh,
Spiorad liom a treoradh,
Gu soir agus siorruidh,
Soir agus siorruidh, Amen.
Triath nan triath, Amen

GOD with me lying down,
God with me rising up,
God with me in each ray of light,
Nor I a ray of joy without Him,
Nor one ray without Him.

Christ with me sleeping,
Christ with me waking,
Christ with me watching,
Every day and night,
Each day and night.

God with me protecting,
The Lord with me directing,
The Spirit with me strengthening,
For ever and for evermore,
Ever and evermore, Amen.
Chief of chiefs, Amen.

As we work up to our next session on Celtic Christianity, I thought I’s begin to post a few prayers and hymns from the Carmina Gadelica, a 19th century collection of poems, hymns and prayers from the Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Britain.  Many of these hearken back to the earliest days of Christianity in the British isles and show the keen sense of a God present and active in His world and in the lives of His people.

This perception of the active presence of Christ is wonderfully expressed in the hymn, St. Patrick’s Breastplate, which is also a wonderful expression of the Holy Trinity.

The two volumes are online in various places, but the text version in a real book is somehow more satisfying.

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The Value of Faith


statsAmid the election uproar, an important economic study issued quietly concerning the “value” of faith expressed in cash terms.  Those leading the jihad against Christianity would do well to read it and then figure out how they will replace the more than USD 1 trillion plus in economic benefits currently provided by the faithful.

Of course, the statist solution would be to continue the economic plunder of the nation and simply adding to the staggering deficit.  After all, what’s another trillion dollars, right?

I have reproduced the press release below and, I hope, the links to the study.  It is free for the viewing over at the website of the authors’ foundation-Faith Counts.

New study values faith in America at over one trillion dollars

–First-ever national research highlighting the impact of religion on U.S. economy– National Press Club, Washington, D.C. — In a panel today, Dr. Brian Grim and Melissa Grim, J.D., unveiled their groundbreaking new study: “The Socio-economic Contribution of Religion to American Society: An Empirical Analysis.” The first-of-its-kind study analyzed the economic impact of 344,000 religious congregations around the country, in addition to quantifying the economic impact of religious institutions and religion-related businesses. Through this study, Dr. Grim found the total economic contribution of religion in America to be nearly $1.2 trillion, equal to the world’s 15th largest economy.

 

Dr. Grim presented his research at a panel event at the National Press Club. The panel included Dr. William Galston, Senior Fellow in the Brookings Institution’s Governance Studies Program, and Dr. Ram Cnaan, Professor and Program Director of the Program for Religion and Social Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania. “For the first time, we have been able to quantify what religious institutions, faith-based charities, and even businesses inspired by faith contribute to our country,” said Dr. Grim. He continued: “In an age where there’s a growing belief that religion is not a positive for American society, adding up the numbers is a tangible reminder of the impact of religion. Every single day individuals and organizations of faith quietly serve their communities as part of religious congregations, faith-based charities, and businesses inspired by religion.”   Despite prolonged economic hardship in many communities, the amount of money spent annually by religious congregations on social programs has tripled in the past 15 years. Some examples of the social issues addressed by these congregations and religiously-oriented charity groups include:

  • Alcohol and drug abuse recovery—130,000 programs
  • Veteran and veterans’ families support—94,000 programs
  • Prevention or support for people with HIV/AIDS—26,000 programs
  • Support or skills training for unemployed adults—121,000 programs

Operating alongside these charity groups and religious institutions sit faith-based and inspired businesses, which employ people in every field and industry. This fills the marketplace with goods and services used by people of all faiths, plus those with no faith at all.  At the same time, religious schools educate millions of students from pre-K to the post-graduate level. The study is sponsored in part by Faith Counts, a multi-faith campaign aimed at promoting the value of faith.  Kerry Troup, spokeswoman for Faith Counts, states, “From our work with diverse faith communities across the U.S., we know that despite differences among individual religions, there are many more things that bring us together. This study shows that faith is still a cornerstone of our economy and society, and we’re actively working together to celebrate and promote its value.”

For more information, including the full study and a video summary of the research, please visit www.FaithCounts.com/Report.

About Faith Counts   Faith Counts is a nonprofit, nondenominational organization comprised of many religious communities who represent nearly 80 million Americans.  The mission of Faith Counts is simple:  to promote the value of faith.  The centerpiece of Faith Counts is a social media campaign that tells powerful stories about how faith counts—how it inspires, empowers, motivates, and comforts billions of people.

