OREMUS: 11 August 2006

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Thu Aug 10 17:00:01 GMT 2006

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OREMUS for Friday, August 11, 2006 
Clare of Assisi, Founder of the Order of Minoresses (Poor Clares), 1253

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

Blessing and honor to God the Father, who is our hope.
Blessing and honor to God the Son, who is our refuge.
Blessing and honor to God the Holy Spirit, who is our protection,
Blessing and honor to the Holy Trinity, glorious now and for ever.
Blessed be God for ever.

An opening canticle may be sung. 


Psalm 112

   Happy are they who fear the Lord*
 and have great delight in his commandments!
Their descendants will be mighty in the land;*
 the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches will be in their house,*
 and their righteousness will last for ever.
Light shines in the darkness for the upright;*
 the righteous are merciful and full of compassion.
It is good for them to be generous in lending*
 and to manage their affairs with justice.
For they will never be shaken;*
 the righteous will be kept in everlasting remembrance.
They will not be afraid of any evil rumours;*
 their heart is right;
   they put their trust in the Lord.
Their heart is established and will not shrink,*
 until they see their desire upon their enemies.
They have given freely to the poor,*
 and their righteousness stands fast for ever;
   they will hold up their head with honour.
The wicked will see it and be angry;
   they will gnash their teeth and pine away;*
 the desires of the wicked will perish.

A Song of the Word of the Lord (Isaiah 55:6-11)

Seek the Lord while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near;

Let the wicked abandon their ways,
and the unrighteous their thoughts;

Return to the Lord,
who will have mercy;
to our God, who will richly pardon.

'For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways', says the Lord.

'For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

'As the rain and the snow come down from above,
and return not again but water the earth,

'Bringing forth life and giving growth,
seed for sowing and bread to eat,

'So is my word that goes forth from my mouth;
it will not return to me fruitless,

'But it will accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the task I gave it.'

Psalm 147:1-12

   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.

FIRST READING [2 Samuel 14:25-33]:

Now in all Israel there was no one to be praised so much
for his beauty as Absalom; from the sole of his foot to
the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. When
he cut the hair of his head (for at the end of every year
he used to cut it; when it was heavy on him, he cut it),
he weighed the hair of his head, two hundred shekels by
the king's weight. There were born to Absalom three sons,
and one daughter whose name was Tamar; she was a
beautiful woman. 
So Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem without
coming into the king's presence. Then Absalom sent for
Joab to send him to the king; but Joab would not come to
him. He sent a second time, but Joab would not come. Then
he said to his servants, 'Look, Joab's field is next to
mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire.' So
Absalom's servants set the field on fire. Then Joab rose
and went to Absalom at his house, and said to him, 'Why
have your servants set my field on fire?' Absalom
answered Joab, 'Look, I sent word to you: Come here, that
I may send you to the king with the question, "Why have I
come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there
still." Now let me go into the king's presence; if there
is guilt in me, let him kill me!' Then Joab went to the
king and told him; and he summoned Absalom. So he came to
the king and prostrated himself with his face to the
ground before the king; and the king kissed Absalom.

Words: Jane Borthwick, 1859, 1863
Tune: Ora Labora                                        

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Come, labor on.
Who dares stand idle on the harvest plain,
while all around us waves the golden grain?
And to each servant does the Master say,
"Go work today."

Come, labor on.
The enemy is watching night and day,
to sow the tares, to snatch the seed away;
while we in sleep our duty have forgot,
he slumbered not.

Come, labor on.
Away with gloomy doubts and faithless fear!
No arm so weak but may do service here:
by feeblest agents may our God fulfill
his righteous will.

Come, labor on.
Claim the high calling angels cannot share--
to young and old the Gospel gladness bear;
redeem the time; its hours too swiftly fly.
The night draws nigh.

Come, labor on.
No time for rest, till glows the western sky,
till the long shadows o'er our pathway lie,
and a glad sound comes with the setting sun.
"Servants, well done."

Come, labor on.
The toil is pleasant, the reward is sure,
blessed are those who to the end endure;
how full their joy, how deep their rest shall be,
O Lord, with thee.

SECOND READING [Galatians 6:1-10]:

My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit
should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are
not tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of
Christ. For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive
themselves. All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbour's
work, will become a cause for pride. For all must carry their own loads. 
Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher. 
Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow
to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit,
you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is
right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we
have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the
family of faith.

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

Let us pray to God for the coming of the Kingdom:

O God, into the pain of the tortured:
breathe stillness.

Into the hunger of those deprived:
breathe fullness.

Into those who have died in you:
breathe life.

Into those who long for you:
breathe your presence.

Your kingdom come, your will be done:
For the kingdom, the power and the glory
are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

Inflame us with your love, O Christ,
that we may fly to the assistance of the nedy,
that we may clothe the nakedness of the vulnerable
and that with your endless compassion
we may bind up the wounds of the broken;
for your Name's sake. Amen.

God of peace, 
who in the poverty of the blessed Clare 
gave us a clear light to shine 
in the darkness of this world: 
give us grace so to follow in her footsteps 
that we may, at the last, 
rejoice with her in your eternal glory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

Quench our thirst with your gift of belief,
that we may no longer work for food that perishes,
but believe in the One whom you have sent. Amen.

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 is derived from Compline in the Orthodox tradition.

The intercession is adapted from a prayer in _In Spirit and In Truth_, (c)
World Council of Churches, 1991.

The first collect is by Hildegard of Bingen.

The closing prayer is derived from a sentence in in _Opening Prayers: Collects in
Contemporary Language_. Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999.

The second collect is 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.

Clare Offreduccio, born in 1194, was the daughter of a wealthy family in Assisi
(43:04 N 12:37 E). When she was eighteen years old, she heard a sermon by
Francis of Assisi, and was moved by it to follow the example of the Franciscan
brothers and vow herself to a life of poverty. Her family was horrified, and
brought her back home by force; but one night, in a gesture both tactical and
symbolic, she slipped out of her house through "the door of the dead" (a small
side door that was traditionally opened only to carry out a corpse) and
returned to the house of the Franciscans. Francis cut off her hair, and placed
her in a nearby convent. Later a house was found for her, and she was
eventually joined by two of her sisters, her widowed mother, and several
members of the wealthy Ubaldini family of Florence. Clare's best friend,
Pacifica, could not resist, and joined them, too.
The sisters of her order came to be known informally as Minoresses
(Franciscan brothers are Friars Minor = "lesser brothers") or as Poor Clares.
When the order was formed, Francis suggested Clare for the Superior. But she
refused the position until she turned twenty-one. They devoted themselves to
prayer, nursing the sick, and works of mercy for the poor and neglected.
They adopted a rule of life of extreme austerity (more so than of any other
order of women up to that time) and of absolute poverty, both individually and
collectively. They had no beds. They slept on twigs with patched hemp for
blankets. Wind and rain seeped through cracks in the ceilings. They ate very
little, with no meat at all. Whatever they ate was food they begged for. Clare
made sure she fasted more than anyone else. Despite this way of life, or
perhaps because of it, the followers of Clare were the most beautiful young
girls from the best families of Assisi.
The community of Poor Clares continues to this day, both in the Roman and in
the Anglican communions.

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