OREMUS: 29 April 2006

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Fri Apr 28 21:08:19 GMT 2006


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OREMUS for Saturday, April 29, 2006 
Catherine of Siena, Mystic, Teacher, 1380

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Blessed are you, eternal God;
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
in whom we receive the legacy of a living hope,
born again not only from his death
but also from his resurrection.
Day by day you refine our faith,
that we who have not seen the Christ
may truly confess him as our Lord and God,
and share the blessedness of those who believe.
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. 

http://www.oremus.org/eastocan.html

Psalm 48

Great is the Lord and highly to be praised;*
 in the city of our God is his holy hill.
Beautiful and lofty, the joy of all the earth,
   is the hill of Zion,*
 the very centre of the world
   and the city of the great king.
God is in her citadels;*
 he is known to be her sure refuge.
Behold, the kings of the earth assembled*
 and marched forward together.
They looked and were astounded;*
 they retreated and fled in terror.
Trembling seized them there;*
 they writhed like a woman in childbirth,
   like ships of the sea when the east wind shatters them.
As we have heard, so have we seen,
   in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God;*
 God has established her for ever.
We have waited in silence
   on your loving-kindness, O God,*
 in the midst of your temple.
Your praise, like your name, O God,
   reaches to the world's end;*
 your right hand is full of justice.
Let Mount Zion be glad
   and the cities of Judah rejoice,*
 because of your judgements.
Make the circuit of Zion; walk round about her;*
 count the number of her towers.
Consider well her bulwarks; examine her strongholds;*
 that you may tell those who come after.
This God is our God for ever and ever;*
 he shall be our guide for evermore.

Psalm 119:145-152

I call with my whole heart;*
 answer me, O Lord, that I may keep your statutes.
I call to you; O that you would save me!*
 I will keep your decrees.
Early in the morning I cry out to you,*
 for in your word is my trust.
My eyes are open in the night watches,*
 that I may meditate upon your promise.
Hear my voice, O Lord,
   according to your loving-kindness;*
 according to your judgements, give me life.
They draw near who in malice persecute me;*
 they are very far from your law.
You, O Lord, are near at hand,*
 and all your commandments are true.
Long have I known from your decrees*
 that you have established them for ever.

A Song of God's Grace (Ephesians 1:3-10)

Blessed are you, 
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
for you have blest us in Christ Jesus
with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

You chose us to be yours in Christ
before the foundation of the world,
that we should be holy and blameless before you.

In love you destined us for adoption as your children,
through Jesus Christ,
according to the purpose of your will,

To the praise of your glorious grace,
which you freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

In you, we have redemption
through the blood of Christ,
the forgiveness of our sins,

According to the riches of your grace,
which you have lavished upon us.

You have made known to us, in all wisdom and insight,
the mystery of your will,

According to your purpose 
which you set forth in Christ,
as a plan for the fullness of time,

To unite all things in Christ,
things in heaven and things on earth.

Psalm 149

Alleluia!
   Sing to the Lord a new song;*
 sing his praise in the congregation of the faithful.
Let Israel rejoice in his maker;*
 let the children of Zion be joyful in their king.
Let them praise his name in the dance;*
 let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people*
 and adorns the poor with victory.
Let the faithful rejoice in triumph;*
 let them be joyful on their beds.
Let the praises of God be in their throat*
 and a two-edged sword in their hand;
To wreak vengeance on the nations*
 and punishment on the peoples;
To bind their kings in chains*
 and their nobles with links of iron;
To inflict on them the judgement decreed;*
 this is glory for all his faithful people.
   Alleluia!

READING [Deuteronomy 7:7-13]:

It was not because you were more numerous than any other
people that the Lord set his heart on you and chose
you for you were the fewest of all peoples. It was
because the Lord loved you and kept the oath that he
swore to your ancestors, that the Lord has brought you
out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house
of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know
therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God
who maintains covenant loyalty with those who love him
and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, and
who repays in their own person those who reject him. He
does not delay but repays in their own person those who
reject him. Therefore, observe diligently the
commandment the statutes and the ordinances that I am
commanding you today.
If you heed these ordinances, by diligently observing
them, the Lord your God will maintain with you the
covenant loyalty that he swore to your ancestors; he will
love you, bless you, and multiply you; he will bless the
fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your
grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your
cattle and the issue of your flock, in the land that he
swore to your ancestors to give you. 

For another Biblical reading,
Revelation 2:1-11

HYMN 
Words: Isaac Watts, 1707
Tune: Beulah, Capel, Mendip, Covenanters 
http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/t/t439.html
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There is a land of pure delight,
where saints immortal reign,
infinite day excludes the night,
and pleasures banish pain.

There everlasting spring abides,
and never-withering flowers:
death, like a narrow sea, divides
this heavenly land from ours.

Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood
stand dressed in living green:
so to the Jews old Canaan stood,
while Jordan rolled between.

But timorous mortals start and shrink
to cross this narrow sea;
and linger, shivering on the brink,
and fear to launch away.