Data from: “The Socio-economic Contribution of Religion to American Society: An Empirical Analysis”, a 2016 study by Brian J. Grim (Georgetown University’s Religious Freedom Project) and Melissa E. Grim (Newseum Institute’s Religious Freedom Center), published in the peer-reviewed journal, Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, Volume 12, Article 3.

 

 

Transfiguration


On this festival day, the Feast of the Transfiguration, it is a good time to lay aside the bitter political contest we find our nation locked in, and reach for the fundamental truth of this incredible moment. Today, we are called beyond the notion that the truth revealed in the Transfiguration is a mere toy for theologians or so profound that only for mystics can encounter it. We are challenged to consider whether we are experiencing transformation in our own daily lives. Each of is invited to journey up the mountain through prayer and encounter with Christ.  On the Mount of the Transfiguration (Tabor), Christ Jesus revealed before mortal eyes the Transcendent Truth of who He is, and who Ss. Peter, James and John-and each one of us- will become in Him. Just as they were invited to embrace the path that He had prepared. So are we, in this very moment.

O GOD, who on the mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses thine only-begotten Son wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistering; Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may be permitted to behold the King in his beauty, who with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen.transfiguration


It is worthwhile to sit down after the service and reread the words of the hymns.  These really do offer solace and a message for the modern condition Wonderful words from our recessional hymn this morning:

Judge eternal, throned in splendor,
Lord of lords and King of kings,
with thy living fire of judgment
purge this land of bitter things;
solace all its wide dominion
with the healing of thy wings.

Still the weary folk are pining
for the hour that brings release,
and the city’s crowded clangor
cries aloud for sin to cease;
and the homesteads and the woodlands
plead in silence for their peace.

Crown, O God, thine own endeavor;
cleave our darkness with thy sword;
feed all those who do not know thee
with the richness of thy word;
cleanse the body of this nation
through the glory of the Lord.

-Hymnal 1940, 518  Words by Henry Scott Holland, 1902

One True Church


No Popery
To paraphrase President Ronald Reagan, “There they go again.” Once again, I have had to bar anti-Roman Catholic comments from my FB page and the various blogs to which I contribute. This go round the culprits were alleged Christians of the Easter Orthodox persuasion.
 
As I have many dear friends in the Easter branch of the Church (and, yes, I believe in the branch theory) and have supported persecuted Orthodox priests and prelates, the incident bears comment.  Indeed, I have written favorably on the long and once-warm relationship between Anglicanism and Orthodoxy.  (“Which Way to Turn?” Nov. 4, 2009, The Continuum).  My good friend Fr. Robert Hart over at The Continuum blog has written some far more erudite and incisive pieces on “which one true church  is the one true church”, and I commend those articles to you.  However, it also occasionally is necessary to place a clear marker as to where one stands in the “one true church” derby, especially when a faction gives you a knowing glance and presumes a similar stance.
 
The latest iteration of the “nod and a wink” inclusion in a particular camp occurred on my Facebook “wall”. In a cross-post of a somewhat annoying article, the comment thread included statements from self identified “Eastern Orthodox believers such as “better the crescent atop the Hagia Sopnia” than the Latin cross” and “I’d rather the turban than the Papal tiara”. Sadly, these comments were not offered in jest, but to support a view of the Western Church that is not-so-thinly-veneered hostility. Perhaps hostility is an understatement. Hatred would seem a more apt term.
 
At a time when our brothers and sisters are having their heads removed for their faith, I was immediately moved to ask whether debates about the “one true church” really productive at least amongst those who profess to be “traditionalists”? The stakes for Christendom are far higher than the sleights of 1000 or more years ago.  I noted that there was a response of some sort, but I had already moved to block the individual, so I was deprived of what I am sure was a stunning and sagacious rejoinder.  So be it.  This mean election season has sufficient hate wrapped up in it, so I am not particularly interested in that sort of thing from “those who profess and call themselves Christians”.
 
