Drawing near

I think I’ve written about my favourite Advent hymn on this blog before -‘O Come O Come Emmanuel’. It’s so beautiful in the way it captures the solemnity of waiting in faith and hope for the coming of the Messiah.

O come o come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
Who mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! 
Emmanuel shall come to thee, 
O Israel.

Like Israel of the Old Testament, we are captives and in exile until the coming of Christ into our lives. Only He can set us free and end our mournful loneliness, and make our hearts glad. Yet we are able to rejoice still, for the promise of His coming gives us hope. And so in that hope and faith we call out to Him ‘O come, o come!’, knowing that He will hear us and that when He draws near our desires will be fulfilled.

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Musings on Mercy

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(Photo from here)

So I’ve come back to my erstwhile blog with a few stitchings of thoughts. It’s Advent, and the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and the Jubilee Year of Mercy has begun. I wish I could write something brilliant and relevant about all of the above, but I’m afraid I only have what I only ever have when I come to write; a mess of thoughts and only a handful of adequate ways to express them.

But on mercy. I’ve been thinking a lot about God’s mercy, and how it is so much a part of His love. Mercy is what happens when unconditional love is active and creative, as God’s love is. Humanity screws up, time and time again. Simple, straightforward justice would be content to leave us writhing in the miseries of our own making. God is a just God; He will have justice. But His love is such that He will not simply let things be. And so He reaches through, and creates miracles, wondrous things, to save us when we cannot save ourselves.

Mercy is not earned or deserved, if it was it wouldn’t be mercy. Mercy is a gift freely given.

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Rambles

I went on a walk down a path I’ve not explored yesterday. It was the sort of walk that doesn’t feel right to say I enjoyed, even though I did very much. There just seemed to be a lot more to it than that. This post is a ramble in itself, so I have drawn no conclusions, but if that doesn’t bother you then read on!

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Eastertide

Christ yesterday and today

the Beginning and the End
the Alpha
and the Omega.
All time belongs to him
and all the ages.
To him be glory and power
through every age and for ever. Amen.

By his holy
and glorious wounds,
may Christ the Lord

guard us
and protect us. Amen.

May the light of Christ rising in glory dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.

***

Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,
exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,
let the triumph of salvation sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph!
Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,
ablaze with light from her eternal King,
let all corners of the earth be glad,
knowing an end to gloom and darkness.
Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,
arrayed with the lightning of his glory,
let this holy building shake with joy,
filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.
Therefore, dearest friends, standing in the awesome glory of this holy light,
invoke with me, I ask you,
the mercy of God almighty,
that he, who has been pleased to number me,
though unworthy, among the Levites,
may pour into me his light unshadowed,
that I may sing this candle’s perfect praises.

***

O truly blessed night,
worthy alone to know the time and hour
when Christ rose from the underworld!

This is the night of which it is written:
The night shall be as bright as day,
dazzling is the night for me, and full of gladness.

The sanctifying power of this night dispels wickedness,
washes faults away,
restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners,
drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty. 

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(exerpts from the English translation of the Easter Vigil Mass in St Peter’s basilica, 4th April 2015.)

He is Risen, Alleluia Alleluia! Happy Easter all!

On ecumenical matters

Those of you reading this blog know that I’m working in an ecumenical Chapel and Chaplaincy. I love what I’m doing here, and have got to know so many people from different traditions; the experience is proving to be enriching and informative as well as enjoyable.

One of the natural consequences of working in this environment is it’s made me a lot more aware of the similarities and differences between different branches of Christianity. There is so much that unites us, and I do prefer to focus on that – when you’re working with people or making friends, this is the starting point after all. The similarities shouldn’t be used to sweep differences under the carpet – different denominations very consciously have different ways of going about things, and to pretend otherwise can only lead to superficial understanding between them. The key is to acknowledge the agreements and disagreements, and to see the importance of trying to work together with them, rather than pretending the situation is other than it is.

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Should you be afraid?

Just a few thoughts today.

Earlier I was talking with some people, and the conversation moved away from more general matters and onto the threat of ISIS, and the likelihood of more terrorism and persecution making its way over to the West. You don’t have to know every detail about current affairs to have some idea of the truly dreadful things that have been happening, and, it seems, with more and more frequency. Decapitation. Abduction. Historical vandalism. There is too much to list, and I don’t have the words to do justice to the magnitude of what is happening.

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