Friday, October 31, 2014

Why Were the Saints Saints?

    All Saints Day is tomorrow - Nov. 1, 2014.  Here is a little saying my Grandfather kept on his dresser mirror.
 
Why Were The Saints Saints?
 
Because they were cheerful
when it was difficult to be cheerful;
Patient
when it was difficult to be patient;
and because they pushed on
when they wanted to stand still;
And kept silent
When they wanted to talk;
And were agreeable
When they wanted to be disagreeable.
That was all.
It was quite simple
and always will be.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Love Thy Neighbor


Almighty and most merciful God, who hast given us a new commandment that we should love one another: Give us also grace that we may fulfill it. Make us gentle, courteous, and forbearing. Direct our lives so that we may look to the good of others in word and deed. And hallow all our friendships by the blessing of thy Spirit; for his sake who loved us and gave himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
B.F.Wescott- HT to Kendall   

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Rock of Ages


      After the death of my father last year and my mother's move to a retirement community this year, our family have been sorting through my parents' library.  In some cases this has meant also sorting through books that belonged to their parents.  One such book, from my maternal grandfather, was a little book published in 1934 by General Mills no less. How he came by it is unknown to me.   Entitled The Story of Fifty Hymns, it has write-ups of many familiar hymns. 

     Amazon has this description of the book "The Story of Fifty Hymns published by the millers of Gold Medal "Kitchen-tested" Flour Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Copyrighted by General Mills, Inc. in 1934 and 1939.  This booklet was presented through the courtesy of General Mills in commemoration of the 6th Annual Marshall County Church of Bible School Day featuring "Hymns of All Churches Parade", June 26, 1940, Marshalltown, Iowa.  It has a Preface about a group of artists and musicians headed by Joe Emerson, a nationally known figure in radio in 1934, who started a program of morning hymns with every faith represented, and Gold Medal "Kitchen-tested" Flour was the sponsor of the radio show. "

Here is the text concerning Rock of Ages which we sing at Church tomorrow.

"In the 31st Psalm, we read these words:  'Be thou a strong rock...a house of defense to save me...' This is the thought of the hymn, 'Rock of Ages,' familiar to many churches,  It was written in 1776 by Augustus M. Toplady, priest of the Church of England.   An interesting sidelight on the steadfast faith expressed in the hymn is found in the words of the writer as he lay dying, "I cannot tell you the comforts I feel in my soul; they are past expression.  My prayers are all converted to praise..."  On the one hundredth anniversary of the writing of 'Rock of Ages', more than ten thousand people gathered at the place where it is supposed to have been written, to pay homage to this great symbol of faith expressed in song."

Of this hymn Wikipedia says "Traditionally, it is held that Toplady drew his inspiration from an incident in the gorge of  the Mendip Hills in England. Toplady, a preacher in the nearby village of Blagdon, was travelling along the gorge when he was caught in a storm. Finding shelter in a gap in the gorge, he was struck by the title and scribbled down the initial lyrics.
The fissure that is believed to have sheltered Toplady is now marked as the "Rock of Ages", both on the rock itself and on some maps, and is also reflected in the name of a nearby tea shop.

See below for a nice rendition of this hymn.  It is interesting to compare our hymnal version with The Rev. Toplady's text. 

           

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Feast Day of St. Teresa of Avila- 1582





Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices.

Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

Teresa of Ávila, also called Saint Teresa of Jesus, baptized as Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada (28 March 1515 – 4 October 1582), was a prominent Spanish mystic, Roman Catholic saint, Carmelite nun, an author of the Counter Reformation and theologian of contemplative life through mental prayer. She was a reformer of the Carmelite Order and is considered to be a founder of the Discalced Carmelites along with John of the Cross.
In 1622, forty years after her death, she was canonized by Pope Gregory XV and on 27 September 1970, was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI. Her books, which include her autobiography (The Life of Teresa of Jesus) and her seminal work El Castillo Interior (trans.: The Interior Castle) are an integral part of Spanish Renaissance literature as well as Christian mysticism and Christian meditation practices as she entails in her other important work, Camino de Perfección (trans.: The Way of Perfection).  (Wikipedia)

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Ocean of His Goodness


Should we fall into a sin, let us humble ourselves sorrowfully in his presence, and then, with an act of unbounded confidence, let us throw ourselves into the ocean of his goodness, where every failing will be cancelled and anxiety turned into love.
St. Paul of the Cross

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Prayer for Today

O God, whose love we cannot measure, nor even number thy blessings: We bless and praise thee for all thy goodness, who in our weakness art our strength, in our darkness, light, in our sorrows, comfort and peace, and from everlasting to everlasting art our God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.

Thursday, October 2, 2014