Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Here, Now

The purity is a question of
names. We are here to utter them. This is
a prayer. I have it now between my
teeth and my eyes, on my forehead. Know
the names. It is as simple as the purity
of sentiment: it is as simple
as that.

(JH Prynne, from Kitchen Poems)
"To everyone who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it." (Revelation 2.17)

The door of the year, this long year, is closing now. What we are called matters.

Just now, in the early evening, it is quiet here, the lights through the trees hardly disturbing the first hours of dark, the air cold now, not even moving the tracery of bare twigs across from the window.

"Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
over those who carry out evil devices."
(Psalm 37.7)

How the heart cries for stillness, in the clamour of obligation and rebuttal; and yet stillness is given, inside each moment. Only now is the divine touchable, and now, as if the instant were bread, and wine, in the space between breathing.

Mercy, the mercy that is Christ with us, can only rest on what actually is, here, now, in the moment given.
Quick now, here, now, always-
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

(TS Eliot, from Four Quartets)

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Abide in the Shadow

Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith. I don’t agree at all. They are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the Passion of Christ.

(CS Lewis, Letters to Malcolm)
Therefore my spirit faints within me;
    my heart within me is appalled.

I remember the days of old,
    I think about all your deeds,
    I meditate on the works of your hands.
I stretch out my hands to you;
    my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
Answer me quickly, O Lord;
    my spirit fails.

(Psalm 143.4-7)
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I obey your word....

It was good for me to be afflicted
so that I might learn your decrees.

(Psalm 119.67, 71 NIV)
We spend much of our lives, it seems to me, avoiding pain. It can't be done. It can't actually be done with emotional pain, I have discovered, any more than it can with physical pain. But, strangely, that's OK.


Mostly, severe, persistent pain and anxiety arise from things we cannot change. Little things, like the pain of sitting too long in one place, or thinking of something unpleasant that we saw on the news, can be changed easily enough, by moving, or by thinking of something else. But grief, loss and arthritis are of sterner stuff.

But there is one thing we can do: keep still. Abide, in the words of Psalm 91, in the shadow of the almighty. "To abide is to bear or to endure. The Psalms are calling us to abide in the midst of anxiety and fear by remembering God’s past action and awaiting God’s future action." (Psalms: Anxiety and Fear - Warren Truesdale)

Affliction, like pain, and death, comes to us all, however fortunate or unfortunate we may be in the world's eyes. Only keep still, and wait. Remember, as the psalmist did in Psalm 119, how God's love has endured, how he has brought good of harm, joy out of grief (Romans 8.28) in the past even of our own lives. Wait for the Lord; be still and wait for the Lord (Psalm 27.14, Psalms 37.7).

Strangely, I have come to be so grateful for these "afflictions", physical and spiritual. There is more peace than we can understand in simply being still, in sitting with God in prayer, sitting with what is, and letting God do what God does; what he has done supremely on the cross, in the death and resurrection of Jesus himself. "Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4.5-7)

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas morning

Many years ago I discovered this wonderful quote from G. K. Chesterton's The Spirit of Christmas, but I had forgotten it till just now.

This was written amid fields of snow within a few days of Christmas. And when I last saw snow it was within a few miles of Bethlehem. The coincidence will serve as a symbol of something I have noticed all my life, although it is not very easy to sum up. It is generally the romantic thing that turns out to be the real thing under the extreme test of realism. It is the skeptical and even rational legend that turns out to be entirely legendary.

Everything I had been taught or told let me to regard snow in Bethlehem as a paradox, like snow in Egypt. Every rumour of realism, every indirect form of rationalism, every scientific opinion taken on authority and at third hand, had led me to regard the country where Christ was born solely as a semi-tropical place with nothing but palm tree and parasols.

It was only when I actually looked at it that it looked exactly like a Christmas card.

