Tuesday, 24 March 2009

St. Thérèse of Lisieux

It's the year of St. Paul at the moment (no offence St. Paul, but your year seems to have been going on forever), and we've been having a priest over to give talks on his epistles in the presbytery.

Said priest, in the course of his last talk, realised that some among us were being discouraged rather than encouraged by his words on Ephesians (I forget precisely why), and he therefore related an image that St. Thérèse used to cheer us up a bit.

St. Thérèse is one of only three women to be recognised as a Doctor of the Church - that is, it has been officially declared that through her writings the whole Church has derived great advantage. And here is what she had to say about the spiritual life.

One of the novices, greatly discouraged at the thought of her
imperfections, tells us that her mistress spoke to her as follows:

"You make me think of a little child that is learning to stand but
does not yet know how to walk. In his desire to reach the top of
the stairs to find his mother, he lifts his little foot to climb
the first step. It is all in vain, and at each renewed effort he
falls. Well, be like that little child. Always keep lifting your
foot to climb the ladder of holiness, and do not imagine that you
can mount even the first step. All God asks of you is good will.
From the top of the ladder He looks lovingly upon you, and soon,
touched by your fruitless efforts, He will Himself come down, and,
taking you in His Arms, will carry you to His Kingdom never again
to leave Him. But should you cease to raise your foot, you will be
left for long on the earth."
- The Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
With Additional Writings and Sayings of St. Thérèse
I don't much go in for inspirational writings (because I have a heart of flint, naturally), but I find that image beautiful and consoling.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

From the Office...

...a good Sunday psalm:

1(A) Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!

2(B) Let Israel say,
"His steadfast love endures forever."
3(C) Let the house of Aaron say,
"His steadfast love endures forever."
4(D) Let those who fear the LORD say,
"His steadfast love endures forever."

5(E) Out of my distress I(F) called on the LORD;
the LORD answered me and set me(G) free.
6(H) The LORD is on my side;(I) I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
7(J) The LORD is on my side as my helper;
I shall(K) look in triumph on those who hate me.

8(L) It is better to take refuge in the LORD
(M) than to trust in man.
9It is better to take refuge in the LORD
(N) than to trust in princes.

10(O) All nations surrounded me;
in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
11They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side;
in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
12(P) They surrounded me like bees;
they went out like(Q) a fire among thorns;
in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
13I was(R) pushed hard,[a] so that I was falling,
but the LORD helped me.

14The LORD is my strength and my song;
(S) he has become my salvation.
15Glad songs of salvation
are in the tents of the righteous:
(T) "The right hand of the LORD(U) does valiantly,
16the right hand of the LORD exalts,
the right hand of the LORD(V) does valiantly!"

17(W) I shall not die, but I shall live,
and(X) recount the deeds of the LORD.
18The LORD has(Y) disciplined me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.

19(Z) Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the LORD.
20This is the gate of the LORD;
(AA) the righteous shall enter through it.
21I thank you that(AB) you have answered me
(AC) and have become my salvation.
22(AD) The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.[b]
23This is the LORD’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

25Save us, we pray, O LORD!
O LORD, we pray, give us success!

26(AE) Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!
We(AF) bless you from the house of the LORD.
27The LORD is God,
and he has made(AG) his light to shine upon us.
Bind the festal sacrifice with cords,
up to(AH) the horns of the altar!

28You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God; I will(AI) extol you.
29(AJ) Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever! - Psalm 118 (117)
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Culture 'n that

If you're interested in such things, you can watch a performance of Mendelssohn's 'Elijah' online for free online, because of the uique way in which the BBC is funded. For about a week.

It's here.