Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Holy Michael the Archangel

Saint Michael, prince of the heavenly hosts, conqueror of the infernal dragon, you received from God the strength and power to destroy through humility the pride of the powers of darkness. We implore you help us to true humility of heart, to unshakable fidelity, to fulfill the Will of God and to fortitude in sufferings and trials. Help us to stand before the judgment seat of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

9/11 monument--a hole in the ground

I love Mark Steyn's quick wit, as well as his insight which sometimes make things clear. I have been thinking about a point he made the other day--that no one would care much about this issue of how close a mosque/Islamic center should be built to ground zero if ground zero were not still a hole in the ground nearly a decade later.

Above, "ground zero" in April 2010. Below, construction begins on the foundation of the World Trade Center in 1966.

The towers originally took seven years to build. And a lot of things have been built since 2001, including the tallest building in the world. There are a lot of things that have plagued the rebuilding effort: choosing a design, bureaucracy, government red tape, a lack of leadership, funding, etc. But let's not forget that the Empire State Building rose during the depression.

I've been thinking about that massive hole in the ground at the south end of Manhattan. It has a lot to say about who we are and the problems we face. I haven't worked it all out in my mind. Perhaps you have some thoughts. But I'm sure that until we rebuild, our national conscience will be troubled, though we may not always understand why.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A blessed Holy Cross Day

The Crucifixion at Assisi by Giotto.

From the Preface of the Cross:
". . . on the wood of the Cross, thou gavest salvation unto mankind; that so, whence death arose, life might also rise again: and the foe, who had conquered by a tree, by this Tree might be overcome, through Jesus Christ our Lord . . ."

From Wikipedia:
The True Cross is said to have been discovered in 326 by the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine I, Helena of Constantinople, during a pilgrimage she made to Jerusalem. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was then built at the site of the discovery, by order of Helena and Constantine. The church was dedicated nine years later, with a portion of the cross placed inside it. In 614, that portion of the cross was carried away from the church by the Persians, and remained missing until it was recaptured by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius in 628. Initially taken to Constantinople, the cross was returned to the church the following year.

The date of the feast marks the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 335. This was a two-day festival: although the actual consecration of the church was on September 13, the cross itself was brought outside the church on September 14 so that the clergy and faithful could pray before the True Cross, and all could come forward to venerate it.

Collect of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross:
O God, who makest us glad this day by the yearly solemnity of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: Grant, we beseech thee, that we who on earth have learned the mystery of our redemption, may be found worthy of its rewards in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Happy birthday, Mary!

The Nativity of the Virgin Mary by Giotto.

Collect for the Nativity of Mary
We beseech thee, O Lord, pour into our hearts the abundance of thy heavenly grace: that, like as the child-bearing of the Blessed Virgin Mary was unto us thy servants the beginning of salvation, so the devout observance of her Nativity may avail for the increase of our peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

The Vicar's Voice--September 2010

As I begin to work on this newsletter, I’m told that it is the hottest day of the year in this part of Texas (106°). It certainly seems like it has been the hottest summer ever. Yet my mind tells me it only seems that way because I’m in the hottest part of it. It shapes my perspective.

The sweltering heat leads me to forget that little blizzard we had back around Christmas. But it even makes it harder to remember that we never broke 100° here in July, and in fact, Houston has not seen a 100° day all summer. Imagine never breaking the thermometer’s century mark in a Texas summer! But my perspective is shaped by my own experience in the here-and-now.

A Pew Research poll made news recently because it found that only just over a third of Americans (34%) believe that the President of the United States is a Christian. I thought people would never forget all the attention his pastor got back in the election. But that was back then, and the first family doesn’t go to church anymore. When people see the president on Sunday mornings, it is at the golf course. Why is that relevant? It reminds us our experience in the here-and-now shapes our perspective.

We run the risk of losing our Christian perspective when we neglect Sunday worship, Christian fellowship, regular prayer, works of charity and mercy, sacrificial giving, and regular Scripture reading. It’s not unlike a well-toned physique—you use it, or you lose it. Acting like a Christian helps us be one. If someone took a poll, what percentage of people in town would think that you are a Christian?

Let this Fall be a time of renewal. If you have fallen away from good habits or picked up bad ones, let this be a time of getting back to the basics—to the things that shape a Christian perspective in us. The world will be a better place for it, and so will our own souls. And let us be among those who encourage one another along the path of holiness.

One of my favorite passages is Romans 12:2, which says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”