OREMUS: 28 January 2009

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Tue Jan 27 17:00:00 GMT 2009

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OREMUS for Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Philosopher, Teacher of the Faith, 1274

Lord, open our lips,
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Blessed are you, God,
for the radiance of your Christ,
a light which has dawned for those
who walked in the shadow of death.
We sing the wonders of your saving power
and for the many gifts you bestow on us.
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. 
Psalm 44

We have heard with our ears, O God,
   our forebears have told us,*
 the deeds you did in their days,
   in the days of old.
How with your hand you drove the peoples out
   and planted our forebears in the land;*
 how you destroyed nations and made your people flourish.
For they did not take the land by their sword,
   nor did their arm win the victory for them;*
 but your right hand, your arm,
   and the light of your countenance,
   because you favoured them.
You are my King and my God;*
 you command victories for Jacob.
Through you we pushed back our adversaries;*
 through your name we trampled on those
   who rose up against us.
For I do not rely on my bow,*
 and my sword does not give me the victory.
Surely, you gave us victory over our adversaries*
 and put those who hate us to shame.
Every day we gloried in God,*
 and we will praise your name for ever.
Nevertheless, you have rejected and humbled us*
 and do not go forth with our armies.
You have made us fall back before our adversary,*
 and our enemies have plundered us.
You have made us like sheep to be eaten*
 and have scattered us among the nations.
You are selling your people for a trifle*
 and are making no profit on the sale of them.
You have made us the scorn of our neighbours,*
 a mockery and derision to those around us.
You have made us a byword among the nations,*
 a laughingstock among the peoples.
My humiliation is daily before me,*
 and shame has covered my face;
Because of the taunts of the mockers and blasphemers,*
 because of the enemy and avenger.
All this has come upon us;*
 yet we have not forgotten you,
   nor have we betrayed your covenant.

Our heart never turned back,*
 nor did our footsteps stray from your path;
Though you thrust us down into a place of misery,*
 and covered us over with deep darkness.
If we have forgotten the name of our God,*
 or stretched out our hands to some strange god,
Will not God find it out?*
 for he knows the secrets of the heart.
Indeed, for your sake we are killed all the day long;*
 we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Awake, O Lord! why are you sleeping?*
 Arise! do not reject us for ever.
Why have you hidden your face*
 and forgotten our affliction and oppression?
We sink down into the dust;*
 our body cleaves to the ground.
Rise up and help us,*
 and save us for the sake of your steadfast love.

A Song of the Lord(s Anointed (Isaiah 61.13,11,6a)

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me  
because he has anointed me. 
He has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,  
to bind up the brokenhearted, 
To proclaim liberty to the captives,  
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 
To proclaim the year of the Lord(s favour,  
to comfort all who mourn, 
To give them a garland instead of ashes,  
the oil of gladness instead of mourning, 
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit, 
That they may be called oaks of righteousness,  
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. 
For as the earth puts forth her blossom,  
and as seeds in the garden spring up, 
So shall the Lord God make righteousness and praise  
blossom before all the nations. 
You shall be called priests of the Lord;  
they shall speak of you as ministers of our God. 

Psalm 147:13-end

Worship the Lord, O Jerusalem;*
 praise your God, O Zion;
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;*
 he has blessed your children within you.
He has established peace on your borders;*
 he satisfies you with the finest wheat.
He sends out his command to the earth,*
 and his word runs very swiftly.
He gives snow like wool;*
 he scatters hoarfrost like ashes.
He scatters his hail like bread crumbs;*
 who can stand against his cold?
He sends forth his word and melts them;*
 he blows with his wind and the waters flow.
He declares his word to Jacob,*
 his statutes and his judgements to Israel.
He has not done so to any other nation;*
 to them he has not revealed his judgements.

FIRST READING [Proverbs 11:9-14, 24-30]:

With their mouths the godless would destroy their neighbours,
   but by knowledge the righteous are delivered. 
When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices; 
   and when the wicked perish, there is jubilation. 
By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, 
   but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked. 
Whoever belittles another lacks sense, 
   but an intelligent person remains silent. 
A gossip goes about telling secrets, 
   but one who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a confidence. 
Where there is no guidance, a nation falls, 
   but in an abundance of counsellors there is safety. 
Some give freely, yet grow all the richer; 
   others withhold what is due, and only suffer want. 
A generous person will be enriched, 
   and one who gives water will get water. 
The people curse those who hold back grain, 
   but a blessing is on the head of those who sell it. 
Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favour, 
   but evil comes to the one who searches for it. 
Those who trust in their riches will wither, 
   but the righteous will flourish like green leaves.  
Those who trouble their households will inherit wind, 
   and the fool will be servant to the wise. 
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, 
   but violence takes lives away.

