The Church at the South Pole

I have recently been reading again [did not manage to finish it the first time] a delightful book entitled The Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer. The majority of my husband’s and my prayer practise revolves around this ever-deepening prayer, only 12 words long. It is a transformative ever evolving and deepening experience. I have posted several times on this Prayer of the Heart which is the one prayer monks and nuns of all traditions, and especially the Orthodox branch of the Christian Faith use silently throughout the day. I digress….

Towards the end of the book I came across something I had not known and wonder if many of you do…there is a church at the South Pole! Run by the Russian Orthodox Church it is a delightful church and I have found a small clip about it on Youtube.

 

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Prayer And Love:Thomas Merton

Prayer and love are learned in the hour when prayer becomes impossible and the heart has turned to stone.
Thomas Merton

Veni Sanctus Spiritus: Come Holy Spirit

I offer this to gently lift our hearts and minds, on the feather light wings of the Holy Spirit. May we mindfully join with our Soul in its eternal song of Joy and Praise. May we find peace in these troubled times, may our gentleness act as a grace within our world and our compassion heal wounds of the human experience. Let us rest in the grace of God and know each other as family no matter how different we may appear on the surface. And may we have the courage to Love.

One commentator on this said the following: ‘Come Holy Spirit and inflame the hearts of nations. Forgive our differences, enlighten our hearts and minds that we may see our common brotherhood as children of the one true God.’  

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Veni Sancte Spiritus 

Latin Text.
Veni, Sancte Spiritus, et emitte caelitus lucis tuae radium. Veni, pater pauperum, veni, dator munerum, veni, lumen cordium. Consolator optime, dulcis hospes animae, dulce refrigerium. In labore requies, in aestu temperies, in fletu solatium. O lux beatissima, reple cordis intima tuorum fidelium. Sine tuo numine, nihil est in homine, nihil est innoxium. Lava quod est sordidum, riga quod est aridum, sana quod est saucium. Flecte quod est rigidum, fove quod est frigidum, rege quod est devium. Da tuis fidelibus, in te confidentibus, sacrum septenarium. Da virtutis meritum, da salutis exitum, da perenne gaudium. 
Come, Holy Spirit, send forth the heavenly radiance of your light. Come, father of the poor, come, giver of gifts, come, light of the heart. Greatest comforter, sweet guest of the soul, sweet consolation. In labor, rest, in heat, temperance, in tears, solace. O most blessed light, fill the inmost heart of your faithful. Without your grace, there is nothing in us, nothing that is not harmful. Cleanse that which is unclean, water that which is dry, heal that which is wounded. Bend that which is inflexible, fire that which is chilled, correct what goes  stray. Give to your faithful, those who trust in you, the sevenfold gifts. Grant the reward of virtue, grant the deliverance of salvation, grant eternal joy.

 

 

Be Still My Soul

 

Firstly a heartfelt welcome to all of you new ‘followers’ who pressed the follow button of late. Thank you for pressing the button, and I hope you find the time to browse and enjoy the rich storehouse of archived posts. You will find posts inspired from all faith traditions, all celebrating our Divine Source. They are as varied as each one of us human beings is unique. Together we make one big human family. Regardless of culture, faith, nationality, or colour we are all  Gods children, created equal and equally loved. In our variety we can choose to weave a beautiful blanket of love to wrap around our world. Let none divide us. 

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 In the frenzy of everyday life many become overwhelmed, and stress is a modern day epidemic. For all those of you who juggle life’s many and varied demands and challenges, and struggle to find time for your cell to sit within, or who yet have to discover their own cell to explore…this is for you. May it bring peace and a stilling of your Soul within. May it strengthen you and re-balance you so that you may re-enter your homes and workplaces, refreshed and balanced.

For those of us whom God has called to:

“Go, sit in a cell, and your cell will teach you everything.”
— Abba Moses (4th century)

May it strengthen us, and may God grant us the joy, courage and endurance to stay and witness its beautiful transformation.

Go To Your Cell, And Your Cell Will Teach You Everything

Go To Your Cell,

And your cell will teach you everything.

This saying is taken from a similar one pronounced by Abba Moses in the C4th; he said… “Go, sit in a cell and your cell will teach you everything.” This call of the Lord comes to the most unlikely of us it seems. For that we should offer great thanks for therein lies the hope that no matter how troubled our lives may be with their twists and turns, mistakes and sins…none of us are beyond redemption through the infinite tenderness and merciful Love of our Creator for His creation, and His infinite understanding of the human condition.