Chesterton is right: "It is generally the romantic thing that turns out to be the real thing under the extreme test of realism. It is the skeptical and even rational legend that turns out to be entirely legendary." It is only when we allow our intellects to be divorced from our hearts that we truly lose touch with reality; only when we forget that the best stories are really true that our lives become a fiction...

A very happy Christmas, everyone, and may the love of Christ fill your hearts to overflowing today and always!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

O Virgo virginum

O Virgo virginum, quomodo fiet istud?
Quia nec primam similem visa es nec habere sequentem.
Filiae Jerusalem, quid me admiramini?
Divinum est mysterium hoc quod cernitis.

O Virgin of virgins, how shall this be?
For neither before you was any like you, nor shall there be after.
Daughters of Jerusalem, why marvel at me?
The thing which you behold is a divine mystery.

(Alternative Antiphon in English Medieval usage, up to and including the New English Hymnal)

O holy Virgin, Mother of our Lord, Theotokos, God-bearer, wondering maid among the dreaming daughters of an occupied city, waiting in the mystery you carry - pray for us!

Monday, December 23, 2019

O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.

O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver
the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come to save us, O Lord our God.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7.14 NIV)
O come, Lord Jesus, and heal all that is so broken. Restore the places long desolate; make light again the broken hearts. What we cannot understand, give us grace to live. Where we dream of justice, let your judgement bring us mercy.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

O Rex Gentium

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.

O King of the nations, and their desire,
the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
which you fashioned from clay.

See, I am laying in Zion a foundation stone,
a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation,
'One who trusts will not panic.'
And I will make justice the line,
and righteousness the plummet...

(Isaiah 28.16-17)

I am all at once what Christ is, since he was what I am, and
This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,
Is immortal diamond.

('That Nature is...' Gerard Manley Hopkins)

From the cornerstone all the measurements and angles of ancient architecture were determined; all the paths and turnings of our lives are measured from Christ our Saviour, for
All our steps are ordered by the Lord;
how then can we understand our own ways?

(Proverbs 20.24)

Saturday, December 21, 2019

O Oriens

O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Morning Star,
splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness -
on them light has shined.

(Isaiah 9.2)

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you.

(Isaiah 60.1-2)

But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.

(Malachi 4.2)
I love the dawn. The slow lightening of the sky towards the east, the steadfast morning star still bright above the horizon, calls to some deep sense of freedom and grace within me, a faint echo of the infinite freedom of God's grace, the mercy of forgiveness in Christ, of loss restored, and all things made new. In him, we are truly free at last, and like calves at the end of winter, our own hearts leap as we come into our own country, the land beyond our sorrow.

Friday, December 20, 2019

O Clavis David

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me…he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners." (Isaiah 61:1)

In this reading from Isaiah, the prophet describes the coming Servant of Yahweh. It is precisely this quote that Jesus first uses to announce the exact nature of his own ministry (Luke 4:18-19). In each case Jesus describes his work as moving outside of polite and proper limits and boundaries to reunite things that have been marginalized or excluded by society: the poor, the imprisoned, the blind, the downtrodden.

Jesus’ ministry is not to gather the so-called good into a private country club but to reach out to those on the edge and on the bottom, those who are “last” to tell them they are, in fact, first! That is almost the very job description of the Holy Spirit, and therefore of Jesus… and for that matter of us as bearers of Emmanuel, God with us!

Adapted from Preparing for Christmas with Richard Rohr

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

(St. Teresa of Avila)
The words of Isaiah's prophecy, "I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open." (Isaiah 22.22 ) recur in Jesus' own mouth in Revelation 3.7-8:
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

These are the words of the holy one, the true one,
who has the key of David,
who opens and no one will shut,
who shuts and no one opens:

I know your works. Look, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
We too easily judge ourselves - our own worth in God's eyes, our worth to our fellow creatures even - by our own strength. But our strength is not at issue. As the Lord once said to Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12.9) It is in our very weakness that the Lord can do his best work; in our weaknesses that his words are fulfilled. The littlest faithfulness will do it, as the psalmist said: "Though I am lowly and despised, I do not forget your precepts." (Psalms 119.141 NIV)

Thursday, December 19, 2019

O Radix Jesse

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will shut their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.
There is no mention of any moral worthiness, achievement or preparedness in Mary, only humble trust and surrender. She gives us all, therefore, a bottomless hope in our own little state. If we ourselves try to "manage" God, or manufacture our own worthiness by any performance principle whatsoever, we will never bring forth the Christ but only ourselves.

