Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11: Seven Years On

In remembrance of the seventh anniversary of 9/11, we offer these humbles thoughts and prayers:
Into paradise may the angels lead thee:
At thy coming may the Martyrs receive thee,
And bring thee into the holy city Jerusalem.
May the Choir of Angels receive thee,
And with Lazarus, one poor, mayest thou have eternal rest.

In paradisum from The Orthodox Ritual
Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them.

And for those who perpetrated this act of terrorism in the name of their God, here's one bit from a portion of Evening Prayer of the "Forms of Prayer to be Used in Families," which the Holy Synod of Russia decreed needed no changes on doctrinal grounds (although I would recommend adding invocation of the saints and angels to the prayers, even in the short form):
Accept, O Lord, our intercessions for all mankind. Let the light of thy Gospel shine upon all nations; and may as many as have received it, live as becomes it. Be gracious unto thy Church; and grant that every member of the same, in his vocation and ministry, may serve thee faithfully. Bless all in authority over us; and so rule their hearts and strengthen their hands, that they may punish wickedness and vice, and maintain thy true religion and virtue. Send down thy blessings, temporal and spiritual, upon all our relations, friends, and neighbours. Reward all who have done us good, and pardon all those who have done or wish us evil, and give them repentance and better minds. Be merciful to all who are in any trouble; and do thou, the God of pity, administer to them according to their several necessities; for his sake who went about doing good, thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
May God be with us all, lay to rest those who perished, comfort those who continue to mourn, pacify the anger and hatred of those who rejoice, turn the hearts of those who wish or plan to perpetrate similar deeds, and reign in the hearts and minds of all His children, to our benefit and our glory. Through Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, world without end. Amen.

(Yes, it's early here; no, I couldn't sleep.)

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Monday, September 08, 2008

St. Augustine on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Dearly beloved brethren, the day for which we have longed, the Feast-day of the Blessed and Worshipful and Alway-Virgin Mary, that day is come. Let our land laugh and sing with merriment, bathed in the glory of this great Virgin's rising. She is the flower of the fields on which the priceless lily of the valleys hath blossomed. This is she whose delivery changed the nature that we draw from our first parents, and cleansed away their offence. At her that dolorous sentence which was pronounced over Eve ended its course ; to her it was never said : In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children. She brought forth a Child, even the Lord, but she brought him forth, not in sorrow, but in joy.

Eve wept, but Mary laughed. Eve's womb was big with tears, but Mary's womb was big with gladness. Eve gave birth to a sinner, but Mary gave birth to the sinless One. The mother of our race brought punishment into the world, but the Mother of our Lord brought salvation into the world. Eve was the foundress of sin, but Mary was the foundress of righteousness. Eve welcomed death, but Mary helped in life. Eve smote, but Mary healed. For Eve's disobedience, Mary offered obedience ; and for Eve's unbelief, Mary offered faith.

Let Mary now make a loud noise upon the organ, and between its quick notes let the rattling of the Mother's timbrel be heard. Let the gladsome choirs sing with her, and their sweet hymns mingle with the changing musick. Hearken to what a song her timbrel will make accompaniment. She saith : My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden, for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is Mighty hath magnified me. The new miracle of Mary's delivery hath effaced the curse of the frail backslider, and the singing of Mary hath silenced the wailing of Eve.
St. Augustine of Hippo, from the Second Nocturne of Matins.

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