One person who found this to be true was Abba Moses, also known as Abba Moses the Robber, the Abyssinian, the Ethiopian and the Strong, who lived between 330 and 450 and became a notable Desert Father. Before he went to his cell, he had been a servant of a government official in Egypt who dismissed him for theft and suspected murder. On leaving employment he was the leader of a gang of bandits who roamed the Nile Valley spreading terror and violence. Reports say he was a large and imposing man.

On attempting a robbery on one occasion, a barking dog prevented him from carrying it out and he swore vengeance. With weapons in his mouth he swam the river to the owners hut. The owner alerted again by his dog, hid and so Moses had to hide from the local authorities and he took shelter with some monks in a colony in the desert of Wadi El Natrun, then known as Sketes, near Alexandria.  The dedication of these monks as well as their peace and contentment influenced Moses deeply, so much so that he renounced his former life, converted to Christianity and joined the monastic community at Sketes.

The path and experience of life in the cell is rarely a smooth one, the transformation of our personalities and human behaviours is a lengthy process, beset with periods of great inner turmoil and challenge. Moses’ flair for adventure remained with him and when he was attacked by a group of robbers in his cell, he fought back, overpowered them, and then dragged them to the chapel where the monks were at prayer. He asked what he should do with them, no longer feeling it was suitable to hurt them as a Christian. At this the robbers gave up, were themselves converted and joined the community. At another time, when a brother committed a fault, Moses was invited to discuss an appropriate penance and refused to go. When he was again summoned, he took a leaking jug filled with water and the other monks asked him why he was carrying it. He replied, “My sins run out behind me and I do not see them, but today I am coming to judge the sins of another?” The errant monk was forgiven.

The lesson of the cell is the turning of our attention inwards in order to hear the Lord and his teaching of us. It is also the place where trusting we are within His presence we may offer up ourselves in service and love, and offer our praises. In the cell there is no place to hide; no place to run, thus everything is magnified. In the cell we cannot turn on the TV, text or email or perform any number of distracting activities. We face the Lord alone and we face ourselves. It can be an extremely uncomfortable and challenging place to inhabit. The unkind words we have spoken, the lies we may have told, the injustices we have committed, the judgments on others we have passed…all come back to us magnified and clear as water for us to view and offer up to God for His infinite mercy and transformation. The cell is a transformative place of forgiveness and it is we that are being transformed in the fires of Love’s penance.  And yet it also offers ultimate freedom, as gradually we realise with our changing perception that its outward appearance of confinement is actually our gateway to unlimited freedom.

Some think of an enclosed life as an escape, a lying down of responsibility to the world and yet in this more formal form, the cell is the place where the foundations of all life are laid and all is up for challenge and overcoming. It is an extremely intensive experience; some describe it as a battleground. In a sense it can be a battleground, between the renunciations of small individual will and the laying over of Gods Will in order to meld with, unite with and act as God created us to be before we got distracted. In this cell we are called home by Love, invited to cease being the prodigal son, to take our rightful place at the feast in our honour.

Monk

In The Last Battle by CS Lewis, the individual creatures are invited to step through what appears to be a random doorway. It is a request that involves ultimate trust that what lies on the other side is beneficial, without having any way of knowing. It is a metaphor for passing through death into paradise. Aslan [Christ] knows what lies beyond but the creatures do not. They must trust but they must also accept the invitation. And so it is with the cell. We enter the cell by Christ’s invitation, we submit to its fires of transformation by our own free choice and we must trust that all will indeed be well, for Christ it is who knows what is beyond it. The cell teaches us, it transforms us into living lights of the Highest Holy of Holies.

Aslans door

We are all invited….

Aslan

Bless The Lord My Soul: Oh Lord Hear My Prayer: Taize

 

I offer these to you in the quietude of the compline hours because these are beautiful prayers.

 

The Taizé Community is an ecumenical monastic order that invites people of different Christian faiths to worship together. They are well known for their contemplative hymns in many languages
http://www.taize.fr/en

“Since my youth, I think that I have never lost the intuition that community life could be a sign that God is love, and love alone. Gradually the conviction took shape in me that it was essential to create a community with men determined to give their whole life and who would always try to understand one another and be reconciled, a community where kindness of heart and simplicity would be at the centre of everything.”

Brother Roger: “God is love alone”

For You, I Created Universes

And My Lord said to me:

Approach Me safely my Beloved

And with joy and thanksgiving in your heart.

Play-My Beloved child-

For you-I created universes.  

For you are the sons and daughters of Love.

Created of Love, born of Love

The essence of Love, Love’s gift, of Itself

For Loves Purpose. 

Stephanie.