Mary does not manage, fix, control or "perform" in any way. She just says "Yes!" and brings forth the abundance that Isaiah promises (Isaiah 48:17-19). This is really quite awesome, and counters any economic notion of earning or performing.

Adapted from Preparing for Christmas with Richard Rohr

I think that we have hardly thought through the immense implications of the mystery of the incarnation. Where is God? God is where we are weak, vulnerable, small and dependent. God is where the poor are, the hungry, the handicapped, the mentally ill, the elderly, the powerless. How can we come to know God when our focus is elsewhere, on success, influence, and power? I increasingly believe that our faithfulness will depend on our willingness to go where there is brokenness, loneliness, and human need.

If the church has a future it is a future with the poor in whatever form. Each one of us is seriously searching to live and grow in this belief, and by friendship we can support each other. I realize that the only way for us to stay well in the midst of the many "worlds" is to stay close to the small, vulnerable child that lives in our hearts and in every other human being. Often we do not know that the Christ child is within us. When we discover him we can truly rejoice.

Henri Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey: The Diary of His Final Year

I am reminded of St. Bonaventure’s devotion to the poverty of the Blessed Virgin (see e.g. The Life of St. Francis, Ch.7) who brought nothing to her encounter with the angel, and asked for nothing, but simply surrendered. How can we respond, except in silence, and the poverty of our own hearts?

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

O Adonai

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come to redeem us with an outstretched arm. 
Jesus came in the fullness of time. He will come again in the fullness of time. Wherever Jesus, the Christ, is the time is brought to its fullness.

We often experience our time as empty. We hope that tomorrow, next week, next month or next year the real things will happen. But sometimes we experience the fullness of time. That is when it seems that time stands still, that past, present, and future become one; that everything is present where we are; and that God, we, and all that is have come together in total unity. This is the experience of God's time. "When the completion of the time came [that is: in the fullness of time], God sent his Son, born of a woman" (Galatians 4:4), and in the fullness of time God will "bring everything together under Christ, as head, everything in the heavens and everything on earth" (Ephesians 1:10). It is in the fullness of time that we meet God.

Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey
In the NRSV, these two passages expand as:
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!' (Galatians 4.4-6)

With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. (Ephesians 1.8b-10)
I love this phrase, the "fullness of time" - pleroma tou chronos. Jesus is the Word, and where the Word is, all things are brought to wholeness, healing, completeness, fullness. All things come into being through him (John 1.3) and through him will all things be made whole (Revelation 21, Romans 8.18ff).

Christ is the mercy of God come among us, limitless and everlasting. "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well." (Julian of Norwich)

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

O Sapientia

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other,
mightily and sweetly ordering all things:
Come to teach us the way of prudence.
...but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.

1 Corinthians 1.23-25

I, wisdom, live with prudence,
and I attain knowledge and discretion..
The Lord created me at the beginning of his work,
the first of his acts of long ago.
Ages ago I was set up,
at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no springs abounding with water.
Before the mountains had been shaped,
before the hills, I was brought forth—
when he had not yet made earth and fields,
or the world’s first bits of soil.
When he established the heavens, I was there,
when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
when he made firm the skies above,
when he established the fountains of the deep,
when he assigned to the sea its limit,
so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
then I was beside him, like a master worker;
and I was daily his delight,
rejoicing before him always,
rejoicing in his inhabited world
and delighting in the human race.

