OREMUS: 10 December 2004

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Thu Dec 9 20:55:46 GMT 2004


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OREMUS for Friday, December 10, 2004
Thomas Merton, Monk, Spiritual Writer, 1968

O Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Blessed are you, God of mercy and might,
with tender comfort and transforming power
you come into our midst.
You remember your ancient promise
and make straight the paths that lead to you
and smooth out the rough ways,
that in our day
we might bring forth your compassion
for all humanity.
For these and all your mercies, we praise you:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 

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Psalm 108

My heart is firmly fixed, O God, my heart is fixed;*
 I will sing and make melody.
Wake up, my spirit; awake, lute and harp;*
 I myself will waken the dawn.
I will confess you among the peoples, O Lord;*
 I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your loving-kindness is greater than the heavens,*
 and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Exalt yourself above the heavens, O God,*
 and your glory over all the earth.
So that those who are dear to you may be delivered,*
 save with your right hand and answer me.

Psalm 132

Lord, remember David*
 and all the hardships he endured;
How he swore an oath to the Lord*
 and vowed a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
'I will not come under the roof of my house,*
 nor climb up into my bed;
'I will not allow my eyes to sleep,*
 nor let my eyelids slumber;
'Until I find a place for the Lord,*
 a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.'
'The Ark! We heard it was in Ephrathah;*
 we found it in the fields of Jearim.
'Let us go to God's dwelling place;*
 let us fall upon our knees before his footstool.'
Arise, O Lord, into your resting-place,*
 you and the ark of your strength.
Let your priests be clothed with righteousness;*
 let your faithful people sing with joy.
For your servant David's sake,*
 do not turn away the face of your anointed.
The Lord has sworn an oath to David;*
 in truth, he will not break it:
'A son, the fruit of your body*
 will I set upon your throne.
'If your children keep my covenant
   and my testimonies that I shall teach them,*
 their children will sit upon your throne for evermore.'
For the Lord has chosen Zion,*
 he has desired her for his habitation:
'This shall be my resting-place for ever;*
 here will I dwell, for I delight in her.
'I will surely bless her provisions,*
 and satisfy her poor with bread.
'I will clothe her priests with salvation,*
 and her faithful people will rejoice and sing.
'There will I make the horn of David flourish;*
 I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.
'As for his enemies, I will clothe them with shame;*
 but as for him, his crown will shine.'

A Song of the Bride (Isaiah 61.10,11; 62.1-3)

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
my soul shall exult in my God;

Who has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
and has covered me with the cloak of integrity,

As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

For as the earth puts forth her blossom,
and as seeds in the garden spring up,

So shall God make righteousness and praise
blossom before all the nations.

For Zion's sake, I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest,

Until her deliverance shines out like the dawn,
and her salvation as a burning torch.

The nations shall see your deliverance,
and all rulers shall see your glory;

Then you shall be called by a new name
which the mouth of God will give.

You shall be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

Psalm 147:1-12

Alleluia!
   How good it is to sing praises to our God!*
 how pleasant it is to honour him with praise!
The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem;*
 he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted*
 and binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars*
 and calls them all by their names.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;*
 there is no limit to his wisdom.
The Lord lifts up the lowly,*
 but casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;*
 make music to our God upon the harp.
He covers the heavens with clouds*
 and prepares rain for the earth;
He makes grass to grow upon the mountains*
 and green plants to serve us all.
He provides food for flocks and herds*
 and for the young ravens when they cry.
He is not impressed by the might of a horse,*
 he has no pleasure in human strength;
But the Lord has pleasure in those who fear him,*
 in those who await his gracious favour.
 Alleluia!

READING [1 Thessalonians 5:1-11,23-24]:

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and
sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you.
For you yourselves know very well that the day of the
Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say,
'There is peace and security', then sudden destruction
will come upon them, as labour pains come upon a pregnant
woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are
not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a
thief; for you are all children of light and children of
the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then,
let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep
awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night,
and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we
belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the
breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope
of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but
for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep
we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and
build up each other, as indeed you are doing.
May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and
may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and
blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one
who calls you is faithful, and he will do this. 

