Julian of Norwich

Julian of Norwich, my local anchoress-for I was born, lived and had my children in Norfolk, about 12 miles south of Julian’s cell. She is very special to me, as she is to many thousands of people around the world. She inspired me, and like the very idea of the anchoress…has been an anchor throughout my own journey.

Here is a little documentary about her. But first…experience the love of Julian, for she was all about the Love of God. Julian is gentle, loving, motherly, nurturing, yet also complex, deep, and well worth the time spent in getting to know her through her work. I have spent many years researching her and consequently life at that time, and my understanding has been enriched greatly by exploring her.

 

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Panis Angelicus

Panis angelicus is the penultimate strophe of the hymn “Sacris solemniis” written by Saint Thomas Aquinas for the Feast of Corpus Christi as part of a complete liturgy of the Feast including prayers for the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours.

Latin:

Panis angelicus
fit panis hominum;
Dat panis coelicus
figuris terminum:
O res mirabilis!
Manducat Dominum
Pauper, servus et humilis.

Te trina Deitas
unaque poscimus:
Sic nos tu visita,
sicut te colimus;
Per tuas semitas
duc nos quo tendimus,
Ad lucem quam inhabitas.
Amen.

English:

The angelic bread
becomes the bread of men;
The heavenly bread
ends all prefigurations:
What wonder!
The Lord is eaten
by a poor and humble servant.

Triune God,
We beg of you:
visit us,
just as we worship you.
By your ways,
lead us where we are heading,
to the light in which you dwell.
Amen.

The Apostles Creed.

We recently buried my mother. She was 91. My father and she had been married for 70 years and 9 months. They remained as devoted and in love with each other as they had been on their wedding day.  Because of various age and health issues with my immediate family, it squarely came down to me to write her service as she had requested of me and with the help of a wonderful vicar and many hours of thought, prayer and consultation…her funeral service beautifully, poetically and thoughtfully reflected her as the human being she was, a beautiful individually created child of God.

I felt impelled to have the full version of the Apostles Creed in the service and yet could not fully explain why, other than it is perhaps the ultimate statement of faith within the Christian tradition. It felt like we said it on her behalf, to send her on her way, bolstered in the faith she had always held in life. It remains unusual to have the creed within a funeral service but it felt absolutely right and many people commented on how beautiful it was.  When the vicar asked whether I would like the short or long version of the Creed, I instinctively wanted the full long version.

The Apostles Creed is an ancient creed, in its present form dating back at least 1000 years although it is much older than that. And I thought I would share it with you all, along with a very good brief explanation of its content.

And here is a brief summary of the prayer:

 

The Monks of Papa Stronsay: Orkney, Scotland

Following on in the theme of faith lifestyles, here is a short documentary featuring a monastic family local to myself…on the fabulous Orkney Isle of Papa Stronsay…

Papa Stronsay 1

Papa Stronsay 2

Excerpt from a documentary series featuring the Transalpine Redemptorist monks of Papa Stronsay, Scotland – a congregation of traditionalist Catholic Fathers and Brothers of both Eastern and Western Rite from all over the world. The documentary was filmed in September 2003 and originally aired on Channel 4 (UK) in 2004.

The congregation was founded in 1988 by Fr Michael Mary and Fr Anthony Mary on the advice of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Their aim was to found a new Redemptorist congregation which observed the original Rule of Saint Alphonsus and ignored the reforms adopted by modern Redemptorists following the Second Vatican Council.

The congregation moved from the Isle of Sheppy in Kent, England, to Papa Stronsay in 1999. The island was considered ideal because of its seclusion from the world and ancient connection with the monastic tradition. As well as producing their own newspaper, the monks raise their own cattle and sheep and they produce most of their own food.

For more information visit:
http://www.papastronsay.com

From papastronsay.blogspot.com:

I, Hugh Gilbert, O.S.B, by the grace of God Bishop of Aberdeen, decree that the community known as the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, be erected as a Religious Institute of Diocesan right in accordance with c 579 of the Code of Canon Law 1983. The Institute will be subject to all other applicable norms of the said code and governed by the statutes of the said community previously approved by the Holy See.