Words: James Montgomery (1771-1854)
Tune: Ludborough

We bid thee welcome in the name
Of Jesus our exalted Head;
Come as a servant, so He came,
And we receive thee in His stead.

Come as a shepherd, guard and keep
This fold from hell, and earth, and sin;
Nourish the lambs, and feed the sheep,
The wounded heal, the lost bring in.

Come as an angel; hence to guide
A band of pilgrims on their way;
That safely walking at thy side,
We faint not, fail not, turn, nor stray.

Come as a teacher sent from God,
Charged His whole counsel to declare;
Lift o'er our ranks the prophet's rod,
While we uphold thy hands with prayer.

Come as a messenger of peace,
Filled with the Spirit, fired with love;
Live to behold our large increase,
And die to meet us all above.

SECOND READING [Philippians 2:19-end]:

I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I may be cheered by news of you. I have no one like him who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. All of them are seeking their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But Timothy’s worth you know, how like a son with a father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. I hope therefore to send him as soon as I see how things go with me; and I trust in the Lord that I will also come soon. 

Still, I think it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus—my brother and co-worker and fellow-soldier, your messenger and minister to my need; for he has been longing for all of you, and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. He was indeed so ill that he nearly died. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, so that I would not have one sorrow after another. I am the more eager to send him, therefore, in order that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. Welcome him then in the Lord with all joy, and honour such people, because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for those services that you could not give me. 

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


O creator past all telling,
you have appointed from the treasures of your wisdom
the hierarchies of angels,
disposing them in wondrous order
above the bright heavens,
and have so beautifully set out all parts of the universe.

You we call the true fount of wisdom
and the noble origin of all things.
Be pleased to shed
on the darkness of mind in which I was born,
The twofold beam of your light
and warmth to dispel my ignorance and sin.

You make eloquent the tongues of children.
Then instruct my speech
and touch my lips with graciousness.
Make me keen to understand, quick to learn,
able to remember;
make me delicate to interpret and ready to speak.

Guide my going in and going forward,
lead home my going forth.
You are true God and true man,
and live for ever and ever. Amen.

O God,
you blessed your servant Thomas Aquinas
with singular gifts of wisdom and insight,
that your people might love with their understanding
what you give them to know by faith.
Grant us the freedom to embrace your Church's teachings
and the obedience to deepen its faith,
that our knowledge may be perfected in worship
and our faith may be fulfilled in love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and 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

May Christ, who calls us,
make us ready witnesses to him
and multiply the number of those who acknowledge you
and celebrate your holy Name. 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 and the closing sentence are adapted from
_Celebrating the Christian Year_ (c) Canterbury Press, Norwich.

The long prayer is by Thomas Aquinas and the second collect is from _For All the
Saints_, (c) General
Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, 1994.

In the thirteenth century, when Thomas Aquinas lived, the works of Aristotle,
largely forgotten in Western Europe, began to be available again, partly from
Eastern European sources and partly from Moslem Arab sources in Africa and
Spain. These works offered a new and exciting way of looking at the world.
Many enthusiastic students of Aristotle adopted him quite frankly as as an
alternative to Christianity. The response of many Christians was to denounce
Aristotle as an enemy of the Christian Faith. A third approach was that of those
who tried to hold both Christian and Aristotelian views side by side with no
attempt to reconcile the two. Aquinas had a fourth approach. While remaining
a Christian, he immersed himself in the ideas of Aristotle, and then undertook
to explain Christian ideas and beliefs in language that would make sense to
disciples of Aristotle. At the time, this seemed like a very dangerous and
radical idea, and Aquinas spent much of his life living on the edge of
ecclesiastical approval. His success can be measured by the prevalence today of
the notion that of course all Christian scholars in the Middle Ages were
followers of Aristotle.
Aristotle is no longer the latest intellectual fashion, but Aquinas's insistence
that the Christian scholar must be prepared to meet other scholars on their own
ground, to become familiar with their viewpoints, to argue from their premises,
has been a permanent and valuable contribution to Christian thought. [James
Kiefer, abridged]

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