For another Biblical reading,
Isaiah 26:1-12

HYMN 
Words: W.C. Smith (1824-1908)
Tune: Picardy
http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/e/e007.html
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Earth was waiting, spent and restless,
with a mingled hope and fear,
faithful men and women praying,
"Surely, Lord, the day is near:
the Desire of all the nations--
it is time he should appear!"

Then the Spirit of the Highest
to a Virgin meek came down,
and he burdened her with blessing,
and he pained her with renown;
for she bore the Lord's Anointed
for his cross and for his crown.

Earth has groaned and labored for him
since the ages first began,
for in him was hid the secret
which through all the ages ran--
Son of Mary, Son of David,
Son of God, and Son of Man.

The Benedictus (Morning), the 
Magnificat (Evening), or 
Nunc dimittis (Night) may follow.

Prayer:
To the poor and exploited;
to lives overshadowed by conflict,
come with your message of justice and peace
Come, reveal yourself within our world, Lord.

To the lonely and unloved;
to lives overshadowed by suffering,
come with your friendship and concern
Come, reveal yourself in our community, Lord.

To both young and old on the journey of faith;
to lives overshadowed by doubt,
come with the gift of your Holy Spirit.
We pray especially for the Diocese of Kitui, Keny
The Rt Revd Josephat Vundi Mule, Bishop.
Come, reveal yourself to the church, Lord.

To the sinner and the seeker;
to lives overshadowed by emptiness,
come with the offering of salvation
Come, reveal yourself in human lives, Lord.

To the sick and anxious;
to lives overshadowed by sorrow,
come with all-sufficient love
Come, that we may know you with us in our need, Lord.

Gracious Father, 
by whose tender compassion 
the light of Christ has dawned upon us: 
Open our hearts, so that, joyfully receiving Christ, 
we may declare his glory to the ends of the earth. 
He lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, forever and ever. Amen.

O God, 
whose blessed Son became poor 
that we through his poverty might be rich:  
Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, 
that we, inspired by the devotion of your servant Thomas Merton,
may serve you with singleness of heart, 
and attain to the riches of the age to come; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
one God, now and for ever. Amen. 

Awaiting his coming in glory,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

Give us grace so to imitate your Son
in the humility and purity of his first coming
that, when he comes again,
we may be ready to greet him
with joyful love and firm faith. Amen.

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The psalms are from _Celebrating Common Prayer_ (Mowbray),
(c) The Society of Saint Francis 1992, which is used with permission.

The canticle is from _Common Worship: Daily Prayer, Preliminary
Edition_, copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

The biblical passage is from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized
Edition), copyright (c) 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education
of  the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by
permission. All rights reserved.

The opening prayer of thanksgiving uses a sentence from a prayer reprinted
from _Revised Common Lectionary Prayers_, copyright (c)
2002 Consultation on Common Texts; and another sentence from
_Opening Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language_,
Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999.

The intercession is adapted from "Companion to the RCL", by Christine Odell/

The second collect is from The Book of Common Prayer According to
the use of The Episcopal Church_.

The closing prayer is adapted from a prayer from _Common Worship:
Services and Prayers for the Church of England_, material from which is
included in this service is copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2000.

Thomas Merton was born in 1915 in France, of American parents. His early
education was in France (Lycee de Montauban 1927-8) and England (Oakham
School, 1929-32; Clare College, Cambridge, 1933-4). He came to America and
attended Columbia University, graduated in English in 1938, worked there one
year as a teaching assistant, and got his MA in 1939. In 1939 he joined the
Roman Catholic Church, and taught at St Bonaventure for the next two years.
In 1941 he entered the Trappist monastery of Gethsemani near Louisville,
Kentucky. The Trappists, called more formally Cistercians of the Strict
Observance, are (or were before Vatican II) an extremely strict Roman
Catholic monastic order, devoted to communal prayer (they spend at least four
hours a day in chapel, chanting the praises of God), to private prayer and
contemplation, to study, and to manual labor. Except for those whose special
duties require otherwise, they are vowed not to speak except in praise of God.
Thus, when not singing in chapel, they are silent.
Toward the end of his life, Merton developed an interest in Buddhist and other
Far Eastern approaches to mysticism and contemplation, and their relation to
Christian approaches. He was attending an international conference on
Christian and Buddhist monasticism in Bangkok, Thailand, when he was
accidentally electrocuted on 10 December 1968. [James Kiefer]


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