Given this day 15th August in the year of Our Lord 2012

Avinu Malkeinu

Hear our prayer

We have sinned before Thee

Have compassion upon us and upon our children

Help us bring an end to pestilence, war, and famine

Cause all hate and oppression to vanish from the earth

Inscribe us for blessing in the Book Of Life

Let the new year be a good year for us

Avinu malkeinu sh’ma kolenu

Avinu malkeinu chatanu l’faneycha

Avinu malkeinu alkenu chamol aleynu V’al olaleynu v’tapenu

Avinu malkeinu Kaleh dever v’cherev v’raav mealeynu

Avinu malkeinu kalehchol tsar Umastin mealeynu

Avinu malkeinu

Avinu malkeinu Kotvenu b’sefer chayim tovim

Avinu malkeinu chadesh aleynu Chadesh a leynu shanah tovah

Sh’ma kolenu Sh’ma kolenu Sh’ma kolenu

Avinu malkeinu

Avinu malkeinu Chadesh a leynu

Shanah tovah

Avinu malkeinu Sh’ma kolenu Sh’ma kolenu Sh’ma kolenu Sh’ma kolenu

Silence: The Language of Eternity

The louder our world today is, the deeper God seems to remain in silence. Silence is the language of eternity; noise passes.

Gertrud von Le Fort

Adam and Eve Day: Christmas Eve

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve

 

According to the Bible’s Book of Genesis, God created the first man and woman and invited them to live in a heavenly place called the Garden of Eden. This couple, known as Adam and Eve, lived there in bliss until they took the advice of a serpent and disobeyed God’s command not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. As punishment for their disobedience, God expelled them from the Garden, thus compelling them to work for their living, suffer pain, and eventually die. Medieval Christians honored Adam and Eve as the father and mother of all people and commemorated their story on December 24, the day before Christmas.

Eastern Christians, that is, those Christians whose traditions of belief and worship developed in the Middle East, eastern Europe, and north Africa, were the first to honor Adam and Eve as saints. Their cult spread from eastern lands to western Europe during the Middle Ages, becoming quite popular in Europe by the year 1000. Although the Roman Catholic Church never formally adopted the pair as saints, it did not oppose their veneration. Commemorating the lives of Adam and Eve on December 24 promoted comparison of Adam and Eve with Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Medieval theologians were fond of making such comparisons, the point of which was to reveal how Jesus and Mary, through their obedience to God’s will, rescued humanity from the consequences of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. Indeed, the Bible itself refers to Jesus as the “second Adam” (Romans 5:14). Whereas humanity inherited biological life from the first Adam, it would imbibe spiritual life from Jesus, the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15: 22, 45, 49). Some theologians took this to mean that Jesus’ coming could restore humankind to a state of grace lost when Adam and Eve were exiled from Eden. In like manner, Mary would undo the effects of Eve’s disobedience. When the angel Gabriel visited Mary and delivered the message that she would bear a divine son, Mary replied, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38, also Annunciation.) Medieval commentators relished the fact that in Latin, Eve’s name, Eva, read backwards spelled Ave, meaning“hail.” Ave Maria, or “Hail Mary” were the first words that the angel Gabriel spoke to the Virgin Mary. The spelling of these two shortwords seemed to them to symbolize God’s plan to reverse the consequences of Eve’s deed by bring a savior into the world through theVirgin Mary.

Medieval Christians celebrated Adam and Eve’s feast day with a kind of mystery play referred to as the paradise play. This little folk drama retold the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It ended with thepromise of the coming of a savior who would reconcile humanity with God. The paradise play was often staged around a single prop called a paradise tree. Actors adorned an evergreen tree with apples and sometimes also with communion wafers. Decked out in this way it served to represent the two mystical trees in the Garden of Eden: the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life.Although the church officially banned the performance of mystery plays in the fifteenth century, the people of France and Germany’s Rhine river region kept on decorating paradise trees for Christmas. Some writers believe that the paradise tree evolved into what we now know as the Christmas tree. Indeed, as late as the nineteenth century people in some parts of Germany customarily placed figurines representing Adam, Eve, and the serpent under their Christmas trees. In some sections of Bavaria, people still hang apples upon their evergreens at Christmas time and refer to the decorated trees as paradise trees.

As the Middle Ages receded into history, so too did the western European feast of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve have retained a bit more of their ancient importance among certain Eastern Christians. The Greek Orthodox Church still honors Adam and Eve on the Sunday before Christmas.