Saturday, December 31, 2011

St. Sylvester

Today is the seventh day of Christmas and the feast of St. Sylvester.  Enjoy this legendary tale of how St. Sylvester slew a dragon who had been killing three hundred people a day.  It's a delightful story about this saint about which little is known.

In this time it happed that there was at Rome a dragon in a pit, which every day slew with his breath more than three hundred men. Then came the bishops of the idols unto the emperor and said unto him: O thou most holy emperor, sith the time that thou hast received christian faith the dragon which is in yonder fosse or pit slayeth every day with his breath more than three hundred men. Then sent the emperor for Saint Silvester and asked counsel of him of this matter. Saint Silvester answered that by the might of God he promised to make him cease of his hurt and blessure of this people. Then S Silvester put himself to prayer, and Saint Peter appeared to him and said: Go surely to the dragon and the two priests that be with thee take in thy company, and when thou shalt come to him thou shalt say to him in this manner: Our Lord Jesu Christ which was born of the Virgin Mary, crucified, buried and arose, and now sitteth on the right side of the Father, this is he that shall come to deem and judge the living and the dead, I commend thee Sathanas that thou abide him in this place till he come. Then thou shalt bind his mouth with a thread, and seal it with thy seal , wherein is the imprint of the cross. Then thou and the two priests shall come to me whole and safe, and such bread as I shall make ready for you ye shall eat. Thus as Saint Peter had said, Saint Silvester did. And when he came to the pit, he descended down one hundred and fifty steps, bearing with him two lanterns, and found the dragon, and said the words that Saint Peter had said to him, and bound his mouth with the thread, and sealed it, and after returned, and as he came upward again he met with two enchanters which followed him for to see if he descended, which were almost dead of the stench of the dragon, whom he brought with him whole and sound, which anon were baptized, with a great multitude of people with them. Thus was the city of Rome delivered from double death, that was from the culture and worshipping of false idols, and from the venom of the dragon. At the last when Saint Silvester approached towards his death, he called to him the clergy and admonished them to have charity, and that they should diligently govern their churches, and keep their flock from the wolves. And after the year of the incarnation of our Lord three hundred and twenty, he departed out of this world and slept in our Lord.

It is also New Year's Eve, and it is customary to say a Te Deum on this day in thanksgiving for God's blessings in the past year.  Here are two Te Deum's in thanksgiving for 2011.

Friday, December 30, 2011

St. Sylvester's Race: A benefit for the Anglican Church of Christ the King, Cidade de Deus, Rio de Janeiro

On Dec. 31, St. Sylvester's Day, Luiz Coelho, an artist and candidate for Holy Orders in Rio de Janeiro, will be running the St. Sylvester's Day race in Sao Paulo to raise funds for the painting of a mural on the altar wall of the Anglican Church of Christ the King in the slum of Cidade de Deus, in Rio de Janeiro Brazil.  The mural will be a contemporary depiction of St. Augustine's City of God, set in Cidade de Deus, with Christ and the saints depicted as Brazilians living in a renewed city of peace.  If you would like to contribute to this project- and to learn more about it- please visit Luiz' blog here.  Those who make a contribution will be able to have one of the saints or a symbol in the mural offered in memory of a loved one, or in thanksgiving.  I fully support this project which will bring beauty to this holy house, and inspire hope in those who see a visual prophetic witness of God's desire for this neighborhood's becoming.  Prayerfully consider making a small contribution today.

Interior of Christ the King Anglican Church, Cidade de Deus, Rio de Janeiro

Dios e ya nacido! God is now born.

A beautiful poem written by   Rafael Jesús González.  You can read more of his poetry at his blog

-A esto

Se dice que
el fulgor de un lucero
y el cantar de ángeles
anunciaron el nacer
del dios hecho hombre,
del niño nacido
entre animales domésticos.

Sea lo que sea el cuento
de la trágica y gloriosa
trayectoria de su vida,
todo se reduce a esto:
---enseñó a amar.

----© Rafael Jesús González 2011

Guatemalan Nativity by Fr. John Giuliani

To This

It is said
that the brightness of a star
& the singing of angels
announced the birth
of the god made man,
the child born
among domestic animals.

Whatever is the story
of the tragic & glorious
trajectory of his life,
it all comes to this:
---he taught to love.

----© Rafael Jesús González 2011

The Sixth Day of Christmas

In the Incarnation, God became one with us in Jesus Christ.  God, whose love desired to be in fellowship and communion with us, offered God's self to us, and became human, so that we could partake of the divine nature and be united with God (2 Peter 1).  In return, all we can offer to God is ourselves:  all we can do is offer our heart as a mansion in which God may dwell, a vessel through which God may love.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

St. Thomas Becket

O God, our strength and our salvation, who didst call thy servant Thomas Becket to be a shepherd of thy people and a defender of thy Church: Keep thy household from all evil and raise up among us faithful pastors and leaders who are wise in the ways of the Gospel; through Jesus Christ the shepherd of our souls, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holy Innocents

They scarcely waked before they slept,

They scarcely wept before they laughed;

They drank indeed death’s bitter draught,

But all its bitterest dregs were kept

And drained by Mothers while they wept.

