O LORD, who for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights: Give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may ever obey thy godly motions in righteousness and true holiness, to thy honour and glory, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
The Fountain thirsts, the Bread is hungry here The Light is dark, the Word without a voice. When darkness speaks it seems so light and clear. Now He must dare, with us, to make a choice. In a distended belly’s cruel curve He feels the famine of the ones who lose He starves for those whom we have forced to starve He chooses now for those who cannot choose.
He is the staff and sustenance of life He lives for all from one Sustaining Word His love still breaks and pierces like a knife
The stony ground of hearts that never shared, God gives through Him what Satan never could; The broken bread that is our only food.
O LORD, who hast taught us that all our doings without charity are nothing worth: Send thy Holy Spirit, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever lives is counted dead before thee: Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
LOVE bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back, Guilty of dust and sin. But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack From my first entrance in, Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning If I lack'd anything. 'A guest,' I answer'd, 'worthy to be here:' Love said, 'You shall be he.' 'I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear, I cannot look on Thee.' Love took my hand and smiling did reply, 'Who made the eyes but I?' 'Truth, Lord; but I have marr'd them: let my shame Go where it doth deserve.' 'And know you not,' says Love, 'Who bore the blame?' 'My dear, then I will serve.' 'You must sit down,' says Love, 'and taste my meat.' So I did sit and eat. George Herbert (1593-1632)
The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil; It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod? Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil; And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent; There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; And though the last lights off the black West went Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs ‒ Because the Holy Ghost over the bent World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings. (G.M. Hopkins)
O LORD, we beseech thee favourably to hear the prayers of thy people; that we, who are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day, What hours, O what black hours we have spent This night! what sights you, heart, saw; ways you went! And more must, in yet longer light’s delay.poem With witness I speak this. But where I say Hours I mean years, mean life. And my lament Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent To dearest him that lives alas! away. I am gall, I am heartburn. God’s most deep decree Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me; Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse. Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see The lost are like this, and their scourge to be G.M Hopkins (1844-1889)
Tramelled in time, we live with hints and guesses Turning the wheel of each returning year, But in between our failures and successes We sometimes glimpse the Love that casts out fear, Sometimes the heart remembers its own reasons And breathes a Sanctus as we tell our story, Tracing the tracks of grace, sounding the seasons That lead at last through time to timeless glory. From the first yearnings for a Saviours birth To the full joy of knowing sins forgiven We gather as His church on Gods’s good earth To share an echo of the choirs of heaven I share these hints, returning what was lent, Turning to praise each ‘moment’s monument’.
O HEAVENLY Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ did take our nature upon him, and was baptized for our sakes in the river Jordan: Mercifully grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may also be partakers of thy Holy Spirit; through him whom thou didst send to be our Saviour and Redeemer, even the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Beginning here we glimpse the Three-in-one; The river runs, the clouds are torn apart, The Father speaks, the Spirit and the Son Reveal to us the single loving heart That beats behind the being of all things And calls and keeps and kindles us to light. The dove descends, the spirit soars and sings ‘You are belovèd, you are my delight!’ In that quick light and life, as water spills And streams around the Man like quickening rain, The voice that made the universe reveals The God in Man who makes it new again. He calls us too, to step into that river To die and rise and live and love forever. - Malcolm Guite
LORD, raise up (we pray thee) thy power, and come among us, and with great
might succour us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness, we are sore
let and hindered in running the race that is set before us, thy bountiful grace
and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through the satisfaction of thy Son
our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be honour and glory, world
without end. Amen.
ADVENT is a coming, not our coming to God, but his to us. We cannot come to God, he is beyond our reach; but he can come to us, for we are not beneath his mercy. Even in another life, as St John sees it in his vision, we do not rise to God, but he descends to us, and dwells humanly among human creatures, in the glorious man, Jesus Christ. And that will be his last coming; so we shall be his people, and he everlastingly our God, our God-with-us, our Emmanuel. He will so come, but he is come already, he comes always: in our fellow-Christian (even in a child, says Christ), in his word, invisibly in our souls, more visibly in this sacrament. Opening ourselves to him, we call him in: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; O come, Emmanuel. ( Austin Farrer)
O LORD Jesu Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare the way before thee: Grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at thy second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Midsummer night, and bonfires on the hill Burn for the man who makes way for the Light: ‘He must increase and I diminish still, Until his sun illuminates my night.’ So John the Baptist pioneers our path, Unfolds the essence of the life of prayer, Unlatches the last doorway into faith, And makes one inner space an everywhere. Least of the new and greatest of the old, Orpheus on the threshold with his lyre, He sets himself aside, and cries “Behold The One who stands amongst you comes with fire!” So keep his fires burning through this night, Beacons and gateways for the child of light.
Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may in such wise hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience, and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Some rise on eagles’ wings, this one is plain, Plain English workmanship in solid oak. Age gracefully it says, go with the grain. You walk towards an always open book, Open as every life to every light, Open to shade and shadow, day and night, The changeless witness of your changing pain. Be still the Lectern says, stand here and read. Here are your mysteries, your love and fear, And, running through them all, the slender thread Of God’s strange grace, red as these ribbons, red As your own blood when reading reads you here And pierces joint and marrow… So you stand, The lectern still beneath your trembling hand.
The Lectern- (Malcolm Guite)
The investigation and true knowledge of the Scriptures requires a good life and pure soul and the virtue that is consonant with Christ, so that the mind, in following this path, may be enabled to reach and comprehend what it desires, as far as it is accessible to human nature to learn about the Word of God…The one who wishes to comprehend the mind of those who speak of God needs to begin by living the kind of life that washes and cleanses the soul and then go to the saints themselves, approaching them by imitation of their deeds, so that becoming aligned with them through a common way of life, he may come to understand the things that have been revealed to them by God.
Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen