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It is not because angels are holier than men or devils that makes them angels, but because they do not expect holiness from one another, but from God alone.
–William Blake, “A Vision of the Last Judgement”; courtesy of Wikiquote.
This post from Reditus perfectly makes the point that I have discussed, but less effectively, in my series on dualism.
A haunting image that has been etched into my mind manifested itself to me in a Russian Orthodox church during the All-Night Vigil for the Feast of the Annunciation. At a certain point during Matins (I won’t bore you with the context too much), the bearded priest stood before the icon of the Annunciation and chanted one of those old leftover ancient Slavonic chants with censer in hand. I am not sure why this made such an impression on me: it was a good hour into the service, and I know little Old Slavonic (I can sort of muddle my way through understanding what is going on.) The priest wore a sky blue phelonion gilded in gold, the robust baritone voice echoed through the church, and the melismatic chant reached back into time and grabbed from it some hidden reality that gleamed like the clouds at dusk…
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To show forbearance and gentleness in teaching others; and not to revenge unreasonable conduct — this is the energy of southern regions, and the good man makes it his study. To lie under arms; and meet death without regret — this is the energy of northern regions, and the forceful make it their study. Therefore, the superior man cultivates a friendly harmony, without being weak — How firm is he in his energy! He stands erect in the middle, without inclining to either side — How firm is he in his energy! When good principles prevail in the government of his country, he does not change from what he was in retirement. How firm is he in his energy! When bad principles prevail in the country, he maintains his course to death without changing — How firm is he in his energy!
–Confucius, The Doctrine of the Mean; courtesy of Wikiquote.
This is an interesting post on a blog I discovered just today. One ongoing theme in my writing about the Bible has been how to reconcile the nastier parts of it, particularly in the Old Testament, with modern ethics. This article presents this issue from a Jewish perspective. It is definitely worthy of thought.
Part of the series “The Pretty Good Book“
I have so much help getting ready for Passover.
This week is Passover. Along with a certain amount of ridiculous antics (everybody hits each other with scallions while they sing Dayeinu…right?) and caloric intake issues (of course popcorn counts as a meal. And exploding is not the same as rising.), and logistical problems (every house becomes a TARDIS at Passover: bigger on the inside), and definitely way too much gefilte fish, there are also some fairly serious topics to discuss and dwell on.
The one that’s striking me this year is the plagues. Throughout the course of the story, God sends ten plagues to the Egyptians to try to convince Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. They start bad and get progressively worse, culminating in the death of the first-born of every Egyptian family, at which point, Pharaoh finally relents and the slaves get to leave. Each of these plagues strike all of the…
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One of the best meditations on the Lord’s Prayer that I’ve ever read.
Our Father which art in Heaven
He is our Father. There is nothing real in us which does not come from him. We belong to him. He loves us, since he loves himself and we are his. We do not have to search for him, we only have to change the direction in which we are looking. It is for him to search for us. We must be happy in the knowledge that he is infinitely beyond our reach. Thus we can be certain that the evil in us, even if it overwhelms our whole being, in no way sullies the divine purity, bliss, and perfection.
Hallowed be thy name
God alone has the power to name himself. His name is unpronounceable for human lips. His name is his word. It is the word of God. Man has access to this name, although it also is transcendent. It shines in the…
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O God, who anointed your Only Begotten Son with the Holy Spirit
and made him Christ and Lord,
that, being made sharers in his consecration,
we may bear witness to your Redemption in the world.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
The Readings: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14; Psalm 116: 12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-15
You gave us an example to imitate.
Holy Thursday is one of the truly marvelous days in our faith community.
We celebrate the gift of the love of Jesus,
given to us for our nourishment –
given to us as an example of self-less love.
In our prayer today, we let our Lord wash our feet – love us unconditionally –
and we let Jesus be broken and given for us.
We pray that we might be faithful to the one commandment of Jesus –
that we might love others in the same way that we have been loved.
Where charity and love are found,
there is God.
Holy Thursday Antiphon.
Today’s Daily Reflection
The Father anointed Christ with the Holy Spirit
to proclaim forgiveness to those in bondage.
Let us humbly call upon the eternal priest:
Lord, have mercy on us.
You went up to Jerusalem to suffer and so enter into your glory,
– bring your Church to the Passover feast of heaven.
You were lifted high on the cross and pierced by the soldier’s lance,
– heal our wounds.
You made the cross the tree of life,
– give its fruit to those reborn in baptism.
On the cross you forgave the repentant thief,
– forgive us our sins.
you gather me in this upper room with your son,
to be fed by your love.
At that supper, Jesus told us to “love one another”
and I know that is the heart of his gift,
his sacrifice for me.
I ask that I might find the source of my own heart,
the meaning for my own life,
in that Eucharist.
Guide me to the fullness of your love and life.
Courtesy of here.
I’ve already got a music post scheduled to go up later today, as I try to do on Fridays. However, it’s still Lent, and Fridays, especially Fridays in Lent, are particularly appropriate for confession. Thus, I thought I’d post this blast from the past in honor of the season. For those of you who are Catholics, there’s still slightly more than a week to get to Confession before Easter! Whether or not you’re Catholic, enjoy!