Today is the feast of St. John the Baptist. The Feast of the Incarnation of Christ (Christmas!) is but six months away.
Almighty God, by whose providence your servant John the Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of your Son our Savior by preaching repentance: Make us so to follow his teaching and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and, following his example, constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
O God of Grass and Pollen, Dust and Mold: you created everything in this vast domain, and see all things to their proper end. Look with mercy, we pray, on those who suffer allergic reactions to these natural things, and relieve them of their itchy eyes and runny noses and gurgly ears and sneezy soundings, that may soon be whole and hale and unencumbered of their afflictions, and may at length praise you as the Great Physician and Healer. This we ask through the merits of our one Lord, the Healer of All Humankind, who lives and reigns with you, One Holy Trinity, undivided and indivisible, now and forever. Amen.
Yes, I wrote this little Collect for myself just now, since my ear is gurgling again for the third day in the last eight. E’en so, Lord Jesus, deliver me.
Rather than being at church as I wish and desire, I am laid up at home this morning.
At two different points in last evening’s Easter Vigil, I had a hard time rising from my chair to stand, so bad was the back spasm. (I twisted hard as I fell last week, and the back has been getting progressively worse all week. Heat and stretching at home don’t seem to be efficacious.) By the time I got home last evening, I had trouble getting out of the car.
So, after struggling to get out of my clothes and my walking boot, I went to bed, and on an empty stomach. At about 2 in the morning, I moved from bed to the recliner in my office, which felt better on the back. At about 5, I took a pain pill.
And then I didn’t hear my alarm, and when Nick texted and called at 8.30 this morning to find out where I was, the phone was in the other room and I couldn’t get to it. Then when I did start moving, I realized that standing is great for my back spasms, but not for my ankle swelling (because it is indeed swollen again).
The day has not started off propitiously. I am missing church . . . I have about one sitting position that is comfortable . . . Samson is angered because he can’t be on my lap since I can’t lift him . . . I’m missing Easter service . . . and I’m frustrated as I can be, at least at this moment.
But — Christ the Lord is risen, and all is well. Of this I am certain.
I enjoy very much the letter of St. Paul to St. Titus. The entire little book — all three chapters — are on the docket for Evening Prayer this weekend. I’ve just read aloud chapter two.
Hear these words:
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all,* training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour,* Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
Meanwhile, SLUH has a home ball game tonight against a rival school, so parking is at a premium. I’m walking over there in a few minutes to see the Dauphin Players production of a delightful favorite musical, Brigadoon, at a different location on campus.
And . . . wait for it . . . I successfully changed an outdoor security light this afternoon, dealing with electricity (with success) for the first time. And I’m alive to tell about it.
Today is the Feast of the Presentation, also known as Candlemas. Forty days after Christmas, today is the symbolic day of Jesus’ presentation at the Temple, as decreed in the Levitical law.
Almighty and everliving God, we humbly pray that, as your only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts by Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Samson is snuggled by my side, gently snoring. He’s feeling better. He did decide one day this week to embrace his achiness and poop on the office carpet upstairs. But I can forgive him for that, and I have.
I went last evening to Powell Hall for a performance of the Sibelius Fifth Symphony by the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. My favorite work by Sibelius, it’s a strange concoction of murmurings and shufflings and brassiness and climaxes. And it’s incredibly powerful. I sat with some of my students way up in the gods. ‘Twas a good evening.
Today is a relatively down day, with a couple of lessons, a Mass to sing around sundown, some laundry, and a manicure.
I’m off to Chicago for two days this week, so I’ll likely do some school work today as well, since tomorrow is very full.
And so Advent arrives. The Christian year is complete, and the cycle of story and parable, song and prayer, starts over again.
I welcomed Advent this evening after dark by singing an Advent I Vigil Mass at the Church of Saint Michael and Saint George in Clayton. Then I dined with colleagues from the choir, stuffing myself in chips and salsa before the chimichanga arrived.
I shall abed early tonight, as the day has been a long one.
Oswald Chambers has been on my mind this week. Read on:
We have all had times on the mount, when we have seen things from God’s standpoint and have wanted to stay there; but God will never allow us to stay there. The test of our spiritual life is the power to descend; if we have power to rise only, something is wrong. It is a great thing to be on the mount with God, but a man only gets there in order that afterwards he may get down among the devil-possessed and lift them up. We are not built for the mountains and the dawns and aesthetic affinities, those are for moments of inspiration, that is all. We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff we are in, and that is where we have to prove our mettle. Spiritual selfishness always wants repeated moments on the mount. We feel we could talk like angels and live like angels, if only we could stay on the mount. The times of exaltation are exceptional, they have their meaning in our life with God, but we must beware lest our spiritual selfishness wants to make them the only time.