Proverbs 8.12, 22-31

The marvellous vision of the peaceable Kingdom, in which all violence has been overcome and all men, women, and children live in loving unity with nature, calls for its realisation in our day-to-day lives. Instead of being an escapist dream, it challenges us to anticipate what it promises. Every time we forgive our neighbour, every time we make a child smile, every time we show compassion to a suffering person, every time we arrange a bouquet of flowers, offer care to tame or wild animals, prevent pollution, create beauty in our homes and gardens, and work for peace and justice among peoples and nations we are making the vision come true.

We must remind one another constantly of the vision. Whenever it comes alive in us we will find new energy to live it out, right where we are. Instead of making us escape real life, this beautiful vision gets us involved.

Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey

I keep thinking of this as I long, in these troubled and uncertain days, for that day of righteousness and justice described in Isaiah 11, and yet the only way there is through this present darkness, by the way of prayer, illuminated by the little lamp of God’s word, that sheds only enough light for the next step (Psalm 119.105) and yet is (v 89) eternal. After all, "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God…"

As Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy." (Matthew 5.6,7)

Sunday, December 15, 2019

"A fathomless ocean of pain..."

The low, repetitive bawling was a distant throb of distress that Lilah had never grown used to, even though  it happened every time a cow gave birth. Sometimes, at night, it was unbearable, the bereft mother calling and calling for her baby, the embodiment of despair. Sometimes it seemed to Lilah that in her short life she had been party to a fathomless ocean of pain and misery, that all this suffering was there inside her, barely supressed by her flippant ways and habitual optimism. And sometimes she couldn't stop herself imagining every hurt and cruelty; every experimental laboratory; every horse used in war; every animal ill-used in the service of man; every creature sent terrified to the abattoir. All of it added up to an entire universe of horrifying anguish, and she had to breathe slow and deep to be able to carry on.
This passage (the wider context of the narrative makes it clear that the character's experience is not confined merely to questions of animal husbandry, but relates equally to her grief at the murder of her father, and to the inhumanity of humankind generally) from the murder mystery A Dirty Death, by Rebecca Tope, reminds me of the assertion, explained so well in Helen Waddell's own novel Peter Abelard, that the cross of Jesus goes on and on throughout all history, like a ring in the trunk of a tree; and that Calvary is but the visible bit, the saw-cut through the tree that reveals the ring. The cross, with all of its pain and desolation, continues through all time, the sacrifice by which Christ's mercy is present always as redemption and grace.

Whatever technical interpretation we place on the theology of crucifixion and the atonement, the direct spiritual experience of "an entire universe of horrifying anguish" is, to me at least, the most fundamental call to prayer, and the reason why for me only a contemplative discipline comes anywhere near answering that call. Not for the first time I am reminded of this passage from Praying the Jesus Prayer by Br Ramon SSF:
We have seen that the Jesus Prayer involves body, mind and spirit... The cosmic nature of the Prayer means that the believer lives as a human being in solidarity with all other human beings, and with the animal creation, together with the whole created order (the cosmos). All this is drawn into and affected by the Prayer. One person's prayers send out vibrations and reverberations that increase the power of the divine Love in the cosmos.

The Christian is well aware of the fact that the world is also evil. There is a falseness and alienation which has distracted and infected the world, and men and women of prayer, by the power of the Name of Jesus, stand against the cosmic darkness, and enter into conflict with dark powers... The power of the Jesus Prayer is the armour against the wiles of the devil, taking heed of the apostle's word, 'Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayers and supplications...' [Ephesians 6.18]

Friday, December 06, 2019

Deep calls to deep...

In one of his sermons, entitled 'The Depth of Existence', the theologian Paul Tillich speaks of God in terms of 'depth'. He says that 'the name of this infinite and inexhaustible depth and ground of all being is God'... Once a person has known the depth that is in the bleakest emptiness, then they are in a strange way open to the depth that is in the most sublime fullness. And in a mysterious way - and this is at the heart of Christianity - the emptiness even becomes the fullness. 'Blessed are the poor in spirit', says Jesus, 'for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven'. For such a person their practice of prayer can be described in terms of these four words: 'Deep calls to deep.' [Psalm 42.7]

Patrick Woodhouse, Life in the Psalms
These few words from Patrick Woodhouse's beautiful book capture something I have been trying to find words for for a very long time. The Apostle Paul writes, "For in [Christ] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross." (Colossians 1.19-20) Even here the fullness (pleroma) of incarnation is caught up in the self-emptying (kenosis) of the cross (Philippians 2.7-8).