From Heaven the speechless Infants speak:

Weep not (they say), our Mothers dear,

For swords nor sorrows come not here.

Now we are strong who were so weak,

And all is ours we could not seek.

We bloom among the blooming flowers,

We sing among the singing birds;

Wisdom we have who wanted words:

here morning knows not evening hours,

All’s rainbow here without the showers.

And softer than our Mother’s breast,

And closer than our Mother’s arm,

Is here the Love that keeps us warm

And broods above our happy next.

Dear Mothers, come: for Heaven is best.

Christina Rosseti

Triumph of the Innocents  William Holman Hunt

Unspotted lambs to follow the one Lamb,
Unspotted doves to wait on the one Dove;
To whom Love saith, 'Be with Me where I am,'
And lo their answer unto Love is love.

For tho' I know not any note they know,
Nor know one word of all their song above,
I know Love speaks to them, and even so
I know the answer unto Love is love.

Christina Rosseti

Holy Innocents, pray for us.

We remember before God this day all victims of violence, and all bereaved parents who have lost a child.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

St John the Evangelist

Today we remember St John the Evangelist, the beloved apostle, and the only apostle not to die a martyr.  It is St. John who wrote the beautiful words concerning the Incarnation that are often read during Christmastide...

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.  That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth

One of the symbols for St John is a chalice, often with a snake crawling out of it.  According to tradition, St. John was offered a chalice of poisoned wine, but after he blessed the cup, the poison appeared in the form of a snake.  Thus, it has become customary to bless wine on St.John's day, and to drink to the love of God.

Monday, December 26, 2011

St. Stephen, proto-martyr

Today we remember St. Stephen, deacon, servant of the poor, and the first martyr.  He is an example of forgiveness, charity, and love of all, including one's enemies.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christ is Born!

A blessed feast of our Lord's Nativity to you all!

What shall we offer Thee, O Christ,
Who for our sakes hast appeared on the earth as a man?
Every creature which Thou hast made offers Thee thanks.
The angels offer Thee a song;
The heavens, their star;
The wise men, their gifts;
The shepherds, their wonder;
The earth, its cave;
The wilderness; the manger;
And we offer Thee a virgin mother.
O Pre-eternal God, have mercy on us!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Vero Cras

Truly, tomorrow!

Friday, December 23, 2011

O Virgo virginum

O Virgo virginum, quomodo fiet istud? quia nec primam similem visa es, nec habere sequentem. Filiae Jerusalem, quid me admiramini? Divinum est mysterium hoc quod cernitis.

O Virgin of virgins, how shall this be? for neither before thee was any like thee, nor shall there be after: Daughters of Jerusalem, why marvel ye at me? The thing which ye behold is a divine mystery.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, Rex et Legifer noster, exspectatio gentium, et salvator earum; veni ad salvandum nos, Domine Deus noster.

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the Desire of all nations, and their Salvation: Come and save us, O Lord our God!

O Rex gentium

O Rex gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum; veni, et salva hominem quem de limo formasti.

O King of the nations, and their Desire, the Corner-stone, who makest both one: Come and save mankind, whom thou formedst of clay.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

O Oriens

O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae; veniet illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Day-spring, Brightness of Light everlasting, and Sun of Righteousness: Come and enlighten him that sitteth in darkness, and the shadow of death.

Monday, December 19, 2011

O Clavis David

O Clavis David et sceptrum domus Israel, qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit; veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel; that openest, and no man shutteth, and shuttest, and no man openeth: Come, and bring the prisoner out of the prison-house, and him that sitteth in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

artist:  Ronilo Cruz  Our Lady of Expectation

Sunday, December 18, 2011

O Radix

O radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.

O Root of Jesse, which standest for the ensign of the people; at whom kings shall shut their mouths, to whom the Gentiles shall seek: Come and deliver us; and tarry not.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

O Adonai

O Adonai, et dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O Adonai, and leader of the house of Israel, who appearedst in the Bush to Moses in a flame of fire, and gavest him the law in Sinai: Come and deliver us with an outstretched arm.

Friday, December 16, 2011

O Wisdom

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter, suaviterque disponens omnia; veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

O Wisdom, which camest out of the mouth of the most High, and reachest from one end to another, mightily, and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Viva la Reina de Guadalupe!

Icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe, written by Luiz Coelho

Saturday, December 10, 2011

December 10: Karl Barth and Thomas Merton

Today the Episcopal Church remembers the neo-orthodox theologian Karl Barth.  Enjoy this lecture given by Barth on Evangelical Theology in 1962.  

We also remember the Trappist mystic, Thomas Merton.  Here are Merton's thoughts on Contemplation.