I do wish to be clear to my friends on the other side of the Danube, Volga, Bosphorus, Nile or whatever river may be implicated in the Eastern meme, as well as to those who are trans-Tiber.  I am not asserting, nor would I assert, that there are not genuine disputes and differences amongst the churches. That sort of thing has been going on since the delegation from Antioch arrived in Jerusalem for the Council recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. I also am mindful of the theological differences between East and West.I do confess, though, that I cannot fathom the vitriol over events of 1000 years past, particularly on the part of recent converts who have no historical grounding in the Eastern Church.  I think it fair tho say that outrage over purported affronts to, oh let’s pick the Serbian Church, ring a little hollow when one was raised a Presbyterian by parents of Scots ancestry and converted last year.  You will pardon me if I think that the bounds of credulity are a bit thin when a modern American goes on a rant about “the rape of Constantinople”.
 
However, before one casts stones to vilify the Western Church, it may be useful to look at the beam in one’s own eye. We could start, for example by asking where in Orthodoxy does the “fullness of the faith” reside? Constantinople? Alexandria? Russia? Romania? Serbia? Antioch (where Christians were first called such)? The fissures and cracks already showing in the Pan-Orthodox Synod or Council or whatever it is should be a caution to those claiming some sort of religious “purity” over and against the Church of Rome.
 
I have remained an Anglican-Catholic for a number of reasons most of which are deeply personal; and, no, I don’t feel like “sharing”.. However, in the course of pursuing three theological degrees from the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception, I can testify to the warmth and friendship I was shown by faculty and students alike. (Perhaps amongst the students there was the sense of shared suffering!) I never witnessed anti-Orthodox venom either while in seminary or in the ensuing years among my Roman Catholic brother clergy and friends.
 
Were there attempts to get me to “cross over”? Yes, indeed there were and still are. It has become s bit off a good-natured contest. It also is to be expected from the “big Church” that so values the English religious heritage that it has created an ordinariate for those wishing to traverse the Thames and cross the Tiber. However, I have never been upbraided for being an Anglican-Catholic, nor had my faith condemned.
 
St. Kosmas Aitolos once said that hatred is the Devil’s poison and offered this observation:
Even if we perform upon thousands of good works, my brethren: fasts, prayers, almsgiving; even if we shed our blood for our Christ and we don’t have these two loves [love of God and love of brethren], but on the contrary have hatred and malice toward our brethren, all the good we have done is of the devil and we go to hell. But, you say, we go to hell despite all the good we do because of that little hatred?
 
We do well to take this admonition to heart. In the meantime, fair warning to those who would call me “friend” or comment on blog bits such as this, either the regular sort or those inhabiting the electronic world of the internet, I simply will not suffer displays of hatred by and between traditional Christians any more than I suffer the heretic or apostate. The “unfriend” not only works in the electronic world, but it also functions in reality.
 
Perhaps it is worth closing with a prayer:
 
For the Unity of God’s People.
 
O GOD, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, the Prince of Peace; Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly, union and concord: that as there is but one Body and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Carmina Gadelica


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While reading The Celtic Way of Evangelism this week, I found a reference to Carmina Gadelica which was billed as a collection of prayers, hymns, charms, incantations, blessings, literary-folkloric poems and songs, proverbs, lexical items, historical anecdotes, natural history observations, and miscellany gathered in the Gaelic-speaking  regions of Scotland between 1860 and 1909. The material was recorded, translated, and reworked by the exciseman and folklorist Alexander Carmichael. (1832–1912) who, with the assistance of family and friends, published the first two of six volumes.  After reading the long-playing version of St. Patrick’s Breastplate, I purchased the 1992 a one-volume English-language edition.

The book is actually a collection of folk prayers or common prayers and rituals of the people. Some of the prayers serve to make sacred the simple everyday tasks of living such as sweeping a room, stoking a fire and the like. The rituals may seem odd to us because we don’t have a sense of living in a world where spirits (good and evil) are nigh to us. The prayers reflect a people who have been shaped by a Christian vision of the world, but still retain some pre-Christian sensibilities about the world around them.

Many of the prayers are absolutely stunning and stirring; and, in reading them prayers, one can discern that the Celtic mind was “God-intoxicated”.  God was present and felt “at all times and in all places”, to borrow a phrase.  Theologically we probably could call the Celtic mindset panentheistic-God was in everything.

Consider that today for most Christians, prayers are limited to church or the home and are typically formal. Not so here.  Carmina Gadelica is how true Christian prayer was meant to be.  While written down, these prayers remain spontaneous, lively, of the moment, coming from the heart. Sufficed to say, this is the Celtic book of “uncommon prayer”, and is well worth having and especially praying!

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