These scraps of Paul's struggles to find words for the ineffable, and bits of his Greek that have become for us today technical terms of academic theology, don't come near the actual encounter that Woodhouse is hinting at. That's hardly surprising, as they seem to be close to the core of contemplative prayer itself, that is found only in silence; and then only as pure gift, the fleeting touch of the Spirit's wing.

But in extremis, at the far edge of being human, the "bleakest emptiness" can be so shot through with the presence of Christ, with the weight of his mercy, that it is almost like coming home. It is hard to describe, but possibly the nearest I can get is to say that, without the pain (physical or emotional) being in the least lessened, the nearness of God in Christ, mediated through that dreadfulness, is so much more significant than any personal experience, even this, that the heart rejoices in the midst of its distress. Jesus nailed it, in fact, in the Beatitudes.

Sunday, December 01, 2019


Carlo Carretto wrote:
Here is the miracle of love: to discover that all creation is one, flung out into space by a God who is a Father, and that if you present yourself to it as he does - unarmed and full of peace - creation will recognize you and meet you with a smile.

I, Francis
He also wrote this about prayer:
...as long as we pray only when and how we want to, our life of prayer is bound to be unreal. It will run in fits and starts. The slightest upset - even a toothache - will be enough to destroy the whole edifice of our prayer life.

You must strip your prayers... You must simplify, de-intellectualize. Put yourself in front of Jesus as a poor man: not with any big ideas, but with living faith. Remain motionless in an act of love before the Father. Don't try to reach God with your understanding; that is impossible. Reach him in love; that is possible.

from Michael L. Gaudoin-Parker, The Real Presence through the Ages

And Jesus, when they asked him which was the greatest commandment, replied:
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: "You shall love your neighbour as yourself." (Matthew 22.37-40)
Love. That is all there is, finally. When everything else has failed, love remains. And all things lead back to love. St Paul saw this perfectly: not only in 1 Corinthians 13.13 ("...the greatest of these is love"), but so strongly in Romans 8. The whole chapter, beginning, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus..." through all the statements about prayer and the Spirit, and the cry of assurance that begins at v28, leads on finally to "neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Prayer is love. To "Pray always" (Luke 18.1) is to love always. The Jesus Prayer, once it becomes by use bedded into the heart, begins to sing gently under all our thoughts and all our words, fulfilling all but unconsciously that injunction of Paul's to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 15.17).

Micah recorded the Lord as saying, "what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (6.8) To love mercy. To love as prayer, and that prayer a prayer for mercy, "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner..."

Annie Dillard:
"Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place?" [Psalm 24.3] There is no one but us. There is no one to send, nor a clean hand, nor a pure heart on the face of the earth, nor in the earth, but only us, a generation comforting ourselves with the notion that we have come at an awkward time, that our innocent fathers are all dead - as if innocence had ever been - and our children busy and troubled, and we ourselves unfit, not yet ready, having each of us chosen wrongly, made a false start, failed, yielded to impulse and the tangled comfort of pleasures, and grown exhausted, unable to seek the thread, weak, and involved. But there is no one but us. There never has been.

Holy the Firm
And Jesus gave us those two commandments, to love our Lord and to love each other; and our love can surely only truly be shown, as is Jesus' for us, as mercy. Lord Jesus, have mercy - on us and through us - use our love and our prayer as you will, for your mercy, in your Spirit. "Lord here I am - send me! Have mercy on me, a sinner..."

[Reblogged, slightly edited, from an earlier post, 2006]