Archives for April 2008

A Blessed Holy Week…

…to our Eastern brothers and sisters who observe Easter on the Julian calendar. Holy Week for many Eastern Christians began yesterday, on Palm Sunday, or as it is often called in the East, “Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem.” For those of us who use the Gregorian calendar, we are currently in the fifth week of Easter. I pray that one day East and West might agree on the date of Easter and that we would be one, as our Lord prayed.

Pope at the White House

Just finished watching the Holy Father’s arrival ceremony at the White House.  As a military musician in DC, I have participated in ceremonies like this before, but, this time, it was for our guy!  It was such a kick to see all that pomp and circumstance being bestowed on OUR Holy Father.  It made me so very proud.  Kudos to my Army Chorus friends on a job well done. 

Kathleen Battle seemed especially moved during her performance.  Does anyone know if she’s Catholic?

A Prayer for the Pope

I offer this prayer for our holy Father as he visits the United States:

Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give to Your shepherd, Pope Benedict XVI, a spirit of courage and right judgement, a spirit of knowledge and love.

By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care may he, as successor to the apostle Peter and vicar of Christ, build Your church into a sacrament of unity, love, and peace for all the world.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.


O Gracious Light

One element I miss from my daily prayers as an Anglican is the Phos Hilarion, “O Gracious Light.” This is an ancient Eastern hymn that is used in the Vespers of the Byzantine Liturgy used by Eastern Catholics and Orthodox. It also appears in the most recent revision of the American Book of Common Prayer. It was in the BCP that I became familiar with it. When I switched over to using the Latin Rite version of the Liturgy of the Hours, I no longer used the prayer. Nonetheless, I am thinking of adding it to my evening prayers once again. Using light imagery for Christ was common in the early Church, both in Scripture (e.g. John 8:12, where Jesus tells us he is “the light of the world”), and in Patristic writings and creeds (e.g. the Nicene Creed, “…Light from Light”). I will admit, while I find this light language fascinating and beautiful, it seems foreign to me as a Western Christian (which is probably my own fault!).

Below is an ancient Greek version of the Phos Hilarion, and the English translation used by the Anglican-Use Book of Divine Worship. The Book of Divine Worship is the official worship book used by Anglican parishes officially received into the Catholic Church, and is based on the Book of Common Prayer.

Φῶς ἱλαρὸν
ἁγίας δόξης ἀθανάτου Πατρός, οὐρανίου,
ἁγίου, μάκαρος, Ἰησοῦ Χριστέ,

ἐλθόντες ἐπὶ τὴν ἡλίου δύσιν,
ἰδόντες φῶς ἐσπερινόν, ὑμνοῦμεν
Πατέρα, Υἱόν, καὶ ἅγιον Πνεῦμα, Θεόν.

Ἄξιόν σε ἐν πᾶσι καιροῖς ὑμνεῖσθαι φωναῖς αἰσίαις,
Υἱὲ Θεοῦ, ζωὴν ὁ διδούς·
διὸ ὁ κόσμος σὲ δοξάζει.

O gracious Light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!

Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing thy praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Thou art worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified though all the worlds.

Image of Ohio evening, taken by me.

Kitchen Madonna

Kitchen MadonnaBack in the day, or so I’m told, every Catholic kitchen had a Kitchen Madonna statue. If it didn’t have a statue, you were sure to find a kitchen prayer posted somewhere with in it’s walls. I often search E-Bay for vintage Catholic items. Of the ones I’ve seen, my favorite piece happens to be this reproduction faux-wooden Madonna. Unfortunately, my kitchen has little counter space as it stands, so instead I have a little kitchen prayer with a Madonna picture on it. I don’t have the means to show you the picture, but it is similar to the pewter statue below. I received this as a gift from a friend years ago, and keep it above the sink. I find doing the dishes the most tedious of household tasks, well next to cleaning the bathtub. (Whose idea was it to make sliding tub doors, anyways?) Having the prayer there helps me to focus on the bigger purpose to being a homemaker. Since I like it so much, I thought I would share it with you:
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