O could we make our doubts remove,
those gloomy thoughts that rise,
and see the Canaan that we love
with unbeclouded eyes!

Could we but climb where Moses stood,
and view the landscape o'er,
not Jordan's stream, nor death's cold flood,
should fright us from the shore.

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

Prayer:
Jesus, Light of the world,
bring the light and peace of your Gospel
to the nations.
We pray for the Diocese of the Central Solomons,
The Rt Revd Charles Koete, Bishop.
Lord of life,
hear our prayer.

Jesus, Bread of life,
give food to the hungry
and nourish us all with your Word.
Lord of life,
hear our prayer.

Jesus, our Way, our Truth, our Life,
be with us and all who follow in the way.
Deepen our appreciation of your truth
and fill us with your life.
Lord of life,
hear our prayer.

Jesus, Good Shepherd,
who gave your life for the sheep,
recover the straggler,
bind up the injured,
strengthen the sick
and lead the healthy and strong to new pastures.
Lord of life,
hear our prayer.

Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life,
we give you thanks for all who have lived and believed in you.
Raise us with them to eternal life.
Lord of life,
hear our prayer.
[NPFW, alt.]

Gracious God,
you have made us fellow citizens with the saints
in the city of eternal light.
In the time of storm, when the foundations shake,
teach us to wait in silence 
on your steadfast and transforming love,
made known to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Everlasting God, 
you kindled such holy love 
in the heart of your servant Catherine
that she devoted her life to the poor and the sick
and to the peace and unity of your Church.
Grant us strength to meditate
upon the passion of your Son,
that we may work in the image of his compassion
until we rejoice in the revelation of his glory; 
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
       
Rejoicing in the God's new creation,
let us pray as our Redeemer has taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

May God, who through the resurrection
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
has given us the victory,
give us joy and peace in our faith. Amen.

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

The canticle, the opening thanksgiving and the invitation to the Lord's Prayer
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 one sentence from _Revised
Common Lectionary Prayers_, copyright (c) 2002 Consultation on
Common Texts and another sentence from _Opening Prayers: Collects in
Contemporary Language_.

The closing sentence is from _New Patterns for Worship_,
copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

Catherine Benincasa, born in 1347, was the youngest (one of my sources says the 23rd) of twenty-five
children of a wealthy dyer of Sienna (or Siena). At the age of six, she had a vision of Christ in glory,
surrounded by His saints. From that time on, she spent most of her time in prayer and meditation, over the
opposition of her parents, who wanted her to be more like the average girl of her social class. Eventually they
gave in, and at the age of sixteen she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic (First Order = friars, Second
Order = nuns, Third Order = laypersons), where she became a nurse, caring for patients with leprosy and
advanced cancer whom other nurses disliked to treat.
She began to acquire a reputation as a person of insight and sound judgement, and many persons from all
walks of life sought her spiritual advice, both in person and by letter. (We have a book containing about four
hundred letters from her to bishops, kings, scholars, merchants, and obscure peasants.) She persuaded many
priests who were living in luxury to give away their goods and to live simply.
In her day, the popes, officially Bishops of Rome, had been living for about seventy years, not at Rome but at
Avignon in France, where they were under the political control of the King of France (the Avignon Papacy,
sometimes called the Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy, began when Philip the Fair, King of France,
captured Rome and the Pope in 1303). Catherine visited Avignon in 1376 and told Pope Gregory XI that he
had no business to live away from Rome. He heeded her advice, and moved to Rome. She then acted as his
ambassador to Florence, and was able to reconcile a quarrel between the Pope and the leaders of that city. She
then retired to Sienna, where she wrote a book called the Dialog, an account of her visions and other spiritual
experiences, with advice on cultivating a life of prayer.
After Gregory's death in 1378, the Cardinals, mostly French, elected an Italian Pope, Urban VI, who on
attaining office turned out to be arrogant and abrasive and tyrannical, and perhaps to have other faults as well.
The Cardinals met again elsewhere, declared that the first election had been under duress from the Roman
mob and therefore invalid, and elected a new Pope, Clement VII, who established his residence at Avignon.
Catherine worked tirelessly, both to persuade Urban to mend his ways (her letters to him are respectful but
severe and uncompromising -- as one historian has said, she perfected the art of kissing the Pope's feet while
simultaneously twisting his arm), and to persuade others that the peace and unity of the Church required the
recognition of Urban as lawful Pope. Despite her efforts, the Papal Schism continued until 1417. It greatly
weakened the prestige of the Bishops of Rome, and thus helped to pave the way for the Protestant
Reformation a century later.
Catherine is known (1) as a mystic, a contemplative who devoted herself to prayer, (2) as a humanitarian, a
nurse who undertook to alleviate the suffering of the poor and the sick; (3) as an activist, a renewer of Church
and society, who took a strong stand on the issues affecting society in her day, and who never hesitated (in the
old Quaker phrase) "to speak truth to power"; (4) as an adviser and counselor, with a wide range of interests,
who always made time for troubled and uncertain persons who told her their problems -- large and trivial,
religious and secular. 


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