Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
--Alfred Lord Tennyson - 1809-1892
The Church has invoked the titles of Christ in the O Antiphons for at least 1,300 years. These seven ancient prayers have been prayed by over millions of Christians. The medieval monasteries used to ring their largest bell as the choirs of monks intoned Mary’s Magnificat and these Advent antiphons. They are invoking Christ in seven messianic titles.
They are seven heart cries for Jesus to come anew in our life. Each one of them is preparing us to invite the Christ child more completely in this blessed season.
Like a final crescendo, these O Antiphons are intoned during Evening Prayer on the seven days leading up to Christmas Eve, from December 17 to December 23. Each night they form luminous bookends around Our Lady’s Magnificat, like seven prayers she prayed during her week-long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. All seven are in the oracles of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, who gives us many memorable images of the Messiah. They are rich meditations on the One who is to come.
Although there are seven titles in the O Antiphons, only one has remained firmly in popular Christian culture, thanks to an Advent hymn: "O Come, O Come Emmanuel". This messianic title is the final of the O Antiphons. The seven titles prayed on each day are:
"... and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak, and as many as touched it were healed." - Matthew 14:36
Oh, how I wish I could touch the tassel on His cloak and be healed. To feel the power released by Him and enter into me would be so warming.
We all have issues and problems and worries and concerns. Just let me touch You so I can be healed.
Jesus, heal me. Amen.
"The prophet went on and waited for the king on the road, disguising himself with a bandage over his eyes." - 1 Kings 20:38
It seemed like a good idea. In order to compensate for a sore toe, just ditch the tennis shoes and walk the treadmill in sandals. Well, now there's band-aids decorating my blistered soles!
Sometimes the choices we make aren't so smart. How often do we place bandages on our "blistered souls"? We try to cover up our mistakes, our hurtful actions, our transgressions, our ridicule. We don't want to expose our scorn to others.
Remove the bandage and free yourself in the Sacrament of Confession.
Divine Physician, let my soles walk openly toward your mercy. Unveil the goodness in my heart and heal my soul of all guilt and shame. Amen.
Take a break and reflect on some spiritual thoughts.
God sometimes takes us into troubled waters not to drown us but to cleanse us.
You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense.
The closer you walk with God, the less room for anything to come between.
Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ.
In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus.
Train yourself to find the blessing in everything.
Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash
Go in peace, God be with you.
Go in peace, be at rest with the saints and the angels.
Now you are free. Go in peace.
You may have heard the above verse during the Final Commendation at a Catholic funeral. The words are comforting, not just for the mourning but for all of us as well.
We would do well to repeat these words throughout our days. We can be at peace in our lives with the knowledge that God is with us. "Let go and let God" we often hear. With the Communion of Saints and our Guardian Angel, we ARE free and at peace ... if only we let ourselves be.
Song text copyright 2004, Sarah Hart and Dwight Liles
A collection of thoughts to keep us "looking at little life moments with a spiritual eye".
"I think love is the contrary of chilly." - Dr. Jerome Lejeune
"You need to learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable." - The Word Among Us, July/August 2016, p. 96
"The miserable have no medicine but hope." - William Shakespeare
"[Wisdom] is the grace of being able to see everything with the eyes of God." - Pope Francis, General Audience, 9 April 2014
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." - Albert Einstein
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
"Then God said: Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures ... God created the great sea monsters and all kinds of crawling living creatures with which the water teems ... God saw that it was good, and God blessed them, saying: Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas ... " - Genesis 1:20-22
It was a breathtaking sight. Two dolphins swimming in and out of the wake of the boat. They were playing and dancing and just having fun! All of this took place against the backdrop of a beautiful golden sunset mirrored in the calm water of the sea. It was indeed a breathtaking sight.
God saw that it was good.
And so did I.
(Photo taken in the Gulf of Mexico by Fort Myers Beach, Florida)
The Octave of Easter is an eight-day period set aside to celebrate one of the greatest mysteries of the Christian faith: the Resurrection. It is a time of heightened jubilation and exaltation, when the joy within the Christian community is at a fever pitch. The Octave of Easter extends from Easter Sunday until the Second Sunday of Easter.
The Gospel readings during the Octave include some of the most beautiful passages of scripture from the time after Jesus’ Resurrection and his first encounters with his friends and disciples. These readings remind us of the importance of Jesus’ Resurrection and the power of living out his message here on earth.
Easter Sunday: Jesus' tomb is empty (Jn 20:1-9).
Spiritual essence: Death is not the end of the story.
Monday in the Octave of Easter: Jesus’ appearance to a number of women who were returning from the tomb (Mt 28:8-15).
Spiritual essence: Our God is a God of surprises!
Tuesday in the Octave of Easter: Jesus' appearance to Mary Magdalene who was weeping beside the entrance to the tomb (Jn 20:11-18).
Spiritual essence: Walk by faith and not by sight.
Wednesday in the Octave of Easter: Jesus' appearance to Cleopas and another disciple on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-35).
Spiritual essence: Always look for Christ in others.
Thursday in the Octave of Easter: Jesus' appearance to the disciples huddled together in the Upper Room in Jerusalem on Easter Sunday night (Lk 24:35-48).
Spiritual essence: Look for Christ in the midst of the mess.
Friday in the Octave of Easter: Jesus' appearance to his disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (Jn 21:1-14).
Spiritual essence: Build your hopes on Christ.
Saturday in the Octave of Easter: An account of multiple appearances, first to Mary Magdalene, next to two men on the road to Emmaus, and then to the Eleven who were at table together (Mk 16:9-15).
Spiritual essence: True strength is sharing joy, love, hope, and kindness.
Second Sunday of Easter: Jesus' appearance to the ten in the Upper Room on the first day of the week, and then seven days later, his subsequent appearance, not only to the ten, but also to Thomas (Jn 20:19-13).
Spiritual essence: Doubt is not an enemy of faith, but disengagement is.
"Looking at little life moments with a spiritual eye."